Squandered Trust

So the diagnoses are all in -- the voting public has lost its collective mind; they've all been brainwashed by the media; the welfare class has taken over and is now in charge. The downhill slide has begun, and there's nothing to stop it. All that awaits us is the fate of Weimar Germany, if not The Road Warrior.

But try taking a look at it from the viewpoint of the average, everyday voter. From the limited point of view of the public, Election 2012 looks at least something like a rational choice. (If a less than admirable one.)

For decades, the Republican Party told the people of this country that once they got in, things would be different. No more wild spending, no more deficits, none of the waste and extravagance that had marked the decades of Democratic rule since the New Deal.

But that was a lie. Because soon after the GOP did get its hands on the purse-strings in taking the House in 1994, it began throwing around change just as wildly as the Dems at their worst. As far as the public could see, a new set of pigs had muscled its way to the trough, and that was all.

Much of this spending was absolute wastage. For instance, Trent Lott, one of the dumbest men ever to run the Senate, arranged for the construction of a billion-dollar helicopter assault ship that the Navy didn't want and couldn't even port (lacking the facilities), evidently so that he could watch it being built from his beach house in Mississippi. As we all know, any Democrat can pull this kind of thing once a week and never have it mentioned in the old media. But Republicans being, of course, a different story, the media made damn sure that the public heard all about Trent's pet ship. ...and there are plenty of other examples.

Were there any Republicans who didn't play this game? Sure; there's Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and... Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. (Actually, there were a number of others, not including such figures as the recent presidential candidates Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum.)

George W. Bush is commonly blamed for all this, but his guilt is strictly limited. He only showed up for the last half of the orgy and his crime was limited to failing to put a stop to things.

How do the Dems get away with this kind of behavior, you ask? Having been at it a lot longer, and knowing all the tricks, the Dems are both sneakier and shiftier. They also make sure to "spread the wealth around," as one of their savants put it. And they don't blatantly lie about what they're doing. People are used to Democratic thievery, and have learned to regard them as lovable scamps -- urban Robin Hoods. Thieving Republicans are more like Eagle Scouts rifling the poorbox.

From the public's point of view, all this stopped only in 2008, and from public's point of view, it is deeply intertwined and possibly even the direct cause of the economic straits we find ourselves in today. And here, only four years later, you have the Republics returning, saying: let us come back, and things will be different.

But once you squander trust, it's very hard to gain it back. Not even two of God's honest men, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, were able to bring it off this time.

It'll come, if the GOP adheres to its own standards, and the Dems keep up their customary squalid behavior. But it will take time, as such things do. It's no different on the political level than it is on the personal. Lost trust must be re-earned, not simply demanded.

With luck, it'll come before the jackboots come crashing down or the biker barbarians pull into your small, helpless village. (Actually, it won't be anything like either of those two scenarios - it'll be like Argentina, which is bad enough.) But if things do go completely bad, remember as you're fighting for that last rusty can of baked beans in the ruins that the Republicans are far from guiltless. The American people did look for a way out, once upon a time, and it was the GOP that slammed the door in their face.

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