The Great Denial continues. The liberals continue to labor under the assumption that nothing very bad happened in early November. They are still supreme. The columnists go on as though nothing is amiss. This week, E.J. Dionne consulted with three defeated members of Congress and passed on to President Barack Obama their advice on how to succeed during the next two years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues as if she is speaker for life, though it probably will be a generation until another Democrat holds the post. Mental illness can be amusing.
The fact is that the Democrats lost badly in the midterms, and they probably are going to lose again in 2012. The Republicans picked up six seats in the Senate and more than 60 in the House. They won 683 legislative seats nationwide and gained six governorships. That will give them a powerful say in redistricting. Moreover, in 2012, the Democrats have to defend 23 seats in the Senate, and they probably will lose the presidency, unless the Republicans run a platypus.
In truth, the Democrats have been living on borrowed time for years. Their philosophy is liberal, and outside of the academy, government employee labor unions and a few enthusiasts wedded to identity politics, liberalism is not very popular. In the most recent elections, liberals accounted for 20 percent of the vote. Conservatives accounted for 42 percent of the vote, and independents accounted for 29 percent and broke for the conservatives' positions. These figures have been about the same for nearly three decades.
Most polls show a margin of 40 percent for conservatives and 20 percent for liberals going back to the Reagan years. Even before that, conservatives clearly outnumbered liberals, which is why in the aftermath of the past two elections one had to wonder about the predictions of conservatism's demise. Where was 40 percent of the electorate to go? How could a minority of 20 percent govern the country for long?
Actually, the liberals have been hustlers for a long time. Remember in 2009 when Sam Tanenhaus wrote "The Death of Conservatism"? What did he have in mind? I read the book; it was not very obvious. Or James Carville, who wrote the similarly charnel "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." I did not read Carville's mendacious book, but what could he possibly have said? Did he talk policy? Did either of these two con men consult the numbers out there among average Americans? Or how about considering their ideas? Americans are alarmed by high deficits and grand political schemes. Actually, the whole world is alarmed. Now the bills are coming due for the European welfare states' entitlements, and there is not the money in Europe to pay for them. The street demonstrations of Greece are going to be Europe-wide before not too long, and we Americans want to avoid them. That is why we threw the big-spending liberals out in November.
Over the past two years, the liberals have shown their true colors. Faced with an entitlement crisis, they rang up trillion-dollar deficits. We now face the aforementioned entitlement crisis and gigantic budgetary problems — and liberals have no answer for them beyond the policy of tax and spend. They are going to be out of office for a long time. They lean toward calling themselves not liberals, but progressives. I have a better title for them: friendly fascists. The alacrity with which they sprang to support the takeovers of the giant banks and the automobile industry over the past two years suggests their program for the future: corporatism. All they need is a Mussolini and a bankrupt America. I think there is enough vitality in the land to avoid the latter. As for the former, Americans do not like uniforms very well.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His new book is "After the Hangover: The Conservatives' Road to Recovery." To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.