Wouldn’t it be fitting if the one person who ultimately prevented Barack Obama from fulfilling his scarcely-concealed lifetime dreams (see his “Dreams From My Father”) turned out to be – Barack Obama?
It can no longer be seriously doubted that numero uno among the President’s dreams was this: the transformation of America into a socialist utopia, stripped of its western-culture foundation, reduced to the level of just another unexceptional member of the international community of – what, tribes?
Mr. Obama appears to have seen his Presidency as the last chance for America to get where he wants it to be. How else to explain the “Louisiana Purchase” and “Cornhusker Shakedown” in defiance of popular sentiment regarding ObamaCare, or the reckless printing of trillions of dollars on political payoffs masquerading as economic stimulus, or the abandonment of nearly all pretense of border security, biological security, and national security in general?
Here is where the irony begins: In its steady descent from being a nation of free people and free markets, the US was already well-advanced, long before getting the additional shove from the Obama Presidency. From the original “progressive” Teddy Roosevelt and his fellow progressive Herbert Hoover (a social engineer who ran as a Republican), to the unembarrassed FDR and his spiritual heirs (LBJ and Carter), and with seemingly-unwitting abetment along the way by closet statists such as Nixon and the Bush family, the only meaningful interruptions of our willful surrender of freedoms have occurred under JFK (a conservative who ran as a Democrat) and Reagan. Long before the Obama Presidency, the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations was an unintelligible colossus of central planning, as were the Internal Revenue Code and the org-charts of every single cabinet-level department. The rare exception to expanding statism, the Tax Reform Act of 1986, was a model of simplicity and clarity and pro-growth incentives, but its reforms had been eviscerated by the time Clinton left office. In sum, before Mr. Obama even appeared on the scene, we were already a quasi-collectivist country and the “quasi” was in the process of redaction.
And then, along came Obama, making a public spectacle of performing the estocada upon the exhausted bull that was free-market capitalism in America. With arm-twisting of Congress on a level that would have embarrassed even Mayor Daley and Saul Alinsky, with executive orders issuing regularly from the President’s pen and his phone in open defiance of the concept of separation of powers, and lately with the twin embarrassments of the Ebola non-crisis and our non-war against our non-enemy ISIL (nee ISIS), Mr. Obama might have finally managed to go too far for even the less-informed segment of the American electorate. With a foreign policy resume’ that has made us a laughingstock, with no effective borders to repel human or biological enemies, and with 6 years of non-recovery from a recession no worse than several earlier recessions from which we fully recovered in far less time, the President has now demoralized us and frightened us.
In doing so, the President may have inspired a re-examination of American history and free-market capitalism that could attain critical mass, one that might break the century-old momentum of central planning and crony capitalism in this country. It is possible that he has gone so far that he has done something that Mitt Romney could never have done, that probably no Republican politician could have done: spark a re-examination of the virtues of free-market capitalism and of a strong national defense, awaken the sleeping giant of the American public, and begin the resurrection of the fundamental good sense that once identified us as a nation, in a way not seen since we won the Cold War, maybe not even since America figured out why it had to become an active participant in WW II. The President has gone all-in, he has bet the country’s entire future on turning us into something that features “state capitalism” and bears a closer resemblance to the People’s Republic of China than to the America of the 1980s. If he wins, he wins very big, but if he loses, we might go back not just to George Bush, but quite a bit farther.
It is not just that this, as William Kristol has pointed out in The Weekly Standard, is a “teachable moment,” it is that the odds have grown substantially that teaching will indeed occur.