November 30, 2009

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

The reality of entrenchment versus the policy of hope

President Obama has real problems - a floundering economy with a recovery that has been touted but not felt, chief among them. He has double digit unemployment with any sign of real relief being years away from reaching the level of Bush's "jobless recovery". He has a war on terror that he won't end just yet but really, really wants to end - for those of you on the far left. He has a health care vision that most of the country does not share but that he is hell bent on imposing. He has serious debt problems and a handy credit card in the American taxpayer. He has had problems vetting his staff. He has had problems with supporting a phony global warming ponzi scheme that is finally being outed (a thaw in the insanity, if you will). He's got dropping popularity that I'm going to predict will not recover before the 2010 elections.

Those problems are real. As a Democratic President he's got two basic choices in how to deal with the political swamp he charged into - pragmatic solutions, or dogmatic ones. The previous two Democratic Presidents offer a glimpse into the divergent outcomes.

Bill Clinton, after starting down a progressive path with the help of Hillary. He was rebuffed by voters in 1994 and forced to deal with the first Republican Congress in decades. He even declared that the era of big government was over. That he likely didn't want it to be over, is immaterial. He had to govern from the center to stay in power, or he could dig in his heels and likely govern for only 2 more years and accomplish nothing. He chose the former option and won re-election. He likely held the belief that his role was to move the yardstick markers just a little to the left instead of way down the field. After all, the era of big government was not, and clearly is not, history. So he could be argued to have furthered the liberal cause.

Then there's Jimmy Carter. More devoutly liberal than devoutly Christian, and certainly more devoutly liberal than Bill Clinton. Carter was weak on national defence, he emphasized conservation over either consumption, investment or development and innovation. He was not friendly with Israel, he was ineffectual (at best) in the Iranian hostage crisis, and he was simply weak at home and abroad. Many times in the past year Obama's presidency has been compared to that of Carter's. The one thing that has been lacking is stagflation and the infamous misery index. They are quite possibly on the way. It's bad news for the country if stagflation occurs but given the path the country has been put on, it might be unavoidable in the short term. What might be the end result of this for the GOP in 2012, is a revisiting of the Reagan campaign slogan from 1980:

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

The answer will be a resounding 'no' if as expected, the inflation kicks in and unemployment is still hovering at or near 8%. It means that Obama could conceivably follow the Carter one term path. There's ample evidence he will do just that, as opposed to the Clinton path of moving his executive direction towards the center. The reality of the entrenchment of Obama's dogma seemingly supersedes the issue of pragmatism, and even that of his campaign message of hope.

From the perspective of the pragmatic, important state electoral losses in Virginia and New Jersey for the Democrats have apparently done nothing to alter the President's course. If he wanted to be pragmatic, he would eat a little humble pie with the American voters instead of foreign leaders. But sober reflection it seems, only involves navel gazing at America's supposed wrongs, and does not extend to the mistakes made by the current administration. Voter outrage they rationalize, will be assuaged only by passage of the dogmatic liberal agenda. How else can one explain the unrelenting determination to try a confessed terrorist in a N.Y. courtroom instead of with a military tribunal? How else do you explain the blind allegiance to a forged global warming crisis? Or a steadfast effort to pass an unpopular and unwieldy health care bill?

Even the hope he sold his followers on it seems, is secondary to his vision. Unemployment has risen and will stay high for the foreseeable future. National debt has soared. Taxes and fees will be on the rise very soon. Inflation with all the extra money in circulation is bound to rise. And the central Obama vision - the promise of universal health care is mired in a detail nightmare that apparently requires thousands of pages to be made real. That is a Vietnam-level quagmire, never mind Iraq (which, hey, we won). Hope it seems is subordinated to the policy of radical progressivism. The thinking behind that must be the same as all Democratic thinking. It goes something like this; hope springs eternal. Hope can always be re-packaged and re-sold because when people are down and out, the only thing left often, is hope. The Democrats will position themselves as they always have - yes, we've made progress but we didn't have enough money, enough time and/or enough of an electoral majority to enact everything we needed to enact. The solution - give us more of each and this time we really will deliver. It seems a key difference between a liberal voter and a conservative voter is how many times you can pull the wool over their eyes.

Democrats believe voters can be sold a bill of goods like they were with welfare, Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security. Those programs solved everything right? Especially year after year when the programs associated with them were compounded and grew ever larger. There's no more poverty. There's no more missing health care for Seniors and the under-privileged, right? Wait, what? Wasn't that the reason for the need for Obamacare?

Democrats can fool themselves into an ultra liberal course of action. They can even force the country down that path unwillingly. But in the end redressing the issues for voters can begin, if the Republicans have the nerve to ask that one simple question, starting in 2010 and being unrelenting through 2012 - Are you better off than you were four years ago?


  1. What, Obama wrong? You must be delusional. Sorry, but any discussion of Obama brings out the sarcasm in me. This was very well states and we can but hope that the Republicans, or even a good Indpendent, will ask this question in the next presidential election. Everything Obama stands for is being proven false and yet he is incapable of changing his stance or even his priorities.

  2. My hope is that as conservatives, we start asking the question aloud and often enough that it starts to take root in the collective minds of the voting public, well before the 2010 and 2012 elections.

    Thanks for the comments, once again. It helps me know I'm not just talking to myself...


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