When I finished reading and marking up a transcript of President Barack Obama’s address to the joint session of Congress on February 24, there was possibly as much of my own ink on the pages as in the speech itself. Numerous triple question marks highlighted blatant lies, half-truths, fallacies, ambiguities and generalizations pregnant with unspecified meanings. Several “Huh?’s” were linked to statements that made no sense at all. And sixty-one checkmarks were penned over bracketed instances of applause by Congress.
That was the result of just one pass at the speech. The experience was much like editing a James Joyce novel, which would also be an oxymoronic task, because no rules of grammar or logic or clarity would apply to that task, either. As I had remarked in another post, an Obama speech is yadda-yaddaism elevated to a high art. It is appropriate that his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, is an equivocating ignoramus with all the charisma of Elmer Fudd, and that his thuggish chief-of-staff, Rahm Emanuel, is staying out of sight.
It was the number of checkmarks for the applause that was scary. Listening to and watching Hitler rant shrilly in front of thousands of cheering and saluting Nazis never fails to send shivers up my spine. But Hitler never frightened me as much as did the mob entranced by his messianism and in gestalt with his message. Listening to and watching Obama speak to crowds, however, does not affect me personally. I know that he is a power-luster imbued with far fewer oratorical skills than had FDR, JFK, or even Hitler, and that he wishes to complete the job begun by his “progressive” predecessors over a century ago and transform the country from a republic into a national socialist state. There are plenty of such creatures around, in and out of office. But listening to Obama speak bores me to distraction, almost as much as having listened to former president George W. Bush stumble through a speech or trip over words and contradictions during press conferences.
What scares me more than Obama are his worshippers, his supporters, and anyone else who would approve of putting a gun to my head, picking my pockets, and marching me to a make-work program to assemble solar panels or smoking-cessation kits or to lay track for Harry Reid’s Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas magnetic rail line.
As was Hitler, George Bush and Barack Obama are nonentities, mediocrities. As was Bush, Obama is in a position of power not for any special talent for reaching it or for out-maneuvering his competitors for it. He is simply the most accommodating zero willing to echo the wishes and intentions of lesser power-seekers, such as George Soros, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, to name but a few. Obama is the beneficiary of the collapse of philosophy and the implosion of political pragmatism.
“Now is the time to act boldly and wisely — to not only revive this economy, but to build a new foundation for lasting prosperity…..That is what my economic agenda is designed to do, and that is what I’d like to talk to you about tonight.” (Applause)
What is the nature of that “foundation”? There was no answer, except the implication that it is the government and the Democrats who will be laying that foundation along fascist/socialist lines, leaving a “tired ideology” behind, one that belabored “trivialities” such as property rights and freedom. And, it is a measure of Obama’s own ignorance of economics and history that “prosperity” has never been the hallmark of any police state or any collectivized nation or of any command economy.
His ignorance and arrogance notwithstanding, Obama stated:
“I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves; that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity,” Obama declared, echoing generations of American progressives before him. “For history tells us a different story. History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas.”
Which resulted in vast expansions of government power over the economy. As for the history of the role of the Industrial Revolution, of freedom of thought and action, of free minds and free markets, of the prosperity those things made possible, that history Obama is utterly blind to. That history doesn’t fit his vision of what America must become for him to be seen as its “savior.”
E.J. Dionne Jr., writing for The Washington Post on February 25, fervently endorsed Obama’s vision and revealed that Obama’s “faith-based initiative” has little to do with religion:
“Like Franklin Roosevelt, Obama sought to restore the public’s faith that the private economy would recover by bolstering confidence in government’s capacity to act rationally, creatively and efficiently.”
I will go out on a limb here and credit Obama and the Democrats with the repressed knowledge that the best way to “stimulate” the economy is to suspend all income and excise tax collection for a year or so, freeze all federal regulatory enforcement by cabinet and non-cabinet departments and agencies, fire all “non-essential” federal employees — in short, to paraphrase John Galt in Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, to get the hell out of the way and allow the economy to function rationally, creatively, and efficiently. Those actions would certainly “stimulate” economic recovery beyond any politician’s comprehension. But that would mean a relinquishment of power, and that is the last thing Obama and the Democrats want to do. After all, the temporary suspensions might become permanent, once enough Americans realized they didn’t need the government to “jump start” the economy or to give purpose to their lives.
And, one must wonder: Is he so ignorant of economics and history? Are the Democrats?
“Now, I’m proud that we passed a recovery plan free of earmarks — (applause) — and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.”
Whose priorities? Not those of any individual with a shred of self-esteem, a nominal commitment to reason, and a desire to live his own life in freedom guided by his own values. No, when Obama said “our most important national priorities” he meant his and those of virtually everyone’s in that chamber, which are the impoverishment of America and its dependence on and compliance with government priorities.
Obama is not changing the course of the country. He is following it. In this sense, nothing he has ever said is “radical.”
Nearly all of the sixty-one instances of ovation were led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It was odd the way she was repeatedly the first to shoot up and begin clapping, and odd as well what she thought merited applause, although Obama in most instances had said nothing remarkable. It was a cue to the rest of the chamber to rise and join her. It was almost as though she was trying to stop people from thinking about what Obama had just said by drowning his words with the noisy sanction of applause.
It explains why, for example, Obama was able to get away with the lie that the bill was “free of earmarks.” I kept imagining that the instant, hurried applause stopped most Democratic Congressmen from ribbing each other in ribaldry, or scoffing up their collective sleeve, or just sitting quietly in the stony-faced denial of a liar invoking the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. The applause was in the nature of a combination of a triumph of the statist manifesto and repeated blank-outs of what it would actually accomplish, which, in virtually every goal, will be precisely the opposite of what Obama claimed it would.
As though to answer the volume of criticism of his “plan” to “revive” the economy and command it to regain “prosperity,” a volume that must have been monitored by his staff and the Democrats, Obama felt it necessary to state:
“Now, I know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work. And I understand that skepticism. Here in Washington, we’ve all seen how quickly good intentions can turn into broken promises and wasteful spending. And with a plan of this scale comes enormous responsibility to get it right.” (No applause here; why draw attention to the contrary?)
Skeptical is hardly the adjective to describe the anger and incredulity of the criticism in the press, in some segments of the news media, on political blogs, and on talk radio. Skepticism, in Obama’s and the Democrats’ lexicon, is a synonym for reason. In this instance, reason recognizes that the $787 billion “stimulus” bill is a testament to broken promises and wasteful spending. So, he said, let’s pooh-pooh reason and believe it is not those things.
But, enough of the speech before Congress and the “stimulus” bill. Both have been exposed as the frauds they are here and elsewhere. What also deserves attention is Obama’s next economic “plan.” Of all the newspaper coverage of Obama’s proposed $3.6 trillion budget, The Washington Post of February 27 was the most straightforward about how that budget plan meshes with the “stimulus” plan:
“President Obama delivered to Congress yesterday a $3.6 trillion spending plan that would finance vast new investments in health care, energy independence and education by raising taxes on the oil and gas industry, hedge fund managers, multinational corporations and nearly 3 million of the nation’s top earners.”
Further on, the Post lets the cat out of the bag:
“With its immense scope and bold prescriptions, Obama’s agenda seeks to foster a redistribution of wealth, with the government working to narrow the growing gap between rich and poor.”
Remember Obama’s patronizing assurance to Joe the Plumber during the campaign, that he just wants to “spread the wealth around”? The Post, however, was merely the first to admit that Obama’s plan is one of “redistribution” (without employing the qualifying term socialist). Now the news media sense it is safe to repeat the term. It is only a matter of time before Congress and the news media feel arrogant enough to use the term socialist. Perhaps not. But the consequences will be the same. The “rich,” or those earning over $250,000 annually, will be punished, looted, and vilified. We, the lower middle classes, will be expected to cheer and throw rocks at limousines.
In his new website announcement, “Organizing for America,” Obama condescended to release this message to his followers and supporters:
“The budget isn’t just a reflection of President Obama’s priorities. It’s a reflection of yours. This is the change you worked for and Americans demanded. But to make sure it succeeds, the President will need your help.”
Of course. Just submit to his will, like a Muslim, like a feudal serf, like a selfless manqué. Too many Americans are ready to heed his “call to prayers,” too many who believe that all one needs is faith to make sure Obama’s plan succeeds. These are the gnomes who worry me the most.
This is “democracy” in action — against me.