Obama Shocks the Elites

It would be funny if the stakes -- the future direction of this country for many years to come -- weren't so high.

It's still hard not to feel just a bit of schadenfreude watching many of Barack Obama's supporters, particularly those who are among the well-positioned or financially well-off, fidget, whine, and moan as they discover what those of us who actually researched and studied the guy before the election knew about him.

Slowly but surely it is dawning on many of these elites that Obama is exactly what he was in rare unguarded moments during his presidential campaign, during his brief U.S. Senate career as its most liberal member, during his time as an Illinois senator, and, to the extent we were able or allowed to learn it, during his life up to that point: a far-left, class-warfare, redistributionist demagogue. They are also learning that he is bound and determined to impose a radical agenda on the rest of the country and that he has little interest in making exceptions for those who thought they were buying protection or favors with their campaign dollars.

To an extent, the fact that those affected have been caught flat-footed is understandable. Bill Clinton, the last Democratic president, was a draft-dodger and overseas war protester in his youth. Clinton's campaign rhetoric had much of the class-warfare nonsense and ridiculous hyperbole -- including calling the economy "the worst in 50 years" during a year when it grew by 3.3% -- that has been the foundation of Democratic Party presidential campaigns for decades.

Though Clinton ultimately governed largely from the center, at least in appearance, it's easy to forget that during his first two years, he reneged on his core promise of a middle-class tax cut; passed what still is, at least for the moment, the largest tax increase in history; and clumsily attempted, thankfully failing, to nationalize the health care industry. The Gingrich revolution brought this nonsense to an abrupt halt, after which Clinton's most important concern became remaining popular and in office at whatever financial, ideological, or national security cost.

But the heavy hitters who thought that Barack Obama would end up being the second coming of Bill Clinton should have known better. First, due to large, unaccountable flows of money and an ideological determination not seen 16 years ago, the formal and informal organizations Obama and his handlers (not necessarily in that order) have built and maintained are far more sophisticated than anything Clinton, James Carville, and his other advisers ever assembled. More important, Obama's core radicalism far exceeds that of even Clinton's wife Hillary on her worst day. The fact that the media mostly covered up Obama's extreme positions and associations to dumpster-dive in Alaska may excuse the ignorance of the masses; but it doesn't excuse that of the elites.