Mark Ellis
Next question
By Mark Ellis
July 27, 2011

As a working class conservative who has experienced his share of lean times since the Great Recession began, I'm likely one of those voters that Democrats think ought to be howling at the GOP leadership about the failure of supply side economics to trickle down.

By these lights, I should be livid that Boehner, McConnell, Bachmann and company are trying to dump granny over a cliff and fatten the wallets of corporate jet owners.

It is a common question — and tactic — deployed by the left. Why would any sensible working or middle class citizen vote Republican? The question infers that such voters are rather dense, to put it kindly, and are voting against their own best interest. Thomas Frank's nonfiction title What's the Matter with Kansas? put the question into plain English, and the beat goes on. Recently HBO host Bill Maher compared working and middle class voters who cast ballots rightward to members of the Casey Anthony jury.

But the answer to the question is simple: We've seen how government spends tax dollars, and how many of them they spend. We'll take our chances with "rich people," also known as a vibrant, entrepreneurial, innovative and expansive free market.

We've seen the waste, the boondoggles, the wavers and the pork, from both parties and to some extent from all presidents. But since 2006 when Pelosi and Reid rode a wave of anti-GOP sentiment into Congress, and especially since Barack Obama was elected, the Democrats have exceeded all precedent in the spending sweepstakes. Obama-care and a stimulus largely disbursed to entities that form the base of Democrat support are but two profound examples.

We've helped pay for Acorn, abortions, the education of illegal aliens and sex reassignment surgery, just to name a few. The list of profligate uses of our hard-earned tax dollars is infinite. The Tea Party was born in the wake of this insurmountable debt just now being wrangled over at the highest levels of government.

When class warfare rhetoric fails to convince, Democrats throw down their trump card, another tactical question: If you're so worried about spending, why not complain about the two wars started and waged under a Republican administration?

Notwithstanding that defense represents less than 20 percent of the total national budget, their point about the billions we've spent in Iraq and Afghanistan has begun to resonate for many recession-strapped voters in the great American middle.

But there are good reasons why working and middle class voters supported Bush 43 during the years following 9/11, and have given President Obama conditional credit for what they see as his half-reluctant and yet Bush-reminiscent handling of the conflicts. There are answers to the trump question.

In Iraq, forget the Bush Doctrine, WMDs, and bringing democracy to a troubled region. If you believe, as I do, that the real reason for the incursion was to establish a presence in a key oil-producing region, you are more likely to feel that the mission and the sacrifices were worth it.

When working folks factor that the Democrat left will not countenance developing our own tried and true energy resources, it makes it hard for them to reject a military action aimed at securing a beachhead in a part of the planet which provides this lifeblood for our society.

Afghanistan is becoming a harder sell. Compelling voices warn that the storied graveyard of empires waits like a biblical chasm ready to engulf another great power. There is the sense that we are looking for terror in the wrong places, but that could change. If the U.S. withdraws precipitously, the same bad actors that launched the September 11 attacks might ditch the enhanced scrutiny in Pakistan and rediscover their willing Taliban accomplices.

Many citizens still believe the mission was vital to our security and therefore worth it, but doubts raised by bin Laden's extended stay at a Pakistani safe house — among other considerations — have weighted the polls in favor of extrication. In any event, withdrawal is on the horizon.

Free enterprise can be a challenging and at times brutal system for those who are unlucky or not up to the challenges. Times are tough, and there are no free lunches for self-reliant Americans.

Working people who support the GOP understand that when an overabundance of tax dollars flow into government coffers, they've often seen the last of those dollars. They understand the difference between free market capital and capital which comes only by way of putting our nation deeper into debt.

Does it make sense for working and middle class voters to support the Republican Party? If a healthy private sector, sane energy policies, and national security are important, the answer is always yes. When it comes to economics, in good times or bad, most of us will still bet our bottom dollars on that corporation or successful small business up the street.

© Mark Ellis


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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