Something To Fear

March 10, 2009

Something To Fear

Politics: This administration continues to express its desire to take advantage of the economy’s downturn. It’s now clearer than ever what President Obama meant when he talked about “change” on the campaign trail.


In his Saturday radio address, the president declared our “great crisis” to be a “great opportunity,” indicating, as two members of his administration already had, that this White House is not above exploiting public anxiety to press an extremist agenda.

“We’ve experienced great trials before,” Obama said. “And with every test, each generation has found the capacity to not only endure, but to prosper — to discover great opportunity in the midst of great crisis.”

Taken alone at a time of uncertainty, the president’s words should be reassuring and inspirational. But in this case, considering this administration’s eagerness to radically alter America’s social and political landscape, unnerving is more like it.

It was Obama’s chief of staff who first raised our antennae in November. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” Rahm Emmanuel said then in reference to the economic downturn. “This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up last week in Brussels, Belgium, where she advised a European audience to “never waste a good crisis.” Her statement came in the context of making “a very positive impact on climate change and energy security.”

These expressions of political opportunism mesh perfectly with candidate Obama telling a crowd just before he was elected that “we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Since Obama’s platform for change has been celebrated by the media and a fawning political class, neither what he said then nor his comments Saturday have been given the scrutiny they deserve.

But imagine if George Bush had proclaimed in the aftermath of 9/11 that a good crisis should never go to waste. Press and politicians alike would have been shrieking for his impeachment.

In our system, elected officials are to make public policy at the consent of the governed. They are not entitled under the Constitution to transform, fundamentally or otherwise, the course of the U.S. Nor do they have the authority to replace our freedom-based system with a central-planning regime that reorders and arranges everyone’s lives based on their vision of utopia.

We trust it was just a coincidence that, also over the weekend, Obama went out of his way to insist he’s not a socialist.

Seems a New York Times reporter asked him such a question a few days earlier, and the president dismissed it as a joke. But apparently he felt he needed to take it more seriously and re-respond.

It didn’t help that only a few hours earlier Venezuela’s ever-unhelpful president, Hugo Chavez, invited Obama to “come with us on the road to socialism.” “This is the only path,” he said in a speech. “Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States.”

If Chavez ever extended such an invitation to, say, President Bush, he would have been laughed out of the hemisphere. Why are we not laughing now?


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