Patterico's Pontifications


Which Side Am I On? I Am On The Side of Avoiding The Coming Fiscal Crash

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:21 am

Kevin D. Williamson asks: Which Side Are You On?

The three most important words in politics are: “Compared with what?” And I am more than a little sympathetic to conservatives’ complaints about the failures of elected Republicans in Washington, who consistently disappoint us even when they are in the majority. I am also sympathetic to the view that our situation may have deteriorated to the point that even a unified Republican government under the leadership of principled conservatives may not be enough to turn things around. And though I reject the notion that Mitt Romney wasn’t good enough for true-believing conservatives, let’s say, arguendo, that that was the case. Unless you are ready to give up entirely on the notion of advancing conservative principles through the ballot box, you might consider looking at things this way: Even if you do not think that it matters much whether Republicans win, it matters a great deal that Democrats lose.

Maybe you were not that excited that 2012 gave you a choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. I sympathize — I liked Rick Perry. But how is President Romney vs. President Obama a hard choice? How is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vs. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a hard choice? How is Speaker of the House John Boehner vs. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi a hard choice?

It isn’t.

I’ll grant you that one would be better than the other. The recent Hobby Lobby arguments are a good reminder of why spending decades in the political wilderness is not a plan. Proponents of religious freedom are likely to win that case, but if Obama could stack the Court with his favorite nominees, religious freedom would not have a chance. And, as I am fond of pointing out, the best Justice on the Court was appointed by a mild-mannered Romneyesque president: G.H.W. Bush. Yes, he also gave us Souter (thanks, John Sununu!) but a Democrat gives us two Souters.

Yes, all that is true. But . . .

. . . but good Supreme Court Justices some of the time are no longer good enough. Mild and inoffensive decreases in the rate of government spending are not good enough.

We are racing towards fiscal ruin at top speed. Taking our foot off the brake, or steering five degrees to the right, will not prevent this crash. At this point, it doesn’t really matter that much if we have President Romney or Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader McConnell, because there is no reason to think they will do anything much to change the reality of what’s coming.

Heading towards the cliff at 70 mph instead of 120 mph is better, yes. It gives us more time to formulate a plan for avoiding the cliff. But it’s not good enough.

Williamson says backing conservatives is necessary “[u]nless you are ready to give up entirely on the notion of advancing conservative principles through the ballot box.” Well. I would never advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government. But I’m willing to discuss lesser measures, like secession, or just advocating really crazy, politically suicidal measures like repealing ObamaCare at all cost, or reforming Social Security and Medicare through moderate means like, for example, totally abolishing them.

I think it’s time to grab the steering wheel and give it a spin. The car’s gonna flip a few times, but our chances are better than if we plummet over the cliff to a 3000-foot dropoff.

Sorry, Mr. Williamson. I get where you’re coming from, I really do. But things are more desperate than you seem to want to admit.

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