Peter Ferrara: Take the Painkiller and Go Home
ACRU General Counsel Peter Ferrara wrote a column appearing on the American Spectator website on April 21, 2010.
The defining moment for the Presidency of Barack Obama came early, in June, 2009. It was one of many health reform extravaganzas to come, this one televised by ABC from the East Room of the White House, a town hall among health care experts and consumers.
Citizen Jane Sturm took the mic to ask how the brave, new world of Obamacare would treat people like her 105-year-old mother. At age 99 her mother’s heart specialist confided that without a pacemaker he couldn’t keep her alive, but at her advanced age he couldn’t justify the operation. Jane sought out another specialist, and when he saw her mother was still very much alive and enjoying life, he agreed to do the operation.
Over five years later, her mother was still living happily with her family as a result of the highly advanced medical technology she received. So Jane, still displaying her own spirited fight for her mother’s life, very articulately asked the President if under his vision for health care there would be any consideration given for a certain spirit, or joy of living, or quality of life, in providing medical care for those of advanced age. Or would there just be a cut-off at a certain age.
The President replied that we as a culture and a society have to learn to make better decisions about end of life care. And when the wise, central planning Washington bureaucrats discover the evidence shows the care is not going to improve health, they can let your doctor know, and let your mom know, maybe this is not going to help, maybe you’re better off not having the surgery and taking the painkiller and going home.
Jane just told him that without the surgery her mother would be dead, and he responds with a hypothetical that maybe she would be better off taking the painkiller and going home. And President Obama’s mind is so hypothetical and so theoretical that he is certain that far off Washington bureaucrats would know from the evidence when she should take the painkiller and go home, and could let her yahoo doctor know.
Moreover, from Jane’s perspective, this was not an issue of end of life care. She just told him that after the surgery more than 5 years ago her mother was still very much alive and spirited. But those of us who have been paying attention have learned that President Obama is so certain that he has all the answers that he never really hears what anyone else is saying.
The message from the President to America’s sickest and most vulnerable should be the theme for Election 2010, and the message the American people will now send to Washington’s ruling Democrats: Take the Painkiller and Go Home.
“I’m a Democrat, but I’m not a Communist”
To see the magnitude of the political tsunami that is coming, you have to think dynamically. The key is not where things stand now, but where they are going, and where they are going to be. Knowing where we have been, and where we are, can certainly help in knowing where we are going. But the key is to think dynamically.
Start with the brutal fact that this is not your father’s Democrat party. Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and others have thoroughly documented Obama’s radical left roots, from his openly communist father, to his Marxist mother, to the Communist Party’s Franklin Marshall Davis who mentored Obama through adolescence, while his parents were off pursuing the cause around the world. Obama’s own books disclose that he was drawn to radical left Marxist professors in college and law school. And all of this was before Obama the adult hooked up with 1960s Weatherman bomb thrower Bill Ayres, the anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright, and the far left radical front group ACORN. This is all well-established public information, as hard as that should be to believe.
As Beck has so rightly asked, if Obama has grown up and changed from this radical foundation, when exactly did that happen? There is nothing in the public record to support such a change.
But Obama is not the only one. Ultraleft San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi, a nice lady whose feet are not firmly planted in the real world, serves as House Speaker. Far Left Henry Waxman, the Congressman from Hollywood, serves as Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Uberliberal Barney Frank, the Congressman from Boston, serves as Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Leftover ’60s liberal David Obey, a self-described Robert La Follette Progressive from Wisconsin, serves as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. Charley Rangel, the Congressman from Harlem, serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. John Conyers, the Congressman from Detroit, with his own past Communist Party ties, serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Until recently, ultraliberal Howard Dean from Vermont served as Democrat party national Chairman. Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont, as liberal/left as they come, serves as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Even these folks are not left enough for Vermont, with the other Senator being openly socialist Bernie Sanders.
In the Democrat party of the past, Southern conservatives were the longest serving members of Congress, heading all the Committees as a result, where they sharply restrained the Left in the ’60s and ’70s. But today the former Southern conservative Democrats have mostly been replaced by Republicans, and it is the northern urban ultraliberals who are the longest serving, and now head all the committees.
This ugly and dangerous reality is what moved one recent talk radio caller to proclaim, “I’m a Democrat, but I’m not a Communist.” The left-wing extremism of the currently ruling Democrat party is one huge dark cloud on the horizon indicating the coming political tsunami. Treating grassroots voters who question that left-wing extremism with disdain and name-calling is only further gathering the storm.
The American people never voted for such a radical left takeover of America. Barack Obama ran on a net spending cut at the federal level, a tax cut for 95% of Americans, a promise of a new era of post-partisan political peace, and a pledge to sweet talk Iran out of “unacceptable” nuclear weapons. Obama was greatly aided by the history of Bill Clinton, who after 1994 mostly just went along with the Gingrich Congressional majority Republicans, resulting in solidly conservative economic, defense and foreign policies. Many voters were consequently deluded into thinking Obama and the Democrats would just be a reprise of Bill Clinton and the 1990s. But what should be brutally obvious by now is that Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton, and those analysts who think he may be on the same political trajectory as Clinton are badly deluded as well.
The Democrats took over the Congress using the “Blue Dog” Democrat trick. In district after district, Democrats ran claiming to be pro-life, Second Amendment, tax and deficit cutting, fiscal conservatives, more Reagan than the Republicans. But all they have done is empowered the above radical left takeover of the Congressional leadership. And when their votes were necessary to pass the radical left agenda, such as with the socialized medicine bill, or the unjustifiable cap and tax House bill, just enough of them voted for it to pass, with the rest still trying to maintain their cover. Even enough of those supposedly “pro-life” Democrats in the end sold out on abortion in the health care bill to the ruling left-wing party leadership.
The Blue Dog Democrat scam was aided by the above-noted history of Democrat Congresses run by Southern conservative committee chairmen. Too many voters thought as a result that the Democrats could be trusted with majority congressional control again.
Winning power through such consistent, thorough deception, the Democrats have no mandate for their left-wing extremism, and are just further angering and rousing voters as a result. That is another huge dark cloud indicating the coming political tsunami.
Choosing Decline for America
Another defining, revealing moment for President Obama also came early in his presidency, in April, 2009. Responding to a question about American exceptionalism, President Obama said, “I believe in American exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” Translation: America is just another country, there is nothing special about it. Again just the opposite of Reagan’s vision of America as a shining city on a hill, which is, in fact, our history going back to the first colonists.
President Obama’s economic, domestic, defense and foreign policies all bear out this fundamental attitude, choosing decline for America to just another country among many, nothing special. The annual deficits under the Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under the current ruling left-wing Democrats. The deficit under the last budget adopted by Republican Congressional majorities was $161 billion. The deficit for this year is now projected at $1.6 trillion. CBO projects that under President Obama’s budget the national debt will quadruple from 2008 to 2020, to $20.3 trillion, threatening the status of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, and America’s AAA bond rating.
Putting the government in charge of our health care with 100 new bureaucracies, boards, commissions and programs will trash a fundamental component of America’s high standard of living, the best, most advanced, cutting edge health care in the world. Democrat energy and cap and tax policies will further decimate the economy and jobs with unreliable supplies of high cost energy, while further reducing America’s standard of living with high electricity and gas prices. Americans will be forced out of their big, beautiful, powerful cars into the rolling sardine cans of their European inferiors.
President Obama builds his secular socialist machine, as Newt Gingrich calls it in his new book, To Save America, increasing dependency throughout American society with new entitlement giveaways and a one-third increase in welfare spending in his first two years alone. Total government welfare spending is now projected to be $10.3 trillion over the next 10 years.
President Obama is combating the threat of Iranian nukes with American nuclear disarmament, under a shocking policy that our nukes are just as unacceptable. He lets our nukes age without the essential modernization that the Russians and Chinese are already pursuing. Meanwhile, he is slashing America’s missile defense, canceling the F-22 fighter jet that guarantees American air superiority, reducing the B-2 bomber fleet, retiring the Tomahawk cruise missile, and cutting the U.S. Navy to half Reagan’s level.
An Equal and Opposite Reaction
The American people are not going to sit idly by watching left-wing extremists turn America into just another country, like socialist, broke Greece. That is why yesterday’s Rasmussen generic Congressional poll already shows Republicans with a 10 point lead over Democrats. In 1994, the Republicans did not pull definitively ahead of the Democrats in that poll until the fall, and their lead was never half that large. Moreover, the intensity factor among voters trending Republican is already far more fierce than it was in 1994.
Democrat favorability in the latest Gallup poll has fallen to 41%, the lowest in the 18 year history of that measure. The Pew poll has it at 38%. Even the CBS/New York Times poll shows disapproval of Congress, with its huge Democrat majorities, at 73%, with only 17% approving. President Obama’s favorability has fallen below 50%.
The emerging issues in this election cycle will cut even further for the Republicans. Under the guise of his deficit commission, President Obama threatens to blow away his promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year with a new, European, Value Added Tax (VAT) raising taxes on precisely those workers to their highest level ever. On health care, Republicans will be offering popular Patient Power reforms increasing the power and control of working people over their own health care, the polar opposite of President Obama’s Government Power forced through Congress by hook and crook.
With 57% already saying gas prices are hurting them, as those prices climb over $3 per gallon this summer the public will favor even more the pro-production policies of Republicans over the pie-in-the-sky Democrat wind and solar fantasies on government funded life support.
The emerging careful politics of the Tea Party movement will further help Republicans. Tea Party activists have wisely decided not to divide the vote with a third party. Instead, they are supporting the particular candidates that best reflect their views. This is drawing Democrats as well as independents into supporting mostly Republican candidates, while decimating RINOs.
The one factor saving Democrats is that the economy will enjoy a cyclical recovery this year, a slingshot effect naturally resulting after the severity of the downturn. But this recovery is now long overdue, well over 2 years after the recession started, when the average recession since World War II has been 10 months, and the longest has been 16. Moreover, given how severe the recession was, real growth should rebound at 6% to 8% this year, but it will be only half that, about where it was in 1994, leaving unemployment over 9% this fall.
The coming political tsunami is so strong that this recovery will only save Democrats from the punishing, 1932-style, 100-seat loss they would otherwise suffer. But I predict that the Republicans will still gain control of the House and at least come close in the Senate. It could be worse, though, if any of the disaster vulnerabilities discussed below come to pass before November.
What is overlooked is the broader effects this will have. If the 2010 defeat is punishing enough, the Democrat monolith will be broken. Some Congressional Democrats will change parties, others will start to vote with Republicans on key issues, particularly taxes, spending, energy, and defense. The resulting effective majorities could be veto proof.
A Free Market New Deal
Even worse are the vulnerabilities for Democrats after 2010 when the effects of their extremist policies really take hold. The Iranians will then get their nukes, perhaps with a disconcerting, surprise nuclear test. If they attack Israel, either with the conventional Scud missiles they are smuggling to Hezbollah, or worse, Democrat political fortunes will further nosedive. I predict military adventurism by the Russians, if not the Chinese as well, greatly embarrassing Obama foreign policies.
Interest rates will likely rise next year, sharply raising interest costs for our overgrown national debt. The weakness of other paper currencies is propping up the dollar, but I predict the emergence of worldwide inflation after 2010 as a result, which could lead to the replacement of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. That means further declines in the American standard of living.
The Obama/Democrat tax increases will greatly slow economic growth, likely with another recession. If cap and tax passes, or the EPA is not stopped, this will be far worse. In this environment, unemployment will turn back up rather than down. The Democrat party cannot survive this.
The only hope for President Obama is the quite possible Republican takeover of Congress this year. That will give him the opportunity to confuse the issues somewhat, blaming the results of his policies on them. Political wrangling with Congressional Republicans could also help him.
But because President Obama in truth is a hardened left-wing ideologue, as shown by his background, I predict he will not be able to successfully triangulate the Republican Congressional majorities as Clinton did. Rather, given all the vulnerabilities, and projecting where the trends are going and where they will be, I predict that he will not even be on the ballot in 2012. Either he himself will recognize he can’t win, like Lyndon Johnson in 1968, or the Democrat party will.
But the Democrat party will break down in the process of replacing him, leading to a smashing Republican victory. With Democrats defending 24 of 32 Senate seats up in 2012, the Republicans will have their own filibuster-proof majority by 2013. The result will be an opportunity for a Republican New Deal, a remaking of the welfare state into the empowerment society, resulting in a much smaller government, and much greater long-term prosperity.