08.26.2010 0

Establishment Beware

A definitive trend has emerged with Tuesday’s primary election results of Republican Party contests: 2010 is an anti-establishment year. Career politician Bill McCollum was defeated in the Florida gubernatorial contest by outsider Rick Scott, and incumbent Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is losing to tea party-favorite Joe Miller, who was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Couple that with incumbent Republican Senator John McCain spending $21 million to defeat former Representative J.D. Hayworth. Despite claims by U.S. News & World Report that the Arizona race sent a “mixed message,” in order to win, McCain had to run decidedly more conservative than in previous runs. He tested the political winds and got out in front of a tough challenge by running to the right, and did so convincingly to Arizona voters, winning over 60 percent of the vote.

Then there’s the ascendency of another tea party candidate, Rand Paul, to the Republican nomination for Kentucky’s open Senate seat, and Marco Rubio taking the Republican nod for Senate in Florida. And the defeat of incumbent Republican Senator Bill Bennett in Utah to tea party-backed Mike Lee, plus conservatives Ken Buck and Pat Toomey in Colorado and Pennsylvania, respectively. Not to mention the victory of Sharron Angle as Republican Senate nominee in Nevada, yet another tea party favorite.

See a pattern? In consequential contest after contest, heads are rolling, and the establishment is losing.

Underneath it all, there is massive voter unrest against professional politicians. The American people are rejecting wholesale those who make their livings as deal-makers, who spend too much, and who reek of the establishment, which voters correctly perceive have delivered the U.S. economy into a pit of despair, debt, and persistently high unemployment.

Even Democrats are running against Washington and its $13.37 trillion national debt, with appointed Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado making a speech that tells us everything political observers need to know about voter sentiment in 2010. Bennet said, “We have managed to acquire $13 trillion of debt on our balance sheet. In my view we have nothing to show for it.”

Bennet pointed to the inefficacy of the $862 billion “stimulus” that he voted for, saying, “We haven’t invested in our roads, our bridges, our waste-water systems, our sewer systems. We haven’t even maintained the assets that our parents and grandparents built for us.” He’s right, but that may not save him.

As much as the political winds are pointed in an anti-establishment direction, they are also pointed directly against Democrats, who are expected to suffer significant losses in both the House and Senate this year. This is owed entirely to being perceived — again, correctly — as being a part of the establishment responsible for the policies that have produced to dire straits we are in.

It’s the same reason long-serving Republicans are being wiped out: Policy matters.

Recall the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was supposed to be used to purchase “toxic” mortgage-backed securities. It wasn’t. It was turned into a bank recapitalization fund, and instead the Federal Reserve printed $1.25 trillion off-budget to bail out investors.

The $862 billion “stimulus” was supposed to bring unemployment down and lead directly to recovery, but it hasn’t. Unemployment remains at 9.5 percent, and would be 10.2 percent if not for a statistical sleight of hand by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to remove some 1.115 million people from the civilian labor force.

The Dodd-Frank financial takeover bill was supposed to end bailouts, but now Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is talking openly about explicitly guaranteeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities. Moreover, the legislation institutionalized a permanent, unlimited bailout fund under the auspices of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

ObamaCare was supposed to keep health costs down, but now new insurance coverage requirements are driving premiums higher, as critics warned. The new requirements have not even taken affect yet, but insurance companies are already bracing for the worst and stockpiling additional revenue to remain solvent.

Any political program whose policy prescriptions do not achieve the minimum standards that are set for it is doomed to lose public support, never mind keeping a majority. The party that in 2010 persuasively rejects these false promises, and successfully rolls back these government usurpations when in office may be able to govern for a generation.

Republicans should be taking notes. The world that the political establishment has built is crumbling and sinking, and politicians who want to survive the fallout will run far away from it —as quickly as possible.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.

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