When I ventured home to northern New Jersey for Christmas, I happened to cross paths with a long-time family friend. She and I used to talk politics on a regular basis, differing in opinion nine times out of ten. She is a lifelong Democrat voter, harbors a long-standing distaste for George W. Bush, and slants left on most issues – social and fiscal. In light of her political predilections, our conversation last week was pretty stunning.
She asked how my radio show has been going recently, noting that I’ve “had lots to talk about,” with a roll of her eyes. I agreed that the political scene has been rather busy and that the current leadership leaves no shortage of talk topics. Without any specific prompt from me, she uncorked an unsolicited rant against expanding government influence and spending that left me momentarily speechless. She was particularly furious about the health-care debate (a family member is battling cancer), the “out-of-control” debt, and the “blatant lying” from those coordinating the show. Her best line? ”Just because I don’t want my kids paying off national debts for their entire lives doesn’t mean I’m a racist.” Being a good Democrat, she couldn’t quite bring herself to name names, but did noticeably bristle when I mentioned the unholy trinity of Obama/Reid/Pelosi.
Capping off the cathartic diatribe, she worried aloud how a government that “screws up Cash for Clunkers and runs the horrible post office” could possibly run the health care system. She angrily asserted that vote-buying maneuvers in the Senate “should be illegal” for decisions on important issues like changing the entire role of government, echoing Bill Kristol’s observations about what bothers average voters. She even hinted (I didn’t ask) that she was so turned off by Hopenchange, Inc., she voted for Republican Chris Christie in November’s gubernatorial election.
Throughout the entire discussion, I put forth my best effort to stifle a grin. I’d imagine “I-told-you so” isn’t necessarily the best tone to adopt with recent converts. Nonetheless, it was a spectacular development: A real-life, first-hand example of the conservative re-awakening America is experiencing, and anecdotal confirmation of the polling data energized conservatives have been poring over for months.
Happy New Year, Democrats. If you’ve lost this left-of-center suburban female from Jersey, you’re probably in for a world of hurt in 2010.