I believe that in order to understand what is going on, we have to apply a model radically different from the one we usually apply to the actions of politicians and Presidents here in the U.S. Greed, stupidity or incompetence we can understand, ruthlessness is also a given and pandering is taken for granted, too, but a grab for power so great that it will result in true Tyranny; that we are not used to thinking about and being on the look out for. Except for the application of this model by the Left to create their alternate world of the Bush Presidency—and a fine piece of projection that was, we do not really look for the telltale signs left by someone trying to set himself up as a tyrant or dictator as a way to comprehend what it is our President is up to; in the case of Obama, that is what we must do, and I think a moment’s reflection will demonstrate how this model fits.
Just ask yourself, if you, as a new President, were plunged into the midst of a major financial crisis as soon as you took office, would you be trying, in every way you could, to douse the flames, to calm the situation, or would you be throwing gasoline on the fire to make it bigger and hotter; what ends of yours would best be served by a bigger crisis and more panic, rather than less; panic, haste and confusion rather than clear thinking and analysis and deliberate, well thought out actions?
Would you be making taking control of the upcoming Census one of your immediate priorities in the first few weeks of your new Presidency, would you be involved, as well, in trying to acquire the ability to take over the Internet and disconnect certain parts of it, would you be trying, over and over in those critical first few weeks, to fund ACORN—a corrupt leftist organization that you have close ties with–with hundreds of millions of tax dollars, would you be concerned with changing obscure DOD procurement regulations so that ammunition supplies for civilians would start to dry up, or would you consider spending precious time to try to do any, much less all of these particular things in the midst of a crisis, a waste of precious time and a “distraction?”
I was certainly not seeking signs of tyranny in the Obama administration, nor am I a natural conspiracist. I tend to scoff at such things—after all, I was one of the few people in America who clung to the idea that Oswald acted alone.
Before Obama took office, I noticed some traits of his that concerned me (you can find the relevant posts under the category “Obama” on the right sidebar of this blog). His grandiosity and narcissism. His fostering of a trancelike hero-worship in his followers. His lack of humor. His complaints about being tired, used as an excuse for his errors. His ignorance of history. His hubris about his foreign policy background, based on his childhood and early adulthood sojourns and travels. His emphasis on “coolness” over substance. His breaking of his word on campaign finances. His associates, especially Wright and Ayers.
But I always maintained that the only way we would know Obama would be by his actions in office. There were worrisome indications that he would make poor judgments, or even that he would govern from the Left, but there were so many contradictory signals coming from him that one could not be sure of much of anything, especially what ideology might be driving him.
Right after the inauguration, I even wrote a piece for Pajamas Media cautioning against Obama Derangement Syndrome. In it I said:
Yes, there are reasons to fear that Obama has a far left agenda, based on his history, some of his own statements, and his associations. There are even reasons to believe that whether he does or doesn’t have such an agenda himself, he will lack the inclination (or perhaps the backbone) to stop the far left agenda of those with the power to pass bills — in other words, the hugely Democratic Congress and its leaders Reid and Pelosi.
But I suggest that everyone stand back, take a deep breath, and wait. Wait, and observe. It will become clear enough as Obama chooses a Cabinet and advisers. And then it will become even more clear as he takes office and begins the work of government. More clarity will come as he handles the inevitable crises and tests that will occur on his watch.
The goal of each of us should be to react only to evidence, not fear….It is necessary both for the sake of the country and our own well-being to give the man a chance to prove those fears wrong. And it is also necessary to hope that he will do so, and to believe that whatever happens, our Constitution and our form of government is not as fragile as all that.
Sounds fair, no? And I still fervently hope that that last phrase will prove true: …that whatever happens, our Constitution and our form of government is not as fragile as all that
But as far as the rest of it goes, I think the waiting is over; Obama has put enough cards on the table to see much of his hand. The reason I quoted Wolla Dalbo’s comment at such length at the beginning of this post is that I think it lays out quite succinctly some of the evidence that has amassed in the nearly ten weeks (has it only been that? How time doesn’t fly when one isn’t enjoying oneself) since Obama’s inauguration.
I didn’t expect evidence to accumulate so fast and to point at such a pessimistic conclusion. But it has. And, as the commenter points out, one of the biggest pieces in the “what does Obama want?” puzzle—perhaps the biggest—has been his upside-down priorities.
There’s his assertion that his shockingly expensive energy, education, health care budget is connected to the economic recovery when even a dim knowledge of financial realities dictates the exact opposite (this appears to be use of the time-honored technique of the Big Lie). There’s his outright fomenting of class war, his demonizing of Wall Street and the rich. His bait and switch on tax relief. His cavalier disregard for the huge additional stock market drop that has occurred on his watch. His favoritism towards ACORN. His attempt to create some sort of compulsory government service for young people. His push for card check and cap and trade, two proposals so far to the Left that even the Democrats in Congress are balking.
Obama came to office in the midst of a profound economic crisis, one that might even have been responsible for his winning the election. But it has taken his administration a surprisingly long time to get around to offering concrete and specific proposals to actually address it—for example, a scheme for evaluating the toxic assets. What’s more, the Treasury Department, which should have been his top priority, remains curiously vacant, with hapless Tim Geithner wandering all alone listening to the sound of his solitary footsteps in its echoing halls.
Although I remain open to evidence to the contrary, for now my working hypothesis is that Obama is a man of the Left, that he is insufficiently devoted to the age-old American idea of liberty but is instead a committed statist, and that the mind-numbing pace of his change is deliberate and has been effective so far.
I used the word “numbing” in the above paragraph, and I mean it. I noticed in the same comments section of yesterday’s post that another reader pointed out that “I am seeing the effect already amongst friends who have just stopped listening to any news.”
Oddly enough, this is what I have noticed among my liberal friends, Obama-supporters all. I cannot tell you how many times I have asked them what they think about Obama so far and they answer that they haven’t really had time to follow it all, and it’s all so very confusing.
Now it’s true that most of my liberal friends are not exactly newshounds, nor do they read blogs, even blogs on the Left. But it seems as though they are turning away from politics even more than usual, especially considering that they should be joyfully lapping up the wonderful news, now that their man Obama is in. I believe that their turning away is both an attempt at protecting themselves from the anxiety of hearing about the financial crisis, and a reaction to a feeling of “something just isn’t right with Obama” in the pits of their stomachs.
I am convinced that Obama is counting on this reaction. He knows the Left is behind him (except for a few details such as his Afghanistan policy, or those who think he’s not far enough to the Left in terms of his financial interventions). He knows those on the Right will despise him and what he’s doing. He knows both of those groups will be paying attention to the details.
But he also knows that those more in the middle will not be noticing much, until the deeds are done. And he is counting on them to look away and hope for the best. The question is whether his pace is fast enough, and whether they will catch on—and whether they will then understand what is happening, or care. Or will the predictions of the Grand Inquisitor come to pass in this country, as they have in so many others?
[NOTE: In case you missed it, here's the "Grand Inquisitor" quote from Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" once again:
Oh, never, never can [people] feed themselves without us [the Inquisitors and controllers]! No science will give them bread so long as they remain free. In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet, and say to us, “Make us your slaves, but feed us.” They will understand themselves, at last, that freedom and bread enough for all are inconceivable together, for never, never will they be able to share between them! They will be convinced, too, that they can never be free, for they are weak, vicious, worthless, and rebellious. Thou didst promise them the bread of Heaven, but, I repeat again, can it compare with earthly bread in the eyes of the weak, ever sinful and ignoble race of man? ]