It is easy to just focus on the presidential election and the very unfortunate fact that Obama got re-elected. Yes, he is a bad president, but over the past two years he has also been a passive president. A bad president that stays on the sidelines and does nothing is better than a bad president who actively tries to put his ideological convictions into actual policy. Obama did that in the first two years of his first term, and the result of that was a major conservative groundswell in 2010.
Because Obama stayed passive, he was able to put enough distance between his radicalism and the voters. His blatant incompetence on the foreign policy scene was not enough to convince a majority of the voters that he is too incompetent to be president.
However, this was not a strong victory for Obama or for the Democrat party. The president won by slim margins in key states, and the question for him was not how many states he’d pick up, but how many he would lose. His mandate from the voters has been eroded and weakened, and that is actually a first for a re-elected president.
From a broader perspective, the statist ideology that Obama represents is a losing agenda. They lost a lot of ground in Congress two years ago and they had to spend this election fighting tooth and nail to defend whatever territory they had. Let’s not forget that the Democrats went in to this election thinking they would take back the House and pick up seats in the Senate. They woke up from that delusion today, and it is a safe bet to say they do not feel refreshed. They are now back to where they were in 2008, with a president that is fundamentally a radical and whose radicalism, last time he put it to work, caused a major political backlash.
They have very good reasons to fear that if Obama goes back on his radical offense they will pay a price for it in the 2014 midterm elections, only this time they are already diminished compared to where they were then.
Furthermore, Obamacare is going into effect just about when the 2014 election is due. More sensible Democrats know that you cannot raise taxes and regulate away people’s access to health care and still expect to be re-elected. All this means that they are going to have to stick to the recipe that worked over the past two years: a passive president and preservation of status quo.
Which brings us back to the bad-passive dynamic. If Obama stays passive, we won’t have more of his radicalism. That means no Taxmaggedon, no sequestration spending cuts and no more government programs that intrude on the economy. That would allow the economy to putter along in much-too-slow recovery mode. However, that is a bit of an optimistic expectation - there will be some tax increases, most likely in the form of higher taxes on the highest incomes. If Democrats concede the Obamacare tax hikes Republicans can concede on the high-income tax rates, and the tax landscape would be predictable for a few more years.
The big elephant in the room is the deficit. The deficit is linked to the welfare state. That is where the real battle is going to take place. But most likely not until after the 2014 election. In the meantime, Europe is going to continue to plunge into the chasm of industrial poverty. Their fate is our future unless we fundamentally reform our entitlement system.
The American was not yet ready to appreciate the need for such reforms. We have two more years to point to Europe and show them what lies ahead. And what we can do to prevent it.
Yesterday’s election showed that Americans in general are pushing back against the radical leftist agenda that Obama brought with him when he won in 2008. Conservatives are fighting a war of attrition against his statism, and all the Democrats did yesterday was to play defense. They gained nothing yesterday. This is encouraging, and it emboldens those of us who want to keep the European disaster out of America.