I heard Dennis Prager say something on his radio show the other day that was so simple, and so full of wisdom that it boggled my mind. I’m going to paraphrase, because I can’t remember the exact words, but this is close: Conservatives are at a distinct disadvantage because we don’t want power. The left wants power and is willing to give stuff away to get it. Conservatives just want freedom. It’s a tough sell when your opponent wants to give people stuff and all you want to give them is an intangible like freedom.
Think about it. Obama and the Dems are seen giving people welfare checks, food stamps, disability, unemployment, Obama phones, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid… They spend money to “stimulate” the economy. They’re trying! Conservatives on the other hand have to make the argument that people are actually hurt by all of those give-aways. It traps people in poverty. They’d be far better off if government got out of the way, stopped pulling money from the private economy, stopped strangling business with the red tape of regulation, and allowed the private sector to flourish and create more and more opportunities for people.
People don’t even understand that Social Security is actuarially broke, and that a privatized program (like programs that work beautifully in other countries) not only yields more money for the retiree, but makes their retirement money an asset that can be passed to succeeding generations, and keeps their retirement out of the hands of politicians who have lied about the Ponzi scheme nature of Social Security since just after it’s inception.
Perhaps one of the best things about the dreadful failure of Obamacare is that the curtain is being lifted from a lot of people’s eyes. The government is being exposed as being the incompetent, wasteful, uncaring bureaucracy, and, for that matter, untruthful institution that it is. The soft hearted, soft headed economically ignorant people that make up the vast number of low information Democrat voters (the people who have bought the lie that the Democrats’ programs help people) are suddenly being rudely awakened to how full of crap those who have assured them that big government has the answers really are. They can ignore how Democrat programs keep people stuck in poverty as they feel good about voting for the party that promises that the exact opposite will happen because they don’t know real poor people. They can ignore that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are going bankrupt, because the checks keep going out… For now. They can ignore the fact that the debt is far too high because the government can put off the collapse for a while. What they can’t ignore is the fact that everything they were told about Obamacare is a lie (you can’t keep your insurance, your doctor, and your premium is going to go way up, not save you $2500 per year). They can’t ignore the notice that comes in their mailbox from their insurance company (or, eventually from their employer explaining why they’re no longer covered at work) telling them that they’re now screwed. Tangible pain is now being felt by people who supported the other give-aways. Suddenly the conservative argument for the intangible (freedom and how the free market works) seems to be a better argument. This may be the first time that most soft hearted, soft headed Democrats are actually tangibly effected by Democrat policies. (This is mostly because they don’t understand economics well enough to know that they are already paying higher prices for goods and services and more taxes than they need to pay as a result of Democrat policies… But those things aren’t a big enough hit, taken all at once. Doubled and tripled insurance rates for worse coverage–higher copays and deductibles–is a hit that is big enough to wake them up.)
Prager is right. Conservatism is a tough sell. As I said in my book, The Tamarack Conspiracy, no Senator or Representative wants to tell their constituents that they went to Washington and successfully left people alone. We don’t want power (power over people), we want to give people power over their own lives. There are no goodies to hand out, because that intangible thing is the goodie: freedom. To give out goodies, you have to want the power to control people’s lives. Hopefully, there are enough people being rudely awakened right now to the fact that the “goodies” they get from giving politicians and bureaucrats control over their lives have an enormous cost… They are candy with which the pedophile lures the child into the van. You know what happens once the child is in the van.