Think of this as Volume 16, Number 52 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
Liberals have spent a generation playing defense. We have spent over 40 years getting beaten by conservatives, whenever push came to shove. We have considered it a victory when some gain from the past was kept safe, if only for now. And we have watched conservatives use those limited victories for us to raise ever-more money and drive ever-deeper wedges between us, to the point where “pissing off liberals” became a convenient excuse for any policy, no matter how wrong-headed.
This should not surprise. Conservatives felt just this way in the early years of the Nixon era – it's what fed Nixon's paranoia, which was organic, and came from his followers. They assumed that any policy victory might be taken away, or co-opted, at any moment. They assumed they were the minority, and acted like one, right into the Reagan Administration.
A single election is not enough to change this. It takes validation, a second election, a challenge to the new assumptions into which the old assumptions use all their power. That is what we have just experienced. Mitt Romney came closer to victory that McGovern, or Landon, or Bryan, or McClellan, but all the money in the world couldn't bring him victory. The 2012 election was, in that way, the most important of my lifetime, or yours.
So now we go on offense. And Republicans know this. It's why they've become so desperate to impose their will, against unions, against women, against voters, never mind the polls. Do it now because there will be no tomorrow, they figure. They know they're returning to minority status, and they're right.
The Newtown Massacre offers the first clear opportunity. This terrible event has been accompanied by the usual liberal gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, the usual liberal assumption that, despite everything, nothing significant is going to happen.
Liberals are wrong. Something will happen. Because something has changed. Newtown occurred against this backdrop of deep political change within America, of small groups switching side, by ones and twos, of a newly-energized “Obama Coalition” and a newly chastened Nixon one.
The question becomes what will the President do. In the wake of the tragedy he and his spokesman have been reluctant, although the President's words have been leading those of his spokespeople a little. He wants to be pressed, by the new majority, before he acts. And he will be.
The same will happen regarding energy and climate. The President wants to be pushed, and he will be. There is a confluence here between fiscal policy and energy policy. Our deficit must be addressed, Republicans have offered nothing substantive, and a huge portion of the the current debt comes from Wars fought for Oil, and the interest on that. It's a pressure point, one that advocates for a carbon tax need to push on, especially with a newly resurgent energy industry, and a renewable industry that is finally ready to compete. A carbon tax can tip the scales, make solar, wind and biomass the cheap energy. People are going to start pushing for that.
It's normal, in the 5th year of a new Thesis, for things to go all pear-shaped. Lincoln and McKinley didn't survive their 5th year. Nixon had Watergate in his 5th year. Even FDR made his two biggest mistakes in his 5th year, a conservative budget that caused a recession, and the “court-packing” incident that cost him dearly. Republicans won the 1938 midterms, and after that FDR had to act in a far more bi-partisan manner.
What's different this year? What's different is that little has really been done, and the political winds are only now truly at the President's back. What's different is that the President knows his history, and his Secret Service knows how to keep him safe. That's no guarantee we won't be praying for President Biden in 2014, but while I pray that does not happen, just as we all do, the momentum is clearly on our side now.
So 2013 will be a very big year in our history. The economy will recover. Washington will change. We will start to see a change in the axis of policy, many things the “pundits” will find mysterious. Because they've lived through so much history they can't see the bigger picture. They can't see change when it hits them in the face.
But change is necessary. It is absolutely necessary. So 2013 will be a year of momentous change. You can be certain of that.