OBAMA MEANS WELL. . . DOESN’T HE?
Citizens of a self-governing people, a rarity in the world today, indeed a rarity in all of history, must do certain things if they wish to maintain their self-governing status. Perhaps the most important of these things is to always regard with a healthy degree of skepticism any individual who would offer himself as leader of these self-governing people. As James Madison so aptly put it over two hundred twenty years ago: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
So, how are the American people doing in this regard? Unfortunately this question answers itself. We now have government at every level, federal, state, municipal (and a whole lot of other levels that many of the “self-governing people” are not even aware of), ignoring at best or holding in contempt at worst these very people whose compulsory taxes pay for it all. And these very people do pay for it all, one way or the other; the staggering amounts that their taxes cannot cover are “paid” with borrowed money or Byzantine paper transactions by various levels of government, all of which will beggar present and future generations with debt and inflation.
The government has evolved, ostensibly, into a two-party system, one that purports to work like the “adversary system” in the law. That is, we can supposedly count on each party, being adversaries, to produce evidence and arguments that can best counter the positions of the other, and then let a relatively neutral fact finder, having paid attention and being fully informed as to all necessary matters, decide the winner. While the legal system may still work that way, it is highly doubtful whether the government still does at all.
Consider the evidence: the Democrats introduced the nation to Barak Hussein Obama as keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic convention. As Obama fluidly read from his teleprompter that “. . . there's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America, there's the United States of America,” the crowd roared its approval. The problem that most of the “adverse” party failed to note was that the roaring Democrats had spent decades dividing this nation along those very lines and others that were not mentioned.1 Setting the stage in 2005, David Brooks, a strong “adversary” conservative Republican (according to various media outlets) divined from Obama’s “perfectly creased pant” that he would become president, and would be a “very good president”.
Moving on to 2008, we had many opportunities to learn more about the cipher that was Obama. Again the “adversary” system failed. The media, the vaunted Fourth Estate, the essential institution that would always be our safeguard against ever electing someone we know nothing about, took on the opposite role. They seemed to make it a contest to see if they could go through the entire campaign without ever asking candidate Obama a single question that the other candidate would be grilled on relentlessly. How did the “adversary” party do? The Republicans nominated a candidate who actually fired people from his campaign if they even mentioned Obama’s middle name, the name he used freely (including in taking the oath of office).
This same “adversary” candidate fired people who brought up the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. If you recall, no thanks to the media but full credit to the internet, Obama had acknowledged that he had attended Wright’s “church” every week, for twenty years; had asked Wright to officiate at his marriage; had asked Wright to baptize his children; considered Wright his spiritual mentor; and asked Wright to be on the stage when Obama officially announced his candidacy. When the internet revealed that Wright’s “sermons” frequently consisted of raging racist screeds and shouted invocations of “God damn America!!!”, typically to raucous cheers and applause, Obama claimed he had never heard any such thing. Unfortunately, the “adverse” party had nominated a man who did not use the internet. Thus, the “adverse” candidate apparently did not know about the hate-filled, anti-American screeds. Even when Fox News, the “raving right-wing” TV station, belatedly began showing the video clips, it inexplicably bleeped-out the “God damn” part.
Clues were abundant before the election as to where Obama intended to take this country. In addition to Joe the Plumber, the “bitter clingers”, and many other hints, in January, 2008, Obama sat for an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, video cameras rolling, and matter-of-factly told the interviewer that, under his plans, “electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket”, and anyone who might want to utilize a coal-fired power plant would be bankrupted. Mysteriously, this taped interview immediately disappeared, surfacing on Drudge on November 2, 2008, two days before the election. Most middle and lower income Americans would probably not have considered the skyrocketing of their electricity rates, accompanied by brownouts and outages, to be good for them in the “Obama means well” sense. In any event, Obama won the 2008 election.
A marvelous example of a self-governing people rising to the occasion came up just six days later, in a post-game analysis between a pair of elites: Michael Beschloss, certified by left wing media (New York Times, Newsweek, etc.) as things like "the nation's leading Presidential historian" and "a national treasure," and self-declared genius Don Imus. Read it and weep:
Beschloss: I think even aside from the issue of electing the first African-American president, and whatever one's partisan views, this is a guy who's IQ is off the charts, I mean you cannot say that he is anything but a very serious and capable leader and . . . you know, you and I have talked about this for years, you know . . .
Imus: Well, what is his IQ?
Beschloss: . . .the [inaudible] leadership that allows those people to become president, those people meaning people that smart and that capable . . .
Imus: What is his IQ?
Imus: What is his IQ?
Beschloss: Uh, I would say it is probably . . . I'd say he's probably the smartest guy ever to become president.
Imus: So I asked you . . . I asked you what his IQ was.
Beschloss: Yeah, that I don't know. I'd have to leave it to someone who has more expertise.
Imus: So you don't know.
Beschloss: What do you think it is?
Imus: I don't know.
So there you have it. What could possibly go wrong?
Clues have flowed like a tsunami ever since Obama took office. He hired Valerie Jarrett, an old Chicago pal who Obama acknowledges as his virtual soul mate, as a “senior advisor”. While Jarrett herself drips with clues, she was literally giddy with delight when Obama hired Van Jones as Green Jobs Czar. Jones is a self-acknowledged communist, radical, and revolutionary (as well as a “Truther”). Was this hire “bad vetting”? No, Jarrett, amidst her giddiness, acknowledged that she had been closely watching Jones and all the wonderful things he had been doing in Oakland, CA. Did Obama know nothing about this, or was he as giddy as Jarrett? Obama hired Anita Dunn as White House Communications Director. Dunn later turned up on a video of a graduation address to some kids, telling them that one of her two favorite political philosophers was Chairman Mao. More bad vetting? When does the healthy skepticism begin to kick in?
He hired Peter Orszag as his original Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the head of Obama’s economic team. Orzog, who recently abandoned the Titanic, writes today that we have too much democracy! We will not solve our problems until we “jettison the Civics 101 fairy tale about pure representative democracy” and start making end runs around our elected officials, replacing them with more administrative boards and commissions. Is Obama astonished to hear this man’s views, or are those views exactly why he hired the man just weeks after the 2008 election?
Now let’s move to 2011. We have had nearly three years to watch Obama and take his measure, what he does, what he says, and what has transpired. Today the economy is in shambles; government finances at all levels teeter at or near bankruptcy; when Solyndra gobbles up a half billion dollars of the taxpayers’ money, the answer is to throw twice that amount down similar rat holes. The Middle East is a tinderbox; the EU is on the verge of collapse. The answer is always more of the same. Ever more Federal bureaucrats poke into every nook and cranny of our personal lives, while local bureaucrats compete for ever more “stimulus” money to do the same. Self-government is becoming a memory. How is the adversary system working today? At what point, if there is one, does the adverse party begin questioning exactly what this supposedly brilliant man is actually trying to do?
Let’s take a look at some of the more noteworthy “adverse” party spokespeople in reference to Obama: Peggy Noonan, a speechwriter in the Reagan administration and now a WSJ columnist, writes sentences like: “He thought the stimulus would turn the economy around.” How, pray tell, does Peggy know what Obama was thinking? Kevin Hassett, of the American Enterprise Institute, says: “It’s clear that President Obama wants the best for our country . . .” In what way is that clear to Kevin?
Andrew Klavan, normally pretty good, writes an article proclaiming that Obama Is Wrong, Not Evil. Klavan correctly writes that “Without free individual choice, without that crucible, a culture becomes flaccid, passive, unproductive, violent, and morally dead, a place-marker waiting to be conquered by the next group inspired by a moral vision.” That sounds like a list of pretty catastrophic things to happen to a culture. So what if we have a president, as we do, who gives every indication that he would like to restrict, if not do away with, huge amounts of our culture’s free individual choice? Speaking about the Obamas and 9/11, Klavan states: “I’m sure they feel pretty much what we all feel . . .” And how, exactly is Keven sure of what Barak and Michelle feel?
Jeb Bush, interviewed on Fox Business’ Cavuto on 8/23/11: “I think the president means well, but his policies have failed.” It might be okay to say “I hope” the president means well, but what actually causes him to think he does? His further quote, in the same interview, about Michael Bloomberg as NY Mayor, may shed some light on Jeb’s thinking process: “He’s spectacular! He is a great mayor.”
Richard Epstein, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, acknowledges that Obama’s “Jobs” bill is simply the failed stimulus redux, equally bad in as many ways, but states that “. . . the jobs act is a classic instance of yet another road to hell paved with good intentions.” Not to quibble with the language, but if our leader is taking us to hell a second time and in the same manner, where do we look to find the good intentions?
Noemie Emery, in the Weekly Standard, Vol. 16, No. 45, says: “Obama no doubt believed that the stimulus would hold down unemployment, that people would come to love his health care policies, and that he’d be cruising to reelection on the crest of these measures . . .” What exactly is it that leads Noemie to have no doubt about those matters? She nails it down by saying: “Obama pushes big government policies because he believes they are good for the country . . .” She does not explain how exactly she knows what Obama believes.
Does he mean well? Are his intentions good? The law has long propounded the following simple, logical definition of “intention”: “Every man is presumed to intend the natural consequence of his own actions.” See Black’s Law Dictionary, Revised 4th Ed. The natural consequence of Obama’s actions has been terrible, yet he continues to press for more of the same, or even expanded versions thereof. We are certainly justified at this point in imposing an unofficial ban on phrases like “Obama means well”. Those with slightly longer memories may recall when Jack Kemp, VP candidate on Bob Dole’s ticket, spent virtually all of his time during the one VP debate against Al Gore lavishing praise and compliments on Gore. You may also remember that the tactic was not successful. We have an extremely important election coming up soon and we need to start acting like we want to win it.
1 The first comment of your humble writer, having never seen Obama before, was: “If he believes a word of what he just said, he’s in the wrong party.”
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