What had seemed the day before to be solid is now a display of inner rot. We see this all the time in the political arena: the ancient Bourbon Kings of the Ancien Régime had Versailles as their crib, for crying out loud. In 1789 they gave the tip o' the crown to a decidedly Middle Class series of reforms; two years later the Royal Blood ran red in the ironically named Place de la Concorde.
I myself recall being on vacation, sitting in a sunlit piazza in Florence and reading the International Herald Tribune. The Warsaw Pact was letting their people leave, rather than machine gunning them at the border. It's over, I realized, and two short months later the Berlin Wall fell to sledge hammers from both sides. Gone as if it had never been.
Mussolini was probably the most influential world leader in the 1920s, although the Professoriat doesn't want to tell you that today. He was founder of the fascist political philosophy, a collectivist movement taking its name from the ancient Roman fasces, a bundle of sticks used by Roman officials as signs of office. While each stick in the fasces is easily broken, the collection of sticks makes the fasces an intimidating weapon.
So just how influential was Mussolini? I don't see too many of these now, but when I was a kid, these dimes were common:
That's a fasces on the back side of American legal tender (please don't anyone tell me that Franklin Roosevelt wasn't a fascist). Mussolini was also author of the "Third Way" between Capitalism and Communism so beloved of modern Euro politicians who have absolutely no clue where the term came from.
But two weeks after the Allies invaded Sicily in 1943, his own Fascist Council voted him out and he was arrested. Gone in the blink of an eye, and while Adolf Hitler sent a daring team of commandos to rescue him, he was done and ended swinging from a lamppost.
We see this over and over and over again. The "best and brightest" who are at best "adequately predictable" see nothing but continued strength in the status quo, right before the bottom drops out. The CIA thought that the Soviet Union was the world's third largest economy in 1989. Oops.
Seemingly at the height of their power, and then gone. And so to our own day.
The Democrats find themselves in the position of a Ceaușescu in 1988, or Louis XVI in 1790, or Mussolini in 1942. They have promised great things to the masses, but have been unable to deliver. The specific charges laid before the Democratic Party are thus:
- Obama ran in 2008 as a centrist, competent technocrat able to reach across the aisle and forge a bipartisan consensus. Independents voted for his because of this. It's clear to all that he's the most starkly partisan President of my lifetime (going back to Eisenhower). Independents (justly) think they were lied to and are rejecting him, and rejecting the Democratic Party.
- The Middle Class were told that his reforms would improve services and lower their costs. They were assured in 2008 that he would not raise their taxes. Now they're getting sticker shock because of vastly higher insurance premiums and copays. While Lefties will claim that these aren't taxes, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that Obamacare was only constitutional because Congress could have implemented this under their taxing power. Walks, quacks, duck. Obama's repeated and emphatic promise that they could keep their insurance if they liked it is seen - and will be seen - as a blatant lie from the Democratic Party.
- Millennials are finding out that they have been well and truly screwed, bled to subsidize older, wealthier people who are in poorer health. Unsurprisingly, they're breaking against Obama and the Democrats. Asked which party can best solve the health care problem, 46 say Republican and 41 say Democrat.
Obama has hollowed out his constituency, chasing a philosophical will o' the wisp. Even worse, he seems to be at his core a very arrogant yet insecure man; he has not staffed his Administration with a roster of strong lieutenants. Everything is blowing up, and he needs talent to help him - the talent he did not surround himself with. The Tumbrels of 2014 are beginning to rumble through the streets, and nobody in the Administration even knows the scope of their problem. But they will.
Collapses come quickly because once the illusion of invincibility vanishes, it vanished suddenly. One day the entire country is intimidated by the strongman Ceaușescu; two weeks later he's swinging at the end of a rope. The masses who were afraid to oppose him lost their fear, and the apparatchiks who see a career path with the Great Man suddenly changed their minds.
That Tipping Point is happening here, and it's happening right now. It's actually pretty stunning to watch (as indeed are all of these moments) because there's this sense that he can't really be this clueless. Oh yes he can.
Remember Obama's acceptance at the 2008 Democratic Convention? Remember the styrofoam pillars?
The Democratic Party's core constituencies are sure noticing now. At the time, I blogged his convention appearance. I pointed out the proper name for pillars used this way as faux props. It's not a Temple, it's a Folly.
If Democratic Party rank and file are recognizing this, what do you think it does to their motivation to support the Party? And what do you think it does to the Republicans? Do they fear him more or less than they did 12 months ago?
To ask the questions is to see the future. It is to see the outcome of the 2014 elections. Where that leads us nobody can foresee, but the political landscape will no more resemble today's than the political landscape in Eastern Europe resembles that of 1988. A generational shift is upon us. It is a primal, elemental power that can be channelled - for good or ill - by a person of energy and vision. We do not know who that might be, but we know for a fact that it is not Barrack Obama.