Friday, February 18, 2011

The Badgers

While the troubles in Wisconsin may not be emblematic of what Glenn Beck says they are--a growing wave of anarchy across the world that threatens peace and stability everywhere--they are indeed emblematic of how much and how quickly things change over time in our society. We are subject to ever-increasing pace in our lives, as the rapid development of political events here and abroad show us now almost every week.

When we at TMH were even younger than we are now, we were consious of the narrative from 1995, when the Federal government was shut down because a conservative Republican House of Representatives and President Clinton could not agree on a budget. The Republicans were the agents of change, since until the year before the Congress had been in its fourth decade of Democrat control, so it was only natural to see those who symbolized change as responsible for what, frankly, some of them explicitly said they were for: shutting down the government.

But time moves on; nothing remains the same, and now the agents of change--at least in Wisconsin--are the liberals. The Democrats left Gov. Scott Walker and the State Legislature in a fiscally untenable situation, since because of their budgets the state is now over $1 billion in debt. Because of this situation, voters in liberal Wisconsin elected conservatives to fix the financial problems, and this the Governor and legislature are trying to do by the only realistic means possible, cutting spending.

Now, however, in order to illustrate their disagreement with the conservative solution, liberals--Democrats all, in this case--have essentially shut down the government. Democratic senators from Wisconsin have all fled the state so that the Senate is left without the quorum necessary to enact the solution that voters elected them to provide. So liberal Democrats are now doing what conservative Republicans did in the 1990s: animated by a philosophical belief they are shutting down the Wisconsin Senate.

If the conventional wisdom in the mainstream media is correct, those who take the initiative in shutting down the government always lose. The media have repeated this narrative again and again to pressure the Republican Congress not to face down President Obama on the matter of a continuing resolution later this spring, but if their logic is correct, then the romantic flight of the Democratic senators from Wisconsin will damage the Democratic, not the Republican, Party in that state. And if Talk Radio is correct (and even liberal Talk Radio agrees), what is happening in Wisconsin is a war by proxy over the future viability of the Democratic Party. If that is so, and if the Democrats are engaged in what the media has been warning for weeks now it would be suicidal for Republicans to do, then the Democrats and their allies in Wisconsin should be very worried indeed.

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