Gorby Obama and the Collapse of the American Left - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Gorby Obama and the Collapse of the American Left

In an ironic sense Karl Marx was right. We are witnessing today a great revolutionary crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting directly with those of the political And one of the simple but overwhelming facts of our time is this: Of all the millions of refugees we’ve seen in the modern world, their flight is always away from, not toward the Communist world…. What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term — the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash-heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people.
 — President Ronald Reagan addressing the British Parliament, 1982

It’s over.

For the American Left — those who have made it their work to enshrine Leftist or Leftist Lite ideology into American life and law — the end is nigh. Ronald Reagan accurately predicted a similar fate for their more heavy-handed Communist cousins, and now their own demise is clearly in progress.

 And Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson have left Barack Obama holding the bag.

If in fact Reagan was right about the inevitability of the collapse of Communism — and to the astonishment of his critics he was — his “ash heap of history” speech more than applies to those who seriously believed that with a nip here and a tuck there the same left-wing theories could work in America.

By the 1980’s Reagan — and others like British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II — were dealing in a world where the signs of an eventual Communist collapse were apparent in all manner of events large and small. Here are but a few of those signs:

East and West Germany: The two side-by-side nations, artificial constructs dating from the end of World War II, had become vivid symbols of the successes of a Western-style capitalist democracy versus a Communist Left socialist state. Prosperity oozed from West Germany — and West Berlin. Germans were constantly trying to flee the East for the West.

The Berlin Wall: While many in the day saw it as a permanent fixture, in fact it was a literally concrete-and-mortar admission of Communism as a failure. This showcased a society that depended on force to keep its people from leaving.

Rebellions in the Soviet Empire: From East Germany in 1953 to Hungary in 1956 to Czechoslovakia in 1968 and even in Poland as early as 1970, rebellions against the Communist rulers had broken out.

Poland and the rise of Solidarity: It was becoming increasingly clear that the Communist government of Poland could no longer hide its economic failures. A prominent Catholic priest, Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a leading Polish dissident, disappeared — his bound body finally discovered in the River Vistula. The leader of Solidarity, Lech Walesa, became internationally famous as he organized union strikes against the regime. And perhaps most dramatically, the Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II, electrifying Poland and those trapped behind the Iron Curtain.

Failure in Afghanistan: The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a failure, stretching an already failing empire for cash and troops.

The Arms Race: It was becoming increasingly clear that with an economy in tatters, it was impossible for the Soviets to maintain a serious arms race with the United States.

Collectively these facts telegraphed (to those paying attention, at least) that the entire idea of Communism was, in Reagan’s words, a “form of insanity — a temporary aberration” in history.

Famously, Reagan — against the most assured “wisdom” of the day — believed that to challenge Communism directly was to win, because the insanity was ultimately unsustainable.

Take a good look around the real world in which President Obama is now operating. What do you see?

Debt ceiling: A national debt of $14.2 trillion, with no end in sight. This has launched a battle royal over raising the limit yet again without increases and with spending cuts.

Wisconsin: Angry Wisconsin state workers demanding a continuation of benefits the governor says will drive the state toward bankruptcy. Similar fights have erupted in New Jersey and Ohio.

Moody’s and the U.S. credit rating: Various credit rating agencies warn that to continue on the economic path of Obamanomics is to lose the AAA rating held by the U.S. government since 1917.

Social Security Trust Fund: The Obama threat not to pay Social Security checks on August 3 is, in the words of our friends at the Wall Street Journal: an “admission, however inadvertent, that the government has spent so much that even its own accounting and political fictions are collapsing.

ObamaCare Insurance ‘Exchanges’: The Obama Department of Health and Human Services issues new “draft regulations” that tells the states how they will be forced to do what the feds want them to do. This would be one rule from that famous 2000-plus page ObamaCare bill signed into law over the objections of a majority of Americans.

Tax War Between States: It’s no secret. After decades of raising taxes, states like California, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan have looked around to realize their taxpayers and companies — drained of money — have chosen to fight back by moving. Their feet are taking them to places like Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama. The congressional representation of these latter states increases proportionately while the former states lose congressmen.

This is the American equivalent of all those East Germans fleeing to West Germany once upon a time. It is the more decent version of why North Korea starves — literally begging for help as seen here while South Korea brims with prosperity.

The other day, news accounts reported that President Obama had angrily turned on Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and snapped “Eric, don’t call my bluff” — and stomped out of the room. Why?

When one steps back from the Super Bowl-style coverage (Who’s ahead? Who fumbled? Who scored?), the reason for Obama’s anger is clear. Even if he himself doesn’t see it — or more likely refuses to see it — Barack Obama has been left holding the bag by several of his liberal predecessors.

From Woodrow Wilson to Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, JFK and particularly Lyndon Johnson — the working assumption was always that you could endlessly increase government spending and the size of government and that all would be just dandy. There were even Republican presidents who bought into this idea, albeit moderates like Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford and the Bushes – men who did the deal with that famous moderate Republican inclination, “we’ll do X, just for half the cost.”

America is fast reaching the end-game here. What has gone on for decades is now patently unsustainable and is, in fact, collapsing right in front of our eyes. The core assumptions of the American Left — as with the core assumptions of the Communist Left — are slowly but surely taking that final ride to the ash heap of history. American history.

To watch the debt-ceiling fight, the Wisconsin (or New Jersey or Ohio) fight, to understand why people are fleeing states like New York or California for Texas or Florida or North Carolina, to know why Moody’s threatens and that the idea behind the Social Security Trust Fund is both an accounting and a political fiction — all of it taken together is to understand just why President Obama is so very, very angry.

He’s the president left holding the bag.

For Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom, FDR’s New Deal, Truman’s Fair Deal, JFK’s New Frontier, and LBJ’s Great Society.

Confident in their — and his — progressive beliefs, Obama sat down as if at a national poker game and bet the farm, the ranch, the trailer park and as many tents as he could scramble up. In doing this the national media egged him on — as with this Time cover photoshopping Obama into a jaunty FDR. The caption: “The New New Deal.” What was Obama to think but that he could play the old game and win big?

Unless you believe — and some do — that Obama has done all he’s done knowing that he would fail, and that the entire idea was to bankrupt the country, there is only one other logical answer.

And that answer came from Reagan when he correctly anticipated by nine years the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Communist Left:

We are witnessing today a great revolutionary crisis, a crisis where the demands of the economic order are conflicting directly with those of the political order.”

That is exactly what is happening today with the American Left. The economic demands of hard reality — whether they take the shape of the debt, the actual condition of the Social Security Trust Fund, Moody’s or Wisconsin state employees and so on — are, to use Reagan’s words again; “conflicting directly with those (demands) of the political order.”

That political order — the politics of the America Left — has now finally hit the wall. Big time.

The party is over. Whatever happens with the debt ceiling battle or Moody’s and the rest will come — and go. But going with it is the once deeply politically powerful and saleable message that was phrased this way by FDR when he accepted his re-nomination for president in 1936:

“Governments can err, presidents do make mistakes, but the immortal Dante tells us that Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales. Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”

The idea that to continuously increase government spending while endlessly enlarging the government and raising taxes was somehow just a trifling collection of “sins of the warm-hearted” has now collapsed. Ironically, it’s the tax-and-spenders who now appear as “frozen in the ice” of their own indifference, relentlessly demanding more, more MORE!!!

It may take more time to see it. It may occur in slow-motion. It took nine years from Reagan’s “ash heap of history” speech in 1982 until the Soviet Union collapsed, dissolving on December 31, 1991. But collapse it did. Even with survivors among the wreckage (Putin) the Communist giant was dead.

Gorbachev, left holding the bag handed down from Lenin, was the last Soviet President.

President Obama, whether he abruptly walks out of future meetings or not, is now immortalized.

America’s first black president.

And the last president from the hard-core American Left.


Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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