Don't buy the "conventional wisdom"

July 5, 2018 |

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 Americans are clamoring for European-style, cradle-to-grave Socialism Lite.  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.  Well, what a difference a few years make.  We tried leftist policies.  They resulted in a sluggish economy, depressed job growth, rising income inequality, reduced wealth and opportunities for minorities, and abroad, a decline in US prestige and leadership and the advancement and emboldening of our enemies, including a terrorist “JV team” spreading into a worldwide threat.   


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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 socialism like actually experiencing it.  (See “Venezuela.”)

It is a shame, though, that we have to keep relearning the hard way that top-down, big government solutions don’t work.  Young people can almost be excused for flirting with socialism, since they are empty vessels who get filled with whatever their teachers tell them, and we’ve been remiss in allowing leftists to politicize our schools and fill those precious vessels with garbage. 

But Republicans who promised small government and fiscal responsibility should know better.  Instead, too many let deficits skyrocket, stuffed budgets with pork, and became cheerleaders for big government.  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.  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.  But too many Republicans had already squandered their credibility, so when Democrats ballooned the deficit, they could deflect criticism by simply pointing at their GOP opponents’ own record. 

From Jefferson’s belief that government closest to the people governs best to Reagan’s faith in free markets, from low taxes to fiscal restraint, conservative ideas work whenever they’re tried.  We’re now seeing the results with Trump’s tax cut and deregulation agenda.  Obama mocked Trump for saying we could bring back manufacturing jobs and have growth of over 4 percent, saying that Trump didn’t have a “magic wand.”  But the only magic needed was a simple disappearing act: getting government out of the way!  We now have record low unemployment and strong growth and job creation.  Does anyone seriously believe it could be even better if we brought back high taxes and regulations? 

Gandhi once said, "If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today."   I think if all politicians really followed the principles they espouse to get elected, all of America would be conservative today.  Much of it already is (look at the 2016 county-by-county voting map.)  Americans just need politicians who’ll actually do what they claimed they would do once they arrive in Washington. 


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Comments 1-8 of 8

  • Linda Marie Robinson

    08/29/2019 03:20 AM

    Thanks for this article. I especially liked what you wrote about socialism. I learned about the US history in High School, and I would hate to get rid of it to Socialism. I am a Christian and I believe we were founded on Christian beliefs. God blesses us with the US. Thanks. Linda

  • Devan McClaine

    07/07/2018 02:22 PM

    Lots of revisionism here, Mike. When was the last time we had a budget surplus again? When W took office (that went well). Also, how did ISIS form? Couldn't have been that little conflict that was started in Iraq under false pretenses, could it? Nah.

    I loved your stance on not giving the banks a bailout, but I don't know that you could call Obama a failure on the economy, given what he came in with and how he left it. Also, saying we gave away $700b as a handout is disingenuous, no? It wasn't given away. It was paid back with interest. Pardon me, but I don't think conservatives, nor their donors are concerned with the income gap, or minorities. By in large, they don't.

    France didn't turn right or left. It went away from both sides. Saying it was fed up with leftist politics is silly. It went right insofar as it now has a fairly large nationalist movement (that always works out well) that sees all of France's problems through the prism of immigration.

    Venezuela as an example of socialism is like Nazi Germany being a good example of conservatism. Corruption will ruin any form of government. Just like it is eroding ours. If you think the last 30 years are the result of socialist and liberal policies, I'm not sure what to tell you. Wall Street had the reigns taken off during the Reagan admin and collapsed under Bush. The democrats played their part as well.

  • Sydney Corbett

    07/06/2018 05:45 PM

    This is excellent! I truly cannot understand why Trump is constantly excoriated for keeping his campaign promises. I applaud him for that!

  • Jean-Claude

    07/06/2018 04:53 PM

    As a member of the Republican party, how can you even begin with complaining about... lies? Seriously? With the current serial liar in chief, supported by the GOP faultlessly? I seize the opportunity to correct a few intentional/misinformed mistakes:

    1/ When François Hollande became President of France in 2012, he found a flawed economy. The previous President, the rightist Nicolas Sarkozy, was a poor manager and left the country in very bad shape. François Hollande did very little to improve the situation, he was week and based his whole mandate on fighting his previous challenger (precisely Nicolas Sarkozy) instead of focusing on moving France forward. Does it sound familiar? Of course. But Hollande is hated in France because he actually did nothing, not because he implemented socialist policies. You're wrong, but to be fair, we're talking about Europe, so I guess Fox News doesn't overburden with details.

    2/ French voters didn't turn "right". They were disgusted from the two party system, kicked out the left, then the right, and elected someone who was brand new in the political game. Read again: the right (and the left) was kicked out. Later on, the equivalent of Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, a racist far right ignorant politician, and who steals and cheats the European Union although she critcises it relentlessly (sounds familiar?), was kicked out because French voters got scared to elect a demagogue similar to Trump. They wanted to reshape their political system but not at any cost.

    3/ I think you made here a personal and political mistake rather than factual mistake, but I appreciate your condescending words towards the young generation. "young people can almost be excused for flirting with socialism, since they are empty vessels who get filled with whatever their teachers tell them". Young people have always the best fighters against injustice and intolerance, if today you're not a groom taking care of Queen's horses it's because you owe former young generations so much that you will never reimburse.

    4/ Republicans wants to reduce the public deficit, good. How come they never succeed? Obama in 8 years of presidency, doubled the US public deficit (from 10 to 20 trillion). It huge, but he faced the most serious economic crisis since the 1930's and avoided the US collapsed. He did well, as when he left the White House, all the economic indicators (jobs in particular) were very high. So Trump found a very healthy american economy. Nevertheless, he's increased the public deficit of 1.2 trillion in 18 months.

    Please elaborate what you mean by “conventional wisdom”, because I probably have some misconceptions about what conservatism means. According to your article, it may means "I am not interested in foreign politics, I don't understand the difference between the right and the center, I patronise young generations, and I claim I care about public deficit only if the Democrats are in charge".

    Please prove me wrong. With facts, not opinions. Only young foreign Democrats care about opinions.

  • US Army Sp 5 Rick Locke (honorably discharged).

    07/06/2018 01:01 PM

    For me the biggest embarrassment of the Obama administration was when he drew a "Red Line in the Sand". Putin stepped across it and Obama caved like a house of cards. That is not the America he was elected to protect.

  • Gregory Weinman

    07/06/2018 10:07 AM

    I'm sorry Governor,
    Too much misinformation here.
    1. Government spending is locked in entitlement programs. Medicaid, Medicare, PPACA, and Social Security now consume 4 out of 5 dollars. The blowout discretionary budget for 2018 was actually less in nominal dollars than that of 2011. Yes, trading $300B in social programs for a military increase was sad but the GOP does not control the Congress. It can do no better.
    2. What Wall Street excesses? GSE excesses yes but not Wall Street. Investment banks traded mortgage backed derivatives on the over-the-counter market but retail banks did not. None of the top 5 retail stock brokers traded them either. Government created the problem in the mortgage market. Government then ignored the problem by watching the housing bubble inflate without intervention. Government then made the problem worse by handing out money hand over fist when the bubble burst.

  • Ron Krenek

    07/06/2018 09:30 AM

    Governor, I agree with you. Having a businessman as president has been great for the country! He delivers the goods! And although I am not a fan of "tweets", it works for him because they go straight to the people. I love your Saturday show and your support of Christianity in America.The devil's assault on American is unrelenting but Bible -toting folks still make a difference! Let's continue the fight!

  • Timothy Sedgman

    07/05/2018 05:51 PM

    You sir are so wise and I would vote for you anytime you ran for President. I love reading your down to earth idea's and solutions for our great country.