The results of the mid-terms were good, but not great. Even so, as usmidtermelections.com shows, it was about the second best showing for Republicans since 1900.
But clearly, union muscle helped Democrats in California and Nevada to get Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid over the finish line and back into the Senate.
What we can understand on the morning after is the hard road ahead. For sure, the voters rejected Obama and the Democrats. Now we have to get back to work.
But the long-term prospects are favorable. Let's look at three reasons for liberals to tremble.
There is no more money The big idea of liberalism was to construct a rational system to deliver vital social services that people on their own would not provide to their fellow citizens. But the trouble with this plan is that when you hand any problem to government it just ends up as a patronage program. And you end up promising more loot to your supporters than you can possibly deliver. That's what we have in America today: a huge bloated government that pays a ton of people a lot of money to do nothing. Eventually government will renege: on its promises, on taxes, and on its debt.
Meaningless lives The big idea of liberalism was to liberate people from the yoke of necessity so they could live intelligent creative lives. There's just one problem with this. If you take away the struggle of life, the grind of work, the obligations to loved ones, then you are left with nothing but dust. For the ordinary person to make a difference, they must work, and marry, have children and raise them. Off in the corner some talented genius will come up with an original creative work. Good for him. But society cannot be organized for the benefit of the occasional talented genius. Sure, it works pretty well for elite liberals: selective universities, interesting sinecures, opportunities to help the powerful. But when the ordinary people are reduced to beneficiaries of compulsory government programs, forced to government schools, government pensions, government health benefits, what's the point? You end up as an eternal teenager playing with grownup toys, but denied the dignity of living as a free citizen who can make a difference.
Established church of liberalism The big idea of liberalism is that there should be a wall of separation between church and state. To view this in a larger perspective we could say that we need to keep a distance between the moral/cultural sector of society, the realm of hope and faith, and the political sector, the realm of rules and force. Liberals fail to understand that a secular established church of liberalism is just as much a breach of the separation of church and state as the old established churches of Christianity. The problem is that when you combine church and state the state ends up dominating the church. The spiritual fervor of the religious community withers away and the only thing you have left is the power principle of politics. All the great government programs amount to the legislation of liberal morality. There's a moral case to look after the old folks. But should we legislate support and force everyone to support old people? There's a moral case to make sure that every child gets an education. But should we legislate morality and force everyone to support a government child custodial system? There's a moral case to relieve the poor. But has a government poor law that legislates morality and forces people to support government poverty bureaucrats ever resulted in anything but misery for the poor?
We will see liberals stumbling and bumbling all over the place in the coming years. They will use every trick in the book to preserve their power. But it won't work. Because liberals amount to a corrupt aristocracy that has forgotten that an aristocracy is supposed to be the rule of the best, not the rule of the best-connected.
If that isn't enough, there is the problem of the economy. Since the Obama administration doesn't believe in cutting spending, and will have a problem getting any tax increases, it has resorted to a policy of inflation. That is what "QE2" means. By the spring of 2012 this policy should be delivering significant inflation and some new asset bubble.
The American people will not deal kindly with the president that has screwed up the economy for four straight years.