Thursday, January 31, 2013

Do Alinsky's Rules Work?

It's become patently obvious that President Obama's only modus operandi is Alinsky: demonize the opposition.  With a bit of Marcuse: "the systematic withdrawal of tolerance toward regressive and repressive opinions" added in for good measure.  That's what Daniel Henninger is writing today.

But here's my question.  Does it work?  Yes, let's say it works in the context of a community organizer wanting to rile up his followers.  Yes, it works in the context of academicians enforcing their liberal orthodoxy in the university.

But does tactics add up to strategy?

What does the community organizer achieve, long term?  In Zola's Germinal the radical suit Étienne gets the miners to wreck the mines, obliterating their livelihood, and then he heads out of town for his next radical gig.  Way to go, Étienne!

And really, what are the PC types and the Gramscians doing the Long March through the institutions really achieving?  I will tell you what.  They are wrecking the lives of everyone below the educated class.  They are using the minorities-and-women-hardest-hit for their votes, and making them into government dependents, and then wiping the floor with them.

And of course when the money runs out then the president's party will wave their hands and rage and fume and let their minorities and women get hardest hit.  No rocket science here.  It just obvious that anyone that relies on the government for their welfare is going to be badly hit when the government runs out of money.

The bottom line is that the conservative bid to reform the welfare state has failed.  The voters voted to continue things-as-they-are.  OK.  Then all we can do is be there when the default comes and say look: if you want a decent society where the poor are relieved and the average person can get ahead then you cannot vote for big government.  Because big government always ends up eating the seed corn.

Alinsky and Obamian divisiveness are tactics.  But right now I'd say that the Democrats are flat out of strategy.  They can't reform the entitlements because if they did then people would stop voting for them.

So they haul out Alinsky and bellow that the Republicans are monsters.  But don't forget women-and-minorities, that when the government runs out of money your community organizer types will do just fine.  It will be you and yours that end up paying the piper.  And why?  Because you gave up your birthright for a mess of pottage.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Inequality: Good Cop, Bad Cop

When you and I think of inequality we think of Charles Murray and Coming Apart.  How the lower 30 percent is turning away from marriage and work to live on the government dole.  But when the Washington Post's chappie Jim Tankersley looks at inequality, his mind turns to "skills training"--after it has properly digested the importance of more progressive taxes and better health care.

After writing about the fatuity of this, I got to thinking of the good cop, bad cop duality of the inequality game.

If you are a gentry liberal, living the good life in your government sinecure, whether as a government funded NGO, a government bureaucratic manager, or a government university professor, you think of inequality as a call for compassion, for devising better programs to deliver benefits to the traditionally marginalized who have lost out in the greedy grab for loot in the last 30 years since Reaganomics started.

But there is an ugly side to the inequality game, and the world-historical role of President Obama is to remind us of this.  It's all highlighted in my three point broadside: Government is force; politics is division; system is domination.

Government is force, you gentry liberals.  Every one of those wonderful programs they write about in The New York Times and they talk about on NPR is based on force.  Because the only way that government gets its hands on money to spend is by force.

Politics is division, you gentry liberals.  Politicians win elections by dividing the electorate.  No doubt the Republicans use heinous methods to do this, but Democrats are just as bad.  Democrats do it by sowing race, class, and gender hatred in the lower orders and not-so-lower orders.  There is a simple test for this: how could blacks be voting 90 percent for Democrats, in numbers usually only experienced in dictatorships?  We learned how in 2008 when we read about preachers like Obama's Reverend Wright spewing race hatred in their black churches.  And of course Democrats nod and wink at similar efforts in the Hispanic community.  Think about feminism and abortion; gays and gay marriage.  I don't reckon the divisiveness of this politics as deliberate, although it probably is.

No.  When you use inequality as the basis of your politics you are choosing it willy-nilly because it calls for government action, and you want to use the power of government to do good.  Society is unequal; something must be done.  Obviously it must be government action.

But the politics it takes to build support for that government action is divisive.  Then it just gets worse.  The government action you legislate to solve the problem is force.  And the system, the one-size-fits-all rational bureaucratic system that you devise to implement your program of force based on your politics of division, is bound to be a program of domination.  Why?  Because, as Horkheimer and Adorno wrote decades ago: "What men want to learn from nature is how to dominate it and other men."  It's a daunting thought that we mostly don't want to admit.  We develop science and technique so we can dominate nature and the world.  So every rational system is a program of domination.

Liberals recognize this when they put on their environmentalist hats.  We are exploiting the world; we are destroying the forests; we are killing animals; we are eliminating species diversity.  But then they put on their class-warfare hats and resume their project of political division and domination without even a moment of hesitation.

The liberal over-under coalition is a remarkable work of human creativity--and hypocrisy.  It satisfies the yearning of the gentry liberal Übermensch for sweetness and light, and it provokes the hatreds of the underclass Untermensch. Then wonder of wonders, it all delivers political power to the good guys, the Übermenschen.

And all in the service of "equality."

Monday, January 28, 2013

How Obama Guys Worry About Inequality

I know.  You'd hardly credit it, what with the trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

But the Obamis are worried, according to Jim Tankersley, that the president is concentrating too much on the deficit and not on  poverty and inequality.
[B]y tapping Lew as Timothy Geithner’s successor at Treasury, the president is signaling clearly that budget negotiations with congressional Republicans will dominate economic policymaking in his second term.
Oh really?  In 2011 the president got a hot new chappie on inequality, Alan Krueger.
Krueger says Obama will propose more steps to address inequality. “The president is genuinely motivated by concern about growing inequality and the stress it puts on the middle class and those struggling to get into the middle class,” he said. “That really animates his views on the economy.”
OK.  What steps, exactly?
 But the policy options Obama has talked about — such as tax reform — tend to work around the edges and focus on the budget. Raising tax rates a few points on the rich or limiting their charitable deductions won’t do much to help middle-class wages break out of their decades-long stagnation. Protecting federal spending on education and innovation is an attempt to keep the middle class from slipping even further, but it’s nowhere near the fundamental overhaul in skills training that many economists believe is necessary to help workers thrive amid global competition.
So that is the big liberal idea: "fundamental overhaul in skills training."  Oh please!

It just shows that conservatives are foolish to get panicked about the future.  These liberals don't have a clue.

You want to know why inequality is going up?  It's all there in Charles Murray's Coming Apart.  The administrative welfare state has created a world that works pretty well for the top 20 percent.  But it has visited a murrain on the lower income folks, where marriage is going down for women and work is going down among men.  Now why would that be?  Lack of "skills training?"  Ya think?

Look liberals.  You geniuses have turned society into a system.  You have blitzed the self-powered lower income family and plugged it into the state.  Of course inequality is going up.  Of course lower income people are suffering.  And things will get worse.  And no amount of "skills training," let alone taxing the rich, or any new administrative "system" is going to make a blind bit of difference.

It all comes down to this:  Government is force.  Politics is division.  System is domination.  Until you liberals read, learn and inwardly digest that, you are going to be making things worse and worse for the people you claim to represent: the eternal "minorities and women hardest hit."

Your silly political interventions are pathetic.  But there will come a day when "pathetic" won't quite cut it.  There will soon be people in the public square raging about "injustice."  And it won't be pretty.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bobby Jindal's Hat in the Ring

Bobby Jundal threw his hat into the ring Thursday with a speech to the Republican National Committee.

He said that Republicans should stop arguing about government and start arguing about  America.
Instead of worrying about managing government, it’s time for us to address how we can lead America… to a place where she can once again become the land of opportunity, where she can once again become a place of growth and opportunity.
Well yes.  Only there's a problem with that, despite the use of the feminine pronoun.  When you talk about "growth and opportunity" you are talking guy talk.  No, check that.  You are talking career-guy talk.  Nope.  Not even that.  You are talking middle-class white-career-guy talk.

What about the guys in the 'hood?  What about women in general?

It reminds me of a grand old WWII Vera Lynn song. It begins:
When the lights go on again all over the world
When the boys are home again all over the world
And rain or snow is all that may fall from the skies above
A kiss won't mean "goodbye" but "hello to love"

When the lights go on again all over the world
And the ships will sail again all over the world
Then we'll have time for things like wedding rings and free hearts will sing
When the lights go on again all over the world
You can see that Bobby Jindal's message completely misses the idea of "hello to love" and wedding ring things and the whole feminine experience.

But that's all right.  President Obama, Julia's pal, missed the boat too in his second inaugural.  Entitlements forever, global warming forever, and equality/liberation forever misses the point too.  That misses the masculine experience, the feminine experience, the freedom lover's experience, and just about every experience in the world except the cramped meanness of the equality/liberation agenda.

All I am saying is this.  Men are fighters and women are lovers.  When you talk about growth and opportunity you are talking about the sublimation of the manly fighting role in the modern world, fighting for market share rather than pillage and plunder.  But what is utterly missing in Jindal's message is love and marriage, sharing and caring.

Of course, the Democrats talk about fairness and sharing and caring.  If only they meant something other than pillage and plunder.  They mean that the government's revenue men will come and strip income and assets off good working people to give to the supporters of what Rush Limbaugh calls the "regime."

Here's what I want to hear.  We conservatives and Republicans are in favor of growth and opportunity, sharing and caring, love and marriage.  That's why we believe we must stop talking about government. Government is force; politics is division.  The more government, the less growth and opportunity.  The more politics the less sharing and caring.  The more government and politics the less love and marriage.

Let me tell you this.  If you are a Final Glide American, who is planning to cut the engine and glide into a landing on that gigantic aircraft carrier the USS Entitlement, I'd advise against it.  Anyone who thinks that they can organize their life around the government check in the next thirty years is going to get a nasty shock.  Some people will find they are reduced to eating the paint off the walls.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Republicans and the Urban Vote

Don't give up the urban vote, Republicans, writes urban expert Edward L. Glaeser.  Think of all the wonderful things that Republicans have done for the cities!
  • Richard Nixon moved cities from public housing to housing vouchers.
  • Cities are safer because of Republican backed community policing policies like CompStat.
  • Republicans have championed school choice and accountability.
  • Republicans have led in opening municipal services to private competition.
And so on.  So why does the Republican Party work on merely "winning suburban and rural votes and has stopped reaching out to city dwellers"?

I'll tell you why.  Because people take those housing vouchers for granted and know that Democrats will give them more.  They don't give a damn about better policing: the urban professionals buy into the activist liberal notion that the police are a bunch of lowlifes and the minorities think the police are out to get them.  The urban minorities have shown in e.g., Washington DC, that they regard schools as more of a jobs program than an education program.  And as for municipal privatization, I'll bet that most urbanites think about city jobs as their job-for-life birthright rather than an area for efficiency.

The only way the cities will come over to the Republicans is if and when they decide that the Democrats have screwed them over royally.  Until then, it's a cultural thing.  Urban people belong to urban tribes that define themselves in opposition to the unhip, responsible, racist-sexist-bigoted Republicans.

And anyway, Republicans benefit from the current situation, as Sean Trende points out.  Democrats are concentrated in: uber-liberal districts, like Seattle's 7th Congressional District with its 600,000 liberal hearts beating as one; and majority-minority districts, like Washington State's brand new 9th District with 50.3 or so percent racial minorities.

Until the the day of judgment, Republicans need to sharpen their message to the ordinary non-urban, non-liberal, non-identity-obsessed American.  Because there's a good chance that in 2016 that kind of American voter will be thinking and acting on the idea that it is "time for a change."

That's how politics works.  The politician knows that he cannot win the votes of people that define themselves in opposition to him, however he might have helped them.  But he can work on the waverers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Keynesian Truth or Dare

What is the real truth about Keynesianism, that government fiscal deficits help get out of recession?

So let's rehearse the definitions, from Tino Sanandaji in “Why Keynesianism Works Better in Theory Than in Practice” at The American:
The first definition of “Keynesianism” is a theoretical explanation for recessions, a diagnosis of the illness. The free market will periodically fail to utilize all the capacity in the economy due to an inability to generate sufficient aggregate demand. In 2008, we witnessed a particularly dramatic example of this as consumer demand and industrial production plummeted as a result of a crisis in the financial sector. Keynes was once again proven right.

The diagnosis may be correct, but the medicine most commonly associated with it has been shown to be surprisingly impotent.

The second definition of “Keynesianism” is a policy recipe for coping with recessions, a cure for the disease of recessions. The promise is that the public sector can bring the economy out of recessions through deficit spending.
Frankly, I think that both of these definitions are wrong.  In the first place, my theoretical explanation for recessions looks to the Austrian theory of the business cycle, that recessions are caused by the collapse of the malinvestments of the previous boom.  Yes, demand drops in a recession, but the cause is the failures of the malinvestments.  (In the Crash of 2008, think of the failures of homebuilders and homeowners).  Income anticipated by the malinvestors, as evidenced by their debts, fails to appear, and so they must either cut back sharply or fail spectacularly.

The argument for Keynesianism is that by artificially maintaining demand with government spending we can jump over the chasm caused by the collapse in demand.  I think that confuses the issue.  The problem in a contraction is that the financial market has questions about the soundness of many investors and institutions, and so people are hesitant to lend to anyone.  The solution is to identify the sound investors and the unsound ones and prevent the unsound investors from polluting the rest of the market.  In the Crash of 1907, for example, J.P. Morgan and his assistants performed triage on the financial markets.  They refused to loan money to enterprises that they judged would survive without their help, and they also refused to help enterprises that they felt were bound to fail.  They did help people in trouble, but loaned money only to enterprises that they felt would survive if helped with an injection of capital.

You can see that the Morgan approach is actually doing what the Keynesians think they are doing.  Both are assisting enterprises to jump over the fiscal chasm.  But the Morgan approach is discriminating in its assistance.  It is saying: look, some of these plungers are past help.  But some folks are in trouble only because they are caught in the undertow caused by the panic.  We should help them.

In the Crash of 2008 the government did do a bunch of Keynesian stimulus.  But most of the money just went out in transfer payments.  Then there was TARP.  Love it or hate it, TARP was designed to inject capital into banks to make sure that semi-sound banks survived the crisis.  But there was another part to the government's bailout that hasn't received much press. Take a look at  TARP's $700 billion was just the tip of the iceberg.  Here is the full story.

Gross US government bailout outlays$4.6 trillion
US Government bailout guarantees$16.9 trillion

You can see that the biggest item was the guarantees. What was that all about?  Well, for starters, there was $3 trillion in guarantees to money market mutual funds.

So there you have it: $20 trillion in bailouts, where the US government is using its position as the soundest investor in the market to keep everyone else afloat.  Makes the "stimulus" program look like chump change.

That is the real story about how to stop a contraction.  You flood the zone with bailouts and guarantees to make sure that only the insolvent enterprises run aground.  Your flood of liquidity and guarantees keeps the marginal enterprises afloat.  The sound enterprises out in deep water will ride things out anyway.

Keynesianism?  Well it sorta helps.  But its chief attraction is that it gives politicians an excuse to do what comes naturally: spend money on their supporters.

Notice, in retrospect, that the institutions that needed help, the banks and the auto companies, have been for decades the little darlings of the politicians.  The banks are part of the nationalization of credit under the Federal Reserve System, and the auto companies are part of the crony capitalism of the authoritarian welfare state.  The banks got into trouble because the politicians forced them to make unsound loans; the auto companies went under because they were forced, decades ago, to make promises to their unionized employees that could not be redeemed.

Then we have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  There were not merely the little darlings of the political sector, but conceived, subsidized, staffed, and led by the political sector.  The miracle is they lasted as long as they did.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Obama's Second Term Agenda

President Obama made things pretty clear to America in his second inaugural speech.

First, the president is foursquare behind the entitlements.
The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us.  (Applause.)  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.  (Applause.)
Nothing there about what we are actually going to do about the spiraling maelstrom of entitlement-fueled debt.

Then the president committed himself to battling climate change.
 We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  (Applause.)  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.  
Not a whisper about the fact that the science is broken and the crony capitalists are cleaning up.

Finally, the president celebrated lefty activism.
We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall...
It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.  (Applause.)  Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law  –- (applause) -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  (Applause.)  Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.  (Applause.)  Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity -- (applause) -- until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.  (Applause.)   Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.  
Yes.  The non-stop liberal legislation of the past 50 years is merely the start.  We've got to chuck the women, the gays, the immigrants, the gun controllers under the chin.  There is still so much to do!

Back in 2009 I was really afraid.  I was afraid that the Democrats would capitalize on their political opportunity and move towards the center and co-opt the moderates and nail down a 30-year political majority coalition.  They might have oriented economic policy to appeal to the enterprising as well as to their base.  They might have done Obamacare to entice some Republicans into the deal.  They might have pushed through the Keystone pipeline.

But they didn't.  Instead, as Ron Brownstein has written, Obama and his people think they can now win elections just with their "coalition of the ascendant:" minorities, youth, and women, and without the old white centrists.

Maybe that strategy could work if it really delivered in economic prosperity.  But instead, with the huge costs coming up for Obamacare and the entitlements, we are going to see big-time economic stresses.

Obama is telling us that he proposes to do nothing about the government finances, not until disaster is staring us in the face.  In this, of course, he is a realist.  The entitlement beneficiaries--I am talking about you and me--are not going to agree to cuts until the crisis is upon us.  When it comes, we are going to see some kind of sovereign default: dollar inflation, debt "rescheduling", perhaps confiscation.  And we will see "cuts" in Medicare and Social Security, at least for the 401k classes who don't really "need" assistance.

It's all such a shame.  I just hope that what comes out at the other end is a better America and a better world.  Because otherwise the "coalition of the ascendant" is going to be royally screwed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Octopus Left Reviews ObamaCare and Cap-and-Trade

We all know Harvard political scientist Theda Skocpol as a leading light in the Defenestration of Cambridge.  That was the Harvard faculty campaign to toss Harvard President Larry Summers out of his office--ostensibly for the thoughtcrime of saying in a public forum that women were different than men.

She's also written an analysis (pdf) of two signature Obama initiatives: the successful Obamacare campaign and the failed "cap and trade" campaign. (H/T Powerline)

Skocpol is a lefty-liberal, and her analysis of politics is drenched in anti-right pejoratives.  But when you read between the lines you learn a thing or two.

You learn that the left is broad and deep in money and institutional muscle.  Skocpol's description of the money and the resources assembled to push Obamacare and cap-and-trade is a recipe of activist groups and foundations pledging millions here and millions there, and activists and staff resources all over the place, all in the campaign to punch their agendas through Congress.

But when she turns to describing right-wing efforts it's pretty thin gruel.  There are think tanks and then there are the Koch brothers.  And there is the Tea Party.

There is interesting stuff in her report.  First, that Republican elected officials turned sharply against the environmentalist agenda in the early 1990s.  What happened?  Skocpol says they were pushed by conservatives.
They used non-profit, right-wing think tanks to sponsor and promote a cascade of books questioning the validity of climate science; and they pounced on occasional dissenters in the academic world, promoting them as beleaguered experts.
There were "long-standing general-purpose conservative organizations" and "ideological funders" behind it all.  When you think about it, that's how politics is supposed to work.  People with an ideological ax to grind get books and ideas out there and push!

But there is no real identification of the supposed greedy corporations pushing against the sweetness and light of cap-and-tax.  Indeed, there were a number of large corporations that got co-opted into the pro cap-and-tax campaign.

There is no mention of Climategate and the anti-global-warming blogs.

Is it possible to get climate-change legislation through Congress ever again, Skocpol wonders?
The political tide can be turned over the next decade only by the creation of a climate-change politics that includes broad popular mobilization on the center left. That is what it will take to counter the recently jelled combination of free-market elite opposition and right-wing popular mobilization against global warming remedies.
But the problem is, as Skocpol recognizes, that it's difficult to get rank-and-file Democrats mobilized for something that doesn't provide them with "free stuff" in their pockets.  Anyway "liberals and friendly moderates need to build a populist anti-global warming movement on their own side of the political spectrum."

As if. As if liberals haven't been doing this flat out for decades.  But Skocpol is clear that carbon-capping legislation cannot be an inside deal in Washington.  It has to have popular support.  So she thinks that the CLEAR Act from Sens. Cantwell and Collins might do the trick.  Its "cap and dividend" approach taxes energy and then distributes dividend checks to voters.

So there is hope.  If the global warming movement is based on bad science that gets publicized and critiqued every day by chaps like and, it will be very difficult for the ruling elite to advance its climate control agenda.

Skocpol presents an intriguing story of how elite interest combine to push big government.  But what interests me is how we can develop a politics to unwind the disaster of the administrative welfare state.  How can you get people to give up their "free stuff" even as it's the free stuff that is pushing the nation into bankruptcy?

I have a feeling that politics-as-usual won't do the job.  You can only take the free stuff out of our cold dead--or at the very least trembling, terrified--hands.  And that would take a revolution.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is Obama Crazy Like A Fox?

Conservatives are rightly outraged that President Obama is choosing to govern not as the president of all of us but as the partisan enforcer of his liberal faction.

Didn't the liberals excoriate Bush for being just that (even when that noble and honorable man was never the divider they accused him of being)?

Never mind.  Liberals are the cultural hegemons; they get to set the rules and they get to break the rules.

But old war-horse Pat Buchanan has a warning.  He argues that the last two successful presidential dynasties featured a sharp denunciation of the other side.  First FDR:
"They hate me, and I welcome their hatred," said FDR in the 1936 campaign. He believed that if a slice of the electorate was incorrigibly hostile, one ought not appease or court them, but use them as a whipping boy to rally the majority. With FDR, the foil was Wall Street, the "money-changers in the temple of our civilization."
Then Richard Nixon.  His divisiveness set up Ronald Reagan:
With Nixon it was urban rioters and campus anarchists and their academic apologists and elite enablers, and the demonstrators who blocked troop trains and carried Viet Cong flags as they chanted: "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh! The NLF Is Going to Win!"
Pat is arguing that Obamian intransigence can work if he can get a majority on your side, and you have to agree that he has a point.

But let us remember that things had to come together for FDR and for Nixon/Reagan in special ways for his theory to work.

FDR may have won a resounding reelection in 1936 with his divisiveness, but his party lost 72 seats in the 1938 midterms.  It was World War II that made FDR into the father of his people and, incidentally, the great unifier.

Nixon so infuriated the opposition that they ran him out of office in his second term.  It was only the manifest incompetence of Carter and his stagflationary economic policy that got Republicans back in the game in 1980.

It maybe that President Obama is smarter than we think and that his display of partisan scorn is a master stroke.  But I'd say that partisan behavior is best for reelectioneering.  In 2014, with ObamaCare coming onstream and people finding just how much money and aggravation it is going to cost them, President Obama may find that his divisive politics unites a majority of the nation against him.

But maybe we'll get a war that will make President Obama into a national hero and elect Vice-President Biden as president.  Though that route didn't work too well for Bush.

Monday, January 14, 2013

How to Do Division

Everybody knows that a majority of white people vote Republican and overwhelming majorities of minorities vote Democrat.  This is known as politics.

In the good old days, politics, such as it was, was clan-based.  People didn't actually vote in elections, but they supported their family, or their tribe, or their local lord.

Then they invented the nation state, and people supported their language-in-common nation state.

All this is merely to say that politics is division.  The politician makes his living by dividing people. In the old days, they did it by uniting "us" in the family or the tribe against "them," the foreigners.

But the industrial revolution started mixing families and tribes and nationalities something new was needed, and it was Marx who developed the basis of modern politics.  The educated elite would divide the nation state up by class, pitting the working class against the middle class, the workers against the employers.

In the natural development of things, it happened in the United States that by the 1970s the division of workers vs. employers was starting to fray.  An old Democratic friend reminded me how it had worked.   Now that the worker had become a homeowner, thanks to an FHA loan, he told me, that ungrateful worker had become a Republican.

A generation before the machine politician had railed in similar terms against the civil service.  The bureaucrat with civil service protection stopped making his grateful contribution to the machine.

With the old working class ascending into the middle class a new method of division was required.

We all know what that is.  You only have to know that in America any Republican or conservative is a racist, sexist, homophobe unless proven innocent.

In Commonwealth the lefty manifestist duo Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri develop the intellectual apology for the new politics of identity by race, by sex, and by sexual orientation that has revised and extended the old politics of class.  They talk about the "violence and hierarchy of identity."  In their view "identity maintains hierarchy primarily through social structures and institutions."

Get it?  Identity is manufactured by the ruling class in order to create a hierarchy of oppression against the colored, the female, the LGBT.  Thus the lefty politics of race hatred, of anti-religious bigotry, of anti-family bigotry, of gay sequestration is represented as the fight against racism, sexism, fundamentalism, homophobia.  It really is brilliant.

When people demand that conservatives and Republicans reach out to blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, they are asking the impossible.  It is impossible to fight the left-wing politics of hatred by saying, hey, we are nice guys and we will propose a politics of quotas and free stuff, only not so much.

And I don't think that the implicit conservative/Republican program will work.  The idea of waiting until it's obvious to the black or Hispanic in the street that the Dems have betrayed them just won't cut it.  The Dem-voting minorities are like soldiers in an army.  It is very difficult to desert from an army, short of an absolute rout where discipline breaks down, because there is usually no place to hide.

No.  Politics is division.  That is inescapable.  Conservatives and Republicans have to find different ways to divide the American people, ways that cut against the Democrats.  But what?  Obviously, it's not that obvious, or someone would already have done it.

Let's look back to Ronald Reagan for some tips.  The big deal in the 1970s, when Reagan was beginning his rise, was the cultural backlash against the Sixties culture.  The "silent majority" was frightened and disgusted by the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.  The so-called Reagan Democrats were mostly people offended by the cultural liberalism of that era.  Reagan divided the voters by neutralizing the New Deal economic divide in favor of a cultural divide.

In fact, Reagan was so successful in dividing America that the Democrats were forced to amp up their race identity program and encourage massive Mexican immigration.  Their cunning plan created a whole new immigrant cohort that they could woo with class and ethnic identity politics.  As we know from Judis and Teixeira in The Emerging Democratic Majority the Dems think they have a generation-long winner with their politics of identity.  And maybe they do.

But there is almost more than one way to cut a cake, and the profession of politics is finding new ways to do it.  Here are some ideas.
  • Liberal war on the poor.  Liberals have demolished lower-class culture and the family.  There has to be a way to appeal to lower-class women on this, to show them that there is a better way than government dependency.  We are talking about the children.
  • Liberal war on science.  Liberals advertise themselves as pro-science.  Except they don't believe in modern economics (other than the convenient Keynesian idea that more spending is good); they don't believe in climate science, as we are finding out; they don't believe in a crony-free economy, as in Solyndra, biofuels, wind energy.
  • Liberal war on prosperity.  Liberals have convinced the middle class that they care about the middle class.  Then they go and pass a tax-cliff bill with $62 billion in tax loopholes for big business.  Come on fellahs; surely someone can figure out how to wage war on liberal crony capitalism.
  • Liberal war on women.  One fine day women are going to wake up and realize that a culture of sexual license is anti-woman.  Look, I'm a guy; I appreciate that sexual license is great for guys, and forces women into bed.  The argument for female chastity is not just moralistic; it is practical.  The more things a women allows inside her body the bigger chance that she will get diseased and unable to bear children.  We've just experienced a generation when science could mostly kill the nasties.  But it looks like that era is coming to an end.  Look for a sudden change in the culture.
But really, I don't know anything.  All I have is faith.  Somehow in the next few years, a politician will rise to power on the right on the strength of some politics of division that cuts against the current Democratic advantage that boxes Republicans in on race and sex.  That's just the way the world works.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dems to Retake House in 2014?

When I first read a piece connecting President Obama's take-no-prisoners tactics with Nancy Pelosi's plan to retake the House in 2014 I did a double-take.

Taking back the House in the sixth-year of a presidential term?  Are they serious?  But maybe what they are saying between the lines is that they are going to pull out all the stops to limit the damage.

Now there's a lefty report from Mother Jones on the fabuloso meeting of all the progressive groups to work out a "massive new liberal plan to remake American politics."

What might that be?  Well, it's nothing more than a three-part program to push Democratic advantages at the polls:
  1. getting big money out of politics, 
  2. expanding the voting rolls while fighting voter ID laws, 
  3. rewriting Senate rules to curb the use of the filibuster to block legislation.
Oh.  Is that all?

What is really interesting in the article by Andy Kroll--all these lefties seem to write under nicknames--is the absurdity of their demonization of Big Oil and the Koch brothers.  Really.  Here we have all the progressive institutions, "labor officials, environmentalists, civil rights activists, immigration reformers, and a panoply of other progressive leaders" all planning a campaign in a "the kind of meeting that conspiratorial conservative bloggers dream about."  Ya think?

We are talking about this sort of thing:
"It was so exciting," says Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director. "We weren't just wringing our hands about the Koch brothers. We were saying, 'I'll put in this amount of dollars and this many organizers.'"
Really.  And just what have the Koch brothers with their millions achieved recently against the Sierra Club and its billions?  And this:
 Greenpeace's Phil Radford notes that for decades conservatives have aimed to shrink local, state, and federal governments [in a] "a 40-plus-year strategy by the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world…to take over the country."
There is a profound misunderstanding of what conservatism is all about in remarks like that, particularly where Exxon is concerned.  Exxon, dear liberal friends, is just a big corporation that knows it must pay protection money to keep the feds off its back.

But of course, that's what the left is all about.  It believes in a profound division between supposed "haves" and "have-nots" epitomized by "capitalists" that represent the modern incarnation of the feudal lords of the feudal era.

I realized, while writing a chapter in "An American Manifesto" a week or so ago that this is a complete fantasy.  It is just not true that capitalists sit astride modern society like feudal lords.  Capitalists are not and never have been a ruling class, except in the thousand years of the Serene Republic of Venice.

Oh, and by the way, the ruling merchant aristocracy in Venice was a pretty good governing elite.  You could check it out.

Today's ruling class is the ruling class of the educated elite.  Ours is an aristocracy of politicians and publicists, not a plutocracy of businessmen.

But the idea that businessmen rule the world is essential to the rule of the educated elite.  That is why The Communist Manifesto remains modern and vital.  Its message is the means by which the modern ruling class divides employers from employees.  And politics, let us never forget, is division.

That is why the progressives descant endlessly on "the Scaifes, Exxons, Coors, and Kochs of the world."  Their rule depends on workers mistrusting their employers.

I am reading right now the Hardt and Negri Commonwealth.  Today, the Marxists want their revolution to transcend both the capitalists and the welfare state, because they see a life in common among the multitude of "biopolitical production" meaning the modern creative economy in cities of individuals creating a spontaneous combustion of creative work and "affect."  These people will not submit to the control of the capitalists, that only slow them down, or the state either.

The trouble is that the common man has never been either a helpless proletarian or a creative singularity in the multitude of various lefty narratives.  Most people are social animals that go along to get along in the society and the economy of the day.  They work for employers because it is easier than working for themselves.  They take a fixed wage instead of the uncertainty of the market and its risks: what's not to like?  They resent the income and the power of their employer, well, just because.  Some people are creative; some people want to build a business.  But most people just want to fit in and stay out of trouble.

The saving grace, for conservatives, is that each progressive lurch ends in disillusion as the folks inspired by the New Deal or the New Frontier or the First Black President eventually realize that the incandescent hope of the great political hero isn't really going to make a difference in their lives.

In the rhythm of American politics that disillusion seems to set in about the sixth year of a presidential term.  The only exception seem to be when the disillusion sets in in the first presidential midterm.  And the rule seems to work whatever cunning plan the president's partisans may have to persuade themselves that this time is different.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Second Amendment March on Washington

Obviously it will be a while before Republicans get a chance to enact good conservative legislation for America.  Even if they wanted to.  It is clear with his appointments that President Obama is going flat out to enact the most liberal agenda he can before time runs out.

Although I wonder about the idea that the Dems can retake the House in 2014.  Do they really think that or is it just bluster?

Meanwhile here is something we can do.  We can march on Washington to celebrate the Second Amendment.  Based on news reports that Americans are descending on gun shops in their tens of thousands and buying all the guns available, you have to think there is gold in them thar hills.

But I don't think we should have just the regular "march" where people gather on the Mall to hear speeches.  That is so lefty.

What I have in mind is a real march.  Men (and women) marching in companies.  In step.  Maybe they should be singing the "Song of Angry Men" from Les Mis.  They should be marching in companies because the company of 150 men is the natural size of a face-to-face body of men.

And there should be flags.  Usually your average regiment will have two flags, so I suggest a US flag and a "2" flag.  You know what the "2" is for.

Now I don't know Washington DC so I don't know how you'd do this march.  But I see the companies marching past a viewing stand somewhere on the Mall, at which huge articulated puppets, as in War Horse, representing the three great presidents, would review the marchers.

I see the three puppets representing Presidents Washington, Lincoln, and Reagan.

When the marchers pass the reviewing stand they would recite, from memory, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Then the marchers would head home.

I think a march like this would be a good morale booster for all conservative Americans.

And it would utterly flummox our liberal friends. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lose the "Low-information Voter" Sneer

Everyone on the right is sneering about the "low-information voter."  Even the sainted El Rushbo has succumbed.

I say: Let's lose this loser excuse, and for a simple reason.  We are all low information voters.

If we are liberals we get our information from NPR and the New York Times.  Now there's a reliable way to get information!

If we are conservatives we get our information from FoxNews and a host of online rants.

If we are ordinary Americans that don't gorge on political propaganda every day then we get our information from the local TV news, from reality TV, and from Hollywood.

So who's the low-information voter?

Let us recall tha the late great election was decided on about one and a half issues, as all elections are decided.  What were the issues?  The rich should pay a little more: funny how the president forgot to mention that FICA taxes would be going up on the 99%.  Jobs: but maybe the American people reckon that those government benefits are a better deal, for now.

Given the choices, who is to say that the low-information voter is wrong?

The fact is that the government runs about 20,000 programs and just about every one of them stink.  But what voter has the time and inclination to study up on even 100 of them?

That's one reason conservatives call for limited government.  There is no way that voters can pass judgment on a government of 20,000 programs.

Let us forget the "low-information voter" whine and get back to work.  Work means persuading the folks in the middle that we are the good guys, we are the ones that care about them, we are the ones that care about families, and we are the guys that have a plan.

And, of course, it won't hurt that in 2016 the Dems will be running a white guy and the race card will be worth a lot less.  So the Mitt Romney of 2016 will be able to continue his negative ads into the general election and do the character assassination that he couldn't do on Barack Obama.

Here's more.  It won't hurt in 2014 and 2016 that Republicans and conservatives can start bellowing about a "lost decade" and blaming Barack Obama for everything.  That is the reason the presidency seldom gives one party more than two consecutive presidential terms.  After eight years of the usual miserable and corrupt governance, low-information voters rightly decide it is "time for a change."  Or even time for "hope and change."

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the low-information voters will want "change" in 2016.  What will conservatives say then?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The End of a Dynasty

For years and years I used to wonder about the dynasties in China.  I would read about how a dynasty got old, how it failed to keep up the armed forces, how eventually marauders from the north--Mongols, Bannermen, whatever--would sweep down and kick the existing dynasty out.

OK, fine, I would think.  But how does it work?

I think I can now understand the process, face to face, as it unfolds before our very eyes.  Of course it helps to read Reinhart and Rogoff in This Time is Different.

The simple fact is that governments are armed minorities, and they stay in power by giving money to their supporters.  When a government first takes over, by military conquest or by a political movement, it doesn't have too many supporters to support.  So it has plenty of money to spend.

But over the years the government has to pay out more and more to keep the supporters happy.  And the organized supporters get better and better at extracting support from the government.  Eventually the government runs out of money, it defaults on its sovereign debt and on its promises to its supporters, and finds itself unable to resist some new political force that swoops down out of the north--or the east or the west.

You can see the process working on our present dynasty of the educated elite.  It started in the 19th century with a moral crusade to help the working man, and prevent exploitation of the miners and the factory workers by their ruthless employers.

Today it's simply a racket.  The government takes in huge bounties from working people in the payroll taxes and even more from businesses in the form of incomes taxes and regulations, and then distributes the loot to its supporters.

The urgency with which the Democrats in power are using every ounce of political muscle to increase federal taxes is just an illustration to show what is going on.

The problem is that the more the government expropriates to spread out among its supporters the less is available to grow the economy.  Liberals tell themselves bedtime stories every night about how government spending is essential if everyone wants to be tucked in at night, but the numbers tell a different story.

When the government gets in a jam and can't sell its debt to the market, the way out is with "rescheduling debts", i.e., debt default, and spending cuts.  It's been done again and again.  Of course, when you do that you get a couple years of zero growth as the economy adjusts, but after that you get robust growth.

But the current dynasty can't afford to do that.  Their supporters are not moral crusaders, willing to give up a little for the sake of the nation.  They are simple rent seekers, whether seniors like me that want their entitlements or government employees that want their tenure and their pensions, and they want their money, now.

Otherwise, what's the point of voting for a bunch of thieves and demagogues?

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Education of Barack Obama

I know that we are all supposed to think that Speaker Boehner is an idiot, the naif that got rolled by President Obama in the fiscal cliff deal.

But I am trying to look between the lines.  Take Stephen Moore's the "Education of John Boehner" in the Wall Street Journal today.

Boehner thinks we have a "spending problem."  But the president does not.  He thinks we have a "health-care problem."

Boehner agreed with the president about the health-care problem. Said he to the president: "Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem."

But that is the sticking point.  I'll bet the president thinks that ObamaCare is going to solve the health-care problem, with all its administrative bells and whistles.  And so do all his liberal friends.

It doesn't matter whether they are right or not.  They have to believe that.  Otherwise they would be getting ready to do a bipartisan deal with the Republicans and cut spending.

And that points up the basic delusion that liberals have about government.  They think of themselves as disinterested experts and ethicists making considered public choices about governance.  That's what that Seidman chappie thinks when he rags on the constitution as an evil product of slave-owning white property owners.

But the liberals are wrong.  Starting with Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Democrats have been running a national patronage machine.  They are buying votes and political power with government spending programs.  And they will continue to do so until the money runs out.

And by the way, the appetite for free health care is limitless, Mr. President, and your ObamaCare will become a bottomless pit of special interest giveaways and vote-buying.

The Democrats are riding the whirlwind.  Their power is based on delivering more and more benefits to their voters.  But we all know how grateful gift recipients are.  For about one minute.  Then they want more.

So the Democrats must keep offering more, or go out of business.   They cannot say: gee, it looks like we are going to have to cut those benefits in the future, 'cos there ain't no more money.  What do you mean no more money?  They have justified all that spending in moral terms: helping mothers with disabled kids, fighting inequality, etc.  How can you compromise on a moral agenda?

Both sides in the political arena call themselves rational and sensible and the other guys mean and delusional.  That's the way that playground fights go.  And so's your father.

But the Democrats won't agree to spending cuts until they have sent their supporters over the cliff.  It's not because they are evil, but because their supporters won't agree to spending cuts until they are lying in red ruin, like a herd of buffalo at the bottom of a Plains Indian buffalo cliff jump.  There's one up in Alberta, thoughtfully called Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.

But by then, President Obama will be long gone.  I expect President Rubio will be to blame.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Obama's Crisis Politics

What will be the net result of President Obama's crisis politics?  Whether he does it by design or because that's who he is, the president seems to prefer to govern by periodic crisis rather than regular order.

Maybe he's a genius, for the best time for government to act is in an emergency, when people are more inclined to go along with the crowd.

The thing is, as Fred Barnes writes, that successful US presidents have usually governed by consensus.
President George W. Bush made bipartisan deals with Democrats on education, energy and, shortly before leaving office, the bank bailout known as TARP. President Reagan got together with Democrats on tax reform and Social Security. President Clinton reached agreement with Republicans on welfare reform, balancing the budget and Nafta's free trade. Mr. Clinton also negotiated reform of Social Security, a landmark compromise that died (before being announced) when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke.
But not President Obama.  He goes for I win, you lose.  Or he seems to.  Barnes says that this will come to bite him in the future.
 The essence of bipartisan deals is win-win: Both sides are satisfied, even if not elated. Mr. Obama's approach is that he alone gets to win. The approach worked, more or less, on the fiscal-cliff deal, but it won't produce the larger bipartisan agreements that Mr. Obama now needs.
But does the president need larger bipartisan deals?  What does the president want?

My guess is that he wants to lard up the budget with as much spending as he can to make the new level of spending the new place of departure for deficit reduction.

On that view, Democrats would deal with a new Republican president in 2017 on the notion that the balanced deficit reduction plan would be part spending, part taxes, based on the baseline of federal spending at 24 percent of GDP rather than 20 percent of GDP that obtained before the Obama years.

Maybe so.  But I like to look at this another way.  I like to think that the Democrats are in an impossible situation.  Their spending cannot go on forever, so at some point it will stop.  But Democrats cannot agree to spending cuts because their whole shtick is spending.  Cut spending and you are cutting your supporters off at the knees.  Cut your supporters off at the knees and they will cut you off at the knees.

That's why I think our current politics is a replay of the ante-bellum politics of the 1840s and 1850s.  The South was pushing slavery against the tide of history, getting more and more intransigent about it with every year.  They had to, because the Southern economy was built on the expansion of the very profitable plantation slavery.  They had hyper-partisan guys in the South back then just like the Angry Left of today.  Then it all fell apart.  After the Civil War the South was reduced to a century of curdled rage, and the people that lost out the most were probably the freed slaves.

Really, the situation today is not that different.  The welfare state cannot go on like this.  It is running out of money right now, and slowing the economy with its demands for transfer payments.  When it stops, the people relying on its benefits are going to be hurting, and the longer we put off reforms the worse they will suffer.

Why, you ask, would the Democrats do this to their supporters?  I go back to Joseph Schumpeter.  Democracy, he writes, is not the rule of the people, it is the rule of the politicians, professional election winners.  The only thing that matters for an elected politician is winning the next election.  You win elections not by what you do but by what you promise.

Politics is division: you win by promising loot to the voters.  Government is force: the winners force the nation to pay the loot to their supporters.

But there is a limit to division.  You might end up dividing the country into a civil war, for politics is civil war by other means.

And there is a limit to force.  As in killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Is that what President Obama's politics leads to?  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Telling the Conservative Story

Everyone agrees that we need a better "story."  Yes, we are all postmodernists now, and we are all obsessing on the "narrative."

Over at NRO, Kevin Williamson wants a narrative that recognizes that the Democratic voters are not just people that want to live at the expense of other people.  They are also risk-averse people: women and minorities in particular.  And people do care about inequality--more at least than conservatives are willing to admit.

Over at RedState, Erick Erickson wants a focus on economic conservatism in a new 21st century way that focuses on the family.

All very good ideas, but we should forget the basic problem that conservatives face.  We do not have the hegemonic power over the culture that liberals have.  We don't get to choose the news stories; we don't get to educate the children; we don't get to write the TV shows and the movies.

What does that mean?  It means that conservatives are always on the strategic defensive.  The prime exception that proves the rule is the rise of Ronald Reagan.  He would never have got elected president but for the economic and cultural mess of the 1970s: the inflation, the hippies, the oil crisis, the wage and price controls.  The fact is that, by 1980, it was doable to persuade the moderates of America that liberalism wasn't working.

But conservatives in the Reagan years never obtained anything close to cultural hegemony.  The test of that was the Bork nomination.  Two minutes after regaining the majority in the Senate in 1986 (Reagan's second off-year election) the Democrats demagogued the nomination to the Supreme Court of distinguished jurist Robert Bork into a heap of rubble.  Because they could.

The same applies to the Obama years.  Obama demagogues on the rich paying a little more because he can.

Conservatives are at least a generation away from any hope of cultural hegemony.  At least!  That means that the broad middle of Americans will only vote for conservatism when liberalism, what they learn at school, what they learn from media, has failed, right before their very eyes.

There is a catchphrase for this from Ben Franklin: "Experience keeps a dear school, but they will learn in no other."

Yes, conservatives must speak to the risk averse, because the risk averse are going to learn pretty soon that relying on government is a pretty risky life plan.  It is like putting all your eggs in one basket.  If you think that relying on government to raise your kid or provide for your retirement will do the job for you, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

Yes, conservatives must speak about family, because family is the best insurance you can't buy.  The women and minorities that vote for big government are going to learn just what a bad idea trading the family for government benefits can be--not just for your children but for society in general and men in particular.  George Gilder wrote about this a generation ago in Visible Man. 

If conservatives had something close to cultural hegemony--or even something close to a real cultural voice--then we could persuade millions right now.  We could have persuaded them in 2012 because our cultural power would have ground the Obama campaign into dust.

But the fact is that we can't.  Any time a conservative talks about the culture s/he gets buried.  So the only way is the Ben Franklin school, the school of bitter experience.  We've got to get back to the "liberalism doesn't work" days of the late 1970s.

Conservatism is at bottom a faith about the way the world works.  It says that human society works best when we maximize voluntary cooperation through markets and through civil society, the "mediating institutions" between government and the individual.

Liberalism is a faith that you cannot trust the mediating institutions.  Here are Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri in their lefty manifesto Commonwealth.  Their vision is a re-creation of the "common."  They realize that socialism and communism, as practiced in the social democratic states and in the Soviet Union, are non-starters.  But so are the "most significant social institutions of capitalist society in which the common appears in corruption form... the family, the corporation, and the nation."(p160)

Oh goodie.  So again, our lefty revolutionaries are going to sweep away the imperfect socialization of today for what? A vision of "life in common" that has no real exemplars.  Not yet.

It's true that the family, the corporation, and the nation are the worst social institutions imaginable--except any and all of the alternatives that have been tried in the last century.  Lord knows they aren't perfect, but the fact is that the two-parent family is the best environment for raising children.  The corporation is the best way for creating products and services, and the nation is the best idea yet for enlarging human sympathy beyond the boundary of the kindred.

Government is force, politics is division, and reason is domination.  That's why humans are social animals, because social animals thrive when they find a gentler course than government, politics, and reason, and manage to avoid bumping into these hard and inhuman extremes.

And here is what conservatives were brought into the world to do: persuade their fellow humans to abjure the false gods of government, politics, and reason, and learn to live with each other in amity and comity.

In the next few years we are going to have a splendid opportunity to do just that.

Beyond that there is the Great Hope.  That one day in America we will be able to talk about family, business, and nation without ducking to avoid the brickbats from the liberal cultural hegemons.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Conservative New Year

It's a gloomy time for conservatives, after the Obama reelection and all.  And it's doubly discouraging to experience his flat out meanness, expressed the other day when he bad-mouthed Congress.

Sorry, Mr. President, that's not how we do things here.  We the People, and our representatives in the commentariat, get to do the line about Congress being the only native American criminal class.  You are supposed to be working with Congress.

But think of this.  Things are not well in Liberal-land.  Evidence?  The bad-tempered op-ed by Louis Michael Seidman, a constitutional law prof, in The New York Times "Let's Give Up on the Constitution."  This worthy practitioner of deep thinking has come to consider that the constitution is "evil".
As the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.
What is the world has a liberal law prof got to complain about after the Supreme Court just passed on Obamacare and after Obama just won reelection?


Think about it.  Back in 2009 liberals had no notion that they would be where they are in 2013, with embarrassing fiscal cliffs and a Republican House.  They thought they would sweep all before them with their grand plans.  Recession?  Give it a whiff of stimulus!  Health care?  Implement the obvious specific, universal health care.  Global warming?  Green energy and cap and trade.

Yet here we are, with a sluggish economy, trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and liberalism in such a mess that it must descend to faux crises every year to keep the spending spigot open.

No wonder liberals are annoyed.  Why, the problem can't be liberalism.  It must be the antiquated "system."  Why, did you know that the constitution requires that "the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care?"  There is worse.  Imagine this:
Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?
Oh the horror!  Mind you, I can't think of a worse way of deciding the affairs of a nation than just knuckling under to the "considered judgment" of a high "government official."

Then our worthy professor goes off on a riff showing that government officials have been ignoring the constitution since the founding.   So why shouldn't we do the same?

Think about this.  We conservatives are rightly outraged at the tax increase on wealthier Americans.  Because high-income Americans are not the idle rich, reposing in their Manhattan duplexes, but productive Americans building businesses that create jobs.  That's what the rich do these days, in case you haven't been paying attention (Manhattan duplex dwellers excepted).

Now look on the bright side.  Democrats are agreeing to lock in permanently the Bush tax rates for 99 percent of Americans.  But here we are still with our trillion dollar deficits.  Something has got to give, sooner or later.  And it will involve Democrats voting, this year or next year or some year, to raise taxes on the middle class.

Then there is spending, still out of control.  The fact is that something will have to give on entitlements, sooner or later.  Guess who gets screwed then.  Democratic voters.

I like to say that tactically, the Democrats of the 2000s have been brilliant.  They have kept Republicans on the back foot for ten years.  But what good has it done them?  The spending budget is out of control and there is now no way out except spending cuts and/or tax increases on the middle class.  They have created the Obamacare monster that women are going to hate as it cuts into their expectations for unlimited health care.  Strategically, the Democrats are strung out with vulnerable flanks everywhere.

Let's cut out the moaning, conservatives.  Liberals are in an impossible position, and it's only going to get worse.  The liberal prof's article on the constitution is merely an early "tell."  Look for liberals to be breaking away from President Obama by the 2014 midterms.  And then it is Katy bar the door.

And remember: the midterm in a president's second term is usually a real loser for the president's party.  By 2015 the Republicans could have both houses of Congress for the two years running up to the next presidential election.  Just like the Democrats in 2007.