The contrast between the success of Wisconsin Conservatives over the past five years and the frustrations of Republican congressional majorities during the same period is stark, indeed. And unfortunately, the frustrations are leading many well-intentioned Conservatives toward reasoning in ways unmoored from reality.
How much attention, after all, must one be paying in order to recognize that Wisconsin Conservatives in 2010 managed to elect not just legislative majorities but also the state’s chief executive, the pivotal accomplishment that has eluded the GOP nationally in two successive elections?
That obvious fact notwithstanding, we now see a substantial minority of nominally Republican-leaning voters whose exasperation with the congressional majorities manifests itself in demands that are at odds with reasserting Conservative governance.
In that context, the genetics of the partisan role-reversal noted in the item nearby is not unrecognizable. For instance, many nominal Conservatives are enraged by a party that controls just one of the three coequal branches of government presuming unilaterally to make and unmake federal law, but are simultaneously enraged by the other party, which similarly controls just one of the three branches, failing to do the same.
Let’s stipulate that we confront a historically unique situation of rule by decree rather than representative governance; a critical moment in history doesn’t make the case for both sides blowing up the constitutional structure.
Voters of conservative inclination did not invent the present chaos in political thought; surely it reflects the decline of civics education, a decline—perhaps not coincidentally—helpful to the political Left that controls public education and whose hand is strengthened by a shriveled understanding of how American government is designed to operate and a diminished appreciation of the need for restraint of government’s behavior.
But kicking over the furniture is not a governing philosophy.