If you want to know how much trouble President Obama is in, look no further than his federal pay freeze. It's a gimmick, and it shows that he's out of ammo. The glorious days of 2009 when liberals seemed to be converting liberal shibboleths into government programs at a rate of a billion dollars an hour are over. All he's left with is a symbolic pay freeze and doing a deal on the Bush tax cut extension.
According to Rich Galen, the deal is tax cuts extension for unemployment benefit extension. That is not so good for Democrats because, compassionate though it may be, extending unemployment benefits will delay the return of the unemployed back into the labor force. That will delay the recovery. That will lower the chances for President Obama to get reelected. (On the other hand, the equity markets are up two percent today).
Then there is Sarah Palin. She's got another book out, America by Heart, and she's loaded for bear. I notice in her new book that she has stopped calling herself a commonsense conservative. "Commonsense Conservatism" was the line in her first book, Going Rogue. In the last chapter of her new book she calls for "Commonsense Constitutional Conservatism." Well now. What would that be all about do you think? I will tell you.
Sarah Palin is not the clueless trailer trash that our liberal friends want her to be. Instead she is a skilled elected politician who has done it the hard way, working up from city council to mayor to governor without friends in powerful places. She understands that it no longer enough to be a commonsense conservative. Not after two years of the Tea Party.
Palin understands that the fulcrum of the Tea Party movement is not specific issues but the general demand that we return to the concept of limited government, a government of laws rather than a government of programs.
How do you get limited government? You start with a constitution and a people that believe in it. For the last century, beginning with Progressives like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, our liberal friends have advanced the idea of a "living constitution" that could be adapted to the times. The real meaning is, of course, that the constitution could be changed on the fly rather than the laborious process of constitutional amendment.
Notice that the "living constitution" theory means that the government can do anything. It reduces government to a pure contest of power. One year the government may change the constitution as the behest of the popular will, another year the government may change the constitution at the behest of the educated elite.
The result is what we have today. It is a government that can't say no, a government that has promised pensions and benefits to the people that can never be delivered and will result in a train wreck at some point. After the train wreck the liberal clients will find that the promises are worth nothing.
But now the people, through the medium of the Tea Party movement, are telling the progressive elite that they demand a return to constitutional government, a limited government not a living government.
Sarah Palin is one street-smart politician. And that is why she is now a "commonsense constitutional conservative."