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Bipartisanship And Inertia

Democrat pollsters Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen wrote an analysis for Fox News today, looking at the greater meaning of the midterm elections, the passage of the tax deal, and the grisly death of the omnibus spending behemoth. 

They fall prey to the usual tiresome canard of treating extension of the Bush tax rates as “spending” that will “add to the deficit,” and they use a notorious bit of prose from Yeats that doesn’t have much rubber left on its tires.  Jim DeMint was one of the best people in Washington during the lame-duck session – he was crucial in beating down the omnibus outrage – and he’s just brimming with “passionate intensity.”

Caddell and Schoen are tough on President Obama’s vicious partisanship and inept parliamentary maneuvers.  They’re not happy about the “resurgence of the GOP’s old guard,” hoary specters of 2006 they think will repulse Tea Party activists.  They recite the already shopworn conventional wisdom that Republicans didn’t really “win” the midterm elections – it was a question of Democrats “losing” – so the GOP would be mistaken to think it has any sort of mandate.  The authors fret a great deal about the deficit, which becomes an object of fascination to all Democrats when they’re out of power, and think “bipartisanship” is what the American public is really hungry for:

“Voters are looking for policymakers and political leadership that champion fiscal discipline; limited government; deficit reduction; a free market, a pro-growth agenda; and comprehensive plans to create employment opportunities, enable entrepreneurship, and aid business creation.

What America needs is real compromise and political leaders who will work together to end the acceptance of everyday corruption and enact the major structural reforms to improve our economic competitiveness, balance the budget, reduce government waste, offer proper oversight by the government, and cultivate a sense of national purpose to unite America.”

That list of objectives sounds great, but it has absolutely nothing to do with “bipartisanship.”  There is no serious constituency in the Democrat Party for fiscal discipline, limited government, free markets, entrepreneurship, or pro-growth agendas.  When a Democrat talks about “deficit reduction,” he means tax increases, period.  The myth of the “moderate Democrat” was brutally dispatched during the passage of ObamaCare.  The only way to achieve the things Caddell and Schoen are advocating, or build a serious movement for them on the blue side of the aisle, is to defeat the Democrat Party, not reach “compromises” with it.

Caddell and Schoen may rest assured the Tea Party didn’t send Republicans reinforcements to Congress in order to negotiate better seats on the broken-down statist bus, right before it rolls off a cliff.  There is no victory in “compromising” with an unsustainable State, and persuading it to grow by only 30% instead of 50% next year.  They’re also tired of hearing the issues framed in loaded language, which the authors use constantly, asking if Republicans “had gone to the American people two months ago and promised that the first thing they would do is vote to add $900 billion to the federal deficit – would the American people still have voted for them?”  Since that isn’t what just happened, why bore us with the same wheezy old propaganda?

Contrary to all the trite talking points being thrown around lately, the Republicans did win an enormous mandate in the midterm elections.  The voters are not mindlessly obsessed with “reducing the deficit” at all costs.  They care how it is done, and they know perfectly well it cannot, and should not, be done with huge tax increases.  They want growth, and the only way for the private sector to grow is for the government to shrink.  They want liberty, and know it cannot be found in a maze of carefully targeted tax incentives and subsidies.  They want Obama and his Party to return what was taken from them.

None of those goals will be achieved through bipartisan compromise… or by letting Republicans slip back into the lazy indulgence of 2006, which Caddell and Schoen are quite right about.  The mandate of 2010 was, “Get out of the way – we’ll take it from here.”  Every single politician in Washington is either a custodian of that mandate, or an obstacle to fulfilling it.

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John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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