Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What I won't watch tonight

Obama's disinformercial, live on all four networks at 8 p.m. ET:
"We've seen over the last eight years how decisions by a president can have a profound effect on the course of history and on American lives; much that's wrong with our country goes back even farther than that."
Then, while standing before a stately desk and an American flag, Mr. Obama, in a suit, says: "We've been talking about the same problems for decades and nothing is ever done to solve them. For the past 20 months, I’ve traveled the length of this country, and Michelle and I have met so many Americans who are looking for real and lasting change that makes a difference in their lives."
This is not a logical argument, but the Obama campaign is not about logic. Obama has no track record on which the voter can evaluate him or his policies. This is what annoys me when I hear people talk about Obama's tax plan as if it were a piece of legislation now being debated on the Senate floor. There is at least a 50% chance that Obama will never actually propose that plan to Congress, and certainly no guarantee that Congree would pass it, as now written. Washington doesn't work that way.

If you want to understand the wide gap between a presidential candidate's stated intentions and his actual policies in office, you ought to read David Stockman's The Triumph of Politics (about the Reagan administration) and William Greider's Who Will Tell the People (about the Clinton administration). Reagan really wanted to cut the federal budget; he just couldn't get the votes. Clinton really wanted to implement his promise of a middle-class tax cut, but his economic advisers told him it couldn't be done.

Whether you vote for Obama or McCain, we'll be electing our first president since Gerald Ford who hasn't previously been a governor. There's no record of either man in executive office, but at least John McCain has some meaningful record in Washington. Obama is a shot in the dark, and no one -- no one -- can predict what he'd actually do as president.

We know, however, that Obama is a left-wing Democrat. His most influential policy advisers will likely share the same outlook. So we'll have unfettered liberalism of a kind that we haven't seen since 1993-94. There is a reason Obama's strongest support comes from people under 30 -- they don't really remember that two-year period when Clinton had a Democratic majority in Congress. It was a freak show, an embarrassment. And you can expect even worse of an embarrassment if Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are in charge.

Obamaphiles may enjoy the $3 million infomercial. And it might sway voters with short memories or insufficient judgment. But I won't watch it. God bless Michelle Malkin for volunteering to watch it for us.

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