Over at RedState, Erik Erickson has a post arguing that John Robert's otherwise unaccountable defection is a blessing in disguise for the Tea Party. They will arise from their slumber and whoop up on the Democrats in November, leading to the repeal of ObamaCare. He argues, " A giant woke in 2009. It went back to sleep thinking it had saved the republic in 2010. It’s awake now and I don’t think it is going back to sleep."
I respectfully dissent.
For starters, even if Erickson is correct about the ObamaCare ruling revving up support for libertarian beliefs and elects enough Tea Party politicians to Washington to overturn ObamaCare, it will take all of one election to undo that and bring back the mandate. Additionally, more mandates may be coming down the line from our statist foes. As I argued in March, we had to win that case to keep Pandora's Box from opening. I erred in believing the Commerce Clause would be the main argument (as did every lower court judge, regardless of their vote on the legality of ObamaCare), but the now solidified "constitutionality" of mandates is a reality. Every election is now a battle to keep mandates out of our lives, and sadly we will not win them all. The expansion of the federal government into our lives will accelerate regardless of the outcome in November.
But Harrison, I don't believe our boys will reach that wall (in November).
Nearly every argument conservatives and libertarians make about the damaging impact of Obama's policies on our lives is just too complicated for the average Joe or Jolene to follow. It's far simpler to believe the grocery store is just jacking up prices to make profit than to understand how low interest borrowing by the federal government increases the money supply, decreasing the value of money down the pipe but not for those initially receiving that spending. It's pretty damn tempting for people suffering in this economy to take a "free" entitlement of any sort, especially when the real downside won't hit for another few years or even decades (think Social Security, Medicare, ObamaCare, etc.). It's too damn real out there for most folks not to want some great leader to magically pull us from the morass; they will follow that hope even when their reason tells them our leaders are egotistical, corrupt, and blatantly incompetent. You can literally point this out to people: ask them if they think Congress is competent and generally not corrupt. They will tell you no. Their polling is usually in the low teens. Ask those same people if Congress should be more involved in "fixing" our problems. You won't like their response. It's doublethink; the cognitive dissonance should be deafening, but it isn't. We should throw more power to the corrupt and incompetent to fix our problems.
We see it in Europe. Nobody at all wants to face the fact that most nations over there are bankrupt and need to cut spending immediately. Our people will be no different.
Us Tea Party folks may very well awake to find ourselves in a living nightmare from which we cannot escape. Erickson says they fell asleep after 2010; maybe so, maybe no. But their impact in 2010 was not particularly great. We may have slowed down the expansion of government some, but we are not reversing it, and 2010 was very likely our high water mark in terms of support.
I am becoming increasingly convinced that the only options before us are secession (highly, highly unlikely) and going into the thousand years of darkness Reagan warned us of. If the Tea Party cannot put government growth into reverse, then that second outcome is inevitable so long as we stay within our current political system.
If we are serious about our stance on personal liberty and limited government, we will have to start taking a hard look at that first option. But I don't think most people, even within the Tea Party, are that serious. When given the choice between fighting for those liberties we supposedly hold sacred, putting our lives, fortune, and sacred honor on the line, or maintaining our admittedly shrinking comfort in the land of soft despotism, you'll find the forces of revolution being mighty small.
I'll continue struggling against this parental tyranny because it is wrong and I cannot quietly abide what I see as wrong. But I do not continue this struggle with a belief that it will work, at least within our current political framework. And I'm pretty certain I'm not alone in that.
We are awake. The nightmare isn't a dream. The monsters are real. And we are now very, very naked before them.