In the midst of the government shutdown, there has been the expected flurry of polls showing that the GOP has taken a big hit. And of course, this has caused many in the GOP to begin to lose their nerve.
However, none of this is unexpected. Indeed, the big news is that 13% of the government has been shutdown and, apart from some petty and spiteful actions taken by the National Park Service upon the direction of the White House, nothing bad has happened. The world has not caved in. Life has not ceased. Most people have not noticed any ill-effects.
It makes us wonder if that 13% of the government was really all that necessary, and if in fact more of the government could–indeed, should–be shutdown. And as for the national parks, it raises the question of whether the Park Service should be shut down entirely, and the land returned to the states, for them to administer as they see fit. Whether the polls show it or not, many people are thinking these same things.
At the same time, we have a lot of liberal friends on Facebook who are very outspoken in the support of Obama, but we have noticed absolutely no groundswell of outrage against the GOP or conservatives over the government shutdown. In fact, they have posted nothing at all–good or bad–about the shutdown. It is as though they have not even noticed that it is happening. And they probably haven’t. The people who have noticed–they people who do care–are the press and conservatives.
The press is of course outraged, as conservatives have dared to touch their anointed savior. To the extent that the polls show conservatives losing the shutdown fight, it is because the press has convinced many in the public that conservatives and Republicans are evil, and are out to eat their babies.
Yet, something else is happening which is much more important: Conservatives are energized. Not only are they energized, but they are keeping a tally of those who are willing to fight for their beliefs, and those who are willing to give up. And, unlike those in the public who are not really paying all that much attention to the shutdown, they will vote in 2014, and they are going to vote for those that they see as standing for their beliefs.
Regarding the polls, all of them at the moment involve generic ballots or overall like-or-dislike for a party or group. As a predictor of election results, such polls have been proven to be absolutely useless. In America, people don’t cast generic ballots on election day, and they don’t vote for a party or group. They vote for and against individuals. If there is someone on the ballot who can and will fight for what they believe in, they will vote for that person.
Over and over again, polls have shown that the public likes what conservatives stand for, but can’t stand conservatives. Meanwhile, while there are many polls showing that people like Obama, few polls show any support for his policies, including–especially–his signature achievement, Obamacare.
The central truth of the 2014 election is that Obama will not be on the ballot. However, his policies will be. And the reason his policies will be on the ballot is because Ted Cruz made it so with this shutdown fight. In practice, what this means is that if the GOP can field decent candidates (i.e., non-adulterers, non-witches, people with feet planted firmly on the ground and not in their mouths), it will be in excellent shape in 2014, especially if it goes all in on conservative values.
Do you really think that people are going to come out in 2014 to vote for more government spending, to vote for Obamacare, to vote for a party that unnecessarily closes national parks and delays death benefits to veterans’ families, to vote for the party of IRS and NSA overreach?
On the other hand, surely people can be motivated to vote against all these things, if they can find candidates who are really willing to take a stand and fight against them, instead of candidates who continually resort to conservative-sounding bromides, but run on a platform of business-as-usual in Washington.
Democrats have given no one any reason to vote for them, except that some people think it is cool to have a black president. Meanwhile, there are a litany of reasons to vote against them, reasons even many liberals would agree on. This puts the ball in our court. The question is, are we going to rise up to this challenge, and present an alternative to business-as-usual politics in Washington?
This is the edge the shutdown brings conservatives. And this is why conservatives can win this thing, if only they do not lose heart, and can find good candidates for 2014.