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The American people elected Barack Obama, but what they have gotten is a snootful of Nancy Pelosi.
This was a good cop / bad cop pairing, if ever there was one: he, the dreamer, the spinner of words and the perfect front man; she, the partisan bully and de facto shaper of policy. The co-presidency of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi is one of the stranger outcomes of the last election.
Imagine if it had been her name instead of his at the top of Democrat ticket last November. That is a race that even old, tired and badly confused John McCain could have won by the widest of margins.
The American people elected Barack Obama, but what they have gotten — in domestic policy matters — is a snootful of Nancy Pelosi. To quote long-time Democratic Party activist Ted Van Dyk, what they have gotten is “an expensive mess” — a series of hastily conceived bills “loaded with costly provisions designed to gain support from congressional leaders and special-interest constituencies.”
While the president has been running around the world giving speeches, Pelosi has taken charge of domestic policy. It was she who cobbled together the stimulus package and she who has taken the lead in setting energy and healthcare policies.
Mr. Van Dyk, who was active in Lyndon Johnson’s White House, hoots at the idea — floated by White House staffers — that the Obama’s strategy in pushing health-care and energy initiatives brooks comparison with the way Johnson pushed his Great Society legislation. In an article in the Wall Street Journal he wrote:
Johnson’s initiatives were framed in the White House by his administration…. Your (Obama) strategy, by contrast, has been to advocate forcefully for health-care and energy reform but to leave the details to Democratic congressional committee chairs. You did the same thing with your initial $787 billion stimulus package. Now, you’re stuck with a plan that provides little stimulus until 2010. A president should never cede control of his main agenda to others.
But it is questionable how much the president knows or cares about domestic policy issues, beyond wanting to present himself — first, last and always — as the champion of urgently needed change.
In his book Dreams from My Father, he tells how he came to give his first speech as a student at Occidental College in Los Angeles. “As something of a lark,” he says, he became involved in a campaign calling for disinvestment in South Africa. Obama says he approached the microphone “in a trancelike state” and began:
“There’s a struggle going on,” I said. My voice barely carried beyond the first few rows. A few people looked up and I waited for the crowd to quiet.
“I say, there’s a struggle going on!”
The Frisbee players stopped.
“It’s happening an ocean away. But it’s a struggle that touches each and every one of us. Whether we know it or not. Whether we want it or not. A struggle that demands we choose sides. Not between black and white. Not between rich and poor. No — it’s a harder choice than that. It’s a choice between dignity and servitude. Between fairness and justice. A choice between right and wrong …
Whatever those words were supposed to mean, they had an electric effect upon the audience. This, then, was vintage Obama — at the tender age of 20 — speaking in a way that seems to transcend both race and class. But listen to his response a couple pages later when a co-worker compliments him on his speech:
“It was short, anyway.”
Regina ignored my sarcasm. “That’s what made it so effective,” she said. “You spoke from the heart, Barack. It made people want to hear more…”
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?