Admittedly, the sun neither rises nor sets as a result of any item on the cover of Time Magazine. Nevertheless, the fact that Time, in its choice of "Person of the Year," slighted the new Speaker bears great significance to those who expect a resurgence of liberalism in American politics.
Pundits across the political spectrum are scratching their heads over Time Magazine’s bizarre choice of “person of the year.” Word is out that Time will essentially tell the American people that it is every one of them who qualifies for the “honor.” While their decision undoubtedly results in part from the increasing sophistry and juvenile thinking that is reaching epidemic proportions among the old media, another factor is at play. Insofar as it reflects a major upheaval in the political landscape, it cannot be ignored.
Without a doubt, the individual who most clearly qualified for the title was Nancy Pelosi, first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives, and inarguable figurehead of the “Democrat Revolution of 2006.” Throughout the latter part of 2006, Pelosi’s shameless grandstanding, coupled with the media adulation heaped on her, made her the clear choice as the individual who most influenced the news during the past year.
Admittedly, the sun neither rises nor sets as a result of any item on the cover of Time Magazine. Nevertheless, the fact that Time slighted the new Speaker bears great significance to those who expect a resurgence of liberalism in American politics.
Despite their initial post election jubilation, the future does not look entirely bright and rosy for the Democrats. Much has changed since they were last in a position to effectively steer the country in the direction that they wanted it to go.
Several recent events have revealed that they are finding it extremely difficult to cope with the present environment. Hopes are fading that they can once again revert to the manner in which they were accustomed to operating. The landscape has changed, and the liberal political machinations of yesteryear are gone, perhaps forever.
One of the last great gasps of liberal supremacy came in 1993, as the Democrats on the House floor broke into spontaneous applause and cheering upon passage of the largest tax increase in history. Though they congratulated themselves for taking such a bold step, ostensibly for the betterment of the country, the backlash was immediate and unrelenting.
The event was catalogued and thereafter replayed by the fledgling “alternative media” as proof that those on the left rejoiced in the confiscation of America's wealth. Excuses and justifications to the effect that this was a painful but necessary course of action were easily dismissed upon viewing the obvious jubilation.
Furthermore, those monotonously predictable promises of a reduced deficit, as a direct byproduct of the tax increase rang hollow. Nobody expected true fiscal restraint. And to the surprise of few, none ensued. In November of the following year, America showed its displeasure with the whole charade by sending Democrats packing, thus handing over control of both Houses to the Republicans.
While it is accurate to state that the Republicans were given the same message this past election cycle, and for much the same reason, it does not follow that this year’s election equates to a new American embrace of the former philosophies of the Democrats. Furthermore, their attempts to return the Congress to its pre-1994 days have consistently resulted in one embarrassing fiasco after another. Consider a few of the more notable such events.
In what was virtually a direct quote of Bill Clinton’s ironic 1992 promise to lead “the most ethical administration in history,” Nancy Pelosi attempted to contrast herself against Congressional Republicans, whom she accused of representing a “culture of corruption.”
Pelosi likewise pledged to lead “the most ethical Congress in history,” apparently not realizing that such a commitment would henceforth be remembered. But much has transpired in the past twelve years, both technologically and culturally. Instead of blindly accepting the claim, the conservative grassroots, via talk radio and the Internet, have been quick to spotlight each episode in which her actions directly contradict that lofty assertion.
The first such showdown came on November 16, when John Murtha (D.-PA), Pelosi’s hand-picked nominee for her party’s second in command, was soundly rejected by Congressional Democrats. Murtha, who only months before had been almost universally lauded as a “war hero,” was suffering from the recollection of his ethical lapses during the Abscam controversy.
Pelosi’s problems only deepened in the ensuing days. By November 28, she was forced to abandon plans to nominate Florida Representative Alcee Hastings as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Hastings, a former Federal Judge who had been impeached over a bribery scandal, had initially been her choice to chair the committee. Yet once again, she found herself in a corner as a result of her “ethics” promise.
Over on the Senate side, the grandiose plans of Hillary Clinton (D.-NY) to reinstitute socialized medical care are rather quickly being shuffled to the back burner. Despite Democrat dreams of mass appeal during the 2008 elections, grassroots reaction to it is clearly making it even more of a “lightning rod” than it was when last attempted in the early days of the Clinton Presidency.
No less can be said of pre-election Democrat promises to “cut and run” from Iraq. The grim realization is setting in on them that they can no longer simply claim victory and change the subject. Liberal politicians are beginning to realize that they can and will be held accountable for the inevitable consequences of such a rash and cowardly action if they continue to promote it.
To their astonishment, Democrats are finding out that actually leading and implementing an agenda is going to be much more difficult than merely catcalling from the sidelines, as they have grown accustomed to doing in the past several years. The triumphal “cakewalk” they anticipated could only have occurred within the framework of an information monopoly. And that monopoly no longer exists.
Yesterday’s phony promise can no longer simply be discarded, once it has outlived its usefulness. Grassroots America now has the means and the will to make certain that it can come back to haunt them.
Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, as has written for regional and national magazines. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.