Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama the Wilsonian demagogue

The backstory: I did not hear all of Obama's speech. I heard most of it, off and on. I intended to post my impression before reading other opinions. I slipped up and visited Power Line.

Woodrow Wilson is notable among presidents for helping strengthen what had hitherto been a notably weak office. It's tough to name notable presidents between Lincoln and Wilson. Wilson saw the presidency as a role which could serve to institute public policy by working through the populace to pressure Congress to implement presidential policy. Though Wilson feared the ills a demagogue could cause, he grabbed the demagogue's mantle and wore it with aplomb while he served as president.

Wilson set the stage for Roosevelt, who did more than any other president (I'll even count George W. Bush among the also-rans even if some liberals might disagree) to strengthen the office of the president.

Last night's speech I found profoundly within the paradigm of Wilsonian demagoguery.

Obama let on that he wants big changes. If we don't make those changes then bad things (such as recession without end) will happen. Are the American people uncertain about nationalized healthcare? Tough. Obama says we need to do the reform. Now. And the speech was a short laundry list of big issues like health care.

The Republicans are invited to help out. Aside from the fact that nearly everything Obama wants to do is historically against their principles, why not?

I found Tuesday's Obama unlikeable. I saw him in a type of (Bill) Clinton mode, spinning facts and bashing his opponents. I found him less sincere and more calculating, almost as if he took stock of his political position and decided "now or never"--time to shade the truth for the greater good.

The policies don't add up. We had this "emergency" stimulus and the Democrats used the urgency to implement liberal wish-lists. Now the president admits that shoring up banks' ability to lend is the critical element in our economy, and the "stimulus" package turns out to be a long-term plan to establish an economy molded in a more liberal, government controlled, image.

We'll "invest" in unproven "green" or renewable energy, apparently hoping to reap huge profits by selling our breakthroughs to other nations. I heard no admission that the course will hurt the U.S. economy as we force ourselves to use more expensive and less efficient energy sources during the transition to we-know-not-what.

This is bad, folks.

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