Far-left ideology triumphs
It is now clear that the far left ideological side of President Obama has triumphed over his Chicago machine persona. Saul Alinsky has won out over Mayor Richard Daley.
Political machines are all about winning, which means being responsive to the desires of their electorate. It means paying attention to the views and attitudes of the people.
Ideologues, by contrast, pay lip service to popular opinion, but are far more interested in satisfying a preordained agenda, which may or may not be supported by the people. Ideologues rationalize this disconnect by arguing that their opposition to constituents‘ views underline the sheer selflessness of their actions. Liberals believe in nothing if not the moral superiority of their motives.
Consider the president’s health care plan. The House bill that he supports violates many of his own campaign promises. The bill raises taxes and not just on those making more than $250,000. It proposes major cuts in Medicare, a program already on life support.
Private studies and at least one government study have found that the bill would not “bend the cost curve” as Mr. Obama promised. Most everyone believes passage of the plan would make the deficit worse, not better.
It is also massively unpopular. Every survey shows the public is opposed to this bill. Voters who turned out to cast ballots in recent elections in New Jersey and Virginia, two states won by Mr. Obama just one year ago, strongly opposed the measure.
Yet the president and the Democratic leadership remain committed to its passage. They persist despite public opposition, despite potential catastrophic loss of seats for their own party (not theirs of course).
They persist because of a long-standing ideological imperative of leftist Democrats that everyone everywhere in America must have government-approved health insurance. Never mind that most Americans do not share the objective, or that the means chosen to achieve it are hideously expensive. Their preordained agenda dictates that it must pass.
Look at the president’s $787 billion stimulus bill. Mr. Obama continues to insist that it has created thousands of new jobs. This despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, especially the rise in unemployment now exceeding 10 percent.
Yet, according to his ideology, government spending is the source of prosperity. It must work. Therefore it has worked. It has worked so well there is not a hint of irony in the attempts of liberals to begin debate on another “jobs creation” bill in the dying days of this session of Congress.
Finally, consider the decision by the administration to try Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in a civilian court in New York City. Never mind that the constitutionally permissible alternative of military tribunals is available. Never mind that the bill for such a public trial will run into the millions of dollars for court costs, security and possibly force the disclosure of classified information. Never mind that Mohammed could actually walk on procedural grounds because of the harsh interrogation methods used and the lack of Miranda warnings. Never mind that a substantial number and possibly a majority of New Yorkers oppose this move.
Mr. Obama, the ideologue, is fully invested in convincing “world opinion” that we really do care about the rule of law. As Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island put it, “We need to show that we are bet- ter than they are.”
Mr. Obama’s ideology demands that America must consistently demonstrate good intentions to influence world public opinion and the United Nations General Assembly. That’s how he won the Nobel Peace Prize after all. In “Obama World,” if Americans don’t understand all of this, they will. They must. At least he is trying to make America better.
Early in his tenure, the president journeyed to Capitol Hill for his only meeting to date with the House Republican caucus. According to one participant, the president acknowledged that he would accept being a one-term president if he could enact his core agenda. He is well on his way to getting his wish.
Frank Donatelli is chairman of GOPAC, a center for training and electing new Republican leaders.