• Home
  • About
  • Guest Post


    I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my very favorite Virginia Postrel columns, written after the 1998 midterm elections, this past week. See whether you can guess why:

    I told you so. The party that hates America will lose. The party that imagines no positive future, offers no “vision thing,” will lose. The party that thinks it is better than the American people, that makes large segments of the voting public believe they are its enemy, that convinces people it wants the government to boss them around and destroy the things they love, will lose.

    On November 3, that party was Republican. The GOP went down to humiliating defeat, losing close race after close race, plus many that weren’t supposed to be close. The party lost its solid grip on the South and collapsed in California. It managed to lose seats in the House, an extraordinary result that even Democratic pundits failed to predict.

    And it deserved to lose. Republicans sold out their economic base…and ran as the party of scolds, pork, and gloom. No wonder their voters stayed home.

    Sound familiar? The Republicans clearly got the message eventually, which is one of the reasons I think that, despite the hysterical immediate reaction, the Democrats will also. The biggest problem I can see is that the Democrats can’t seem to bring themselves to drop the far-left wackos, presumably out of a lingering belief that loudmouthed dissent is somehow in and of itself heroic, populist, and sexy. But they lost big last week, and I hope the shock gets them thinking more pragmatically.

    2 Responses to “Flashback”

    1. Kris says:

      There’s some attractive thinking in here. But I’m not sure I’ve seen the Republicans do much to drop their own far-right wackos…and yet they still plow forward. That’s the only part of this election that makes me a bit nervous – I don’t want to see anyone (Bush) mistake the will of the more reasonable folks who voted for him as the will of the radicals, on either side. I’d actually have the same concerns if Kerry won. That’s why I always argue with people when they said Clinton was a disappointment because he didn’t ‘do enough’.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I don’t know. How prominent is Pat Buchanan these days? Compared to Michael Moore on the left? I mean, it’s not as if you saw Ann Coulter being conspicuously wined and dined by the DNC during its convention.
      I do agree that the more “proactive” a President is being (outside his role as armed forces commander-in-chief, which is one he’s actually supposed to perform), the more likely that you want to keep one hand on your wallet and make sure you have your front door deadbolted. I expect Bush to continue pretty much along the lamo path he’s already established–two steps forward, one step back. If he can actually help get the public behind Social Security and tax reform, to the extent that congress might do something about it, I’ll be pleased. But I’m not holding my breath.