Why 2012 May Be Starkly Different From 1996
June 13, 2011
Ever since the elections of 2010, the propagandists of the left have been proclaiming America’s shift back to the “middle,” meaning away from the fervent conservatism that undergirded last fall’s landslide. Sadly, even some on the right have accepted such drivel, and consequently sought to soften the strident tone of the 2009-2010 grassroots revolt against the encroaching statist monster that threatens the nation.
As recently as last month, it appeared that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, the epitome of an “establishment Republican,” would be promoted from within as the party nominee in next year’s presidential race. In the Congress, Republican Speaker John Boehner rolled over for the Democrats in a pathetic capitulation on the Federal budget. The New York District 26 special election went to Democrat Kathy Hochul, though a Republican had won it with a solid majority only six months ago. And in the wake of the successful attack on Osama bin Laden, a sycophantic press incessantly declared Barack Obama politically invulnerable as he commenced his campaign for a second term.
Not surprisingly, comparisons are being made to the political comeback and “landslide” 1996 re-election of Bill Clinton, given that his presidency had similarly appeared to be on the ropes in the wake of the conservative/Republican mid-term tsunami that occurred in 1994. After all, if Bill Clinton and his party could make so dramatic of a comeback in only two years, why not Barack Obama? It is therefore very useful to Democrat interests to draw as much of a parallel as possible to those years, since the end game would mean re-election for Obama.
However, such displays of Democrat jubilance are a bit premature, to put it mildly. Most present-day “analyses” of what actually happened in the 1996 presidential election are flagrant examples of history revision, bearing little or no connection to reality (admittedly a standard symptom of the liberal condition). And the current ebb and flow of political forces are so drastically unlike those of the mid 1990s that the actualities of that period can in no way be invoked as harbingers of what may befall America in the next seventeen months.
For starters, in contrast to all of the media efforts to characterize the 1996 presidential contest as a “mandate” for Bill Clinton, he never enjoyed a decisive re-election victory. Despite the fervent efforts of the Clinton campaign to boost his popularity, he received less than half of one of the smallest voter turnouts in seven decades. Furthermore, the vote against him was divided, deliberately so, by the involvement of Ross Perot, who garnered eight percent, thus ensuring that Republican Bob Dole would lose. So while Clinton did indeed achieve a second term, it was certainly not by a “landslide.”
Far more pertinent to today’s circumstances however are the factors that are lining up against the hopes of Obama and the Democrats. Whether their outlandish actions of 2009 and 2010 were motivated by a psychotic blindness to reality combined with a devotion to leftist ideologies, or whether they were the intentional and malevolent deeds of a cabal of anti-Americans intent on destroying the greatness of this country may, in the long run, prove to be irrelevant. The end result is that Obama/Democrat agenda has been disastrous for America, and the people on Mainstreet clearly know it.
In the wake of the 1994 elections, with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, the liberal onslaught from the Clintons was in seemingly check and the looming threat of Hillarycare rapidly dissipating, America believed it could heave a sigh of relief and forget its troubles. This situation allowed the opportunistic Clinton political machine to pontificate on the utopia that might have been, while repositioning the President as a “centrist” by such disingenuous deeds as his signing of welfare reform in the waning days of the 1996 campaign. And with the national economy responding positively to the fiscal prudence of the Republican Congress and Senate, Americans were once again beginning to feel good about their country and their prospects for the future.
This, along with the clearly half-hearted embrace of conservatism by Republican challenger Bob Dole, afforded Clinton an ability to appeal to the mainstream of America. In the end, while never garnering an electoral majority, he still managed to claim more votes than Dole, and on such meager terms he achieved re-election.
But if Barack Obama and his band of Chicago political operatives believe they can replay those days, they are in for a rude awakening. America in 2011 is drastically different from what it was in 1995. The heavy-handed methods employed by Obama, along with Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D.-NV) and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA) in their drive to impose socialized medicine on the nation were ultimately successful in achieving their goal. But such tactics will not be soon forgotten. And unlike Hillary’s attempt to nationalize medicine, Obamacare did not merely threaten America, it was implemented through sordid and blatantly unconstitutional means and is now codified as law.
Similarly, the abhorrent “economic” policies of this administration have laid waste to America’s former prosperity. On every front where the Obama regime has successfully infiltrated the marketplace with its Marxist policies, economic devastation is the product. And the country has thus far been unable to rid itself of the looming danger and dread that this situation instills in mindful citizens.
In an abominable but revealing admission, Dan Akerson, the current CEO of General Motors who was inarguably installed in his position by Obama, advocates a severe hike in gasoline tax rates in order to boost sales of his company’s line of “green” cars. While professing a desire to be unleashed from federal control, Akerson proves himself an acolyte of statism and an advocate of the worst aspects of a command and control national economy imposed and directed by the government. And this is the Obama/Democrat roadmap to America’s recovery?
Election Day 2012 is still a year and a half away. But the damage to this nation has been so severe and inescapable that no amount of media spin can erase it from the awareness of the people. Americans are in no mood for any continuation of the abominable present course. And the Republican challenger who can credibly make the case for a sweeping departure from it will surely find widespread and heartfelt support from across the nation.
Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.