|Healthcare and the Resourceful Poor||No Dead Parrots Here|
by Christopher Chantrill
August 21, 2009 at 5:44 pm
AMONG THE most powerful psephological tools available to political strategists and commentators is the well-known Upchuck Factor. Never heard of it? Im surprised.
The Upchuck Factor is, quite simply, the length of time it takes the US voter to decide that s/hes had enough of the Democrats. And it looks like this year it is hitting a new record.
You may have been taught in school, for instance, that the American people loved Franklin Delano Roosevelt so much that they would have gone on voting for him forever. In fact the American people demonstrated in the mid-term election of 1938 that they were ready to upchuck him and all his works. The 1938 elections featured an 81-seat gain in the House of Representatives for the Republicans. Figure that FDRs Upchuck Factor was 6.
What was the problem in 1938? It wasnt that complicated. After six years of political bombast and war on the private sectorand after FDR gunned the economy into the red zone in 1936 with unprecedented stimulusthe economy collapsed in 1937 and the American people decided that they had had enough. They determined to upchuck the New York machine politics of FDR. But then along came World War II and saved his political skin.
The 1960s is another era in which we are taught that Americans loved their government. They basked in the sun of JFK and LBJ, and loved the exciting space programs and wars on poverty. But in fact, the American people decided they had had enough after six years of it. In 1966, well before the Summer of Love, American voters upchucked and gave the Republicans 47 additional seats in the House. Two years later they sent the very un-sunny Richard Nixon to the White House. Give the JFK/LBJ Democrats an Upchuck Factor of 6.
In the late 1970s President Jimmy Carter came into office promising that hed never lie to the American people. Maybe he didnt, but he wrecked the economy and this time the American people didnt wait six or eight years before upchucking.
It was then that the voters digestion really started to go south. They vomited up Carter and the Democrats after four years in 1980 and elected a man that everyone agreed was little more than an amiable dunce. Things must have been really bad for the American people to go to that extreme. President Carter moved the Upchuck Factor to 4.
Now we come to the modern era. After twelve years of Reagan and Bush, Bill Clinton won the 1992 election for the Democrats, with the help of Ross Perot. Democrats thought that with Bill Clinton that they were really on their way. But they were wrong. The Upchuck Factor was getting stronger, and the American voters in 1994 recorded an Upchuck Factor of 2. They vomited up the Democrats in the first off-year election after 1992 and sent 54 new Republicans to the House. The distress among Democratic voters must have been extreme, but Post-election Stress Disorder hadnt been invented yet, so the mental health problems of the liberal community went undiagnosed and unfunded.
Bill Clinton was the best gut politician of his time, so he managed to avoid defeat in 1996 by passing welfare reform and seducing naïve young soccer moms into supporting him for another term. But he didnt do his party much good. An unimpressive George W. Bush managed to eke out wins against an angry, but unfocused Democratic Party in 2000 and 2004.
But now, after the solid Democratic win of 2008, it looks like the Upchuck Factor has shortened again. Now it is pegging at 6 months!
The ominous thing is that Americans are not expressing their indigestion at the ballot box in a mid-term election in their usual sensible way. Their gastric reaction to a single dose of Obamas Chicago politics is so extreme that they are heading to the nations vomitoria already. They are spewing out their rage at politicians town halls and even in the street.
Lets stop right there and clear away all the fun and frivolity.
This is the first time that the American middle class has taken to the streets in living memory.
Back in the 1930s street politics featured the workers in the Battle of the Overpass between Fords striking workers and its security guards. In the 1960s it was African American marchers being set upon by Bull Connor and the KKK. In the late 1960s and early 1970s it was elite liberal youths refusing to go to war. Now all of a sudden average middle-class Americans are organizing Tea Parties and street protests. The old politics of the liberal teach-in has been replaced by the new politics of the town-hall shout-in.
Liberals are beside themselves with rage. They are recounting how their parents lost their jobs during the McCarthy period, and telling each other that opposition to the presidents program is all about racism.
You can tell the Democrats are in trouble when a naïve hockey mom from Alaska can appear out of nowhere and wrestle the entire Democratic Party to the ground. After all, when it comes to death panels for grandma you have the American people on one side and you have comparative effectiveness research professionals and rational ethicists on the other. How come Sarah Palin could see that and the intelligent President Obama could not?
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness...
But to make a man act [he must have]
the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove
or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.
In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State