Ed Driscoll

Gilded Class Warriors at Work and Play

More on Mr. Obama’s attempt at Government by Freakout, this time from Rush Limbaugh, responding to an article on Obama by the National Journal’s Ron Fournier:

He is not governing, Mr. Fournier. You’ve stumbled into this and I’m here to alert you how right you are. You don’t even know it. He’s not governing. It’s all about politics. Congress is being blamed for this. The Republicans are being blamed. Obama is just the outsider trying to fix it all. He’s the guy trying to compromise. He even went out and played golf to try to compromise! He even went out and played golf with Tiger Woods to try to compromise, and still the Republicans resist.

“Fair or not, the president owns this mess.” He doesn’t own this mess. Even though it was his idea. Even though he will choose if the sequester happens where there are cuts. (He will choose it!) But as far as the low-information voter population in this country knows, he does not own this mess, Mr. Fournier, and he will not own it. The Republicans own this lock, stock, and barrel. But, Mr. Fournier writes, “What can he do about it? For starters, he could read this op-ed piece published two months ago in a Midwestern newspaper…”

Fournier highlights an op-ed written by a Republican who blames everybody on both sides for it and we all gotta get together and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That’s what Fournier thinks Obama needs to read. “With a few tweaks, Obama could make it a presidential address. … ‘Americans are fed up with the jousting.… There is a lot of public posturing but apparently not much genuine conversation.'” That gets to the root of what’s bothering me here. The jousting never ends. I just feel like I’m being played for the fool here to get sucked into this narrative and this template every day.

The way all this stuff plays is, I think this whole episode is a big joke on the country. I think this is an insulting joke to everybody. This is an embarrassing spectacle. After 1995, 1993, whatever, I’m getting tired of it. I’m worn out. It’s history repeating itself over and over and over, almost verbatim, from “taking food out of the mouths of children,” to “they’re coming for our children” to “No meat inspectors!” They’re even saying have to close down the sleigh rides in Jellystone Park! That has come up again, like it did in the 1995 budget battle.

* * * * * *

Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my country. To be watching all of this, to be treated like this, to have our common sense and intelligence insulted the way it’s being insulted? It just makes me ashamed. Seriously, man. Here we get worked up over $44 billion. That’s the total amount of money that will not be spent that was scheduled to be spent this year. In truth, we’re gonna spend more this year than we spent last year.

We’re just not gonna spend as much as was projected. It’s all baseline budgeting. There is no real cut below a baseline of zero. There just isn’t. Yet here they come, sucking us in, roping us in. Panic here, fear there: Crisis, destruction, no meat inspection, no cops, no teachers, no firefighters, no air traffic control. I’m sorry, my days of getting roped into all this are over. We have the media playing along with all this. The ruling class of both parties play along with all this. It’s insulting. I don’t know how else to describe it.

I’m into my 25th year.

I can’t tell you the number of times this has happened. This hit me yesterday. I’ve said the same things over and over for 25 years. Whether the Clinton presidency or the Obama presidency, whether it’s a Pelosi speakership or Tom Foley (who was speaker when I started), it’s the same stuff. It’s the same threats. It’s the same arguments over and over. Nothing ever changes! We just keep spending more money. We create more dependency, we get more and more irresponsible from one crisis to the next, all of them manufactured.

Except for the real crisis, which nobody ever addresses, and that is: We can’t afford any of this.

Which dovetails into Mark Steyn’s interview yesterday with Rep. John Campbell, sitting in for Hugh Hewitt:

MS: and I love the way he says we instituted this sequester not in order that it would actually happen, but in order that it would not happen. And that in itself is a perfect gem of what is dysfunctional with your great industry, as he described Washington politics. And just bring me up to speed on what the latest estimated figure for the actual sequester total is. What is it, about $80 billion dollars?

JC: Yes, it’s something like that, but one of the things we discussed yesterday with Paul Ryan, it actually, let’s take non-Defense spending, it reduces the increase in non-Defense spending…

MS: Right.

JC: …from 17% since Obama was president to 12%. So after the sequester, non-Defense spending will still be 12% higher than when Obama was elected president.

MS: Right, and even if one were to accept that $80 billion as a cut, which it is in Washington terms, because in Washington, a cut means you slow the rate of increase. So it’s like going to your bank manager and saying yeah, I know I’ve got a $200,000 dollar overdraft, but I was planning next year on having a $400,000 dollar overdraft. What about if I were to cut it back to $350,000? And that doesn’t work in private life, but apparently it works in Washington. But even if you take it at face value, right now, the federal government is borrowing about $5 billion dollars a day, so that if it’s, what are we talking about, $80 billion, we’re basically talking about a little, about two and a half weeks’ worth of borrowing. So what is the point of spending months arguing over what, even if it were a real sum, is only two and a half weeks’ worth of borrowing anyway? What’s the point of fretting for three months, as we have done since November, over two and a half weeks’ worth of borrowing? This is a joke. You’re just telling the world we’re incapable of course correction. The institutions of Washington government are so dysfunctional, we’re just incapable of meaningful course correction.

JC: While we’re talking about the President here, I don’t know whether you saw, but in the Beltway media this week, they were very upset with President Obama, because he did not let them take pictures of his golf game in Florida with Tiger Woods. And the Beltway media was playing up that oh, well, the media has turned on Obama, and they’re very upset, and this is a closed White House and so forth and so on, and it needs to be more open. Where was this prior to election? And do you believe that the Hill press, the Washington press, is actually upset with President Obama?

MS: No, I don’t think so. There are lots of things to get upset with the guy over, and the issue with the golf for me is this, that we have a president who does not lead, who leads a strikingly imperial lifestyle. While he was playing golf, his wife and kids went off skiing in Colorado. This is a guy, the issue here is that there’s, the gulf between what the President preaches and how he lives. I mean, for example, on his Christmas vacation, he spent, that Christmas vacation cost more money than the entire Royal Family cost not just British taxpayers, but Canadian taxpayer or Australian taxpayers, Jamaican taxpayers, the entire British commonwealth, in a whole year. One Christmas vacation costs more than flying the Royal Family around the world for a whole year. So the issue here, I think, is the gulf between the President and his cheap, lousy class warfare, and the fact that he doesn’t live like 1%. He lives like the .0000001%. He costs more money than every European royal family put together. There’s a disconnect here.

Victor Davis Hanson describes that as a case of “Gilded Class Warriors” at work — and at play:

Today’s leftists like the high life as much as their demonized conservative rivals do. The more they damn the bad “millionaires and billionaires,” apparently the less guilt they feel about living it up in Palm Beach or Aspen — paying no taxes, offshoring their profits, or wearing Rolex watches.

The vast growth of the federal government has splashed so much big money around New York and Washington that even muckraking progressives can’t resist. Loud redistributionist rhetoric offers the necessary vaccination shot that makes privileged leftists immune from any criticism — or guilt — over indulging in tax avoidance, billion-dollar speculation, or aristocratic tastes.

George Orwell long ago noticed the same thing: In Animal Farm the pig elite loudly damned reactionary humans even as they sought to copy them by walking on two legs.

And as VDH writes, “One of the nation’s best-known class warriors is former U.S. representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Chicago, who for years has damned the wealthy for their ill-gotten gains. He is expected to plead guilty to fraud charges after he and his wife allegedly siphoned off $750,000 from their campaign accounts to pay for an assortment of 1-percenter extravagances such as a $43,000 Rolex watch.”

Jackson getting caught causes the only slightly less gilded class warriors at MSNBC to has a sad, as they say in LOLCats land:

Scarborough: Former congressman Jesse Jackson’s facing jail time after pleading guilty to misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars of campaign funds. A tearful Jackson apologized to his family and friends. NBC’s justice correspondent Pete Wlliams takes us through this sad case.

[Video clip of Williams is played]

Mika: That was NBC’s Pete Williams reporting.
Scarborough: It’s a sad story. Harold, you served with Jesse. As did I.
Harold Ford: I know Jesse. It’s sad. I know the family well. My prayers go out to his kids and to the entire family. And I hope there is another chapter in his life.
Mika: I hope they can turn it around.
Scarborough: Yeah.

“That’s about the moment when my head exploded, ruining what was otherwise a perfectly nice, Thursday morning breakfast,” Jazz Shaw responds at Hot Air:

At what point did this become a “sad story” exactly? The criminal was caught and brought to justice. The system worked. Aren’t we generally happy about that? To reiterate what I was ranting about on Twitter, this guy stole nearly a million dollars from the people of his district, many of whom live below the poverty level! Was anybody “sad” when Bernie Madoff got caught? Was anyone praying for “a new chapter” in Madoff’s life where he would “turn things around?”

And before any of you Jackson loving sycophants get all up in arms over the comparison, there is virtually zero difference between Bernie Madoff and Jesse Jackson jr. except in terms of scale. Madoff stole money from innocent people looking to invest in the future for their retirement. Jackson stole money from working class people willing to invest in the future of their state and country by supporting somebody promising to make their future better. They are the same. Madoff was just better at it.

Hey, when you’re on a show that risks the Obama administration emailing in helpful suggestions to be read on air; on a network with Al Sharpton, who is “advising” the president on economic matters (!!!), a network that recently hired two of Mr. Obama’s largest enablers as on-air talent, co-owned by a corporation whose CEO is himself is one of Obama’s “Czars,” no wonder you’re reduced to such infantile language when one of your own gets caught.

I’m not sure if I’m willing to say that I’m ashamed of my country, but everyone should be ashamed of the sorry state of both its ruling class, and its court stenographers.