Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama in his own words

"What I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut…. What I want to emphasize … is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as-you-go. Every dollar that I’ve proposed, I’ve proposed an additional cut so that it matches."
-- Barack Obama, presidential debate, Oct. 15, 2008

Via Instapundit, this is pointed out by David Bernstein at Volokh Conspiracy in the context of Obama using the "I won" argument to bully Republicans into supporting his massive deficit spending proposals. Obama won on a campaign rhetoric of promising repeatedly to cut taxes for 95% of Americans, a proposal that appears to be DOA with Senate Democrats.

There was a time when politicians could get away with bait-and-switch politics. Woodrow Wilson campaigned in 1916 on the slogan "He kept us out of war," and within a year of his re-election got us into the war. LBJ campaigned as the peace candidate in 1964, smearing Barry Goldwater as an irresponsible warmonger, even while planning his fatal "escalation" in Vietnam.

The rise of alternative media, however, has made successful political deception far more difficult. Bill Clinton campaigned in 1992 by promising "middle-class tax cuts," a promise that didn't even make it past his inauguration, and when he turned around and pushed a huge tax increase instead, he ignited a bonfire of opposition that still smolders to this day.

Amid accolades from the tingly-legged and weepy-eyed media, Obama's administration is already beginning to emit an aroma that some of us old-timers recognize as the distinctive stench of Carterism. Last month, I remarked that the Blagojevich scandal resembled the Bert Lance affair in that it clearly contradicted the new president's media-crafted image as a squeaky-clean reformer. And in yesterday's crisis-mongering YouTube address, we got another whiff of Carterism: The president as national scold, telling us we're "in the midst of an unprecedented crisis that calls for unprecedented action." (Got Malaise? Or, better yet: Got Condoms?)

Yes, Obama won the election and elections matter. But winning an election as a tax-cutting deficit hawk and then governing as a budget-busting spendthrift liberal is a strategy doomed to failure, both as policy and as politics. It won't work.

For those who were born too late and therefore are under the impression that the Seventies was a gloriously innocent time of day-glo colored discoball party fun fun fun, that decade was actually when the American character was sunk in neurotic depression. . . . And when Carter became president the fan that the shit had been hitting got turned up to high.
Anybody who thinks the situation is currently as bad as it can get is obviously too young to remember 1979, America's annus horriblis. It's amazing that some people have not yet learned the lesson that Carter so conclusively taught us: Whatever the problem, liberalism is never an effective solution.


  1. So, remind me. How do we recall a President?

    I mean, if we wait to impeach him, he has Bill Clinton to show him how to derail any investigation. And breaking campaign promises that happened before he took office doesn't seem right (not with Bill Clinton sitting right there).

    Or do we just have to expect Congress and the Supreme Court to be honest and diligent, and quash the worst abuses?

  2. Actually, if the problem is to demonstrate empirically without doubt why liberalism sucks, then liberalism is the ideal solution. Unfortunately, this is something that has to be demonstrated every generation or so. I am of an age that I voted for President Peanut and it had to be demonstrated to me. While so many of us that were there see the obvious parallels between that idiot and the current idiot, the country is full of people who have no idea what we're talking about. They're about to find out.

  3. I was 19 in 1979, and you could not find a job even flipping burgers. It sucked.

    And the Iranians were thumbing their noses at us, to boot since Jimmy had the spine of a jellyfish. Which is why the Soviets felt no worries about us when they invaded Afghansistan.