Thursday, December 04, 2008
Will Obama be a Centrist?
The burning question, now that America has elected Barack Obama President, is (still!) how he will govern. In one sense, this should come as no surprise, since this election came down, at least on the party primary level, to who could get away with saying the least. This is a particularly dangerous implication of the prevalence of pragmatism in our culture, for it both removes debate from the equation in elections and leaves us open to nasty surprises: We won't know what we have until after the swearing-in.
Tony Blankley pretty well summarizes this state of affairs -- although he does not see its cause -- at the start of a column that takes Obama's rather centrist-looking cabinet appointments so far as his point of departure.
There is something degrading about serious, prominent political people of the left or right (to say nothing of the broader public) being forced to play policy hide-and-seek with the president-elect of the United States. And there is something presumptive about a president-elect who is very satisfied to keep the public guessing about what he stands for and what he plans to do. It is redolent of the most cynical of 19th-century European politics. But if he wants us to play the guessing game, I'll play.Blankley cautions us: "Do not take too much comfort from his appointees. Brace for the change you do not believe in."
More Speculation on Obama ...
... is to be found at the group blog, The New Clarion, which Bill Brown and Myrhaf launched just before I broke for Thanksgiving. Specifically, Myrhaf is "in search of the big O", as he puts it himself.
I found the following, which he quoted from Commentary magazine, especially interesting:
It was Michelle [Obama], [David] Axelrod remembers, who stopped the show. "You need to ask yourself, Why do you want to do this?” she said directly. “What are hoping to uniquely accomplish, Barack?" Obama sat quietly for a moment, and everyone waited. "This I know: When I raise my hand and take that oath of office, I think the world will look at us differently," he said. "And millions of kids across this country will look at themselves differently."This reminds me of a quote I recently tried (unsuccessfully) to unearth to the effect that Obama hopes, as a politician, to "make everyone happy". In any event, even Obama's not being as hard left as he could be will not necessarily help us. As Myrhaf notes, "All Obama has to do is continue Bush's policies to take America toward socialist hell."
You can find The New Clarion in the sidebar from now on
Even the Democrats Fear Her
Via Matt Drudge:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) moves since the November elections have shaken up some of her colleagues, with some looking over their shoulders and others worried about how the Speaker will lead her expanded majority in 2009.Will the "Blue Dogs" stand up to Pelosi, or compliantly roll over?
Pelosi's effort to make some Democrats anxious could be a calculated maneuver as she seeks to maximize the effectiveness of her caucus heading into 2009. Pelosi's hard-charging tone and decisions over the past month have sent a message to her colleagues: Don't get too comfortable.
The seniority system that tempers the power of the Speaker is teetering, having received a body blow from Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Calif.) coup at the Energy and Commerce Committee.
When chairmen aren't flinching at the possibility of a challenge from a junior member, they can look forward to being bounced by term limits in four years. That's a change that Pelosi quietly endorsed in the 2007 House rules package.
Few members clash publicly with Pelosi. Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who were at odds with Pelosi over the last few years, were stripped of their top committee posts.
Centrists are grumbling that their growing ranks aren't represented in the leadership team that Pelosi shaped through back-room arm-twisting. The so-called Blue Dogs, while publicly celebrating President-elect Obama's commitment to "pay-go," are wondering when the stimulus balloon stops expanding. [The use of a term so similar to "bubble" was non-ironic, as far as I can tell. --ed]
Our liberty is at the mercy of the answers to such questions as whether Obama is a pragmatist or an even emptier suit; and whether today's so-called centrists will have the cajones to stand up to a lipstick leftist -- if they actually want to, that is -- thanks to the wholesale abandonment of principled thinking in America today.
A Crisis for Talk Radio
An interesting article by conservative talk show host Michael Medved comes close to naming a far greater crisis for conservative talk radio than even the threat of the effective return of the "Fairness" Doctrine. (Both censorship and the intellectual bankruptcy of the conservative movement are crises for individual rights.)
Talk radio led the opposition to the Clinton juggernaut (and flourished mightily in the process) as a mass audience medium that appealed simultaneously to all dissenters from the Democratic drive for domination. The great power of the medium involved its ability to change minds -- but that requires drawing significant numbers of listeners who don't already agree with you. [bold added]Unfortunately, as a religious conservative, Medved espouses a philosophical approach to ideas that cuts the "ability to change minds" off at the knees. If the best argument you can give for your views ultimately amounts to "because" (i.e., you base your whole worldview on faith), you will be by that very fact unable to do anything more constructive than report news and point out obvious flaws in your political opponent.
"Why on earth should I listen to Micheal Medved?" Is a fair question, and he can't answer it. The field is thus wide open for a real, rational alternative to left-wing socialism and right-wing theocracy. Thanks for the tip, Michael.