Big Labor’s victory over John Kasich’s reforms in Ohio is a reminder to conservatives that we’re still a long way from closing the deal. A majority of the citizenry seem to agree that the nation’s mired and that their homes and jobs and futures are sinking with it. But that same majority is not yet sold on transformative rollbacks of government and the public sector. They seem to think that out there somewhere there’s a way to get the good times back that’s more or less pain-free. More fool them – which is to say Obama & Co will have a pretty good shot at fooling them.
Somewhere in either my current book or the previous one (or possibly both), I cite the line Gerald Ford used to use to ingratiate himself with conservatives: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” That may be true, but there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the problem Mr Papandreou’s ministry has in Athens, and the Kasich administration in Ohio, and many other governments around the western world.
So it’s easy for reformers to get voted in, and easy for their opponents to make sure their reforms get voted down. I’m afraid things are going to get a lot worse before that dynamic shifts.