We won’t face up to this crisis. But a Romney win would have resulted in the exact same stalemate. A Romney presidency might have improved the situation at the margins, but would have achieved essentially the same results. As for halting the slide toward statism, the president’s hands are pretty much tied as long as the GOP maintains its House majority and the filibuster isn’t completely shelved by the Democrats in the Senate.
The GOP may be reduced to fighting a rear-guard action against efforts by liberals to “transform” America, but as long as they stick together, they should be successful. And it should give us heart that, as Philip Klein points out, Americans agree with the conservative critique of government:
According to exit polls as described by Politico, “53 percent of those surveyed said the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals — a figure that’s risen 10 points since the 2008 election. Comparatively, 41 percent of voters said they believe government should be doing more.”
As bad as things are economically today, they were worse in 2008. As the economy improves, the American people look to the state for assistance less and less and support the idea of limited government more and more. This has been part of the American response to economic hardship for decades, and while there is proselytizing and outreach by conservatives that need to be done in order to remind our fellow citizens of our exceptional nature in this regard, the core belief in this principle is solid and isn’t going anywhere.
People like Cooke sell Americans short. There is too much reliance on a “boiling frog” scenario, where we all just sit around and allow the president to have his way with America, radically altering the country and shaping it into his image of a European social democracy. The liberals had two years to accomplish this and the best they could do is Obamacare — a law that both Democrats and Republicans are already talking about drastically reforming.
This election was as much about rejecting Romney as it was about embracing Obama — perhaps moreso. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Americans, and in four years they will be given another chance to prove it. So let this be the last “woe is us” post-election analysis. Not only is it unhelpful, it’s simply not reflective of reality.