Many say next Tuesday’s election will be a referendum on President Barack Obama and that it will register epic disapproval, its feel and impact not unlike a Hawaiian tsunami, usually unexpected by the victims, triggered by earthquakes and then the eruption of a volcano.
This is true. Mount Voter Anger & Frustration, it seems clear, is about to erupt and give Obama the shock of a lifetime — perhaps the spanking he never got as a child in Hawaii. Enough with the European socialism! Spank! Enough with unaffordable cradle-to-grave health care and other entitlements we can’t afford! Spank! Focus on jobs, glorious jobs, so we can afford to take care of ourselves! Spank! Spank! Spank!
Three numbers point to the coming tsunami: 64% now think the country is on the wrong track; nearly 50% have disapproved of Obama’s performance since the summer of 2010 when he assumed ownership of the bad economy (W’s recession was deemed officially over in June 2009); and less than 40% of independents support Obama as of the summer of 2010, abandoning him in droves starting in the summer of 2009 when he failed to compromise on his excessive health care plan which translated into greater independent support for Republicans in the midterms.
Of course, Democrats are now already figuratively speaking “underwater” (many selling short), a reality they will confront on November 2, when Obama’s reduced value is finally known — likely eyepopppingly less than in 2008, when they bought his “hope and change” rhetoric. All indicators are it won’t be pretty. That’s what makes American democracy so great — and entertaining. Politicians tell voters what they think they’re worth — Obama gave himself a B+ — and voters tell them to go “shove it.”
But next Tuesday’s election — more than signaling what voters don’t want — will signal what voters want.
In this regard, it seems more and more clear that November 2 will be a referendum on the wisdom of Ronald Reagan from which we have veered in recent years.
Reagan’s “Time for Choosing” speech, which he gave 46 years ago today on October 27, 1964, honed in on the essence of what has made America so exceptional and so great, electrifying Americans of all stripes.
Ronald Reagan — then, ironically, a General Electric spokesman poised to embark on a political career that his good friend, Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, rightly predicted then would take him to the White House — asked in this famous speech whether “we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers.” He compellingly highlighted the very challenges we confront today, namely: “Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
The Republican Study Committee has artfully interspersed this speech with remarks made by the current crop of Democratic leaders, including Obama, in a video (“Those Voices Don’t Speak for Us”) as a closing argument for the midterms. It includes Reagan presciently noting self-government’s perennial threat:
A government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.
Fasten your seat belts: it’s time for another “rendezvous with destiny.”