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 cradle-to-grave Socialism. 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, 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.
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.
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. Now, as it’s starting to rush back, we have Biden crushing it and bringing back Middle East violence and illegal immigration, plus skyrocketing crime and inflation, simply by reversing all of Trump’s policies.
If you ever wanted a laboratory demonstration of whose policies work and whose don’t, you could just look at the past three Administrations prior to President Trump. 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. As many parents have recently realized, we’ve been dangerously remiss 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. 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, he surrounded himself with people who can’t wait to bloat government, reversed all of Trump’s successful policies, and started pushing to 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. Only a few months in, buyers’ remorse has hit Americans harder than COVID-19.
Another example: New Yorkers lived through the nightmare of the Dinkins years, elected Republican Rudy Giuliani, who miraculously saved the city (ignoring Democrats who routinely called him a Nazi and a fascist) and then Bloomberg, who continued Rudy’s policies and kept it going. Then for some unfathomable reason, New Yorkers decided they were tired of a well-run, successful city, or had become so complacent that they thought NYC could run itself, so they elected Dinkins’ protégé, Bill DeBlasio. Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. Look at NYC now, and look at how many voters are desperate to get rid of DeBlasio.
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 apparatus 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 hookwinking the voters into giving them more power, despite decades of failure.
But 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 2022 will be one of those “won’t get fooled again” elections.