How delicious is irony, how fickle fate?
Just a little more than two years ago, liberals were ecstatic about Barack Obama's election and Democrats' control of Congress. Liberal pundits were all atwitter about the brand new Democratic Era that voters had ushered in. America would finally become what America should have been years ago: a European-style social democracy. Boy, did Democrats misread their mandate! With very little hindsight needed, it's apparent to all but ideologically-blinkered liberals that the Democrats' gross overreach isn't what voters wanted or expected. Voters wanted a redo of the Clinton years. Instead, in the person of Barack Obama, voters got an amalgam of FDR and LBJ with a dash of Neville Chamberlin thrown in.
But here's the real kicker. Two years of Obama-Reid-Pelosi overreach and excesses may have been the table-setter for the real revolution now unfolding. Voters and taxpayers first needed to see the irresponsibility and recklessness of unalloyed liberalism to appreciate that conservative government is far superior. Thank you, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.
Of course, the real revolution began last year with the 2010 midterm elections. Yes, the GOP made the largest gains in U.S. House seats since 1948. But the underappreciated story is that the GOP racked up huge gains in state legislative contests, and further down ballot, Republicans swept plenty of local offices. State legislatures control congressional redistricting. Republicans now dominate enough key statehouses to lock-in GOP congressional electoral advantages for a decade.
Had voters limited their ballots to throwing out the rascals in Congress, a fair argument could be made that 2010 was just a protest vote -- an attempt by voters to shake up the Democrats. But when voters drill down to change party control of legislatures, city halls, and county commissions, you can bet that they're thoroughly repudiating the party in power. The 2010 repudiation of Democrats was a clear expression of what voters did and didn't want from government.
Move now to the present time. Republicans are on the march in Congress. Late last week, House Republicans passed a budget bill containing $61 billion in cuts. It's not the $100 billion that conservatives aimed for, but it's substantial and can be considered a down payment. The House Republican proposal now goes to the Senate. The budget process wrangling is just in its first phase. Moving forward, the GOP will have multiple opportunities to push more cuts. And look what else House Republicans are doing. They're using the budget process to hamstring Obamacare by denying it funding. Shutting down and then nixing ObamaCare would be an historic victory in the fight to end liberalism's nearly hundred-year dominance; it would be one of those critical turning points in history -- like Vicksburg and Gettysburg -- a momentum shifter that leads to other key victories, such as entitlements reform. Also, Indiana Republican Mike Pence offered and passed an amendment cutting funding for the odious abortion mill called Planned Parenthood. Another amendment, offered by Oregon Republican Greg Walden, that passed, chokes off funds for the Federal Communications Commission's net-neutrality gambit. Net -neutrality would concentrate more power in the FCC's hands and stymie free speech across the internet. Net-neutrality could well have been made in China. Of course, the revolution just beginning isn't confined to the Halls of Congress. Chris Christie, New Jersey's intrepid Republican governor, fired the first shots last year in the burgeoning struggle to bring sanity back to state affairs. Christie's efforts aren't limited to balancing state budgets and reining in taxes, important as those things are. Christie is working to limit government and expand the playing field for the private sector. As we're seeing, government without proper limits is a ruinous beast. California is a prime example.
Now newly elected Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is making headlines because he dares to say that his state is broke and that the public employees' gravy train needs to end. Governor Walker wants to end collective bargaining for public employees, excepting police and firefighters, on the simple, common sense premise that employees shouldn't be negotiating the hours they work, among other things.
In Ohio, Governor John Kasich is gearing up to slash budgets, rollback taxes, cut regulations, and confront the Buckeye State's public employee unions. There'll be fireworks aplenty in Columbus.
Thomas Jefferson is being proven right again. The states are the laboratories of democracy. Christie, Kasich, and Walker are seeking to demonstrate that limited, financially responsible government is best for economic and societal health. If successful -- and we should all have high confidence that these governors will succeed -- the lessons will not be lost on voters and politicians in other states. Revolutions are like that; it takes just a few courageous leaders to embolden others and for revolutions to spread.
A marvelous, if unintended, consequence of this burgeoning conservative revolution is what it's doing to liberalism. The budding conservative revolution is starting to place strains on liberalism; beginning to make liberals and their allies fight defensive battles in multiple -- and multiplying -- places. Call this a modified Cloward-Piven -- or Cloward-Piven turned on its masters. Challenging liberal governance, and pressing limited government reforms, will help bring down liberalism across the nation. And that should be an indisputable aim of the new conservative revolution. Liberalism became a pox on the nation years ago. Marginalizing liberalism would be an incomparable service to generations to come -- and to those kids being lied to now by too many Wisconsin teachers. "Change We Can Believe In." Mr. Obama's slogan always had a nice ring to it, but it was misapplied and a little ahead of its time. With the conservative revolution, change we can really believe in has arrived. How's that for rich irony?