True students—not dilletantes—of history have an approach to the wheel of time that few people embroiled in current events do. The further back in time one gazes, the less important smalle details become, but the expression of patterns gets stronger. In my first post I introduced the Postulate of Cyclical Politics: The root of Conservative demise is hypocrisy. The root of Liberal demise is excess. There is always the political demise of one side or the other, but it is never permanent. In a democratic system (or republican, should you wish to be more “correct:), power changes hands peacefully with the understanding that the constituents have spoken and that the defeated will have the chance to regroup, rethink, and re-present their case to the people.
History is littered with the corpses of tyrants who didn’t know their limits. Having originated from a developing nation, I truly admire the civility and decency with which American politics is executed. Setting aside, of course, the occasional political violence. Look at the pattern: at what point in American history was a political victory used to physically punish the political minority? In a way, my experience in civic participation in the Philippines came at little risk; after the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos, political dissent was a fashionable thing there, considering that it didn’t require the kind of bravery one would ascribe to Aung San Suu Kyi (her politics aside and all). I am glad that ours is unlike Zimbabwe, where Mugabe’s opponents seek asylum from other countries. But you know, sometimes, I wonder: for how long will it be that way here?
How do I see myself here at RedState? I am not wont to get into discussions of who should be the new Whip (Cantor) or Minority Leader (Boehner has b*lls but not much more). Policy wonking is for policy wonks. Arguing the merits of one person over the other is not my cup of tea.
I have a tendency to take a long of view of things, and most of my opinions here will follow that view.
We know that everything cycles, and now that BHO is president-elect and Pelosi has her majority, I can only wonder: do they really know what that means for them? Are the lessons of history theirs to ponder, despite the near-absolute power they may yield? Will they govern through excess and ensure a quicker defeat? If they are truly not quaking in their boots at the idea, if they truly believe they have the same mandate that GWB boisterously spoke of in 2004, theirs will be the Leftist version of GWB’s first term in office. As for us, if we repeat the mistake of trying to win for the sake of winning, we will turn the cycle too quickly. If we do that, we will waste our turn before we even get a chance to affect anything. When we do get our turn, we need to learn to brace for defeat when we start to hit the bottom of the cycle and be prepared months before the foreseeable electoral defeat. In the long view, the longer we have time to spend on top, the better we can prep for the time at the bottom. The goal is to keep the Democrats in power for as little time possible.
In the short view, we need to remember to present from a position of authenticity: oppose profligate spending by a full, partywide no-earmarks policy. Stop running on a moral conservative platform if you know you will one day be found with a dead girl or a live boy in your bed. Show some darn discipline, and discipline those who won’t show it. Show that we are for limited government by slowly but surely repealing or replacing excessive measures. The Republican Collapse of 2006 was no accident. Always remember that.
Perhaps the greatest pain that a Conservative has to live with is the realization that while things change around them, while certain things need to be changed as a matter of necessity, incremental change is most important. Sometimes, we may not even live to see the results of what we do. Sending the message of incremental change and freedom in reform to an electorate addicted to instant gratification is the challenge. All else will come from this and as long as we keep that in mind, we might just be able to pull this off in two years. We have to be ready to pull this off in two years.