I read a surprisingly good article by Peggy Noonan a few days ago. I'm not a big Noonan fan - she was a Reagan republican (literally - she worked for him from 1984-86) who has evolved into an Obama endorsing, Palin hating RINO. But her piece had some remarkably insightful passages, and at the end, I found myself agreeing with her.
The piece is titled "The Risk of Catastrophic Victory", and it is about just that - victories that trigger catastrophes. The democrats are facing their catastrophic victory right now:
Passage of the health-care bill will be, for the administration, a catastrophic victory. If it is voted through in time for the State of the Union Address, as President Obama hopes, half the chamber will rise to their feet and cheer. They will be cheering their own demise.She believes that the question now isn't whether the Republicans will win seats or how many, it's whether they deserve the victory. She mentions a "well respected Republican congressman" who talked to her about a bill he wants to introduce to control the growth of entitlements and long term government spending:
If health care does not pass, it will also be a disaster, but only for the administration, not the country. Critics will say, "You didn't even waste our time successfully."
I asked if his party was doing anything to get behind the bill, and he got the blanched look people get when they're trying to keep their faces from betraying anything. Not really, he said. Then he shrugged. "They're waiting for the Democrats to destroy themselves."This is where the Republicans run the risk of catastrophic victory, according to Noonan - standing back and allowing the democrats to destroy themselves (possibly bringing the country down with them) with nothing in the pipeline to pull us out of it and set things right.
As Newt Gingrich said the other night, Republicans need to " be the alternative party, not the opposition party". They have already tried to submit numerous health care bills, but the democrats refuse to consider them, so they are all still languishing in committees. If the Republicans take back the House in November, hopefully those bills will eventually be dusted off and reconsidered.
But they need more than just health care solutions. On America's top priorities list, health care comes in a distant second to the economy. Their first order of business has to be a detailed plan to fix the economy. They need to run on this, and the plan must be detailed but simple legislation that is easy to explain and easy to comprehend, with common sense, proven tactics to control spending, cut the deficit, create jobs and empower small business again. The bill(s) must be written and available online for the public to peruse at will prior to the election and implimented as soon as possible after the elections. That will keep their victory from becoming catastrophic. I think they may have finally realized that and are working on their plans, if Gingrich's quote is anything to go by.
Noonan ends the piece with a very astute analogy:
Political professionals are pugilistic, and often see politics in terms of fight movies: "Rocky," "Raging Bull." They should be thinking now of a different one, of Tom Hanks at the end of "Saving Private Ryan." "Earn this," he said to the man whose life he'd helped save.Amen.
Earn this. Be worthy of it. Be serious.
The other thing that caught my eye about this piece is a startling insight into the thinking of this administration:
I am wondering if the Obama administration thinks it vaguely dishonorable to be popular. If you mention to Obama staffers that they really have to be concerned about the polls, they look at you with a certain . . . not disdain but patience, as if you don't understand the purpose of politics. That purpose, they believe, is to move the governed toward greater justice. Just so, but in democracy you do this by garnering and galvanizing public support. But they think it's weaselly to be well thought of.She just misses the mark on this one. It isn't that they think it is weaselly to be well thought of - anyone with the level of hubris displayed by this crew couldn't possibly conceive of being considered weaselly. Besides, let's face it - they won the election because they made it into a popularity contest and ran what they considered to be a super-cool candidate - truly a style over substance affair.
The real truth, I think, is that the patience she mentions speaks to their own disdain and anger. They are filled with it, and, as commonly happens with people, they project their own opinions, values and feelings onto other people. They expect people to be angry and hate them, because they seem to be always angry and hate filled themselves. Everything is a personal attack, because whenever they attack, they make it personal. And so they are patient with the anger of others - it is an expected reaction.
Their disdain adds a dimension to their anger, because they feel that those who oppose them simply don't understand what is good for them. To them, the anger and frustration is completely understandable - simple minds lash out at the unknown. That is why, when they do get an angry response, they can easily dismiss it. Remember, they are the party of 'consensus' - they believe most everyone thinks exactly the way they do, which is why they call protesters 'fringe' - it is inconceivable to them that they are anything more than a tiny minority.
They are marinated in an elitist group think, and so wholeheartedly believe that if you think outside their accepted realm, you simply don't know any better and must be 'corrected'. That is what they are doing right now - they are pushing their agenda through because they feel that the only reason they are facing opposition is because we just don't know what is good for us. Since they do, they figure they will have to pass the agenda against our protests. Once it becomes the law of the land and we are confronted with the rainbow and unicorn filled utopia they will have created, we will come to our senses.
Our anger means nothing to them. Their sinking polls mean nothing. They feel they are making history (they seem almost desperate to), and that they will be vindicated and embraced in time.
Our only hope is that this juggernaut will be sabotaged by some democrats who have a clearer view of the reaction to their actions; whose own sense of self-preservation will outweigh their party ties and their quest to make history, no matter how bad or damaging.