Friday, January 25, 2013

January 25, 2013

Obama: Reagan of the Left 
The president sees himself as the unabashed apostle of the ever-expanding state.
by Charles Krauthammer
January 24, 2013

The media herd is stunned to discover that Barack Obama is a man of the Left. After 699 teleprompted presidential speeches, the commentariat was apparently still oblivious. Until Monday’s inaugural address, that is.

Where has everyone been these four years? The only surprise is that Obama chose his second inaugural, generally an occasion for ““malice toward none”“ ecumenism, to unveil so uncompromising a left-liberal manifesto.

But the substance was no surprise. After all, Obama had unveiled his transformational agenda in his very first address to Congress four years ago (February 24, 2009). It was, I wrote at the time, “the boldest social-democratic manifesto ever issued by a U.S. president.”

Nor was it mere talk. Obama went on to essentially nationalize health care, which is 18 percent of the U.S. economy — after passing an $833 billion stimulus that precipitated an unprecedented expansion of government spending. Washington now spends 24 percent of GDP, fully one-fifth higher than the postwar norm of 20 percent.

Obama’s ambitions were derailed by the 2010 midterm shellacking that cost him the House. But now that he’s won again, the revolution is back, as announced in Monday’s inaugural address.

It was a paean to big government. At its heart was Obama’s pledge to (1) defend unyieldingly the 20th-century welfare state and (2) expand it unrelentingly for the 21st.

The first part of that agenda — clinging zealously to the increasingly obsolete structures of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — is the very definition of reactionary liberalism. Social Security was created when life expectancy was 62. Medicare was created when modern medical technology was in its infancy. Today’s radically different demographics and technology have rendered these programs, as structured, unsustainable. Everyone knows that, unless reformed, they will swallow up the rest of the budget.
As for the second part — enlargement — Obama had already begun that in his first term with Obamacare. Monday’s inaugural address reinstated yet another grand Obama project — healing the planet. It promised a state-created green-energy sector, massively subsidized (even as the state’s regulatory apparatus systematically squeezes fossil fuels, killing coal today, shale gas tomorrow).

The playbook is well known. As Czech president (and economist) Václav Klaus once explained, environmentalism is the successor to failed socialism as justification for all-pervasive rule by a politburo of experts. Only now, it acts in the name of not the proletariat but the planet.

Monday’s address also served to disabuse the fantasists of any Obama interest in fiscal reform or debt reduction. This speech was spectacularly devoid of any acknowledgment of the central threat to the post-industrial democracies (as already seen in Europe) — the crisis of an increasingly insolvent entitlement state.

On the contrary. Obama is the apostle of the ever-expanding state. His speech was an ode to the collectivity. But by that he means only government, not the myriad of voluntary associations — religious, cultural, charitable, artistic, advocacy, ad infinitum — that are the glory of the American system.

For Obama, nothing lies between citizen and state. It is a desert, within which the isolated citizen finds protection only in the shadow of Leviathan. Put another way, this speech is the perfect homily for the marriage of Julia — the Obama campaign’s atomized citizen, coddled from cradle to grave — and the state.

In the eye of history, Obama’s second inaugural is a direct response to Ronald Reagan’s first. On January 20, 1981, Reagan had proclaimed: “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” And then succeeded in bending the national consensus to his ideology — as confirmed 15 years later when the next Democratic president declared “the era of big government is over.” So said Bill Clinton, who then proceeded to abolish welfare.

Obama is no Clinton. He doesn’t abolish entitlements; he preserves the old ones and creates new ones in pursuit of a vision of a more just social order where fighting inequality and leveling social differences are the great task of government.

Obama said in 2008 that Reagan “changed the trajectory of America” in a way that Clinton did not. He meant that Reagan had transformed the political zeitgeist, while Clinton accepted and thus validated the new Reaganite norm.

Not Obama. His mission is to redeem and resurrect the 50-year pre-Reagan liberal ascendancy. Accordingly, his second inaugural address, ideologically unapologetic and aggressive, is his historical marker, his self-proclamation as the Reagan of the Left. If he succeeds in these next four years, he will have earned the title.

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Rand on 'President Paul': "I like the Ring of That"
by Breitbart News
January 24, 2013

Senator Rand Paul told Breitbart News's Ben Shapiro that he felt foreign aid to other countries should be reassessed considering America's own financial situation. Shapiro began a hypothetical question insinuating it would be "President Paul" in the future. Rand interrupted and said, "I like the ring of that," with a smile.

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Jindal: The GOP “might need to change just about everything”
by Erika Johnsen
January 24, 2013

Since the failed presidential election, the GOP has been grappling with identifying exactly what it is the party needs to work on most — diversity, social issues, and Latino outreach, or election mechanics and a flawed Romney candidacy/campaign? — or some combination thereof, and all of the issues are on the table for discussion at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in North Carolina. Keynote speaker and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, however, is going for a more overarching message in his address tonight: It’s time to “recalibrate the compass of conservatism,” stop focusing so much on Washington-centric politics, and start going for a message of inclusion and economic growth:
“We do not need to change what we believe as conservatives – our principles are timeless,” Jindal says. “But we do need to re-orient our focus to the place where conservatism thrives: in the real world beyond the Washington Beltway.” … 
“Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs,” he says. “We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping. This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play.” … 
“The Republican Party must become the party of growth, the party of a prosperous future that is based in our economic growth and opportunity that is based in every community in this great country and that is not based in Washington, D.C.,” Jindal says.
Of course, the 2016 brand-building has already begun in earnest, and with the GOP bench looking pretty solid, the competition for free-market, economy-growing, conservative credentials will be fierce — and I am one hundred percent okay with that. Jindal is already looking to institute some aggressive pro-growth changes to Louisiana’s tax code, and the message of goal-oriented optimism is one the Republicans could definitely use right about now.

The Democrats have somehow managed to become the party that can provide more for people through the auspices of big government; as Jindal plans to say, they “promise to be the party of ‘more from government,’ but they are actually the party of less.  They are the party of economic contraction, austerity and less from the economy.  The Republican Party is the party of ‘more,’ the party that creates more from the economy.’” The GOP needs to keep hammering home that they aren’t against a social safety net — rather, they’re actively for an economy in which opportunities are so readily available and attractive that people don’t want to be on welfare — and its the type of economy that cannot be achieved through federal orchestration.

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