It was only a year ago that President Obama was inaugurated in what some commentators hailed as a sweeping endorsement of socialism: more European-style central economic planning, federal regulation, and entitlement programs. But it would seem that the pundits misread the Democrats’ victories in 2006 and 2008. America didn’t want more, it wanted less.
Americans wanted change, and change after eight years of George W. Bush did not mean more government spending or involvement in our lives. It meant less unchecked executive power, less military involvement overseas, less spending, less secrecy, less corruption, less cronyism, and less partisan bickering. To take his victory as a mandate for a more socialist re-ordering of American society may have been a fatal mistake by the fledgling Obama Administration.
Just one year later, a majority of Americans (56%) “think the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” according to a CNN Poll published this week. Even 37% of Democrats thought so. CNN reports it as “only 37%,” but think about it: thirty seven percent of Democrats believe that our federal government poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. That’s right, 37% of Democrats sound like radical, right-wing, separatist, tea partiers. (Or conversely, the Tea Party may be more mainstream and less radical than Keith Olbermann lets on.)
Earlier this month, Rasmussen revealed that only 21% of Americans believe that government has the consent of the governed, while “61% disagree and say the government does not have the necessary consent.” Only 21% of Americans even think the federal government is legitimate. Meanwhile, 71% “of all voters now view the federal government as a special interest group,” and 75% “are angry at the policies of the federal government.”
So it’s no wonder that the libertarian-leaning Republican, Ron Paul- whose enthusiastic grassroots supporters arguably formed the nucleus for the modern tea party movement- actually won the CPAC presidential straw poll, breaking the three-year winning streak of establishment favorite, Mitt Romney. That’s just more evidence to support Mike Huckabee’s reason for sitting out CPAC this year. He said, “CPAC has become increasingly more libertarian and less Republican over the last years, one of the reasons I didn’t go this year.”
Meanwhile, former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin has her finger to the pulse of American politics, and knows that libertarian is in. In addition to a generous donation from SarahPAC to the U.S. Senate campaign coffers of Ron Paul’s son, Rand Paul, it emerged last week that Palin will even be campaigning for Rand’s outsider Senate campaign. If he were seated today, Paul would likely be the most libertarian Senator on Capitol Hill.
With powerful establishment voices kowtowing to (or grumbling about) the rising tide of libertarian influence, powerful electoral momentum, and a sweeping revolution in public opinion, it would appear that for the first time since our War for Independence… we’re all libertarians now.