Many on the left are in denial. The USS Obama, certified as unsinkable a year ago, is taking on water in its bilges. It is starting to list portside in the dark, cold political seas — on its maiden voyage, no less.
The Obama is made of sturdy stuff, the left contends, designed by the smartest engineers. Its skeleton and hull, shaped by unbendable liberal principles. Its engines and turbines, powered by attractive government-growing, corporate-hating proposals. Its furnaces, stoked by legions of young and minority voters, hopelessly idealistic and hungry for change, and by the disaffected middle class, sick of the war on terror and disgusted by a widening income gap with the upper classes. Its watertight compartments — solid Democratic congressional majorities.
In seas thought to be smooth as glass, Captain Barack Obama and his navigators, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, plotted a swift course to a safe, statist harbor. Government-run health care, cap and tax, card check, a pork-laden stimulus, and re-imposition of the Fairness Doctrine, among other government-aggrandizing measures, would be achieved by voyage’s end. But the first, momentous voyage wouldn’t be the ship’s last. Not by a long shot.
No, the Obama would venture out to sea again and again until the United States was transformed into a reasonable facsimile of a European welfare state — a state like Britain or France or Germany, with a dash of Venezuela for pizazz. Equality of opportunity, with its inevitable disparate results, would give way to a society of broad, redistributed wealth. The satisfaction of achievement would come not from material reward, but from the compulsory sharing of the reward.
The educated classes — the advanced degree holders, especially from the nation’s best schools — would thoroughly bureaucratize government, fulfilling an old liberal (formerly progressive) pledge. Bureaucratic government, more so than ever, would be the benevolent arranger of society, the director of the nation’s destiny, the allotter of resources, the decider of values and priorities, and the chooser of the nation’s winners and losers.
Bureaucratic government’s deckhands would expertly implement orders to better society. They’d police our diets to fight obesity, especially childhood obesity. They’d prowl our trash cans and knock on our doors at odd hours to ensure that our practices were environmentally sound. They’d regulate and tax us into being energy frugal. They’d scour our vocabulary and expressions to guarantee political correctness. And they’d scold and scold until behavior conformed to the very highest (and ever-changing) standards set by government elites.