The most realistic assessment of the right’s chances of regaining power from the Democrats in the next few years came from Bay Buchanan:
"As long as they're pursuing legislation that appears to be working, we won't be able to come back," she said. "If the economy comes back, the group in power stays in power. It's that simple."Bay is right, of course, but this leaves two problems for the conservatives. The first is that the Republicans pursued legislation for nearly eight years that, in fact, didn’t appear to work. Indeed, most of the current economic turmoil has been laid at their feet, which is why the public repudiated them in the last election. This is also not the first time their solutions and policies have led to similar results. The run up to the Great Depression was in many ways eerily similar to today’s recession. It too began with the collapse of the banking industry and the stock market crash. Likewise, the recession of 1987 was brought about by the savings and loan collapse. During those periods the Republican administration passed tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent of the economy, preached free market values, and ended up with government bailouts to shore up the economy. Three of the most recent Republican administrations also left the nation with record deficits.
Under most modern Democratic administrations (the exception being Jimmy Carter’s abysmal administration and Carter was a Blue Dog fiscal conservative), the nation enjoyed solid growth of the GDP, low unemployment, low inflation, and even a slight rise in wages for ordinary people. Even under Bill Clinton’s administration, which was largely pro-free trade but did raise taxes on the very wealthy, most working people saw an increase in their wages and a real rise in their buying power. Unlike with the Republicans, a larger group of Americans benefitted from the good economy, not just CEOs and top executives. And none of that hurt the real economic growth of the nation.
So, one problem is that the Democratic legislative agenda appears to work better than the Republican one does.
This also begs the question – and this is the second problem for conservatives – if, in fact, the Democratic economic policies actually do work once again, why should the conservatives make a comeback? If their ideas actually don’t work in the real world – as opposed to in ivory tower think tank papers – as well as Democratic ideas, why would these people deserve to come back? Even more important, why wouldn’t they simply change their mind if facts and history prove them wrong?
This exchange at Tucker Carlson’s speech provides an answer and may be the most telling moment at this conservative event.
Carlson got in a bit of a dust-up with the audience when he spoke Thursday. Arguing that conservatives need to put more effort into digging up facts and rely less on opinion and punditry, he noted that the New York Times, a favorite target of conservative wrath, at least cares about spelling people's names right.If the conservatives are so resistant to taking newsgathering and respecting the facts of current events seriously, even when those facts contradict their favorite ideas, is there any hope for a serious and substantive opposition party that actually puts forth a real debate?
"NOOOOOOO," arose a moan from some in the crowd.
"I'm merely saying that at the core of their news-gathering operation is gathering news."
"NOOOOO . . ."