So we are reduced to the bizarre spectacle of a president of the United States, beginning his tenure with supermajorities in both houses of Congress and a 70% approval rating, now blaming conservatives that they are stopping the completion of his agenda that his party won’t defend and won’t run on — while the architects of his economic policies have left town ahead of the proverbial posse. Obama made us do it!
We know there is only one way to restart the economy and spur private enterprise to begin hiring: remove uncertainty and win trust.
That would mean to spell out exactly what the income, payroll, inheritance, and health care tax rates will be. Repeal ObamaCare and its feared drag on employers; stop all the new programs and instead prune red-tape; enact targeted tax cuts for employers coupled with reductions in federal spending; offer a five-year plan to achieve budget surpluses; bring into administration financial policy-making business people and expel academics; quit the psychological harassment of “boot on the neck” slurs, limb-lopping surgeons, and greedy businesses, and stop the presidential “at some point you’ve made enough money” editorializing. Do all that — and Obama cannot and will not — and employers will start taking risks, hiring, and buying.
It gets stranger still…
Obama, we are told, is becoming unpopular with his liberal base, as we saw from his acrimonious CNBC town-hall meeting. In this trope, he has not gone far enough to please the Huffington Post and Daily Kos crowd. Instead, he sold out by adopting the Bush national security policies from Guantanamo to Predators, by appointing some centrists like Sec. Gates and National Security Advisor Jones, and by not granting amnesty, not ending “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and not shutting down Guantanamo.
But this too is disingenuous. Note that the now liberal counterpart of Joe the Plumber, Velma Hart, was not faulting Obama for being too liberal in raising taxes, scaring small business, or piling on debt. She was largely opportunistically piling on Obama’s growing unpopularity, in apparent anger that he had not been liberal enough in enacting her longed-hoped-for-hope and change, spread the wealth largess that was supposed to ensure her a booming economy.
His base supporters are griping largely because Obama is tanking and taking a liberal Congress down with him, and therefore construct a homeopathic exegesis of wanting more bacteria to end a bacterial infection. If Obama is too liberal for the country, therefore the medicine is that he is not liberal enough and must adopt even more progressive policies.
That is a cheap way of avoiding two painful realities: one, the liberal agenda is not popular; two, it does not seem to work in a post-modern, globalized, and largely therapeutic America. The problem is not that Obama did not give us enough of it, but that he gave us too high deficits, rising debt, Keynesian stimuli, government takeovers, race/class/gender editorializing, identity polarizing politics, UN-neutrality abroad, and ridiculous appointments like Van Jones and Anita Dunn.
So what’s next?
The Problem. Obama succeeded in getting elected where other Northern liberals like McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry had failed because of a perfect storm of events: the novelty of our first African-American serious presidential candidate; Obama’s teleprompted rhetorical gifts and charisma; Obama’s misleading moderate and centrist proclamations; the inept McCain campaign; the September 2008 meltdown; Bush’s Iraq; and the first orphaned election without an incumbent since 1952. Take any of those criteria away, and he would probably have lost.
But instead of accepting that flukish reality, in hubristic fashion Obama either figured his singular divine powers won us over or a national yearning for neo-socialism had spread among a majority of Americans — or probably both.
So rather than being a Clinton in 1995 and moving to the center, curbing debt, working with centrist congressional Democrats, or praising the opposition in the no more red/blue state fashion of yesteryear, he went the hard left route and quickly alienated the country.
The Solution. We are now told there is a Carter/Clinton choice for the president: persist in Carterism and 2012 follows the losses of 2010. Or change, and get reelected on some updated form of school uniforms, space exploration, more cops, an end to big government, no more welfare, balanced budgets, or a Republican shut-down of government.
But the latter would require Obama to be Clinton, and quite simply he is not — either by skill, experience, temperament, or volition. He is petulant and angry at us for not appreciating his genius and divinity. We in the 70% who oppose his sermons are the proverbial Pennsylvania clingers who can’t figure out Ground Zero, Arizona, or the Skip Gates mess. We forgot we killed thousands at Hiroshima, killed off native Americans, and were mean to Muslims. We are a nation of greedy fats cats on the wrong side of the new $250,000 Mason-Dixon income divide.
A savior like Obama comes around once in a century. If we cannot see that we are blessed with a Mandela-like laureate, then let us lose our souls. We shall sink into reactionary irrelevance; he shall trump the Bill Clinton lucrative post-presidency.
Sort of at least. He will also for the next thirty years parrot a Carter on 60 Minutes assuring us how awful were his successors, how brilliant his unappreciated record was, and how illiberal and dense we remain — as he jets from Indonesia to Paris on missions of world peace from a corporate and Middle East funded Obama Peace Center.
The Prognosis. There is only one mystery left. Will the Republicans screw it up? Or do they have the courage and skill to tell the American people that the mega-deficits and entitlements are our road to serfdom? Or, in contrast, will they return to 2004-6 and gorge the beast while talking of how it could be much worse without them?
I have no idea.