One of the few advantages to being very close to 60 years old is that you can put events like this 2008 election into perspective.
The United States has not gone commie, the Constitution will prevail, the sun will come out tomorrow.
After all, he can’t be any worse than Carter…
In many ways, the situation is not that different. The Democrats swept the 1976 election not based on general approval of their policies, but because Gerald Ford, a genuinely nice guy, had become very unpopular because he had pardoned Richard Nixon, frustrating the Democrats lust to see a Republican President sent to prison. Nixon had humiliated them in the 72 election, but they thought they would have their revenge by prosecuting him after he resigned in disgrace. The pardon, a step Ford thought would hasten healing, instead transferred their fury, and that of the Press, to his own administration. Carter was elected simply because Nixon had tainted the Republican Party with scandal and Ford had snatched their revenge from their grasp. But Carter and the Democrats controlling both houses of Congress mistook the rejection of the Republicans as a mandate for their policies.
Giddy with power and blind to the true motivation of the electorate, they overplayed their hand and enacted a number of new social programs, including the catastrophic Community Reinvestment Act, the seed that grew, with help from Bill Clinton’s expansion of Fannie Mae, into the financial crisis that afflicts us today. Unchallenged by a partisan Congress, Carter legislated from the Oval Office with a series of regulations and price controls on energy production, later passed into law by Congress, which destroyed the domestic oil and gas industry so thoroughly that they are still far below the capacity in place when he was elected.
Overseas, thugs and despots saw Carter’s talk of unilateral disarmament and pressure on Israel tp capitulate to Palestinian demands as weakness, and responded with aggression. Carter gave away the Panama Canal, and the Soviets sponsored surrogate insurgencies throughout Central America to fill that power vacuum. While we were distracted in our own hemisphere, Russia invaded Afghanistan as a preliminary move toward control of the Middle East. Finally, Iranian “students” backed by the Mullahs, overran the US Embassy, taking 52 hostages who were under the protection of Diplomatic Immunity under international law. Carter took no effective action.
Carter’s incessant meddling in the economy proved disastrous, no surprise to Libertarians, and as inflation, unemployment and interest rates soared to unheard of levels, new terms like Stagflation and Misery Index had to be coined to describe them. Carter responded by blaming a ‘crisis of confidence’ in the people for his failures in his “Malaise” speech.
Thankfully, after one term in office, Ronald Reagan took us out of Carter’s misery.
We have 3 years to find a Reagan.
Reagan did not resort to personal attacks, or guilt by association, instead stating principled policies of free trade, peace through strength, and low taxes and appealing to the strength and intelligence of the people. Where Carter saw only the faults and fears of the people, Reagan led us to look to our strengths and the power of Liberty to unleash that strength.
But with or without a Reagan, we will survive, simply because the hubris of the Democrats will, as before, lead them to overextend and try to make the leap to socialism at a time when only unbridled free markets can generate the prosperity required to overcome the economic problems we face. They are preparing to apply solution to our problems that will fail, and fail so quickly and obviously as to discredit them for another 30 years.
But if we want the next Reagan to be a Libertarian, we must learn from him. Libertarians tend toward the negative, harping on the personal faults of those in power. We need to learn to emphasize the bounties of Liberty and when we must criticize, frame that with humor and not with the bitterness and negativity as the GOP seems mired in today. So, lets keep Lew Rockwell safely in the closet and put on a happy, confident face and preach the joys of Liberty and let the evils of socialism reveal themselves as they certainly will.
Now is our time. Our opportunity for change we can believe in is upon us.
This is going to be fun.