Conclusion of yesterday’s column.
The bottom line is this: In an anti-ideological age, you get nothing but double talk from politicians. Back in 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush won the Presidency (narrowly) by preaching ‘compassionate conservatism.’ We learned that what he meant by this was socialism-lite. History will record that this was merely the prelude to Obama’s real thing—full blown socialism. (And in a second term, you had better believe, you ‘ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.’) Bush’s stance, back then, was both an apology for what was perceived to be the capitalist policies of the Reagan years, and at the same time a determination to continue with those policies. In office, Bush both departed from and continued the policies he both supported and moved away from when running for President.
In an anti-ideological era, this is how people get elected and govern. This will undoubtedly be part of Obama’s reelection strategy in 2012. He’ll run against ideology, counting on people to ignore the fact that his has been one of the most decisively ideological and uncompromising administrations (on the left, socialist side) of any in all of American history.
Here’s another clue to the psychology underlying today’s anti-ideological ‘white guilt,’ as expressed by another white Obama supporter quoted in the Wall Street Journal during the 2008 campaign: ‘Obama is running an emancipating campaign. He is emancipating white voters to vote for a black candidate.’
Excuse me? I’m not aware of any law against voting for a black candidate, not in all of my lifetime, and I’m probably older than the person who said this. People were voting for Jesse Jackson for President 30 years ago. ‘Emancipation’ implies just now being allowed to do something previously forbidden. Sometimes the ‘forbidden’ is psychological, not external. Could this be what the Obama supporter, and others like him, mean? Could it be that in this supporter’s heart and mind, he has felt like he can’t vote for a black candidate simply because the candidate’s black—and now he can? [Not that Obama is black—he’s actually half-black.] Is there something about Obama that makes him feel like he can finally vote for a black candidate? If so, what hindered him from doing so in the past? These are interesting introspective questions for the white liberal to consider.
Not myself, though. Twenty years ago, just as today, or twenty years from now, I will rush to vote for a candidate of any gender, race or physical makeup who has shown, both in words and action, that he or she subscribes to the ideology (yes, ideology) of freedom, individual rights, capitalism, church-state separation and freedom of association.
Needless to say, I’m not holding my breath.
We haven’t heard much about these concepts, even in the form of sentiments, for a long time, but in my book these are the only things that count. If there were a candidate who sincerely promoted these notions, I’d be so excited I’m not sure I’d even notice his or her race or gender. I know I wouldn’t care.
This is why I never understood the excitement, passion or any emotion in particular about a ‘black President’ or a ‘woman President’ or a ‘Hispanic vice-President,’ a similar sentiment that Mitt Romney will probably try to exploit. Obama has spouted the usual political drivel that white male George W. Bush has spouted, and has put that very same anti-ideological double talk into practice once in office. It’s no different from what we have known, except that Obama is decisively to the left of any President we’ve ever had, other than Franklin D. Roosevelt, but that was a long time ago and the problems generated by the entitlement state have multiplied exponentially since then. Things have moved so far left in America that FDR would be to the right of many Republicans today, shockingly.
Show me a candidate (other than socialist-fascist Obama) who actually stands for something—anything—and then I’ll take note of something different. Show me a candidate who actually stands for individual rights and freedom, and then I’ll really take notice, as well as throw my support behind that candidate.
We never needed a woman President, a black President, a ‘cool’ President or a President who looks presidential so long as you press the mute button when he speaks. Too many Americans vote this way, because they think this way—or engage in what passes for thinking.
What we actually need, and always needed, is a leader of the free world who feels passionately about the principles of freedom. I’m holding out for that. But not holding my breath.
Yes, the ‘cool’ guy won the Presidency in 2008. The results have been considerably less than impressive. By any objective standard, we’re just as bad or even worse off than before. The fiscal situation of the government, with implications for our currency, is much worse off than before. The only defense Obama can make is, ‘Well, it’s not as bad as it would have been if you hadn’t elected me.’ And more than fifty percent of the country is buying that, so far. Go figure. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. A nation of people, most of whom are looking for little more than a ‘cool’ President, are perhaps incapable of aiming any higher. Somewhere inside them, I like to think there’s an aspiration to something better or higher than the prevailing idiocy of our times. Here’s hoping we live to see that aspiration, and genuine idealism, someday break free.