July 5, 2012
If the GOP Cavalry Doesn't ComeBy Lee Cary
In the wake of the Supreme Court's ObamaCare decision, conservatives await the arrival of the GOP Cavalry after a Republican victory in November.
What if that cavalry doesn't come? Or what if it arrives poorly armed, on lame horses, with dull leadership?
As the autopsy on the SCOTUS decision continues, pundits focus on deciphering the reasoning behind Chief Justice John Roberts' support for ObamaCare.
At this point, the analysis is somewhat interesting, but irrelevant. My dog died recently. I don't know exactly why, and I don't need to know. I just know he died. And that's that.
Likewise, SCOTUS didn't kill ObamaCare, and, for now, ObamaCare lives. The once-hoped for Roberts' Cavalry Troop never saddled up. They mumbled something about rescue not being their job. And that's that.
Conservatives now await a troop of newly elected Republican congressional legislators who will ride into D.C. hell-bent-to-leather, determined to turn back the progressives who control the Democratic Party and the national agenda.
Conservatives long for a Republican Party, led by a President Romney, determined to rescue the nation from another huge government entitlement program that the country cannot afford, particularly in the midst of a sustained recession.
Let's imagine that the GOP Cavalry does come. That it brings the intelligence to know what to do, the courage to do it, and the skill to lead America into a real recovery. Not the jingoistic bloviation of Biden's Recovery Summer.
Yet even then, James Piereson, writing for The New Criterion, predicts that "[t]here will follow an extended period of conflict in the United States between the two political parties as they compete for support either to maintain the post-war system [that emerged out of the New Deal with its emphasis upon national regulation of the economy, social insurance, expending personal consumption, and public debt] or to indentify a successor to it."
The supposition in Piereson's article is that, regardless of which party wins in November, we're in for a long slog between two battling political parties. But is that an inevitable future?
Piereson is president of the William E. Simon Foundation. Simon served in the Treasury departments during the administrations of Presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan. Piereson's article, "Future tense, X: The fourth revolution," predicts that the coming "fourth revolution" ( Jefferson's revolution of 1800,  the Civil War, and  the New Deal) will pit Democrats against Republicans.
Piereson writes that Democrats "are in the more vulnerable position because they have built their coalition around public spending, public debt, and publicly guaranteed credit, all sources of funds that appear to be reaching their limits."
Suppose he's mistaken about the relative vulnerability of the two parties. Conservatives lost in the SCOTUS decision, but then so did the GOP. With the Court's ruling, the GOP became the only short-term rescue for those who foresee disaster if ObamaCare is implemented.
So suppose the Republican Cavalry either doesn't come -- because it can't win enough elections -- or comes unprepared to attack the serious problems that face the nation. What then?
Imagine a victorious GOP that merely mitigates the impending damage of ObamaCare by tweaking it; that only somewhat reduces the annual trillion-dollar-plus federal deficits; that simply deletes a few items from the mounting pile of federal regulations, making it ever harder to do business in America. In other words, a GOP that underperforms to conservative expectations. How would that be received?
All unlikely to happen, you say. But would that be far out of character with how the Republican Congressional leadership has performed since the 2008 election?
In other words, suppose the Republican Cavalry rides to the rescue more like F Troop than like SEAL Team 6.
If that happens, we settlers are unlikely to ever again trust the Republican Cavalry. And the party will, deservedly, go the way of the Whigs.
Despite Piereson's prediction, the GOP is at least as vulnerable as the Democratic Party. The GOP establishment is not optimistic:
If there is to be a "fourth revolution," as Piereson predicts, it may need to stand up against the Democratic Party not from atop the Republican Party platform, but from an alignment of like-minded grassroots organizations across the nation -- organizations who trace their ideological ancestry back to a group of Bostonians who dressed up not like Cavalry, but like Indians.
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