Nebraska had decisively rejected the Amendment, and the media analysis was in overdrive.
The result alone obviously was newsworthy enough, but a large portion of the buzz revolved around a news report that emerged a mere fourteen hours after the polls had closed. The message from Tondal had been leaked by an anonymous source. Calderon and the Tondal Government Institute were stubbornly refusing any comment, but Senate committees were frantically organizing an investigation.
The report had enough earmarks of plausibility, though, that it was widely regarded as true. Of course, the fact that Tondal’s advice matched the actual outcome avoided a gigantic national crisis. The Amendment was definitely dead.
Regardless, there was a crisis-like atmosphere, as opinions rattled the air like popping popcorn.
Florez and Rosen sat in Florez’ office, a bit dejectedly. “This is a big setback,” said Florez. It undermines Libertarianism’s basic goal of shrinking the ‘nanny state’.”
Rosen nodded. “I’m afraid so. I expect this will be taken as a sign that ‘rule by the people’ is a sacrosanct, unmodifiable principle.”
They mulled this thought over for a few moments. Florez added, “And economic ideas are going to be distorted and abused by politicians, just like they always have been. They can use any economics words they want to argue for any ridiculous claims or policies they want. And drooling voters will just follow, like sheep.”
Rosen was taken aback by her candor, but realized that this wasn’t a time for hairsplitting. The Libertarian party was going to have to quickly develop a response, and politically-correct niceties only reduced clarity.
Meanwhile, Senators Horace Daly and Samuel Joens sat together in Joens’ office. Joens was elated, Daly was more uncertain. The defeat of the Amendment almost certainly had some electoral benefits for each of their respective parties, but Daly was somber about one aspect.
“I realize now,” he explained, “that this defeat will help entrench the ‘nanny state’.”
“Oh, come on,” Joens teased. “Don’t stoop to using that epithet.”
Daly smiled self-consciously. “Sorry, you’re right. But you get my point. We don’t need the Federal bureaucracy controlling so many social programs.”
“Yes, of course, that is where we have to disagree.”
“Right. But what I do like, is that Tondal’s message is going to elevate everyone’s psychology. I think this is the first time Tondal has said something about our government that people will regard as relevant! People are going to realize that our government has a long way to go, that reform is ok, that it’s needed. The public is going to ask us what we’re doing to make the government system itself better!”
Joens nodded. “You might be right. Well, though Tondal said it fourteen years ago! Before any Amendment was even drafted, and certainly before anyone imagined this ratification deadline... If they now knew about all of the debate of the last fourteen years, I wonder if they would say anything differently today?”
Daly shook his head. “Nah. Are you kidding? They know us better than we know ourselves. And they know where they stand. They didn’t say it lightly.”
Joens shrugged. “Guess we’ll find out in twenty-eight years!”