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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Rick Moran

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Rick Moran

Last Build Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 00:32:58 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2009

From 'Hope & Change' to 'Fear & Loathing'

Mon, 09 Feb 2009 00:32:58 -0600

And what of the Democrats and their equally sudden metamorphosis from earmark crazy gigolos, bedding down any lobbyist who winks in their direction, to warriors for safeguarding the taxpayers' money? Admittedly, the Democrats have a much harder sell given the blatant and sometimes comical fraud they are trying to perpetrate on a public scared out of its gourd by a president whose hyperbole and predictions of "catastrophe" if the bill is not passed immediately is matched only by his cynical refutation of any semblance of the "bi-partisanship" he so blithely promised to bring to Washington during the campaign. No one doubts the economy is bad and getting worse. But when the president of the United States stands up and asks us to give in to our fears, to blindly obey his call to pass a bill with tens of billions of dollars in spending that even the bill's proponents say is wasteful, one has to ask what happened to the party who once told us: "All we have to fear is fear itself." Rep. David Obey (D-WI): How money is spent should be far from the biggest concern about the stimulus package, its chief author, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) said Friday. "So what?" Obey asked in response to a question on NPR's "Morning Edition" about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. "This is an emergency. We've got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that's what we're doing." Thus speaketh the voice of fiscal responsibility. And thus speaketh a president who, for all his rhetorical gifts, can't seem to muster the words that would give the American people the one thing desperately needed at this point in American history -- hope. That's right. The candidate of "Hope and Change" has decided to be a president who espouses "Fear and Loathing." Fear of financial Armageddon unless we do as we are told and blindly give in to his $900 billion panic panacea for the economy and loathing of the opposition -- an opposition Obama unfairly portrays as opposing him out of spite and because a popular talk radio host is telling them what to do. It is a far cry from the way Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan handled economic crises that in some ways were more dire than what Barack Obama is facing today. Both men came to office at a time when the American spirit was limping and lost. Both men were confronted with unprecedented economic problems (double digit inflation and interest rates in 1981 were an impossibility according to the books). And yet, both men eschewed fear mongering and sought to lift the people out of themselves in order to bring back hope and allow the natural optimism of the American people to come to the fore. Arguments rage to this day whether FDR's massive spending helped or hurt the economy. And Reagan's tax cuts began a spiral of deficits that, save for a brief period in the 1990s, fostered a climate of "let the kids pay for it" on Capitol Hill. But few can argue that FDR and the Gipper didn't succeed in changing the dynamics of the crisis they were facing by inspiring the people to believe in themselves again and that better times were ahead. Obama does not want Americans to believe in themselves. He wants them to believe in him: If we don't move swiftly to put this plan in motion, our economic crisis could become a national catastrophe. Millions of Americans will lose their jobs, their homes, and their health care. Millions more will have to put their dreams on hold. The truth should be dawning on all of us just about now that Democrats, Republicans, economists, Wall Street wizards, and even the high priests of monetary policy at the Federal Reserve have no idea how bad things are going to get or whether anything Congress does can improve the situation -- much less stave off disaster. And that means that the only thing we have to hang our hats on is the credibility and trustworthiness of the president of the United States. Instead of instilling confidence, Obama is selling[...]

What I Saw at the Obama Revolution

Thu, 06 Nov 2008 00:45:35 -0600

This thought was buttressed by what I witnessed as I made my way through the gigantic crowd. At least seven out of ten Obama supporters who were reveling in his coming victory were under the age of 30 -- and that's a conservative estimate. None of these people were even alive when Vietnam, Watergate, assassinations, and riots cleaved us in two, ripping the fabric of our national polity asunder and opening a chasm between the two sides that may -- just may -- have begun to close with Obama's victory last night. That remains to be seen. But there is little doubt that the potential for some kind of healing has presented itself with the election of Barack Obama as president. He is not of that time either. And while some of his politics may reflect a hard liberalism, it is not a lockstep love affair with the new left ideals to which many Democrats in Congress adhere. It is tempered with some surprising thoughts on personal responsibility and the notion that individuals are empowered to make a difference in this country. We will see how wedded he is to these positions when confronted with the Pelosi-Reid idea of how to "transform" America. His young supporters know little of the Vietnam era and care about it less. And like it or not, and for whatever reason, they see the United States in a different way than their parents. They have the passion (and ignorance) of youth animating their vision of America. It remains to be seen what happens to their faith when Obama's efforts at reform turn out not quite as earth shattering as they might be hoping. But moving through the crowd in the moments before the networks called the race for Obama, I talked to a young couple who brought their children to the celebration -- including an infant. The huge bearded father had recently gotten out of the army after three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. He was proud of his service but was attracted to Obama's call to bring the troops home from Iraq. He also was disgusted with the corruption and incompetence of the Republicans and didn't see John McCain as anything but a continuation of policies that he believed were bad for the country. When I asked him what policies of Obama's he supported besides the pullout from Iraq, he couldn't name a single thing. All he knew was that an Obama presidency would take the country in a different direction. His wife knew about Obama's health insurance proposal and supported the idea of having "more affordable" coverage for her children. Other than that, both expressed happiness at the historic nature of Obama's coming presidency. There is a very good chance that both the Iraq veteran and his wife would have eagerly supported a Republican for president just ten years ago. These are not flaming liberal revolutionaries. They are a typical middle class family uneasy about the future and taking a leap of faith that Obama -- despite being unspecific about what kind of "change" he is offering -- is the person to entrust America's future. We shall see if that faith is warranted. But perhaps Obama's greatest challenge will not be overseas or the economy at home: it will be meeting the stratospheric expectations of his base supporters -- especially African Americans. I suppose I got caught up in the emotion of the night due almost exclusively to the genuine and copious tears of black Americans. The ones I spoke to and interviewed were nearly speechless with joy. With a start, I realized something that had escaped me all these long months of writing and thinking about this race. For many African-Americans, this election was a spiritual event, something that transcended the corporeal and brought to mind ancestral yearnings and desires for freedom. For perhaps many blacks, Obama is the word made flesh -- the redemption of the promise in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal." The small sample of blacks I interviewed all spoke of the shattering of barriers, the hope that an Obama presidency would translate into a more just society, and the belief that for them [...]