No More Mr. Nice Guy
The theme of the 2008 presidential election, you will remember, was post-partisan, post-racial. It was a meme started by young Senate candidate Barack Obama in 2004 in the lull between the publication of his primary opponent's divorce records and his general election opponent's divorce records.
Well, we know what the young presidential candidate really thought as he intoned those pious shibboleths. Sucker! And anyone that still didn't get the message only has to read the newspaper. From Lois Lerner at the Federal Election Commission to Lois Lerner at the IRS to the Community Relations Service, a unit in the Department of Justice that deployed agents to Sanford, FL in 2012 to organize and manage rallies against George Zimmerman. Hey sucker!
This is the end of the road that started with George W. Bush running for president in 2000 as a "compassionate conservative" and trying to govern as a "uniter not a divider."
If Republicans try to be unifiers, we get called racists and bigots and extremists. And if we fight back we get called the Party of No and racists and bigots and extremists. It's time for a breakout.
So let's review the basic principles of Politics 101. Government is force: Either we force the government to lay off our lives, our families, and our sacred honor, or the government will force us to bend to its will. Politics is division: Either we divide the other guys or they divide us, as on immigration. System is domination: When the ruling class runs the health care system, it gets to tell you when and how you can get health care; when the ruling class runs the education system, it gets to determine what goes into the heads of your children.
Why not try some of that Politics 101 on your liberal friend. Look, government is force, you'll say. No it isn't, she'll say; government is helping people. Oh yeah, you'll say. What part of men with guns is helping people?
Mr. Nice Guy doesn't work. The lesson of Obama is that the Democrats use government bureaucrats to harass conservatives, and the bureaucrats have no problem with that. But bureaucrats might not be such conformable Kates if they started to fear for their pensions.
So let's adapt the Zero-based Budgeting concept and give it some teeth. I call it Zero-out Budgeting. Whenever some bureaucracy gets involved in some scandal, zero the suspects out until we have found the guilty party or realized that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. And that applies to the intelligence community and the Pentagon. After all, it's not like we are fighting a world war or anything right now.
And every little bureau that gets zeroed out for a couple of years means less government force, less political division, and less system domination.
Cato's Michael F. Cannon has some even better ideas for taking the battle to the Democrats, by linking ObamaCare scandals to the debt ceiling.
If House Republicans then passed an Obamacare-repeal bill attached to a debt-ceiling increase and an HHS appropriations bill that each lasted through 2014, the move would dominate the August recess. And it would force vulnerable Senate Democrats to spend the month explaining to the folks back home whether they are willing to risk the U.S. economy and the government's credit rating to protect fraud, not to mention their own president's trammeling of Congress's prerogatives.
It would also help my usgovernmentspending.com, which is hurting badly now that debts and deficits are off the front page.
As Angelo Codevilla writes in War: Ends and Means, you have to think like a Macchiavelli or a Cesare Borgia.
Borgia stuck to the basics... Win battles that encourage your side and raise the enemy's incentive to negotiate... Make sure that in every move your reach is equal to your grasp, and think several moves ahead.
War? With the Democrats? It is a kind of war if you believe that politics is civil war by other means. And Republicans really need to get their Democratic friends into a position where they have a raised "incentive to negotiate" because they are senators running in red states and the polls are really starting to look iffy for 2014.
We conservatives and Republicans have got to get it into our heads that we don't have any interest in propping up today's government and making it easy for the ruling class, as in Gang of 8 bipartisanship to help pass ruling-class immigration reform.
The first step towards conservative reform is to delegitimize and demoralize the ruling class with attacks on its corruption, its lies, its failures, and its disdain for ordinary people that look just like America (hello George Zimmerman).
No more Mr. Nice Guy.
Christopher Chantrill (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org) is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism. Get his Road to the Middle Class.