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The Real Obama
Barack Obama's famous utterances “You didn’t build this” demonstrated that unprotected by his teleprompter, his true feelings for the society he governs come through. While many critics have complained that Romney and the rest of us have taken the quote out of context, they may be right, but not for the reason they state. Romney is being kind in just throwing that quote in Obama’s face for the rest of the speech was a mocking of entrepreneurs, and he made it clear that wealth creation is a province of the government. What they don’t add is this quote, “I’m always struck by people who think, ‘it must be because I am so smart'” which was a dig at those who think of new ideas and manage to get them to the marketplace. While building straw dogs like government built roads is important or a person may have a mentor like a teacher, the whole thrust of the speech was to disintegrate those who create wealth in favor of the government planner who regulates wealth distribution.
The entire quote is damning and reveals the radical nature of Obama’s thinking. Yuval Levin, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, noted there is no space between the state and the individual in Obama’s world. He noted, “The Obama administration treats the endless combat of competing firms as a dangerous distraction from essential public goals and considers the business world to be parasitic on society…The Left’s disdain for civil society is driven by a deeply held concern that private mediating institutions are instruments of prejudice, selfishness, backwardness and resistance to change.” Obama the community organizer has adopted the leftist premise that in the end, the state is society and this has left a major Party a few steps closer to a more authoritarian vision of government.
Frank DeMartini, a good friend and editor of the blog Hollywood Republican, stated in a recent interview that Obama is not a socialist per se but a European social Democrat. This may be parsing of words as whether Obama is a full fledge socialist, but there is no doubt that if Obama was a European politician, he would be a member of the British labor Party or campaigned as a member of the socialist Party in France. He would belong to those European Parties that have their roots in economic socialism. The reader can decide how best to describe Obama since no American politician outside of Bernie Sanders of Vermont will admit he is a socialist. Most Democrats don’t even admit to the term liberal but answer to the word progressive as if admitting one liberal viewpoint is poisonous. The mythology of Obama being a moderate is just that, mythology. The real Obama is the most leftist President we have elected and his ideas are designed to transform America into a society run by bureaucrats while essentially declaring war on much of civil society. In Obama’s world, private companies are to serve the public interest, and there is very little room for entrepreneurs to be imaginative or creative if creativity stands counter to what Obama's vision of the public interest is.
Obama's war on the Catholic Church is but one example of Obama's war on civil society. Yuval Levin wrote, “The rule required that the Catholic Church and other religious entities should facilitate people’s access to contraceptive and abortive drugs. It aimed to turn the institutions of civil society into active agents of the government’s ends, even in violation of their fundamental religious convictions. The rule implicitly asserted that our nation will not tolerate an institution that is unwilling to actively ratify the views of those in power-we will not let it be.” Levin's point is simple, Obama views privately-run organization as a mere extension of the government, which is an extension of the General Will. Obama's world is leading us to the shackle of bureaucratic rule and a government run by an all knowing ruling class.
In the mid 1990’s, Clinton and Newt Gingrich passed welfare reform. This was the first successful attempt to rein in and reform entitlements. In some way, it became a model of compromise in which both sides of the divide admitted certain truths about today society. The Republicans conceded that government will have a role in taking care of the less fortunate and Democrats conceded that there was a limit to government largess plus that welfare was to be a temporary place while the individual became self-sufficient. Both sides acknowledge that a just society rested on individual responsibility and limited government.
The Obama administration's recent action on the 1996 welfare reform has destroyed the reform, fitting into Obama’s world view that welfare is not just a temporary station in one’s life but part of the creation of a more extensive dependency state. If still not convinced, consider the following exercise. The only debate is how limited government should be and what boundaries should be set. Government is but one player in society and that there is a private aspect of society that needed to be protected from encroaching government. This debate has continued with the recent President Deficit commission headed by a liberal Democrat, Erskine Bowles and moderate Republican Alan Simpson. Bowles and his commission acknowledge in a numerical sense that government can’t exceed a certain level before the whole stack of cards comes tumbling down. In Bowles' world, that number is 20% and this can easily be contrasted to Paul Ryan under his various plans that look to a federal government as being 18% of the economy. One can debate where that line can and should be drawn, but Bowles is returning to a bipartisan note that government must be limited for spending beyond those levels are unsustainable.
The real meaning behind those numbers is acceptance that government should be limited least it be a threat to our fiscal health and more importantly, a threat to our liberties. As the Catholic Church has discovered, religious freedom takes a back seat to providing free contraceptives. If the Federal government finds that free contraceptives are the goals of government, then all aspects of civil society must fall in and participate in seeing that that goal is accomplished. There is no room for dissent.
While Bowles' commission recognizes that there is a numerical line that can’t be crossed, nowhere in any Obama proposal is a similar numerical line even suggested. For Obama to admit that there is a numerical line that exists means that he has to admit a limitation of Federal power. To do so is to put his vision of social justice at risk for it means that there is limit to what the government power is or should be. The very idea that there is no admission of a numerical line shows the radical aspect of this administration. The line between government and its people is being blurred to the effect that what the government wants or the goals it chooses to pursue becomes part of the general will and opposition to it crushed. The Catholic Church must be bludgeoned to give up its beliefs for the good of the general will. The fact that Obama really hasn’t discussed even a numerical line for what government should spend is telling. It shows the radical nature of Obama’s economic vision. If you view a federal government spending 20% of country GNP as stingy, then you are a radical. When one views the real Obama in these terms, you come to grip with a reality voters voted for a man of radical temperament. Many Americans voted for Hope and change and against the Republican Party that in their mind brought on the recession. As one Democratic pundit observed, it is the economy stupid. Many voters thought they were voting for a Clinton lite but what they got was something totally different and radical. The first aspect of this election is to confront the reality; Barack Obama is not yesterday's Democrat or even a moderate, but a different leader who is transforming his Party into a Democratic socialistic model. There is no room for Erskine Bowles in Obama’s Democratic Party and the voter must understand that what they are voting for is a complete transformation of American society to bureaucratic rule run by wise men and women of the ruling class. If voters re-elect Obama, it is because they no longer believe in America of old but are willing to replace it with a new vision of expanded government replacing much of the private and civil society. It is that stark and that easy of a choice.