One of the few political cliches that makes sense is that “In politics, overnight is a lifetime.”
Less than a year ago, the big question was whether Rudolph Giuliani could beat Hillary Clinton in this year’s presidential election. Less than two months ago, Barack Obama had a huge lead over John McCain in the polls. Less than a week ago, the smart money was saying that Mitt Romney would be McCain’s choice for vice president.
We don’t need Barack Obama to create “change.” Things change in politics, in the economy, and elsewhere in American society, without waiting for a political messiah to lead us into the promised land.
Who would have thought that Obama’s big speech at the Democratic convention would disappoint expectations, while McCain’s speech electrified his audience when he announced his choice of Governor Sarah Palin for his running mate?
Some people were surprised that his choice was a woman. What is more surprising is that she is an articulate Republican. How many of those have you seen?
Despite the incessantly repeated mantra of “change,” Barack Obama’s politics is as old as the New Deal and he is behind the curve when it comes to today’s economy.
Senator Obama’s statement that “our economy is in turmoil” is standard stuff on the left and in the mainstream media, which has been dying to use the word “recession.”
Not only has the economic slowdown failed to reach the definition of a recession, the most recent data show the U.S. economy growing at a rate exceeding 3 percent — a rate that many European economies would die for, despite our being constantly urged to imitate those countries whose end results are not as good as ours.
Barack Obama’s “change” is a recycling of the kinds of policies and rhetoric of the New Deal that prolonged the Great Depression of the 1930s far beyond the duration of any depression before or since.
These are the same kinds of liberal policies that led to double-digit inflation, double-digit interest rates and rising unemployment during the Carter administration. These are “back to the future” changes to economic disasters that need repeating.
Make no mistake, the political rhetoric of FDR was great. For those who admire political rhetoric, as so many of Barack Obama’s supporters seem to, FDR was tops. For those who go by actual results, FDR’s track record was abysmal.
Although the Great Depression of the 1930s began under Herbert Hoover, unemployment during Hoover’s last year in office was not as high as it became during each of the first five years under FDR.
During the eight years of FDR’s first two terms as president, there were only two years in which unemployment was lower than it had been under Herbert Hoover — and not by much.
World War II has been credited by some with getting the United States out of the Great Depression. What the war did was put an end to the New Deal, as national survival became the top priority and replaced FDR’s anti-business and class warfare rhetoric.
Senator Obama’s rhetoric today is the anti-business and class warfare rhetoric that worked so brilliantly in a political sense for FDR in the 1930s. But Obama is following an opposite course from FDR when it comes to recognizing threats to American national security.
Senator Obama has repeatedly tried to deal with national security threats with rhetoric. He tried to dismiss the threat of a nuclear Iran with because Iran is “a small nation”– even though it is larger than Japan, which launched a devastating attack against the United States at Pearl Harbor.
FDR had the good sense to begin urging greater military preparedness in 1940, more than a year before the United States was attacked. He said, “If you wait until you see the whites of their eyes, you will never know what hit you.”
Cutting the military budget and taking foreign policy problems to the United Nations are Obama’s version of “change.”
That is change that we dare not believe in. It is the audacity of hype.