So, I realize I'm a little behind the times with this, but bear with me. The elections are still a pretty recent event, and still worth talking about. Because what we saw on that Tuesday night four weeks ago was a promising sign that, despite the best efforts of big government, American liberty isn't quite ready to roll over and be trampled.
The past two years should have been golden ones for the big government crowd. Obama's election was supposed to usher in the beginning of the "New Liberal Order," according to Time magazine. Sam Tanenhaus of the New York Times thought nothing of publishing a book titled "The Death of Conservatism." A Democratically controlled Congress, coupled with the election of Obama, was supposed to have put a permanent end to conservative ideology. The Republicans had failed; they were out, and now it was finally time to transform America into the liberal utopia those on the left had dreamed about for years.
Except, it didn't work out that way. Even as Obama took office, public opinion started shifting the opposite way. A Gallup poll conducted in July 2009- a mere six months after Obama took office- found that, by a two-to-one margin, people said they had become more conservative in recent years. The election of President Obama was not the open invitation to transform America into a liberal Mecca that so many on the left interpreted it as. Rather than eagerly gobbling up the big government agenda they were offered, Americans gagged on it. When Obama and his administration continued to force it down their throats, they choked. And, at the first opportunity they had, Americans roundly rejected that agenda and spat it back out.
The Republican party is often sneered at by the left as being the “Party of ‘No.’” But “No!” was exactly what an increasingly angry American electorate had been shouting at the Obama administration for nearly two years- “No” to the stimulus, to cap-and-trade, to seemingly out-of-control government spending, to the cumbersome and intrusive health care bill. “No” was the message Obama and his administration ignored at their peril. And “No” was the message they were roundly handed on November 2 , when the American people essentially slapped a pair of cuffs on them and screamed “Stop!” The exit polls from that day bear this out. Voters that fateful Tuesday voted for Republicans by 9-1. Fully 48% of them said that ObamaCare should be repealed. Only 1/3 of voters thought that the multi-billion dollar stimulus plan had done anything to help the economy (the other 2/3 were evenly divided between thinking that the stimulus plan made no difference and thinking that it had actually hurt the economy). Over half the voters- 56%, to be precise- said that the government is doing "too many things better left to businesses and individuals.” Only a paltry 38% thought the government should do more.
The message from the 2010 elections is clear- Americans are tired of bigger and ever more intrusive government. They want less government, less spending, more freedom. Whether the newly elected Republicans will be able to live up to those desires remains to be seen. What is refreshingly clear, though, is that, the quintessential American desire for more freedom and less government is still alive and kicking.