This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP) Peter Ferrara was published January 23, 2013 on The American Spectator website.
As if to prove it can do a better job making up the news than reporting the news, the Washington Post reported on President Obama’s Inaugural Address with the sweeping 24-point bold headline, “‘We Must Act,”‘ and subhead, “SECOND TERM BEGINS WITH SWEEPING AGENDA FOR EQUALITY.”
Please find the transcript online, print it out, and show me the agenda, any agenda, let alone a “sweeping” agenda for equality. The President did not present to the nation any agenda in his Inaugural Address.
There were only a few code words, with double, even multiple, meanings. That is the fundamental innovation Obama has brought to our politics: deniability. His methodology is, as I have long exposed, Calculated Deception. Use words that allow him later to say, “Oh I campaigned on that, and have long espoused that, weren’t you paying attention?” but which also allow him to deny it as well, “Oh, that just means what Lincoln said, what Jefferson said, what Reagan said.” You remember Reagan, that great champion of gun control, and taxing the rich, and nuclear disarmament?
That is what allows Obama to talk in ways that enable everyone to read into what he says what they want to hear, which is the foundation of Obama’s politics. In other words, more Calculated Deception.
Obama needs that foundational strategy because he is anything but progressive, in the literal meaning of that word. Obama is a man of the early 20th century, riding the cutting edge ideas of the late 19th century. The truth is he is still leading the reaction against the Industrial Revolution. He needs Calculated Deception because he can’t openly reveal that, even though that is where his base of supporters still are too, primarily in America’s utterly brain dead intellectual class (along with those who are bought off by his political machine).
It actually took the even more overtly Marxist New York Times, which is more certain that is where the future of the country is, to brazenly translate the Obama Inaugural agenda into plain English. The Times accurately reported the Obama agenda as, “advancing gay rights, showing more tolerance toward illegal immigrants, preserving the social welfare safety net [no spending cuts, tax increases on the middle class] and acting to stop climate change [more huge regulatory costs].”
But what was most disconcerting about the speech was how discordant the rhetoric was with the real world. He said with a straight face, “We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.” So after 4 years, where is that rising middle class?
Under Obama’s misleadership, median household income has fallen 7.3%, meaning the average family has lost nearly a month of income for each year of work. That loss continues indefinitely now, and will probably worsen under Obama’s socialism.
The decline has already been twice as great since the recession officially ended as it was during the recession, which has never happened before in American history except during the Great Depression.
Obama said with a straight face, “We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship.” (Emphasis added.) But under Obama, America suffered the longest period with unemployment above 8%, and real wages have been falling consistently. We have fewer jobs today than when the recession started.
And no that is not because the recession was so bad. The American historical record is that recovery from recession begins within a year to a year and a half and the deeper the recession the stronger the recovery. Based on that historical precedent, we should be in the third year of a booming recovery by now. We are not because every policy that Obama has pursued has been anti-growth, and the opposite of everything that Reagan did.
Obama said with a straight face, “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of the deficit.” But when do those hard choices begin, Mr. Obama? Campaigning in 2008, Obama promised that by the end of his first term family health insurance premiums would be down by $2,500 a year. But they were up $3,000, despite, or maybe because of, Obamacare.
And during Obama’s first term, deficits averaged a world record $1.3 trillion, three times the prior U.S. record of $458 billion during the depths of the recession. But Senate Democrats have failed to even pass a budget for three years in violation of the law (shame on your neighbors for increasing the Democrat Senate majority in the last election), and refuse to even consider any spending cuts. All of the spending cuts Obama touts are smoke and mirrors, and the truth is he refuses to consider any spending cuts either, outside of national defense. And this year Obama says he won’t be able to produce his budget on time either.
Obama said, “We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else …. ” But one of the first things Obama did after his election was terminate the D.C. school choice program, which means that a little girl born into the bleakest poverty in D.C. no longer has the same chance to succeed as his own daughters going to private school at Sidwell Friends. There, Obama’s daughters are protected by the school’s own 9 armed guards (not the Secret Service), which Obama refuses to recognize as effective to protect anyone else’s kids at any other school.
Under Obama’s misleadership, there are more little girls born into the bleakest poverty than at any time before in U.S. history. And with less chance to succeed as long as the Obama economy continues. The Census Bureau reported last year more Americans in poverty than ever before in the more than 50 years that Census has been tracking poverty.
Obama said, “But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.” But all of your programs, Mr. Obama, reward no effort, or lack of effort. Instead, throughout your presidency, you have vigorously pursued maximum dependency, with apparent political calculation in mind.
Obama cited the. ringing words of the Declaration of Independence, saying, “That is our generation’s task–to make these words, these rights, these values–of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness–real for every American.” (Emphasis added.) But those who don’t pursue can’t get. That is reality.
Obama conceded, “We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time.” But then he said, “The commitments we make to each other through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security–these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.” Please provide some sophist, Progressive apologist to explain precisely how “they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”
For it is precisely Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security that are inadequate to the needs of our time, that provide increasingly inadequate benefits to the poor and seniors. But you and your Democrats, with your domestic Brezhnev doctrine, refuse to even consider any changes that would modernize these programs and demonstrably make them better, for the poor, seniors, and taxpayers.
Obama proclaimed, “The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition: we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries–we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality …. “
But Obama is precisely ceding to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries and maintain our economic vitality. That technology is oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power. We are not going to power new jobs and new industries and maintain our economic vitality dancing on sunbeams and riding the wind, with energy “industries” that can only survive on corporate welfare.
Finally, Obama’s signature line, much celebrated in the Marxist media, was, “But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”
But what has changed that means that the free market capitalism at the root of American Dream no longer works? What new challenges exactly is he talking about? And how does government action address those challenges?
But that line should be sufficient to earn the Marxist Obama at least the moniker “collectivist.” But what collective action is Obama talking about? That vague term does not specify an agenda. It evokes the government takeover of everything. Maybe that is the agenda of Obama and the New York Times. Somehow the New York Times expects to be immune from that. Maybe because it is already openly run by Democrat party activists.