Thursday, November 05, 2009
not sure I'm describing it well but please bear with me).
And this approach can work elsewhere as well.
Take for example the Wall Street Journal editorial headline "Voters fear that liberal policies are endangering economic recovery.
Now replace 'liberal policies' with 'take from me to give to others'
and replace 'economic recovery' with 'my job security, health care and retirement prospects'
and you have "Voters fear taking from me to give to others are endangering my job security, health care and retirement prospects"... in other words, a apt description of what is happening across the country... and as such, voters aren't going to be too happy with those who are proposing to do just that.
I've argued before that most people are willing to help others... but only to the extent doing so doesn't involve too great a sacrifice (obvious exceptions include the military and police). Put another way, charity is a luxury, something that is indulged only after the basic necessities are taken care of. While someone may do without steak, very few people will agree to go to go without food so someone they're not related to can eat. Very few people will willingly give up a portion of their paycheck to save the job of someone else. Yes, there's a degree of selfishness involved, in that people look to take care of themselves before they help someone else, but it's also basic human nature.
And liberal policies are viewed by most people as benefiting someone other than themselves. People don't view welfare programs and subsidized housing as something that benefits them, they (and rightly so, based on the numbers, there are fewer people on welfare and receiving subsidized housing than those who don't) view these programs as helping someone else. Card check union organizing? Doesn't help me. Providing health care to those without coverage? Ditto, it benefits someone else, not me. Pushing banks to loan money to people with bad credit ratings and/or no real income? Not me, I have a job and decent credit. In fact, I'm not sure of a single liberal program that benefits the majority of people in this country. Social Security? Nope, most people aren't getting checks. Medicare? Medicaid? Sorry, no. Minimum wage laws? Not even close.
And right now, an awful lot of the public doesn't feel their basic necessities are being taken care of. And of these people, those who look to the government to take care of them (example: the woman in the Obama video who said something along the lines of that Obama was going to take care of her mortgage) are going to have no problem with what Obama is doing. But for everybody else, who either doesn't look to the government or would but has no confidence the government is up to the task), they're feeling mighty vulnerable... and people who are worried about having a job, having to face higher health care premiums, a house that has dropped in value and a 401(k) that isn't going to let them retire on a beach aren't much in the mood to support policies that amount to taking even more money out of their pocket to give to someone - and less deserving - else.
And voters view conservative policies as 'taking care of me before I take care of someone else'. It's the safe harbor one turns to in times of uncertainty. When one doesn't feel safe, you lock up the criminals, you don't run the risk of rehabilitation gone wrong. And when one isn't sure there is going to be a job, let alone a raise, that's when they become a bit more reluctant to see their taxes go up. When their businesses are facing layoffs, they're not excited about higher corporate taxes and regulations that make it layoffs even more likely.
This isn't to say that there aren't 'compassionate conservatives' or people who claim to be liberals who first look out for themselves, I'm commenting on the way the public defines 'liberal policies' and 'conservative policies'.
So, you ask, how did liberal Obama win last year with all of the uncertainty going on? Doesn't his election disprove your theory? Well, I respond, it's not theory, it's proven fact. And remember Obama did a heck of job (along with his sycophantic media friends) of hiding his liberal views, he painted himself as 'post-partisan', the public didn't consider themselves as voting for a liberal (and as a side note, didn't most of the Democrats who took GOP seats describe themselves as somewhat conservative?.
And just as nature abhors a vacuum, even in troubled times, if no one represents the conservative viewpoint, then the public isn't going to turn to what isn't there, and McCain certainly didn't paint himself as the safe harbor conservative people wanted. McCain not only ran as the non-conservative conservative, a position that appealed to few people, he did a terrible job of it.