Not Civil War, But Maybe Ross Perot

Thanks to a tip from Carol of No Sheeples Here, I read this interview with actor and conservative political voice Jon Voight. Voight is concerned that the President and his various left-wing flying monkeys are stirring up a civil war in America.

“There’s a real question at stake now. Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country?” Mr. Voight tells Inside the Beltway.

“We are witnessing a slow, steady takeover of our true freedoms. We are becoming a socialist nation, and whoever can’t see this is probably hoping it isn’t true. If we permit Mr. Obama to take over all our industries, if we permit him to raise our taxes to support unconstitutional causes, then we will be in default. This great America will become a paralyzed nation.”

“The real truth is that the Obama administration is professional at bullying, as we have witnessed with ACORN at work during the presidential campaign. It seems to me they are sending down their bullies to create fist fights among average American citizens who don’t want a government-run health care plan forced upon them,” Mr. Voight says. “So I ask again. Is President Obama creating a civil war in our own country?”

My answer is that he certainly is creating a civil war of a sort, but he has no idea that it’s happening. Before I expand on that, let be quote a bit from this very good post by Bruce at GayPatriot.

Here are my real fears about the United States heading into a civil war:

1. There is a clear distinction between those who want a more authoritarian/socialist nation versus those who want to preserve the capitalist/democratic America we live in.
2. There is a clear distinction between those who understand the principles and guidance and importance of the representative legislative process versus those who hide behind the Constitution as an excuse to create laws from the bench.
3. There is a clear distinction between those who favor strong national security vs. those who want a borderless, global government.
4. There is a clear distinction between those who hold US Constitutional principles dear (1st, 2nd, 10th Amendments in particular) and those who are ignorant or want to subvert those principles.
5. There is a clear distinction between those who want to maintain a sensible fiscal policy versus those statists in Washington who spend our tax money with reckless abandon.
6. There is a clear distinction between those who see themselves as Americans first versus those who want to segregate themselves into communities and ignore the national identity.
7. Despite his promises, surveys show that Americans have elected one of the most divisive Presidents since Richard Nixon.

These are serious issues that fundamentally challenge the formation of the Republic itself. Don’t buy into the childish arguments that every criticism of the Federal Government is based in racism. That is ignorant and simple-minded talk.

I do believe there is a civil war coming in this country, but I doubt very much that it will be fought with guns nor do I believe that the overwhelming majority (and by that I mean 90 percent or better) of people angry with the President for his various schemes over the past eight months want a shooting war either.

However, there is a tension that the Democrats have brought to very near the breaking point and I don’t see how it will be resolved without some sort of large revolutionary action. The Republican Party has exacerbated the problem as well, though, and whatever happens can be laid on their heads to some extent also.

Here’s why I say that. In our democratic system, if people are displeased with what one party is doing, they generally have had another party running in the opposite direction to which they can turn. The hallmark of the two-party system is that each was different enough from the other to provide real alternatives. If the parties aren’t all that different, or the voters don’t see the parties as all that different, then the voters get stuck looking for another option. That state of being stuck builds tension until, at some point, it finds a release.

That release can show itself in a lot of different ways that don’t involve what most of us think when we picture a civil war, but the lack of guns doesn’t necessarily represent the lack of discontent or even anger. Consider Ross Perot’s unsuccessful run for President in 1992. Much of America was unhappy with the state of the economy after President George H.W. Bush broke his promise not to raise taxes (and almost single-handedly gutshot the real estate industry). Their choice was the moderate milquetoast big-government Bush on one side and the relatively unknown, fairly doctrinaire big-government Bill Clinton on the other. Then along came Ross Perot. He was mad as a frakking hatter but he talked about fiscal responsibility and limited government and swept away almost 20 percent of the electorate, the most by a third-party candidate since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. In June, Perot actually had a healthy lead in the polls, at 39 percent (compared to Bush’s 31 and Clinton’s 25), which tells me that he was pulling Republicans and Democrats. If he had managed to hold in his crazy until December instead of dropping out of the race for about three months because he believed the government has mounted an operation to foil his daughter’s wedding, it is entirely possible that I’d be talking about President Perot right now.

The GOP hasn’t presented much of an option to the big-spending, big-regulation, more government control essential planks of the Democratic platform recently at exactly the time when people are desperately looking for that very thing. Stacy believes that programs like NCLB, the Medicare Prescription plan, and the USA PATRIOT Act take the Republicans out of position to criticize the Democrats for the Stimulus Bill, Cash for Clunkers, cap and trade, and government-run health care. Saying that the GOP’s programs were big government but the recent Democrat plans are BIG GOVERNMENT is not much of an argument to make (even though it’s correct and, to a degree valid). Remember what I wrote a moment ago. Even though there is a difference in magnitude between the Medicare Prescription plan and Obamacare, voters do not perceive the difference because the two look so very much alike and if they don’t perceive the difference, they’ll act as if there is none and they’ll feel stuck.

I don’t think a genuine civil war is inevitable, no matter how hard the President pushes for New New Deal totalitarianism. I do think that, lacking a real release for the frustrations voters are feeling, the pressure will continue to build until it releases in 2010 and 2012. Those elections ought to be plenty interesting.

Jimmie runs The Sundries Shack and is a contributing writer to the American Issues Project. He is also an amateur musician, an aspiring composer, an unrepentant geek and would love you to pay his blog a visit. This post is cross-posted there.

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