The Obama Watch

How Obama Succeeds By Failing

Ryan on the American Tipping Point: it's the socialism, stupid.

By 8.30.12

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"Perhaps you and I have lived with this miracle too long to be properly appreciative. Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom and then lost it have never known it again." -- Ronald Reagan, January 1967

Why did Obama fail?

Or has Obama actually succeeded?

The debt soars to $16 trillion. Millions are out of work to the tune of an 8.3% unemployment rate, with the CBO predicting it will keep on climbing to 9% by 2013 -- now only five short months away. One could go on, yipping and yapping about everything from the price of a gallon of gas (already headed north to four bucks a gallon, it spiked again Wednesday from a nickel to as much as 14 cents in the wake of Hurricane Isaac) to the crony capitalism of Solyndra.

So the question isn't "has Obama failed"? No, the real question is:

Why did Obama fail? And in the world of socialists and progressives, isn't this failure a success?

And the second question? When will the GOP begin linking Obama's results to Obama's beliefs?

Let's return to the 2008 Democratic primary debates when then-Senator Obama was asked about raising taxes on capital gains. ABC's Charlie Gibson asked Obama:

Gibson: And in each instance, when the [capital gains tax] rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?

Obama: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

In spite of the fact -- say again the hard fact -- that lowering capital gains taxes brought in more revenue, what was driving Obama was "fairness."

Let's turn to one of GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's favorite economists -- the Austrian Ludwig von Mises: 

Any advocate of socialistic measures is looked upon as the friend of the Good, the Noble, and the Moral, as a disinterested pioneer of necessary reforms, in short, as a man who unselfishly serves his own people and all humanity, and above all as a zealous and courageous seeker after truth. But let anyone measure Socialism by the standards of scientific reasoning, and he at once becomes a champion of the evil principle, a mercenary serving the egotistical interests of a class, a menace to the welfare of the community, an ignoramus outside the pale. For the most curious thing about this way of thinking is that it regards the question of whether Socialism or Capitalism will better serve the public welfare, as settled in advance -- to the effect, naturally, that Socialism is considered good and Capitalism as evil -- whereas in fact of course only by a scientific inquiry could the matter be decided. The results of economic investigations are met, not with arguments, but with …"moral pathos" …and on which Socialists and (Statists) always fall back, because they find no answer to the criticism to which science subjects their doctrines.

In other words, a rigorous scientific examination of socialism repeatedly shows it to be a failure.

A disastrous failure.

Which is what explains the debt, the high unemployment, the high gas prices, Solyndra, the halting of production on the Chevy Volt and all the rest of the last four years of disaster.

Here's Larry Kudlow of CNBC, a former Reagan colleague, explaining the basics of this latest try of socialist economics, this time as tried by Mr. Obama.. "If it was going to work," says economist Kudlow of Obamanomics, "it would have worked."

Clearly, it didn't. Or did it?

Kudlow made his remarks at former Speaker Newt Gingrich's "Newt University" -- a convention-long rolling seminar on the challenges facing the country in the 2012 election.

Most impressively at Newt U., here is small businessman David Park, a Korean-American, discussing his hard won American success as a capitalist. At one point he notes the famous photograph of the Korean peninsula at night taken by a NASA satellite. South Korea -- the capitalist half of Korea, is ablaze in light. North Korea, the socialist half, is completely black other than a dot of light that marks the capital of Pyongyang. Assessing Obamanomics, Park says the obvious: America is being led away from the light of capitalism towards the dark side that is socialism, with all the dire and quite predictable results socialism delivers.

Yet people fall for socialist economics over and over again through the decades because it is always presented by its advocates as a matter of "fairness." Any question of whether it works in practice are waved aside with questions of morality. Either that or the outright fabrication that amidst all the obvious resulting disaster -- why yes, it really is working!!!!! As a matter of fact, here is President Obama insisting just that. "We tried our plan and it worked," he says, illustrating vividly in real time today precisely the socialist denial Mises was talking about over 80 years go!

But is Obama really in denial? Or, from the stand point of a leftist in bringing the American Experiment to ground, isn't he succeeding?

What Mr. Obama is doing right now -- he has in fact spent his entire career doing. Where are all those glowing media stories about how much better off the South Side of Chicago was after the famous community organizer departed? There are none, of course. Because it simply didn't happen.

Or did it? Isn't creating a community of perpetual economic misery throbbing with racism and thuggish union leaders part of the eternal leftist plan?

In fact, now that we're down to an Obama-Romney race it's not only accurate to say but embarrassingly accurate to note that Mitt Romney has created more jobs with the creation of Staples -- just one Bain Capital project! -- than Obama did with all of his community activism.

Yet this game of socialist fairness and morality versus the greedy, evil capitalists is played repeatedly. Leftist economics is all about fairness -- and the facts of the resulting disaster are simply ignored. Or trumpeted as a triumph.

Why is this important now?

Because this election cannot be allowed to generate into a personality contest between two men.

It is not enough to defeat Barack Obama with Mitt Romney.

Are there people out there who are angry with Obama? I'll say. Are all these GOP Establishment types right that there are independent voters out there who are simply disappointed with Mr. Obama? That they like him, but they are disappointed at his results? Doubtless.

This Americans for Prosperity commercial for Romney tries to capitalize on that feeling of disappointment. Listen carefully here. These people are saying things like:

They voted for Obama the first time with "no reluctance." Obama had presented himself as "something different." A woman says she hoped Obama would bring "new jobs." They had bought into the "hope and change" mantra.

OK. Fine and dandy.

But none of this says to the watching television audience why all these views of today's voters were inevitable. They were inevitable because based on Obama's belief system the results could not possibly be otherwise.

There is no connecting the dots between Obama's fundamental beliefs and the results Americans are now witnessing. Make that suffering.

Fundamental beliefs now more than obvious as expressed in Obama's book Dreams from My Father. Beliefs seen as repeatedly nurtured in his associations with the socialist Weatherman radical and bomber Bill Ayers and his wife Bernadine Dohrn, the black liberation theologian and longtime Obama pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and his youthful mentor the Communist Frank Marshall Davis.

If in fact running through the long litany of Obama's associations with far-leftist extremists makes GOP consultants wince, at a minimum there needs to be a direct connection made between Obama's belief system and the results of his presidency.

It is simply not enough to say, as Governor Christie did in his keynote speech, that:

"It doesn't matter how we got here."

I confess to hear this from Governor Christie of all people was nothing short of astonishing.

It most certainly does matter how we got here.

We got here because left-leaning housing policies on everything from Fannie Mae to Freddie Mac to the Community Reinvestment Act caused "the mess" that Mr. Obama inherited. Elected amid the resulting disaster, the new president was instantly true to his own leftist radical roots.

Everything that has poured forth from the Obama Administration since Day One in terms of both policy and personnel-- the stimulus, Obamacare, the high unemployment rates, the cost of gas, the Van Jones kerfuffle, the $16 trillion debt, the conduct of the Holder Justice Department on illegal immigration and the refusal to prosecute the New Black Panthers -- every last bit of this and more can be sourced directly to the core beliefs of socialism and radical leftism.

Let's let the GOP's new vice presidential nominee, Congressman Paul Ryan, explain why this matters. In his book Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders (co-written with Congressmen Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy) Ryan recognizes the need to connect the dots between Obama's beliefs and Obama's results when he says this (bold emphasis Ryan's) of what he calls "The Tipping Point": 

In fact, Washington's self-proclaimed Progressives see the crisis in spending and debt coming just as clearly as we do. The difference is, they're not interested in applying the brakes. They want to see America hurtle past the point of no return. They welcome the level of government spending and the level of government control in our lives that's necessary for a European-style welfare state. Their paternalistic philosophy calls for a self-reinforcing expansion of government. This isn't just a narrow political ploy on their part, although an ever-growing population dependent on government is good for the party of government. In advocating government-controlled health care and a national energy tax, Progressives are showing the zeal of their ideological convictions. They truly believe the best course for America is to abandon the idea for a model much like the European Union.

Ryan has it exactly right.

And his presence on the Romney ticket is a hopeful sign that this campaign has now been permanently lifted out of the shallow waters of personality and professional background -- and connected permanently to a theme of core beliefs and results.

The Obama presidency is not a failure because Barack Obama is an incompetent man. He is far from that.

The Obama presidency is a failure because his belief system necessarily results in failure. A failure in creating jobs, lowering unemployment, and keeping gas prices down, to name but three.

But in the world view of the Left, just as Congressman Ryan has said, Obama's failure isn't failure at all.

It's success.

So it is now up to the Romney-Ryan ticket -- and the GOP campaign apparatus -- to educate Americans on the game Obama and company are playing.

While finally shattering -- at least for a generation -- the political viability of the Leftist belief system that undergirds it.

As that sign read on Ronald Reagan's Oval Office desk:

"It CAN be done."

And for America's sake -- it must be done.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.