Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Divisive is not a bad word

Mitt Romney was naïve to think he could win the election by playing the middle. He should have learned from John McCain, who used the same failed election strategy in 2008, albeit with more sincerity.

As I said during the debates, Romney, to his discredit, eschewed major differences between himself and President Obama. He thought if he gave Obama a small target to hit, he could dodge Obama’s punches, run out the clock, and let the judges decide in his favor.

In the end, the man who stood for something beat the man who stood for something else—what, exactly, the voters weren’t sure. Note to Republicans: Just because the Left writes the rules doesn’t mean you have to play by them.

According to the Left’s rules, voters want representatives who can set aside their egos and “come together” to “get something done” for the good of the country. They don’t want icky conservatives. Conservatives are divisive and obstructionist. Gross!

What is the middle but the unprincipled (if not naïve) median between right and wrong? On any given issue, some people get it right, others get it wrong. The middle appeals to neither. The middle appeals only to people who are vain enough to call themselves moderates.

Beware the middle, a political identity lacking political ideology. Beware its spokesmen’s whiny lamentations about the divisiveness of political discourse. Beware their vain calls for unity and compromise. The virtue of “getting something done” relies on what that something is. Doing nothing would be better.

At the onset of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt tried everything. “He hiked taxes, spent more money, established monopolies, enforced cartels, filed antitrust lawsuits, promoted compulsory unionism, multiplied business regulations, denounced investors, and started welfare programs, public works projects, a big entitlement, on and on,” writes the Cato Institute’s Jim Powell.

Roosevelt was averse to inaction. One of his famous quotes was: “Do something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, do something else.” In other words, err on the side of action.

While Roosevelt’s dogged action endeared him to voters, his policies worsened the Great Depression. In 1939, the seventh year of his presidency, unemployment stood at 19 percent. Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt’s Secretary of Treasury, said in the same year: “We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work...We have just as much unemployment as when we started.”

Too bad the Republicans can’t effectively communicate the successful principle of government inaction to the American people. Truth be told, “getting something done” is really the Left’s version of taqiyya, Arabic for “deception.”

If opposing that is divisive, so be it. Division is the consequence of difference predicated by moral and natural law, which we ignore to our peril.

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