Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
For eight years, we called a man “monstrous” for running budgetary deficits, sending young people to die on foreign battlefields and ignoring the basic rights of Americans here at home. In response, we elected a man who promised to deliver change.
Our hope was misguided. The change didn’t come.
President Barack Obama has done many reprehensible things as president. He has signed off on legislation that passed the buck in restoring fiscal stability to our nation. He has continued to assault civil liberties and displayed scant respect for human rights. He has been every bit the Bush that Bush ever dreamed to be.
What doesn’t make the list? Religion, Obama’s country of origin, his secret plan to turn America into a communist state, etc. Look, folks, our president is an American-born citizen, who is publicly a Christian.
He isn’t some crazed atheist Islamic fundamentalist secularist goat-herder from Kenya. Saying something enough times doesn’t make something true. Please turn off Fox News and take a few deep breaths.
It’s entirely possible to criticize bad policy decisions from our president without spouting lies. Maybe it’s the super-charged public discourse that makes us hyperventilate when a public official we don’t agree with speaks publicly. Maybe it’s just the pollution. Who knows?
What follows is what the eventual Republican presidential nominee should say about Obama’s failure to deliver hope and change:
The president campaigned on ending the culture of graft, corruption and sleaze in Washington. He’s failed to do so. Crony capitalism continues to run rampant. Donors find the larger the check, the greater the influence. Washington hasn’t changed. This isn’t a good thing.
“The president campaigned promising to stop the radical assault on American freedom perpetrated by the administration of President George W. Bush. He hasn’t. Obama has signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), authorized a drone strike on “American citizens without due process, refused to prosecute war criminals from the prior administration and prolonged the war in Afghanistan. Had he not been a poor negotiator, we’d still be in Iraq. For once, thank God for failure.
“Nothing breeds a climate for stripping liberty like warfare.” Obama ran as an anti-war candidate. He hasn’t delivered.
“While serving in the Senate in 2006, Obama voted against raising the debt limit. Back then, he understood the absurdity of unrestrained spending. Upon entering the Oval Office, he changed his mind.”
Unfortunately, the GOP can’t say any of these things. What’s the common denominator here? The GOP can’t honestly critique the president for these things without criticizing themselves.
Both political parties are wildly corrupt. The surest way to become wealthy in the United States is to win a major political office. Just ask Jon Bruning.
The GOP remains steadfast defenders of war and the crusade against personal freedom. There’s no surer way to see a middle aged man get sexually excited about something than to discuss invading Iran with Rick Santorum.
Finally, the GOP is as guilty (if not more) than Democrats of debt and deficits. Obama isn’t nearly as blame-free as his defenders claim, but the bulk of new debt in the last 50 years stems from GOP presidents. Ask Reagan and George W. Bush where the money went.
The moral of the story is that most political discourse is just that: talk. The United States, once the land of the free and home of the brave, is now the bipartisan home of George Orwell.
We set people free by killing them. We deliver fairness by taxing more. We teach responsibility by running massive deficits and failing to take accountability.
Remember the quote from Animal Farm? “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
Americans have spent the last 150 years working to undo this kind of thinking. As of today, most people can reasonably say that they’re at least political equals. In the sense that matters most for our polity, all animals are equal.
As the eminent scholar Charles Murray said so well, there’s more to being an “American” than most politicians talk about:
“The American project was not about maximizing national wealth nor international dominance. The American project – a phrase you will see again in the chapters to come – consists of the continuing effort, begun with the founding, to demonstrate that human beings can be left free as individuals and families to live their lives as they see fit, coming together to solve their joint problems. The polity based on that idea led to a civic culture that was seen as exceptional by all the world. That culture was so widely shared among Americans that it amounted to a civil religion. To be an American was different from other nationalities, in ways that Americans treasured. That culture is unraveling.”
Being free matters. There is only one candidate between the two major parties who appears to care about letting people live their lives as they see fit. Two words, two syllables.