Happy Tea Party New Year

It has been my custom to write a lighthearted year-end column, full of cheerful grumpiness that pokes fun at friend and foe alike. But not this year.

It’s not that 2009 hasn’t provided a wealth of material.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is a constant source of laughable chicanery, but Reid is beyond parody. He was perfectly serious in saying that opposition to the healthcare bill is tantamount to opposing the elimination of slavery. How can any parodist improve on that?

And what better joke to make about our wastrel president than to merely repeat his statement that we can’t continue to treat tax dollars as Monopoly money?  That would be hilarious but for the fact that we are more in debt — by at least $2 trillion — than we were when he took office.

It’s not that our president is dumb: but he is what the good ol’ Soviets used to call “nekulturny”: uncultured in the sense of being willfully ignorant of too many things that make our country what it is.  And hostile to those things he doesn’t appreciate.  

There’s humor in a judicial nominee who proclaims herself a “wise Latina woman” and says her heritage affects the way she chooses facts on which to decide cases. But the fun part was over the moment she was sworn in as a Supreme Court associate justice.

Let’s face it: liberals aren’t humorous: they’re tendentious and dogmatic.  And predictable. Anyone who was surprised that after dropping out of the race Dede Scozzafava then endorsed her Democratic opponent in New York’s 23rd district special election just doesn’t know liberals.  

But liberals are also reckless. When Speaker Pelosi accused the CIA of lying about whether she had been briefed on the waterboarding of terrorist detainees — itself a lie that created the black cloud of distrust that still hangs over our intelligence community — she was unconcerned about damaging our national security. Defense Secretary Gates isn’t unconcerned about national security.  Which makes his slash and burn approach to the defense weapons budget inexplicable, except in liberal political terms.


Dennis Goodman, former US economic councilor at the UN, once told me that the third-world bureaucrats who run the UN, “…think the U.S. Treasury is the common heritage of mankind.”  Mr. Obama apparently agrees with them.  There is no project so expensive, none so aimless or counterproductive that our spendthrift president will not agree to pay for it with funds from the American treasury.  

The Copenhagen global warming conference skidded to a close while Washington suffered a record December blizzard.  No agreement was reached among the Copenhoaxers, despite President Obama glaring icily at the Chinese and Indian representatives. But it didn’t end before our president declared our willingness to provide some of the $100 billion in compensation developing nations demand in return for cooperating in limiting carbon emissions.

This year alone, thanks to President Obama’s spending spree, our deficit has expanded from 41% to 53% of the gross domestic product, from $5.8 to $7.6 trillion.  And now, on Christmas Eve, the Senate has passed the healthcare "reform" bill which won’t cut the costs of healthcare but will increase taxes and limit Americans’ personal freedom.  

President Obama’s insistence on nationalizing healthcare as a way to reduce costs and federal spending is just as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said: “It was a blind call to make history, even if meant making a historic mistake — which is exactly what this bill will be if it’s passed because in the end, this debate isn’t about differences between two parties, it’s about a $2.3 trillion dollar, 2,733-page health care reform bill that does not reform health care and, in fact, makes its price go up.”

2009 has been a year of failure, destructive of our national foundations.  President Obama’s agenda has weakened our economy, causing a false recovery that is merely a prelude to a longer and deeper recession. Our enemies — especially Iran — have been emboldened, slapping away Obama’s “open hand” repeatedly with their clenched fist.

Our president has not led: he has, instead, pronounced one crisis after another, each to be “solved” by the expansion of government, the reduction of personal freedom and the reduction of America’s economic and military might.  He has subcontracted the details to congress, willing to go along with whatever the liberals there propose to remedy the problem, real or imaginary.  Mr. Obama is quite uncomfortable with our superpower standing in the world and has worked determinedly to end it.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, not known for straight talk, admitted one of the greatest failures of the Obama presidency when she described the results of the “open-handed” diplomacy with Iran. Clinton said, “I don’t think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians.”   Iran is stronger, and bolder, because of that failure.

2010 may be better, but the odds aren’t good.  Whatever the results of the House-Senate conference on the healthcare bill, what isn’t passed this time will be added incrementally on whatever bills may be available.  Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is planning another illegal immigrant amnesty bill, which Democrats shouldn’t dare pass in an election year. But will they?  Some are already telling Obama to back off the "cap and tax" scheme in 2010.

The lesson of 2009 is that the Democratic members of congress are more afraid of the wrath of Obama, Pelosi and Reid than they are of their constituents.  No clearer a message could have been sent by the marvelous Tea Partyers in the August town hall meetings and the marches on Washington in September and December.   But the Democrats chose to ignore them.

About a month ago, I met a gentleman from Iowa, one of the state’s top Republicans. He told me that men are angry but women are furious.  That anger — throughout the nation — can be turned into constructive — i.e., conservative – political energy.

If Republicans adopt a national election strategy next year and reach out to the Tea Party independents, November 2010 can begin the reversal of our fortunes.  The platform — and the slogan — are in three words: roll Obama back.  Run against Obama in every state and district race. Promise to repeal his agenda: end it, don’t mend it.

But Republicans need to realize that such a strategy can only succeed only if it is pursued outside the Washington beltway.   The Democrats know this, which is why they will keep congress in session endlessly, reducing the time Republicans can campaign.     

That, then is the 2010 challenge: can Republicans still fight Obama’s agenda in congress while spending the time at home they need to transform the voters’ anger at Obama into votes for them and against the liberals?  If they can, 2010 will be a very Happy Tea Party New Year.

Cartoon by Brett Noel