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The (Election) Day the Earth Stood Still.

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Our First French President?

The (Election) Day the Earth Stood Still.

If he’s elected next week, Barack Obama won’t be our first black president: Toni Morrison labeled Bill Clinton our “first black president” in October 1998.  (We have seen no reports that she retracted that label as a result of the South Carolina primary campaign).   

And never mind all the nonsense floating around the internet.  Barack Obama wasn’t born in Indonesia, or Kenya or wherever.  He was born in Hawaii.  

Race isn’t an issue for conservatives, but cultural indentity is.  And that’s a problem because if he’s elected, Barack Obama will be our first French president.

The man who would lead the most productive, hard-working, achievement-oriented society in history told on his campaign website to take the day off to vote at our ease and make sure all our relatives and friends do the same.  He tells students to ask their professors to let them out of class to canvass neighborhoods and drive people to the polls.  

Take the day off to vote?  Us? We’re the American workaholics:  we thrive in the can’t-wait-to-dial-push-to-talk society.  People in Washington get carpal tunnel syndrome from thumbing their Blackberrys.  Stakhanovites all, we dedicate ourselves to our work, identify ourselves by our jobs, and compete with everyone within range. That’s how we succeed.  

In America’s heartland, many families have a mom and a dad who each work two jobs to put the kids through college. Lots of people work Saturdays or Sundays or both.  We take Christmas and Thanksgiving and July 4th off and — if we’re lucky — we save up to take a week’s trip somewhere in driving distance.  

And this guy wants to stop the world just to make sure he gets elected?  

Just think about this:  if every American voter took the day off on Tuesday, it would cost our economy a big chunk of cash.  How much?  

In 2004, there were about 123 million voters.  The best estimate says there are about 181 million registered voters today.  One economist did a computation for me, using that probable voter base.  If they all work for the average wage and all take an unpaid day off, the cost would be about $22.3 billion in lost wages for the first Obamaday.

How much would the stock market fall just because the earth stood so that we could elect Obama?  

In France, they care little about such things. That’s why they have — by law — a 35-hour workweek that’s interrupted by strikes and five-week vacations.  

Last summer, the French made a half-hearted attempt to repeal the 35-hour work week, but only managed to succeed in reducing the minimum number of vacation days.  Unless a President Obama wants to limit our workweek, we’ll stay ahead of France in economic power.

All over America, we go to work, we go to school and some time during the day — before we go to work or after we get home, on a long break from school or when classes are over that day — we manage to vote.  We accomplish our duties, meet our responsibilities, and manage to perform our patriotic duty to vote all on the same day.  

Much of this happens in the suburbs and this is the candidate who’s not interested in how that works.  Remember?  He said, “I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me.” Of course they do: that’s where all those gun-and-bible-clinging people live.

This election is the most important in living memory, and the Democrats’ candidate is proving that — underneath the trim American exterior — a Frenchman lurks.

We have, as others have noted, been learning more about Obama in the past two weeks than we have in the past two years.  As a hyperliberal politician, Obama has been doing his best to conceal his liberalism and the press has been all too eager to leave the “progressive” cloak in place.  But we are, in the last weeks of the campaign, getting a better view.

It started with Joe the Plumber asking a better question than all the reporters and debate moderators who preceded him.  And the answer Mr. Wurzelberger got — that Obama wants to spread the wealth around — revealed Obama’s cultural commonality with European socialists.  

“I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”  Spread the wealth like Robin Hood? No, like robbing you. And if you read the Obama economic plans — including about $800 billion more in spending on health care, college subsidies and climate controls — his methods for spreading the wealth are the same ones the European redistributionists use.  

Think about their primary redistribution program, the agricultural subsidy. As Dr. John Hulsman memorably told me a few years ago, the European Union’s agricultural subsidy is “really a sop from Germany to pay French farmers to sit around, play boule, and do nothing.” Apply that to health care and college tuition and, et voila, you’ve got Obama’s plan.

As Michelle Malkin reported on her blog, in a 2001interview with Chicago Public Radio, Obama was talking about the Warren Court which, in the 1970s, was the source of great social and legal change. Obama said it wasn’t really radical:

It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as it’s been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.

There’s no need to parse these words with Clintonian exactitude:  Obama is saying that he disagrees with the most basic theory of the Founders in crafting the Constitution: that it is written as the preserver of liberties from government intrusion, not to make the government the source of those liberties.  In Obama’s mind, a more perfect union would be the provider of rights and entitlements, not the guarantor of freedoms.

This is the key to Barack Obama’s legal knowledge and judgment.  The purpose of our Constitution is not to provide rights: Americans’ rights are endowed by the Creator, not the Government.  

A Constitution written to describe what the government and subordinate governments must do for citizens does not recognize rights that already exist: it would be one that grants rights that exist only as long as the government wishes them to.  And, of course, with every right comes the cost which the government would be obligated to tax to pay for.

The French Constitution is probably more to Obama’s liking.  Thanks to a recent amendment, the French peoples’ constitutional rights now include “the right to access information about the environment” and an obligation of the government to “promote sustainable development” that doesn’t damage the atmosphere, the wine, or the cheese.  

Anyone who still doubts Obama is culturally (and probably genetically) French should consider this statement by the Illinois naïf:  “This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals."  Or, if he made himself clearer, he might have said, "My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world.  I hope you’ll join me as we try to change it.”  

Either way, who but a Frenchman could have uttered those words?

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Written By

Mr. Babbin is the former editor of Human Events and HumanEvents.com (Jan 2007-Mar 2010) and served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush's administration. He is the author of "In the Words of our Enemies"(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of "Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States" (Regnery, 2006) and "Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think" (Regnery, 2004).

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