Monday, November 22, 2010

The Ice Cream Has Run Out

There have been lots of analyses in the wake of the electoral disaster suffered by the Democrats three weeks ago. Many of them have forecast the demise of the party, just as they forecast the demise of the Republicans after 2006/2008. I'm disinclined to pay such predictions any heed, but a piece by Monty Pelerin in The American Thinker makes a compelling case. Pelerin argues that the Republicans were tossed out in 2006 and 2008 because they had disregarded their principles, but that the Democrats were shown the door in 2010 because they adhered to theirs.

The problem is not so much President Obama or Nancy Pelosi, although their policies and the manner in which they have governed have certainly alienated many of the former supporters and hastened the party's approaching date with the political grim reaper. Rather, the problem is that the principles which animate the Democrat party are no longer feasible in a world beset by debt, recession, and a dearth of fiscal resources.

The Democrats have, since FDR, won elections on the promise of giving people more of everything, but that's a promise that everyone now recognizes is impossible to keep. The Democrats can no longer campaign on showering people with ever more goodies, but that's their whole raison d'etre. If they cannot offer the masses access to the public purse they have nothing else with which to entice the electorate.

Perelin asks us to imagine two third graders running for class president:
Johnny's platform includes a detailed program to improve various school matters and a commitment to work hard. His opponent, Mary, promises free ice cream for everyone. Mary is elected by an overwhelming margin.

Johnny's election campaign is similar to Republicans', while Mary's is similar to Democrats'. Republican principles are not as effective in an election campaign when competing against free ice cream. Sacrifice, abstinence, and/or self-reliance are a form of political "root canal" when compared to "freebies."

The ice cream strategy was implemented by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930s. Arguably, this strategy created the modern Democratic Party. It rescued a floundering party and enabled it to become dominant. From a political standpoint, the strategy was pure genius. From an economic standpoint, it produced a slower growth path for the country.
Perelin argues that after 80 years of the ice cream strategy the ice cream has run out and with it the only reason anyone had for voting for the Democrats has disappeared. Thus, the party has no viable future and will, within the next decade or so, morph into something else or be euthanized by the voters.

There's much more at the link. I don't know if Perelin is right, but his column is certainly provocative.

Christie Returns Fire

The speculation has already begun about who'll face Barack Obama in the presidential election in 2012. The left is panicked at the idea that it'll be Sarah Palin, as evidenced by MSNBC's "five minutes Palin hate" on every show in their daily lineup. Others are predicting Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee. My preference is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Not only does he understand what the words fiscal responsibility mean, a qualification that puts him well ahead of the incumbent, but he's just so much fun to watch.

Recently, the head of the New Jersey Teachers' Union sent out an email urging the membership to pray for the Governor's death. A lot of GOP politicians might just ignore this kind of behavior, which is in any event not all that uncommon on the left*, but Governor Christie has demonstrated that he's not a man to be trifled with.

He discussed the episode in a recent speech:
You'd think that after a while people would stop picking fights with the guy. Everytime they do they wind up looking like Wile E. Coyote after his latest attempt to dynamite the Roadrunner.

*Similar sentiments have been expressed about Clarence Thomas, Dick Cheney, George Bush, the late Henry Hyde, and, of course, Sarah Palin, just to name a few.