All midterm races bring with them a certain amount of opportunity to be gained – they either validate a President’s policies and leadership, or provide a referendum. In the last century, we would be hard pressed to name a President more polarizing than our current one, and as a result, these midterms will, without question, make a statement about his presidency.
Three weeks from tonight, we’ll have a pretty good idea on what that statement will be.
However, I don’t want to discuss quite yet what I believe will happen that Tuesday night. The race for Senate control has certainly been a revealing one, and here are two things that I believe conservatives should note in particular:
- For starters, as bad as this presidency has been, Republicans are likely going to lose a few states that they have historically held. This testifies to the age-old truth that you cannot and should not run on the strategically nonsensical philosophy that “You won’t govern like the other guy…” People want leadership and they need reasons to pull the handle FOR someone, not just go to vote knowing who they DON’T want. Too many Republican leaders have recently run (and led) on the strategy that they’re NOT President Obama, which begs the question: if they really feel they must point that out, perhaps they have more in common than they want to let on??
- Secondly, not all Democrats are as extreme as our current President and recently retired Attorney General, and they’re proving that by shying very far away from them during this election style. You won’t find Democrat candidates for Senate booking the Obamas to come and join them on the campaign trail. They know the Obamas are unpopular, extreme, and a recipe for failure. What conservatives need to be doing is defining their opponents based on their party affiliation and tying them to their leadership in spite of this fact. Conservative candidates should be confident enough in their beliefs to not only define and describe their leadership principles and style, but also to define their opponents’ principles in a way that keeps them on the defensive. The best defense during campaign season is a good offense.
The Wall Street Journal, always proving itself as a valuable news source as well as a resource for ideas and strategies (be they personal, professional, or political), has provided us with a cool new graphic. Taking data from Real Clear Politics (a polling aggregate), we can experiment with the numbers to determine who will gain control of the Senate in early November. If you’re a WSJ subscriber, it’s worth looking at the available scenarios.
A typical political charade.
I love “End of the Year” Reviews. There’s always that bittersweet aspect of looking back over the previous 12 months and reevaluating your highs and lows that gives you a great perspective when closing out one year and looking to the next.
Much like Pajama Boy in the above picture, as he looks back over his shoulder, thinking “happy, happy, happy” thoughts about the rollout of Obamacare…
My favorite Review always comes from the inimitable Dave Barry. His ability to combine actual headlines with slapstick humor provides the best laughs when looking back over the foolish mistakes our society has made over the last 52 weeks. I’m currently waiting impatiently for him to release this year’s summary, and primarily what is sure to be some gut-wrenching, cry your eyes out, mockery of Pajama Boy. No pressure, Dave.
One of my all-time favorite writers in general is Peggy Noonan, with her capable and constructive observations of trends both cultural and political. Her latest review was published in today’s Wall Street Journal, and the highlights include the political word of the year (hint: it’s related to the rollout of Obamacare), the sentence of the year (hint: it’s related to Obamacare), and nice, plain words of the year, which have nothing at all to do with Obamacare. It’s worth a read, even if she fails to mention the poster child of the year (see Pajama Boy below).
Speaking of the President, I even appreciated his summary of 2013, for what it’s worth. Despite his “rosy spin on a difficult year,” the President did admit the mistakes he could afford to admit politically, and even said that they “screwed it up,” though he was only referring to the start of his health care law, not the entirety of the behemoth. I’m guessing they corrected the start once his PR team landed on the brilliant idea of the Obamacare poster boy: Pajama Boy.
I really do hate to be hating on Pajama Boy so much (ok, that’s a lie – I’m enjoying it immensely), but just so your impression of him isn’t only being formed by my cynicism, allow me to share with you the thoughts of Rich Lowry, over at National Review Online:
Perhaps the goal of OFA was to create a readily mockable image to draw attention to its message, in which case Pajama Boy was a brilliantly successful troll. The right immediately Photoshopped him into the Mandela funeral selfie and emblazoned his photo with derisive lines like “Hey girl, I live with my parents” and “How did you know I went to Oberlin?”
But it’s hard not to see Pajama Boy as an expression of the Obama vision, just like his forebear Julia, the Internet cartoon from the 2012 campaign. Pajama Boy is Julia’s little brother. She progressed through life without any significant family or community connections. He is the picture of perpetual adolescence. Neither is a symbol of self-reliant, responsible adulthood.
And so both are ideal consumers of government. Julia needed the help of Obama-supported programs at every juncture of her life, and Pajama Boy is going to get his health insurance through Obamacare (another image shows him looking very pleased in a Christmas sweater, together with the words “And a happy New Year with health insurance”).
Two paragraphs later, Lowry hammers home the final nail into the coffin:
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote long ago of the infantilizing tendency of all-encompassing government. “It would be like the authority of a parent,” he wrote in a famous passage, “if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood.” If you wanted to illustrate what Tocqueville was getting at in one meme, Pajama Boy would be good way to do it.
So at the end of a year highlighted by the poor and “botched” implementation of a terrible healthcare law in which we find the President a bigger liar than when President George H. W. Bush uttered his “Read my lips” promise, we find ourselves inspired and with the cockles of our hearts warmed to no end with an image of a perpetual adolescent longing to talk about getting that new health insurance.
Take heart, friends: 2014 can only get better. The Year of Pajama Boy is coming to a close.