The King Is Naked - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The King Is Naked

It is very important to silence the man who first cries out, ‘the king is naked,’ before others pick up the cry.”
— Valentin Moroz, Soviet Dissident

It’s State of the Union night.

And the state of Obama’s America is not good.

The news is out. The king is naked. The Emperor has no clothes.

Jobs: Ninety-two million Americans are out of the workforce.

Health Insurance: Five-plus million Americans who had health insurance have now lost that health insurance. As many as 25 million more could lose their insurance this year. All of it due to Obamacare.

Poverty: Fifty million Americans now live below the poverty level, a number which has risen to the highest level in American history since the 1960’s as calculated by the US Department of Labor.

 • Food Stamps: A recordforty seven million Americans are on Food Stamps.

U.S. Debt: Now stands at a first-time record of over $17 trillion. The national debt has increased by $6 trillion under Obama, surpassing George W. Bush’s eight years back in 2012 — after just three years and two months in office. 

Energy: And as the cold grips America, energy costs soar.

As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union Address tonight, it is past time to let the President off the hook.

You read that right.

These dismal facts above (and more) are not Mr. Obama’s fault.

The reason for the State of Obama’s America isn’t Obama.

The reason for the State of Obama’s America is… liberalism. Or, if you prefer, socialism. Progressivism.

From the $20 trillion spent on LBJ’s War on Poverty to the cause of what the Obama White House loves to refer to as “the Great Recession” of 2008 on through to the dreadfully poor state of today’s American economy, as Mr. Obama takes to the podium tonight he does so as Exhibit A that the central idea of increasing the role of government in American life has proved itself to be an abject failure.

An utter disaster.

To take but one example, let us recall that the “Great Recession” was directly the result of the drive by liberals in the Clinton-era to reduce lending standards for those who could not afford home ownership. Barack Obama hadn’t even been elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois when this liberal gem was being burnished as the latest Utopian ideal. As Peter Wallison reported in detail here all the way back in May of 2011.

Wrote Wallison, who would go on to be a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, a 10-member body appointed by Congress to investigate the causes of the financial crisis of 2008:

I believe that the sine qua non of the financial crisis was U.S. government housing policy, which led to the creation of 27 million subprime and other risky loans — half of all mortgages in the United States — which were ready to default as soon as the massive 1997-2007 housing bubble began to deflate. If the U.S. government had not chosen this policy path — fostering the growth of a bubble of unprecedented size and an equally unprecedented number of weak and high-risk residential mortgages — the great financial crisis of 2008 would never have occurred.

….the financial crisis of 2008 was caused by government housing policies…. If we don’t learn that important lesson, we will make the same mistake again, and then we really will have another financial crisis.” 

Catch that key phrase: “…caused by government housing policies…”

What Wallison is touching on here is the central nerve of the Left. The obsession with using the government to create Utopia. Or, as Mark Levin has precisely labeled it: Ameritopia.

In the case of the “Great Recession,” the goal at hand was to use the government to manipulate the housing market. Liberals carried the day. They got their wish… and the American economy blew up.

This appalling saga was detailed by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner in their 2011 bestseller Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon.

Morgenson is a New York Times financial editor, and she pulls no punches in telling the tale, whose central players include ex-Vice President Walter Mondale aide James Johnson, then the CEO of Fannie Mae. She lists as a “feckless regulator” both Andrew Cuomo, now Governor of New York and then-Clinton Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Timothy Geithner, then the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and later President Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury. In which latter job, it should be noted, Geithner played a central role in designing the Obama economic policies that have produced the appallingly poor economic conditions that the country now faces after five full years of Obamanomics.

But it is as wrong as it easy to attribute all of this to Obama. Or for that matter to attribute any of the results to a Cuomo or a Geithner or any other liberal/progressive/socialist.

The core problem is the eternally animating idea of the Left. The leftist obsession — and it is an obsession — with creating a government-run Utopia.

That this never works is something liberals never will acknowledge.

Last week in this space, speaking of that “feckless regulator” Andrew Cuomo in a piece we titled“Andrew Cuomo’s Soviet America,” we noted a book from 1976 on the old Soviet Union — the “Socialist Paradise” that famously was pushed to collapse in 1991 by the combined efforts of President Ronald Reagan, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. A collapse that stunned liberals of the day, who saw the Socialist Paradise as both eternal and a superior alternative to American capitalism.

The book, The Russians, illustrated with a crystal clear clarity how socialism actually works in practice.

Here are but two signs of the state of Obama’s America straight out of the old Soviet Union.

It creates a world of special privileges for favored elites.

 Can there be anything more illustrative of how this works in America than the recent to-do over First Lady Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday? Famously, after the family Christmas holidays spent in Hawaii, the President departed with the kids and left behind Mrs. Obama. Who camped out in one of Oprah Winfrey’s homes with Oprah’s pal, CBS anchor Gayle King, Sharon Malone, the wife of Attorney General Eric Holder, and Valerie Jarrett, the President’s closest aide. Followed by this party featuring Beyoncé and…well, here’s how CBS described it: 

Also among the 500 guests who celebrated in the East Room of the White House were Vice President Joe Biden, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Paul McCartney, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend (who sang two versions of “Happy Birthday” to Mrs. Obama), Smokey Robinson, Samuel L. Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Magic Johnson, Ashley Judd, former Olympic figure skater and current State Department senior adviser Michelle Kwan, tennis great Billie Jean King, TV host Rachel Ray and singer James Taylor, according to reports.


No one…or at least not here in this corner…begrudges anyone, Mrs. Obama included, a whiz bang of a birthday party or time with friends. She isn’t the first First Lady to enjoy the White House, and she won’t be the last.

If all we were talking was a birthday party, no one would care. The real point here is that, just as in the Soviet Union, the policies of the progressive/liberal/socialist mind-set deliberately create a two-tiered America. Shutting off opportunity for those who are not the favored elites, while strictly regulating the lives of those who are decidedly not the elite. The people singing and dancing the night away at that Michelle Obama party no longer have to worry about being one of the 92 million Americans who have stopped looking for work as a result of Obamanomics. No one at the Michelle Obama party, you can be sure, will be trusting their health to Obamacare. Rising energy prices? No big deal to people who own their own private jets or fly on the private jets of others.

The reason the Michelle Obama birthday bashes in Hawaii and the White House drew so much criticism is that they are the perfect illustration of what happens — inevitably and always — in a socialist/progressive/liberal economy.

It creates — and demands — a “near perfect conformism in public life,” using the power of the state “to bring non-conformists to heel.”

Barack Obama is “The One,” as his friend Oprah once dubbed him. Or the “messiah,” as Barbara Walters called him not long ago.

And if you don’t agree?

Again the quote with which we began, a particular quote from a Soviet dissident when Soviet Communism was riding high:

“It is very important to silence the man who first cries out ‘the king is naked,’ before others pick up the cry.”

And who is one of America’s most famous dissidents in Obama’s America?

That would be Dinesh D’Souza, the former Reagan aide (yes, full disclosure, a down-the-hall colleague of mine in the Reagan White House) and, in this context, the man behind the immensely popular 2012 book and film The Roots of Obama’s Rage, in which Dinesh did exactly what that Soviet dissident discussed.

As it were, Dinesh D’Souza stood up and proclaimed that “the king is naked.”

And just as regularly happened in the Soviet Union and in fact is a regular feature of the socialist state, Dinesh D’Souza now stands literally indicted for some silly campaign finance infraction.

Hillary Clinton made $100,000 grand on cattle futures, Barack Obama got a sweet deal on his property from Tony Rezko, and… no…big….deal. Indeed, the biggest penalty Mr. Obama had to pay for his deal was a story like this one in the Washington Post headlined:

Obama Says He Regrets Land Deal With Fundraiser

In Mrs. Clinton’s case, back there in First Lady of Arkansas days, the Washington Post reported the tale of a $12,000 investment requirement that somehow went invisible when Mrs. Clinton could only cough up $1,000. A federal investigation? Are you kidding?

This is the ultimate Power of the State in a progressive/socialist/liberal era. And make no mistake the State in Obama’s America is going to use this power aimed directly at those like D’Souza who proclaim that “the king is naked.”

Speaking of which, having noted Mrs. Obama’s time in Hawaii at Oprah’s estate…what if her name was not Mrs. Barack Obama…but Mrs. Bob McDonnell? The wife of the ex-GOP Governor of Virginia now under indictment for….yes…accepting gifts from wealthy friends.

As President Obama takes to the podium tonight in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, it is important to finally say.

Yes, the “king is naked.

But most importantly, so is The American Left.

A poverty-inducing, job killing, health insurance-wrecking, elitist philosophy that needs at last to be called to account in Obama’s America.

The State of Obama’s America?

The king is naked.

More importantly the king’s ideas are naked.

And it isn’t a pretty sight. 

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 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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