Over the Cliff, or Back from the Abyss?

Every election is about choices.  Every election is also about politicians and the mainstream media doing their best to obscure those choices.  For me, the 2010 elections boil down to a few key questions, which I have answered the best I can:

1. Will we return to our capitalist free-market roots, or continue to pursue Euro-style socialism?  This is a no-brainer for the simplest of reasons: We’re running out of other peoples’ money to spend. Call the unrelenting government assault on the American public tax-and-spend “liberalism” or call it “compassionate” conservatism, but most importantly, call it off.  No doubt we’ll be forced to listen to the keening whine from the usual suspects who will claim that any cuts are tantamount to killing grandma or “mortgaging” the future.  Baloney.  We’ve already mortgaged the future, and most Americans are fed up with having few distinctions made between the helpless and the hapless.  To be my brother’s keeper?  Thumbs up.  To be my brother’s enabler?  Thumbs down—way down.

2. Will we secure our borders and enforce the laws already on the books as a result of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, or legalize millions of illegals again?  In 1986, 2.7 million people were granted amnesty with the understanding that border and workplace restrictions would be vigorously enforced.  Twenty-four years and two lies later, we’re looking at legalizing possibly ten times that number—along with a federal government suing a state in order to protect the lawless status quo.

3. Will Americans allow the government to dismantle a free-market health care system incrementally and thereby to take over one-sixth of the economy, or will they toss ObamaCare on the ash heap of history?  The only thing worse than dealing with arrogant, uncaring, and inefficient government bureaucrats when you’re well is dealing with them when you’re sick.

4. Will we make it clear that politicians are responsible for what they do, or continue to allow them to blame others for their problems? Democrats have had control of Congress for four years, and the White House for two.  Yet they continue to blame George W. Bush for their problems.  Bush does deserve some of the blame—for not vetoing legislation put forward by irresponsible, high-spending Democrats, including bills that former Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden voted for with gusto.  If you think Republicans drove the economy into a ditch, consider that Democrats had already stripped the car down and raised it up on cinderblocks.

5. Do Americans believe we’re in a war with radical Islam or not?  It is worth remembering that we tried the “law enforcement approach” first, back when the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993.  Eight years later, the Towers were completely destroyed because Osama Bid Laden had concluded that America was a paper tiger.  If the utter inanity of terms such as “overseas contingency operation,”  ”man-caused disasters” and “insurgents” are any indication, we have failed to learn from history.  The mind-boggling statement by Army Gen. George Casey, who fretted about diversity’s becoming a casualty after Muslim terrorist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 14 and wounded 31 of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, reflects yet another flight from reality.  The Obama administration, due to nothing more than pure luck, managed on Christmas Eve to avoid two more potentially devastating attacks by the underwear bomber, the jihadist who yearned to turn Times Square into a killing field.

But these specific issues and examples pale in comparison to the most devastating concept of all: politically-correct warfare.  I am an American completely fed up with the “winning hearts and minds” approach to war.  When we put American lives on the line, there should be only one objective: victory.  Anything that elevates the concerns of anyone or anything over those of our own soldiers is ideologically bankrupt.  Fight to win—or don’t fight at all.

6. Will Americans continue to embrace “moral hazard” or not?  Nothing can kill a country faster than the idea that irresponsible behavior will be not only tolerated but in many cases rewarded.  Whether taxpayers are bailing out corporations that are “too big to fail” or individual Americans who just “bought too much house,” the message is clear: Behaving responsibly is a sucker’s bet.  Progressive government caters to the lowest common denominator and then attempts to mandate “solutions” when such catering inevitably fails. Good government promotes good behavior that can be reduced to two words: providing incentive. 

7. Do Americans believe in the Constitution as written, or as a “living” document?  The latter choice sets forth a false conception generated by the American Left.  The Constitution has always been a living document with a well-defined Amendment process for maintaining such life.  Liberals prefer to bypass that process because they know that getting two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and three-fourths of the state legislatures to underwrite their agenda is virtually a lost cause in a center-right nation.  An activist judiciary is their vehicle of choice, and their strategy is largely successful:  No important Supreme Court decision in recent memory, no mater how clear the Constitutional issues, has produced anything larger than a 5-4 majority. Two Supreme Court Justices, Elena Kagan and Anthony Kennedy, have both expressed an interest in looking at “foreign sources” for help in determining Constitutional decisions.  That’s not part of their job description—nor should it be.

Unfortunately, unless Republicans capture the Senate, Americans concerned with judicial overreach will have to hold their breaths for at least two more years.  Pray for the health of the court’s four conservative members.  Pray for the continuing, but only occasional, outbursts of Constitutional fealty from the aforementioned Anthony “Swing Vote” Kennedy.

Lastly, but importantly, Americans should remember that, absent a historically unprecedented turn of events, progressivism can only be contained, not defeated, in this election.  As long as the Radical-in-Chief occupies the White House, we will see two things: the continued blunting of anything other than a progressive agenda via the veto, and the attempt to bypass Congress completely through unelected Czars and Congressionally-unaccountable agencies like the EPA.

The former will produce gridlock, which is tolerable.  The latter may produce a Constitutional crisis regarding the limits of executive power because to date, Obama has shown no indication whatsoever of Bill Clinton’s ability to “triangulate” towards the center.  What Clinton demonstrated was a survival instinct that transcended ideological rigidity.   Obama, already on the record as saying he would rather be a “really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president,” is far more problematic.  The man who claims he inherited the “worst financial mess in the history of the nation” made the passage of the health care bill his primary agenda.  That position alone demonstrates a scary disconnect from the concerns of ordinary Americans.  I suspect a large-scale repudiation on November 2nd will do nothing to chasten perhaps the most narcissistic individual ever elected to the Oval Office.

Here’s hoping it happens, regardless.  When the choice is between gridlock and national suicide, gridlock is indeed the “lesser of two evils.”