Skip to comments.Democrats Better Start Soul Searching
Posted on 11/12/2012 7:28:26 AM PST by Kaslin
Barack Obama ushered in Americas first large-scale experiment in personality-cult politics. The experiment continues apace. Obama got reelected because he enjoys a degree of personal popularity disconnected from his record. No modern president has ever been returned to office with employment figures and right-rack-wrong-track numbers as poor as those Obama has achieved.
Obama couldnt run on his record, which proved to be no problemAmericans didnt vote on his record. According to exit polls, 77 percent of voters said the economy is bad and only 25 percent said theyre better off than they were four years ago. But since six in ten voters claimed the economy as their number one issue, its clear this election wasnt about issues at all.
The presidents reelection is not evidence of a new liberal America, but rather of the illogical and confused experience that is infatuation. For multiple reasons, Americans continue to have a crush on Barack Obama even after his universally panned first term. No longer quite head over heels, theyre at the I know hes no good for me, but I can change him phase. Whatever this means, it surely doesnt suggest conservatives would be wise to move closer to policies that arent even popular among Obama supporters.
Why isnt soul searching underway on the left? When the personality at the center of the cult leaves the stage in four years, Democrats will own his results without the benefit of his appeal. We cant know quite what a second Obama term will bring, but if his first term is an indication, theres little reason to expect his party will be crowing. The fiscal cliff is here but a whole landscape of steep drops comes next: the economic cliff (over which lies a possible double-dip recession), the Obamacare cliff (over which lies an unprecedented bureaucratic behemoth), the Iran cliff (over which lies a nuclear bomb), and so on. A precipice in every direction and a president whos given us no reason to presume he can steer clear. Have Democrats stopped to wonder what initiatives theyll have to defend when the dust settles in 2016?
Already Obama has signaled hes continuing policies that dont meet the moment. Theres the assurance of more taxes, of course. But thats not all. On Friday, citing ecological concerns, the administration closed off 1.6 million acres of federal land in western states from planned oil shale extraction. An American energy boom lies in wait underground and Obama is determined to keep it there. Abroad, the groundwork is being laid to offer Iran a fanciful grand bargain in an effort to halt its work on a nuclear weapon. Think Russian reset with fanatical theocrats.
Perhaps Democrats are confident purely because of their stance on social issues. But as a tactical matter (principle and ideology are a different question), is doesnt make sense for Republicans to fret over the culture and identity wars that have transfixed the left. Gay marriage as a presidential issue is off the table. The November election showed the future of that question lives at the state level, which is both a popular and conservative approach. Obama himself has said hell do nothing about it nationally. Multiple polls taken this year show opposition to abortion is at least as high as its been in 15 years. By 2016, the new class war will surely have wound down after Americans see that making the rich pay their fare share didnt solve everyone elses problems and in fact created new ones.
On immigration reform, of course conservatives should act. That was true before Obamas reelection; its now inevitable. In the next four years, serious Republicans will offer policies aiming to give foreign workers a path to citizenship. Leaders like Marco Rubio have already gotten a brilliant head start.
It is in the nature of personality cults to fail at most things beyond generating and disseminating propaganda. This inability is the result of two things. First, the personalitys popularity is not results-driven. Since adoration hasnt been earned by achievement but by the advent of charisma, why kill yourself trying to get results. Second, few people are willing to candidly critique the personality at the center of the cult, so there is little chance of course correction. None of this bodes well for Barack Obama. And for the countrys sake, lets hope its wrong.
To effect a revolution in American politics, you have to set parameters that successors will be compelled to heed. FDR implemented programs that at least produced identifiable results before revealing their unsustainable flaws. Bill Clinton had no problem declaring the age of big government over because Ronald Reagan had ushered in a prosperous era in which this was so. What part of the Obama agenda will resonate when isolated from the Obama phenomenon? Its too soon to say, but not too soon wonder.
Democrats search their souls? Might as well advise Pol Pot to consult his conscience.
The ‘rats and the children follow the Pied Piper.
Good advice, but most devil worshiping dims have no soul.
Can’t search for what ain’t there.
Obama is the new Jim Jones.
All too many people feel comfortable with Obama because he is a mediocrity at best. An evil mediocrity. A successful, traditional. decent man is too much of a challenge to their dark, empty souls. Obama is a much better fit. Just the way Bill Clinton is still popular. Being around him does not make anybody with a guilty conscience uncomfortable.
First, you have to have a soul.
Get ready for President Joe Biden.
His re-election was based on fraud! Those who voted against him (right and dismayed left) are still out there. They didn’t vote this man back into office.
Why isn’t the right media making more of this!?!?!?!?
Let’s start with something easier...let’s see if Democrats can find the Constitution.
This assumes that Zero is going to leave.
THE CRISIS TO COME
What now? Just after the 2008 election, White House adviser Rahm Emanuel said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Libertarians rightly reject Emanuel’s Big Government agenda. As we have seen, however, he was correct about a crisis. The problems of the 1970s and the early 1990s were serious enough to foster mild reforms restraining Big Government. They were not serious enough to bring fundamental liberalizing changes.
But the New Deal order faces deeper crises to come. Spending (and borrowing) seem set to increase until they cannot, leading to what may be an unprecedented fiscal crisis of the state. Officials may try to raise taxes to cover the spending. Such unprecedented tax hikes may expose what might be called Big Government’s crisis of consent. In general, Americans are unwilling to pay for the government they have, much less additional spending equal to 5 percent of national income. Why should they? Except in times of severe threats to national security, a majority of Americans have never trusted the federal government. The fiscal crisis to come may simply reveal the lack of support for many of the institutions and policies enacted after 1937.
Cato scholars provide ideas to liberalize public policy. But it will take more than good policy ideas. A majority of Americans will have to truly want less government and persist in that desire when programs begin to be cut back. That majority must find its voice in leaders with the political skill and wide appeal of Reagan. But such leaders must also want less government. For a decade, the Republican Party has been dominated by social conservatives and crusading internationalists, two world-views inimical to limiting government. A GOP that returned to market liberalism and social moderation might find in the crises to come an opportunity to restore the almost lost promise of America, the promise of liberty for all under the rule of law.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2010 edition of Cato Policy Report.
Excellent article about Reagan’s attempt to limit the federal government. The above is just an excerpt.
“Barack Obama ushered in Americas first large-scale experiment in personality-cult politics.”
Seems to me that FDR was the first to do this......
BUT, like his preceding cult leader FDR, O will find a way to stay “Dear Leader” for another 12 years.....
Sad state of affairs in our nation. People willfully voted against their own financial future because they lacked the intellectual curiosity to get beyond popular culture. Too many fell for single issue propaganda or saw the Great Leader on their favorite shows, and somehow put that above a clear reduction in their own personal situation. Families living on less, foreclosures, unemployment among the young, among Black voters and Hispanics higher than at any other time. Those same groups overwhelmingly returned to vote for more of the same.
We are either going to need to witness a great awakening over the next four years, or be doomed to permanent decline. That’s if this house of cards is propped up that long without collapse. From everything I see, the odds are high on either sharp collapse or extended permanent decline. I don’t see how we recover from this divisive identity politics. It has always been there, but too many people have become overly gullible and more willing to accept the propaganda.
He got re-elected because he is the political equivalent of Donovan McNabb.
Limbaugh’s sportscasting career came to a crashing halt when he pointed out the obvious....that the black guy was really stinkin’ it up out there, and the media was working triple-overtime to cover it up and give him a pass.
Dare to say otherwise and you become a RAAAAAAACIST. Hence polls showing most of the voters still blame Bush for the crappy economy. You can puke at the Super Bowl, forget what the overtime rules are, and take your career straight down the flusher. But you are NEVER EVER EVER at fault being the black guy.
It is just that simple.
Ah... they hated Romney for the same reason they hate seeing modestly dressed daughters.
“You’re JUDGING ME!”
(honestly, we didn’t even consider you when we got dressed this morning)
Keeping your offspring on Obamacare until the age of 26--when they should already be launched into an independent life of their own--echoes the encouragement of dependency and childlikeness. As do all the government handouts, like a sharp spike in the numbers receiving food stamps (and from what I've personally observed in grocery lines, a lot of those food stamps are not needed by that particular recipient, well-dressed and buying luxury foods). Dependency is like being a child, dependent on others. Independence is a hallmark of adulthood.
Apparently we have become a nation of Peter Pans, as evidenced by the reelection of the most unqualified imposter dolt one could possibly find on planet Earth.