My good neighbor Jim, one of the most pure conservatives I know, told me the other morning that a "tectonic shift" is happening in America.
A tectonic shift! That's what he said. This was while my dog Louie and Jim's poodle Rusty were inspecting each other in the congressional area, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
I remembered Jim's words a few days later when Jeb Bush, our former Republican governor, predicted a "tsunami" in this November's elections.
Tectonic shifts and tsunamis. Maybe the tectonic shift will cause the tsunami. Or maybe they will occur at the same time. At any rate, something big is afoot.
Only 13 months ago, of course, it was "hope" and "change." Now hope and change are slated to yield to geologic upheaval and oceanographic disasters.
"How come," I asked Jim, "one guy, a Republican, tells me we have to blow $700 billion to bail out Wall Street, and one guy, a Democrat, tells me we have to blow another $787 billion for everybody else, and it's only the Democrat who is the bad guy?"
Jim replied that by "tectonic shift" he does not mean that the Washington Democrats are going to be replaced by the same old, tired Washington Republicans, but that Real Conservative Americans are finally going to rise up.
I was glad to hear this, because it seems to me the same borrow-and-spend Republican bunch that not so long ago was running the country into the ground is now cynically exploiting the tea partiers, to beat the borrow-and-spend Democrats. If I were a Republican, which I am not, I would like to see some new guys.
Here in Florida we have Marco Rubio, a charismatic Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. He has his primary opponent, Gov. Charlie Crist, on the ropes, at least for now.
Marco is flirty tea party without wearing the Lipton label, even recently slipping into a little illegal-immigrant bashing. This past week he appeared on a national stage to deliver his message to a conservative group. The crowd loved him, chanted his name, gave him standing ovations.
He said he would like to cut taxes. Does that mean that he wants to borrow even more money, like everybody else in Washington? Or does he want to cut spending? And since we could pretty much eliminate the entire budget except for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and still be in the hole, what does he mean?
Last week a man flew his airplane into an IRS building in Texas, perfectly willing to kill himself to make his point, which was … what, exactly? That taxes are evil? That the IRS goes too far? The last straw for him was being cited for not paying taxes on all of $13,000 in unreported income. I am not thinking this exactly gives one moral justification to fly airplanes into buildings to kill government employees. But that's just me.
To recap, then: (1) All taxes are bad. (2) All government is bad. (3) Obama is bad. This will result either in a tectonic shift, or if you prefer, a tsunami, this November. Meanwhile, President Hope-and-Change morphed into President Tiresome Lecturer, who seems to think if he can just give enough speeches and town hall meetings that he will win on debate club points. If I were a Democrat, which I am not, I would be thinking: more Harry Truman, less Jimmy Carter.