My Fellow Conservatives, Let's Be Bad Guys!
By the numbers: since President Barack Obama was sworn in, the financial markets have dropped to ten-year lows, housing prices are off by ten percent or more, nearly a million jobs have been lost, federal discretionary spending has doubled, the share of federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is set to soar by 50% by the end of the year, and there's to be a trillion dollars in new taxes, trillions more in new debts, and even more trillions due as interest payments. Oh -- and Republicans are the bad guys.
I say: Yeah, OK, we can do that.
A few years back, television writer/producer/director/visionary Joss Whedon made a little libertarian-themed science fiction movie called Serenity. In it, our ragtag band of heroes make their way around the 'verse by trading freely when they can and by stealing from the corrupt, oppressive central government when they must. Before launching a minor raid on a government stash of ill-gotten gold, Jayne, the hired muscle (played with an endearingly ignorant malice by Adam Baldwin), cocks his shotgun menacingly -- is there any other way? -- and suggests, "Let's be bad guys."
Yes. Exactly. Let's.
Look. We cannot buy our way into friendship in Washington for the next four years. We aren't going to become popular by playing along with Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or the president. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd aren't going to stop calling us names just because we vote with the majority. That's not how politics work, and that's certainly not how these guys play ball. They play hard; they play for keeps. And when their grand plans fail, they'll need someone to blame: us.
They'll blame us in the corridors of power. They'll blame us on the TV news. They'll blame us on the blogs. They'll blame us in a whole slew of new movies where evil white men are behind everything from the Democrat-created credit crisis, to the war we "lost" in Iraq, to a sand flea epidemic inflicted upon some poor, third-world nation. But we don't have to let them get away with it.
I'll give you another bonus quote from Serenity -- again, absolutely free. Our intrepid captain, Mal Reynolds, tells of some sage advice once given to him by the late Shepherd Book, a former passenger: "If you can't do something smart, do something right."
Republicans spent the last eight years trying to do the "smart" thing, by buying out the Democratic agenda. It was "smart" to "take Medicare off the table" by expanding it in ways so vast even Democrats hadn't gotten away with it in 40 years. It was considered "smart" to "take immigration off the table" by forging a grand alliance with Ted Kennedy. It was considered "smart" to "take education off the table" by federalizing it under No Child Left Behind.
Well, we've tried the smart thing and all it got us was a bigger, more meddlesome government. Now it's time to do the right thing.