The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Ask Matt Labash Vol. XXXVII: An Apathy Party Manifesto, a rebuke of Sarah Palin, and Jon Stewart The Horrible

Editors Note: Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.

What lessons can we take away from this election and how will it affect my life? – J. Kramer

What we learned: You can either worship Satan, or leave your pubic hair untrimmed. But you can’t do both. Americans are a tolerant people. But even they have their limits.

How will the election affect you? In all likelihood, it won’t. People spend an ungodly amount of time obsessing over elections and what they mean. But here’s a dirty little secret: they almost never mean as much as they’re cracked up to. Remember the monumental historic election of 2008 in which the earth reversed rotation on its axis and nothing would ever be the same again? Baracktards, are your lives really that markedly different than they were under George W. Bush? Because if they are, I’ve yet to hear you stop whining about them.

Tea Partiers, do you really think food will taste better and Woodrow Wilson will burn in hotter hellfire because Marco Rubio won? You’re a sad, deluded person if you do. Not to mention that you’re evidencing the naivety of an Obamabot, circa 2007. I dislike big government, too. But if government is a flabby, slow-witted behemoth that should be a mere afterthought on our journeys as rugged individualists, why do you spend every last waking hour being consumed by who’s running it? The difference between, say, Sharron Angle and Harry Reid is not, I’m sorry to report, the difference between 5 and 10 percent unemployment rates. If government were actually any good at fixing that sort of intractable problem, then it might be worth losing sleep over. But it isn’t. And the realization that government is not the remedy for most ailments is why you’re supposedly a conservative in the first place.

As the architect of the Apathy Party – which I’ve never cared enough about to formally launch – I like to state our founding principle: it’s not cool not to care, but we don’t care enough to care if it’s uncool. Less cynically stated: it’s not that nothing matters, it’s just that most things matter a lot less than we pretend they do. And a good many of the things that actually do matter — our tottering financial system, our runaway debt, our fraying entitlements — nobody’s demonstrated the real political will to fix anyway. All of those catastrophes have enjoyed bipartisan support. If you really believe a few rookie Tea Partiers can un-wreck the train, good luck with that. You’re a lot more optimistic than I am.

On most days, politics is little more than sports for people who are too easily confused by baseball. But as with baseball nerds, that doesn’t stop them from assigning way too much consequence to every uptick and downturn. Remember when Obama won a mere 735 days ago? That supposedly represented the Death of Conservatism. Oops. From now on, maybe “A New Age of Whatever Some Short-Sighted Pundit On Deadline Declares It Is” should last a good five years before we even consider anointing it as such.

None of which is to suggest that we shouldn’t be happy with the outcome of this most recent election. We should, since Congress is now a house divided. If they’re not going to do anything useful, then paralysis, at least, is a desirable outcome. Given what we’ve had the last two years, gridlock is good. Everybody is always railing against a do-nothing Congress, while a do-anything Congress is what we should really be afraid of. It’s when Congress gets a big idea, then has the ability to pass it (see Obamacare) that the trouble usually starts.

So here’s to constructive bickering and stalemates, and bad legislation showing up dead on arrival. May the bipartisan spirit of can-doism rarely show its meddlesome face. And don’t get so uptight if/when that happens. Part of the problem with the exciting times we live in is that everybody’s too damn excitable. Calm down. Shut off your computer. Read a book. Have a drink. Walk your dog. Let the toxins leave your system. It’s neither the end of the world, nor the dawn of a new era of prosperity and righteousness. It’s just an election. They’ll have another one in two years.