Although much ado has been made about the Republican Party’s need to reach out to emerging constituent groups amid the mainstream media’s caterwauling about the need for conservatives to moderate, it is the agenda of the Left that has stalled – especially at the state level.
The re-election of President Barack Obama, which supposedly heralded a new era of progressive (i.e. Left-wing) government, has actually been limited to the usurpation of congressional power by the executive branch. Despite Democratic control of the U.S. Senate and a RINO-run House of Representatives, congress has done little more this session than raise taxes on every American.
At the state level, where the GOP controls 30 of the 50 state governorships, the conservative agenda is advancing. This has been particularly true in the upper mid-west where Michigan and Indiana have become Right-to-Work states and Wisconsin enacted legislation that diminished the power of public sector labor unions.
Proof that the Left is losing comes from the fact that when they fail to accomplish their policy goals by engaging in serious debate, they turn to bully tactics and even violence. Regrettably, both are escalating.
As the Pennsylvania House of Representatives considered a bill to privatize the state’s antiquated monopoly liquor store system advocates of change staged a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda. As David Taylor of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association spoke he was shouted down by Wendell Young, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The spectacle was caught on video, posted on the internet and went viral. Young’s thuggish antics, revealed for all to see, backfired. The House voted for privatization.
Union angst led to violence several months ago when the construction site of a Quaker Meeting House in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill was torched. The vandalism occurred after unions objected to the hiring of a merit shop (non-union) construction firm. The act was particularly ironic given the fact Quakers are noted for their adherence to non-violence.
Radical environmentalists have also gotten in on the act. The Left has been unable to stop the development of the Marcellus Shale gas field. Gas production has been an economic boom to parts of Pennsylvania, much to the dismay of the environmentalists. Unable to stop the development, shots were fired recently at a Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig in Northwestern Pennsylvania. A witness said the shots came from a pick-up truck whose occupants were shouting obscenities.
It is not just Republicans who have been targeted. A few weeks ago Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter attempted to give his annual budget address to the city council. Union members created such a disturbance the Mayor was forced to abandon his speech. Highlighting their lack of intellectual ability, the unions towed a giant rat and a photograph of the mayor doctored to look like Bozo the clown to the event. All of this occurred because the mayor, facing budget constraints, would not yield to union contract demands.
Such behavior by unions and other components of the Left is likely to become more common. The fact is organized labor is on the verge of becoming extinct in the private sector, leaving the public arena as the venue for its last stand. Taxpayers have grown weary of paying government salaries larger than their own, and the Great Obama Recession has resulted in smaller or no pay hikes, under-employment and stubbornly high unemployment.
The fact is government employees are not exempt from the factors at play in the general economy. And, when opportunities such as Marcellus Shale development present themselves, most Americans opt for a balance allowing for development of such resources with appropriate environmental safeguards.
Despite the Left’s chest-thumping over results of last November’s elections, it is becoming increasingly clear the nation is gravitating to a more conservative policy path. Lacking the ability to make their case through rational argument, the Left is turning increasingly to violent and uncivil acts.
As the pendulum swings back toward more rational economic policy, look for advocates of big government to continue losing ground. Regrettably, their boorish behavior is likely to get worse, rather than better, as they watch their efforts fail.
(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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