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The Real Issue in the Upcoming Election

Does Washington have too much power and money?

5:14 PM, Oct 27, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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While some of the Republican presidential candidates consistently suggest that the economy is the only first-tier issue in the upcoming election, the party is missing a tremendous opportunity to run against the Obama administration’s unprecedented amassing of power and money at the expense of Americans’ liberty — best exemplified, of course, by Obamacare. Moreover, while the economy could experience an uptick between, say, August and early November of next year, a newly released Rasmussen poll shows how running against Obamacare — and other gross excesses of federal power and spending — is a much more reliable course.  

Barack Obama,

The Rasmussen poll asked likely voters, “Does the federal government have too much power and money, too little power and money, or about the right amount of power and money?” By a tally of more than 7 to 1, Americans answered “too much” (64 percent), rather than “too little” (9 percent). Among independents, the tally was more than 9 to 1 (67 to 7 percent). 

Alexis de Tocqueville gave clear voice to such concerns nearly 175 years ago, arguing that the increasing consolidation of power and money in a centralized government would progressively cause that government to take the place of free human action and interaction, resulting in a scenario in which, as he put it,

the sovereign extends its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; …it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.

He added, “A democratic republic…in which…administrative centralization [was] accepted by custom and by law…would become more intolerable than in any of the absolute monarchies of Europe.”

Republicans would do well to give voice to such overarching themes — backed up by concrete examples and specific plans of action — and to remember that they didn’t swing 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats to their side of the aisle during the midterm election because of the economy. Exit polling showed, at that point, voters blamed former President Bush and Wall Street for the sluggish economy more than they blamed President Obama. 

Republicans won the last election in a landslide first and foremost because of their unflinching opposition to Obamacare (for which not a sole Republican voted) and their clear commitment to repealing it. So far in the presidential race, however, no candidate has eloquently, knowledgably, and thoroughly explained how Obamacare represents an attack on the core principles of limited government and liberty on which this nation was founded. 

The Rasmussen poll — as well as a myriad of polls on repeal — suggests that Americans are open to this message and are actually craving such leadership. So, who will step up and provide it? If no one in the field can (or will) do so, will someone else step up at this crucial moment and save the American idea? Whoever does so (if anyone does) will almost certainly win.

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