While some conservatives have, in the past 72 hours, found a silver lining in the cloud of all-but-certain passage of Obamacare, others caution that the silver lining, Republican victories in next year’s election, will be ephemeral while the cloud, greater government control over our lives, will be permanent, a perpetual gloomy day.
When, they ask, has Congress ever repealed a federal program? Even Ronald Reagan, in his heyday, was only able to contain the rate of growth of federal programs, he wasn’t able to eliminate any, even some which had long outlived their usefulness. This, they argue, is just one more step on the road to serfdom, from which there is no turning back.
Some say Obama’s spending spree is part of the Cloward/Piven Strategy
to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. The created crisis provides the impetus to bring about radical political change.
And this health care reform only helps accelerate that process. A number of conservatives have referenced this strategy. Libertarian iconoclasts, like Glenn Beck, have followed suit. Indeed, the Piven/Cloward thesis became all but conventional wisdom. “It was,” Michael Barone writes, “widely supposed that economic distress would increase America’s appetite for big-government measures to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and control the provision of health care.”
All this government spending, however, seems to be having having the opposite effect. Never before has Congress enacted such a massive reform on a pure party line vote. A number of Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in passing Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Popular opinion had not turned against those reforms at the time they were enacted.
This isn’t how Miss Piven and Mr. Cloward imagined things would turn out. Not only do we have public opinion running against health care reform, we have the American people turning against government reforms of all kinds. Barone cites a Rasmussen poll showing “66 percent of Americans favor[ing] smaller government with fewer services and only 22 percent favor[ing] more services and higher taxes.” Three months ago, Gallup found 57% of Americans saying “the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to businesses and individual, and 45% say there is too much government regulation of business.”
No wonder the number of Americans who disapprove of the president’s party has jumped nearly 50% since he took office. He’s spent the past eleven months increasing government regulation of the private sector.
Have the American people finally had enough? Is health care the proverbial straw which breaks the camel’s back? Will Americans now clamor not for more government spending, but for less? In seeking repeal of this burdensome new health care initiative, will the American people also demand repeal of other burdensome programs?
The growing strength of the Tea Party movement shows the energy on the side of small government advocates. But, the question remains, can we channel that grassroots energy into legislative accomplishment?
This movement is the continuation of the process begun in 1964 when the GOP nominated Barry Goldwater as its standard bear. I believe the end result of the current crisis won’t be the overthrow of capitalism, but it’s reinvigoration. The dark cloud of increased government control over health care will soon pass.
We’ll elect conservatives committed to smaller government and they’ll repeal this and other federal boondoggles. And the private sector will flourish once again, free market reforms will help fix our health care system. We’ll have better and more efficient medical care and more, many, many more opportunities, provided Republicans stand firm for the principles Ronald Reagan championed. Should Republicans champion smaller government, with people paying more attention to politics, they’ll do as they have been doing for the better part of this year, turn away from the Democrats, turning them out of office.
But then again, like the Gipper, I’m an optimist.