P J O'Rourke has written possibly the best analysis of the Republican defeat for the Weekly Standard. His message is: the Right had its chance, and it blew it. Conservatism defeated itself. I can see his point. In some ways the same thing happened here in the 1990s.
Conservatives should never say to voters, "We can lower your taxes." Conservatives should say to voters, "You can raise spending. You, the electorate, can, if you choose, have an infinite number of elaborate and expensive government programs. But we, the government, will have to pay for those programs. We have three ways to pay.
"We can inflate the currency, destroying your ability to plan for the future, wrecking the nation's culture of thrift and common sense, and giving free rein to scallywags to borrow money for worthless scams and pay it back 10 cents on the dollar.
"We can raise taxes. If the taxes are levied across the board, money will be taken from everyone's pocket, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and least advantaged will be harmed the most. If the taxes are levied only on the wealthy, money will be taken from wealthy people's pockets, hampering their capacity to make loans and investments, the economy will stagnate, and the poorest and the least advantaged will be harmed the most.
"And we can borrow, building up a massive national debt. This will cause all of the above things to happen plus it will fund Red Chinese nuclear submarines that will be popping up in San Francisco Bay to get some decent Szechwan take-out."
Yes, this would make for longer and less pithy stump speeches. But we'd be showing ourselves to be men and women of principle. It might cost us, short-term. We might get knocked down for not whoring after bioenergy votes in the Iowa caucuses. But at least we wouldn't land on our scruples. And we could get up again with dignity intact, dust ourselves off, and take another punch at the liberal bully-boys who want to snatch the citizenry's freedom and tuck that freedom, like a trophy feather, into the hatbands of their greasy political bowlers.
Gordon Brown's election strategy is clear. Spend, spend, spend and bugger the long term consequences. His successor will have to clear up the mess. And at that point, P J O'Rourke's message of telling it like it is will come into its own.
I think he has really hit on something here and it was exactly the sort of thing I was talking to a couple of Conservative MPs about last night. Conservatives have got to revert to preaching the values of sound money. It is ludicrous for the Prime Minister to go on a borrowing and spending binge while at the same time exhorting the rest of the country to budget carefully. Those who spend in haste leave the rest of us to repent at leisure - and we're at leisure because the economy has gone down the pan and we don't have a job. People know that government borrowing, debt and spending is out of control, and they know that all three of these phenomena have contributed to our current economic crisis. They also know that the Prime Minister is being mendacious when he says our debt is low by international standards. It is not as virtually all economic commentators have pointed out.
Read the whole P J O'Rourke article HERE.