Republicans have once again been steamrolled on messaging. The Obama Administration and the Democrats have sold the American public on returning to the Clinton-modified fiscal policies of the 1960s. For a party that ridiculed President Regan for his nostalgic rhetoric about America's past, the Democrats' crowing on about the good ol'days of LBJ-Clinton tax-and-spend policies is nauseatingly hypocritical. But to give the devil and his demons their due, the White House has successfully undermined the concern of the fiscal cliff and is now preparing the country for the good things that will happen once the rich start paying their fair share.
The President's finesse on the debate has been aided by an inability of the taxpaying public to understand what will happen. We will arrive at the fiscal cliff on January 1, we will feel the bump underneath our tires and we will keep going. It won't be until April 15, 2014 when we will all have to file at higher marginal rates along with reduced child tax credits, among other things, that we will wonder why there's no road beneath us. Until then, our vehicles will look like those wide shots of a stunt vehicle flying off a California ledge in slow motion. Obama is betting that to most Americans, paying a little more in marginal rates will be no different than paying a little more at the gas pump.
But what America and even many Republicans are failing to understand is that when federal revenues go full tilt starting next year, the expected contraction of the already anemic U.S. economy will be by design. Liberal economists want there to be a shrink to what they in their Bolshevik mentality see as a bourgeois "market culture run amok" (to borrow a phrase Newsweek once used to describe the 80s). It's the perfect storm - the Hurricane Sandy -- of central planning: prevent retailers from expanding so that consumers will quit being victimized, Chinese manufacturers will quit stealing our jobs, food processors will quit selling high fructose corn syrup, developers will quit getting rich, land will quit getting paved, cars won't have to drive as far to the mall and the environment will be protected. In the minds of liberal economists, they will kill multiple birds with one stone. They will one day congratulate themselves on getting the 47% to pay more (even though health care subsidies will go to them through the back door).
Any idea of growing the economy is irrelevant to these apparatchniks. It was during the election and during O's first term. And, so-called sustainable growth is viewed cyncially. Socialists believe that spending is always a given, that there will always be a baseline for private sector sales and the funds they transfer up the line to CEOs. They believe that corporations should retain most of the capital in an economy in an effort to control and minimize risk and waste -- venture capital they think should be coming to them and their efforts to control the unemployed through the welfare state. The horror of this situation is that innovation is choked. Warren Buffett, George Lucas, Craig Jelinek and everyone else who writes big checks to the DNC would be nowhere without the radical tax and spending changes of the 80s and 90s executed by Republicans. Paul Krugman recently hummed about how we now have better food than the Twinkie to get us through a 50s and 60s-style "fair" economy; where does he think our better food today came from?!?!
Which brings us back to where we conservatives have failed, why our message is weak and simply not being heard. We can't blame the news media - Fox News has made it their mission to hype up the fiscal cliff, but the number one news broadcaster is not breaking through. The failure came in September 2008 when John McCain waffled on his opposition to the bank bailouts. He had a chance, right after the GOP convention, to make himself look different than the status quo. Republicans in the House were backing him up. He buckled, along with a host of GOP Senators. Yes, there would have been serious economic consequences to allowing those banks to fail, but probably no worse than what has happened anyway. But more importantly, it would have defined the GOP as NOT the puppet of the rich, even if McCain would have lost. This label is what has wiped out our mainstream appeal. Attempting to fill the vacuum is the TEA Party, but their acerbic amateurism has only made Republicans more off-putting.
As a result, no one is listening to us anymore. Even when Senator McConnell put revenue increases on the table, the Obama Administration yawned and polished up their golf balls. The President believes that the rejection of Romney last month signaled a clear rejection of the economics which turned our nation around three decades ago. I think he believes correctly. I want a creative Republican for Christmas.