Myrhaf just posted a list of reasons why Obama might not be so bad. Myrhaf's list follows a similar train of thought that I heard from a conservative co-worker a couple of weeks ago. My co-worker had said that he was starting to lean towards Obama because he was just a good speaker and he wouldn't be able to get things done.
Leaving aside who would be the worst choice for the cause of liberty (mostly because they're both awful), I just can't understand this line of reasoning. He's a rock-star president, he spouts platitudes, and he makes gaffes. All of these are true. But that doesn't mean that he'll be ineffectual as president.
Far from it, in fact. I think that he is presenting the Obama that people want to believe in; I believe that the public persona is a phony carefully designed and playacted in order to get elected. Put another way, this is an Obama that people can believe in—a more faithful version would be unelectable.
I believe that he's got a very well-defined agenda that is known only to his inner circle. And I believe that, if elected, he will shepherd this vision through a very-willing Congress and foist it on the nation quickly. Before you know it, his far-left liberalism will be the law of the land and the cause of liberty will be set back decades.
My evidence for this is admittedly circumstantial. I think it's compelling but there's not enough of a voting record or public speeches outside of a campaign to cite. Here's what I've got:
- He talks about "economic justice." Anyone who's spent any time in the halls of academia can recognize that this is code for socialism. And that's being generous: most of the times I've heard the phrase used were in explicitly Marxist harangues. He's been using it frequently. As dumb as I think the idea is, his use of it belies a lack of sophistication.
- He wants to make national service compulsory. This one is not terribly hard to divine since he's said as much in a speech and Myrhaf's written an excellent entry on the subject. This program freaks me out because it runs so obviously counter to the idea of individual rights yet no one seems to oppose it. Those who do are derided with strident vitriol or chastised as having a "poverty of ambition." His wife candidly states it: "Barack Obama will require you to work. … That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zone." This is not Bill Clinton's AmeriCorps or the WPA: this is servitude, plain and simple. And once the government gets a slave labor force, there's no telling what pyramids it will erect.
He wants to establish a "civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the military. Holy Sturmabteilung, Batman! The full quote from his "A New Era of Service" speech:
"We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."For some reason, that section wasn't included in any of the transcripts sent out by the Obama campaign. This is not minor league fascism, folks. There was another underestimated leader in history who believed that "individual salvation depends on collective salvation." I'm not the only one who has noticed some striking similarities.
- He's got strange bedfellows. I'm not really talking about Jeremiah Wright, who I believe to be relatively lightweight. I'm not necessarily even talking about his earlier associations with William Ayers and Frank Marshall Davis. I'm more worried by the fact that he's a darling of the most liberal of the left. They see something that he's not showing to the rest of us. They've invested their hopes and money in him because they think he's going to be their champion and bring forth their (and his) ideals. Can you even imagine the appointments that this guy will generate? Al Gore for EPA administrator? Lawrence Lessig for tech czar? Cornel West as anything?
- He gladly plays the race card. By positioning opposition to him as racist without offering a shred of evidence to indicate that that's what they're doing, he can effectively negate them and have his way with certain groups. Unfortunately, I think this would play especially well within Congress, whose members are always running for re-election and can't afford even a suggestion of racism.
Is this proof that he'll get his programs enacted or even that he has programs in mind? Possibly. My main purpose in bringing these points up is to encourage people to not underestimate him: he wants you to think of him as a lightweight who is only interested in making speeches. That's what'll get him elected, or rather that's what'll keep people home on election day. The cult of personality angle will only get you so far in understanding the presumption of Obama.