Finally, A Smoke Free America

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

After 25 years of blowing smoke to blur ideological lines, Republicans and
Democrats have emerged from their self-generated haze and confessed to
holding contrasting visions for America. No longer are their differences
obscured by Republican George W. Bush’s "compassionate conservatism" or
Democrat Bill Clinton’s "triangulation."

It’s a good thing, too, because, usually, when the messages are unclear, the
party wins that most relies on emotional appeals and promises, never mind
that much of what’s promised isn’t necessary, achievable or sustainable.

Democrats are mostly liberals still holding to the popular 1960s’
counterculture admonition "If it feels good, do it," and reflexively
defending the social programs enacted during that decade and the 1930s that
are unsustainable today. To Democrats, there is no crisis of the welfare

Not always reliably so, but certainly by comparison to most Democrats,
Republicans are fairly conservative. However, the party is becoming more
conservative as grassroots groups gain influence, elect more officials and
nudge more Republican and nervous Democratic incumbents to the political
right. Liberals understand that grassroots influences on Republican and
Democratic moderates threaten their "progressive" agenda, so, to discredit
normal, everyday, patriotic, law-abiding fellow Americans, liberals call
grassroots enthusiasts "Nazis," "terrorists," and "racists" among other
charming epithets. So much for liberal "civility" and "moderation."

There are still some Jurassic Republican-lite incumbents around – one ran
for president in 2008 – but the grassroots are making real progress and, in
the process, are infusing the Republican Party with energy and spine. Ignore
insincere "concerns" expressed by the liberal chattering class. The
Republican Party won’t be dead until it begins taking advice from Democrats.

Conservatives, for whom feel-good platitudes have never worked, are
delighted with the new, smoke-free political environment. Platitudes and
obfuscation have been useful for liberals, who rely on friendly media to
further obscure and amplify their vague, often mendacious "messages" and to
deny or excuse liberal excesses. Conservatives fare better with ideological
differences clearly delineated and broadly understood, because, after
decades of smoke, the right must teach and draw contrasts in order to
attract voters.

No one has done more to expose the parties’ ideological differences and
improve conservative prospects than President Barack Obama. A man of the
extreme left, Obama has made it impossible for vocal Democratic supporters
to continue to hide their liberal, even radical ideological fervor behind a
façade of declared, but nonexistent moderation. And his results – measurable
data – have made it far more difficult for media enablers to hide the
fiscal, economic, moral and social damage Obama’s policies have done to
America and Americans.

Obama’s and the Democrats’ irresponsible spending, massive debt
accumulation, poor economy, high jobless rates, tax increases, hijacking of
health care, oppressive, often punitive regulatory environment and, now, a
wave of administration scandals are giving Americans a far better
understanding of what the president’s stated objective to "transform
America" really means.

The IRS persecution of conservatives, the Benghazi debacle, the NSA’s
domestic electronic snooping and the Justice Department seizure of
journalists’ phone records have eroded public trust in government and in the
office of the president. Obama’s imperial presidency and his big government
goals are now being widely questioned by Americans and, ironically, by the
formerly-servile legacy media.

Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard observed: "(T)he Obama administration is
in an unexpected and sharp state of decline. Mr. Obama has little influence
on Congress. His presidency has no theme. He pivots nervously from issue to
issue Congressional Republicans neither trust nor fear the president. And
Democrats on Capitol Hill, to whom Mr. Obama has never been close, have
grown leery of him."

Barnes argues that Obama’s decline preceded the scandals, a result of what
Obama did in his first term and in the two months following his re-election,
but that the scandals worsened his standing among Americans and "made
recovery next to impossible."

National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson regrets the loss of ethical clarity in
the presidency: "One of the legacies of the Obama administration is
presidential ethics as an entirely relative, abstract concept. Obama’s
morality is to be judged by his professed aims, not his actual means of
achieving them. … The problem, however, is not just that Obama’s
declarations of moral intent are deemed more important than his concrete
behavior, but also that his moral pieties serve as a psychological mechanism
that offers exemption for his unethical conduct."

In other words, in his and his ideological disciples’ minds, Obama’s desired
ends always justify – and excuse – any, even unethical or illegal means.

The smoke has cleared. Americans, especially young Americans and
independents, now understand that Obama’s policies have failed them,
threatened their futures and the futures of their kids and grandkids. They
accept that Obama is a hyper-partisan political throwback, not the honest,
moderate political healer they imagined him to be. As a result, more
Americans have become receptive to messages of positive, genuine reform –
practical, constructive, proven conservative messages and programs honestly
defined, competently delivered and impartially administered.

Republicans, don’t blow it.