Two years ago this week — November 2008 — I wrote the following words in this space:
“Important election at a time of crisis:
“I can remember one other election since 1964 that has as much import as this year’s: 1980 and the seismic shift to a man of hope, Ronald Reagan.
“The nation was changed dramatically — many would say for the better.
“There seems to be a similar seismic shift this year in favor of an untested, mostly unknown first-term senator, but I fear the naked hopes of many are unfounded, even illusionary. I predict there’s going to be a tsunami of buyers’ remorse by this time next year.
“The nation will be changed dramatically — and most of us in Fayette County will be (literally) poorer for it. I hope I’m wrong, for the sake of a nation that for the first time in 70 years may come to believe that our country’s best days are behind us. Whatever else Obama may turn out to be, he most assuredly and deliberately is the anti-Reagan.
“(An astute local political observer said that an Obama presidency will be Jimmy Carter’s second term.)”
That was November 2008, just before the Obama landslide. You judge whether it was accurate. Three words from that old column are acutely appropriate today: “Buyers’ remorse” and “tsunami.”
Buyers’ remorse — the regret of those who voted for Obama — is the unstated driver of this year’s expected “tsunami” of voter disgust that will sweep Democrats out of even “safe” liberal districts across this nation.
Thank God for buyers’ remorse. Better to wise up late than never.
But Republicans have an almost supernatural ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. There will be GOP bosses across the land who will light up their cognac-soaked cigars the morning after and sigh with self-satisfaction, “We’re back. It’s ours again.”
So this is not a “I-told-you-so” jab in the eye to those who voted for Obama (but, really, what were you thinking?).
It is, rather, a warning to the country-club Republicans and their gold-cufflink-wearing legislators, from city level up to Congress.
You guys and your county Republican committees and your arrogant staffers fouled your own nests in record time the last time you were handed power. You guys quickly become just as deaf and dumb as the most devoted Nancy Pelosi disciple.
A restless, pre-revolutionary electorate is giving you mugs one more shot at cutting government at all levels and giving us back our liberties. You better get it right this time.
The bills and ordinances you introduce had better cut government meddling in our lives rather than increase it — and yes, I’m talking about law and order bills as well. There are enough laws on the books and enough prohibitions on all of us to gainfully employ cops and lawyers for the next two decades.
Give legislating new laws a well-deserved rest. Be proud to come back home and proclaim, “I voted to cut taxes, I voted to cut government power, and I voted against every proposed new law that micro-regulated something that was already regulated enough. I just said NO!”
So quickly do our newly elected officials get caught up in the game of governing that they lose sight of who sent them. Their philosophy — whatever it once was — becomes corrupted in their more or less successful attempts to push their snouts deeper into the public tax money trough.
I can name for you a dozen local examples.
Democrat, Republican, even Libertarian — it doesn’t matter. Elect them often enough to learn the rules of the governing game, and they all become public pigs at the trough.
The Tea Party is naive enough to think they can change the rules of the game. I’m naive enough to fervently hope they can change the game itself.
[Cal Beverly is editor and publisher of The Citizen.]