How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

Just how stupid do Obama and his top advisors think we are? By “we” I mean not only the American people at large but also Obama’s colleagues in the House and Senate, the folks who at the end of the day will determine exactly how much of the administration’s campaign of “shock-and-awe statism” will pass into law.

The phrase “shock-and-awe statism,” by the way, comes to us courtesy of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. He coined it early on in the reign of Obama to describe the blitzkrieg-like way the administration was pushing its socialist agenda in that dim distant past, i.e., last year.

How breathtaking it seemed! The paint was hardly dry on the Obama romper room at the White House when the president unveiled his  nearly $800 billion non-stimulating “stimulus bill” that assured the United States would be entering the Guinness Book of  World Records as the most profligate nation in history. Then there was the “cash for dunderheads” program that was such a gift to foreign car makers and such a boondoggle for American ones. What about the cap-’n-tax fantasy that would finally have driven the nail in the coffin of American industry if only the business community had shared the administration’s taste for economic suicide? Or just last month the fiasco of Copenhagen  and the bitter chilliness that is “global warming”? And of course “health care reform”: always and everywhere health care “reform” — a stupefyingly expensive mechanism for assuring that the federal government would expropriate a sixth of the U.S. economy while eviscerating the medical profession and sharply degrading the quality and timeliness of health care in this country. What bliss it was to be alive, and to be Left was very heaven!

When did it all start going south? It’s hard to say with any exactness. I think the great C-SPAN fiasco was a kind of turning point. Some public-spirited individual — I think it was Andrew Breitbart — assembled a little medley of  candidate Obama saying  on seven or eight separate occasions that he would broadcast the negotiations over  health-care “reform” on CSPAN “so that the American people can see what the choices are.” But in general I think more and more people have come to understand that Obama is not the Moses who was going the lead us through the sea of red ink by which we are surrounded. The victory of Scott Brown in Massachusetts last week set the Good Housekeeping Seal of Disapproval on the whole enterprise: notwithstanding the feeble protest from the New York Times that the Massachusetts election was "not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama’s presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform,” everyone knew it was.

So now what? Well, last week Obama played his populist card by going after Wall Street; result, the stock market promptly tanks by more than 500 points. So long, farewell, adieu, auf wiedersehen!  Way to go, Barack: all those old folks nearing retirement or parents approaching a stretch of college tuition: too bad! Thanks for your masterly leadership!

But now comes something really amusing.  In an effort to win back the support of “fiscal moderates,” Obama yesterday endorsed the idea of creating a special debt and deficit reducing commission. But guess what, it wouldn’t convene until after next November’s election. In the meantime, he is counting on Democrats to muster enough votes to raise the federal debt ceiling further into the stratosphere of economic irresponsibility.

Politico quotes Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the Senate Budget Committee chairman: “The president is demonstrating exactly the kind of leadership we need to tackle our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges.” Right! And you, Dear Reader, are Marie of Romania.  No, Politico was correct when it suggested that Obama’s latest gambit “risks being seen as just a ploy to win over swing Democratic senators.” You bet it does.  Any fool can see that. So what about the White House?  Do they really think we’re too stupid to see what they are up to?

I wonder.  It’s not entirely clear who’s minding the shop. More and more, one hears the criticism that the president is too cool for school: that he is arrogant, disengaged, out of touch. “Narcissistic” is a term many of  us used when observing candidate Obama on the hustings. Obama is the time-delay president. Something bad, really bad, happens — a Muslim fanatic guns down forty people at Ft. Hood, say, or an al Qaeda-trained terrorist tries to blow up a commercial jet over Detroit — and what does the president of the United States do? Nada. He “monitors” the situation from afar. He takes several days to respond in public, and when he does it’s all the obfuscation all the time. An “isolated extremist.” Yemen is a poor country. I’m on holiday out here, back soon.  Obama’s behavior during a crisis puts me in mind of Harry Graham’s little ditty “The Englishman’s Home”:

I was playing golf the day

That the Germans landed;

All our men had run away,

All our ships were stranded;

And the thought of England’s shame

Very nearly spoiled my game.

No wonder Scott Brown is going to Washington.