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.
But the smooth seas belie dangers. The Obama has plowed ahead so recklessly that it didn’t see the icebergs it struck successively, one after the other.
For instance, Barack Obama and majority Democrats aimed to pass government-run health care in an attempted legislative coup d’état. Congressional Democrats deliberately foreclosed consideration and debate of their leviathan health care proposal. They scheduled and held key votes on the proposal on late nights and weekends, when Americans would be least engaged. Likewise, to the strong disapproval of the American people, Democrats rammed through an economic stimulus so laden with pork that it more resembled old-fashioned Tammany Hall or Daley’s Chicago political machine than anything to do with igniting the sputtering economy.
The president and Democrats were cocksure that Americans would cheer when they announced Gitmo’s closing. They didn’t. Attorney General Eric Holder, at the president’s behest, elected to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the Christmas Day underwear bomber as criminals in civilian courts, not as irregular enemy combatants in military courts. Miranda rights, Americans say, aren’t for bloodthirsty terrorists.
And then there’s the president’s 2011 budget proposal, with its orgy of spending and borrowing and higher taxes. It’s the old gargantuan iceberg that Bill Clinton navigated to avoid in the 90s, after Hillary’s health care debacle. But President Obama, either from conceit or blind loyalty to ideology, or a combination thereof, is piloting straight for this killer iceberg.
Yet now, among the president’s men and congressional Democratic leaders, among the left across the nation, among many in the fossil media, there’s denial. By the left’s lights, the unsinkable Obama can’t possibly be sinking. Evidence be damned. The Obama may have hit rough waters, it may be banged up, but it’s built to withstand the pounding, they argue. Don’t change course, the left counsels; in fact, keep tacking relentlessly left, heedless to sailing deeper into the treacherous iceberg field in which the Obama finds itself.
Even bigger icebergs lie ahead for the Obama: the November midterm elections and an economy that’s running a significant risk of tumbling into a worse recession next year. Either or both could finally send the Obama to the briny deep, perhaps before the band can strike up and the lifeboats are deployed.
Unlike the Titanic, the sinking of the Obama will be lamented by very few Americans with common sense. Some ships of the political sort are better off lost forever at the bottom of a dark sea.