Ed Driscoll

Ride the Metaphor!

To paraphrase Fredrick Douglass, when men sow the wind, it is rational to expect that they will reap the metaphor. But which party will be reaping said whirlwind of yore? As Jonathan Chait portentously bellows at the New Republic, “Republicans Reap The Whirlwind:”

Now, most elite Republicans understand that the red meat fed to the base isn’t exactly right. It’s useful to scare the daylights out of the activists, but writers for the Standard and the Journal editorial page understand that “freedom,” as most people understand the term, is not really at risk. They understand as well that politics is a little more complicated than “if Republicans stay true to conservatism, they cannot lose.”

But the conservative base is not in on the joke. And so Republican elites found themselves with just a few frantic days to undo the toxic and intoxicating effects of 20 months of relentless propaganda. Vote for the man who compromised with evil! The true conservative can’t always win! They couldn’t do it.

Meanwhile, at Real Clear Politics, center-left pundit David Paul Kuhn warns his fellow Democrats it’s they who must brace themselves in anticipation of the coming “electoral whirlwind” in November that they helped to create:

It’s said that politicians should dance with those that ‘brung them. They should also focus on the issues that made them. Or their mandate, that is. This is one lesson of today’s anniversary.

September 15 also reminds us of the bailout. It was as necessary as it was unpopular. It was the fertile soil for the Tea Party. It was an early sign that Obama should choose his battles wisely. Instead, he chose the wrong battles boldly. Stimulus and healthcare over the new New Deal.

Perhaps Democratic leaders bought into the thesis of Teixeira and Krugman et al. Perhaps they ignored the fragility of Obama’s mandate. Disregarded Americans’ long tension with government. Believed Obama changed the electorate. September 15 reminds us that this was an illusion. And the whirlwind of this illusion is coming in November.

That electoral whirlwind is the talk of Washington today. Democrats rue their fate, a political future shaped by this economic storm. Yet they blamed the recession on the Republican Party. They pummeled John McCain with the crash. And that too is a political lesson of September 15. As a pol from last century, Dwight Morrow, said: “Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought.”

Stay tuned to the Weather Channel for more reports of metaphoric pundit-made whirlwinds as they come in.