Sharron Angle may bring the GOP a good X-mas

Most anecdotes in my family were told by and about my father, but one of my mother’s stuck with me a lifetime. It bears on why many conservatives favor Nevada GOP Senate nominee Sharron Angle.

My mom was a Republican; Dad, too, though more prone to stray sometimes. But both my parents supported Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first two terms, if not the whole New Deal.

By 1940, however, excesses overwhelmed them: alphabet soup agencies extending government’s reach; spiraling taxes; the Supreme Court-packing scheme, though it failed; and most of all, running for a third term despite tradition.

In those days tradition meant just two presidential terms, but there wasn’t a term limit. FDR’s 1940 run was the final straw after so much overreach, the way my parents saw it. So Mom, an activist before it was fashionable, knocked on doors for Wendell Wilkie.

“We Want Wilkie” was less a chant than a plea, in part because the utility lawyer had never held office before. In addition, FDR had mesmerized much of the populace. Mom made her pitch, but many folks were already committed. She said some replied, “Oh, no, Mrs. Barrette, we can’t vote against Santa Claus.”

This tale was a staple of discussion in a house where the game of politics was the main spectator sport, and my parents were journalists. For them, it exemplified the vote-buying nature of democracy gone awry.

The story was told and re-told. It was as if my folks couldn’t get past the civic sacrilege of FDR’s reelection to a third, and later a fourth, term by voters they thought should have known better.

Never mind the verdict of history, which in part goes the way it does because it is fashioned by the winners. FDR got credit for slaying the Depression, winning World War II and sundry lesser feats, all of which elevated myth (the credit, that is) to some kind of pre-TV reality show. But FDR misused the empire predecessors bequeathed him.

Those who brought us that empire were his familial better, Republican Theodore Roosevelt, and Democrat Woodrow Wilson. They led a cast of characters, about a century back, to change the United States from republic to imperial democracy.

Their era, and particularly 1913, brought us the graduated income tax, direct election of U.S. senators (rather than selection by state legislatures), and the Federal Reserve Banking system. The nation since has headed down the road to empire and, inevitably, post-empire. We are closing in on that prickly post-empire position now.

Blood and wasted treasure went the way of world wars and periodic client state wars on the world stage, over-spending on social programs plus consumer splurging domestically, and massive indebtedness on all fronts.

This is outlined in Empire of Debt: The Rise of an Epic Financial Crisis by Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin, the co-authors, as well, of Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving the Soft Depression of the 21st Century.

If you read nothing else this year, peruse Chapter 6 (pages 131-148) in Empire of Debt.

“Between them,” it concluded, “the Revolution of 1913 and the New Deal prepared the nation for her new role as an empire of debt.”

This debt-laden empire is the reason conservatives put Angle, a little-known former state assemblywoman, up against four-term Nevada Sen. Harry Reid. Never mind that some of them support the empire idea and the euphemistic war on terror. What they know is that piling debt on debt costs them and, ultimately, their grandchildren.

Angle loathes overspending. She’s anybody but Santa Claus.