Has the Fantasy Died, Yet?

You know whom I haven’t heard from, lately? Those centrists and conservatives who were so sure that Barack Obama’s natural tendency toward dialogue and cooperation would temper — maybe even cancel out — the liberalism of his past. Their silence is understandable; this must be an awful bulk to absorb among the hopes and impressions they imbibed while splashing about in the zeitgeist of the campaign (emphasis added):

While tackling the economic crisis, he is asking Congress to enact contentious measures that have been debated, but not decided, in calmer times: cut subsidies for big farms; combat global warming with a pollution tax on industries; raise taxes on the wealthy; make big changes to health care, including lower reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid treatments and prescription drugs.
Standing alone, any one of these proposals would trigger a brawl in Congress and fierce debates outside Washington. Obama wants the proposals done largely in concert, as an interrelated plan to undo major elements of Ronald Reagan’s conservative movement.
“They’re gearing up for a fight,” he said. “So am I.”

Remember just a few years ago, when folks were touting Reagan as the cool head that President Bush ought to emulate? When the success of welfare reform was common knowledge? Or when this interview, which led the Obama campaign to blacklist a television station, was much more controversial than it should have been:

West bored in, quoting Karl Marx’s “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” and asked Biden, “How is Senator Obama not being a Marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around?”
Biden appeared stunned and asked, “Are you joking? Is this a joke?”
He then insisted that despite Obama’s declaration that he would spread the wealth around, Obama “is not spreading the wealth around.” …
West returned to the “spreading the wealth” question, asking Biden what he’d “say to the people who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn America into a socialist country much like Sweden?”
Biden again ducked the question, saying only that he didn’t know anybody who thinks that, “except the far-right wing of the Republican Party.”

A far broader swath of the American population may begin to “think that,” now that the proposition’s thorough possibility is coming to light. Consider:

Some liberal-leaning foundations are unhappy about his proposed reduction in the tax deductibility of gifts to charity from wealthy people.

What will we need private charities for when the government picks up the slack? “Obama’s gonna change it; Obama’s gonna lead ’em,” as the children sing. It’s just a matter of selling the plan, as we flip through the milestones to subjugation.

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Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

Was it Mark Twain that said “history doesn’t repeat, but it rhymes”?
In any case, present times increasingly are seeming to “rhyme” with the early 1930’s.
Yet we seem not to have any Churchill’s raising the alarm, and poised to lead when we wake up to “the gathering storm.”

Justin Katz
14 years ago

I was going to include the following line in the post, but it went a different direction: Obama’s trying to answer the ’30s with the ’70s.
Tough and dangerous times ahead.

14 years ago

He will lose a lot of upper-middle class people with these tax hikes.
Look for a surprise in November from New Jersey’s governor race. Actually, not a surprise. The incumbent “progressive” was behind 6% last time I checked.

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