Sunday, January 31, 2010

The State of His Audacity

Guest Commentary by Edward Cline:

Watching a video the other evening of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address (and later reading the transcript of it), I was struck by two things: the yawn-inducing banality of everything he said, because he has said it all before; and the blatantly collectivist nature of the speech, one barely disguised by its sugary “progressive” coating. Throughout his speech, it was “I am disappointed with the lack of progress by Congress in implementing a socialist agenda, and so we must stop bickering and get things done.”

Or, as Alex Epstein encapsulated the speech in “Obama vs. the First Amendment” on the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights site:

We need to rise above fear, hesitation, and partisan politics–to give the government all the power it needs to solve all our problems.
That is it, in a nutshell. What are “our problems”? Obama waved the usual shopping list of them that required government action and government spending, representing powers not granted to his office or to Congress in the Constitution, and wealth extorted from productive Americans and redirected to subsidize or finance statist ends.

It is only an ugly association with tyranny that his speechwriters did not attempt to paraphrase Adolf Hitler from Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will:

“No one will live in America without working for our country. There is no other work.”

“The Democratic Party proclaimed [or was moved by] only two principles: first, it is a Party with a world view; and second, it wanted sole power in America, without compromise.”
The “world view” is that Americans should abandon their individual rights and liberty and defer to their masters in Washington. And the Democratic Party has demonstrated that it wants sole power in America. The Republican Party, on the other hand, has shown that it is willing to compromise its nonexistent principles.

The petulance in Obama’s manner was marked by a quantum of annoyance with an undefined object, a querulous defensiveness in which he blamed failure on everything but his own and his predecessors’ actual policies -- which did not differ fundamentally from his own -- and the subdued menace of a gang leader warning that his minions had better shape up -- or else. One half expected him to pound a fist on the podium. Missing from his delivery was an hysterical stridency.

Nowhere in his speech was his manner more apparent than in his attack on the Supreme Court for upholding the First Amendment rights of corporations to advocate or oppose candidates or political ideas.

"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections," Obama said.
It is tempting to dwell on the hypocrisy of his words vis-à-vis Obama’s own connections to “special interests,” such as George Soros, numerous other wealthy individuals who contributed to his campaign in 2008, and foreign parties who also contributed to his campaign, all totaling some $800 million. (Thus outspending Republican rival John McCain, who accepted matching federal funds and spent about $10 million; but the subject of the propriety of forcing taxpayers to pay for the election campaigns of candidates for federal office is separate issue). That is aside from the issue of corporations and individuals who stand to benefit from stimulus money and “green” and “clean energy” contracts. The floodgates of inflation, trillion dollar deficits, and spendthrift government spending -- all sanctioned by the administration and Congress -- promise to drown Americans for generations to come.

“Special interests”? “Lobbyists”? Obama pointed out in his speech instances of businesses that have benefited from the Recovery Act. Who decides which applicants for stimulus money will get it? Who qualifies for it, and why? Where there are bureaucrats with money to hand out, and beggars pleading their “need” for it, the scenarios do not bear close scrutiny. All one will find are ACORN-like scandals and corruption.

It is the middle class that will suffer most under Obama’s economic policies, as well as under any health care bill. Someone apparently informed him of this, that it was middle class Americans who formed the bulk of the Tea Parties and defiant town hall meetings last year and made known their strenuous opposition to his socialist policies. His solution is to attempt to bribe them with fictive tax cuts that are surpassed by tax increases and private revenue consuming and destroying regulations, and the granting of pointless tax credits for education and jobs. He urged Congress to pass a health care bill regardless of Americans’ opposition to it. He will have his way -- or else.

Just as he will have his way over the Supreme Court ruling on the First Amendment.

"I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests or, worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems."

Democratic lawmakers and Obama Cabinet members, surrounding the six of nine justices who turned out for the event, stood and applauded. The justices, in the front and second rows of the House chamber, sat motionless and expressionless. Except for Alito. "Not true, not true," he appeared to say (other lip readers think he said, "That's not true") as he shook his head and furrowed his brow. It is unclear what part of Obama's statement he was objecting to, although he started shaking his head after the president said "special interests."
Not true? Justice Alito’s words could be interpreted one of two ways: That Obama was wrong about the ruling, that it would unleash a horde of cash-rich ogres to sway voters and elections, and that the president was misinterpreting the thrust of the ruling, and that its conclusion was based on the founding principle of the separation of the economy from state. But the incredulous expression on the justice’s face, together with the shaking of his head, I am certain he was accusing Obama of lying. One wishes that Alito had risen in protest and left the chamber. It would have been a proper punctuation mark to the growl of naked thuggery.

And, he lied in Baltimore during a “debate” between him and Republicans during a televised House conference. Replying to Indiana Representative Mike Pence’s criticisms of the performance of Obama’s economic agenda and Obama’s and Congress‘s dismissal of a Republican plan for tax relief, Obama replied,

I am not an ideologue. I'm not. It doesn't make sense if somebody could tell me, “You could do this cheaper and get increased results,” that I wouldn't say, “Great.” The problem is, I couldn't find credible economists who would back up the claims that you just made.
Meaning: He did not search for any economists of a non-Marxist ideology who would substantiate Pence’s claims -- not that Pence’s claims had any shred of validity to them, either. Tax relief? Why not propose the abolition of those taxes? It isn’t relief from those taxes that Americans need, but freedom from them.

Obama said Republican lawmakers have attacked his health care overhaul so fiercely, "you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot." His proposals are mainstream, widely supported ideas, he said, and they deserve some GOP votes in Congress. "I am not an ideologue," the president declared.
Yes, he is an unrepentant, dedicated ideologue of the Marxist kind. No amount of televised “give-and-take” joshing with his enemies is ever going to disguise that he is committed to “remaking” America according to Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. The rudderless Republicans fall for it every time.

It is symbolically significant, while he thanked the Republicans for inviting him to the “debate,” that he paraphrased a line from the movie, The Godfather: Part II:*

I very much am appreciative of not only the tone of your introduction, John, but also the invitation that you extended to me. You know what they say, ”Keep your friends close, but visit the Republican Caucus every few months.” (Laughter.)
It is no laughing matter. This is the “gangster-government” way. However, it is factually significant that he also made this observation, one of his few honest, truthful ones:

I know many of you individually. And the irony, I think, of our political climate right now is that, compared to other countries, the differences between the two major parties on most issues is not as big as it’s represented.
Beneath the excelsior of badinage with his alleged enemies, one finds a kernel of truth. That is something Americans can believe in.

*Attributed to Sun-Tzu, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Petrarch, but made famous in Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster movie.

Crossposted at The Dougout

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