Hoping for change

Americans disillusioned today with the president for his health-care legislation, his refusal to extend his predecessor’s tax cuts, his support for cap and trade, his ties to labor unions and groups such as Acorn, and his belief in the regulatory state, can’t honestly say that they were promised otherwise during the campaign. They got almost exactly what they voted for — or at least they got an honest political stab at it. If Mr. Obama now thinks that they have no right to complain, he has a point. — Bret Stephens, Not the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For, Wall Street Journal, Nov 2, 2010

The election today will be a repudiation of President Barack Obama’s leadership and legislative priorities. It will be an attempt to set the country going in the right direction by a majority who now think we have wandered off into the woods.

It will be a repudiation of the politics of the very man many of these same voters elected to office just two years ago. They voted for a young US Senator whose ideology is far left of the American mainstream, a young man who entered the Oval Office with no executive experience and no legislative accomplishments, a slick young marketer who convinced the voters that he would rise above Washington’s pettiness and bring us together in a post-partisan, post-racial orgy of Hope and Change.

Now, after two years of the most unprecedented expansion of government since World War II by the most hard-left administration in history, the voters are blaming…. themselves? Nope. They are taking it out on their local representatives, the Congressmen and Senators who merely rubber-stamped everything the President asked for after he was swept into office by a giddy electorate.

You can understand why Democrats might be somewhat confused at this moment. After spending trillions of your hard-earned dollars on Hope and Change, the ungrateful American voter now wants his money back.

I once bought a vacuum cleaner from a smiling, silver-tongued door-to-door salesman. As soon as he left with my check in his hand, I had an intense attack of buyer’s remorse. That shiny new vacuum cleaner sold me, until I started calculating the long hours I would have to work to earn that money back again. It made me sick to my stomach.

I suspect the American electorate has been feeling that same, pit-of-the stomach queasiness. The voters were enthralled with the way Obama promised to deep clean those political carpets, but then came the staggering bill, with indebtedness as far as the eye could see at a time when the local economy of every backwater berg was stagnant. Businesses were closing, houses were being foreclosed, and most people have been cutting every financial corner possible to make ends meet, while Congress and the President spent money like a bunch of drunken Vegas high rollers.

If America is as angry as some say, one can only hope we are at least a little angry with ourselves. One can only hope we will ask harder questions in 2012, before walking into the voting booth once again to sign on the salesman’s dotted line.

One can only hope our betters in public office will be chastened by this historic repudiation of their excesses and will adopt a more humble and austere approach to governance.

Once can only hope that the fresh, new faces swept into office by the Tea Party rebellion will somehow move the Washington Leviathan rightward, towards limited government, fiscal restraint, and the preservation of individual liberties.

One can only hope we’re about to see some real change in Washington. One can only hope.

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