By David Beilstein
ACCORDING to the Drudge Report the national polls have tightened. Key battleground polls seem to indicate this too. It would appear, however nuanced, the advantage still lies with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Much of this depends on the exact heft and shape of President Barack Obama’s actually approval rating. If it is below 48%, the president is in for a long night and large sorrow at the end of it.
Likewise, I have not checked Sean Trende’s recent analysis. Trende is the one who pointed out that former President George W. Bush is the standard barrier for how low an incumbent president’s approval rating can be and still prevail over the opposing party challenger.
In September, when Mitt Romney was battling a etiolating month in the eyes of the punditry class — many having written the challenger’s presidential candidacy kaput — Trende pointed out that Obama was still underperforming according to Bush’s reelection numbers. I put large confidence in Trende’s thinking here, and it is one reason why I happen to believe Americans seeing Mitt Romney for who he was, numbers swung in Romney’s direction. The reason for this could be located in Obama’s numbers not being equal to Bush’s.
For those that missed it, Trende’s point, then, was if Obama does not equal or exceed Bush’s reelection numbers, the president loses. Obviously, from Oct. 3 onward, following Obama’s TKO at the hands of solidly in command Romney in the first debate, the president’s numbers fell well below George W. Bush’s tallies. Bush was never trailing Sen. John F Kerry 51-46%. MSNBC may not like the crease of the slacks, but it was Bush polling at 50% routinely in comparison to Kerry, and that is not a luxury Obama has ever head heading into tomorrow. Even with polls tighter, Obama is still below 50% nationally, and Romney at, or close to 50%.
That’s important — it’s key. And it is why I’d rather be Mitt Romney than Barack Obama on the eve of this upcoming presidential election.
But the polls have tightened, and it also seems to appear, that team Obama has a stronger on-the-ground game in several key states, something George H.W. Bush did not have in his defeat in 1992 to Gov. William Jefferson Clinton.
The election closes to an end — at least according to the polls, in some kind of dead heat. A stand still, if you will, lingers. It presents the perfect opportunity to look at some ways, apparently, the GOP appears to have made this race harder than it needed to be.
That has always been my fear from the beginning. I never bought President Barack Obama was obviously headed to reelection. I have felt he was in trouble electorally ever sense he shoved, jammed and hammered the ObamaCare bill down the American public’s throat and destroyed his political capital on a disjointed, politically costly legislative agenda. The president began that healthcare march into soggy bog of electoral illness at almost 70% approval rating. By the end, Obama was in the mid-forties, staying there, flat lining there
But Republican efforts of getting out its message have lacked communicative fervour and intellectual cogency. The trouble with the Republican Party is in the various concessions it makes to the weak sauce of political noise coursing through the loins of America. Rather than challenging the simplistic, sophistic statist panegyrics of the Democratic Party, the stomping elephant of the GOP is all too often willing to offer its own simplistic dimensions of electoral politics to attract voters.
The idea that markets, individual liberty, decreased economic and social dislocation, and a more sovereign and secure United States, occurs only when Republicans sit upon the throne of the presidency is simply not something most people believe and cannot be defended historically.
In 1999-2000, every economic indicator, used by Republicans and Democrats alike, would say the state of the union was prosperous, moving forward, and far better than in the summer and fall of 2008 — where rising unemployment, profligate spending, and ongoing wars against third rate shepherds had weakened America. Under Bill Clinton, balanced budgets were achieved and over 20 million jobs were created.
Bill Clinton was not a Republican. Yet, Mitt Romney and the Republican Party generally repeat the painfully simplistic notion that when the Republican Party controls congress, attains the presidency, material circumstances are better for more Americans.
The economic expansion of early 1960’s arose out of the font of John F Kennedy’s supply-side instincts, once common sense to Democrats. Whereas, under President Nixon, American life saw broad, sweeping federal edifices erected, increasing statism, limiting individual autonomy.
President Nixon gave America the EPA — not President Kennedy. The Great Depression was accelerated because of Herbert Hoover, a Republican, not a Democrat. And originally, it was the Democratic Party libertarian and conservative Americans supported before the statism of Woodrow Wilson and FDR, because the Democratic Party preserved, far better than Republicans, James Madison’s notion of diverse factions within America and Edmund Burke’s illustration of islands of separation.
In other words, there was a time the electric cord running through much of the Democratic Party was in preserving the idea of individual autonomy — that America can be a prosperous, free nation even though her citizens are free, better yet, encouraged, to row their boats in different directions. It used to be the Democratic Party that did battle with the cultural uniformity of Republicans juiced up on progressivism. It was Woodrow Wilson and FDR of course, who kidnapped progressive politics from the internecine battles raging in the GOP. Hence, the rise of collectivist, progressive politics, the Democratic Party warred against in the past — Jeffersonian classical liberalism, became a thing of the past.
Ideology, then, appears to be the missing ingredient. And it is an important one. It is something the Republican Party and her candidates, all to often, are too afraid to explicate to the voting public.
Thus, such ignorance, simplifies an incredibly nuanced historical issue. The fact of the matter is, be the leaders of the country Democrats or Republicans, a Federal government restrained to its Constitutional parameters, spending within its means, enhancing the sovereignty of the states within the country, and preserving ‘Burkean islands of separation’ — social, economic, and foreign policy indicators, vastly improve.
The enemy of a freethinking, sovereign nation, animating individual liberty to its citizens in the form of social and economic choice, is — and has always been, statism. Statism arises out of utopianism, a cancer upon free peoples richly pregnant with the idea of immanentizing the eschaton, whether of secular or religious conception. It does not matter whether Republicans or Democrats use statism; statism is tyranny of the individual thus the nation at large and emaciates the structural integrity of the pillars preserving and animating our great and free civitas.
It is a simple equation. The defeat of Barack Obama and his political party and allies, lies at the defeat of political progressivism. The Republican Party will continue to make small gains, losing some, gaining some, if it tries to reduce the complications and nuance of political history. That political history animates from particular contextual life and experience. There is no bobbing and weaving from the past — and the future is inscribed in the past. To simply argue economic depression is related to Democratic Party policy removed from ideological particulars, in a vacuum — or on the last four years of Barack Obama — is missing the point and leaves the voting public deluged in bewilderment.
Clarity is palatial. So is honesty — both need to be hewn by the Republican Party, honestly and consistently, if it indeed is serious about preserving the nation the Founding Father’s envisioned. The Republican Party, therefore, must always echo the timeless sentiment of all good liberalism in the classical sense, which is, when the government takes upon itself to do the things individuals should do — are enlivened and enriched to do — there is more poverty, less liberty, and markedly more suffering for all.