Free Markets, Free People


Obama: Transformational, Consequential And Catastrophic

I definitely lean toward defining his presidency as “catastrophic” in more than a general sense. I read a piece by Jacob Weisberg in Salon that managed to inadvertantly define the idelogocial rift between the right and left very well (not that it is any secret, but it is interesting to see it laid out so blatantly at times) and understand how catastrophic Obama could be to our existing way of life if not vigorously opposed.

In his article, Weisberg is essentially trying to explain away Obama’s lack of accomplishment in this first 10 months in office by saying that should he pass just one of his “transformational” agenda items before his first State of the Union address, he will be the most accomplished president in the last 70 years.

If, as seems increasingly likely, Obama wins passage of a health care reform a bill by that date, he will deliver his first State of the Union address having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency. This isn’t an ideological point or one that depends on agreement with his policies. It’s a neutral assessment of his emerging record—how many big, transformational things Obama is likely to have made happen in his first 12 months in office.

Of course Weisberg’s “neutral assessment” isn’t at all neutral. His assertion that what Obama is trying to accomplish are “transformational” implies that they’re also positive. And that’s the difference between the right and the left as we consider these “things” Obama wants passed into law. The right, of course, wouldn’t consider passing Obama’s agenda to be an accomplishment at all. In fact, the right considers that agenda to be destructive, not transformational. If the right was to use the term “transformational”, it would do so describe the agenda as destructive to the traditions which made America’s great. Or, more succinctly, the right sees his agenda as an erosion of freedom and liberty and a huge step toward the collectivism of America.

But how does Weisberg – and the left – see them?

We are so submerged in the details of this debate—whether the bill will include a “public option,” limit coverage for abortion, or tax Botox—that it’s easy to lose sight of the magnitude of the impending change. For the federal government to take responsibility for health coverage will be a transformation of the American social contract and the single biggest change in government’s role since the New Deal.

Weisberg sees this huge expansion of government control as a feature, not a bug. This is a “good thing”, and he implies even more would be better. So there’s little doubt that he will consider such an “accomplishment” as wonderful and Obama as a “consequential” president in a most positive way. Meanwhile the right will also see him as a consequential president but in a catastrophic way – essentially changing forever the dynamic that has made America the exception in the world and instead turning it into another western European semi-socialist “paradise” destined for mediocrity and decline.

And guys like Jacob Weisberg will be standing on the sidelines applauding the whole way down. It is that applause, so to speak, that absolutely puzzles the right. We’ve yet to understand, given what this country has accomplished and done in its short history – its short exceptional history – why people like Weisberg want to so fundamentally change it and make it like the rest of the mediocre countries of the world. It’s simply unfathomable to most of us.

Interestingly, many of those who bought into the campaigning Obama’s promise to be “transformational” are finding his definition (and that of the liberal left) as put into practice to not at all be the transformation they were assuming when they supported him. They’re beginning to realize they were gulled. The problem, however, is now they’re stuck with him, can see the catastrophe on the horizon and can’t really do a whole heck of a lot about it. It’s like New Orleans with Katrina bearing down on it. Stuck in town without a bus ride and getting ready to see life become a whole lot worse than it is now.

Obama the political Katrina, about to lay waste to the exception that has been America and Weisberg and his ilk will tout the destruction as an “accomplishment” and be cheering it on the entire time.

That’s just wrong. It’s also why there can never be accommodation or compromise with the political left.

~McQ

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38 Responses to Obama: Transformational, Consequential And Catastrophic

  • Devil’s advocate:

    Was the effort of President Lincoln to abolish slavery “transformational” 0r “catastrophic”?

    That aside…

    McQWe’ve yet to understand, given what this country has accomplished and done in its short history – its short exceptional history – why people like Weisberg want to so fundamentally change it and make it like the rest of the mediocre countries of the world. It’s simply unfathomable to most of us.

    Weisberg and the left in general have been spoiled by the success of our country.  Just as our riches allowed us to do a great deal of the good work of stamping out naziism / facism / Japanese imperialism and allowing us to be the principle bullwark against the spread of communism, they think that our riches should be used to do the good work of stamping out hunger, poverty, disease, etc.  This is nothing new: dreams of a “perfect” society of nothing but happy, well-fed, healthy, peaceful citizens have been around for centuries.

    What is “new” is that we’ve got about a century of experience with government attempting to bring about such a happy society, and damned little of it good.  From the medicority and malaise of western European socialism to the outright horrors of communist or nazi genocides, we’ve got evidence that giving too much power to the government doesn’t end well.  Yet, lefties like Weisberg seem to believe that, somehow, it will be different this time.  This is what is so incomprehensible.  What makes it even more so is the fact that the awesome government machine they are so bent on building will – sooner or later – fall under the control of people like George Bush, Dick Cheney, or any other nasty ol’ Republican / conservative bete noir of the left.  Why they believe that they can make a perfect society that will remain perfect no matter who is in charge is a mystery.

    • Churchill said it best:
      Some regard private enterprise as if it were a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look upon it as a cow that they can milk. Only a handful see it for what it really is – the strong horse that pulls the whole cart. – Winston Churchill.
      I never understood why the Left wouldn’t just allow more growth to pay for some safety nets etc. No, it has to be CONTROL.

    • “…will – sooner or later – fall under the control of people like…”

      I have been using that argument for years but it doesn’t seem to work. Even the threat of the dreaded Nixon having increased power didn’t seem to register. At best, it draws blank stares as their mental processes reboot.  Truly an amazing phenomenon.

    • hey think that our riches should be used to do the good work of stamping out hunger, poverty, disease, etc.

      Unfortunately, they think that GIVING someone the fruits of another’s labor will do that. That’s a band-aid on a major wound.
      Poverty is the “default condition”, as Henry Hazlitt said sixty some yeas ago. Poverty can only be CURE and only by making people, first, productive, then prosperous. Hand-outs, the typical solution for eons, is only a stop-gap that never goes beyond step one. The cornerstone of that production and prosperity is property right, to insure the fruits of the newcomers labor. That, though, is usullly the first thing the left destroys, ala Zimbabwe, the Third World, and on an on.
      And we, today, are suffering the consequences of devastated property rights, in the form of regulations, taxes, union, Fannie/Freddie.
      Too bad that we did it to ourselves.
       

      • SharpshooterPoverty can only be CURE and only by making people, first, productive, then prosperous.

        And even that doesn’t work if one keeps redefining poverty such that “poverty” now would have been “middle class” in decades past.  I recall some minor outrage after Katrina when we were treated to the spectacle of welfare cases living in apartments with hardwood floors and bigscreen TV’s, or of Michelle-O in the soup kitchen giving a handout to a “poor” person with a $200 cel phone.

  • McQ: you do realize that the logical conclusion of “It’s also why there can never be accommodation or compromise with the political left.” is that we need to get the guns and start Civil War II, with the losers “no longer our countrymen” and either exiled to Canada, killed, or silenced like the Tories after the Revolution.
    docjim: The reason they believe they can make that perfect society is that they will always be in charge, whether through vote fraud, controlling the unelected bureaucracy and the courts so as to render elections irrelevant, or going straight through to dictatorship. So far, they don’t have much reason to not believe that, considering that the known donation fraud around Obama’s election should have nullified it instantly…. and nothing was done.

    • McQ: you do realize that the logical conclusion of “It’s also why there can never be accommodation or compromise with the political left.” is that we need to get the guns and start Civil War II, with the losers “no longer our countrymen” and either exiled to Canada, killed, or silenced like the Tories after the Revolution

      ***
      Not necessairily.  One assumes that’s where we’re ultimately headed (though it is a certainty that the left will be the ones to fire first. They have a proven history of recent political violence) but politically destroying them will work fine enough. And Obama is going to be our biggest asset towards that goal.

  • people need to choose:
    dependence or independence

    • Remember when the libs were throwing around Dr. Franklin’s quote about choosing security over liberty?  What the lefties (perhaps) don’t realize is that they are making the same choice that they accused Bush and the right of making: choosing security (of having “universal health care”) over liberty (of being responsible for paying your own way).  I and many others suspect that, if the health care takeover comes to pass, they will see the rest of the quote, i.e. neither having or deserving security or liberty.

  • I saw the Weisberg column. I thought that April Fool’s had come early. Either that, or Weisberg was irreversibly drunk on the Obama Kool-Aid.

  • I’ve almost decided it isn’t actually about government expansion or socialism for the left. I don’t believe most of them think about collectivism at all.
    What many of them don’t like about America is that the vote of a trailer park high school dropout counts the same as a PhD university professor. Socialism/control is just a way to fix that “problem”.
    For example, I thought that in a real-world conversation where answers aren’t carefully thought out, one could get Erb to agree that voters who don’t meet a certain education level would only count as 3/5 of a vote. He’d backpedal once he remembered where that comes from, but I was pretty sure he could be steered into agreeing to it.

    • ZozoI don’t believe most of them think about collectivism at all.

      What many [lefties] don’t like about America is that the vote of a trailer park high school dropout counts the same as a PhD university professor. Socialism/control is just a way to fix that “problem”.

      Elitism is certainly not confined to the left.  I sometimes find myself musing about the benefits of confining the franchise to property owners, or people with a certain level of demonstrated knowledge about current events and civics, or any other group that I think at the moment might do a better job than the current electorate.  Then I snap out of it!

      For lefties, I think that it is absolutely about control.  Collectivism is merely the natural endstate of their efforts in this regard.  They believe that “the right people” (i.e. them) can and SHOULD control things for “the general welfare”.  They have, if not superior education, then superior “empathy”: they just gosh-darn CARE more than the rest of us.  Education is only desirable to lefties as a part of a hustle: education = intelligence = do what they say. 

    • Oh, man. I had a great discussion with two Aussies (they were a couple.) I managed to get the female to admit she thought that the bogans (rednecks) shouldn’t be allowed to vote. (because they liked Howard.) The boyfriend did a major double take, though he was also anti-Howard.

  • Jonah Goldberg on NRO  <http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YWRmZDY0MzEyMTU5Y2NkMWMxZmEyODY0ZDA4Y2QxYmI=>
    Some moderate Democrats are making a side bet that they can vote for it out of solidarity and then run back to the center come the 2010 elections.

    Well, I say let it ride. And just to make it more interesting, Republicans should promise to repeal “Obamacare” if they get a congressional majority in 2010. As National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru argues, that way moderate Democrats won’t be able to run away from their votes come 2010. They’ll be on notice that this will be the campaign issue of the election. And moderate Republicans will be on notice to resist the temptation to tinker with Obamacare rather than defenestrate it once it’s passed.
    Absolutely great idea.  I agree that, given the large D majority, and the tendency of the White House apparatchiks to play political hardball, some variant of Obamacare is likely to be enacted. At that point, we can either grease up and smile, or fight back. I think this strategy is the best chance we have.

  • … having accomplished more than any other postwar American president at a comparable point in his presidency.

    I saw this a bit differently.  I’ve seen a enough of how the “power game” is played in business the see that this is the same “power game.”  Part of that “power game” includes those who want to be “deal makers.”  These “deal makers” play the game to (obviously) make “the deal” but what differentiates them is that all they care about is “the deal,” not so much what is in “the deal.”  In business, these folks don’t care if the deal makes stronger companies or displaces hundreds of workers .. all that matters is that they make “the deal.”
    Obama’s push for ObamaCare smells the same.  He has never (to the objections of many Hill Democrats) laid out exactly what is in ObamaCare, except those vague outlines during the campaign.  Even now Obama has left ObamaCare in the hands of Reid, Pelosi, Baucus which has yielded a different ObamaCare bill every month or so.  And now, after all this mess, all the different versions, the quest for “the deal” that will “accomplished more than any other postwar American president” is more important than what is in the bill.  The hubris is mind boggling.
    Shame on them all.

  • The jig is up for The Clown™. Even the Germans, those saps who somehow bought into the “hopeychange” bullcrappola last year, have left the station and can’t stand the creep’s naivete any more:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,662822,00.html

    How hilarious. But more and more Americans are concluding that electing this putz last year was a really bad move on our part. Funny, but George W. Bush was always derided by The Left as “George Bush, Jr.” Now, it looks like he preceded Jimmy Carter, Jr. That’s what we should start calling The Clown™. That is what fits him to a T.

    • After 300-plus days in office, the president remains, for many of his supporters, a worryingly indistinct figure. One whose pragmatic sensibility is crystal clear but bedrock convictions are still blurry.

      Can you say “Rorschach” as in ink blot ?
      It took his supporters 300 days to see the obvious, that Obama is exactly what he was during the campaign ?

    • Can you imagine playing poker with Obama ?
      You would probably win game after game, but he would bully you at the end not to take his money.

  • Off subject, but … For who’s consumption is this targeted ?
    Obama Orders 1 Million US Troops to Prepare for Civil War
    My only thought is that this is meant to undermine US support in Europe by drawing on Obama’s weaken to the extreme.

  • It took 30 years for America to forget the train wreck that was the Carter Administration.   After the Obama debacle, I hope liberals are chased back to the fringes for the rest of my lifetime.

  • It comes down to the old, give a man a fish you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, you feed him for life. Liberal plans involve setting up a govt agency at the fishing pier to tax fishermen on their catch and give the taxed fish away to others. Conservative plans are to open up fishing schools for people who don’t know how to fish.

    • I agree about the Liberals, but the Conservatives have no plans to open schools. 

      As for Republicans, they would conspire with Democrats to get illegal aliens to do the fishing at black market labor wages subsidized with state funded benefits. 

  • 71% of the nation is ANGRY at the federal government.  And that number is GROWING.

    Rasmussen:

    Men are angrier than women, and voters over 40 are more angry than those who are younger. A majority of those over 40 are Very Angry. Only 25% of under-30 voters share that view.
     
    The data suggests that the level of anger is growing. The 71% who are angry at federal government policies today is up five percentage points since September.
     
    Even more stunning, the 46% who are Very Angry is up 10 percentage points from September.
     
    Among the nation’s Political Class, just six percent (6%) are angry. However, among those with more Mainstream, or populist, views, 85% are angry. A majority of Americans today hold views that can be described as Mainstream or populist.

    This nation is hitting a tipping point with the government spending our money hand over fist on stupid garbage, and this bogus fraud of a global AGW idiocy?

    Imagine what is gonna happen if Obama goes there and pledges a SINGLE NICKEL to this farce, while we have 1 in 5 under or unemployed, and 1 in 7 americans is struggling JUST TO BUY FOOD. . . .

    Idiocy. . .and these politicians have the nerve to complain about the “pitchfork and torch” crowds, when they’re acting like entitled royalty on OUR DIME. . .

    Unsustainable, very bad situation.  When anger levels reach that level. . .you’ve got some very flammable situations when people can’t afford to eat, and the government spends our money on themselves and their frivolous things.

    Think about all the “royalty” in the past that have been hauled out of their beds in the middle of the nite and beheaded by the guillotines. . .

    You’ve got 1 in 7 americans struggling to buy FOOD. . in AMERICA. . .85% of regular americans are angry.

    85%

    Think about that one for a moment. . . .

    We’re turning into a powder keg. . .and the democrats are doing it.

  • IMO Leftism is like a secular relgion. It has an ideology, gods/saints, eeevil demons, and most importantly it promises a perfect world. For religious types I suppose it would be heaven or the garden of eden. For Leftists, their goal is utopia; a perfect world where everything is “fair” and there’s no bigotry or wars, or poverty. Of course this can never be, but Leftists will never stop trying to achieve it. And since the goal is so extraordinarily beautiful, they feel entitled to use ANY MEANS NECESSARY to achieve it. That’s why you see so much anti-intellectualism and emotionalism from the Left.

  • The left likes failure. It breeds failure and it wants failure. Lefties hide out in professions where failure is either inconsequential or just as acceptable as success. Journalism, education, law (mostly public defenders/ACLU types). Professions and occupations which require success, demand success, are populated with conservatives. Military, law enforcement, aviation. Lefties love hiding in the herd, hoping everyone else will mask their imperfections. Some words lefties hate: competition. Performance appraisal. Job evaluation. Success.
    It’s not surprising to me at all Weisberg would stand on the sidelines, applauding the whole way down.

  • Traditional Right Wingers have been against progress for a long time. It was they who protested civil rights, how catastrophic was that? This article actually argues against change as if the founders of this country (mainly athiest and agnostic) wanted it that way. They realized that our government and constitution were an ever evolving living thing.
    Unfortunately for the  Righties they have turned into nothing more then a religious movement and a tea party in one.  Anti abortion, Anti gay, anti anything Obama does as a vail of their true inner white superiority.
    This administration has been catastrophic for the GOP. They have proved that they can be tough on defence and be liberal on social issues. The GOP would be better off adapting to change. Maybe listen to Ms. Mccain.

    • As I recall, it was Southern Democrats who were opposed to civil rights and Civil Rights legislation and Republicans who provided the majority vote to pass civil rights legislation. Of course that’s the actual history of what occurred – not the myth the left loves to pretend was the case.

  • Every time I’ve seen the word “ilk” in type in my life it’s been written by a blogging gasbag.  What is it about that word?  You don’t see it in literature, in business, it’s not used in conversational rhetoric, or by insightful bloggers, but for some reason know-nothing blogging gasbags just can’t RESIST!!  It’s the self-serving temptation to define the 80% of the populace that doesn’t think like you in a neat, trite, petty, three letter, monosyllabic derisive term.  It makes for a ready-serve ego snack.   There’s me, who is right, and therefore superior, and there’s the “ilk”, who are wrong, and obviosly inferior.

    So let me get this straight, Bruce.  This entire blog posting is making the uncanny and razor-sharp observation that the left tends to refer to  ObamaCare as “transformational” and the right tends to describe it as “destructive”.  That with an “ilk” tossed in for good measure.  Wow.  Insightful.  I never noticed these things.   You should write standup for Jerry Seinfeld.  It’s like ridiculously obvious social observations, but without the funny.

    Get a job, dude.

    • Wow … if I’m a “gasbag”, you must be the revenge of the gasbag. Heh … you’re a bit clueless when it comes to irony, aren’t you oh Crafty one? An entire two paragraphs on “ilk”.

      Yeah, I’m the gasbag, dude.

      • OK… here’s the difference.  Have you ever seen a diatribe on the resurgence in the use of the word “ilk” and the seemingly monopolistic contemporary use of it by an extremely narrow demographic (blog gasbags)?  No?  I didn’t think so.  You know what?  Neither have I.  You know what that means?   It means I just had one’ve them “original thoughts”.  Have you ever seen a hard right-leaning or hard left-leaning lemming point out that they don’t agree that some policy is “good” as described by the other side… that in fact, it’s “bad” because they don’t agree with it.  Ohhhhhhhhhhh only about a bajillion times.  It’s CONSTANT.  No new input.  No new thought, just “gotcha!!  You said it’s good, but in fact, it’s bad because I think it’s bad!!  Aren’t I creative!?”.

        I guess I’m relieved you didn’t close your Control-C stream of thought blog in one’ve those equally annoying “wake up, people!!” to complete your regurgitated thought.  That’s just the most thought-provoking incessantly-used closing line I’ve ever seen.  Every time I see it, I think, “he/she just told me to ‘wake up’… wow… I guess I better agree with him or else I’m staying sleeping or something.  And here I thought I was building my world view based on all this experience and knowledge I’ve collected over my decades on this earth, but now that I realize it’s all just been me sleeping, I better throw that out and ‘wake up’ and start believing whatever you just said that I’ve already heard 10,658 times before”.

    • “Every time I’ve seen the word “ilk” in type in my life it’s been written by a blogging gasbag.”

      You need to broaden hour horizons. They have these things called ‘books’ now. Or ‘magazines’. There is a place called a ‘library’ where you can borrow them for free.

  • Chris: The founders were neither athiest nor atheist. The great majority were well within the boundaries of traditional Christianity, which I suspect you know nothing about. The nonsense you spout, particularly the left-wing canard about the Constitution being an “ever evolving living thing,” is proof you are a product of government-run schools.

  • Every time I’ve seen the word “ilk” in type in my life it’s been written by a blogging gasbag.  What is it about that word?  You don’t see it in literature, in business, it’s not used in conversational rhetoric, or by insightful bloggers, but for some reason know-nothing blogging gasbags just can’t RESIST!! 

    The Red Badge of Courage by Crane, Stephen
    But he saw that it was good, else, he said, in battle every one would surely run save forlorn hopes and their ilk.

    Anne’s House of Dreams by Montgomery, Lucy Maud
    Two of that ilk descended upon Anne one violet dusk and proceeded to do what in them lay to prick the rainbow bubble of her satisfaction.

    White Fang by London, Jack
    While the sight of a moose-bird almost invariably put him into the wildest of rages; for he never forgot the peck on the nose he had received from the first of that ilk he encountered.

    Burning Daylight by London, Jack
    Little business men, shopkeepers, and such ilk took what whack they could out of the product of the worker; but, after all, it was the large business men who formed the workers through the little business men.

    Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog) by Jerome, Jerome K.
    , and on the other by Hodgson of that ilk.

    The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Pyle, Howard
    I come from the woodlands over in Herefordshire, upon the lands of the Bishop of that ilk.

    The Red One by London, Jack
    But the next comer proved to be not merely one of their own ilk, but likewise to have only one arm.

    The Jungle by Sinclair, Upton
    “Hinkydink” or “Bathhouse John,” or others of that ilk, were proprietors of the most notorious dives in Chicago, and also the “gray wolves” of the city council, who gave away the streets of the city to the businessmen; and those who patronized their places were the gamblers and prize fighters who set the law at defiance, and the burglars and holdup men who kept the whole city in terror.

    I guess poor Upton Sinclair and Stephen Crane are no longer considered classic literature.  Well, either that or Chris is exactly the type of bloviating gasbag that he accuses McQ of being.

    • Poor Upton Sinclair and Stephen Crane are no longer…. Period.   That’s my point!  Did you take your horse drawn buggy to the haberdashery today to get your wig powdered?  No??? Well then why are you writing using words that were last written under the soft glow of an oil lamp?  That’s what’s strange about it.

      You need to work on your reading comprehension.  When I referred to “literature”, I did not say anything regarding “classic”.  I’m fully aware that “ilk” was commonly used over a century ago.  That’s why it’s so odd to me that it has now popped up as a favorite to 21st century political blog sheeple.   I thought it was pretty obvious what I was saying, but I guess I need to dumb it down for you.  You don’t see “ilk” in CONTEMPORARY literature, CONTEMPORARY business writing, etc. etc. etc… nobody since the 19th fraggin century has used that word… EXCEPT for know-nothing blogging gasbags… oh… and Fox News/MSNBC anchors, which is where blogging gasbags go to plagiarize their “original thoughts” and, I guess, develop their vocabulary as well. 

  • Test?

    • Lots of links always throws it into moderation, Terry. Ye olde spam filter at work.

      • Yeah, sorry.  I kinda figured that, but I just upgraded my internet security suite and have been having strange effects as a result.

        I just thought the irony of the vacuousness of his “ilk” declaration juxtaposed with calling you a bloviating gasbag was too funny.  Especially since it would have only taken a 3 second Google search to figure out what an incredibly vapid thing he was about to say.