Free Markets, Free People


Buyer’s Remorse? Have Obamacons Been Obamaconned?

I‘ve spoken before about the political brilliance that running on nebulous catch phrases can accrue for the politician. Lay them out there, let the voting public decide what they mean to each of them and then ride the wave to elected office.

Obama did precisely that. And many who are marginally on the right, were fooled by that. Those who voted for him projected their “hope” for “change” on the blank screen he provided. But, as you’ll see in this example, the reality of who Barack Obama really is may be clearing up, and it appears it is a huge disappointment to many of his more conservative/libertarian supporters.

Silicon Valley, where I live, is home to both political liberals and conservatives–more liberals of late, but not by a huge margin. The lopsidedness occurs on the freedom-statist divide. An overwhelming majority of Valley residents would place themselves on the freedom side and against the state. This should not surprise anyone. Silicon Valley is a land of immigrants, both foreign and from other American states. What draws people to Silicon Valley is the freedom to go out and commit industrial revolution and make the future.

Thus it was always odd that Silicon Valley voted for the most statist-inclined presidential candidate since FDR. Silicon Valley fell in love with Barack Obama. His youth and multicultural cool, along with the Web superiority of his presidential campaign, had Silicon Valley going googly for Obama.

In the eyes of Silicon Valley, Obama was like the Apple Macintosh. John McCain was like Windows.

Now comes the reckoning. Obama may be the coolest guy ever to hold the office of U.S. president. He may be the personification of an Apple Mac, iPod and iPhone. But this week Obama proved he is a big-state liberal, through and through.

My Silicon Valley friends who supported Obama are weirdly silent about this. I suspect they are in denial, still hoping for the closet libertarian Obama to emerge. Throughout the 2008 campaign, Silicon Valley Obama voters would tell me that Obama was really an economic centrist. Forget his liberal Senate record and Saul Alinsky-conditioned career as a community organizer. Forget the Chicago-style thug politics. That was in the past. Obama did what he had to do to rise. Once in the Oval Office, Obama will really govern more like John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Tony Blair.

Say it enough times, and you can almost believe it. Well, sorry about that, you Obamacons. You just got thrown under the bus.

The $790 billion stimulus headed for Obama’s desk is statist. It is also backward looking. Sure, there are some forward-looking initiatives, such as a few billion for broadband. But the bill is overwhelmed by “shovel-ready” projects aimed at school building improvement, road repair and so forth, and by bailouts to profligate state governments.

Very disturbingly, the bill has the stench of protectionism in it. This is antithetical to the interests of trade-happy Silicon Valley.

What is becoming clear is the Obama we can expect to govern is the big government statist liberal and not a “closet libertarian” as they hoped. Note the word. They fooled themselves into thinking that was actually a possibility. Yet as I pointed out below, this huge and unfocused spending plan being touted as a “stimulus” is nothing more than a massive expansion of government. It is also just the prelude for further intrusion, essentially a down-payment which paves the way for massive intrusion in health care and the energy sector.

For those who cast a jaundiced eye on the candidate and his blank slate campaign, none of this comes as a surprise. A creature of the most liberal political machines in America, a student of Saul Alinski’s method and someone who consistently saw government as the answer and not the problem during his political rise, the Barack Obama the folks are suddenly discovering in Silicon Valley and other parts of America is precisely the guy we expected.

His “youth and multicultural cool” may have been part of sales job, but now it comes down to performance. Thus far his performance has been directed at expanding government. Two of the first three bills passed in his administration have massively increased government. And as I’ve noted, he promises even more.

In less than a month, Obama has signaled that there isn’t a libertarian leaning bone in his body. The question remains as to how people, like those in Silicon Valley, managed to fool themselves enough to vote for a candidate who so obviously didn’t fit their “hope”. And are they, as this particular piece seems to indicate, feeling a little buyer’s remorse?

~McQ

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24 Responses to Buyer’s Remorse? Have Obamacons Been Obamaconned?

  • The question remains as to how people, like those in Silicon Valley, managed to fool themselves enough to vote for a candidate who so obviously didn’t fit their “hope”.
     

    I think to some extent the psychology of people who are instinctively pro-freedom now has an element of desperation. George W. Bush (and to a certain extent, his father) made it obvious that the Republicans were not really a pro-freedom party. So if it’s your intent to vote for a pro-freedom party, there’s no obvious choice.

    So you take a risk no matter which party you support. Now,up until 2008 I’ve always gauged the risk of supporting the Democrats as much higher than supporting the Republicans. But with John McCain, the difference was not clear at all. Vote for a guy who generically promises hope and change? Or vote for a guy you *know* was the prime mover behind the biggest erosion of freedom of speech in the last thirty years (at least)?

    While I didn’t agree with them, I understand the motivations of those who wanted to believe that Obama might turn out to have some closeted pro-freedom tendencies. They took a gamble, and they’re now finding out that it failed.

     But it either choice was a gamble. If McCain were in office right now, he might well be spending tons of bailout money just like George Bush did. He might well have been laying the groundword for national healthcare, and he would certainly have been laying the groundwork for his precious comprehensive immigration bill, aka Grand Amnesty II.

    I’m afraid anyone who really believes in freedom was screwed in the last election. As I pointed out last year about this time, my only hope is that if Obama wins, he will cause the Republicans to get back to some pro-freedom principles, and he might very well screw up in such a Carteresque fashion that the re-committed Republicans actually get a chance to do something further down the road.

    Now, that’s a gamble too, and I recognize that the odds on it are not great. But it’s the best gamble I know of at this point. And if the Republicans disappoint us yet again, I’m sure some will be wondering aloud how any of us could have possibly hoped for such an outcome.

    (And I don’t know if anyone else is experiencing this, but every time I hit the “quote” button, no matter what I have highlighted, my entire comment becomes part of the quote. I have to use HTML view every time to place the {blockquote} end tag.)

    • So if it’s your intent to vote for a pro-freedom party, there’s no obvious choice.

      If you’re an Iraqi, you might fell a little differently about that.

      If Obama and the othe Copperheads in the Congress had their way the pas few years, they would still be under the thumb on an unelected tyrant.

      • Changes bring their own problems for some Iraqi men, too.

        “The girls have changed the way they dress so much. It’s so good now it hurts,” said Mohened Tha’far who, with no date lined up for Valentines Day, sat gazing at girls walking by.

        Of course, this change wasn’t the result of Mr. Hope & Change.

  • Speaking about being conned …

    Marvin Hoffman is listed in campaign finance records as one of the many lobbyists with the powerful PMA Group donating money to lawmakers. But Hoffman is a soon-to-retire information technology manager in Marina del Rey, Calif., who has never heard of the Arlington lobbying firm or the Indiana congressman to whom he supposedly gave $2,000.
    “It’s alarming that someone is stealing my identity somewhere,” Hoffman, 75, said in an interview. “I’ve never heard of this company.”

    PMA Group is attached at the hip with John Murtha.

  • It’s really amazing how our leftist friends who used to post here have suddenly gone dark.

    I wonder if they have buyer’s remorse also?

  • Carter led to Reagan.

    So, Mr Hope’n'Change might led to the next Republican President.

    Things will get worse before they get better.

  • I hope the country can withstand two inept Presidents back to back. Obama is appearing to be as swallow and inexperienced as John McCain and Hillary Clinton said he was. He should take some advice and knock off the campaign rhetoric and start governing. The problem is Speaker Pelosi and Senate majority leader Reid gave President Obama the nomination when they put the hurt on Congressional super-delelgates to pledge to him instead of Hillary. Speaker Pelosi is the real power in the nations capital and not Barck Obama – make no mistake about it. The “economic stimulus” bill proved that.  Americans are going to experience true parlimentary government for awhile. It is going to be a long four years!
    Danny L. McDaniel
    Lafayette, Indiana

  • The problem you guys haven’t twigged to is that the main lesson from Alinsky is that once you have power, you don’t let it go. That’s the whole point of the Census takeover. Not only can the Democrats control redistricting, the Census is used to allocate federal money. They can use that to channel the money to Democrats and away from Republicans.

    • I hate to say this, but it’s not just leftist Alinsky followers who behave that way. While the Alinskyites might be more ruthless and efficient in their efforts, the Republicans for the last eight years have behaved as if they put holding onto power above any principles they might have. They tried to buy senior citizens with Medicare Rx. They tried to buy “moderates” with education reform and McCain-Feingold. Bush tried to buy unions with steel tariffs. Etc.

      If you said the Alinsky followers were a lot more willing to bend ethics and laws to accomplish their aims, I certainly would not argue. But we have entered into an age where, absent a tiny principled minority, the primary aim of Washington politicians is gaining and holding power.

      • I interpret the same data differently.  Please take that in the least confrontive way.  You may be right.  I see those actions by Bush as attempts to buy off criticism from select groups rather than deeply held principles on his part.  I still question whether he should have done them, as I tend to be more purist rather than accommodating in my attitudes.  General comment to follow below.

  • When Geithner’s incompetence is so obvious that even Obama-droolers mock it, you know the remorse is starting to sink in.

  • It is interesting that the trolls have deserted us.

    It’s not nearly as much fun for your guy to be in the man in the arena, where it is so easy to stumble and even fall, than to be a one-line or one-paragraph snarky critic of the other guy.

    To that extent I have some, though not a lot of, sympathy for Obama–the problem being that Obama won through the Bush hatred he in no small way abetted, and often dishonestly.

  • Billy Hollis makes a good point, about where to go if you like “freedom.”  As much as Obama repels me I wasn’t really going to vote this year, until Palin was the VEEP.  I’m not UNHAPPY McCain lost…had he won, we’d be looking, as Hollis pointed out, at Shamnesty II and the same Keynesian bail-out, but now the Republicans wouldn’t be opposing “their” POTUS.  His loss may lead to a better Republican opposition.

    Now anyone who voted for Obama, like Buckley et. al. in the belief Obama was going to be centrist/libertarian wasn’t “conned” they were deluded!  As another brilliant posting, on another thread, points out, evidence is so passe. Sure, Obama had only been a Senator for 143 days, and sure he had compiled a very liberal record in Illinois and sure he sponsored very liberal legislation in the US Senate, when he was there, and sure he campaigned as a Liberal, and sure Harry Reid and Pelosi were from the Progressive Wing of the Party, BUT Obama was going to move to the centre and be a centrist and/or a libertarian.  That’s not being conned, that’s denying the evidence of your own eyes.

    So, any goof balls you meet like Buckley you can laugh and mock…”Oh WOW, MAN…Obama like TOTALLY fooled me.”  Well, you can just smack them with a shovel.

    Lastly, though all you “freedom-lovers” might want to look in the mirror.  Don’t be looking at McCain, or Obama, or Palin, or the voters…look at yourselves.  Why did we lose?  Freedom-lovers lost, because they don’t have a good product or they don’t sell it well…To think otherwise is to support the GM bail-out, as it were…GM doesn’t make a good product or they don’t sell it well, OR is the fault Toyota and the US auto-buyer?  In my mind, this is the perfect analogy.  So, stop thinking negatively, and start looking at our/your product and how it gets sold…from my PoV might want to drop the support for abortion, or you might want to drop some of hte more outre portions of “liberty” might want to get out with Joe the Plumber and Palin, and POPULARIZE “liberty”.  Now, along the way that’s going to involve some BASTARDIZATION of “liberty” too.  But that’s your two choices, Purity and Iimpotence or Popularity and Bastardy.

    • GM doesn’t make a good product or they don’t sell it well, OR is the fault Toyota and the US auto-buyer?

      Given that SUVs are now more than half of all auto sales, I think it not necessarily that GM is making the wrong cars .. rather when the POTUS goes around trying and succeeding in scaring the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of everybody, consumers aren’t going to buy a 100 mpg car.

    • Exports plunged an unprecedented 13.9 percent from the third quarter as demand for Corolla cars and Bravia televisions collapsed amid a slump that the Group of Seven nations said will persist for most of 2009. Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp. and Hitachi Ltd. — all of which forecast losses — are firing thousands of workers, heightening the risk a decline in household spending will prolong the recession.

      … and Toyota isn’t doing that well either.

  • I guess I follow Alinksy….I think the GOP needs to implement some policies when they get back in power that will skew the system….taxes not withheld but paid twice a year, (once in October)

    Tax Credit replaced with Public Subsidy (for corp. and indivuals.)

    etc.

  • (Direct reply to Billy Hollis above)

    The political climate leading to a McCain nomination was in place long before the conventions, so I go back a little further than the McCain vs. Obama choice we ended up with.  People who have been in government any length of time acquire a tinkering, bureaucratism that I dislike – few good ‘uns are willing to put up with that crap for long.  For example, the excellent John Sununu is rumored to not be running for Judd Gregg’s seat that will come vacant here in NH.  That’s a shame, but he has other fish to fry, now.  It’s the republic’s loss.

    OTOH, those from outside gov’t don’t know how to pull the levers and get things done.  I had been a Fred Thompson supporter as the best balancing of those two.  I now wonder if supporting Romney, who I did not particularly like, would have been a better choice.  With the bureaucracy as massive and entrenched as it is, small-government types may not even have a theoretical good choice from here on in.  I hope for a massive disillusionment in the center for liberal solutions and the opportunity to sneak some real first-class conservatives in for the next few elections.  But my cynical mind scours the horizon for fallback candidates who can at least not make things worse.

    Bush was a conservative on narrow fronts, otherwise a generic bureaucratism candidate.  McCain offered a similar half-a-loaf:  you’d get GWOT firmness, some spending vetoes, a good chance of SCOTUS nominees that would lean originalist.  That’s it.  There was never a realistic hope that McCain would provide anything more.  He does not lean libertarian on business issues, for example.  Kiss that goodbye.

    While libertarians have little common cause with Democrats, there is just enough overlap that they might consider voting in Democratic primaries just to knock out really dangerous candidates there.

  • I am still waiting for all those people who complained about losing their rights to show me what rights they lost.  This rookie we have there now will surely take away the rights.  Bush didn’t.  Our wonderful media just played as if he did.
    I for one also want to see the media who sold this POS we now have for a pres to the country try to justify what they did in reality.  I am sure they will all tell us that Bush was worse or Bush was responsible.  That does not explain electing such a decision-averse candidate who willingly turns over the keys to the govt to San Fran Nan and Dirty Harry Reid.  Make no mistake about it.  They are the ones governing the country now, not Bambi.

  • Where are all those “Libertarians For Obama” that erected blogs, websites, and Facebook groups in support of their Dear Leader. They pounded away at me for months, ‘He’s as liberty-oriented a presidential candidate as we can hope for”, and other such nonsense and rhetoric.

    All I hear now are the sounds of chirping crickets…

  • “The giirls have changed the way they dress so much. It’s so good now it hurts”

    Stop wearing those tight blue jeans and it won’t hurt. Fashion has a price.