Could Obama do more for the cause of libertarianism in America than any other political figure since the founding fathers? The similarities between Jimmy Carter’s courteous paving of the way for the Reagan years, and Obama’s dazzling ability to boil economic waters are starting to suggest that one cliché is earning it’s place in the political lexicon: history repeats itself. Only Reagan didn’t have Fox News in his corner.
The victories of Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie in Virginia and New Jersey, both of whom skirted the traditional, socially conservative rhetoric, favoring an economic platform that resists the President’s tea party provoking profligacy, can be weighed against the failure of their fellow Republican Doug Hoffman, who stuck to the old school with grassroots heavyweight Sarah Palin in his corner. Economics won the day, not abortion and gay marriage.
There are signs here that the Republican base is moving. Social issues are, inevitably, going to become more “progressive” with every passing year. The sooner conservatives realize that by leading with these issues they’re feeding the preposterous, but highly effective “religious + Republican = prejudiced / stupid” equation, perpetuated by their competitors, the sooner they can take advantage of the fact that, yes, America is an essentially libertarian nation. Avoiding Palin-esque embarrassment, their policies would win every time. The stimuli taking them in this new direction are the financial crisis, Obama’s spending, and critically the ever-growing conservative media.
Constitutional boogey-men like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh are feeding grass roots conservatives a new, non-religious, economic diet. And it delights the palette of rednecks and independents alike.