The Right Opinion

Recipe for Conservative Revival

By George Will · Jan. 27, 2013

WASHINGTON – Happy days are not here again, but they are coming for conservatives. Barack Obama – with the lowest approval rating (according to Gallup, 50 percent, four points lower than that of the National Rifle Association) of any re-elected president when inaugurated since the Second World War – has a contradictory agenda certain to stimulate a conservative revival.

Consider his vow to expend political capital on climate change. The absurdity of the Kyoto approach – global climate treaties agreed to by 190 nations – is now obvious even to most former enthusiasts. Obama can propose cutting U.S. fossil fuel emissions (just 16 percent of the global total) with a carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme, but Congress will pass neither. So he will be reduced to administrative gestures costly to job growth, and government spending – often crony capitalism – for green energy incommensurate with his rhetoric.

He says “the threat of climate change” is apparent in “raging fires,” “crippling drought” and “more powerful storms.” Are fires raging now more than ever? (There were a third fewer U.S. wildfires in 2012 than in 2006.) Are the number and severity of fires determined by climate change rather than forestry and land use practices? Is today's drought worse than, say, that of the Dust Bowl, and was it caused by 1930s global warming? As for “more powerful storms”:

Because Sandy struck New York City, where the nation's media now congregate and participate in the city's provincialism, this storm was declared more cosmically momentous than the 74 other hurricanes that have hit or come near the city since 1800. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina was called a consequence of global warming and hence a harbinger of increasing numbers of Category 3 or higher hurricanes. Since then, major hurricane activity has plummeted. No Category 3 has hit the U.S. since 2005. Sandy was just a Category 1.

Obama's vow to adjust Earth's thermostat followed the report that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the contiguous 48 states. But The Wall Street Journal's Holman Jenkins, who has concisely posed the actual climate policy choice (“How much should we spend on climate change in order to have no effect on climate change?”), has noted that although 2012 was 2.13 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than 2011, “2008, in the contiguous U.S., was two degrees cooler than 2006.” And “2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 were all cooler than 1998 by a larger margin than 2012 was hotter than 1998.” Such is the rigor of many who preen as devotees of science, they declared the 2012 temperatures in the contiguous states (1.58 percent of the Earth's surface) proof of catastrophic global warming.

A flourishing American economic sector is fossil fuels – especially oil and natural gas – which the Obama administration seems to regret and often impedes (see: fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline). Yet the natural gas boom is one of the main reasons why in 2012, U.S. fossil fuel emissions were the lowest since 1992. Obama's wariness about the pipeline suggests that he subscribes to some environmentalists' stupendously weird theory: If the pipeline is not built to carry oil from the (supposedly dangerous) development of Canadian tar sands, Canada will leave those sands undeveloped rather than sell the oil to China.

Small businesses create most new jobs, but many businesses are avoiding hiring a 50th employee, or are replacing full-time employees with those working fewer than 30 hours a week, to avoid Obamacare's costly requirements regarding provision of health insurance. Some colleges and universities are reducing to 29 the number of hours adjunct professors can teach, which is condign punishment for those professors – most of them, surely – who favored Obamacare.

It and other regulatory burdens, combined with the subsidization of not working (47.5 million receiving food stamps, 8.6 million receiving disability payments, unemployment benefits extended from 26 weeks to 73 weeks – so far), partially explain this fact provided by Richard Vedder of the American Enterprise Institute: “If today the country had the same proportion of persons of working age employed as it did in 2000, the U.S. would have almost 14 million more people contributing to the economy.” Fourteen million is more than the combined workforces of 18 states.

In the rhetorical cotton candy of his inaugural address – sugary, and mostly air – Obama spoke of “investing in” rising generations, and said: “America's possibilities are limitless.” He ignores the encroaching limits imposed on the nation by his policies that are funded by debt that will burden those generations.

© 2013, Washington Post Writers Group

12 Comments

Philip Paul in Vancouver WA said:

Being that Conservatives mostly self identify with the Republican party, I would point to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's recent comment that Republicans need to quit being the "Stupid Party" before I would get all excited about any Conservative revival.
I couldn't have said it better myself.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 4:13 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

Blind sheep will have to feel the SQUEEZE of evil socialist MISERY, before their collective eyes are opened.The debt funded policies, of Barack O'Zilla will really blossom, when O'Zilla Kare, is fully Lorded OVER the divided- United States. Republicans can no longer ride the hay wagon for free. Come to the RIGHT! LOL Uncle George-great article/blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 5:49 AM

David Thompson in Bellville, TX said:

I have never heard of a college professor (of any description) teaching as much as 29 hours per week. Four three hour classes, yes. There may be some equivalence formula that takes into account student conference time and departmental duties, but Will did not say that.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Gunga in Atlanta, Ga said:

He wasn't reelected. Electronic voting machines and old fashioned ballet stuffing kept his seat. Why do so many refuse to acknowledge the obvious ? The DOJ is captive but the rest of us aren't.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 4:11 PM

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

America is clinging to life in spite of Obama and the complicit Senate.
There gleeful reports of 1.9% growth by the fawning media are simply to pacify the ingnorant masses who were notr here for the real Economic Recovery of Reagan's free market economy. Nevermind that the democrat congress spent every dime of the record revenues collected under Reagans revolution, it cannot be denied that we are simply smouldering along.

But - we knew all this before the election,, at least those of us who pay any attention at all , and are not being bought-off by the progressive left. What makes George Will think it will be any different next time -- Obama intends to transform America further toward the leftist European nirvana, continuing to buy the votes of promiscuous women in Ohio, minorities who feel oppressed only getting 35,000 a year in benifits, and union workers who must have full medical at no cost for life, and 85% of salary following retirement at 55.

Republicans need to stop with the "Democrat lite" routine and grow a set of conservative latisables. America must have a conservative movement, and if the GOP does not make it clear NOW, that they intend to spearhead that movement, then they better get out of the way.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 5:45 PM

tdrag in South Carolina said:

Negro fiddles while America burns.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8:14 PM

Jim in USA said:

Why does anyone still state, as if a light just went on, that Obama's policies will fail. They are clearly intended to produce failure. Thta is their entire point. As to the certainty that these failures will bring a society, increasingly saturated by a sense of entitlement, into the glorious light of conservatism, what evidence is being offered? Surely the last election does something to answer that. Many millions of newly unemployeed Blacks flocked to the polls, convinced that there plight is the result of evil racist Republicans.

Here's the plan Comrade. It's not that tough. We fail the economy by giving away all possible monies to our friends, who will then support us, while we rail aganst the counter-revolutionaries, whose cruel manipulations have thrwarted our glorious and heart-felt desires for your well being.

Marxist Leninism 101.

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Steve in Macon, GA replied:

If Obama's intent is the destruction (implosion) of the U.S. economy, then his plans, if implemented with collusion of Congress won't likely fail. What does Comrade Fuhrer mean by "fundamentally transform America"?

With 10-20 million new non-English speaking citizen voters, mostly voting Democrat, their utopian vision is assured for a time. Except... what if Atlas Shrugs? When the Golden Goose is dead... who will feed the hungry and house the homeless? I'm sure that Comrade Fuhrer has an agricultural plan to feed the people... and New Raw Deal if you will. Heil!

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

"There's gonna be a revival in the Land, in the Land! What ya gonna do when the goodies run out---will you riot in da street, will you scream & shout,---what you gonna do when the goodies run out?" Sing out proudly--- pagan reprobates!

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:29 AM

Doktor Riktor Von Zhades in Western KY said:

"Some colleges and universities are reducing to 29 the number of hours adjunct professors can teach, which is condign punishment for those professors -- most of them, surely -- who favored Obamacare."

I prefer to call it poetic justice...oh the irony!

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Tapdaddy in Indiana said:

I wonder what scares BarryO more, the revival of the GOP or America? My bet's on the latter.

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Steve in Macon, GA said:

The fallacy that manmade global warming (AGW) is "undeniable" is so obvious that only a fanatic fool could cling to it. Incessant repetition that "science proves it" does not, in fact, prove anything except the desperation of some to return the U.S. to the 18th century or perhaps the stone age. Indeed, how much will it cost to placate these incessant chicken littles and accomplish nothing of worth?

Count on Mr. Will to deliver a rhetorical gem worthy of repetition. He referred to Obama's inaugural address as "rhetorical cotton candy...sugary and mostly air." That's funny, but what I read of the address reminded me more of bovine manure, the kind that generates methane and other greenhouse gases in copious quantity.

Like gassy inaugural addresses, the government can't really do anything about the greenhouse effects of bovine flatulence unless we're all willing to go vegetarian. As we all know, "vegetarian" is just an old Indian word for "bad hunter."

Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:42 PM