November 8, 2012 § Leave a Comment
In my “morning after” post, I speculated that the nation has affirmed its mild embrace of big government. I am not so certain today. It is probably still true that the nation is not as center-right as conservatives presumed it to be, and that the Obama election in 2008 indeed reflected a shift in public views, but a couple of statistics have me curious.
Compared to 2008, Politico exit polls found a 10 percent increase (53%) in the number of people who said “the government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.” If this accurately represents public sentiments, that’s quite a win for the free market, but it wasn’t enough to change the status quo in our national government.
We can safely say that over the last four years the nation’s electorate pulled back to the center. Conservatives held on to their 2010 gains in the House, and held-off a filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate. The former reflects rural districts, while the Senate reflects the influence of major metropolitan centers. Furthermore, the popular vote gap was tightened by a few points, from roughly 7 to 2 percent.
The center-left thesis appears to be false, but a couple of other theories are emerging about what went wrong and what needs to change before 2016.
One theory is that it was all about the ground game. My prediction all along was that this was a turnout election and that Romney’s enthusiasm advantage would lead to a win. I underestimated the power of Obama’s Chicago machine. Romney simply failed on the organization and motivation front, having virtually no local presence. There is no doubt that ground game operations were partially responsible for his loss, and we will see much more emphasis on it in four years, and perhaps less on advertising.
A second theory is that Romney miscalculated his coalition and focused too much on the white vote. As Tim Carney noted in a tweet, Romney’s “47 percent” comments may have been more than pandering; it may have revealed just how off he was about his base and the competition. If Romney bought in to the “makers vs. takers” myth, it certainly contributed to his failure. The Republican Party stands for principles that are not exclusive to race or income, and cannot let the issues be defined in this way. More on the minority vote later.
A third theory, and one that I think is most responsible, is that Mitt Romney brought an excel sheet to a personality fight. Many conservatives hoped that the election would result in Americans taking a hard look at sober realities and choosing the wise and austere path. We hoped for too much. Dan McLaughlin (aka @BaseballCrank) shared a very telling poll this morning:
On the most important qualities (values and vision), Romney wins by 13 and 9 percent. But the bottom completely falls out among those who want a president who cares about them. This little datum has me placing blame squarely on the candidate himself, and particularly his inability to connect the dots between policies, values and the real lives of average people. I argued this in my last post, and I’ll echo it until I’m blue in the face: we must articulate an understanding of liberty as the cornerstone of equality and opportunity, or it will be defined for us purely in terms of self-interest.
I’m not convinced that Romney would have won had he been able to do this. His plastic delivery, inconsistent past and his immense wealth were handicaps that made anything he said sound rehearsed and insincere. As so many of us knew from the start, but few were willing to admit, Mitt Romney did not have the necessary “it” factor. He was a boring, pragmatic and ideologically malleable executive. He was too presidential to be president.
I would almost guarantee that the GOP’s 2016 nominee will be a minority with a blue-collar background—someone who exemplifies the opportunity brought on by freedom, and who got through life on merit, not government programs. Perhaps Jindal? Rubio? Even Haley, who gets extra points for being female. Ted Cruz will generate a buzz in 2016 as well, but more as a spokesman than a candidate. Whoever it is better be likable.
After all of the analyzing and over-thinking, we end up coming back to the same tried and true maxim: in a close election, the undecided vote goes to the guy people would rather have a beer with.
November 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
No one likes a sore loser. In some ways last night’s election was just another election, and we’ll have another one in four years. In fact, we are much more likely to see a Republican nominee that has the charisma of Barack Obama, but the principles of Calvin Coolidge. I’m throwing my hat in early for Marco Rubio.
Yet, I would by lying if I did not admit my concern for the future of the United States. With the country in such bad shape and so much disappointment in the president and our current political landscape, I thought Romney had a good chance. And the popular vote was extremely close. But a field of oddball candidates in the Republican primary made Mitt Romney the most sensible option, providing an easy target for Obama’s class warfare rhetoric.
A Romney presidency, according to Obama, would have led to a reverse in progress—an “on your own” society where the wealthy benefit at the cost of middle and lower class opportunity. Despite the many failures of the Obama administration, most Americans were willing to accept his message and give him a pass.
This election was the perfect measure of America’s attitudes towards business, wealth and the role of government. For four years Obama railed against income inequality, proposing that the federal government increase its role as the great leveler and distributor of opportunity. He argued that businesses and those who run them can only succeed if you lose. He suggested not only that people should give more to charity, drive cleaner cars and have a healthier diet, but that they should not be allowed to choose for themselves—government should force it upon them.
Americans had a chance to evaluate the debate, and made a few important judgments:
1) People deserve help through hard times, and an occasional boost to help them advance, even if it means other people are forced to bear the cost.
2) People should not have to face the full consequences of their mistakes, and do not necessarily deserve the rewards of their good judgment and hard work.
3) Government’s role is to promote virtue, health and leisure—from the national level—and liberty insofar as people are able make their own moral decisions.
4) Businesses operate on competitive profit maximization, which is antithetical to virtue, health and leisure.
In a sense, these are questions that reflect the foundational principles of republican (small “r”) government. At their core is a question of whether democracy is sustainable; whether government “of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The results from last night are discouraging. To put it simply: if people are not ultimately held responsible for the decisions they make—which means they reap the rewards and consequences—society will begin to unravel and freedom will be short-lived. Don’t believe me? Try it in your own household and see what happens. How much worse among strangers.
America chose to continue down this experimental road. Some of my closest friends supported Obama’s reelection, so I am certainly not suggesting that Americans are stupid. Smart people can disagree about how society functions and what will lead to better outcomes, and I think we just made an erroneous decision.
The good news is that over the next four years we will have a better idea what Obama’s policies have done. His healthcare law will be in full effect, he will not be able to escape an 8-year record on the economy and foreign policy, and the specter of George W. Bush will no longer loom over the Republican party. And hopefully, Americans will have learned that being a good communicator has very little to do with being a good president.
But we have to change our culture. Conservatism and libertarianism are backed by strong arguments and should be partners in educating society on the principles of limited government and personal responsibility. They should also be partners politically. Libertarians should stop whining and segregating themselves. By refusing to work from the inside of the Republican party they simultaneously make the party less libertarian and make libertarians less effective. Read here for more on that.
We need donors to support organizations that advance the ideas of our Founders, not just in Washington, but throughout education and the media.
We need a message that communicates why a free society is a more virtuous, healthier and prosperous society. And we need people who can understand and articulate that message with clarity and creativity.
And Republicans absolutely must bridge the messaging gap with women and minorities. Policies alone do not fully explain the gap, so the problem has more to do with how we have presented our values. The failure, in my view, has been the inability of Republicans to connect their policies to values, and to connect those values to the concerns of the common person. We cannot stand for “liberty” just because we want to keep our money; we must show why liberty is the very cornerstone of equality and opportunity. We must go after crony capitalism and champion charity.
There is much work to be done on behalf of people like myself, not just to change the next election, but to change our cultural worldview.
November 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The momentum in this election has clearly shifted toward Romney. His debate performance erased Obama’s 15% lead among women, and over the last two weeks polls are putting Romney either neck-and-neck or slightly ahead. The data from Gallup, who has been tracking early and likely voters, suggests that not only is Romney winning among people who say they will vote on election day, but even among people who have already voted—a bloc that typically leans Democrat.
Many voters who embraced Obama’s message in 2008 are jumping ship—even some loyal Democrats, like this man, who will be voting Republican for the first time in 80 years.
Is it Romney’s charisma? No. His nice hair and good looks? Doubtful. What is sucking the air out of Hopenchange has less to do with Mitt and more to do with the sober realities of the last few years. For all his talk, Obama failed on nearly every front.
Aside from wrapping up a couple of loose ends from the Bush administration (withdrawal from Iraq and hunting down Bin Laden), there is little for this administration to be proud of. Obama railed against Bush for adding $5 trillion to the national debt, then added $6 trillion in just his first term. He promised hope, but oversaw record levels of poverty. He promised bipartisanship, then proceeded to become arguably the most divisive U.S. president in modern history, both in terms of his public rhetoric and his lack of cooperation in Washington, even with his own party. Obama’s 2012 budget failed to gain a single vote in either the House or Democratically led Senate. He promised to calm hostilities in foreign relations, but the world is just as hostile and American leadership in the middle east has become dangerously impotent. Obama has failed at getting our economy back on track, even after predicting that this would result in a “one term proposition.” Even race relations and class antagonism are on the rise.
“NO DOUBT, THIS PRESIDENT HAS FACED ENORMOUS CHALLENGES, BUT THIS HAS BECOME AN EXCUSE TO IGNORE ANY AND ALL OF HIS FAILINGS.”
No doubt, this president has faced enormous challenges, but this has become an excuse to ignore any and all of his failings. The fact is, Obama spent his political capital during his first two years passing three major initiatives: His massive “omnibus” spending bill was an “investment” disaster that illustrates the problems of centralized planning and crony capitalism; The Affordable Care Act has yet to reveal its total impact, but is already prompting insurance premiums to rise, companies to drop coverage (and cut jobs/hours), and religious institutions—like my Alma Mater—to file suit against the federal government; And the Dodd-Frank bill was a reckless attack on the financial sector that further stunted economic recovery.
Politically independent New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a painful, single-issue endorsement of Obama, but included a sharp criticism of the president:
In 2008, Obama ran as a pragmatic problem-solver and consensus-builder. But as president, he devoted little time and effort to developing and sustaining a coalition of centrists, which doomed hope for any real progress on illegal guns, immigration, tax reform, job creation and deficit reduction. And rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.
I flatly reject Obama’s worldview, which is a threat to liberty, international stability and economic prosperity. This is certainly not his intention, but it is the result.
But I’m not just voting against Obama; I think Romney would be a superb president. His record is exactly opposite that of his opponent; Romney has a history of enormous personal and professional success as a uniter and an effective leader in both the public and private sector. Moderate journalist David Brooks has endorsed Romney on the grounds that he is far more likely than Obama to work with Congress and find common ground. He has a close family, sincere faith and strong work ethic.
There is extremely little to dislike about Romney, save for envy. This is why Obama’s key objective has been to paint Romney as the rich guy who is the cause of all of your problems.
I would agree that Mitt Romney is no ideal candidate—I’m skeptical of his rhetoric on China, promoting manufacturing and job training programs, and his foreign policy views are still unclear—but ideal candidates are fantasy. Some of these policy details are useless anyway. As I wrote in my last post, ”plans” matter very little when it comes to actually governing with a split Congress and a massive bureaucracy. When a presidential candidate says “I have a plan to…” it means: “Here are a few things that the moderate members of my party kinda like.”
THE BOTTOM LINE
When the smoke of campaign season clears, the best measure of a man is his record. Obama has been a constant disappointment and a divider; Romney has been a constant success and a uniter. Obama’s popularity is largely built upon hype, hope and a whole lot of media bias. But there’s little evidence that any of this has brought about a better world.
For the sake of full disclosure, I did not vote for Obama in 2008 and had no doubts whether I would end up supporting the Republican candidate in 2012. I knew after reading The Audacity of Hope back in 2006 that Obama’s view of the role of government is very different from mine, and it is a dangerous one. I disagree entirely with his understanding of how people work, how business works, and how government does not work. I can commend his good intentions and his charisma, but that isn’t feeding the poor or promoting opportunity.
Talk is cheap.
October 30, 2012 § 1 Comment
Just over a week before the presidential election, Mitt Romney stood before an excited Ohio crowd and uttered these words:
“[My opponent's] campaign said, ‘if we keep talking about the economy we’re going to lose.’ That’s why he’s spending these last weeks calling me every name in the book. Because that’s how you play the game in Washington. If you can’t beat your opponents ideas, you distort those ideas and maybe make some up. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone you should run away from. You make a big election about small things.
Ohio, we’re here to say not this time; not this year; not when so much is at stake. [My opponent] might be worried about losing an election, but I’m worried about Americans who are losing their homes, and their jobs, and their life savings. I can take one more week of [his] attacks, but this country can’t take four more years of the same failed policy. It’s time to try something new.
The question in this election is not are you better off than you were four years ago. We all know the answer to that. The real question is: will this country be better off four years from now?
Whoops! That wasn’t Romney, and it wasn’t 2012. That was Senator Barack Obama a week before his historic election in 2008. See the full clip here.
The irony, of course, is that Obama’s words can now be turned on himself with comedic accuracy. Economic problems? Check (46 million living in poverty). No record to run on? Check (his major legislative achievement is unpopular with centrists). Distorting ideas and making it about small things? Double check. (Big Bird, War on Women, Romney’s “you’re on your own” philosophy).
This highlights both Obama’s general failure to make good on most of his promises—particularly the one about changing the status quo in Washington—and the extent to which his presidency has always been more about hype and rhetoric than substance. The “game” was easier to play as an outsider in 2008, and now Obama is following his own playbook line by line. That should tell us something about the way he sees his own reelection.
January 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
The impressive near-victory by Rick Santorum in last night’s Iowa caucus is making headlines today, but his star will fall soon enough. As I argued in my last post, Mitt Romney is the inevitable candidate, and for two reasons: he can beat Barack Obama, and he would be a pretty good president.
Santorum is simply the latest in the never-ending train of “anti-establishment” candidates, a fact evinced by his complete inability to earn serious consideration by Republicans until all other options imploded. Mitt Romney is not the guy conservatives wanted this time around, but they will soon have to admit what we really knew all along: that guy isn’t in the race.
I rooted for Mitch Daniels early on. He declined to run. Others rooted for Chris Christie, Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio, but it simply isn’t their time. What we ultimately ended up with is a field of candidates who are each impressive in their own way, but come with at least one massive handicap. Perry’s home-state success can’t outweigh his debate gaffes; Paul’s conviction for individual liberty can’t outweigh his wacky foreign policy; Gingrich’s excellent debate skills can’t outweigh his personal baggage; Cain has his sketchy past and Bachmann has this.
Santorum cannot be the nominee because he is completely mismatched to the concerns of the electorate. He is a hard social conservative running at a time when jobs, the economy and international instability are key concerns. I like that faith and family are important to him (just as they are with Romney) but sometimes you need a chaplain and sometimes you need a mechanic.
The 2016 and 2020 cycles will provide a bevy of seasoned conservatives from which to elect a national standard-bearer. But for 2012 we have two possible choices: Romney or Obama.
This is sad news for fiscal conservatives who felt they were abandoned in 2008 with a McCain nomination (include me among them). This, not Obama, is what kick-started the Tea Party movement. They have spent four years anticipating 2012, and they are working hard to show that they will not be pushed around, which has resulted in one of the most bizarre nominating processes in recent history. But again, Santorum’s social focus will not enthuse this crowd for long.
I am willing to acknowledge the good fight and go with the candidate most likely to result in a better America, even if he’s not ideal. But there are plenty of martyrs left to continue the resistance. Those who think America is ready for a hard-lined conservative are ignoring the realities of the country they live in.
Our best chance is nominating Romney and making sure that the Congress he must work with is solidly conservative. He might not win. And he wouldn’t be as conservative a president as one of the other guys. But let’s not forget that what brought our nation leftward was not presidents but culture. If we want to reverse course, it’s got to happen outside of the voting booth.
December 18, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Despite Newt Gingrich’s lead in nearly every poll, the GOP should get solidly behind Mitt Romney.
Romney’s weaknesses are in full view, and have been for several years; there are no surprises with Mitt. His primary faults are that he seems unprincipled and unable to relate to the “average” American, because of his changing positions and life-long wealth, respectively. But that’s pretty much it—no adulterous relationships, no political scandals and no problem with hyper-partisanship or inexperience. He’s a relatively uncontroversial figure.
What Republicans fear the most—Mitt’s moderate past—will probably be his greatest asset in the general election. Obama ran as The Uniter, but in reality has been one of the most divisive presidents of the last century. Obama’s weakness is Romney’s strength, as he can point to a solid record of bipartisan accomplishments. Indeed, Romney’s record inculcates him from Obama’s only line of attack for 2012: accusing the GOP candidate of Tea Party extremism.
Yet, Mitt can have his cake and eat it too. Tea Party leaders are lining up to give their stamp of approval. Governors Chris Cristie and Nikki Haley, as well as grassroots Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell have endorsed Romney. All three cited Romney’s executive experience in their endorsements—Haley and Christie further mentioning his ability to get things done. They recognize that winning and doing is more important than thinking and talking.
Romney is a non-polarizing pragmatist executive with private and public sector success and right-leaning principles. In other words: exactly what America needs right now.
Until recently, I really liked Newt Gingrich. He can articulate conservative principles with impressive philosophical and historical eloquence. But Ann Coulter put it well when she characterized Newt’s approach as “speak bombastically and cary a tiny stick”—a play on Teddy Roosevelt’s famous line. Gingrich has all the talk, image and offensiveness of a blazing right-winger, but all the effectiveness of a cash-for-clunkers program. I fear a Gingrich nomination would be like a firework spectacular gone haywire. A multiplicity of DC insiders have confirmed his lack of discipline and focus, in case his marital affairs do not. Newt’s previous two marriages began with romance and ended in utter disaster. His time as Speaker followed the same course. How much does this reflect the man himself?
Debates are only one part of winning an election. As I tweeted a few days ago “Newt’s support is based on America’s assumed eagerness to explore the depths of conservative philosophy. A grave miscalculation.” Let’s face it: the only people who are interested in Newt’s lectures are political junkies and academics. Ben Stein marveled at the Gingrich-Huntsman Foreign Policy debate, which was admittedly the most intellectually stimulating. But people don’t want intellectual stimulation; they want conviction, integrity and know-how. They don’t want big ideas and broad reforms; they want the economy and government to work.
Conviction is a problem for Mitt, but he makes up for it with his enormous success as a father, husband, entrepreneur, executive and Governor. And the one area where he does convey rooted conviction is will be the rallying cry for 2012: America’s greatest era is yet to come.
Romney’s recent book was titled No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. His campaign slogan is “Believe in America.” In the last debate, he stated that Obama believes America is in decline, but he believes a new American century lies ahead. This message will resonate in the general election. Americans are fatigued by economic woes, political polarization and fear that America is becoming fat, lazy and uneducated. Obama has not helped.
The message also fits well with the person Romney should choose as his running mate: Jeb Bush.
Jeb is not George. He is the more conservative, better-spoken, and less Texan younger brother. As the popular former Governor of Florida—a very important swing state—Bush supported Marco Rubio in 2010 (he explains why in this video). Among other things, Bush has been active in the Project for the New American Century, founded by Bill Kristol. This DC policy think tank promotes the message of a bright future of American leadership. But beyond message, Jeb Bush’s experience, personality and policy positions would be able to bring moderates and conservatives together, and he has significant appeal to the hispanic community. No one will doubt Jeb Bush’s conviction and amiability. Making him Romney’s VP would be a geographically, ideologically and stylistically advantageous move.
A Romney/Bush ticket does not need to inspire a new revolution in conservative political philosophy. Thankfully, Barack Obama has already done that. But it would produce an effective rightward policy shift, shaped by a renewed Republican congress and implemented by a pragmatic, proven executive. Few things would be better for the future of conservatism than a successful and popular Republican presidency.
Postscript: Who else would be stellar VP match-ups? Condi Rice for her foreign policy experience, near universal respect and, yes… gender/race. I’ve mostly skipped over Rick Santorum because he has no shot at the presidency. But he’d actually provide a lot of personal likability and base enthusiasm to a Romney campaign.
July 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
He spent his teens as an Eagle Scout, lived two years as a foreign missionary, earned his B.A. in International Politics, became fluent in three languages, served four presidents and reached 90 percent approval ratings as a Republican Governor of Utah. Jon Huntsman has an uphill battle to climb with the GOP base, but if he plays his cards right, his experience and centrist appeal just might place him among the most serious contenders this election season.
If this happens, many voters may face a double dose of what has been termed the “Mormon Problem.” A third cousin of Mitt Romney, Huntsman shares more than DNA with the man who made the issue national in 2008, and with both men in the race, the likelihood of a Mormon GOP nominee is looking probable. This would force many Christians into an uncomfortable reconciliation of their personal convictions with their public concerns, as Mormon theology is commonly understood to be at odds with Christian orthodoxy.
One approach says that we should select candidates as professionals, not pastors. If we need heart surgery, we do not care what the doctor believes, so long as he knows how to make us well. There is merit to that argument, but we must be cognizant of the important distinction between a position of leadership and a position of mere tactical knowledge. Leaders determine direction, and direction stems from values. Decisions in a business, church or body politic reflect the values of its leadership.
“Decisions in a business, church or body politic reflect the values of its leadership.”
Still, there is a more important criterion for measuring a candidate against his religious faith: the extent to which a president’s beliefs support the fundamental claims upon which a free and just society is built. It must revere and hold responsible the free choice of individuals; it must place a sacred value on both the human person and the family unit, including the institution of marriage; and it must allow room for the tough decisions that Commanders in Chief must make in the face of hostile evil.
Not all belief systems can support these concepts, but the “Church of Latter-Day Saints” does. Responsible stewardship and the strength of the family, for example, are central features of the Mormon faith, and members are urged to engage fully in civil service. Significant theological disagreements do exist between mainstream Christianity and Mormonism, but when it comes to the confluence of core values and social institutions, they are much more likely to stand together on key issues.
There is no reason to believe that a Mormon president would lead America in a direction counter to Christian principles. Furthermore, it is not guaranteed that a Christian candidate would not. Regardless of the faith a candidate identifies with, we must be attentive to the decisions that are made and the results they produce. If a president’s policies betray liberty, dignity and family, then it matters little what book or deity they claim to follow.
“If a president’s policies betray liberty, dignity and family, then it matters little what book or deity they claim to follow.”
Though the American Founders believed in the value of a strong religious—primarily Judeo-Christian—influence in society, they did not envision a nation governed by a particular doctrine. They viewed the roles of church and state as separate, and for good reason: the church should not wield the sword of law, nor be yielded by it. Therefore, our Constitution was designed to preserve freedom no matter the ruling party, and each president is sworn to protect that document by oath. It is not a president’s particular theology that should concern us, but whether or not that oath means anything to the person taking it.
September 8, 2009 § 2 Comments
The entire transcript for today’s address can be found here.
I didn’t like the idea of the president broadcasting a speech to public school children all across America for two reasons. 1) It could be easily used to promote his political ideologies through both his own words and those of liberal teachers who would be leading class discussions before and after the speech, and 2) because I believe the god-like status of the modern American president has grown far beyond what is healthy as it stands, and that this type of stunt only furthers this idea. The office of the president and the executive branch in general has far more power and a much greater ego than was ever intended.
On the first front I don’t think there will be any serious problem. He seems to be directing his speech at primarily lower income or otherwise troubled students, and he is using his own personal story to show them that a person can change their life’s direction for the better by working hard. That’s a good message, and I will be disappointed if my conservative friends fail to rally behind that message and decide to bash him anyway. Conservatism is all about working hard and being productive citizens. There seems to be nothing else in the speech that adds a pervasive spin. There were, however, a couple of lines that I found to be slightly disturbing, and which I would not doubt we will hear about from Obama’s critics.
Quote: “You’ll need the insights and critical thinking skills you gain in history and social studies to fight poverty and homelessness, crime and discrimination, and make our nation more fair and more free.”
Really? Is that all history and social studies is good for? There’s a brief mention of “free” – a vague term by the definitions of most K-12 students, and often one that associates more with American slavery than the absence of political tyranny. The emphasis is on poverty, homelessness, crime and discrimination – and “fairness.” Now, perhaps these are what Obama sees as the most pressing issues of society, but where is national security, stability, prosperity and liberty? Not worth an honorable mention apparently. The message is clear: government is about making life better for poor people and minorities so we can have a level playing field. That may sound like a harsh translation, but read the quote again.
While tackling these social problems is an honorable task, Obama seems to frame these causes as the primary focus of social responsibility, and by logical extension the responsible function of government. I have to question why Obama would isolate those particular problems, which are issues that are more from the list of socialist concerns than that of capitalism. If our children are taught that justice means eliminating homelessness how do you suppose they will view welfare? If they are taught that justice is making our nation “more fair and more free” what might you guess their stance on universal healthcare would be? It would have been nice to hear him comment on limited government and economic liberty, but really, who am I kidding.
Speaking of limited government, this line was inserted in his closing statements.
Quote: “I’m working hard to fix up your classrooms and get you the books, equipment and computers you need to learn.”
Yes, children. In case you were wondering, it’s the president’s job to make sure you have nice classrooms and cool stuff. We don’t need to get into state and local governments, and how your neighborhood property taxes pay your teachers and build your classrooms – what’s important is that you look up to President Goodwrench and the Fabulous Federal Government for all of your education needs.
Our chief megalomaniac is not only insinuating that he is personally responsible for their quality of education, but he is promoting a view that says the Federal Government has the right and authority to do so. If I had children I would be sitting with them today, either at home or at the school, explaining to them that what the president “means” is that he is trying to help the people who get us our books and buildings, but that he actually isn’t able to do very much.
Perhaps I’m kidding myself again. These days people seem to believe the president has, and should have, the authority to do pretty much whatever he wants. Sounds a lot more like a King than a President to me. What are we moving toward in America? As the office of the president gains ever more power, attention, expectation, reverence and authority we are gradually losing the structure that was created by the constitution. Executive orders are used to effectively create laws that completely bypass congress. The president’s reach into our businesses and our personal lives is an abomination to the very spirit that the American Republic was founded on when we parted from the tyrannical rule of the king and parliament of Britain. Congress – direct representatives of the people and the states – is supposed to create laws, and the executive office is to see that they are put into effect.
What have we come to when he who enforces the laws gets to make the laws? What if police officers were able to write their own rules, not having to answer to a greater authority? In America, authority comes from two places: the people and the constitution. They are both in place to keep power-hungry people from using the system to oppress others – think Hitler,… think Nepoleon,… think Caesar Augustus. It’s been going on since the beginnings of human civilization, and our founder’s primary objective was to keep it from happening in the United States.
This president doesn’t doesn’t seem to be aware of such a threat, or maybe he’s fully aware – that scares me the most. Either way, it makes me uncomfortable that he is putting statements like these into the minds of an entire generation of children. Hopefully they’ll walk away remembering his call to a strong work ethic and commitment to goals, and not that Barack Obama is trying to make our lives better, and that one day they too can work in the government for the same cause.