Nothing "Super" About This Majority


The Wall Street Journal peers into the abyss of the coming "liberal supermajority," and shudders:

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on. […]

One program certain to be given right of way is "card check." Unions have been in decline for decades, now claiming only 7.4% of the private-sector work force, so Big Labor wants to trash the secret-ballot elections that have been in place since the 1930s. The "Employee Free Choice Act" would convert workplaces into union shops merely by gathering signatures from a majority of employees, which means organizers could strongarm those who opposed such a petition. […]

A tax-and-regulation scheme in the name of climate change is a top left-wing priority. Cap and trade would hand Congress trillions of dollars in new spending from the auction of carbon credits, which it would use to pick winners and losers in the energy business and across the economy. Huge chunks of GDP and millions of jobs would be at the mercy of Congress and a vast new global-warming bureaucracy. […]

Felons may also get the right to vote nationwide, while the Fairness Doctrine is likely to be reimposed either by Congress or the Obama FCC. A major goal of the supermajority left would be to shut down talk radio and other voices of political opposition. […]

In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today's left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for "change" should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.

I've got no problems whatsover with ex-felons getting the right to vote, and I'm (thanks to a Jesse Walker article in the November issue of reason) perhaps naively unfearful of the imminent return of the Fairness Doctrine (which would, after all, rally Republicans in a way John McCain never quite could). And nowhere in this editorial do you see much criticism for the big-government catastrophe of Bushism.

But as McCain has rightly pointed out, Bush ain't running for president. Barack Obama is indeed more lefty than 1990s Democrats on economic issues–especially free trade, which he has never passed up an opportunity to bash–and placing him at the head of unified Democratic government high on re-regulatory rhetoric is likely to have a whole host of lousy consequences, several of which David Weigel wrote about back in June. In my anecdotal experience, libertarians who plan to vote for Obama are either engaging in a whole lot of evidence-lite Hope about how his intelligence and University of Chicago background will somehow translate into semi-prudent economic policy, or have just decided that that matters less than their one or two big issues, usually pertaining to war. Even though if you think you're voting for a non-interventionist, think again.