- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

After two years of the Obama agenda and ever-waning Obamania, looming midterm election losses are crushing Democrats’ hopes of keeping their party’s control of Congress, numerous governorships and statehouses.

Many pundits compare 2010 to recent midterm elections. However, it’s simplistic comparing 2010 to the GOP wave of 1994 or the Democrats’ foreboding wins of 2006.

In 1994 and 2006, major forces were at play in America, emanating from each party’s flanks. In ‘94, organizations such as the Christian Coalition drove turnout. In 2006, Democrats benefited from organized labor and antiwar groups such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), MoveOn.org and Code Pink.

In 2010, it’s clear that the Tea Party is only one piece in a larger, decentralized movement of disenfranchised individuals focused on limited government and sensible spending at all levels. There’s more Ross Perot populism in the Tea Party movement than Newt Gingrich conservatism or Nancy Pelosi liberalism, without the central figurehead.

These frustrated voters are motivated this year because the stakes are high. It’s not about presidential peccadilloes or war, it’s about the direction of our country and how our government has lost sight of being for the people and by the people.

Nothing exemplified this more than when Glenn Beck held the Restoring Honor rally on the Mall, where the hundreds of thousands of attendees were not your standard political warriors. Rather, they are the types who view themselves as voters and patriots who want to continue building a better America for their children.

These patriots don’t want the scheme of Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi that took the American government from 18 percent control of the U. S. economy to 30 percent. They want to reverse these European socialistic trends and return America to capitalism before Mr. Obama takes the American economy to the British level of central government planning - 50-plus percent.

This seemingly epochal political shift is reflective of a generational shift also taking place. As Generation Y comes of age, its members are doing so more conservatively than their parents. The Gen Ys are seeking a more responsible government. The 2008 election left them with a sense of being shafted; this has laid the groundwork for a new generation of American conservatism.

Neil Strauss and William Howe would describe the Gen Ys as a new generational archetype. There are four archetypes: hero, artist, prophet and nomad, and they evolve with each generation. It’s looking increasingly likely that Gen Y will be classified as the hero archetype. These heroes are people coming of age today who have grown up watching family and friends lose their jobs and homes, witnessing the results of war and living through Sept. 11, 2001. Gen Ys are law-and-order people who are clean-cut, know how to work hard, are selfless and, most important, self-reliant.

If this sounds like your children or grandchildren, what’s important to note is that the dominating party at the start of this hero generation often controls the country for decades. The last hero generation came of age in the 1940s under Rooseveltian dominance. The Democrats’ power didn’t wane until the Reagan Revolution, about four decades later.

Two years ago, historians with foresight thought the Democrats would be the ones to establish a new foundation amidst economic upheaval similar to the 1930s. Few imagined that their party would unravel in a little more than a year.

Let this be a lesson to the GOP. If the party falls into the same power-hungry spending traps of the past decade, we may see a repeat of the upcoming donkey slaughter as an elephant hunt in two or four years.

Locally, in the Northwest, we see once-safe Democratic seats looking increasingly competitive. In the heated Washington state Senate race, Dino Rossi is even in the likely-voter polls against three-term incumbent Sen. Patty Murray.

Since 1992, the amount of pork Mrs. Murray has voted to bring home has doubled the debt burden of every American. “Big deal,” has been the collective response of Washington voters for more than 18 years. “At least it’s coming back home to our state.” This sentiment has resulted in large victory margins for the “mom in tennis shoes.”

So what changed for the voters of Washington in 2010? The voters have opened their eyes to the reality of the national debt burden and realized that Mrs. Murray’s lobbyist friends are the true beneficiaries of her “coin-operated” representation. Meanwhile, their grandchildren will pay the bill.

Comparatively, they view Mr. Rossi as the pragmatic conservative candidate running to build a better future for America, someone who started with nothing and built a successful business and who took a strong stand against higher taxes and spending while serving as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the Washington State Senate.

There are other once-safe seats in play in the Evergreen State. A young and energetic Jaime Herrera is leading Denny Heck, a stodgy member of the Democratic machine, for a seat held by the Democrats for a dozen years. John Koster is leading in a recent poll against longtime incumbent Rep. Richard R. Larsen. James Watkins is running close to incumbent Rep. Jay Inslee.

This same anger toward incumbency and taxation is bringing five citizen-sponsored initiatives designed to roll back, eliminate or reduce taxes and fees on individuals and businesses to the November ballot.

Of particular note, Initiative 1053 would bring back the two-thirds vote requirement for the state Legislature to raise taxes. This was something the voters already passed and the Legislature gutted in order to raise taxes earlier this year.

I look forward to a new majority in November and to Senate and House members like Dino Rossi being elected across America. It’s starting to look like a new era and one that could last a generation or two - as long as we read our history books. And remember, leadership isn’t simply about being powerful - it’s about wielding that power to do the right thing.

Anthony Welcher, an executive board member of the Washington State Republican Party, worked at the State Department in the George W. Bush administration.

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