It's Time for Washington to Listen Up

It's Time for Washington to Listen Up

By David Harsanyi - November 3, 2010

If you're not angry, you haven't been paying attention. I first saw that astute proverb on a bumper sticker in the days when directing anger at your government was still a principled calling, dissent was patriotic and Rumsfelds roamed the Earth.

Across the country, the electorate laid down a resounding angry vote against activist government. And, mind you, no one had to wrestle with any ambiguity about the objectives of the Republicans. Democrats helpfully hammered home all the finer points of libertarianism, and Republicans typically embraced them.

Exit polls showed that this election was a rejection of the progressive agenda of "stimulus," of Obamacare, of cap and trade. Exit polls show that there was great anger with government - not government that didn't work, or government that didn't do enough, but government that didn't know its place. The Senate seats that Republicans lost were to Democrats who sounded more conservative than their opponents.

Smart people will almost certainly pontificate about the end of the purist days when public servants were respected and government was creating jobs. All, of course, imagined. They will lament all this irrational angst. They couldn't help themselves but to continue to mock and deride their ideological opponents.

The right wing - and I learned this from much of the news coverage - came out in droves with a predisposed aversion to change; they were paranoid, suspicious, uneasy, unhinged, or in other words, they had the appropriate attitude for the times. This, laments the smart man, means gridlock exactly when we need government most - which, let's face it, according to the left, is always.

But now there's hope.

Typically, victorious candidates will talk about how they look forward to working with the other party to the benefit of America.

This time around, we heard newly elected senators tell the body to "Deliberate on this!" - to pound sand until they respect "limited constitutional government."

Impressive victories by Marco Rubio and Rand Paul - adding to others like Chris Christie - are going to make life far more difficult for Democrats than the pliable get-along types they were used to dealing with in years past. They may even keep their words.

Then again, I'm no Pollyanna. No election is as significant as the victors would like to believe. And, as W.C. Fields once said, "Hell, I never vote for anybody, I always vote against."

Everyone remembers that only two years ago, the world looked dramatically different. The Obama cult was just kicking into gear. Forever majorities were being solidified. And two years from now chances are that we may be similarly surprised and disappointed.

In many ways, in fact, 2012 portends to be a more consequential year, where either the country continues to trend in the direction of limited government ideals, or the massive bureaucratic institutions built in the past two years will be cemented for the long run.

No matter what happens, for now, we can look forward to two glorious years of hyper-partisan acrimonious gridlock: Washington's most moral and productive state.


David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

Copyright 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Obamacare vs. Scaliacare
E.J. Dionne · November 13, 2014
Keeping Your Health Law Plan May Mean Premium Hike
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar · November 14, 2014
Calling the Bluff on Obamacare
Froma Harrop · November 13, 2014
The Incredible Shrinking President
William Murchison · November 18, 2014

David Harsanyi

Author Archive

Follow Real Clear Politics

Latest On Twitter