Michael Barone has a short and masterful piece on just how the original "culture of independence" is superior to the Obamacide dependants because "independence has a moral dimension." This won't mean anything to the "educated elites" who administer the government giveaways, but it means everything to people owning and running small businesses and raising nuclear families not ravaged by divorce and secularism.
If some guy is getting $400, shouldn't he just shut up and collect the money? Shouldn't he be happy that his state government, headed recently by Rod Blagojevich, was getting an extra $50 billion?
But public policy also helps determine the kind of society we are. The Obama Democrats see a society in which ordinary people cannot fend for themselves, where they need to have their incomes supplemented, their health care insurance regulated and guaranteed, their relationships with their employers governed by union leaders. Highly educated mandarins can make better decisions for them than they can make themselves.
That is the culture of dependence. The tea partiers see things differently. They're not looking for lower taxes; half of tea party supporters, a New York Times survey found, think their taxes are fair. Nor are they financially secure: Half say someone in their household may lose their job in the next year. Two-thirds say the recession has caused some hardship in their lives. But they recognize, correctly, that the Obama Democrats are trying to permanently enlarge government and increase citizens' dependence on it.
And, invoking the language of the Founding Fathers, they believe that this will destroy the culture of independence that has enabled Americans over the past two centuries to make this the most productive and prosperous -- and the most charitably generous -- nation in the world. Seeing our political divisions as a battle between the culture of dependence and the culture of independence helps to make sense of the divisions seen in the 2008 election.
The grifters and the slackers and the unionized layabouts who make up the bulk of Obama's support are all too glad to get handouts. Add to that feminazis and deluded teenage-wasteland dwellers of all ages, and Obama got a clear majority in '08.
Interestingly, in the Massachusetts special Senate election the purported beneficiaries of the culture of dependence -- low-income and low-education voters -- did not turn out in large numbers. In contrast, the administrators of that culture -- affluent secular professionals, public employees, university personnel -- were the one group that turned out in force and voted for the hapless Democratic candidate. The in-between people on the income and education ladders, it turns out, are a constituency for the culture of independence.
Smart conservatives like David Frum, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argued in 2009 books that modest-income conservative voters have had stagnant incomes over the last decade and that Republicans should offer them compensatory tax breaks. That seemed to make sense in the wake of the 2008 election. But it's been undercut by developments since. As Roesgen discovered, tea party supporters are not in the mood to be bought off with $400 tax credits.
They have a longer time horizon and can see where the Obama Democrats are trying to take us. Lazarsfeld saw politics as just a matter of dollars and cents. The tea party movement reminds us of what the Founders taught, that it has a moral dimension as well. They risked all in the cause of the culture of independence. The polling evidence suggests that most Americans don't want to leave that behind.
So despite Botox Queen Nancy's strident shrieks that the Tea Partiers are "astro-Turf" and not authentic, perhaps if she can bear it, Pelosi should look into the mirror and see what she looks like without botulism implants [see accompanying photo]!