Barack Orwell Obama

“Just don’t call it a surge”.

From a policy perspective I guess I should be happy. The Obama administration is pursuing policies that look identical to those from the last administration, even if they are named differently. It’s become so blatant that even the New York (Obama is the messiah!) Times has begun to report it, and Jon Stewart is laughing at it.

  • Tens of thousand of troops are pouring into terrorist enclaves. (We used to call that “the surge”)
  • Know enemies of the state will be detained indefinitely (Close Guantanamo, but move the prisoners to an other secret facility, and keep some there, perhaps, forever)
  • Pay cap restrictions are being circumvented (The administration is building loop holes into the Pay for Performance act and providing instruction to their employees at the banks on how to use them)
  • We no longer are fighting a war on terror, now we have “overseas contingency operations” to prevent “man-caused catastrophes” (Listening to Hillary say these ridiculous phrases makes me think of the sweetness of political revenge. No woman from the Midwest can say those words without sounding churlish.)

But somehow I am dishearten by the disingenuousness of it all. Trounced, defeated, and chagrined, conservatives around the nation girded themselves in anticipation of real change. Lesser pragmatists such as myself looked forward to intelligent action on technology issues, education, and future infrastructure.

It’s all starting too look like a sham.

The White House seems more concerned with naming things differently, that with actually doing things differently. And the real risk is that eventually people will figure this out, and the myth of great change and great hope, and all the good will that has come along with it will be dashed.

If you weren’t disappointed in the first stimulus package then you don’t know enough about it. Those three quarters of a trillion dollars (!) could have built alternative fuel infrastructure, created technical training opportunities, built bridges, inner city school buildings, and so on. Nope. All of it went to pay off political debts incurred by the Dem’s over the years. It was like Nancy Pelosi holding up the first TARP in our greatest hour of need so she could add $150B in payments for her allies. Analyst and commentators have begun calling it the Government Stimulus package, as in it stimulates a larger government. And this from the party that called the Republicans corrupt?

When Obama looses the right to use the word “integrity” in describing his administration we will all be in a very bad place, because all the leaders of the right have lost that capability, primarily because Obama took it away from them. I really liked it better when he told Joe the Plumber the horrific fact that he wanted to “spread the wealth around”. At least that was honest and something we can fight about. How do I argue in favor of habeas corpus when the argument is blocked by saying “I’m closing Guantinimo.” (Dude, I don’t care about GITMO. I care about invisible detention.)

If he continues to act in this inauthentic way, there will be left a huge opportunity for the kind of political leader anyone with a long view of history will see as the natural recourse of a disenchanted electorate. Obama is our chance at pushing aside the swelling movement towards that kind of government, but when everyone finds out what he is actually doing, it will not go over well.

Of course the root of this problem is the institution of government itself. We have grown dependent on government to take care of us. Not just the 1/3 of the nation employed by the state, but all the rest of us who expect way too much from any government. In the pursuit of “something for me, for free” we collectively have passed over the power of our economy, and our rights, to an institution that works best when small and lean.

Disappointment is the only natural result. And that is what we just saw in this last election. Vapidity was elected as we looked into a mirror of our our own making. My biggest fear is we may eventually see the reality in that mirror and not be happy with what is looking back.

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One Comment

  1. Posted April 21, 09 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    To take just the first bullet point as an example, I suppose one would have to wonder about the purposes of Iraq and Afghanistan. Are they the same? Do they have the same goals? Did they start to solve the same problem? If the answer is “yes,” then your supposition is correct. But to ponder it another way, does it matter who is determining policy about these issues—I mean, could it be anyone? Generally speaking, does it matter that President Bush is implementing a policy or President Obama? Are two people interchangeable? Would it be different if John F. Kennedy or if Ronald Regan made the same policy that President Obama made? I think people are different, and even if they make what appears to be the same decision, people have different intentions—otherwise, anyone could make the policy decision. To look at it another way, if I knock a glass from the table and you knock a glass from the table, both glasses break. But did I knock it off purposefully and you accidentally? The result is the same but the intent may be different.

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