When a lie gets repeated so often that everyone thinks it’s true, it’s called “conventional wisdom” – maybe because it happens so often at political conventions. These days, the conventional wisdom is that far-left ideas are the accepted, objective truth and anyone who questions them is an extremist or a believer in “disinformation.” Don’t buy it.
Throughout the Bush-Obama era, the media kept repeating “failed conservative policies” until even a lot of so-called conservatives believed it. So the voters put Democrats fully in power. It resulted in a sluggish economy, depressed job growth, rising income inequality, reduced wealth and opportunities for minorities, rising class and racial divisions, and abroad, a decline in US prestige and leadership and the advancement and emboldening of our enemies, including a terrorist “JV team” metastasizing into a worldwide threat. Not to mention big government schemes imposed against the will of the people. In Obama’s very first midterm election, voters gave the House back to the Republicans.
Polls began to show that most Americans wanted the government to do less and spend less. In France, where an actual Socialist was elected President, his huge tax hikes crashed the economy and made socialism as popular with the French as cheese in a can. The media were shocked when voters turned right in the next election. They should’ve known that nothing turns people off of socialism like actually experiencing it. Ask a Cuban or Venezuelan.
The elites responded by doubling down on the arrogance, condescension and name-calling of those who dared to challenge their divine right to rule. The people were forced to make their point even more clearly by shutting down large sections of the country with Tea Party protests, and demanding their culture and secure national borders back, and finally by shocking the elites with the election of Donald Trump. The media, who assumed that everyone would vote for Hillary because everything they talked to did, were shocked.
Trump reversed virtually every Obama policy. Result: ISIS was crushed, peace started breaking out in the Middle East, illegal immigration plummeted, the economy boomed, and unemployment for all groups fell to record lows while real wages rose for the first time in decades. It took the artificial shutdown of that economy due to COVID-19 to crush it. In 2020, a relentless, four-year media assault against Trump and…other factors…brought the Democrats back into full power. And just as the economy was starting to rebound, Biden brought back all the Obama policies and crushed it again.
If you ever wanted a laboratory demonstration of whose policies work and whose don’t, you could just look at the past three Administrations. It’s like watching someone turn off the lights, turn them back on, then turn them off again.
It is a shame that voters have to keep relearning the hard way that top-down, big government solutions and leftist utopian fantasies don’t work in reality. Young people can almost be excused for believing in socialism for the same reason they believe in the Tooth Fairy: they are empty vessels who get filled with whatever adults pour into them. The leftists certainly know that. Many parents have recently woken up to how dangerously remiss we’ve been in allowing leftists to take over our schools and fill those precious vessels with mental pollution.
But Republicans who promised small government and fiscal responsibility have let us down, too. Too many let deficits skyrocket, stuffed budgets with pork, and became cheerleaders for big government and disdainful toward the very Americans who put them in office. These so-called “conservatives” slammed me in 2007 for not being a “real conservative” because I pointed out problems in the economy that were hurting working people and criticized the lack of oversight of Wall Street’s excesses. Two years later, they wanted to spend $700 billion of our grandkids’ money to save Wall Street from its excesses. They abandoned government’s rightful role as a tough-but-impartial referee and wanted to use its power to pick winners and losers in the market. Is that “real conservatism?”
The truth is that voters didn’t turn their backs on conservatism, Republican politicians did. And despite the media’s claim that “We’re all socialists now,” Democrats didn’t sweep to power in 2008 by claiming to be government-bloating tax-and-spenders, but by swearing they’d changed and were now fiscally responsible. Of course, once they gave Obama, Pelosi and Reid unlimited power, voters quickly realized their terrible mistake and gave the House back to the GOP in the next election. But too many Republicans had already squandered their credibility, so when Democrats ballooned the deficit, they could deflect criticism by simply pointing at their opponents’ own record.
In 2020, the endless media assaults on Trump and the false messaging that Biden was a moderate centrist hoodwinked the voters yet again into putting the Democrats back into power. From his first day in power, Biden surrounded himself with leftists who couldn’t wait to bloat government, reverse all of Trump’s successful policies, raise taxes, spend money like water, regulate everything that moves, and turn the whole country into a coast-to-coast version of one of the failing cities Democrats have run for decades. It didn’t take long for buyers’ remorse to hit Americans harder than COVID-19.
For a localized example of this pendulum effect, look at New York City. It became a nightmare until voters finally replaced Democrat David Dinkins with Republican Rudy Giuliani. Under Rudy, the Big Apple staged a huge comeback that was kept going by faux Republican Mike Bloomberg. But by then, it had been a long time since the bad old day. New Yorkers forgot how bad it could get. So they turned over the keys to Dinkins protégé Bill DeBlasio, and they soon found out how bad things could quickly turn. They still haven’t learned their lesson: they elected another Democrat who promised to fix things, but hasn’t. We’ll see how bad things have to get before they finally yell for the Republicans to come save them again.
As George Santayana observed, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. No wonder Democrats hate teaching kids real American history.
From Jefferson’s belief that government closest to the people governs best to Reagan’s faith in free markets, from low taxes to letting markets instead of government make business decisions, conservative ideas work whenever they’re tried. Unfortunately, party leaders and the media are wildly out of touch with most Americans, and they are the ones with Hollywood, the media and social media acting as a 24-hour PR megaphone for bad leftist policies. This amplifies the liberal side and suppresses the conservative side so much that not only is the tail wagging the dog, but it’s like a Chihuahua’s tail wagging a St. Bernard. Too often, they succeed in hoodwinking the voters into giving them power again, despite decades of failure. But once in power, they quickly remind people why they should never be entrusted with it.
As that great Republican Abraham Lincoln observed, you can fool some of the people all of the time (they’re called “progressives”) and all the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Let’s pray that this November will be another of those “won’t get fooled again” elections.