As a preview of life in a socialist America, Barack Obama’s half-hour Infomercial Wednesday evening wasn’t half bad. It had its pricey origins in a broken promise about practicing restraint with money. With a mood-molding musical soundtrack, it featured a peerless leader moving among the common folk. He listened to the sad stories of their gray and difficult lives in a land of scarcity. He did this in his shirt sleeves.
Speaking at times on the road, and at times from a fake Oval Office, he conjured for us all a country in which after long years of darkness, light will finally filter into our desperate lives. He will manage our collective wealth and opportunities so that no factories will close, no homes will be foreclosed, all medical bills will be paid, all refrigerators will be stocked with the best of snacks, the price of milk will never rise and the sun will never set on the radiant future. As president, he will tread the byways of the “Middle Class,” listening to the lamentations, cutting up the pie, dispensing the dole.
He will do this surrounded only by cheering crowds, grateful citizens and maybe a couple of adoring CEOs. Sometimes he will speak to small reverent groups, while they nod in silent agreement. Sometimes he will stand alone on a high pedestal and survey the cheering crowds. Sometimes he will need a stadium. He will explain to the common folk their own pension plans, and nod thoughtfully, in profile for the camera. He will bestow grace upon, and ration welfare to, those who stay humbly below his “Middle Class” income limits of $200,000 per year (or — we interrupt the Infomercial to ask — is the limit for eviction from the “Middle Class” $250,000? or $150,000? — depending on the day, and whether it’s Obama or Joe Biden speaking).
In Infomercial America, no one steps forward to challenge Obama. There are no awkward questions, and certainly no explanations, about sermons by Rev. Wright, book blurbs for Bill Ayers, real estate deals with Tony Rezko, toasts to Rashid Khalidi, ties to ACORN, confidential school records, or the whole medley of Marxist, radical, terrorist, God-damn-America mysteries that have dogged Obama’s campaign. There are no worries about how in truth Obama plans to assemble and dispense the endless largesse that will flow to the grateful and humble workers of his realm.
“Together we will change this country, and change the world,” proclaims Obama. But how? Dedicated to the proposition of from each according to his ability, to each according to his need, Americans will rise in the morning, work happily in their ossified jobs, and wait gratefully for their government handouts? This country will see a new birth of the value theory of labor?
True, it’s expecting a lot to think that a candidate would spend $3 million to buy a half hour of primetime on seven networks and then use it present anything other than his idealized picture of himself. But if this is Obama’s ideal, if this is the change that’s coming, will Americans still be left with enough freedom-to-choose to change the channel?