March 23, 2010
Obama's Audacity of TenacityBy J. Robert Smith
Freedom-lovers will simply need more audacity and tenacity than Mr. Obama possesses to defeat him and roll back his schemes.
What Americans witnessed on Sunday night in Washington with health care was the start of a legislative coup d'état, one exceeding in both daring and resolve FDR's New Deal gambits. Why? Statism now has an eight-decade record -- and in the area of welfare and entitlement service, not a good one. A solid majority of Americans are no longer buying that a further expansion of compassion in the guise of hopelessly incompetent bureaucratic government benefits them or their loved ones. Passage of so-called health care reform was an in-your-face move by a president schooled in in-your-face. It's what revolutionaries have to do most times to win.
Dick Morris told Sean Hannity the other night that ramming health care legislation through Congress by misusing reconciliation and procedural tricks is just the beginning. Immigration reform, cap-and-trade, and Lord knows what else will follow in pretty quick succession this year. And it has to be this year, because if Morris and right-leaning political prognosticators are correct, freedom-lovers and the political atmosphere will combine toxically this November to hand Mr. Obama's Democrats quite a thumping.
But a thumping to hardcore revolutionaries is a mere bump on the road to utopia. Mr. Obama, like any seasoned lefty, is a political Energizer bunny: He'll keep going and going until voters pry him out of his chair in the Oval Office and drive a stake through statism's heart.
Where bigger government can't be legislated into existence, Mr. Obama is prepared to have faceless, nameless bureaucrats do the dirty work. The president, determined and sly, already has the EPA making preparations to shoehorn aspects of cap-and-trade into the nation's life, thereby further squelching that evil of evils: prosperity. Sending hither a swarm of bureaucrats to eat out our substance isn't just the domain of kings and despots. President Obama is happy to wear out bureaucrats' shoe leather, too.
To earn star status on the left takes more than good intentions; it takes gumption and staying power. After all, what remains for Mr. Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid? These three horsemen of the Constitutional Apocalypse are acutely aware that they've exhausted hope for majority support for their radical agenda. But as 20th-century history all too frequently shows, radicals pushing radical agendas (or overthrows) haven't needed majority support. On the contrary, they've needed what Mr. Obama and his congressional conspirators possess: the grit, determination, and chutzpah to overcome popular sentiment and maybe the law.
The tumult and legislative railroading happening in the hallowed halls of Congress are the stuff of a gaudy Wagnerian opera, an opera inked largely by Barack Obama and conducted by Pelosi and Reid. However tin-eared Mr. Obama is to the melodious cries of outrage from a majority of Americans over his health care grab, he's got an exquisite ear for statism's discordant strains. Mr. Obama's magnum opus is moving pretty close to crescendo. All the noise and fury signifies something -- something really scary.
If the composer, Mr. Obama, has his way, then when the cymbals last crash and the din subsidies, what America will have -- what the nation will be -- is a diminished republic with greatly constricted liberties. The long struggle to upend the Founders' America, dating back to Woodrow Wilson, won't be completed with Barack Obama's opera, but he'll have advanced the left's cause substantially. Whoever follows Mr. Obama on the left will find the nation's music more agreeable and the work to complete the statist anthem easier.
Coming up in life, Barack Obama learned all the wiles and tricks of the left. He was practically tutored by Saul Alinsky. (Perhaps it's better to say that the peripatetic young Obama drank frequently the cup of Alinskyism.) But the one indispensable thing that Mr. Obama learned from his doubtless dog-eared copy of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and every other leftist manual he could get his paws on was that tenacity is the real way of the radical.
Brother, you've got to want revolution; you've got eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, breathe it, and dream about it. Lenin, Mao, and Hitler learned through adversity and conveyed to their acolytes that when the going gets tough -- when the peasants aren't in the mood to revolt, storm the bastilles, and man the guillotines -- the toughest revolutionaries get going.
Did Fidel and Che ever get discouraged? Not on their lives. Why, if those two Cuban change-warriors let Batista's government, the military, and the police discourage them, if they let public apathy sour their zeal for revolution-making, then Cuba today wouldn't be the workers' paradise it is, the beau ideal of American lefties. Where would America's fossil media go to showcase the virtues of state-run medicine? Cuba, that languid Caribbean isle, surely beats gray, dank Britain -- or, at one time, grayer, colder, danker Soviet Russia -- as a backdrop for homage after homage to government-knows-best health care.
Marx, by the measure of revolutionary doers, was an incurable romantic. Wait for the conditions to present themselves for revolution? Why all these fine distinctions between pre-capitalism and capitalism? Nonsense. Real revolutionaries, not mere dreamers of revolution, go make the conditions for revolution -- or, failing that, find ways to end-run their opposition, strong-arm change, and ignore the will of the hopelessly inferior masses. Or as a last resort, the disingenuous revolutionary prays to St. Joseph, as Speaker Pelosi did, that God grant power-grabs.
The fair-minded American might say that though he opposes Obama wrenching the nation leftward, he finds the president's tenacity admirable. We can, after all, find certain traits commendable though they are misapplied, can we not? The simple answer to that is no -- an emphatic no. Tenacity yoked to the wrong ends -- disastrous ends, as all statist ventures will inevitably be -- is nothing to be admired.
George Washington's tenacity was another matter. The Man from Mount Vernon stayed in the hard -- at times desperate -- fight to overthrow tyranny, helping inaugurate a republic of free people. Washington's end was profoundly morally legitimate, and, hence, so was his tenacity.
Better that President Obama lay off the Wheaties, quit the workouts, and not go forth, day after day, attempting to slay statism's mortal enemy (but every American's birthright and friend): freedom. Yet we cannot hope for that, not from a dyed-in-the-wool lefty like Mr. Obama.
Though we can't recreate George Washington, we can aspire to his determination to not just stop tyranny, but establish a freer America. We can do so only by striving to reclaim large swaths of the liberty lost to America's homegrown -- yet alien in spirit -- statists in the last eighty years. It will take many things to accomplish this stellar end -- tenacity included, and a fair measure more than Barack Obama exhibits.