This is a very well-written pity piece by a young editorial assistant at National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke.
Cooke was born in Great Britain and marveled at the freedom and mobility of American society from afar. He liked it even better when he moved here. Alas, he sees the re-election of Barack Obama as an unparalleled catastrophe and asks, “If we are to lose America as it has been, could we not ask that it be lost to something better than this?”:
But, consider this: A president of the United States just ran a reelection campaign based on the promise of government largess, exploitation of class division, the demonization of success, the glorification of identity politics, and the presumption that women are a helpless interest group; and he did so while steadfastly refusing to acknowledge the looming — potentially fatal — crisis that the country faces. And it worked.
Worse, as David Harsanyi has observed, “the president’s central case rests on the idea that individuals should view government as society’s moral center, the engine of prosperity and the arbiter of fairness.” This stunted and tawdry vision of American life was best summed up in his campaign’s contemptible Life of Julia cartoon, which portrayed the American Dream as being impossible without heavy cradle-to-grave government, and in which the civic society that Tocqueville correctly saw as the hallmark of the republic was wholly ignored — if not disdained outright. “Government is the only thing we all belong to,” declared a video at the opening of the Democratic National Convention. In another age, this contention would have been met with incredulity and confusion; in ours, it was cheered.
Cooke isn’t the only doomsayer out there. Prominent pundits like Mark Steyn have also drunk the Kool-Aid and proclaimed the death of America “as we know it.”
Others agree, but seek to motivate the right to fight back and do their best to stop the statist juggernaut.
I don’t know why it is that the right feels compelled to exaggerate the probable consequences of Obama’s re-election. It is utter nonsense to posit disaster for the country when you base that prediction on a flawed, wildly imaginative analysis of what an Obama second term will bring.
We don’t have a “cradle to grave” welfare state now, nor will we have one in four years when Obama leaves office. The president can issue executive order after executive order to try to realize that goal, but good luck, Barry, getting the money to pay for it. Money bills still technically originate in the House of Representatives — a body controlled by the Republican Party. I daresay if the president believed the GOP were obstructionists during his first term, he ain’t seen nothing yet.
There will be a lot of can kicking in an Obama second term. And while we have a debt and deficit crisis, it is not at the point that it would collapse the economy any time soon. Modest economic growth in the next few years will result in a corresponding rise in revenue, thus bringing the deficit down to a more manageable level (along with some token budget cuts). There are pitfalls to avoid, but the short-term fixes that will be agreed to by both sides will allow us to avoid any kind of a massive economic meltdown so confidently predicted by many.