(San Francisco) In America in general and this Magical City in particular some things haven’t changed at all since November 6th. The porterhouse down at John’s Grille on Ellis, and the salmon at the Tadich Grille over on California is as good as ever. Biking from Fishermans’s Wharf through the Presidio up onto and across the Golden Gate Bridge still offers one of the world’s most spectacular panoramas of land and sea. A solitary Kayak excursion out on the Bay watched by the occasional curious seal still confers a special serenity. An early morning walk through the cool ground fog enshrouded Muir Woods amidst towering thousand year old Giant Redwoods remains an almost spiritual perspective on the meaning of Time. A reunion with children long absent in faraway places is a reminder that the fundamental things in life still apply.
And yet, because of the recent election many things will change in the days ahead. The problem is that we have only a very incomplete picture of the nature and extent of those changes.
This, of course, has not deterred pundits and partisans alike from making the most sweeping judgments and prognostications. It’s what they have always done.
After the tumultuous election of 1968, Kevin Phillips wrote a book entitled The Emerging Republican Majority. It didn’t happen.
Subsequent to the 1992 election James Carville similarly predicted an Emerging Democratic Majority. It didn’t happen.
In the giddy triumphalist aftermath of the 2008 contest it was suggested that Republicans might never win another election, but they did- a huge victory just two years later.
There are things that we know are happening, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
We know that Kathleen Sebelius’ Department of Health and Human Services will continue adding to the thousands of regulations already issued instructing the country how to fully implement the deeply unpopular Obamacare. Nowhere in those regulations, however will one find any reference to the escalating taxes and other costs associated with same.
We also know that other federal agencies-albeit at a glacial pace- are grinding out similar regulations describing the constraints and contortions required of the free enterprise system in order to implement the bureaucratic nightmare known as Dodd-Frank.
We also know that the most ideological of federal entities- The Environmental Protection Agency- is absolutely horrified at the rapid advance of hydraulic fracturing(“Fracking”) that is currently tow-roping the entire American economy toward recovery, creating thousands of new jobs, and will make the USA the world’s leading energy producer by 2020. In the view of the EPA these baleful developments which have turned the wind and solar industries into absolute “road kill” must be stopped regardless of the massive damage to the economy this would entail.
We also know –sadly- that the Obama campaign of 2012 with its combination of tsunami level negative advertising and powerful ground game will become a model for the future, all the more impressive because it prevailed despite objective conditions that should have made victory nearly impossible.
Yet while a political campaign can defy the odds for a brief window in time the overhanging weight of runaway entitlements, deficits, debt, and decline bespeak a reality that cannot be kept at bay indefinitely. Sooner or later History will present its bill, and our country will have to pay it.
Now, we must concede that “The Way We Were” is not “The Way We Are”. If nothing else demographic/ actuarial shifts and the long parallel growth of government and dependency demonstrate this truth.
Something I wrote in this space four years ago (“Parade’s End: Final Days of a Historic Election”) may also retain some relevance:
“The game changing ‘Panic of 08’ could have happened in ’07 or 09, but it didn’t.
The old N.Y. Yankee pitcher Lefty Gomez famously said ‘I’d rather be lucky than good’. John McCain-embodying the best values and traditions of our history- is a good man. Barack Obama – shallow in experience, suspect in associations, dissembling in both promises and explanations- is a lucky man.
Only when the effects of the October Economic Revolution and the concomitant November election ripple through the months and years ahead will we know whether America the Good can be America the Lucky as well.”
American history is filled with stories of ordinary people facing seemingly insuperable odds who didn’t quit but somehow through courage and determination persevered and prevailed. Let us never doubt that countless such people still live among us.
Let us go forward together with a strong and active faith.
William Moloney’s columns have appeared in the Wall St. Journal, U.S.A. Today., Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun. Denver Post, and Human Events.