Laura Hollis is: Current: Associate Professional Specialist and
Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at University of Notre Dame. Past:
Director at Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Associate Director and
Clinical Professor at University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign. Education: University of Notre Dame Law School,
University of Notre Dame. Summary: She has 20+ years' experience in
curriculum and other program development and delivery.
already reading so many pundits and other talking heads analyzing the disaster
that was this year's elections. I am adding my own ten cents. Here
1. We are outnumbered. We accurately foresaw the enthusiasm, the
passion, the commitment, the determination, and the turnout. Married women, men,
independents, Catholics, evangelicals - they all went for Romney in percentages
as high or higher than the groups which voted for McCain in 2008. It wasn't
enough. What we saw in the election on Tuesday was a tipping point: we are now
at a place where there are legitimately fewer Americans who desire a free
republic with a free people than there are those who think the government
should give them stuff. There are fewer of us who believe in the value of free
exchange and free enterprise. There are fewer of us who do not wish to demonize
successful people in order to justify taking from them. We are outnumbered. For
the moment. It's just that simple.
2. It wasn't the candidate(s). Some
are already saying, "Romney was the wrong guy"; "He should have picked Marco
Rubio to get Florida/Rob Portman to get Ohio/Chris Christie to get [someplace
else]." With all due respect, these assessments are incorrect. Romney ran a
strategic and well-organized campaign. Yes, he could have hit harder on
Benghazi. But for those who would have loved that, there are those who would
have found it distasteful. No matter what tactic you could point to that Romney
could have done better, it would have been spun in a way that was detrimental to
his chances. Romney would have been an excellent president, and Ryan was an
inspired choice. No matter who we ran this year, they would have lost. See #1,
3. It's the culture, stupid. We have been trying to fight this
battle every four years at the voting booth. It is long past time we admit that
is not where the battle really is. We abdicated control of the culture -
starting back in the 1960s. And now our largest primary social institutions -
education, the media, Hollywood (entertainment) have become really nothing more
than an assembly line for cranking out reliable little Leftists. Furthermore, we
have allowed the government to undermine the institutions that instill good
character - marriage, the family, communities, schools, our churches. So, here
we are, at least two full generations later - we are reaping what we have sown.
It took nearly fifty years to get here; it will take another fifty years to get
back. But it starts with the determination to reclaim education, the media, and
the entertainment business. If we fail to do that, we can kiss every election
goodbye from here on out. And much more.
4. America has become a nation
of adolescents The real loser in this election was adulthood: Maturity.
Responsibility. The understanding that liberty must be accompanied by
self-restraint. Obama is a spoiled child, and the behavior and language of his
followers and their advertisements throughout the campaign makes it clear how
many of them are, as well. Romney is a grown-up. Romney should have won. Those
of us who expected him to win assumed that voters would act like grownups.
Because if we were a nation of grownups, he would have won.
But what did
win? Sex. Drugs. Bad language. Bad manners. Vulgarity. Lies. Cheating.
Name-calling. Finger-pointing. Blaming. And irresponsible spending. This does
not bode well. People grow up one of two ways: either they choose to, or
circumstances force them to. The warnings are all there, whether it is the
looming economic disaster, or the inability of the government to respond to
crises like Hurricane Sandy, or the growing strength and brazenness of our
enemies. American voters stick their fingers in their ears and say,
"Lalalalalala, I can't hear you." It is unpleasant to think about the
circumstances it will take to force Americans to grow up. It is even more
unpleasant to think about Obama at the helm when those circumstances
5. Yes, there is apparently a Vagina Vote. It's the subject
matter of another column in its entirety to point out, one by one, all of the
inconsistencies and hypocrisies of the Democrats this year. Suffice it to say
that the only "war on women" was the one waged by the Obama campaign, which
sexualized and objectified women, featuring them dressed up like vulvas at the
Democrat National Convention, appealing to their "lady parts," comparing voting
to losing your virginity with Obama, trumpeting the thrills of destroying our
children in the womb (and using our daughters in commercials to do so), and
making Catholics pay for their birth control. For a significant number of women,
this was appealing. It might call into question the wisdom of the Nineteenth
Amendment, but for the fact that large numbers of women (largely married) used
their "lady smarts" instead. Either way, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady
Stanton are rolling over in their graves.
6. It's not about giving up on
"social issues" No Republican candidate should participate in a debate or go out
on the stump without thorough debate prep and a complete set of talking points
that they stick to. This should start with a good grounding in biology and a
reluctance to purport to know the will of God. (Thank you, Todd and
That said, we do not hold the values we do because they garner
votes. We hold the values we do because we believe that they are time-tested
principles without which a civilized, free and prosperous society is not
We defend the unborn because we understand that a society which
views some lives as expendable is capable of viewing all lives as
defend family - mothers, fathers, marriage, children - because history makes it
quite clear that societies without intact families quickly descend into anarchy
and barbarism, and we have plenty of proof of that in our inner cities where
marriage is infrequent and unwed motherhood approaches 80 percent. When Roe v.
Wade was decided in 1973, many thought that the abortion cause was lost. Forty
years later, ultrasound technology has demonstrated the inevitable connection
between science and morality. More Americans than ever define themselves as
"pro-life." What is tragic is that tens of millions of children have lost their
lives while Americans figure out what should have been obvious before. There is
no "giving up" on social issues. There is only the realization that we have to
fight the battle on other fronts. The truth will win out in the end.
Obama does not have a mandate. And he does not need one. I have to laugh -
bitterly - when I read conservative pundits trying to assure us that Obama "has
to know" that he does not have a mandate, and so he will have to govern from the
middle. I don't know what they're smoking. Obama does not care that he does not
have a mandate. He does not view himself as being elected (much less re-elected)
to represent individuals. He views himself as having been re-elected to complete
the "fundamental transformation" of America, the basic structure of which he
despises. Expect much more of the same - largely the complete disregard of the
will of half the American public, his willingness to rule by executive order,
and the utter inability of another divided Congress to rein him in. Stanley
Kurtz has it all laid out here.
8. The Corrupt Media - is the enemy too
strong? I don't think so. I have been watching the media try to throw elections
since at least the early 1990s. In 2008 and again this year, we saw the media
cravenly cover up for the incompetence and deceit of this President, while
demonizing a good, honorable and decent man with lies and smears. This is on top
of the daily barrage of insults that conservatives (and by that I mean the
electorate, not the politicians) must endure at the hands of this arrogant bunch
of elitist snobs. Bias is one thing. What we observed with Benghazi was
professional malpractice and fraud. They need to go. Republicans, Libertarians
and other conservatives need to be prepared to play hardball with the Pravda
press from here on out. And while we are at it, to defend those journalists of
whatever political stripe (Jake Tapper, Sharyl Atkisson, Eli Lake) who actually
do their jobs. As well as Fox News and talk radio. Because you can fully expect
a re-elected Obama to try to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in term
9. Small business and entrepreneurs will be hurt the worst For all the
blather about "Wall Street versus Main Street," Obama's statist agenda will
unquestionably benefit the biggest corporations which - as with the public
sector unions - are in the best position to make campaign donations, hire
lobbyists, and get special exemptions carved out from Obama's health care laws,
his environmental regulations, his labor laws. It will be the small business,
the entrepreneur, and the first-time innovators who will be crushed by their
inability to compete on a level playing field.
10. America is more
polarized than ever; and this time it's personal. I've been following politics
for a long time, and it feels different this time. Not just for me. I've
received messages from other conservatives who are saying the same thing: there
is little to no tolerance left out there for those who are bringing this country
to its knees - even when they have been our friends. It isn't just about "my
guy" versus "your guy." It is my view of America versus your view of America - a
crippled, hemorrhaging, debt-laden, weakened and dependent America that I want
no part of and resent being foisted on me. I no longer have any patience for
stupidity, blindness, or vulgarity, so with each dumb "tweet" or FB post by one
of my happily lefty comrades, another one bites the dust, for me. Delete. What
does this portend for a divided Congress? I expect that Republicans will be
demoralized and chastened for a short time. But I see them in a bad position.
Americans in general want Congress to work together. But many do not want
Obama's policies, and so Republicans who support them will be toast. Good luck,
11. It's possible that America just has to hit rock bottom. I truly
believe that most Americans who voted for Obama have no idea what they are in
for. Most simply believe him when he says that all he really wants is for the
rich to pay "a little bit more." So reasonable! Who could argue with that except
a greedy racist? America is on a horrific bender. Has been for some time now.
The warning signs of our fiscal profligacy and culture of lack of personal
responsibility are everywhere - too many to mention. We need only look at other
countries which have gone the route we are walking now to see what is in
For the past four years - but certainly within the past campaign
season - we have tried to warn Americans. Too many refuse to listen, even when
all of the events that have transpired during Obama's presidency - unemployment,
economic stagnation, skyrocketing prices, the depression of the dollar, the
collapse of foreign policy, Benghazi, hopelessly inept responses to natural
disasters - can be tied directly to Obama's statist philosophies, and his
What that means, I fear, is that they will not see what is
coming until the whole thing collapses. That is what makes me so sad today. I
see the country I love headed toward its own "rock bottom," and I cannot seem to
reach those who are taking it there.
In my most recent blog, I briefly described our four year
recession as a copy of FDR’s twelve year New Deal that was misdesigned to fix
the great depression. After twelve years
it resulted in World War II: a development associated with the void and chaos of
a depressed Europe and America. This
blog is an extension of that article. It
attempts to further explain those developments in the mid-twentieth century
from a social-psychological perspective rather than an economic one. It is my belief that if Americans have not
learned from history we are destined to repeat it.
The point is this; it was not deficit spending and the new
deal that got us out of the great depression.
It was the forced implementation of the war years that provided the
structure and the obsessive qualities that were necessary to end that cultural
depression. These economic bubbles that
you hear so much about from economists are the symptoms of an underlying manic
quality that allows people to think risk taking under questionable conditions
is acceptable. The economic bubble is
part of an underlying cultural manic state.
The problem is psychological stupid: not economic.
If I am right, then the economic path we are pursuing is
likely to result in a real and on-going fiscal crisis or a war. The reason is that we have not learned our
lesson yet from the past. This cultural
problem is much bigger than just the field of economics. This topic, Obama’s New Deal, is a major
topic of the new book that I am writing.
The last year and the recent presidential election
scare the hell out of me. I am a
clinical psychologist/author who thinks something really crazy is occurring in America. It is something akin to a cultural delusion. It appears that a majority of Americans are
attempting to escape the unpleasantness of reality by ignoring the obvious
problem at hand. That problem is the
steadily growing lack of fiscal and moral responsibility that is exemplified by
our current president and those who are on his side.
Many people I know are avoiding the obvious by arguing
that the current president and his administration have done a partially good
job and will complete what has been started in his next administration. Some Americans accept this point of view
without question. Most refuse to look at
In order to understand what has happened, people need to understand
that in the first two years of President Obama’s presidency, he and his
congress tried to copy FDR’s New Deal that was supposed to fix the great
depression. Obama and his cohorts did a
very poor job of it with their greedy stimulus package and lack of transparency. They were obviously dishonest.
Obama took the same course as the New Deal of the 1930’s that lasted
for about twelve years. The reasons it
lasted so long are clearly described in two books: one called The Forgotten Man and another called FDR’s Folly. History has been kind to
Roosevelt in the thirties and only now, many years later, has it become known
that the great depression was extended for many years because of FDR’s policies
of bigger government, political favoritism coupled with a patronage system and
outright dishonesty. There was even
another depression of almost the same intensity in the late thirties that was
not covered by the media.
The Obama administration has pursued those same new deal policies and
the result has been a recession that has lasted 4 years to date. Most recessions/depressions end much quicker
than that. Only FDR’s New Deal lasted longer and it resulted in war. If Obama is re-elected he will pursue those
same failed policies. The result clearly will be an extended
recession/depression with the real possibility of another crash. Obama and his cohorts have not learned from
history. Remember it was John Maynard
Keynes who said, “madmen in authority
distil their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.”
It has finally happened! Our dedication to the average person has finally failed us. In my book, Burnt Offerings (2008), it was clear that our country was headed into chaos and would be vulnerable to authoritarianism. I have thought for years that all this permissiveness and tearing apart of anything traditional must come to an end. Western civilization itself is in crisis as dependency takes precedence over more anxiousness. The idea of independence, and hence freedom, have been given up as we chose dependence in the form of corrupt government. Statistical data bear this out when we see that about 59 % of our population is now mentally ill.
According to my book, Burnt Offerings, the National Institute of Mental Health (2007) estimates that there are about 95 million untreated users of mental health services annually. This figure combined with the ninety million annually who do receive treatment suggests that a large segment of our population is in need of treatment. That is about 59% of our population. It is my thought that mentally ill people would be much more likely to vote for dependence than for the independence that comes with earning what you have.
It is quite clear to me that most Americans are attempting to escape the unpleasantness of reality by ignoring the obvious problem at hand. That problem is the steadily growing lack of fiscal and moral responsibility that is exemplified by our current president and those who are on his side. Many people I know are avoiding the obvious by arguing that the current president and his administration have done a partially good job and will complete what has been started in his next administration. That argument also includes snide swipes at Mitt Romney, saying he is a rich uncaring rich guy. Some Americans accept this point of view without question. Most refuse to look at the real problem. That kind of escapist thinking could bring our republic down. In order to understand what has happened people need to understand that in the first two years of President Obama’s presidency, he and the congress tried to copy FDR’s New Deal that was supposed to fix the great depression. Obama and his cohorts did a very poor job of it with their greedy stimulus package and lack of transparency. Obama took the same course as the New Deal of the 1930’s that lasted for about twelve years. The reasons it lasted so long are clearly described in two books: one called The Forgotten Man and another called FDR’s Folly. History has been kind to Roosevelt in the thirties and only now, many years later, has it become known that the great depression was extended for many years because of FDR’s policies of bigger government and political favoritism. There was even another depression of almost the same intensity in the late thirties that was not covered by the media. The Obama administration has pursued those same new deal policies and the result has been a recession that has lasted 4 years to date. Most recessions/ depressions end much quicker than that. Only FDR’s New Deal lasted longer and it resulted in war. If Obama is re-elected he will pursue those same failed policies. The result clearly will be an extended recession/depression with the real possibility of another crash. Obama and his cohorts have not learned from history. Be careful what you wish for, you may get it.
Floyd Sours is a clinical psychologist who was a small business owner in the Columbus area for many years. He is now partially retired and lives in Zanesville, Ohio with his wife. He can be contacted through his Burnt Offerings website or at facebook or twitter.
Welcome to the Burnt Offerings blog! Burnt Offerings: The Art of Politics and the Consequences of Freedom is written by Floyd Sours. The central theme of the book lies in the relationship between inequality and equality. Aside from the obvious benefits of freedom and equality, what are the consequences? Speculation about where America may be headed politically is also included.
You can learn more about the book and the author here.