Another Failed Presidency

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/another_failed_presidency.html

August 31, 2009
Another Failed Presidency
By Geoffrey P. Hunt

Barack Obama is on track to have the most spectacularly failed presidency since Woodrow Wilson.

In the modern era, we’ve seen several failed presidencies–led by Jimmy Carter and LBJ. Failed presidents have one strong common trait– they are repudiated, in the vernacular, spat out. Of course, LBJ wisely took the exit ramp early, avoiding a shove into oncoming traffic by his own party. Richard Nixon indeed resigned in disgrace, yet his reputation as a statesman has been partially restored by his triumphant overture to China.

George Bush Jr didn’t fail so much as he was perceived to have been too much of a patrician while being uncomfortable with his more conservative allies. Yet George Bush Sr is still perceived as a man of uncommon decency, loyal to the enduring American character of rugged self-determination, free markets, and generosity. George W will eventually be treated more kindly by historians as one whose potential was squashed by his own compromise of conservative principles, in some ways repeating the mistakes of his father, while ignoring many lessons in executive leadership he should have learned at Harvard Business School. Of course George W could never quite overcome being dogged from the outset by half of the nation convinced he was electorally illegitimate — thus aiding the resurgence of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.

But, Barack Obama is failing. Failing big. Failing fast. And failing everywhere: foreign policy, domestic initiatives, and most importantly, in forging connections with the American people. The incomparable Dorothy Rabinowitz in the Wall Street Journal put her finger on it: He is failing because he has no understanding of the American people, and may indeed loathe them. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says he is failing because he has lost control of his message, and is overexposed. Clarice Feldman of American Thinker produced a dispositive commentary showing that Obama is failing because fundamentally he is neither smart nor articulate; his intellectual dishonesty is conspicuous by its audacity and lack of shame.

But, there is something more seriously wrong: How could a new president riding in on a wave of unprecedented promise and goodwill have forfeited his tenure and become a lame duck in six months? His poll ratings are in free fall. In generic balloting, the Republicans have now seized a five point advantage. This truly is unbelievable. What’s going on?

No narrative. Obama doesn’t have a narrative. No, not a narrative about himself. He has a self-narrative, much of it fabricated, cleverly disguised or written by someone else. But this self-narrative is isolated and doesn’t connect with us. He doesn’t have an American narrative that draws upon the rest of us. All successful presidents have a narrative about the American character that intersects with their own where they display a command of history and reveal an authenticity at the core of their personality that resonates in a positive endearing way with the majority of Americans. We admire those presidents whose narratives not only touch our own, but who seem stronger, wiser, and smarter than we are. Presidents we admire are aspirational peers, even those whose politics don’t align exactly with our own: Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Harry Truman, Ike, Reagan.

But not this president. It’s not so much that he’s a phony, knows nothing about economics, is historically illiterate, and woefully small minded for the size of the task– all contributory of course. It’s that he’s not one of us. And whatever he is, his profile is fuzzy and devoid of content, like a cardboard cutout made from delaminated corrugated paper. Moreover, he doesn’t command our respect and is unable to appeal to our own common sense. His notions of right and wrong are repugnant and how things work just don’t add up. They are not existential. His descriptions of the world we live in don’t make sense and don’t correspond with our experience.

In the meantime, while we’ve been struggling to take a measurement of this man, he’s dissed just about every one of us–financiers, energy producers, banks, insurance executives, police officers, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, post office workers, and anybody else who has a non-green job. Expect Obama to lament at his last press conference in 2012: “For those of you I offended, I apologize. For those of you who were not offended, you just didn’t give me enough time; if only I’d had a second term, I could have offended you too.”

Mercifully, the Founders at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 devised a useful remedy for such a desperate state–staggered terms for both houses of the legislature and the executive. An equally abominable Congress can get voted out next year. With a new Congress, there’s always hope of legislative gridlock until we vote for president again two short years after that.

Yes, small presidents do fail, Barack Obama among them. The coyotes howl but the wagon train keeps rolling along.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/another_failed_presidency.html at August 31, 2009 – 07:15:40 PM EDT

Betrayal of the Democratic Party

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/06/betrayal_of_the_democratic_par.html

June 07, 2009

Betrayal of the Democratic Party

By George Joyce

The “righteous wind” that has propelled the American left to unprecedented success over the last year has forced most of the American right into an underground bunker.  Those few conservative politicians like Dick Cheney who remain topside are blasted with an additional gale force of invective and vitriol.  In the left’s ferocious desire to implement “change” there seems to be little patience for any meaningful dialogue about what America should become.

The leftist onslaught that met Dick Cheney’s recent defense of his country pales in comparison however to the ugly reception Democrat Al Smith received in 1936 when he challenged his own party’s attempt to remake America.  A four term Democratic governor from New York, Smith had lost the 1928 presidential election to Republican Herbert Hoover.  In 1932 Al Smith joined in to support Roosevelt for President but by 1936, despite the immense popularity of FDR, Smith began to panic: his party and his country were becoming unrecognizable to him. 

 

Although many Democrats tried to pin the “treason” label on Al Smith for his stand against the New Deal legislation the dubious moniker had trouble sticking.  Growing up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Smith dropped out of school at 14 in order to support his family after his father’s untimely death a year earlier.  Smith never made it to high school or college but he did manage to develop sensitivity to life on the street while working at a local fish market and at other odd jobs. 

 

When he ran for New York State Assembly at age 30 Smith was known as a spokesman for the working-class immigrant and as a man of the people.  During his political career in New York Smith was known as a staunch progressive who championed workers’ rights, women’s rights, and child labor protections.  Smith was also a leading voice for the rights of minorities and defended the civil rights of all Americans, white and non-white. 

 

Al Smith however was also known as a great believer in upward mobility, self-reliance and in taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by the free-market.  Al Smith, in other words, was an American and a Democrat.  What alarmed Smith in 1936 however was the realization that FDR’s New Deal was in essence something rather anti-American that also threatened the very identity of the Democratic Party.  In Smith’s words:

 

“There can be only one atmosphere of government — the clear, pure, fresh air of free America or the foul breath of communistic Russia.”

 

Despite FDR’s popular acclaim Smith made the decision to warn his fellow Americans and his fellow Democrats by radio address on a cold January evening in our nation’s capitol in 1936.  The title of Smith’s address was “Betrayal of the Democratic Party.”  The dramatic speech contained a series of talking points designed to persuade his countrymen that a new kind of Democratic Party was actively undermining the Constitution and replacing it with something closer to Soviet style socialism.

 

What were Al Smith’s talking points?  In a word: chilling.  After prefacing his speech by noting that he was “born in the Democratic Party” and expected “to die in it” Smith reiterated his belief that the Democratic Party “belonged to all the plain people in the United States.”  Something, however, had gone terribly wrong:

 

Partisanship above Patriotism

 

Smith began his speech by describing his difficult decision to “talk to the American people against the Democratic Administration.”  He was compelled to speak out however because he sensed an alarming threat “to the fundamental principles upon which this Government of ours was organized.”  The most glaring threat in Smith’s estimation was “the arraignment of class against class:”

 

“It has been freely predicted that if we were ever to have civil strife again in this country, it would come from the appeal to passion and prejudices that comes from the demagogues that would incite one class of our people against another.”

 

Smith however had worked in menial jobs and understood that life was a bit more complex than the simple equation of “bad rich” and “good poor.”  Smith said that during his life he had met “some good and bad industrialists” but also “some good and bad laborers.”  The man who never made it to high school understood, in other words, a reality mostly hidden from the pampered and educated leftist crusader. 

 

By splitting the country along class lines in order to appeal to voters the Democrats were guilty of placing partisanship above patriotism.  “This I know,” said Smith, “that permanent prosperity is dependent on both capital and labor alike.”  By vilifying industry and finance the Democrats were in effect closing the door “to any permanent recovery” in America.  The Democrats’ oversimplified and self-serving strategy of class warfare, in other words, was purchased at the expense of the national interest.

 

Government by Bureaucrats

 

“The next thing that I view as being dangerous to our national well-being,” said Smith, “is government by bureaucracy instead of what we have been taught to look for –government by law.”  Smith worried that the enormous explosion of the federal bureaucracy under FDR would provide the executive branch with a dangerous set of freedom smothering instruments.  Conditions would be ripe in addition for the emergence of autocratic government.  Smith made a point here to quote from one of FDR’s speeches to Congress:
“In 34 months we have built up new instruments of public power in the hands of the people’s government.  This power is wholesome and proper, but in the hands of political puppets of an economic autocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of our people.”

 

Note how FDR’s use of “public power” and “people’s government” (not to mention “wholesome and proper” governing) is set against the “shackles” characteristic of the American businessman’s “economic autocracy.”  Smith rightly saw through FDR’s class warfare rhetoric however:

 

“Now I interpret that to mean, if you are going to have an autocrat, take me – but be very careful about the other fellow.”

 

Smith astutely observed that “the vast building up of new bureaus of government” would drain “resources of our people in a common pool of redistributing them, not by any process of law, but by the whim of bureaucratic autocracy.”  Smith again demonstrates his concern that whereas due process of law is vital for protecting the little guy’s freedom, bureaucratic autocracy would strangle it.

 

The 1932 Platform

 

By 1936 it was obvious to Smith that Democrats had been the victims of a bait and switch campaign by the Party elders.  “Millions and millions of Democrats like myself” said Smith, voted for a specific party platform in 1932 but “what we want to know now is why it wasn’t carried out.”  What were those Democratic promises of 1932?  According to Smith, they included the following planks:

 

First Democratic plank: “We advocate immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus, and eliminating extravagance to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 per cent in the cost of the federal government.”

 

But the facts four years later proved otherwise for Smith: “No offices were consolidated, no bureaus were eliminated, but on the other hand, the alphabet was exhausted.  The creation of new departments – and this is sad news for the taxpayer – the . . . cost of government is greater today than it has ever been in any time in the history of the republic.”

 

It seems almost surreal to hear a leading Democrat defend the American taxpayer against big government.  But Smith was just warming up: 

 

Another Democratic plank: “We favor maintenance of the national credit by a Federal budget annually balanced on the basis of accurate Federal estimate within revenue.”

 

Smith was especially incensed at this “balanced budget” promise by Democrats: “How can you balance a budget if you insist upon spending more money than you take in?  Even the increased revenue won’t go to balance the budget, because it is hocked before you receive it.  What is worse than that?”

 

Smith continued on what he called the “unbalanced budget” theme by predicting that “the great backbone of America” – the middle class – would end up paying off most of this debt:

 

“Forget the rich – they can’t pay this debt.  If you took everything they have away from them, they couldn’t pay it – they ain’t got enough. . . . This debt is going to be paid by that great big middle class that we refer to as the backbone and the rank and file, and the sin of it is they ain’t going to know that they are paying it.  It is going to come to them in the form of indirect and hidden taxation.  It will come to them in the cost of living, in the cost of clothing, in the cost of every activity that they enter into, and because it is not a direct tax, they won’t think they’re paying, but, take it from me, they are going to pay it!”

 

Another Democratic plank: “We advocate the extension of Federal credit to the States to provide unemployment relief where the diminishing resources of the State make it impossible for them to provide for their needs.”

 

For Smith this particular plank “was recognition in the national convention of the rights of the states.”  In other words, when voting for the Democrats in 1932 Smith took the above plank to mean that the Feds would not threaten the autonomy each State to administer their own relief programs.  What frightened Smith was that by 1936 “the Federal Government took over most of the relief programs – some of them useful and most of them useless.”  Again, for Smith the little guy was more threatened by an imposing and threatening Federal Government than he was by an administration that respected states rights.

 

Another Democratic plank: “We promise the removal of government from all fields of private enterprise except where necessary to develop public works and national resources in the common interest.”

 

Smith pulled few punches on this particular plank:

 

“NRA [National Recovery Administration]! A vast octopus set up by government, that wound its arms around all the business of the country, paralyzing big business, and choked little business to death.  Did you read in the papers a short time ago where somebody said that business was going to get a breathing spell?  What is the meaning of that?  And where did that expression arise? I’ll tell you where it comes from.  It comes from the prize ring.  When the aggressor is punching the head off the other fellow he suddenly takes compassion on him and he gives him a breathing spell before he delivers the knockout punch.”

 

It’s hard for Americans today to imagine the anti-business climate that saturated FDR’s presidency, especially after his re-election in 1936.  In his marvelous book The Mind and the Market, Professor Jerry Muller noted that most historians have linked the economic slump of 1937 to “Roosevelt’s rhetoric and policies” which “made businessmen reluctant to invest.”  Rather than appeal to and find common ground with American business interests Roosevelt, in Muller’s words, responded to this latest 1937 economic slump by unleashing “the dogs of anticapitalist vilification.”  Muller for example quotes Harold Ickes, FDR’s Secretary of the Interior, who lashed out at “big business Fascist America” which Ickes equated with “an enslaved America.”  Muller sums up the core belief of this remarkable chapter in Democratic Party history:

 

“If there was one core belief shared by the diverse policy makers in the New Deal, it was a suspicion of businessmen in general and big business in particular.”

 

Another Democratic plank: “We condemn the open and covert resistance of administrative officials to every effort made by congressional committees to curtail the extravagant expenditures of government and improvident subsidies granted to private interests.”

 

On this plank Smith asks his fellow Democrats: “Now, just between ourselves, do you know any administrative officer that has tried to stop Congress from appropriating money?  Do you think there has been any desire on the part of Congress to curtail appropriations?”

 

Smith was worried that the “haphazard, hurry-up passage of legislation is never going to accomplish the purposes for which it was designed.”  He accused Congress of throwing “the money of the people right and left” while never informing the public what the appropriations were for.  In addition, Smith criticized Congress for appropriating the people’s money and recklessly using the funds to subsidize what he called “private groups.”  Smith had the audacity, it seems, to think that it wasn’t proper for Congress “to tax all the people to pay subsidies to a particular group.”

 

Democratic Party or Socialist Party?

 

Smith concluded his devastating analysis by asking his fellow Democrats to perform a simple experiment:

 

“Make a test for yourself.  Just get the platform of the Democratic Party, and get the platform for the Socialist Party, and lay them down on your dining room table, side by side, and get a heavy lead pencil and scratch out the word “Democrat,” and scratch out the word “Socialist,” and let the two platforms lay there.”

 

Smith then asked Democrats to consider the record of the Democratic Administration from 1932 to 1936 and pick up the platform that came closest to matching its record of achievements:

 

“You will put your hand on the Socialist platform.  You don’t dare touch the Democratic platform.”

 

For Smith, this wasn’t “the first time in recorded history that a group of men have stolen the livery of the Church to do the work of the devil.”  In other words, Smith believed that a small group of men – “young Brain Trusters” – had hijacked the Democratic Party and were remaking it in Marx and Lenin’s image.  What was known back then as the “Brain Trust” consisted of law professors from Columbia and Harvard whom FDR invited in to be among his closest New Deal advisors.  Al Smith however saw the Brain Trust as the root of “all our troubles.”  In his words, these socialist academics from Columbia and Harvard were threatening to destroy the American roots of the Democratic Party:

 

“It is all right with me if they want to disguise themselves as Norman Thomas or Karl Marx, or Lenin, or any of the rest of that bunch, but what I won’t stand for is to let them march under the banner of Jefferson, Jackson, or Cleveland.”

 

Simply put, Smith’s beloved party of “the plain people of the United States” was becoming merely a tool for elite, socialist intellectuals to shroud a deeper and more sinister program of undermining the American “principles of representative democracy.”

 

Smith appealed to skeptical Democrats over the radio to simply read “the greatest declaration of political principles that ever came from the hands of man – the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.”  He told them to put down their books, forget about listening to economics professors, stop studying party platforms and simply glance at America’s founding documents for this disturbing revelation:

 

“There is only one of two things we can do.  We can either take on the mantle of hypocrisy or we can take a walk, and we will probably do the latter.”

 

Democrats, in other words, who endorsed FDR’s Administration were nothing other than hypocrites.

 

The Constitution

 

At this point in his speech Smith reiterated the importance of understanding the Constitution as the supreme guardian of America’s citizens, including its “plain people.”  We must never forget, said Smith, that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights “were drafted by refugees and sons of refugees, by men with bitter memories of European oppression and hardship . . .” Smith cited the Tenth Amendment for example as being one of the most crucial for keeping the Feds in check and for guaranteeing “home rule” and for preserving “freedom of individual initiative and local control.”

 

“Congress has overstepped its bounds,” said Smith.  “It went beyond that Constitutional limitation, and it has enacted laws that . . . violate the home rule and the State’s right principle.” 

 

From our perspective in 2009, it takes an almost monumental effort to entertain the image of a leading Democrat defending the “little guy” against an encroaching Federal Government.  Smith truly believed however that local control and individual initiative were the essential building blocks of self-determination – a core Democratic belief.  I take Smith here to be saying on a broader level that FDR’s socialist experiment threatened to destroy the little guy’s self-confidence – his belief in himself. This would be the most profound indictment of the Democratic Party.

 

In addition, Smith warned Democrats that the “chorus of Yes-Men in Congress” was undermining another sacred Constitutional protection – the separation of powers.  “In the name of Heaven,” said Smith, what had happened to the independence of Congress?

 

“Why, they just laid right down.  They are flatter on the Congressional floor than the rug on the table here.  They surrendered all their powers to the Executive. . . . We all know that the most important bills were drafted by the Brain Trusters, and sent over to Congress without consideration, without debate, and . . . without ninety percent of them knowing what was in the bills.”

 

Smith said that when you threaten the balance of power theory of democratic government you “rattle the whole structure.”  Again, for Smith the loser in all of this in the end was the little guy who depended on the Constitution and not the Federal Government to maintain his freedom.

 

Suggested Remedies

 

Nearing the end of his speech Smith noted that “it is pretty tough on me to have to go against my own party this way, but I submit that there is a limit to blind loyalty.”  He then proceeded to outline several remedies for what he called “the success of my party.”

 

First: “I suggest to the members of my party on Capitol Hill here in Washington that they take their minds off the Tuesday that follows the first Monday in November.  Just take their minds off it to the end that you may do the right thing and not the expedient thing.”

 

What Smith was suggesting here was a major challenge to his fellow Democrats in Congress.  Instead of self-interest, think of your party, your nation, and your legacy as a servant of the people.  But most importantly, think of those whom the Founding Fathers sought to protect – the normal American citizen who was guaranteed freedom from oppression by the Constitution.

 

Second: Smith implored his fellow Democrats in power to “make good” on the 1932 platform.

 

Third: “I suggest to them that they stop compromising with the fundamental principles laid down by Jackson, Jefferson, and Cleveland.”

 

Fourth: “Stop attempting to alter the form and structure of our Government without recourse to the people themselves as provided in their own Constitution.  This country belongs to the people, and it doesn’t belong to any Administration.”

 

Fifth: “I suggest that they read their Oath of Office to support the Constitution of the United States.  And I ask them to remember that they took that oath with their hands on the Holy Bible, thereby calling upon God Almighty Himself to witness their solemn promise.  It is bad enough to disappoint us.”

 

Washington or Moscow

 

Smith concluded his speech by suggesting a sobering additional remedy: “I suggest that from this moment they resolve to make the Constitution the Civil Bible of the United States, and pay it the same civil respect and reverence that they would religiously pay the Holy Scripture, and I ask them to read from the Holy Scripture the Parable of the Prodigal Son and to follow his example.”

 

At this point Smith addressed fellow Democrats who had heard the Siren call of socialism and had wandered dangerously away from their American roots: “Stop! Stop wasting your substance in a foreign land, and come back to your Father’s house.”

 

In a dramatic final crescendo, Smith gave what he called a “solemn warning” to those Democrats who were attempting to mix the “oil and water” of representative democracy with Soviet style socialism:

 

“There can be only one Capitol, Washington or Moscow! There can be only one atmosphere of government, the clear, pure, fresh air of free America, or the foul breath of Communistic Russia.  There can be only one flag, the Stars and Stripes, or the Red Flag of the Godless Union of the Soviet. There can be only one National Anthem – the Star Spangled Banner or the Internationale.”

 

In his final words, “there can be only one victor” said Smith:

 

“If the Constitution wins, we win.  But if the Constitution – stop.  Stop there.  The Constitution can’t lose!   The fact is, it has already won, but the news has not reached certain ears.”  With those chilling words Al Smith concluded his courageous appeal.

 

Several weeks ago the Democrats’ leading spokesman for the “little guy,” Joe Biden, gave the Commencement address at Syracuse University.  Biden, who represents the most radical, leftist, big government president in the history of America had this to say about America’s plain people:

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, imagine a country that lifts up the windows of opportunities instead of slamming them down that has occurred over the last 15 years. . . . Imagine a country where every single American has a fighting chance, just a fighting chance, and a country that lives up to our promise of our ideals and leads the world with the power of our example, not just the example of our power.  This is the story of America”

 

Sorry Mr. Biden.  When the American businessman is vilified, when bureaucrats rule instead of the law, when taxpayers are robbed to pay for useless federal agencies, when government spends more than it takes in, when the middle class is forced to pay for increasing federal debt, when states rights are disrespected, when socialist intellectuals drive national policy, when Congress cowers in the face of the Executive Branch and fails to read its own legislation no one in America will have a “fighting chance” other than the new Robber Barons leading the Democratic Party.

 

As a great Democrat once put it, it’s all right if you want to disguise yourself as Karl Marx or Lenin.  But please don’t claim to be marching “under the banner of Jefferson, Jackson, or Cleveland.”  When Democrats rob the little guy of his initiative and supplant it with Big Brother, the party in power is not living up to “the promise of our ideals” Mr. Biden. 

 

Some, like Al Smith, may even wonder if the Party is over.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/06/betrayal_of_the_democratic_par.html at August 30, 2009 – 09:38:28 PM EDT

Chicago, Obama, and Health Care Reform

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/chicago_obama_and_health_care.html

August 26, 2009

Chicago, Obama, and Health Care Reform

By Abraham H. Miller

There has been no lack of writing about the influence of Marxist Saul Alinsky on Barack Obama’s political ideology.  But what appears to have escaped notice is the influence of the political culture of Chicago on Barack Obama.  These influences, of course, are not the same.  Alinsky was a formidable opponent of the Chicago Democratic Machine.  Obama was, when necessary, a consummate machine insider.  

 

Alinsky for all his flaws would never have gotten into bed with the likes of Tony Rezko or joined a law firm that represented slum lords.

 

If you want to understand the political agenda of Barack Obama, forget Alinsky, stop calling Obama a “socialist,” and start thinking of Barack Obama as a guy who received his political baptism, not from the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, but from the Chicago machine.

 

Chicago politics is not about ideology.  It is about, “Who Gets What, When, and How,” to quote the inimitable Harold D. Laswell, one of the outstanding political theorists of the last century. 

 

The sine qua non of Chicago politics is power, getting it and keeping it.  Everything else is incidental.  Even corruption is a byproduct of power and is functional only if it enables you to stay in power. 

 

In Chicago politics, you don’t make waves, you don’t back losers, and you “don’t talk to nobody nobody sent.” Chicago politics is always about hierarchy and centralization.

 

Chicago politics is also parochial.  In the City of Neighborhoods, ethnic consciousness is strong.  An Irish machine, for years, ran a Polish city by making sure that the Poles got a big piece of the pie.  There is seldom a perception of a common good.  There is the amalgamation of different ethnic interests.  In Chicago, the whole is clearly the sum of its parts, and the lubricants for the parts are political spoils. 

 

If you want to understand Obama’s health care policy, you need to start where Obama starts.  You need to start with Chicago.  You need to look at constituent interests.

 

Obama won in 2008 because, among other things, he mobilized the electoral periphery.  He mobilized young voters and minority voters, people who traditionally had a lower probability of showing up on Election Day. Chicago politics is about mobilizing the vote. “Vote early and often” is the city’s sardonic refrain.  

 

Obama needs his newly socialized base.  He needs them to keep coming to the polls.  In the vein of Chicago politics, he needs to deliver benefits to them.

 

Unrewarded, the electoral periphery will revert back to apathy.  Health care is a reward to this base of people who are on the economic as well as political periphery.

 

Talk-radio host Sean Hannity can trumpet medical savings accounts on one day and talk about the forty percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes the next, and he will be immune to the inconsistency because Hannity’s listeners are taxpayers.  But a medical savings account means nothing if you don’t pay taxes. 

 

If you don’t pay taxes and don’t have health insurance, you want a card in your wallet that says someone else is going to pay.  You want a medical savings account and tort reform about as much as you want another Chicago winter in an unheated apartment.   

 

If you grow up poor and minority, everyone else’s gain is ill-gotten.  You expect the people you elect to take from them and give to you.  If they don’t, then there is no point in electing them.   You might as well stay home on Election Day.

 

Michele Malkin is upset that David Axelrod’s firm is doing the public relations for Obama Care.  Michele Malkin is a superb intellectual analyst of Chicago politics, but she has no visceral feel for it. When Mayor Richard J. Daley was confronted about the city’s insurance business going to a sole-source brokerage run by his sons, he responded that there would be no point in being in politics if he couldn’t throw a little business to his children. Why would Axelrod be in politics if he couldn’t profit from it? 

 

Chicagoans understood that just as Obama understands that his objective is to provide his base with the spoils of power — in this case insurance.  To do this, he has to massage liberal guilt and delude the great majority of Americans, who are content with their health insurance, into thinking their insurance is not going to be changed and that they have a moral obligation to acquiesce to a remaking of health insurance. 

 

A government option means government jobs, more rewards for the base. These jobs will be spread, as are those of all government programs, throughout the states.  Each potential job holder is a voter, so too are his immediate family members.

 

Yes, the current health care program does have problems.  To fix them requires a series of repairs — tort reform, portability, elimination of prior conditions as an impediment to insurance, and a safety net for people who don’t have insurance or lose their jobs. 

 

Health reform does not require a complete remaking of the system. If all that Obama wanted were to insure those who fall between the cracks, he could put them into the same wonderful program that Congress created for itself by subsidizing their premiums.  This would neither require a thousand pages of legislation nor a new series of bureaucracies.

 

But building a new power base resulting from the mobilization of the political and economic periphery requires redefining the nation’s health problems as the nation’s health catastrophe.

 

Health reform is Chicago politics on a national level. Welcome to the city.

 

Abraham H. Miller is emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati.  He is the author of a novel about the Chicago machine, Vorshavsky: A Chicago Story and has written extensively about ethnic politics.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/chicago_obama_and_health_care.html at August 30, 2009 – 09:24:29 PM EDT

Obama’s Road to Health Care Serfdom

From: http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obamas_road_to_healthcare_serf.html

August 28, 2009

Obama’s Road to Healthcare Serfdom

By Andrew Foy and Brenton Stransky

President Obama is desperate to pass sweeping healthcare reform and now has resorted to pure socialist rhetoric to encourage Americans to support his plan. In his Saturday radio and internet address, President Obama encouraged Americans to call upon “what’s best in each of us to make life better for all of us.” Fortunately, an accurate account of history and a long line of great thinkers point out the contradiction in the President’s remark, which is an obvious appeal for Socialism.

The most notable of these thinkers is F.A. Hayek who educated readers about the unintended consequences of government planning in his famous work The Road to Serfdom. His central thesis can be summed up by the line, “What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.”

Hayek believed that through the inevitable mismanagement of resources and goods at the disposal of the state, all forms of collectivism lead eventually to tyranny. Hayek used the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as examples of countries that had progressed through the phases of collectivist governments and reached the point of tyranny. Hayek argued that disagreement regarding the practical implementation of any economic plan combined with the inadequacy of the planners’ resource management would necessitate coercion in order for anything to be achieved.

This progression from planning to tyranny is critical when considering proposals for healthcare reform that require greater government involvement in the healthcare market. Proponents of such reform would have their audience believe they have no interest in controlling the healthcare decisions people make. However, if we consider the natural progression of a new “government option” or “co-op”, we can reasonably conclude that it will end with allocation formulas and government planning boards deciding what kind of healthcare services an individual can and can’t receive — in other words, it will end in tyranny.

Here’s how: The government plan will initially be funded through taxing the wealthy and by collecting premiums from enrollees but will quickly outgrow this revenue. It will have to broadly increase taxes on the majority of Americans making it more difficult for them to afford private health insurance.

At the same time, the government plan will not offer reimbursement rates that match those of private insurers. This will cause healthcare providers to charge individuals more with private coverage to make up for lost revenue at the expense of the government plan. As a result, rates for private insurance will increase.

Finally, the government will require individuals to purchase coverage that meets a broad set of regulations determined by the government. These burdensome regulations will ensure that only the most costly private plans remain in existence but the government plan will keep its rates lower in comparison by padding itself with taxpayer dollars.

The result of increasing taxation and private premium rates will push more and more people into the government plan. The number of individuals signing up for the government plan will overwhelm the planners’ expectations. In response, the government plan will implement tighter and tighter rationing mechanisms to determine the appropriate allocation of resources. What’s best for the individual will be replaced by Obama’s mantra, “what’s better for all of us.”

Only the wealthiest among us, like government officials, will be able to avoid this fate and procure required healthcare services in a timely fashion by traveling to places that provide it. However, in the future it won’t be the United States but perhaps India or China. And so ends the road to healthcare serfdom.

President Obama and liberals in Congress would no doubt mock the above scenario and say it could only be perpetrated by a Nazi, racist or someone seriously delusional at best. According to the President, a “government option” will not only be self-sustaining (after an initial infusion of taxpayer dollars) but will benefit every American (even those who are happy with their current coverage) by keeping private insurers honest and their premium rates reasonable. However, a review of recent history proves these claims to be disingenuous.

Regarding the self-sustaining nature of government insurance we have to look no further than Medicare. The following figure provided in the 2009 report from the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees illustrates that since its inception Medicare has never been self-sustaining based on its dedicated revenue from payroll taxes and premium payments despite the fact that it reimburses at rates 20% less than private insurers. Medicare has relied on increasing contributions from the general fund revenue for years and this trend only shows signs of increasing.

Figure%201_Socialism%27s%20New%20Tag%20Line

 

Regarding the claim that a government option will keep private premium rates down we have to look no further than the state of Massachusetts, which provides a case study in what is likely to happen if the administration creates a new government subsidized insurance plan. In 2006, Massachusetts passed sweeping healthcare legislation which included the creation of a new government subsidized insurance plan called Commonwealth Care. The plan was projected to cost taxpayers $725 million per year however; by 2008 the cost had risen to $869 million representing a 20% increase over the projected yearly costs! Private insurance premiums rose by 7.4% in 2007, 8-12% in 2008 and are expected to rise 9% this year. By comparison, nationwide insurance costs rose by 6.1% in 2007, 4.7% in 2008 and are projected to increase 6.4% this year.
As Massachusetts is finding out, the biggest problem with any government-run healthcare “option” is cost. In the previous months, advocates for a government option have fumbled over themselves to convince the American people that this plan would actually save money over the long-run. Unfortunately, the CBO put an end to this idea with its projection that current legislation being offered by the Democrats would cost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years and skyrocket after that time period was up.

Now with Liberals’ hopes shattered that they can push through a government option based on the false promises of saving money and increasing competition, it seems as if they’ve realized their only hope is to resort to old socialist tactics of appealing to emotion and calling for unity. Of course we shouldn’t expect them to say what they’re now plainly advocating for; doing so would mean permanent death for their desired reform. Hayek recognized this dilemma for the modern liberal movement almost fifty years ago and wrote in The Constitution of Liberty:

The common aim of all socialist movements was the nationalization of the “means of production, distribution, and exchange,” so that all economic activity might be directed according to a comprehensive plan toward some ideal of social justice…The great change that has occurred during the last decade is that socialism in this strict sense of a particular method of achieving social justice has collapsed. It has not merely lost its intellectual appeal; it has also been abandoned by the masses so unmistakably that socialist parties everywhere are searching for a new program that will insure the active support of their followers… many of the old socialists have discovered that we have already drifted so far in the direction of a redistributive state that it now appears much easier to push further in that direction than to press for the somewhat discredited socialization of the means of production. They seem to have recognized that by increasing government control of what nominally remains private industry, they can more easily achieve that redistribution of incomes that had been the real aim of the more spectacular policy of expropriation.

There should be no doubt, this fight over healthcare reform is much bigger than providing a public option or not; it’s about changing the core principles this country was founded upon; it’s about individual freedom versus the tyranny of socialism, even if those advocating for socialism have the good sense not to call it that.

Andrew Foy, MD and Brent Stransky are co-authors of “The Young Conservative’s Field Guide”, which will be available in stores and on-line September 8th. They can be contacted through their website at www.aHardRight.com.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obamas_road_to_healthcare_serf.html at August 28, 2009 – 03:20:38 PM EDT

Obama and the Thugs (prepare to be shocked)

From: http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obama_and_the_thugs.html

August 28, 2009
Obama and the Thugs
By Kyle-Anne Shiver

“If you want the next four years lookin’ like the last eight, then I’m not your candidate. But if you want real change…then I need you. I need you to go out and talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors…I want you to argue with them, get in their faces…you guys are the ones who can make the change.”
– Candidate Barack Obama to supporters September, 2008

Early last fall, an old friend of mine and long-time volunteer for Republican women’s associations, called me from her home in Orlando, Florida. She was quite shaken. She had just returned from what was intended to be a small, quiet McCain support outing, just like the ones she had been dutifully attending for 30 years. The small group of middle-aged homemakers took their little signs to an approved street corner, carried their small American flags and assembled to do their hour’s vote-for-our-guy walk before heading off to the nearest coffee shop to divvy up coming-week duties of stuffing envelopes and making phone calls.

But something had changed between the last election and 2008. My friend told of a morning from hell, in which the women were rudely accosted on the street by young male thugs (her word), who called them “c*nts,” “whitey whores” and “stupid bitches.” These young males got in their faces and jostled them with angry shoves. My friend said that in all the years she had been doing just this simple patriotic activity, she had never had such a frightening experience. It was to be the first of several, which have left her shaken to this day.

Later on into the fall campaign, I spoke with Dr. Lynette Long, a former Hillary supporter compiling data on what she deemed, “Caucus Fraud.” She referred me to a set of video testimonials, in which middle-aged women mostly, gave grizzly accounts of the same thuggery employed against them in caucus settings.

The data compiled by Dr. Long, along with the video-recorded testimonials of dozens of caucus-goers, are indeed convincing. According to Dr. Long, in a personal interview, reports from caucus attendees are pretty horrifying at worst, wholly undemocratic at best. Female Clinton supporters reported being called “c*nts” and other sexual epithets, being spat upon by Obama supporters, being threatened physically, and an overall environment of hostility. Not exactly the democratic process to which we are accustomed.

In the end, it was the caucus states, where such strong-arm tactics were employed by Obama supporters, which finally gave Obama the victory. As Dr. Long points out, the only caucus in the entire nominating contest that Obama lost was Nevada. In every other caucus, relying heavily on thug intimidation, Obama prevailed.

So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that the same thug tactics are now being used against MediCoup** resisters at townhalls around the Country.

The most shocking thug event, so far, took place early this month in St. Louis. In his own words, Kenneth Gladney, victim of assault, tells what happened:

Well, first, I was there to sell, you know, flags and buttons and stuff that said, “Don’t tread on me.” And I was setting out there, and I guess something got — just went through my head. I said I’m just going to give them away and stuff like that. So a pastor’s wife walked up to me, and she just took a liking to some of the buttons. So I start showing her some of the buttons and everything. This guy walked up and he said, “Who in the — who in the blank is selling or giving away this stuff here?” I said, “Sir, this is my merchandise. And would you like a flag or a button or something like that?” And he said, “What kind of ‘n’ are you to be giving this stuff out.”

Yes, they surrounded me. Actually, after the first two guys got me on the ground, they surrounded me and started kicking me in the head and in the back, and the knees and stuff like that. And after it was done, I got up, kind of dazed, looking for my glasses. And the one guy actually was coming at me again, and that’s when the police came in and, you know, cordoned off everything and started, you know, started arresting people.

This is change, all right, but I’ll be darned if I see a whole lot of hope.

Then, on August 13, outside a townhall in Thousand Oaks, California, three doctors were assaulted when they attempted to speak their minds. The doctors, all wearing scrubs, were locked out of the townhall meeting and began voicing their objections to an orderly crowd, when suddenly they were lunged at by an angry white male. Fortunately for the docs, the man was prevented causing real harm when other men forced him to the ground, whereupon he was promptly arrested.

A videographer at a Tampa, Florida townhall got roughed up by union thugs and had his camera smashed. A local doctor from Douglasville, Georgia was shouted down by his own congressman and accused of not being a constituent, a charge that was later shown to be blatantly false.

A very fishy swastika was painted on the Congressman’s office sign the next day.

If any side has been guilty of astroturfing at townhalls, it is Obama supporters. People posing as doctors have turned up at various events, hailing the President’s plan, only to be found out later. Vandals smashed windows at the Democratic Party office in Denver early this week. More astroturfing, apparently. As Gateway Pundit has detailed:

The young vandal who smashed windows at the DNC headquarters in Denver on Tuesday worked for a democratic politician, was paid by a SEIU-related front group, and was arrested at the RNC convention last year in St. Paul.

Honestly, I never thought I would live to see the day when a president one-upped Nixon. But this Obama thuggery gets worse by the day and our once-valiant mainstream press just yawns and accuses the innocent.

Even Richard Nixon never, as far as we know, went so far as to orchestrate manufactured news, advise his supporters to “get in their faces” or use taxpayer dollars to promote political causes.

What in the world is this Country coming to?

Our Founders are surely staring aghast from their heavenly abodes. And I’ll bet my own proverbial farm that I know which side they’re pulling for.

*Many thanks to a volunteer research assistant, who prefers to remain anonymous and to Dr. Lynette Long, who is writing a book based on her Caucus Fraud research.

Kyle-Anne Shiver is a frequent contributor to American Thinker and a newly syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. She welcomes your comments at kyleanneshiver.com.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/obama_and_the_thugs.html at August 28, 2009 – 09:00:46 AM EDT

“Culture of Corruption” by Michelle Malkin tops the NYTimes Best Sellers

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/08/19/culture-of-corruption-1-on-nyt-best-seller-list-for-3rd-week/
Culture of Corruption: #1 on NYT best-seller list for 3rd week

coc
By Michelle Malkin • August 19, 2009 05:22 PM

Just got word that Culture of Corruption will top the New York Times best-seller list for the third week in a row.

Thanks again for continuing to support the book and spread the word!

You can catch me on Hannity tonight on FNC at 9pm Eastern and on Fox and Friends tomorrow at 7:15am Eastern talking about Culture of Corruption-related topics of the day and other headlines.

How I became so conservative so fast

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/how_i_became_so_conservative_s.html
August 06, 2009
How I became so conservative so fast
By Robin of Berkeley
I get asked by readers all the time: how can you go from left to right at such a rapid fire pace? Were you a conservative all along? Are you just yanking our chain; you’re really still a liberal in conservative clothing?

Great question. This is a topic I ponder daily.

Now that I look back, I had the seeds of both a conservative and a liberal in me all along. On the liberal side: I was raised a secular Jew, and, for some God forsaken reason, most of us are Democrats. My upbringing lacked meaning and substance, which propelled my devotion to social causes. Of course, arriving in Berkeley in my 20’s only hardened my liberal propensity.

I became a therapist, made friends with therapists, and spent tons of money having shrinks dissect my psyche. So my life was focused on problems, complaints, and kvetches. As Milton said, our minds can make a hell of heaven or a heaven of hell. My preoccupation with the darkness put me in a liberal state of mind.

But the conservative was alive and well in me too: My grandparents came from Russia with only the shirts on their backs. Yet they never complained about the hardships or expected any government help. My parents, in their own wacky way, were devoted, dutiful, and fiercely patriotic.

I was also victimized early on by do-gooder liberal politics (though I didn’t put two and two together until last year). I attended public schools with forced busing that ignited tremendous animosity and racial violence. As an adult, I’ve been harassed and molested innumerable times on urban streets both east coast and west, and was mugged several years ago in broad daylight.

Unlike most liberals, I never blamed myself or the dominant culture. I placed culpability directly on the thugs and on those in authority who remained silent. Whenever my friends excused immoral behavior, I would get seriously ticked off.

Lastly, my personality has always had elements both left and right. Now that I think about it, it’s been dizzying living in my brain. I’m a straight shooter and detest phoniness (conservative), though I wanted to be liked (liberal). I’ve never been a group think person and don’t like to be controlled (right), but at the same time, I wanted to fit in (left).

And it is impossible to hypnotize me. I took a hypnotherapy class once and the teacher put everyone in a trance, except for me. I asked the teacher about it afterwards. He said that there is a very small minority of people who cannot be hypnotized. (I now wonder whether most of them are conservatives!)

As I got into my 40’s, my conservative, logical side started making more frequent appearances. I had some epiphanies: That, even with all my best efforts, the world was pretty much the same as when I entered it — filled with both good and evil, dark and light. I had to admit, to my disappointment, that utopia wasn’t around the corner, and that fate was in the hands of a Higher Power, not humans. I realized that life wasn’t supposed to be easy, and that we shape our character through the hard stuff.

I viewed my parents differently, as struggling humans who did the best they could. I let go of my resentment toward them and literally threw out all my old journals that were filled with complaints. Feeling grateful, I wrote them each a letter of appreciation thanking them for the many gifts they bestowed on me.

But it was four years ago, when the bottom fell out of my life, that I transformed into a different person. First, my father died, the next day I was diagnosed with a life threatening blood condition, and three weeks later my mother died.

I recall sitting at my desk, so dazed and stunned that I could barely move. I heard this voice inside my head: Robin, you only have two choices: to hold on tighter to your illusions, or to let this experience shatter you and take you where you’ve never gone before. I chose the latter, an experience that felt inspired by the Divine.

Suddenly, I grew up. I remember a session with a long term client after I returned from leave. She knew about my parents, and wondered aloud how she might feel when her parents died. She inquired, “Even though I’m a mom, I still feel like a little kid. Do you?”

I answered instantly, “Not any longer.”

I woke up from a very long and deep sleep, like Robin Van Winkle. The traits of my arrested development, such as codependency, started melting away like snow in June. I started respecting myself more and requiring others do the same. I ditched friends who needed me as a teat or who treated me unkindly. I guess I was starting to embody conservatism without even knowing it.

My work with clients changed. I stopped reinforcing their stale, rigid stories. Rather than dredge up the past, we talked about how to live now, how to harness inner resources like courage, perseverance, and faith. I hoped to offer them the guidance and wisdom that I lacked in my younger years.

And then two years later, Obama came on the scene. He felt creepy; and I saw before my eyes that the sick, evil fringe of the far left had invaded the Democratic Party. As though I’d been slapped across the face, I snapped out of my trance. The last vestiges of my liberalism flew the coop, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Goverment provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2300451/posts

Little gems from the Health Care Bill

Posted on Friday, July 24, 2009 5:12:23 PM by CMS

• Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the gov option!
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll BR • Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll
• Page 167: Any individual who doesnt’ have acceptable healthcare (according to the government) will be taxed 2.5% of income.
• Page 170: Any NON-RESIDENT alien is exempt from individual taxes (Americans will pay for them).
• Page 195: Officers and employees of Government Healthcare Bureaucracy will have access to ALL American financial and personal records.
• Page 203: “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax.” Yes, it really says that.
• Page 239: Bill will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors and the poor most affected.”
• Page 241: Doctors: no matter what speciality you have, you’ll all be paid the same (thanks, AMA!)
• Page 253: Government sets value of doctors’ time, their professional judgment, etc.
• Page 265: Government mandates and controls productivity for private healthcare industries.
• Page 268: Government regulates rental and purchase of power-driven wheelchairs.
• Page 272: Cancer patients: welcome to the wonderful world of rationing!
• Page 280: Hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems preventable re-admissions.
• Page 298: Doctors: if you treat a patient during an initial admission that results in a readmission, you will be penalized by the government.
• Page 317: Doctors: you are now prohibited for owning and investing in healthcare companies!
• Page 318: Prohibition on hospital expansion. Hospitals cannot expand without government approval.
• Page 321: Hospital expansion hinges on “community” input: in other words, yet another payoff for ACORN.
• Page 335: Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.
• Page 341: Government has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans, HMOs, etc.
• Page 354: Government will restrict enrollment of SPECIAL NEEDS individuals.
• Page 379: More bureaucracy: Telehealth Advisory Committee (healthcare by phone).
• Page 425: More bureaucracy: Advance Care Planning Consult: Senior Citizens, assisted suicide, euthanasia?
• Page 425: Government will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. Mandatory. Appears to lock in estate taxes ahead of time.
• Page 425: Goverment provides approved list of end-of-life resources, guiding you in death.
• Page 427: Government mandates program that orders end-of-life treatment; government dictates how your life ends.
• Page 429: Advance Care Planning Consult will be used to dictate treatment as patient’s health deteriorates. This can include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. An ORDER from the GOVERNMENT.
• Page 430: Government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life.
• Page 469: Community-based Home Medical Services: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 472: Payments to Community-based organizations: more payoffs for ACORN.
• Page 489: Government will cover marriage and family therapy. Government intervenes in your marriage.
• Page 494: Government will cover mental health services: defining, creating and rationing those services.