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11.01.2008 0

A Delicate Contract

  • On: 11/06/2008 11:43:15
  • In: Barack Obama
  • By Bill Wilson

    In any contract or business deal, the important points are always in the fine print, in the details below the surface. And as elections are short-term contracts between the American people and the government they select, looking at those details is vital to understanding the true nature of what was agreed to.

    This is never more true than with the recent election. Naturally everyone is focused on the big story, the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency. The speculation of who he will select for various positions, the inside jockeying for power, and the gut-retching self criticism of the Republicans all combine to give us a distorted view of the political reality.

    So, here are some points that are, for now, being overlooked, that will become news in the coming months:

    1. Taxes are not smart politics. Let us never forget that Barack Obama promised to cut taxes on 95% of Americans. Now, many people realize that what he was artfully saying was that approximately a third of the population would be getting checks in the mail from Uncle Sam. But many did not look at where he intends to get the money to hand out in these welfare payments. They are about to find out.

    But what President-elect Obama should consider is how the people who elected him reacted to tax increases where they were asked directly to vote on them this year:

    • Obama won Virginia in large part because of votes in northern Virginia and by winning Loundon County. At the same time they were voting for him, they were defeating a meals tax by a very large margin.

    • Colorado was a media darling, moving from the GOP to Obama. But a host of new taxes were all defeated at the same time. And, a move by the liberal Democrat Speaker of the Colorado House to repeal the state’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights was crushed.

    • In New Hampshire, another Obama state, voters expressed their hostility to ever-rising taxes and spending by voting in favor of a spending cap in Rochester by a 70 to 30 margin, despite an expensive NO campaign by union powerbrokers.

    There are many other examples. But the point is clear. Break your word Mr. President by hiking taxes and you will face an electorate that can become very surly and very unforgiving.

    2. Urban chic social policy has not become the majority. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of same-sex marriage, the fact is that California, Arizona and Florida—two of which gave Obama 82 electoral votes—outlawed same-sex marriage on Tuesday. The Abortion debate has clearly settled into a trench warfare position but that doesn’t mean bold moves in either direction will find favor.

    3. And finally, while the political observers point with smug and knowing smiles to the fact that the GOP no longer has a single member of Congress from New England, they overlook the impact on the GOP of such a situation. The GOP is now more ideologically united than at any time in recent memory. It is down, it is searching for ways to communicate and refine its machinery. But there is very little dispute inside over direction. Once that unity of purpose is combined with resolve and a cleaning out of the damage done by the “compassionate conservatives” the GOP will be a force Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama will find much more difficult to defeat.

    In a last gasp of appeasement, John McCain’s concession speech called on all Republicans to join the Obama bandwagon. This siren’s song is being sung by editorials and commentary in every corner of the country. Give up the “partisanship” they whine. Let us all become one big happy family, they plea. But these are nothing more than sugar-coated offers of total surrender.

    As the details of the elections show, there is no willingness on the part of the people to surrender on taxes. There is no desire to further distort the culture. And there is scant support among the tens of millions of voters who did not vote for Barack Obama to concede to an agenda written by 1960’s hippies and leftist radicals.

    In the coming days, we will learn more about exactly what the people said on Tuesday. But one thing is crystal clear right now: This is no time to be surrendering and certainly no time to be conceding core principles.

    The American people may have signed a 4-year contract with Barack Obama, but the terms under which they decide if it has been violated are yet to be determined. Those may yet be defined by a newly-invigorated GOP. An Obama administration will have to walk a fine line in order to keep a Congressional majority, and to pave a road to re-election.

    Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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