Cheer up!

A fellow conservative asks that I post some words of encouragement in light of the evident Democratic sweep. (Those of you who are busy celebrating tonight’s results can feel free to skip this post… I won’t be insulted.)

For me, this all feels like 1992, when Bill Clinton easily defeated George H.W. Bush in Bush’s re-election bid. I viewed Clinton as a liberal who had deceived people into thinking he was a moderate. And Clinton, like Obama, had a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. He had total control. And what happened? Clinton pushed through a tax hike, and initially tried to push a pretty liberal agenda (gun control, lifting the ban on gays in the military, Hillary’s Health Care plan).

But the country didn’t go for it. Two years after Clinton’s election, the Democrats lost both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. Newt Gingrich, with his “Contract with America“, led the Republicans to a 50+ seat pickup. They gained those seats by running ads all over the country linking incumbents to the then-unpopular Bill Clinton- the so-called “morph” ads, which morphed Democratic incumbents’ faces into Clinton’s face.

In retrospect, it’s clear that Clinton’s 1992 election was the result of anger over a recession and anger at the incumbent President and his party. The country in 1992 had not in fact “gone left,” as proven by the 1994 result.

So what happened next? After that 1994 whomping, Bill Clinton bought in Dick Morris and moved to the political center, the famous triangulation strategy. He won re-election after Morris took control and Clinton took centrist positions on hot-button issues like welfare reform and gay marriage.

Four years ago, some said the Democratic party was dead, after Bush had won re-election and Republicans had expanded their majorities in both houses. Obviously, the Democratic party was not dead. And similarly, there is no reason to write an obituary for the Republican party. As I write this, John McCain is winning 48% of the popular vote. I know that number will drop later tonight when the west coast votes come in. But still, even if he drops to 47% or 46%, it shows this country still has a strong conservative base and has not taken a massive step to the left.

I think Barack Obama is smart enough to realize that while he surely has won a clear victory, he has not won a mandate to implement a radical liberal agenda. And if I am wrong, and he does attempt to push such an agenda, I have no doubt he will face the same backlash Bill Clinton faced in 1994.

So buck up, friend. We’re still in the game. Just a little bloodied and in desperate need of some fresh new leadership… have you heard about Bobby Jindal?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.