No, Obama Isn't 'Worse Than We Thought'
When I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 along with all the kiddies that swarmed into my polling place, I did not do it because I had any confidence in him. I voted for Obama because I wanted Democrats to be in charge of U.S. foreign policy so that they could get beyond the inanity of Bush Lied, People Died and deal with global reality rather than talking-point reality.
What I did not appreciate was that Democrats had, in the 2000s, diligently unlearned the economic lessons of the Reagan Revolution.
The truth about Barack Obama is not, as Peter Wehner understandably wails, that “Obama is Worse Than We Thought.” The truth is that Barack Obama has ruled as a remarkably faithful liberal president. Practically everything he has done is right out of the standard liberal playbook and reflects conventional liberal thinking. Obama is not worse than we thought. Liberals are worse than we thought.
If you run Wehner's reverse-angle replay, from disaster in Iraq to failure in the Middle East to failed foreign policy in general, and then cue up domestic failure with ObamaCare and unemployment, stimulus and increased inequality, weak growth, and low work-force participation, nothing is particular to Obama. All he has done is standard liberal stupidity. And since he has disdained to blend in a conservative play or two, the failure is 100% liberal.
The shocking thing about the present moment is the Bourbon aspect. Not Kentucky, but French, as in: liberals seem to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.
We had a little reminder of that this week as liberal commentators sank onto their fainting couches while poring over econ prof Dave Brat's mild reference to government's monopoly on violence. Apparently Brat has read German sociologist Max Weber, but our educated journalists have not. Here's a bit more German political philosophy for you liberals -- from Austrian George Jellinek. A state must have “Staatsvolk, Staatsgebeit, und Staatsgewalt” or state people, state territory, and state power.
Personally, I like to take my political philosophy neat, as in: Government is Force. Period.
Obama isn't worse than we thought; liberalism is worse than we thought. We conservatives thought we had won the argument over administered bureaucracy vs. market solutions. We were wrong. We thought we had buried Keynes for good. We were wrong. We thought we had re-established the idea of hard money. We were wrong. We thought political correctness was a joke. We were wrong.
We must now confront reality. Our present ruling class of the educated elite will always be like this.They will always try to govern with comprehensive and mandatory administrative programs like ObamaCare for health care and Dodd-Frank for finance. They will always think that you stop corporate shenanigans with another Sarbanes Oxley springtime for form-fillers. And they will always chicken out of genuine spending reform with Keynesian cheap money and stimulus. They will always be political and cultural bullies. Because that is who they are and that is what they do.
The only way out of this mess is to replace the current ruling class with another one.
Maybe that was the lesson of Cantor vs. Brat last week. We may say of Cantor, given the gracious manner of his leaving, that he is a class act. But the problem is that Eric Cantor was doing deals with the ruling class, with flood-the-zone immigration, with the crony capitalist Ex-Im Bank reauthorization. The Tea Party is saying: No. We are done with all that. The old way is broken; we have to make a clean break with the past.
My friend, a Stewart/Colbert fan, tells me that he sees the Republicans wandering around like lost sheep. This at a moment when “Just 34% of Americans believe [President Obama] has a 'clear plan' for solving the nation's problems.”
Where's the Republican “clear plan” to solve the nation's problems?
Maybe the problem isn't that Obama is worse than we thought. Or even that liberalism is worse than we thought. Maybe the problem is that the post-Bush Republican funk is worse than we thought.
Here's the problem. If the Republican candidate in 2016 is going to persuade the American people on a “clear plan” to solve the nation's problems, then the candidate's policy people will have produced a policy framework by mid-2015 at the latest, and that policy framework will have reflected the best that conservative minds can think and say right now, such as the “Room to Grow” manifesto that went up a few weeks ago.
In other words, the Republican platform for 2016 should be crystallizing in the minds of the party faithful right now. I don't see it; I don't feel it. I'd have to agree with my friend. Right now the Republicans are wandering around like lost sheep.
And that's worse than I thought.