One of the questions about the election is why, after four years of brinksmanship in Washington, did the public vote for four more years of the same?

The standoff over the so-called fiscal cliff seems so depressingly familiar. Haven’t we been there, done that?  It is so infuriating that one’s investments, the product of discipline and self-denial, can be diminished by antics on Capitol Hill. But here we go again.

The GOP has never mustered the courage to be brutally frank: Who cares about the filthy rich, many of whom voted for President Obama anyway? The only reason to fight for keeping their tax rates from going up is that the rest of us will be harmed if their rates go up. We want these folks to spend their money lavishly. We want them to go to Vegas and fly there in private planes.

Oh, and there is one other reason to fight for their tax rates—we need to stand for the principle that earnings and property belong to individuals, not the government. Individuals are better able to decide how to deploy their money to help others than the government. Did the $800 billion stimulus for which we are on the hook really help many people?

Republicans haven’t been able to make the case that their policies are better for the middle class and those who would like to be middle class. I don’t know if this is any longer possible. It gives me hope that Thomas Sowell appears to think that it is. Sowell says that the first step is exposing the other side’s false reasoning:

Since most of the media will never expose Obama’s fallacies and falsehoods, it is all the more important for Republicans to do so themselves. Nor is it necessary for every Republican candidate for every office to become an expert on every controversial issue.

Just as particular issues are farmed out to different committees in Congress, so Republicans can set up committees of outside experts to inform them on particular issues.

For example, a committee on income and poverty could be headed by an expert like Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation. This is a subject on which demonstrable falsehoods have become the norm, and one on which devastating refutations in plain English are readily available from a number of sources.

A committee on the counterproductive effects of liberal policies such as minimum-wage laws on minorities could be headed by someone like economist Walter Williams. Here too, there are many writings in plain English that could expose the huge harm done to minorities by liberal policies that claim to be helping them.

It is not necessary to explode every single lie put out by liberal Democrats. All that is necessary is to thoroughly discredit a few of their key claims, exposing them as liars.

What is even more necessary is for Republicans themselves to understand the urgent need to do so, for their own sake and — more important– for the country’s sake.

I don't want to throw cold water on this idea. But in my darker moments, I think that the reason class warfare has been so effective of late is that the Horatio Alger ideal of upward mobility has taken too many body blows over the last few decades. More people are willing to live on government largess and wouldbe entrepreneurs are hindered by red tape.

One of Sowell’s most interesting points is how raising the minimum wage often harms the very people who are cited as beneficiaries. But it certainly keeps politicians in office.