We all know we’re in a tough spot as conservatives at the moment. The most liberal President since FDR just won reelection, we’re approaching the fiscal cliff of expiring tax rates, and the Republican Party is purging the conservatives from key committees.
President Obama will be held responsible by less than 30% of people if the fiscal cliff goes badly, while Republicans will be blamed by more than 50%. Knowing he holds this hand, President Obama is being openly disingenuous about what he hopes to achieve, casting every Republican attempt at compromise as an extreme right-wing solution.
The conservative media has been working feverishly to find the best route for the Republican Party, coming up with a variety of media-friendly solutions, which range from presenting the Bowles-Simpson plan to a new compromise with the President. However, there is another option that has been passed around by some influential bloggers [language warning], and has now gone mainstream. The logic is pretty simple. America voted for this President. Let them have what they asked for. Let them have the massive tax hikes. Let them pass the new stimulus. Let them cut the military and project weakness to the world. With the exception of Supreme Court Justices, let Obama do whatever Obama wants to do, because we all know that it will fail. Republicans, when presented with Obama’s plan, vote present, allowing it to pass with only Democratic support. Let them present the socialist budget. Let them destroy the wealth of generations, because it is the only way that the people will wake up.
Let the people who voted for Obama feel the full wrath of the spurned free market. Let them see how their jobs disappear, and gas prices continue to grow. Let them feel the weight of socialised medicine, as the doctor informs them that they can’t be treated at their annual check-up.
Let it Burn.
This plan is very dramatic, and it appeals to the fire in us. The pain of Romney’s loss and the re-election of President Obama thanks to a slavish media class and an incredibly dishonest campaign fuels this feeling that the people who voted for the left-wing agenda, and voted against their own best interests, deserve to feel the full fire of their bad decisions.
While I’m sympathetic to the cause of the “Let it Burn” movement, I think it has incredible strengths, and equally damaging weaknesses.
It is very strong philosophically, because this plan is based completely around the idea that capitalism works, conservative principles work, and the left-wing agenda doesn’t. Liberals should LOVE this plan, because they believe their ideas will work. And when they fail, we have the ability to point out every time we objected, but allowed them to pass what they wanted. As the argument goes, if this plan does not wake up the country, literally nothing will. The left should embrace this plan and do our work for us, as they trumpet that they want all the credit for the new era of ‘fairness’.
If America is incapable of realizing the truly responsible after a 100% Democratic agenda for 2 years, they will never wake up, and the decline of America that Obama said he would preside over has finally become inevitable. If the people do not realize what made them prosperous, they will continue to vote for the poison that is destroying them.
We can ask voters if they liked the last 4 years, where Obama got everything he wanted. We can show them our predictions of failure. We can show them our warnings. We can prove the destruction of the economy is based on the policies of the Democratic Party. We can finally show people how that second Jimmy Carter would have looked like, without the introduction of conservative principles. I mean, the people voted for the man with no plan. So let’s let them have it.
That side of the plan is strong. The weaknesses, however, are nearly as striking.
We know how much damage President Obama did while he actually had a re-election to worry about. Can we survive 4 more years of this relentless assault without a Republican House majority stopping the most heinous offenses? Can the Republicans win the media battle that “Let it Burn” requires? Can we win, when the media asks us WHY we didn’t vote against the plan? We ‘should’ be able to, but with the future of the country in the balance, is ‘should’ good enough?
Can we count on moderate Republicans not to sign off on the most egregious proposals of the President, allowing him and the biased referees in the media to claim bi-partisan support for his policies? If a single Republican breaks ranks and votes for a major Obama policy after 6 months of “Let it Burn,” the entire strategy is ruined. Can we keep such strict message discipline?
Lastly, there is a counter-example. As The American Thinker writes,
Perhaps these people forget that Roosevelt was re-elected three times during a depression that he helped prolong — a depression that featured soup lines and starvation in a population that actually wanted to work for a living and went on relief only as a last resort, and then with a sense of shame. Thanks to food stamps, EBT cards, and other entitlements, Barack Obama actually had an easier time. He just had to threaten that the evil rich would take away flat-screens and “crazy money” to get enough votes. Imagine if people were really hungry.
We have no track record of winning a trench war in the media. We have no history of strong message discipline. We have no proof that the country would be salvageable after a 4-year reign of socialism. FDR got re-elected in the middle of a Great Depression. Twice.
At the moment, I see no other plan with a higher probability of success; but no other plan damages the country as severely in such a short period of time. It is extremely high risk, extremely high reward.
As I am not an American myself, I can’t say that I accept that new pain. I can’t claim that my community would accept the short-term pain for long-term benefit. But if I were the Speaker of the House, I would allow Nancy Pelosi to submit her budget, and I would vote present.
Let it Burn.
Luke Stibbs | University of the Fraser Valley (BC) | @LukeStibbs