Another Perspective

Barack Obama, Closet Conservative?

Not really, but he is big on “complexity.”

By 1.28.14

UPI
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And what, sir, is your greatest strength?

We may savor the absurdity of what the still preening but failed president had to say about that — in the long puff piece by David Remnick that appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of the New Yorker.

President Obama patted himself on the head — declaring that he, more than other men, was “comfortable with complexity.” It is well to dwell upon those words for a moment — even if you plan to give tonight’s state-of-the-union a miss.

On the eve of destruction — with the United States somehow re-arraigned on the side of Russia and Iran as Iran races to build nuclear weaponry to use against Israel and our traditional allies among Arab states — Barack Obama is comfortable with a new brand of complexity in foreign affairs, which consists of embracing your enemies, abandoning your friends, and flying by the seat of your pants. We arrived at where we are today in the derangement of strategic alliances in the Mideast because of a careless remark that John Kerry made — which Vladimir Putin used both to bail Barack Obama out of a jam of his own making (having declared a “red line” in Syria that would prompt U.S. military intervention), and to undermine U.S. ties to long-standing allies in the region.

Likewise, our president is comfortable with a high degree of complexity — or even chaos — in the provision of health care. He has used a heap of broken promises to sell a program that has already caused five million Americans to lose their health insurance plans — with tens of millions more likely to find themselves in the same predicament in coming months… as thousands of companies get ready to dump their employees into the new health insurance exchanges. It’s full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes on this one (and forget he ever said if you like your health plan, you could keep it).

Having turned his back on free enterprise as the supposed engine of greed and inequality, Barack Obama is completely comfortable with the complexity of paying people not to work and seeing more and more people drop out of the work force.

Barack Obama’s high comfort level with complexity is his own special bubble as he goes about making his own brand of history — wreaking destruction in every direction but feeling nothing but the greatest contentment with his own level of comprehension and performance.

When Barack Obama says he is “comfortable with complexity,” he means, among other things, that he is blind to his own faults; that he is capable of the most extraordinary veniality and partisanship; that he loves the sound of his own voice even when discoursing about things he knows little or nothing about; and that the truth in his hands is as malleable as putty (allowing him to make it anything he wants it to be, whether it is making outlandish claims about the millions of jobs “created or saved” through the stimulus program or blaming the attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi on an anti-Islamist video made in the U.S.).

Would you believe that Barack Obama was a closet conservative?

You confront that ridiculous thought if you make your way through the 17,000-word New Yorker article. Not the least of the presidential conceits that you are forced to put up with in this hail-to-the-chief is the thought that Obama is comfortable with the complexity of conservative thought. Remnick throws in a number of passages like this one, with a lot of flabby, run-on sentences and a nod or two to the right: 

Indeed, Obama is quick to show a measure of sympathy with the Reagan-era conservative analysis of government. “This is where sometimes progressives get frustrated with me,” he said, “because I actually think there was a legitimate critique of the welfare state getting bloated, and relying too much on command and control, top-down government programs to address it back in the seventies. It’s also ironic when I’m accused of being this raging socialist who wants to amass more and more power for their [sic] own government.… But I do think that some of the anti-government rhetoric, anti-tax rhetoric, anti-spending rhetoric that began before Reagan but fully flowered during the Reagan presidency accelerated trends that were already existing, or at least robbed us of some tools to deal with the downsides of globalization and technology, and that with just some modest modification we could grow this economy faster and benefit more people and provide more opportunity.

But that is Obama hinting at a bit of open-mindedness in playing to a crowd of true believers. What were those “tools” that government used to have “to deal with the downsides of globalization and technology”? Whatever the hell they were, Obama wants them back — and anything else that government can use to stifle individual freedom and personal responsibility.

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About the Author
Andrew B. Wilson, a frequent contributor to The American Spectator and a former foreign correspondent, writes from St. Louis.