Conventional wisdom has it that Barack Obama is trying to turn the USA into some version of a European social democracy, but it is starting to look like something a bit more sinister – Syria.
Well, sure, but hear me out. If we are to believe the new Gallup poll (not, I should point, the supposedly-biased Rasmussen), America has become a seriously conservative or near-conservative country with 40% declaring themselves conservative and 36% moderate. Except perhaps to the climate scientists at the University of East Anglia, that comes to 76% – with a paltry 21% declaring themselves liberal. And yet the president and his allies are attempting to ram through some of the most purely liberal legislation in years, with little or no concern for the wishes of the populace.
Sound familiar? Well, the minority Alawite sect has governed Syria over all opposition since 1970 with only 12% of the population of that country – and we all know how scary that is.
Of course, I’m being more than a little supercilious. Obama, whatever his faults, is no Assad (nor is he much of an ophthalmologist). But the disconnect between the citizens and the leadership in our country is greater than I can ever remember it. It’s bordering on the surreal. No wonder Democratic politicians are scampering off to early retirement. I would too. (Who likes to lose elections when you could be collecting mega-fees as a lobbyist on M Street?) But an issue even bigger than health care and massive bailouts is being raised by this administration – and those are plenty big enough. The whole relationship between the governors and the governed is being called into question by people drunk on their ideology, much of which they have forgotten or may not even exist in any coherent form in the first place. We are at an extraordinary moment.