Change comes back around

True believers in change, and not those who merely adopt the word as a campaign slogan, are never surprised by its constancy.
Thus when confronted with trying economic times, trillion-dollar deficits and troubling legislative initiatives such as Obamacare and bailouts, the American people did just what President Obama asked them to do half-a-term ago: they voted for change.
The result was a massive alteration in the congressional landscape: a 60-seat swing and Republican majority in the people’s chamber (the House), and a retained majority so slim in the World’s Most Deliberative Body that ending filibusters will be next to impossible.
Democrats are downplaying the “historic” nature of the election, which is the largest gain in the House for either party since 1948, but all you have to do is look in our own back yard to see examples of history-making magnitude.
The last time the 1st Congressional District, up in northeast Arkansas, sent a Republican to Washington was during the Reconstruction era. But on Tuesday night, GOP candidate Rick Crawford broke a nearly 140-year choke-hold by Democrats on the seat.
In January, Republicans will occupy three of the four Arkansas seats in the House of Representatives. The last time the GOP occupied a majority of the state’s congressional delegation was — you guessed it! — way back in history in the 1870s.
Republican candidates also ascended to state constitutional offices in campaigns for Lieutenant Governor, Land Commissioner and Secretary of State.
Change is always with us, and thank goodness. It’s a key part of the political natural selection process, which allows admirably for corrections to previous elections. In this most recent manifestation, for example, Democrats such as now dethroned Speaker Nancy Pelosi mistakenly interpreted the election of personally popular Barack Obama as an endorsement of sweeping liberal policies.
Easily re-elected in her San Francisco district, Pelosi’s penchant for political delusion continues to exceed expectations. In her election night statement, despite nationwide rebuke of her House leadership role, she lauded the “courageous” actions of the Democratic Majority and the “remarkable” campaigns run by members.
President Obama himself also misread the opportunity voters laid before him. He wasn’t elected because he was a Democrat, but rather in spite of it. Independents and Republicans embraced Obama’s bipartisan rhetoric — they never trusted Pelosi & Staff’s positions or policy ideas.
Great presidents lead their parties, not the other way around. President Obama had the oratory to unite, but was either unable or unwilling to keep his party’s radicals in check. Whether it was his age, his relative inexperience or simply his deference to a partisan pecking order, President Obama ceded his political capital to Congressional Democrats all too eager to read “Obama-mania” as “liberal mandate.”
Watching the party tail wag the presidential dog inspired few and irritated many, especially among those non-traditional, non-Democrat voters who had rolled the dice on an Obama ballot.
Exit polls from Tuesday showed a surge homeward among previously favorable demographics. Republicans overwhelming voted their party, and independent voters favored the GOP by a 2-to-1 margin.
Minorities remained anchored in Democratic ranks, but breaches are brewing that bode ill for this often taken-for-granted coalition: when categorized by education and income, support by blacks and Latinos begins to erode.
While falling short in a couple of high profile campaigns, the Tea Party movement proved more resilient and far-reaching than many previously thought. A full four out of 10 Americans identified themselves as supportive of Tea Party ideas in Tuesday’s exit polls.
Party affiliation can be a hollow attribute, as evidenced by the Republican mismanagement of affairs last time they had complete congressional control. They proved no better — in fact, just as bad or worse — at limited government than the Democrats they had pilloried.
In an ironic reminiscence of Bill Clinton’s old campaign motto from 1992, voters overwhelmingly answered with some variation of “It’s the economy, stupid” when exit-polled about the most important issues.
Sixty-two percent named the economy as paramount, which was exactly the same percentage that said the country was headed in the wrong direction. No other issue came close; healthcare was a distant second at 19 percent, followed by illegal immigration at 8 percent.
A particularly noteworthy item from the exit polls was the significant gain among voters who described themselves as “conservative.” The figure jumped from 32 percent last mid-term to 41 percent this year, doubling the percentage of those who consider themselves “liberal.”
Conservatism is the only hope to reining in runaway deficit spending, social programs and the burgeoning bureaucracy of a bloated government.
Yet, already another C-word is being bandied about, which is a rabid wolf in sheep’s civil language, and which will undermine the resolve required to truly achieve restorative, governmental change.
“Compromise” is merely a codeword for continuation. Now that they’ve been given something of another chance, Republicans had better return to their fiscally conservative roots, pronto.
It’s time for government to finally live within its means — for a change.


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