February 18, 2010

The Real Lesson of Evan Bayh?

Coverage of Evan Bayh's retirements has focused on "the partisan divide" and the notion that there is no longer room for moderates in the debate. The prevailing group-think seems to be that "extremists" on both sides have hijacked the respective parties and forced out the moderates. This analysis is essentially correct, but does not recognize the underlying dynamics.

Over the past 80 or 90 years, the US has gradually drifted to the left in the form of expanded government regulation, bureaucracy, oversight and personal intrusion. During the periods in which Conservatives have prevailed at the ballot box, the result has been an arrest or a slowing of the leftward drift, not an actual move back to the right. There have been some notable periods of deregulation and reduced tax burden, but even under Reagan, the actual size of government never slowed as measured by Federal budget or number of agencies. The best we have enjoyed is a smaller government as a percent of GDP, but that does not represent an actual return of personal authority and freedom to the people.

The country has now reached a crossroads: we either move once-and-for-all into Euro-socialism or we start to reclaim the individual liberties that the Constitution and founders intended. To use a football analogy, the Left can see the goal line and is intent on crossing it. At the same time, the Right understands that this is a goal line stand. We either stop the Left and push them back or we lose the game.

The Tea Party protests are the manifestation of this reality. An awaking population is not only saying "no" to nationalized heathcare and "no" to expanded government, many are saying, "Return Liberty to its rightful owners." In this fundamentally ideological battle, there is no middle ground. Prior comprise has only resulted in extending the time to a socialist state.

No mas. It's time for smash-mouth football.

Freedom on the March Posted by Boulder Refugee at February 18, 2010 11:44 AM

You hit a nerve, br. I think we should take up a collection and buy every journalist a history book. Would that slow the preening "unprecedented partisanship" stories? Jeeeburzz.

I really do rank Senator Bayh among the good guys. Yet I am alarmed at this rising chorus of "politics is broken" because they cannot steamroll-through the Euro-socialism you discuss.

Curiously, with so many things in government and politics truly broken, this is what we software guys like to say a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2010 1:05 PM

The problem is that the media covers policy like they do sporting events. So much of the coverage is on the "process" and the "players" and how things might play out. Success is measured by what gets done. If a policy proposal is defeated, it is a "loss", despite the fact that it might be a victory for the American people.

There seems to be less discussion of whether the policy is a good idea than whether a proposed bill will become law.

Posted by: HB at February 18, 2010 11:26 PM

That's a very good point, hb. I had not thought of it in those terms.

Perhaps the reason for the media's focus on the process is their underlying bias that additional regulation is almost inherently good (unless it addresses gay rights or abortion). With that as an assumption, they don't have to address the good/bad analysis and can therefore just focus on the win/loss.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 19, 2010 12:22 PM | What do you think? [3]