America has come to the proverbial fork in the road when it comes to our future direction.
Yogi Berra once famously said “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” American voters are preparing to take the fork in the road with the 2012 elections. The left fork favored by the radical progressive Democrats leads to larger government, increasing regulations, higher taxes, higher prices, less economic growth, less freedom, and more dependence on government assistance. The right fork favored by conservatives leads to a shrinking government with fewer regulations, lower taxes, lower prices, substantial economic growth, expanded freedom, and less dependence on government through the encouragement of self-reliance and individuality.
When presented in such stark terms, the choice seems to be obvious as to which fork to take. However, this is the point where another of Mr. Berra’s famous quotes becomes applicable. Yogi once opined “You can observe a lot just by watching.” Over the past 70 years, we’ve seen Americans introduced to European socialist ideas not only become familiar with these policies, but also enamored with and dependent upon these entitlements. And, we’ve watched Democrats build an electoral model around the expansion of these entitlements with promises to protect programs Americans have come to expect.
Conservatives have fought a losing battle against this entitlement creep that reminds me of Yogi’s observation “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up some place else.” That somewhere else for conservatives was a Republican Party dominated by establishment types more concerned about winning than promoting conservative principles. Republicans have seen their Party nominate bland candidates such as Bob Dole and John McCain while listening to a platform that read like a slower version of the progressive agenda. Dispirited conservatives finally had enough in 2008 and migrated to the Tea Party movement that focused on conservative purity in a bid to stop President Obama’s radical progressive socialist agenda and reverse the damage Democrats have done to our country.
Watching the Republican debates over the past few weeks brings to mind Yogi’s quote “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” The Republican establishment seeks to co-opt Tea Party support and redirect it to their candidate of choice while Tea Party conservatives insist on conservative gravitas before throwing their support behind anyone in the field. There has been much wailing from the Republican establishment about electability, and much lamentation from Tea Party conservatives pining for various figures who opted not to run this election cycle.
Those Americans not consumed by political events possess the ability to clearly see the bigger picture of what’s at stake in this election. They realize the country is on the wrong track as evidenced by polls reporting 75% of respondents holding this view. They realize President Obama has failed miserably in fulfilling his campaign promises to expand the economy, move the country past racial animosities, and reverse what he called the failures of the Bush agenda. In hindsight, the Bush years are looking pretty good considering that unemployment was lower, economic growth was higher, and America was perceived as a lot stronger around the world.
Americans are constantly bombarded with news of the Euro’s impending collapse as the European Union grapples with the problem of paying for their unsustainable trek down the path of socialism. To quote Yogi, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Well, Europe was not very careful in their planning for economic union and they are having a lot of trouble getting there. They failed to install mechanisms to force member countries to live within their means, and they have no ability to enforce the austerity measures required to solve their current economic crisis. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy promoted a solution of tighter European integration with its necessary expansion of government bureaucracy to enforce control of unruly European Union countries. This disastrous policy was met with a negative market reaction as it was recognized that the inability to pay for current government levels would not be improved through government expansion.
In America, Obama is attempting to pull off the same trick by protecting his massive expansion of government through class warfare tactics designed to guilt wealthier Americans into paying for his largesse. Alas, there is not enough wealth at the very top to pay for even a portion of Obama’s government expansion and Americans have become painfully aware of this fact. Obama’s attempt to inflate away America’s debt has made a true statement out of Yogi’s observation “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” But, don’t expect either the Europeans in their political hubris or the narcissistic Obama repeat Yogi’s statement “We made too many wrong mistakes.”
Obama’s assessment of the current political situation to his radical progressive socialist acolytes falls more in line with Yogi’s statement “The other teams could make trouble for us if they win.” Conservatives have in mind the dismantling of Obama’s policies and repeal of his disastrous laws to stabilize the business climate and turn the economy around. As Yogi said, “It ain’t the heat; it’s the humility.” The humility of America’s slide into irrelevance around the world due to a collapsing economy promulgated by failed progressive policies has inspired conservatives to rigorously examine the Republican candidates to discover exactly which one can defeat Obama and govern according to conservative core beliefs. After experiencing Obama and his radical progressive vision for America, as Yogi once said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”