The Worse, the Better
By Bruce Walker
February 23, 2009
Do Barack Obama and the Democrat Party want prosperity? There is no reason to suspect that they do. The highest priority for them has always been raw political power. As the endless scandals of modern politics reveal, if one has political power then one also has wealth. During the awful decades in which Stalin ruled the Soviet Empire, many people noted that "Citizen Stalin" did not have great personal wealth, but he had almost unlimited power and so whatever he wanted, he got. Democrats are, more than anything else, power junkies. The morals of society, the welfare of others, the hopes of posterity - all these mean nothing next to the pure political power of right now.
The normal assumption is that political parties that create prosperity win political power, but that is not an entirely accurate assumption. FDR gained more political power when the nation careened into deeper dependence, deeper poverty, and deeper debt. His biggest electoral victory was in 1936, when the Great Depression was at its worst and when Roosevelt and his Democrats had totally dominated American politics.
If the poor, the desperate, and the hopeless look to political champions for their salvation, then the votes of the poor will go to those champions. The cold logic of electoral politics means that Obama, like FDR, wins more votes the greater the number of poor people in America. Consider the history of the last century.
During the first decade of the Twentieth Century, the American economy was growing fast. The Model T entered production. Motion pictures began to appear. Telephones were becoming commonplace. The age of innovation, the age of migration with sharp upward mobility, the age of American ascendancy in the global economy - all these things began.
Which political party controlled the White House? McKinley was re-elected by a landslide in 1900. Teddy Roosevelt won election, after succeeding the assassinated McKinley, by a greater landslide in 1904. William Howard Taft followed T.R. by a landslide in 1908. Republicans, outside the Jim Crow and Ku Klux Klan Democrat South, were overwhelmingly the majority party. Then Woodrow Wilson, Leftist and bigot supreme, brought the Democrats back to power. The nation struggled. We entered a war in Europe which had no connection to our national interests or our moral principles. After the war, the nation slumped into a Democrat recession.
Then American entered the "Roaring Twenties." Prosperity returned. The economy expanded. What was politically connected to this economic affluence? Republicans won a huge landslide in 1920 with Harding. There was another huge Republican landslide in 1924 with Coolidge. Hoover - hardly a Republican (he, like Eisenhower and like Colin Powell, had been recruited by both political parties) - won the presidency in 1928. The Democrats regained power in 1932...because of the Great Depression.
Over the next seven lean years, American suffered but Democrats grew fat. The misery and hopelessness of ordinary Americans translated into mind-numbing Democrat victories, like in 1936, when Alf Landon carried only Maine and Vermont against FDR. The deeper the economy slumped, the higher the stock of the Democrat Party rose. "Tax and tax. Spend and spend. Elect and elect" DNC Chairman Farley put it at the time. Or, he might have said, "The worse, the better."
After the war ended, Democrats suffered a sharp reverse in 1946. Republicans were swept into control of both houses of Congress as the stringency of wartime rationing ended and the natural liberty and productivity of Americans blossomed. This grew into a full blown post-war recovery during the 1950s (much maligned by Leftists as a time of careful middle class comfort) and into a Republican dominated decade.
The pattern is largely the same. The economic downturn and energy crisis of the 1970s led to a resurgent Democrat Party. The confidence and prosperity of the 1980s was coupled with a strong Republican Party led by Ronald Reagan. When Americans grew poorer, Democrats grew fatter. When Americans gained personal wealth, like in the 1990s, Democrats became the minority party.
Democrats, like all other socialists, follow closely the maxim: "The worse, the better." All this may explain the odd behavior of Barack Obama, the taking down of the economy, the apparent indifference to the horrific corruption which dizzies the minds of investors - prosperity is the enemy, not the friend, of Barack Obama.
What if, for example, the Stimulus Package worked? What would happen if the GDP rose eight percent next year? What if unemployment dropped dramatically and home ownership rose dramatically? What if tens of millions of Americans had income increases which pushed them into higher tax brackets? Well, many tens of millions of Americans would rejoice.
But what would Democrats do? Lower taxes would become a hot political issue again. Punishing corporations would become political suicide if millions of Americans re-entered the stock market. Unemployment compensation, sub prime mortgages, and welfare benefits would become political albatrosses instead of marks of electoral nobility.
The bottom line is simple: one political party feasts on the carcasses of rotting economic flesh and another political party does best when the nation does best. Does Barack Obama want the Stimulus Package to bring prosperity? Well, one must ask: does Obama want the Republican domination of the first decade of the Twentieth Century or of the "Roaring Twenties" or of the 1950s or of the Reagan 1980s to return? He poses as FDR, the President of Misery. For Obama, the worse, the more desperate, the more hopeless we become, the better for him.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.