Jonah Goldberg flashes back to the bad old days of 1992 (which look remarkably good in comparison to today), when that year’s “Worst Economy In 50 Years” and the first President Bush’s appearance of aloofness gave birth to the Little General himself, H. Ross Perot and the populist wave he rode:
In part because Perot voters and sympathizers were disproportionately white and male, and because they expressed their dismay with Clinton by voting for the GOP, the Democrats and the media ginned up the “angry white male” theory of American politics. The same voters who were part of a “vital center” when attacking a Republican president were increasingly recast as dangerous minions of Rush Limbaugh and the forces of hate when they aligned with Republicans.
Fast-forward to today. The tea-party protesters are in large part the heirs of Perotism, and they are being subjected to the same insults. Liberal commentators are deaf to the tea partiers’ disdain for both political parties, preferring to cast the protesters as a deranged band of birthers and racists or hired guns of a Republican “AstroTurf” campaign.
Meanwhile, as National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru has argued, the Democrats have convinced themselves that the moral of Clinton’s failed health-care push is not that he was wrong to try, but that he was wrong not to cram it through against popular opposition.
President Obama promised a “new era of fiscal responsibility,” but he’s governing as if exploding the size of government is what Americans want, polls be damned. The Democrats’ budget games and giveaways amount to poking the angry Perotista beast with a stick.
If the GOP can convincingly align with and exploit the growing Perotista discontent, it very well might ride to victory on a tsunami the Democrats can’t even see.
Read the whole thing.
Update: On the other hand…