Obama's Grand Strategic Error

So President Obama really is a socialist after all. According to Stanley Kurtz in Radical-in-Chief, the young Obama went to socialist conferences in the 1980s and then became a participant in the extensive socialist community in Chicago.

In the aftermath of the historic midterm elections, it's safe to say that whether the president really is a socialist or not, Americans don't care. Whether or not he walks and talks like a socialist, Americans just don't hold with a president in the White House who governs like a socialist. You can judge the depth of their displeasure for yourself by comparing the 2010 midterm election with other notable midterms at usmidtermelections.com.

Of course, the socialists that young Barack Obama palled around with in Chicago didn't call themselves socialists. They called themselves radicals, communitarians, and community organizers. They didn't want people to know who they were. Ron Radosh in National Review:

As Kurtz reveals [in Radical-in-Chief], the socialist theorists openly talked about what they called "stealth socialism" or "incremental radicalism," small steps that move the nation forward until the ultimate goal of a socialist transformation is obtained.

The grand strategy of the Chicago socialist community was Leninist: the worse, the better. Lefty thinkers at the Midwest Academy dreamed up plans that would destabilize capitalism and then destroy it. Community-organizing outfits like ACORN would bully the banks and flood the mortgage market with deadbeat borrowers. Same thing on health care. They would load up the insurance companies with mandatory benefits and crash the health care industry. A frightened populace would demand a government takeover of housing or health care, and bingo: full socialism in America. Ron Radosh: "When a crisis finally occurred, especially a 'fiscal crisis of the state,' the moment would be ripe to transform the economy into a publicly owned statist entity."

Back in 2008, it all seemed to be working out just as planned. Capitalism had failed; the evil Bushies were bailing out the banks and letting homeowners go to the wall. Even brain-dead Newsweek could see the writing on the wall. "We are all Socialists Now!" it crowed.

Only something went wrong. It was nobody's fault -- not Obama's, and certainly not the Midwest Academy's. It was something nobody in the ruling class could have foreseen. Americans didn't turn to big government in the crisis of 2008. Instead, they turned on big government!

Obama and the Chicago socialists had completely misread the American people. It was a grand strategic blunder.

The story of Jenny Beth Martin, 40, "national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots," tells us why the experts were wrong. Martin and her husband lost everything in the 2008 crash. They had lost his "temporary-staffing business," and then they lost their home. In February 2009, Martin heard a snippet of Rick Santelli's Tea Party rant on CNBC. She was in the car, driving from one job to another. To help pay bills, she was doing house-cleaning. It was two weeks after they had lost the family home in bankruptcy proceedings.

Ms. Martin said she and her husband realized they could no longer afford their home, and didn't try to keep it. "We decided it would be better to just start over." It was maddening, she says, to imagine the government encouraging others not to take responsibility for buying houses they couldn't afford.

Here is the monumental error that Barack Obama and his socialist pals have made. In the current crisis, tens of thousands of Americans like Ms. Martin have not thrown themselves sobbing upon the breast of the big nanny state. They have not given up their birthright for a mess of pottage. They have not given up on the American Dream. Instead, they are picking themselves up, telling themselves that they are just going to have to start over, and they are cleaning houses to pay bills.

Someday, the president and his lefty friends are going to have to understand that in a crisis, most people will not react like peasants with pitchforks, 1930s auto-workers in Detroit, or the laid-off steelworkers whom the young Obama organized in South Chicago. Ordinary middle-class Americans do not sit around waiting for some radical suit to turn up and organize them into a "community." Ordinary middle-class Americans get on the internet and start to organize on their own.

In the end, of course, it doesn't matter whether President Obama is a socialist, a crypto-socialist, or a liberal. From the point of view of the ordinary American, it's a distinction without a difference. Faced with a problem, President Obama will always opt for a solution that makes government bigger and Americans smaller.

Unfortunately for the president and his grand plan to transform America, the majority of the American people believe that the solution to our problems is to make the American people bigger and the government smaller.

Christopher Chantrill is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. See his usgovernmentspending.com and also usgovernmentdebt.us. At americanmanifesto.org he is blogging and writing An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.