It has probably escaped the attention of all but the few who make it their business to pay attention to such things, so we note here that a subtle but dangerous piece of revisionism about the meaning of the November election crept into the national political conversation this week.
Nowhere was that revisionism more evident than in President Barack Obama’s comments late Wednesday in lauding the just-ended 111th Congress, and in particular its lame-duck conclusion: “A lot of folks in this town predicted that after the midterm elections, Washington would be headed for more partisanship and more gridlock. And instead, this has been a season of progress for the American people. That progress … is a reflection of the message that voters sent in November, a message that said it’s time to find common ground on challenges facing our country.”
A few paragraphs later, it became clear that Obama wants us to believe that voters meant for congressional Democrats and Republicans to find that common ground so they can do more of what made the 111th Congress “the most productive two years that we’ve had in generations.”
No, Mr. President, voters in 2010 did not demand bipartisan cooperation in 2011 to advance Obamacare, increase out-of-control federal spending that drove the national debt to $13.4 trillion and the annual deficit to $1.4 trillion, add thousands of bureaucrats to the government payroll even as private sector unemployment remains near 10 percent, create hundreds more wasteful, duplicative federal programs that mainly benefit Democratic-favorite special interests like Big Labor, impose thousands more growth-killing environmental regulations, or erect multitudes of additional obstacles to achieving energy independence here at home.
To be sure, voters have lost patience with the endless partisan harangues, elitist arrogance, political corruption and hypocritical pandering to special interests that long ago came to define Washington and its professional politicians in both parties. That was why Republicans were tossed out of congressional power in 2006. The same factors further coalesced in 2010 with disgust with Obamacare, the failed $814 billion economic stimulus program, the “always apologize for America” foreign policy, and exploding spending and debt. The result was that voters tossed Democrats out of control of the House and handed Republicans their deepest mid-term election victory since 1938. Only in a liberal fantasy world does such an electoral result represent an electorate demanding bipartisan cooperation for more of the same.
Historians may someday describe the just-ended lame duck session as the high-water mark of big government. Come Jan. 5, the reality of what voters did on Nov. 2 will become incontestably clear as a Republican House majority takes office. Then, as Sen. Tom Coburn said Wednesday, henceforth, “there will be no more big spending bills.” The new year cannot come too soon.