The Obama Watch

The Laborer in the Vineyard

Obama's working vacation isn't working.

By 8.25.11

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Sensitive to the criticism of President Obama's posh vacation at Martha's Vineyard, the White House has made sure to highlight any work performed by him during it. The White House photo of the day on Wednesday shows him on the phone with French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Previous photos of the day show him gravely conferring with national security adviser John Brennan. He went through the motions of checking in on things after the earthquake disrupted his golf game, and the White House has let it be known that he has been brainstorming with Warren Buffett  and others about how to jumpstart the economy.

Events in Tripoli gave him an occasion to step before the presidential podium and take some credit for the removal of Gaddafi from power. But as he was paying tribute to the vindication of human rights in Libya, his vice president was busy rationalizing their violation in China.

Joe Biden can always be counted on to blurt out the true views of the left and didn't disappoint when asked about China's one-child policy. "Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I am not second-guessing -- of one child per family," said Biden during a university visit in Chengdu. Biden went on to criticize the policy, but only on utilitarian grounds, saying that "you're in a position where one wage earner will be taking care of four retired people," which is "not sustainable."

Biden's office has now revised and extended his remark. "The Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China's coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization," said Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff. "The vice president believes such practices are repugnant."

From "I fully understand" the practice to considering it "repugnant" would seem to require more of an explanation. What makes it repugnant? That it involves poor planning for the care of seniors? The truth is that the left does "fully understand" the policy, especially since it played such a large role in spreading overpopulation fears to China in the 1970s that gave rise to the policy. Even today members of the Planned Parenthood crowd support China's one-child policy.

Earlier this month, Norman Fleishman, the former director of Planned Parenthood World Population in Los Angeles, rose to defend it.  In a letter to the editor of the Napa Valley Register in support of Obamacare's free contraceptives mandate, Fleishman wrote, "Unless we act  (this legislation, along with China's 'one-child' policy, is a start), the world is doomed to strangle among coils of pitiless exponential growth."

One of Biden's predecessors, Al Gore, fully understands the policy too. He goes around saying that population control is the most fundamental solution to global warming. Under this mindset, coercing family limitation is a small and necessary price to pay for saving the planet. To environmentalists who read books like The World Without Us, China's one-child policy may even be seen as too generous.

That Biden felt the need to offer some cursory utilitarian criticism of the policy is perhaps the most curious element in his remark, since the left shows no such concern about America's own declining birth rates. Indeed, as Fleishman's letter above inadvertently implies, Obamacare's mandate of free contraceptives and China's one-child policy flow from the same myopic mentality. Biden's warning to the Chinese applies to birth-dearth America too. While Obama's America doesn't have a coerced one-child policy, it is moving toward a voluntary one. Immigration may offset this trend, but that can only last so long. Obama's free contraceptives mandate and other entitlements won't remain free once there are no children around to grow up and pay for them.  

The media noted that Obama only purchased fiction on his stop at a Martha's Vineyard bookstore, though he did come close to nonfiction with his purchase of Brave New World for his daughter Malia. Yet at this point, that book almost looks like dated nonfiction, as Obama's America hurtles towards newer dystopias.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.