A Campaign Mystery
By: Ron Lipsman
As obvious as it was in 1980 that Jimmy Carter needed to be ejected from the White House, it is even more plain today that the redistributionist, blame America, crony capitalist-loving statist who is currently in the Oval Office must be expelled. He presents a mortal threat to the continued existence of our country as a constitutionally ordained, federal republic that is committed to individual liberty, free markets, natural rights and American exceptionalism. We have been chipping away at these principles for decades. Obama has accelerated the process toward the tipping point – if we haven’t passed it already. And if we haven’t, we surely shall during a catastrophic second term.
Paraphrasing the Declaration of Independence: The history of the present President of the United States is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
- Obama has exploded the federal deficit and the national debt far beyond reasonable limits. The latter poses an existential fiscal threat to the Republic.
- He has drastically expanded the scope of the federal government and shamelessly increased the number of citizens who are dependent upon it.
- His administration is contemptuous of the law. The extra-legal activities of his Justice Department, the EPA and various “czars” are complemented by his own illegal actions such as making recess appointments when Congress is not in recess and subverting the legislative intent of the bipartisan Welfare Reform Act of 1996.
- He rammed through Congress, by legally dubious means, a radical health care “reform” bill that was opposed by two-thirds of the public, supported by no member of the opposition and rendered legitimate only by the contorted reasoning of a cowardly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Obamacare will raise taxes, severely diminish the quality of America health care, put numerous doctors and hospitals out of business and – unless the death panels really work as some fear – cause federal and State spending on health care to balloon.
- He has multiplied exponentially the number and complexity of federal regulations, all of which are strangling business, crippling the economy and converting ordinary citizens into law-breakers.
- He has birthed Dodd-Frank, an even worse business-killer than Sarbanes-Oxley.
- He bows to foreign leaders, defers to enemies, backstabs allies and engages in unreciprocated, unilateral military disarmament.
- His obsessive promotion of “clean energy” moves us further away from energy independence, exactly at the time when newly discovered domestic energy resources could provide that independence.
- He denigrates our country by disavowing its exceptionalism.
- He surrounds himself with radical leftists like Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod (who are actually less egregious than his pre-election companions) and accepts no advice from any other sources.
- He appoints radicals to the Supreme Court.
- He divides the body politic with irresponsible class warfare rhetoric.
- He seeks amnesty for illegal aliens, refuses to secure the border and sues those States that try to enforce US immigration law.
- He boosts the fortunes of public sector unions despite the now undisputed proof that they are chiefly responsible for the looming bankruptcy of countless localities and many States in the Union.
His main claim for reelection is based on three assertions: Osama is dead, GM is alive and Mitt Romney is a heartless wretch who will reinstate the policies of George W Bush that are responsible for the fiscal calamity that Obama inherited. The last claim, even if it were true, ignores his own pitiful record. Furthermore, all three claims are of dubious truth or merit. Yes, he gave the order to take out Osama – although much evidence points to the fact that he did so reluctantly – but the events of the last few months prove that the war that Osama ignited against the US remains alive and well. Yes, GM is alive –although it’s not so clear how well – but if it had been allowed to file for bankruptcy in the normal fashion, the process might have yielded a much stronger entity than the current Government Motors. And, while it is true that George W Bush’s profligate spending and pseudo-conservatism bear some blame for the country’s fiscal mess, Romney’s policies are more Reaganesque than they are Bush-like. Besides, Obama has actually doubled down on exactly on those aspects of Bush’s policies that were most damaging.
With such a record of unmitigated failure, it seems self evident that the American people will rid themselves of this disaster come November. Romney may not be overly charismatic, or have the wonderful smile that Obama has, but he is clearly competent, experienced, understands the nature of the fallacious policies that Obama has pursued and has clear ideas on how to reorient the nation in the correct direction. So how can the race be tied? With Obama edging into the lead according to many polls? Why isn’t Romney ahead by 20 points? Why indeed?
I believe the reasons are fourfold:
- Romney. There is a compelling analogy between the 1980 campaign and the current one. Carter’s record was abysmal and the public’s dissatisfaction with him was tremendous. Yet Carter remained ahead in the polls until fairly late in the campaign. People are normally inclined to stay with the beast they know – even if he is a disaster; unless and until the projected replacement reassures them that he is up to the job. In fact, there was a moment when huge numbers of people reached the conclusion that Reagan could indeed be trusted with the presidency. It seems to have happened during the debates. So far, Romney has not had that magic moment at which large numbers of undecided voters and disappointed Obama supporters come to the conclusion that Romney should be entrusted with the office.
Furthermore, Romney has not run a particularly inspired campaign. Although his unexpected pick of Paul Ryan suggests that he is more conservative than many thought, he has not been able to establish to the public’s satisfaction whether he is a Reagan conservative or a Bush-McCain-Dole moderate. It’s not clear whether he knows himself. Clearly the GOP worries that the only undecided voters left out there lie in the center and so regardless of where Romney really stands, the conventional wisdom is that he must tone down the Tea Party-like rhetoric and tack to the middle. Yes, Obama was able to fool many voters that he was a centrist and not the hard-core leftist ideologue that he in fact is. But Obama is a much better liar than Romney. Romney would be better served to establish unquestionably what his political philosophy is and then promote and defend it fiercely.
- Obama. He is arguably the worst president we have ever had. But as a politician and campaigner there is no gainsaying his talents. He is charming, has a great smile, gives glib speeches and exudes cool, and of course he represents a huge step forward for the nation in exorcising its racial demons from its past. He is playing on all that. He may be destroying the nation, but much of the country seems to be hypnotized by his charm. While it is true that Obama’s near total lack of any relevant experience rendered him the least qualified candidate ever to assume the presidency, and while it is – and was – obviously clear that his basic philosophy is hard left, the public seems more impressed by his toothy grin than by his shallow and mysterious résumé. Finally, he and his henchmen in the Democratic Party are without moral principles. They can spin any mistake, demagogue any issue, demonize any opponent. He/they can get away with it because…
- It’s not a fair fight. By this I refer to the fact that the mainstream media is in the pocket of the Democratic Party. This indisputable fact has been true for a while. But the mainstream media is so transparently and overwhelmingly biased in favor of Obama over Romney that they don’t even pretend it isn’t so any longer. This gives Obama a huge advantage in the struggle. Reagan found a way to go around his enemies in the media and make his case directly to the people. Romney has not discovered that magic path.
- The progressive assault. The main reason that the failure, Barack Obama, might be reelected lies, I believe, in the altered character of the American people. For a century, and especially in the last 40 years, the people have been subjected to a one-sided presentation – sometimes overt, but more often subtle – that borders on brainwashing. The people are programmed to believe that the Founders’ principles were bigoted, racist, anti-women, homophobic, slanted to the benefit of the wealthy, xenophobic in their view of America’s place in the world, prejudiced in favor of Christianity, and certainly outdated now more than two centuries after their conception. Those principles must be replaced by more egalitarian, multicultural, ecumenical principles focused more on collective security than individual liberty, environmental concerns rather than entrepreneurial excesses, and world order rather than American exceptionalism.
Well, the progressive program has finally had a transformative effect on x% percent of the people. The key question is what is the value of x? I think that is what Romney was attempting to clarify in the ill-fated video in which the number 47 was bandied about. There is no question that the phenomenon described in #4 above has occurred and there is a value x that pertains. The critical questions are: is the value of x less than 50 and if so, is there any hope that its inexorable growth over the last few generations can be reversed. If the answers to those two questions are not ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, respectively, then either we have passed the tipping point or it is imminent and unavoidable. If so, then the constitutional republic that has proven such a boon to its people – indeed to all of mankind – will be irreversibly lost. Mitt Romney does not seem to be the superhero the country needs to forestall that disaster. But he is the only hope we have at this moment. If we re-elect Obama, it’s Katie bar the door; game over. We must elect Romney and hope that he turns out to be the saving agent that the US so desperately needs. Even if he isn’t, his election will buy us some time to find the true superhero.
Ron Lipsman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Former Senior Associate Dean College of Computer, Math & Physical Sciences University of Maryland