Obama vs. the Unknown Ideal

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Leading up to the election, I ran across material from the Obama campaign that spoke volumes about his contempt for debate and for the opinions of the American people. I concluded that:

[T]his is likely yet another taste of how Obama intends to govern. There will be no debate, but we will be hounded day in and day out about how "important" his agenda is. And Obama will be manipulating the guilt-strings from afar, equating his left-wing agenda with what our kids (or the disadvantaged) need by means of the widespread acceptance of altruism in our culture.
And then, shortly after the election, I ran across another story describing how and why the Lord of the Gadflies, as I called Obama last November, might be poised to reactivate his network of grass roots supporters. The news story relays the mind sets of his supporters and his campaign.
Many are eager. "I'm going to be sitting at the phone, asking, 'What do you want me to do next? I'm ready,' " said volunteer Courtney Hood, 37, a mother of three from Owings, Md.


Joe Trippi, the Internet politics guru whose computer geeks made Howard Dean a contender in 2004 and who went on to design Obama's socially networked campaign machine, offers a provocative and educated guess.

Trippi predicted that Obama would use his forces, first and foremost, to intimidate congressional foes of his agenda, rally his allies and forge "one of the most powerful presidencies in American history." [bold added]
"What comes next" turns out to be Obama budget, which is giving even some members of his own party heartburn.
Beginning Sunday, the White House will harness every part of the Democratic Party's machinery to defend President Obama's budget and portray Republicans as reflexively political, according to party strategists.

A participant in the planning meetings described the push as a successor to Democrats' message that Rush Limbaugh is the Republican Party leader. "We have exhausted the use of Rush as an attention-getter," the official said.
Needless to say, Obama never debated Rush Limbaugh on the merits of his agenda, and this latest tactic is also intended to avoid debate:
Democratic strategists explain that the message [war] is designed to accomplish three things:

-- First, it could deflect attention from the size of Obama's budget and blunt attacks on the ambition of his agenda.

"It helps change the conversation from their criticism of the president's plan," a top Democratic official said. "If they want to say he's going to raise taxes in the middle of a recession or he's got socialist tendencies -- none of which we agree with -- one of the easy things for us to come back with is: We have tough choices to make right now, and you have nothing to offer." [bold added]
If the Republicans had been honest defenders of actual capitalism all along -- rather than the welfare state misbranded as capitalism -- they could easily demolish this cowardly and dishonest tactic.
-- Second, by painting Republicans as politically motivated, the conservative House Democrats known as Blue Dogs may be less likely to side with the GOP.

"As long as they're seen as reflexively political -- saying 'no' to everything -- the Blue Dog Democrats can say, 'I don't agree with everything the president proposes, but at least he has a plan, an outline of what we should be working on,'" the official said. [bold added]
This follows from the first part, and is made possible, again, by the unprincipled -- and therefore inarticulate and spineless -- Republicans. What's especially galling is that in the sense that "politically motivated" means "unconcerned with the actual merits of the Obama agenda", it is the Democrats who are even more guilty of being politically motivated.
--Third, Republicans could look like they're playing politics in a time of crisis, rather than disagreeing based on substance. [bold added]
Note the concern with appearances. If Obama's plan is so great, it should be a cinch for him to explain why America needs to set a record federal budget deficit and expand the very government that caused the financial crisis. But that is the one thing missing from the Democrats' plan, and that shows that it is really about grabbing power.

Back in November, I said the following of Obama's Army of Gadflies:
Who knew that one day, every annoying neighbor you ever had, every jackass who ever yelled at you at work for putting a soda can in the trash (where, by the way, it belongs), and every yokel communist who ever started spamming you with left-wing "news" links would one day be harnessed like this? This is clever, amusing in a way, and chilling all at once.
Obama does not yet feel that he can ramrod his agenda down our throats with impunity, but he senses that, with so many Americans unaware of the true nature of capitalism -- which our country does not have now and has never had -- that he can wear down the American people by relentlessly pushing it until we give up just so he will shut up. Now is not the time to let the most annoying person you can imagine have his way for the sake of momentary convenience.

Obama intends to start with the path of least resistance: the unprincipled politicians. It is ... incumbent ... on those of us who know enough to value freedom to make it clear to them that caving in to his agenda is not what we want, and that we will remember this come election time.

Obama is betting the farm on a very low estimate of the intelligence of the American voter and the ability of other politicians to gauge it. Let's make sure he loses. Vital to the effort is making clear what too many Republicans can't or won't: that the choice isn't between Obama's welfare state and welfare state of the status quo, but between statism and freedom.

-- CAV

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