“We’re Mad as Hell and we’re Not Going to Take This Anymore!”
You remember that line from the movies? It is being repeated over and over on every Main Street in America these days. It is taking the form of TEA parties, of primary elections that ‘throw the bums out’ and politicians running for cover.
Earmarks are no longer enough to save incumbents from the wrath of voters. To the contrary, earmarks are now a symbol of what’s wrong in Washington and State Capitols across America.
“Americans today do not want to be governed from the left or the right. They want, like the founding fathers, to largely govern themselves with Washington in a supporting—but not dominant role,” pollster Scott Rasmussen told the American Legislative Exchange Council recently. More worrying was his finding that only 23% of Americans believe the Federal government has the consent of the governed.
The political pundits say ‘it’s the economy, stupid’ trying to explain away the voter anger. It is not just the dour economic news that drips out each day has everyone in a pessimistic mood according to the polls. Recessions do that to us, but increasingly Americans are feeling out of control. This is not just that the recession is longer and deeper than anything we have experienced in most of our lifetimes, the perception across America is that our government is taking away our American Dream.
It would be easy to blame President Obama for all our ills and take revenge on him and the Democrats in charge at our upcoming elections in 2010 and 2012. Oh, they deserve plenty of blame for overreach, for outrageous levels of deficit spending, and mostly for failing to rally us to combine our efforts to get through this recession united. But our worry is that the Republicans didn’t do so well on their watch either. This is not a partisan contest between our two political parties according to Rasmussen. This is a contest between our political leadership in both parties versus what he calls Main Street America.
Rasmussen polling finds that while 67% of the ‘political class’ think the country is moving in the right direction, 84% of ‘mainstream America’ believes it is going in the wrong direction.
Incumbents in both parties face a day of reckoning in November and the voters judging their performance find most of them wanting—-wanting more of our money, more of our freedom, more of our American Dream for our children. The TEA party is a reaction to that fear of the loss of the American Dream. A fear that America’s promise is slipping away.
The genius of the founders is in creating a governance structure that has checks and balances. When one branch of government gets too rambunctious the other two can pull it back. When the Federal Governments overreaches, the States and the People have options to restrain it.
We are at one of those tipping points now, and it is a very healthy place for America to be today. Can you imagine the idea of the TEA party in China, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia or even Europe? Can you imagine another country where a majority of the states or provinces can sue their national government in Federal courts to stop a major Federal policy initiative like is happening as we speak to ObamaCare?
We likely would have tolerated some overreach or higher deficit spending as necessary to pull us out of recession, but it is impossible for us to forgive abandoning the American Dream for political expediency.
‘We the People’ are engaged in a deliberate, orderly, lawful, purposeful process of taking back the control of our government at the ballot box. When we elect Senators and Representatives in November we will be giving them instructions to ‘fix this mess’ in ways WE can believe in. Two years from now, we will deliver our job approval rating to President Obama in November 2012. Right now, his performance is not looking good and our message to Congress in November 2010 is we are putting Congress and the President on probation!
We still want President Obama to succeed. We still want to believe in him—but the changes he believes in are not ones we believe in. We don’t need Rasmussen polls to tell us the President is on the wrong track—we feel it deep down where it hurts. He has time to turn around his performance but it is going to take work—hard work. He probably is going to have to throw both Nancy and Harry under the bus and reach across the aisle for some honest bargaining on a new plan.
Think of it as community organizing—–because the community is organizing to fire him otherwise.