Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Have Conservatives Reached the Tipping Point?

Today’s American Spectator includes an article by Jeffrey Lord entitled ‘American Tipping Point’, which primarily involves itself with an excellent review of Michael Gladwell’s book of 2002 – The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.  Lord explains Gladwell’s thought on the present thus:
An epidemic of conservatism is sweeping America.  And thanks to the Tea Party, yesterday disgracefully accused of terrorism by Vice President Biden (he the vice president in an administration terrified of calling real terrorists terrorists -- seriously!), the country will never be the same again. . . .
. . . [W]hen you add the fact that one event has frequently spread its contagiousness or been pushed by, in Gladwell's vocabulary, "connectors" – “people with a particular and rare set of social gifts" who have the ability to "spread" an idea like an epidemic, a Tipping Point is in the works. . . .

What is evident in this explosive fight over the debt ceiling is what Gladwell calls the force of "geometric progression."  The collective weight of it all from the election of Taft to Limbaugh, Hannity and Levin's latest radio shows and the appearance of the Tea Party marking an American "Tipping Point." . . .

Thanks to the Tea Party movement, Conservatism is on the verge of a major victory that dwarfs the technical and actual realities of whatever the details of the resulting deficit deal passed last night.  Yes, there is a long, long way to go.  But the idea that America doesn't, in fact, have to be governed for eternity as a debtor nation with a mammoth, out-of-control, ever-expanding government is winning the day.
 It has been said often recently that the 2010 election has marked a tipping point, but I respectfully disagree – it has marked the fulcrum.  This budget agreement which Speaker Boehner has won (agree with him or not) demonstrates the push exerted by conservatives and the Tea Party movement (not entirely synonymous), but it is only phase one.  The Obama faction is thankful that the agreement is to officially last past the next election so that he won’t have to fight a rear-guard action going into it, but in actuality the next major hurdle comes around Thanksgiving, when the bipartisan commission (with players yet to be named) is to report on where the spending cuts are to occur.

Call it the Budget Commission 2.0 – the first attempt under Bowles and Simpson was called by Obama, and reported out in December 2010.  In the preamble of The Moment of Truth (in words which reflect Senator Simpson’s acerbic bluntness), we find the indication of its seriousness: “We believe neither party can fix this problem on its own, and both parties have a responsibility to do their part. The American people are a long way ahead of the political system in recognizing that now is the time to act. We believe that far from penalizing their leaders for making the tough choices, Americans will punish politicians for backing down – and well they should. . . . After all the talk about debt and deficits, it is long past time for America’s leaders to put up or shut up. The era of debt denial is over, and there can be no turning back.”  Obama promptly ignored it.

This is still the beginning.  The conservative faction in Congress is still building on the will of the people.  Every two years reflects that mood by the results in the House, where every representative is up for (re)election, but not the Senate.  That momentum must still carry through, as it should continue to do in the House, with the election in 2012.  Many comparisons have been drawn between Obama and Carter, and at this rate one is tempted to add the idea of a one-term presidency.

There are other elements in this tipping point that are not alluded to.  One is the national migration of the populace to states that are pro-business, right-to-work, and typically with no state income tax – Texas being the sterling example.  This reflects a conservative trend along with polls about the national mood per se.  Another, in theory, is what James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal has labeled as the Roe Effect.  This takes the sociological finding that children typically will grow up to reflect the political ideology of their parents, and marries it to the idea that liberals tend to be far more open to the idea of abortion, and more likely (among females, of course) to have had one.  This is perhaps partially reflected in the finding that conservatives tend to have more children (the data stand out more over time).  Thus the Roe Effect (its name taken from Roe vs Wade) postulates that Liberals are attriting their potential numbers over time by abortion.

But does this potentially revolutionary (and I don't take that cultural term lightly) shift to a new (or old, depending on your historical viewpoint) concept actually take a bipartisan effort, as Bowles & Simpson called for?  I expect that there will be a shifting in some Democratic office holders and seekers to a more conservative view, but the hard core liberals from the deep urban, bluer-than-blue districts will become increasingly strident and help ensure that the Democrats will go down swinging.  It cannot end up as a total victory for the present conservative view of the moment, but it will end up as a return to sanity, before we reach the insane conclusion of Greece and other Euro-socialist countries, who the Democrats want to emulate.  If the Left in this country has studied the European experiment for so long, they should continue to keep their eye on the ball as the Europeans are learning that they must extricate themselves from their mess.

1 comment:

  1. I've noted that Bob Beckel, on the Fox News program "Five," is rather desperately declaring that the Tea Party is now dead, having achieved it's aim through the recent debt limit debate. How rewarding it is to see this degree of desperation.


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