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Opinion

Opinion

’12 may be good year for conservatives

January 1, 2012

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— Although they have become prone to apocalyptic forebodings about the fragility of the nation’s institutions and traditions under the current president, conservatives should stride confidently into 2012. This is not because they are certain, or even likely, to defeat Barack Obama this year. Rather, it is because, if they emancipate themselves from their unconservative fixation on the presidency, they will see events unfolding in their favor. And when Congress is controlled by one party, as it might be a year from now, it can stymie an overreaching executive.

In 2011, for the first time in 62 years, America was a net exporter of petroleum products. For the foreseeable future, a specter is haunting progressivism, the specter of abundance. Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people, and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior.

Imagine what a horror 2011 was for progressives as Americans began to comprehend their stunning abundance of fossil fuels — beyond their two centuries’ supply of coal. Progressives responded with attempts to impede development of the vast proven reserves of natural gas and oil here and in Canada. They bent the willowy Obama to delay approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil from Canadian tar sands; they raised environmental objections to new techniques for extracting gas and “tight” oil from shale formations.

An all-purpose rationale for rationing in its many permutations has been the progressives’ preferred apocalypse, the fear of climate change. But environmentalism as the thin end of an enormous wedge of regulation and redistribution is a spent force. How many Americans noticed that the latest United Nations climate change confabulation occurred in December in Durban, South Africa?

The futility of this nullity signaled the end — probably for decades, if not forever — of a trivial pursuit that began 14 years ago with the Kyoto Protocol that the U.S. Senate would not even bring to a vote. The pursuit was for a 194-nation consensus obligating a few nations to transfer enormous wealth to many other nations’ governments, to be politically distributed by them, with the supposed effect of ending global warming, if such proves to be.

Meanwhile, back in the nation that probably would have ponied up the largest portion of this money, sales of the electric-powered Chevrolet Volt were falling short of General Motors’ goals even before reports about fire hazards in crash tests. And a Wall Street Journal headline proclaimed: “Americans Embrace SUVs Again.”

Because of the Energy Department’s myriad scandals and other misadventures as a venture capital firm (Solyndra, Beacon Power Corp., etc.), it is probable that 2011 will be remembered as the high-water mark of industrial policy. This is another way in which events are draining the Obama presidency of some of its power for mischief. If in November Republicans capture the Senate, which must confirm many senior officials of the executive branch and agencies, only weakness of Republican will can enable, for example, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board to continue being unconstrained instruments of presidential decrees.

Political logic suggests that, this year, Obama will try to rekindle the love of young voters with some forgiveness of student debts. But one-third of students do not borrow to pay college tuition. The average debt for those who do borrow to attend a four-year public institution is $22,000 and the average difference between the per-year earnings of college graduates and those with only a high school diploma is ... $22,000.

It will be interesting to see how such a bailout of young and privileged borrowers will appeal to voters, who will begin to be heard from in Iowa. Before this year is many months old, discerning conservatives may decide that Obama probably has been rescued by the Republican nominating electorate and hence it is time to begin focusing on two things other than the 2012 presidential election. One is capturing the Senate. The other is preparing the ground for a better presidential nomination competition in 2016.

In any case, nothing that happens this November will bring an apocalypse. America had 43 presidencies before the current one and will have many more than that after the end of this one in 2013 or 2017. Decades hence, it will look like most others, a pebble in the river of American history.

George Will is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months ago

the term out there reaffirms your intellectual status as a kansas simpleton who does nothing but bait arguements with pointed comments of little intellectual value.

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

No caps and something consistently "out there" to say.......good too!

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Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months ago

bad spelling and nothing smart to say....you two are good....

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Flap Doodle 2 years, 3 months ago

...rant...rave...run-on sentence... (...from ... a ... source...)

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niles 2 years, 3 months ago

i stand by occupy wallstreet and the rest of the bottom 9%. where is my free stuff?

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Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months ago

firstly, I don't think Kurt Cobain would appreciate someone like you or your ilk appropriating Nirvana's images but that's to be expected from people with no originality and no new ideas except the failed ideas of an alzheimer's afflicted ex actor who was in office from 1980 to 1988. Better yet....name five signers of the declaration of independence and name the two state based plans of government that were in consideration during the evolution of the US Government in the colonial times....you people claim to know more about the US Constitution or is that what one of your thought programmers who wrote this article feed your brain with....if you don't know this stuff it's going to be sad to know publically that a so called "Savage" like me knows more about your country than you do... that's the luxury of not knowing much about history or biology or any of the other subjects mentioned in that goldie oldies song that sums up much of what you know math.....nothing.....

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

Is it 2012 yet? I need to check my calendar. Kooks will be more kooky this year then ever.

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Mike Ford 2 years, 3 months ago

follow the pied piper of destruction from 2000 to 2008, with no bid haliburton contracts and the patriot act and the embezzling military contraqtors, run the country into the ground and pass the bailout before Obama is even president....act like it's 1781 and the articles of confederation are the new vogue....let the sanctified former dixiecrat religious supremacist racists create non issues with sharia law roping in those dumb enough to believe this nonsense...speak the racist code language of neocons calling people thugs and acting sanctified desperately trying to grab the empirical high ground as your politically prejudiced thugs try to get ready to show the same prejudicial attitude in the scotus as they did in Gore V Bush and Citizens United. Claim class war as you've benefitted from it for centuries. Use the Doctrine of Discovery from Johnson V McIntosh to steal lands from indigenous peoples to bring your immigrant nahollo anumpuli to sa yakni. American eyes...American eyes...see the world from American eyes....see the land rob us blind and leave nothing behind. So glad the rest of the world sees you all as trailer billies as the Canadians told my father in Kenora, Ontario, this summer.

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beatrice 2 years, 3 months ago

Hopefully, it will be a good year for the nation.

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

As long as our Wealth Redistributing Spend-a-holic in Chief keeps asking for more and more trillions, it indeed otta be a stellar year for conservatives. The godless Party of Secular-Progressives may be "in the wilderness" (to coin a leftist phrase after 2006 mid-terms regarding Republicans) for years to come. Funny how that Obama/Pelosi/Reid trio didn't have a very long shelf life, did it?

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 3 months ago

Hey George Will conservatives are reckless liberal spenders and idiots and business management and hell of the rights of women and voter rights. Get rid of this narrow minded conservative lot!!!

Now Fiscal Conservative and Socially Responsible democrats and republicans are in demand.

But you and your narrow minded conservatives are out of the question! The RINO dominated repub party has been a colossal failure in all aspects of government for the past 31 years. Go away.

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Agnostick 2 years, 3 months ago

"A good year for conservatives?" Maybe. It helps to know how you define "conservative," though--that's the rub.

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toe 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes, it will be a good year and elections will go their way. Then back again when the public finds out they are as unprincipled as the ones they replaced.

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

Would you let your kids mooch off of you all their lives 'til you're in the grave? Not in this household.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 3 months ago

Nothing will get better until all of you that are mooching off of the taxpayer are cut off. This includes paying for your own books (Library) and transportation (EmpT).

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

Progressives are by nature brimming with ideas they think are cutting-edge and designed to solve all societal ills. Problem is, they don't work and the rest of us are tired of dealing with their devastating policies, infantile outbursts and constant whining of "Where's MINE?!" Boo-hoo-hoo. Fleabaggers are forever etched into the Obama-era style Class Warfare history. But the left will re-write it that those darned evil capitalist pigs caused the Fleabagger movement.

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camper 2 years, 3 months ago

" Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people, and because progressives believe that only government’s energy should flow unimpeded, they crave energy scarcities as an excuse for rationing — by them — that produces ever-more-minute government supervision of Americans’ behavior. "

As smart as Will thinks he is, this is a terribly false statement on so many levels. He does paint with a broad brush and generalize doesn't he? Will is just a paid hack writer preaching to his choir (if I might generalize the way he does).

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SnakeFist 2 years, 3 months ago

"Because progressivism exists to justify a few people bossing around most people..."

That's not progressivism, that's capitalism.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

Looks like it's going to be a banner year for willful ignorance and straw men from Georgie.

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cowboy 2 years, 3 months ago

Knuckle dragging parade today

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bballwizard 2 years, 3 months ago

I have a good idea why don't you get some friends. Why you say? 1 - you would have gone out for new years eve and instead of wishing you were George Will and writing these stupid comments you would be still asleep not creeping me out already and 2012 just started. My god get a life.

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jafs 2 years, 3 months ago

And, then again, it may not.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

The Tao Te Ching says:

The more restrictions and prohibitions there are, the poorer the people become The sharper the people's weapons are, the more national confusion increases? The more skill artisans require, the more bizarre their products are? The more precisely laws are articulated, the more thieves and outlaws increase

More laws or regulation will not address the underlying failure of enforcement and the need for a new investment model.

(from a source)

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its_just_math 2 years, 3 months ago

Great Will piece. America has had it up to their earballs with progressives. Let's get rid of the thuggery of Obama, the idiocy of Biden and the screwball Reid once and for all and get this country back on track, creating new jobs, tapping on our natural resources here at home and end the era of progressive dogma that is, by all indications, intended to keep the entrepenuer down, demonize wealth and lift the government to totalitarian-like status.

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FalseHopeNoChange 2 years, 3 months ago

  1. Obama’s Cuba Policy Could Cost Him the Election

President Barack Obama has said that unilaterally easing sanctions against the Castro regime in Cuba is an “adequate” policy supported by Cuban-Americans.

That “support,” however, is “never reflected where it counts — the ballot box,” writes Mauricio Claver-Carone, director of the U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC and founding editor of CapitolHillCubans.com, in an opinion piece for the Miami Herald.

He points out that Obama received only about 30 percent of the Cuban-American vote during the 2008 election, “when just about every other constituency was overwhelmingly looking for ‘change’ after eight years of the Bush administration.”

“Obama won Florida by only 2.5 percent. Today, he’s treading on thin ice politically. Thus, any drop in Cuban-American support could easily cost him Florida — and given Florida’s political importance, perhaps the election.”

Obama’s political rationale regarding Cuba is based on the belief that Cuban-Americans — although they consistently vote to support candidates who favor maintaining strong sanctions against Cuba’s dictatorship — support more travel to and engagement with the island.

“Here are the facts: The Cuban-American community has never elected a candidate to federal office who has supported lifting sanctions,”

(from a source)

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Jane 2 years, 3 months ago

I don't see returning power to the states as a bad thing. The federal government has injected themselves into areas they were never meant to govern. Return to the constitution!!!

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 3 months ago

Actually, much of the "social legislation" at the federal level which liberals have inflicted on the free citizens of America has had no support in the U.S. Constitution, which has been "interpreted" by liberal Supreme Court Justices for over 70 years to justify ever-greater federal government intrusion into people's lives. The Commerce Clause, for example, was intended only to allow the federal government to regulate commerce among the several states, which had become a nightmare under the Articles of Confederation with states in effect attempting to regulate each other's commercial activities (river traffic, for example). The Commerce Clause has been grossly twisted to justify one federal power-grab after another, the latest being Obamacare, which is patently unconstitutional.

Liberals have little to worry about, however, despite their lemming-like addiction to posting drivel from left-wing blog sites attempting to scare people, because under stare decisis the U.S. Supreme Court isn't about to undo 70 years of earlier jurisprudence, no matter how bad some of it has been. It can, however, stem the tide of further bad decisions, and what a majority of the Court does with Obamacare will be the most significant case in decades. If the mandate to buy health insurance is not stricken down as unconstitutional, there will be no human conduct, whether by way of personal action or inaction, that the federal government cannot regulate.

Of course, as Will points out in his column, liberals would welcome that.

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mloburgio 2 years, 3 months ago

What If the Tea Party Wins? They Have a Plan for the Constitution, and It Isn’t Pretty

It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:

Social Security and Medicare Medicaid, children's health insurance, and other health care programs All federal education programs All federal antipoverty programs Federal disaster relief Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections Federal civil rights laws

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/09/tea_party_constitution.html

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