2013 has been a tough year for the political class.
The most recent evidence comes from Colorado.
Earlier in the year, the political elites in Washington were certain gun control would be enacted following the horrific massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. When nothing passed, they expected politicians who refused to support more gun restrictions would face consequences for their actions.
There were consequences. Just not the one’s the political class expected.
After Colorado passed its own version of gun control legislation, two state senators were targeted by a grassroots effort for removal through a recall vote. It was the first time in the state’s history that the recall process had even been attempted. Outside money poured in, and gun control advocates outspent the NRA and its allies by a 6-to-1 margin. Despite the tremendous financial advantage they enjoyed, both state senators were removed from office because of their support for gun control legislation.
This wasn’t the first time the political class totally misread the public mood this year.
An early sign of trouble for the elites came with public reaction to the so-called sequester. More precisely, the D.C. panic was caused by the lack of public reaction.
Politicians, mainstream media organizations, defense contractors and others did everything they could to scare the public. President Obama himself used his State of the Union address to say, “These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.” To make sure voters understood his concern, he added, “They’d devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
But it didn’t work.
People didn’t rise up in revolt and demand that Congress stop the sequester.
Instead, voters recognized that the politicians were crying wolf. The so-called cuts were not harsh and devastating. They were embarrassingly modest. In fact, all the sequester really did was reduce the growth of federal spending a bit. So, when the sequester went into effect, there was no revolt. Instead, hardly anybody noticed. Only those who work for the government really felt any impact.
Then there was Syria.
The political class has long been much more enthusiastic about military interventions than the American people. Some among the elite like it for humanitarian purposes, some for prestige, and some because they believe the U.S. should be the global policeman.
Voters think we should take action only when our vital national security interests are at stake.
Still, when the president was forced to seek approval from Congress, the initial expectation was for easy passage in the Democratic controlled Senate and a close vote in the Republican controlled House. Instead, public reaction to the president’s request was so negative that it became a rout.
It was stunning to see what happens when Congress actually listens to voters rather than following the insiders.
On gun control, the sequester and Syria, the political class showed how little grasp it has about the attitudes of mainstream America. Other issues are likely to reveal the same cluelessness as 2014 approaches.
The political class world is crumbling. That’s something to celebrate.
Source: Real Clear Politics