It is fun to reflect on whether your predictions for the previous year were on target, and take a shot at calling the next one. Last year at about this time, I predicted 2012 would be a bad year for D.C. bureaucrats and the political establishment, a bad year for war, a good year for sound money and small government, and that it would be fun.
How’d I do? Not very well. But if all politics is local, perhaps so are predictions. In my county and in my congressional district, it really was a bad year for bureaucrats. Our county supervisors (all Republican) were on every local conservative’s hit list for their incessant taxation without representation – or something like that. Mainly they borrowed millions of dollars for new government buildings and facilities, effectively raising taxes and/or refusing to lower property assessments, all in the face of public outcry. They had their feelings hurt, and several won’t stand for election again. But wait – isn’t that the story all over the country?
In the 6th Congressional District of Virginia, our man Bob Goodlatte, a staunch “conservative,” faced his first-ever primary since being selected by his progressive Republican elders in 1992 – and 1/3 of the party loyals, when given the chance, rejected the ten-term establishmentarian. This came as a shock to the congressman, to say the least. It was not his best year. After winning the seat in our solidly Republican district in November, he received an order from the district GOP unit chairs to cease immediately his support for his friend John Boehner as Speaker of the House! A bureaucrat being put on notice by the help was something different, very awkward and very 2012.
The establishment didn’t see any of this coming because the paradigm has changed, alignments have shifted, and the memes are increasingly written by individuals for fun, rather than by the state, for power enhancement.