I was reading the Old Testament book of Amos a few days ago and was reminded that liberation theologians get much comfort from that prophet’s decrying the mistreatment of the poor.
At about the same time, I read a piece by a brilliant conservative analyst with whom I sometimes disagree who was arguing that some conservatives don’t take the formidable Barack Obama seriously enough and, in effect, give him cover with their over-the-top depictions of Obama as a Marxist and worse. He erroneously assumes that these supposedly hyperbolic characterizations are motivated by greed (stirring up audiences yields more revenues) and, in any event, only serve to enable Obama.
Please stick with me; I will tie these first two paragraphs together before I’m finished.
I agree with the analyst to some extent. In fact, I have long argued that President Obama is not “The Amateur” some paint him as. He is quite competent on big-picture items and is advancing his agenda even if he doesn’t have a clue about the details, most of which he doesn’t want to be bothered with, anyway.
Obama never did produce a health care reform bill, but the name “Obamacare” will forever credit him with that bill’s coming into law, as well it should. But do you remember Obama’s rambling, incoherent, embarrassingly nonsensical 2,600-word response to a woman named Doris at a health care forum about cutting medical costs?
Obama also seems to be a virtual economics illiterate. But that doesn’t keep him from getting away with expanding the government, spending trillions of borrowed dollars and taxing major producers into oblivion. The disastrous results of his policies didn’t prevent him from being reelected.
Obama’s style of governance can best be understood by his frustrated command regarding the hole responsible for the Gulf Oil Spill: “Just plug the damn hole.” But that doesn’t mean he should be taken lightly.
While I agree with many of the unnamed analyst’s points about Obama, I disagree with some of the lessons he draws.
I agree that some of the claims about Obama have enhanced his credibility by making the accusers seem unserious. But I don’t think calling attention to his extremism and labeling it as such falls into that category.
It seems that this particular conservative analyst and a number of others are saying we need to recognize that Obama is not so much a radical, but more of a European-type socialist who is also weak on defense.
Well, I’m not sure how much substantive difference there is between a European socialist and a dictatorial Marxist. But putting that question aside, I think there is more danger in sanitizing Obama’s radicalism than there is in potentially overstating it.
Part of the reason Obama has been able to succeed, including in his reelection effort, is that the overly cautious types on our side insist on pulling their punches in criticizing him. If Mitt Romney’s campaign proved anything, it proved that.
Just when Romney had Obama on the ropes, he not only let him back into the center of the ring, but he quit throwing punches altogether and just offered up his chin. Similarly, congressional Republicans can’t successfully navigate their budget battles with Obama if they’re constantly giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming (and asserting), against the evidence, that he is dealing in good faith.
If our side had been as relentless in pointing out Obama’s substantive radicalism as Obama and the left have been in falsely demonizing Republicans, I dare say we could have defeated him in 2012.
Obama is not just a garden-variety liberal who wants to nudge America’s political pendulum left of center. He has told us from the beginning and has now proved that he intends to fundamentally transform America.
Nor is he motivated by ideological liberalism alone. He holds grudges, from race to capitalism to who knows what else.
This is where we tie the first two paragraphs together. Obama was demonstrably lying when he said he didn’t hear and approve of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s racist black liberation theology sermons for 20 years. He has not only established that with his books and his past four years in office, but also in the church he frequents most often today.
Check out the sermon Obama chose to hear on Easter Sunday from Rev. Luis Leon, who decried that “the captains of the religious right are always calling us back, back, back. For blacks to be in the back of the bus, for women to be back in the kitchen, for gays to be in the closet, and for … immigrants to be on their side of the border.”
It is not those pointing out Obama’s radicalism who are his primary enablers, but those who are naively downplaying it.