(Page 2 of 2)
This is the language of a society of beggars. The need to “fight the city” or “confront officials” or persist “as officials lied and delayed” or “challenge authorities” is pre-eminently the language of human beings made to depend on government. To beg from it as Oliver Twist was made to beg. “Please, sir, I want some more.” It may have once had a certain allure in the 1960s — forty years ago and even longer before that — but the idea of creating big government programs and then creating “community organizers” whose sole purpose is to make citizens more effective beggars of those government programs has long since been discredited by the results — or lack thereof .
YET THIS IS PRECISELY the vision that Obama wishes to extend across all of America. And the question that becomes relevant for Obama’s vision is a version of the question Ronald Reagan once asked Americans about the presidency of Jimmy Carter: “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” Is the South Side of Chicago better off today because Barack Obama and his fellow community organizers accepted the status quo of big government? Is the community where Obama “organized” better off today than it was when he arrived? Has he done anything with his philosophy that has lifted the people of the South Side of Chicago out of poverty, and has the philosophy itself worked anywhere else in America?
One need go no further than the Nation magazine’s same loving profile of Obama to learn this:
“Despite some meaningful victories, the work of Obama — and hundreds of other organizers — did not transform the South Side or restore lost industries.”
In other words, the Nation answers the Reagan question in a word: No.
This is important when understanding that Obama’s vision of America is to make of America one big South Side of Chicago. A nation where he raises taxes (“Please sir, may I keep some more of my money that I worked for?”), bureaucratizes health care (“Please, sir, will you pay for my medicine?”), and tells automobile manufacturers how to make energy-efficient cars (“Please sir, may I make my car my way?”).
All of this is, of course, the same old, same old. It is nothing more — or less — than the old socialist stew which has failed everywhere from the South Side of Chicago to the Ninth Ward of New Orleans to the North Side of Moscow. There is nothing new about any of this except the messenger. And the messenger, according to the impeccably left-wing pages of the Nation, has already served up this stew in Chicago and — surprise, surprise — failed. He has been utterly unable to do in his own public service what he once advocated for others in Alinskian terms, which is to say “challenging people to scrape away habit.” The habit of setting up big unionized bureaucracies and then targeting them with organized begging campaigns is apparently impossible for Obama to scrape away.
The kerfuffle over Obama’s tendency to plagiarize words from Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is perhaps more revealing than the simple plagiarism itself. What it displays at its heart is an unoriginal cast of mind, as well as something more damning. An unwillingness to accept hard truths simply because it is unpopular in his circle to do so. While Obama was big on organizing to challenge local officials, he was not in the least inclined to challenge his fellow liberals with the subversive idea (to liberals) that it is big government itself that has exacerbated if not produced the problems on Chicago’s South Side.
If he is unwilling to take a hard look at his surroundings on the South Side of Chicago, if he is unable to understand the failure that resulted in the conditions of the South Side in the first place, and why, then his lovely repetitions of the eloquent phrases of others notwithstanding, there either just isn’t much there there when it comes to Obama’s intellectual creativity — or he fears leading real change because of what his liberal friends might say.
Absent a commitment to real change, his aspiration to be the “community organizer-in-chief” for America means one thing, and one thing only. Barack Obama, his sights set firmly on a left-wing past that did not work, is determined to organize us into 300 million Oliver Twists.
Which is to say, to make of us all a society of beggars.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online