Saturday, February 21, 2009

Are Conservatives Recovering Their Enthusiasm?

Do you feel a certain spring in your step these days?

Everyone who knows me well knows that I rarely pass up an opportunity to complain. I can spot the dark lining of a silver cloud from miles away.

So, it must give me a bit more credibility than the typical Pollyanna when I begin to sense a positive change in the air hinting at renewed enthusiasm for conservative ideas even as the aberration of Obama is still in it's infancy.

After all, we knew that sooner or later the mists of "hope and change" that obscured the reality of an Obama Administration coupled with Democrat control of congress would drift away and the disinfecting power of sunlight would shine in and reveal the truth to voters who are only now waking up from their hopey-changey hangover.

Are Four Years Up Yet?

On Tuesday, Obama signed the hogzilla "stimulus" bill into law saying that it was "the beginning of the end" of our economic troubles. The quote itself is odd because it's derivative of something Winston Churchill declared after the first big British victory over Rommel in North Africa. Churchill said "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

Interesting that Obama would rephrase Churchill after banishing the bust of the man many Britons consider the greatest Englishman who ever lived. That action alone signaled to conservatives in the U.S. and overseas the true nature of the man we are dealing with.

Obama's only been in office for one month and already there is handwriting on the wall which suggests there may only be 47 months of this aberration left to endure. To borrow Obama's own phrase, we may already be at the beginning of the end for Obama!

If the economy rebounds Obama will get the credit and we may be in for a longer wait. But if the hogzilla stimulus bill actually damages the economy and the massive debt incurred ushers in a new era of mass inflation the remaining 47 months will just fly by despite the economic pain. It's not that we want bad economic tidings, but it certainly makes it less painful to be proved right.

Early bets are running against Obama. The Dow Jones index is a predictor of future economic activity and the more Obama and the Dems talk and act on the economy the lower the Dow goes. Brush fires of populist dissent are springing up all over as people finally learn what kind of non-stimulative big government liberal nonsense was in this bill that was so urgent we were told there was no time to read it.

Obama Approval Drops

Another signal that all is not well in Obamaland is the first signs of downward trends in opinion polls. The latest Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll (summary, raw data-PDF) is especially troubling for Obamatons and heartening for conservatives.

A few highlights:
  • Obama's approval rating dropped 5 points to 60% and disapproval rating went up 10 points to 26% (mostly due to hoodwinked Republicans waking up which is more good news for conservatives).
  • Obama's personal approval ratings are also beginning to dip. Chris Anderson, Opinion Dynamics vice president said: "The 9-point decrease in Obama’s personal favorability rating actually masks a larger shift over the last month and that is a massive change of heart among Republicans towards the president personally."
  • The number of voters confident the Obama administration will be able to make "significant positive change for the country" has dropped 11 percentage points from 75 percent in mid-January.
  • About one in five Democrats (21 percent) thinks the Obama administration is bringing more of the same partisan politics.
  • 16 percent of those voting for Obama in the general election wish there were more Republicans in Congress.
  • Turning to Obama's cabinet, a 57 percent majority rates the quality of the people he selected as excellent or good, down from 60 percent in mid-January and 65 percent in early December.

If these present trends continue Obama's approval numbers will be below those of President Bush in a matter of months.

Conservatives Freed to Be Themselves!

All of this is occurring at at time when conservatives have finally been freed to be themselves. For many of us, John McCain was a 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice as our presidential standard bearer. And as much as we appreciated President Bush's strong stand on national security we weren't always comfortable with his compromises with Democrats on spending or immigration.

But now, we are no longer bound by party loyalty or electoral necessity. And our leaders on Capitol Hill are finally speaking in unison about the need to counteract big government and return to the practical solutions to economic problems that were so soundly proved during the Reagan era.

The icing on the cake is that we have a new chairman at the RNC. Michael Steele has the energy and the spirited enthusiasm so many of us felt was lacking in that job for the last number of years. He's the right man for the job at the right time and he's already signaled that a priority will be to modernize the GOP's technology of campaign communications which was something Obama mastered during his successful White House run.

The next big challenge will be for conservatives to recruit new candidates to run for office at every level from local party, city and county to the state and federal level. 2010 is not so far away and if Obama's promises continue to trail his performance we need to be ready to offer voters an attractive, practical alternative.

I'll be looking forward to next week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington for more signs of growing conservative enthusiasm and hope that REAL change is not far away!

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