Some conservatives believe that other conservatives, on talk radio and Fox News Channel, are damaging the cause of conservatism by dishonestly overstating their case against President Obama to increase their ratings and profits.
More reasonable Republican politicians, they argue, would like to cooperate with Obama on bipartisan solutions but don’t have the power to resist these extremists with the megaphones and so have buckled in lock step to their demands and become the party of “no” and the purveyors of gridlock.
The problem is that the presuppositions underlying those allegations are wrong. There may be some exceptions, but the large majority of leading conservative voices are doing their very best to save this nation from Obama’s policies, which they believe are leading to the nation’s financial, cultural and national security ruin. Obama is a leftist, very extreme by historical standards. To compromise with his positions would not be in the best interest of the nation but would advance the cause of leftism, so any pressure conservatives can bring to bear on Republican politicians to strongly oppose his agenda is laudable.
I can’t conceive of too many situations in which splitting the difference with Obama has advanced or would advance the cause of conservatism or constitutional liberty. We wouldn’t reduce our debt, for example, by agreeing to reduce the levels of increases in spending. We couldn’t improve the quality, cost and availability of health care by agreeing to more government intervention when we believe in free market solutions. We couldn’t prudently agree to a half-measure stimulus package when we believe stimulus spending not only doesn’t stimulate the economy but does further increase the debt. We couldn’t agree to some compromise reductions in our nuclear and conventional forces if we believe that even these lesser cuts would jeopardize our national security. We couldn’t agree to meet Obama halfway on energy policy by signing on to policies that punish conventional energy only half as much and waste just half as many billions on quixotic green energy debacles.
We can get mired in a semantic argument over whether Obama is a card-carrying communist, a European socialist, an admirer of Hugo Chavez’s and Daniel Ortega’s or, as he says, a fierce advocate of the free market, but such quibbling is more misleading than the labels themselves.
Perhaps Obama doesn’t technically favor ushering in Karl Marx’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” en route to the “withering away of the state” and the promised utopia. But the issue isn’t whether Obama subscribes to this or that brand of socialism — Marxism, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Leninism, democratic socialism or whatever. The point is that he’s a radical leftist who subscribes to the radical leftist worldview, and many of us believe that if left unchecked, he would go much further than he’s gone to undermine our Constitution and our freedom tradition. Considering the degree to which he has thwarted and circumvented the Constitution and the rule of law — and otherwise abused his executive authority during his first term — despite facing re-election in 2012, there is no telling how radical he might become with four more years in lame duck status.
I do think a strong case can be made that he has Marxist leanings and thus believe the term is warranted as a general descriptor. For 20 years, he belonged to a church that emphasized race and materialism more than it did Christian theology. He appointed radical czars, some of whom self-identify as Marxists, and others support Chavez’s track record in oppressing media freedom. He constantly demonizes the “wealthy,” business and “excess profits.” He obsesses over redistributing wealth. He seems to subscribe to the Marxist theory of surplus value, believing labor never receives its fair share and often abusing his executive authority to remedy that perceived injustice. He is in favor of ever-increasing government control of business and industry — not just health care — and has a manifest distrust of the market.
Call him what you want, but don’t tell me he isn’t an extreme leftist by American standards. He might be a moderate in Europe, but not here.
If not for strong conservative voices opposing his radical agenda, he would have gone much further: larger and more stimuli, much greater deficits and debt, even higher percentages of people on the welfare rolls and not paying income taxes, an even more lawless Justice Department, a single-payer health care system, the consummation of the war on conventional energy and further wasteful green energy experiments, a more progressive income tax code, a possible value-added tax, more liberal activist judges, greater unilateral disarmament, further relaxation of border control, more government control over business — and more.
Thank God for conservative talkers and other voices on the right who aren’t deterred from doing what is right for fear of being called extremists themselves.