The party of Obama and its bit­ter reck­on­ing

Amer­i­cans have brought the left-wing joyride to an in­evitable, painful and screech­ing halt

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Monica Crow­ley

Eight years ago, the Demo­cratic Party gam­bled that a young, in­ex­pe­ri­enced but charis­matic sen­a­tor could de­liver the pres­i­dency and with it, sus­tained na­tional elec­toral suc­cess. They were half-right: they got the pres­i­dency but lost the coun­try. It turns out that Pres­i­dent Obama’s promised “fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of the na­tion” was not what it was cracked up to be — and it in­stead cracked up his party.

Now, the party ap­pears to be com­mit­ting fur­ther sui­cide in real time by con­sid­er­ing far-left rad­i­cals such as Keith El­li­son to head the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee and keep­ing crusty old-guard lib­er­als such as Nancy Pelosi in other lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

They have learned noth­ing from the Repub­li­can sweeps of 2010, 2014 and 2016 — be­cause com­mit­ted left­ist ide­o­logues can’t — won’t — adapt.

In 2008, a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans fell for the “hope and change” mes­sage and its mes­sen­ger. Four years later, he had dis­ap­pointed them, but they didn’t want to dis­ap­point him, so he was re-elected.

This year, how­ever, with­out Mr. Obama on the ticket, Amer­i­cans fi­nally felt free to re­ject an­other four years of high un­em­ploy­ment, ane­mic eco­nomic growth, un­sus­tain­able spend­ing and record-break­ing deficits and debt, un­pop­u­lar and bankrupt­ing so­cial­ized medicine, record num­bers of peo­ple on food stamps and liv­ing in poverty, and the es­ca­lat­ing threats of nu­clear and other pro­lif­er­a­tion and Is­lamic fun­da­men­tal­ism.

The left’s multi-decade grand plan — to change the very na­ture of the coun­try by mov­ing it to­ward Euro­pean-style so­cial­ism — reached its pin­na­cle with Mr. Obama. And yet, those statist poli­cies are — para­dox­i­cally — greatly re­spon­si­ble for Don­ald Trump’s win.

Mr. Obama had three main goals: to ex­pand gov­ern­ment as fast and as widely as pos­si­ble; the ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive of that was to ex­pand the num­ber of peo­ple de­pen­dent of gov­ern­ment as fast and as widely as pos­si­ble; and the ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive of that was to lever­age it into a per­ma­nent Demo­cratic vot­ing ma­jor­ity.

To achieve those goals, he chose to pit Amer­i­cans against each other in or­der to make it eas­ier to slide in his rad­i­cal re­dis­tri­bu­tion­ist agenda. He di­vided us by class, gen­der, race and age. He turned the Amer­i­can motto “E Pluribus Unum” (“Out of Many, One”) up­side down and into “Out of One, Many.” The Amer­i­can ex­per­i­ment could not go on as it once did if it were driven by di­vi­sions and envy rather than unit­ing val­ues and com­mon goals.

The other thing Mr. Obama be­lieved was that if you ex­pand gov­ern­ment and de­pen­dency on it as quickly as pos­si­ble, you take the st­ing out of a bad econ­omy. The more gov­ern­ment aid and pro­grams to “take care” of you dur­ing an eco­nomic cri­sis, the less likely you are to throw the bums out who caused — or who are pro­long­ing — the eco­nomic cri­sis.

Un­til Nov. 8, the left’s ap­proach seemed to be work­ing. Mr. Obama sur­vived a weak econ­omy while pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents — Jimmy Carter, Ge­orge H.W. Bush — had not.

Take the big pain out of a bad econ­omy by get­ting peo­ple de­pen­dent, win elec­tions. Get that cov­eted per­ma­nent Demo­cratic vot­ing ma­jor­ity.

Or so they thought.

The Amer­i­can peo­ple put up with Mr. Obama and his left­ist agenda be­cause they wanted to give him the ben­e­fit of the doubt. But once he was term-lim­ited out, they term-lim­ited out his poli­cies and the bleak fu­ture they rep­re­sented. There are a few voices in the Demo­cratic wilder­ness awake to this fact. For­mer con­gress­man and out­spo­ken lib­eral Bar­ney Frank re­cently told The New Yorker that his party needs some se­ri­ous self-ex­am­i­na­tion, par­tic­u­larly with re­gard to los­ing the white work­ing class. “If [Trump] de­liv­ers some­how and in­creases em­ploy­ment among the white work­ing class, and in­creases pros­per­ity, then we have a po­lit­i­cal prob­lem,” he said.

He went on to sug­gest that Democrats be more flex­i­ble on is­sues such as en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy: “I saw in my dis­trict how much anger these is­sues gen­er­ate. Our cur­rent po­si­tion is bad pol­i­tics and bad public pol­icy.”

In Mr. Obama’s party, such words are hereti­cal. But as Mr. Frank knows, his party is on life sup­port, thanks to left­ist over­reach, abuse of power and a coun­try left weaker than it was be­fore Mr. Obama’s pres­i­dency.

Democrats are con­flicted about how to pro­ceed. But there is one thing they must do if they want to be rel­e­vant: leave Mr. Obama and his doc­tri­naire left­ism be­hind, and move back to the cen­ter. If they do that, they may once again en­joy Bill Clin­tonesque elec­toral suc­cess. If they do not, they may well be con­signed to the trash heap of his­tory for a long time to come.

Mr. Obama’s pres­i­dency was a joyride for the ruth­less, well-funded left. But it’s now come to a screech­ing halt, thanks to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, who aren’t quite ready to throw in the towel on this grand ex­per­i­ment in hu­man lib­erty.

The left’s multi-decade grand plan — to change the very na­ture of the coun­try by mov­ing it to­ward Euro­peanstyle so­cial­ism — reached its pin­na­cle with Mr. Obama.

Monica Crow­ley is edi­tor of on­line opin­ion at The Wash­ing­ton Times.

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