“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.” It’s almost as if Thomas Jefferson could see November 2010 coming.
When Democrats went home last week for the Memorial Day recess, they cleared their calendars of any possible encounter with voter ire. What has Democrats running for the hills? Well, for the past year or so, the American people have witnessed with jaw-dropping disbelief the radical Democrat agenda spewing from Washington. It seems no amount of disapproval in poll after poll will deter the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime from enacting their unpopular ideas. Even Americans who supported those ideas when candidate Obama cloaked them in the abstract fluff of campaign rhetoric are starting to call for a “time-out” now that the practical consequences delivered aren’t quite as advertised.
Putting a healthy fear of the American people back in the eyes of overreaching politicians is what we in the GOP, like Jefferson, call “liberty.” That’s why it was easier to find Waldo than a Democrat at town hall meetings last month. In fact, The New York Times reported that Dems were coached by party bosses to avoid the unwashed masses, and to attend only private events where the crowd was pre-screened and left-leaning.
Pelosi and Reid saw what happened to now-lame duck (coincidence?) Arlen Specter when he got within shouting distance of voters last year. Rep. Frank Kratovil, Jr. was also taken to the proverbial woodshed by protesters at a town hall. The Gray Lady reports that Kratovil and other Democrats like Senator McCaskill of Missouri and vulnerable House members like Tom Perriello of Virginia, Carol Shea-Porter of New Hampshire, and Leonard Boswell of Iowa are now seeking tamer, more controlled venues after unpleasant “accountability” sessions with their outraged constituents.
And last year’s outbursts of voter indignation occurred before Democrats turned healthcare over to the crowd managing the government’s oil spill response; before the Presidential calendar was overtaken by a parade of rock stars and golf carts as black sludge destroyed livelihoods and smothered wildlife along hundreds of miles of America’s coast; before Greece descended into chaos and crisis as a result of the same policies Democrats are ramming down America’s throat; before the national debt overtook almost 90 percent of GDP; before discovering that the “post-partisan” President became embroiled in offering jobs to inconvenient Democrat primary challengers.
But, I digress. The issue most likely to fuel Town Hall outrage this year will be the job-killing economic incompetence of Democrats, including the total failure of the pork-packed, so-called “stimulus” bill to stimulate anything other than IOUs to China and boondoggles for bureaucrats. Democrats will do anything to avoid answering for an economy that has lost 2.2 million jobs since the “stimulus” bill passed, and is missing 5.8 million jobs that Democrats promised the bill would create by 2010.
As Indiana’s Republican Governor Mitch Daniels puts it, this “shock-and-awe statism” has threatened the future viability of what is the greatest and strongest nation on earth. As I travel around the country, it’s disorienting to see Americans – Americans! – with fear in their eyes, looking for reassurance that the country they grew up in can still make a comeback (psst – it can!).
So it seems to me that Democrats have some explaining to do. Voters have a right to confront, at open town halls and other public events, these Congressional overlords slinking home for a week of “recess.” But instead, Congressional web sites read like Rep. Shea-Porter’s “No upcoming events scheduled.” I think Jefferson would agree that when the political class is this afraid, it portends a tidal wave of liberty come November.
Nancy Pelosi promised us “the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.” Come on, Congressional Democrats, come out from under your desk, schedule some wide-open town halls, face the voters and defend your “record.” Don’t be afraid; voters don’t bite – at least not until November.
Michael S. Steele is the Chairman of the Republican National Committee.