Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Self Destruction of the Obama Coalition

Here is a great essay by Paul Rahe on the Obama coalition and why it is likely to self-destruct (h/t Powerline). Below is a key excerpt, though take the time to read the entire fascinating essay:

what Obama and his advisors plan to do is to abandon once and for all the old New Deal coalition and forge a new governing coalition resembling the one that John Lindsay put together in the city of New York – i.e., a coalition of upscale voters and minorities with some support from young people of the sort who were carried away by Lindsay’s glamor.


It is, of course, possible that the Republican Party will hand Obama another victory. None of the figures seeking the Republican presidential nomination inspires confidence. All are either inept in some obvious way or have baggage that voters might find off-putting, and the one most likely to be effective in debating the President has the most baggage. It is easy to see how Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich can be demonized.

But I nonetheless think that the Republicans are likely to win. The John Lindsay coalition is an exceedingly fragile one. One might even say that it is apt to self-destruct. The material interests of upscale voters and those of Americans dependent on government largesse do not coincide, and in a time of straitened circumstances and widespread unemployment the tensions between those who pay the bulk of the taxes collected and those on the take are apt to be extreme. How many upscale voters want to see their taxes dramatically increased in the near future? It may not be bread alone that determines voting patterns in the US, but during economic downturns such concerns loom especially large. I could easily imagine a new coalition taking shape – one that unites upscale voters, working stiffs, and small businessmen against public-sector workers and those who live off government patronage. Such a coalition, forged in a time of suffering, might last a very long time, and, if it did, the number of public-sector workers and of those living off government patronage would steadily decline.

To this analysis, we can add one more item. Barack Obama has done for the United States what John Lindsay did for the city of New York. He has brought us to the edge of bankruptcy, and he has made us look into the abyss – and he has compounded the problem by saddling us with Obamacare, which grows less popular with time. Moreover, one cannot say with regard to the administration that brought us the Fast and Furious and Solyndra scandals that it has not been “incompetent or foolish or corrupt.” One can say, however, that it has been “actively destructive.”

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Barack Obama is a gift to the friends of liberty. He is the sort of man who gives a bad cause a bad name.

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