One faux-conservative I know is lauding Barack Obama as the second coming of Ronald Reagan. He’s comprehensively wrong because Obama is Reagan’s polar opposite in all but political talent. Nevertheless, our 44th president is clearly a student of the 40th.
Reagan said, “The nearest thing to eternal life we will ever see on this earth is a government program.” Like a dead Caesar deified by the Roman Senate, a government program achieves a sort of political immortality as soon as its beneficiaries are established and begin to reward their congressional protectors.
Since his inauguration, Obama’s spending spree has taken us to the point that, as the president said, we’ve run out of money. But it’s a mistake for conservatives to focus only on the spending. Obama’s actions are growing government power so quickly and in so many ways that their combined effect cannot yet be measured.
Obama’s government programs — such as the “cap and trade” legislation to regulate carbon emissions and with them, most of the economy, as well as his nationalization of health care and of the automotive and financial industries — are intended to be a permanent re-orientation of our lives and the life of our nation. Couple them with the Obama-Gates slash and burn approach to the defense budget, and what is the result?
Obama knows that once his “cap and trade” plan is in place, once the government is in the health care business, and once our defenses are disassembled, it will be impossible to change course either easily or quickly. So in that, as with his other actions, speed is imperative. Obama’s successes have come, in large part, because our Queen of Hearts Congress — “sentence first, verdict afterward” — has rushed legislation through before it can even be analyzed, far less debated.
Four months ago, I wrote, “If President Obama achieves his agenda, his successor will not be president of the same nation Obama inherited. Like Madame Defarge in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Obama is a revolutionary, slowly knitting together his plans to change America into something it has never been, to overthrow our economic system and weaken our defenses.”
Since then, we’ve seen a federal budget that exceeds $3 trillion, a $1.2 trillion economic “stimulus” bill that has failed to even start an economic recovery, and government restructuring of automakers that has taken control of the companies from their owners and split it between unions and government. Auto loans are supposedly being provided by the federal government, and if the “cash for clunkers” plan goes ahead, the Feds will be giving you a subsidy to trade in your SUV for a car that gets better mileage, even if you can’t load your dog, kids, and a week’s worth of groceries into it at the same time.
Maybe you shouldn’t have had that second kid. Or maybe your Labrador Retriever should be traded in on a lapdog that eats less and barks at a lower decibel level.
The House has passed an inherently corrupt “cap and trade” anti-global warming bill that will not measurably reduce global carbon emissions but will give the government control of most of our economy, down to the level of setting standards that local building codes have to meet. The bill is corrupted by the political deal-making that passed out free pollution “permits” to the constituent industries of some House Democrats, a step made necessary to buy their votes for the bill. The Senate is being urged by the president to pass it quickly so that it can get to his nationalization of health care before the August recess.
In April Defense Secretary Gates slashed the Defense Department’s budget. He cut — and ended — weapon system programs without any analytical support for his decisions and only after forcing more than two hundred senior generals and their staffs into signing a gag order preventing them from saying anything about the budget cuts before Gates announced them.
Gates is now advancing the idea of finding ways around enforcing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that prohibits professed homosexuals from serving in the military. That, of course, is a prelude to repealing the law altogether.
Obama’s shunning our most important allies — Israel and Britain — and embracing our enemies from Iran to Honduras is for another day’s discussion. But it is all of a piece, consistent with his goal of growing the domestic power of our government while shrinking its international status.
We’re now a week from the first confirmation hearing on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. Though not immortal, she is the judicial equivalent of another government program. A political activist before she took the bench, Sotomayor professes to embrace her personal experience and biases in rendering her form of “justice.” Hers is an outcome-based judicial philosophy, inherently in conflict with American justice. Our system applies the Constitution and the law to the facts. Hers, as I’ve written before, uses her gender and race biases to choose the facts on which to base judgment.
Welcome to Obama’s Disamerica. It’s imprecise to call it “un-American” or “anti-American.” But it is “disamerican” in the grammatical meaning of the prefix I’ve attached. It’s not the America Obama inherited. And that fact encapsulates the revolutionary intent of his actions.
According to one news report, the president — in a conference call with Democratic Congressional leaders last week — urged them to pass some sort of health care bill before the recess, any bill out of either house, and leave the details for when they come back in September.
The goal most important to the White House is getting the program established. Once it’s in place, all that will be left is working out the details of how to limit patients’ choice of doctors and bureaucratically-mandated limits on treatments available. Pushing people out of their employer-provided (or self-provided) health care will be the inevitable consequence of having to compete with the government-paid insurance.
About 476,000 more Americans lost their jobs in June. Unemployment is now at 9.5% and still rising. According to Nobel Laureate economist Paul Krugman, we’re now in a prolonged jobless economic recovery. Only in the mind of a Nobelist could the concepts of “jobless” and “economic recovery” be combined without creating an oxymoron.
And such minds want another stimulus bill because, they think, the first one wasn’t big enough to do the job. It doesn’t occur to Krugman or the president that the theory of the bill — government-controlled and mandated spending — is wrong. So what is Obama’s goal?
President Obama’s goal isn’t to stimulate the economy, improve healthcare or solidify our defense. His first and only goal is to increase government control over us all, to impose what is best for us in the judgment of our liberal elites. George Bush began the dissolution of free-market capitalism. Barack Obama means to finish it.
The loss of personal freedom to government expansionism comes in many forms, not just in higher taxes. But they all add up to the same result: a people who are not free cannot prosper. Each loss of economic freedom devalues every other freedom Americans believed we were vouchsafed.