Succeed At What?

By: Eddie Clements

The question being asked, perhaps rhetorically, is “do we want Obama to succeed?” Public figures like Newt Gingrich, and quite publicly President Bush, said “yes”. They did exactly and understandably as one might expect, given their positions.

Others may take a different view and qualify the question by asking, “succeed at what?”

The incoming President-Elect has by his past verbal and written speech, personal associations, and actions as a community organizer, demonstrated who he is and what he thinks the role of government should be. The old word for it would be Communist. That description is no longer fashionable, and is treated as an epithet met with some measure of emotion ranging from disgust to horror. However, the old standby should be evoked that if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck and acts like a duck then it must be … a socialist?

Mr. Obama proposes budgetary options resembling income redistribution, no matter how fancy it all sounds with the rhetoric meant to calm and inspire. After all, you can put lipstick on a pig, it’s still … a duck?

Do we want him to succeed at supporting half the country through the other half’s work? NO. Do we want to institutionalize one fundamental concept from Marx’s Communist Manifesto, “from each according to his means, to each according to his needs”? NO. If not, how is that phrase different from Mr. Obama’s statement that wealth should be shared?

Do we want Mr. Obama to treat terrorists as criminals instead of enemy combatants? Do we want to open our nation to more attacks? NO. More broadly, do we seek the defeat of a virulent anti-Americanism rooted in religious fanaticism that has become structural within whole nations, or an accommodation with what might be described as “a few disgruntled elements of some societies”? The former is the conservative, or realist view of terrorism, while the latter is the way liberals see terrorists. Is the solution to send them more doctors and engineers, as intellectual luminaries like Ted Turner and Deepak Chopra suggest, or tell them “You kill us, we kill you back. You join the world of civilized people, you will be treated with the respect you deserve”? Mr. Obama says the proposed appointment of Leon Panetta will result in changes that will provide greater security to Americans. We haven’t been attacked since 9/11, how does “improve security” improve on that record?

Do we want the new administration to change its policy as to who gets investigated and charged, after promising transparency? YES. Or will transparency just be limited to seeing where the wealth confiscated from us goes? NO, don’t want that. Will Republicans, particularly conservatives, be treated equally with Democrats? Specifically, will alleged tax cheats like Charlie Rangel actually be treated like tax cheats, or will they be excused because of party affiliation? Will Barney Frank and Chris Dodd be accountable for their role in the financial debacle now being used as an excuse to destabilize our economy with an excess of printed money that has no backing in goods or services? A destabilization used as a club to beat up liberty-loving capitalists who prefer not to be chattels to a deliberate scheme of nationalization?

Are we to believe the things said during the campaign were just talk to get elected? Some say that when Mr. Obama occupies the chair of office the responsibilities placed on him will force a move toward more centrist thinking. We all hope that is the case, but it would require that Mr. Obama’s views undergo wholesale renovation. He has said in a radio interview years ago the Constitution lacks language requiring government to “do” certain things for people. We assume he means provide to those who need it things like health care, food, housing, and jobs. But these are things leaders have struggled with for years the world over. Usually it has meant providing at least enough of these things to prevent civil unrest leading to violence and destabilization of leadership organs. Despite some difficulties, capitalism has done pretty well providing these things already, in America and other places where it has been tried. Capitalism has in fact propelled Communist China to new economic heights, and is emerging nicely in Russia. Why make wholesale changes to a working social system just because every last single member of that society doesn’t benefit equally? Such a course would be counterproductive.

The answer offered to the proposed question for many of the above is a resounding NO. Certainly we all say YES to the positive things. Certainly a successful presidency benefits us all, under normal circumstances. Even with tenuous circumstances such as exist now, wholesale change is not a good prescription for progress. Despite many leftist commentators’ willingness to pronounce conservatism dead, methinks reports of its demise are premature. It breathes still in the national body, though those same commentators wish to describe the nation as left-leaning. The philosophy of the left requires fealty to the state, a notion making most Americans wary. Most Americans, let’s call them a Silent Majority, are satisfied with the system but want less regulation and lower taxes. The Obama administration has stated clearly it wants the opposite.

For the supporters of Mr. Obama, the answer has already been supplied simply by his election; that is success enough. Of course they want more, but doesn’t everyone? Mr. Obama will never know anything but success, because a mendacious press that elected him refuses to provide truthful information on his performance, as they have on his past. For example, the press did not question the Obama team’s statement clearing the team of any wrongdoing in the Blagojevich scandal. Neither have they conducted any independent probing of the matter, nor will they. The press created him; his success is their success. As dismal as his transition has been, there will be no fallout. Obama’s success is assured, an outcome as predetermined as temperature measurements that will always prove global warming, despite the thermometer readings.

“Do you want Obama to succeed” is therefore a trick question. Answering YES implies one wants whatever he wants. If one says NO, then you are a cynic, pessimist, racist, partisan, NAZI … choose your epithet. No, the question is not “do we want Obama to succeed” but instead is “will Obama’s foreordained success translate into success for Americans?”

Eddie Clements

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