Cleveland Plain Dealer Columnist
America under Obama will see one crisis after another
by Kevin O'Brien
Thursday January 29, 2009
We interrupt this financial crisis to bring you a gargantuan federal power grab masquerading as an economic stimulus.
Tell me, does the following sound at all familiar?
We've GOT to act. NOW! There's NO TIME for debate. We're on the PRECIPICE. We're staring into the ABYSS. The government has to spend BIG and it has to spend FAST, before it's TOO LATE!
Yes, yes. We heard it just a few weeks ago, remember? Right before the government spent big and fast so it could avert the financial crisis. Which continues today, quite unaverted, because no one bothered to require that the government spend WELL or -- yes, I know this was always a long shot -- WISELY.
So we're still in the same mess. And we're not trying to get out of it yet, because for some among us, messes -- especially messes that can be credibly described as crises -- have their uses.
When Joe Biden said during the campaign that President Barack Obama was going to face a crisis right out of the gate, it wasn't a wild guess. He was stating half of the elemental strategy of the Obama administration: Have a crisis.
Biden went on to say that when that crisis arose, Americans should stand shoulder to shoulder with the Dear Leader, no matter what he chose to do, and he warned that "initially, it's not going to be apparent that we're right."
It's true that Biden started out talking about foreign policy, but toward the end of his ramble, he worked his way around to, "This is more than just a capital crisis, this is more than just markets, this is a systemic problem we have with this economy."
Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, gave us the other half of the administration's strategy soon after the election in a talk with Wall Street Journal staffers: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before."
So, have a crisis and use it to get things you want that you couldn't have gotten from people who weren't frightened. Repeat as necessary.
Want to appoint a tax cheat secretary of the treasury? Just tell everyone you're in a big hurry because of the financial crisis.
Want to hand out, in one fell swoop, more pork and more paybacks to more favored political constituencies than anyone has ever handed out before? Write a spread-the-wealth bill like the one the House of Representatives just passed. Just be sure to call it a stimulus.
Want to grow government beyond comprehension and make it the master of health care, energy, education, finance and, through regulation, business? Don't declare the crisis solved until you've passed enough phony stimuli to complete your whole hidden agenda.
There is only one thing that can be done to block the socialist agenda that's so clearly visible just beneath the Rahm Emanuel useful-crisis strategy. Fortunately, it's something every American can do.
Refuse to fear.
If your congressional representative voted for the stimulus, call him up and chew him out. If he voted against it, call to say thanks. Then get on the horn to your senators and demand that they do whatever it takes to stop this cynical power grab. You can get to every one of them through the U.S. Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.
Obama and company aren't even trying to be subtle. Nancy Pelosi is incapable of subtlety.
These people are telling you exactly what they want to do, and they've been telling you since long before Election Day.
They've even told you that the lever they'll use on you is the crisis.
And by putting forward a plan that's 3 percent stimulus and 97 percent leftist goody bag, what Obama is telling you is that he's not at all eager to make the financial crisis go away. He's going to "fix" lots of other things under the cover the crisis provides.
Then it will be on to the next crisis and the next set of underlying projects.
There's no sense being scared. Angry would be appropriate, though. And vocal: 202-224-3121.
Postscript to 'America under Obama will see one crisis after another'
Posted by Kevin O'Brien February 02, 2009
Liberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne sees the same thing I see; he just sees it in a positive light. Obama and the House Democrats really are using the "stimulus" package as a Trojan horse to further a host of liberal causes that would struggle to pass even a Democrat-dominated Congress on their own merits. (Actually, a reader suggests that "Trojan pig" might be a better description, since the thing is so weighed down with pork.)
Anyway, here's what Dionne has to say, and this should sound very familiar to anyone who read my column of Jan. 29. Where you see emphasis, it's mine. I wouldn't want anyone to miss the confessional phrases:
The real test is whether Obama will fight for a stimulus bill that achieves some of his larger objectives. The aspects of the House bill that Republicans and conservative commentators have so eviscerated are the very ones that take substantial steps toward the president's own priorities.
Obama placed a heavy bet during his campaign on a promise to reform the heath-care system. To the great consternation of conservatives, the House stimulus bill takes big steps toward broadening the number of Americans government would help to obtain health insurance. Will those provisions be protected in the final bill?
The president has spoken passionately about the inadequacy of our schools and the increasing difficulty that young Americans are having paying for higher education. The House stimulus bill includes a lot of education money. Will students be thrown overboard in pursuit of a nebulous cross-party comity?
No doubt our supremely calm president is certain that, in the end, all will be well. But Rahm Emanuel, his spirited chief of staff, had it right: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Just how high a price is Obama willing to pay for a handful of Republican votes?
Read his whole column, if you're so inclined.
Dionne didn't have anything like the space it would take -- or, perhaps, the interest in being terribly thorough -- to enumerate the many, many more liberal-Democratic wish-list items this phony stimulus bill contains. But he does admit to the basic strategy at work here, he applauds it and he counsels congressional Democrats to go it alone to pass it, if necessary. This "stimulus" bill IS a big leftist goody bag, and the goal of stimulating the economy with it -- thereby alleviating the financial crisis -- is at best one among many priorities.
That's what Dionne says. I seriously doubt that alleviating the economic crisis is more than a low priority, because the sooner it eases, the sooner the Democrats will lose the camouflage they need to perform their feats of legislative legerdemain.
People who thought I was saying the financial crisis was fabricated need to re-read the column. The crisis is real; what's phony is the play-acting at solving it while the administration and congressional Democrats use it to push a social engineering (and flat-out socialist) agenda.
On Sunday, President Barack Obama said in his weekly radio address:
Americans know that our economic recovery will take years -- not months. But they will have little patience if we allow politics to get in the way of action, and our economy continues to slide.Well, of course it will take years if we're going to get around to taking action to fix it only after the Democrats are satisfied that they've done everything they've wanted to do with social policy for the last 40 years. Politics is getting in the way of stimulative action, all right. And that politics is coming from the Democratic side. The Republicans are right to try to block it, or at least to blunt it, because the "stimulus" bill's lack of stimulus and its long-term costs in money and in changes to American society are simply intolerable.If the Democrats want to make big changes in federal health care, environmental, energy, education, labor and social policies, then the Democrats ought to propose those changes in stand-alone bills for debate in Congress, not hide them in a legislative behemoth and call it a stimulus plan.