Is there any difference on substantive domestic policy between Barack Obama’s presidency and what we would have seen from, say, Jesse Jackson? I doubt it. Obama has gone hard left on every domestic issue he has dealt with thus far. On issues requiring legislation, he must throw a bone or two to Arlen Specter or the Senators from Maine. But Jesse Jackson would have had to do this too.
We shouldn’t be surprised by the radicalism of Obama’s domestic agenda. He was, after all, the most liberal member of the Senate. And he found congenial both the preaching of Rev. Wright and the educational agenda of William Ayers. There was a chance that Obama would grow in office but, as many of us argued, this was always a long-shot.
Obama’s unwillingness, as a formal matter, to take Republican views on domestic issues seriously should not be surprising either. There is no room for meaningful discussion between radicals and non-radicals. It is true that Obama has a reputation for listening to conservatives. Supposedly, as head of the law review at Harvard, he took conservatives seriously. And it is said that in the Illinois legislature, he would sometimes tweak legislation to accommodate Republican concerns.
But Obama no longer needs Harvard conservatives or Illinois Republicans to vouch for his “reasonableness.” Moreover, he is now engaged in an enterprise that requires a greater single-mindedness — the transformation of the American economic system.
There is, indeed, no reason why Obama should listen to any Republicans other than Arlen Specter and the ladies from Maine. It’s true that he promised to bring people together, to be post-partisan, and blah, blah, blah. But politicians always promise this sort of thing. And even as compared to a generic politician, Obama is not one to be constrained by his promises.
Under the circumstances, conservatives should be grateful for the clarity of the situation. It is better that battle lines be drawn in sharp relief than that Republicans have the opportunity to pull off this or that legislative tweak in addition to the ones Arlen Specter or the Maine Republican liberals impose. Economic radicalism cannot be tweaked into something palatable.
We now know for certain that Obama is an out-and-out statist bent on redistributing income and clamping down on free markets. He desires, as Charles Krauthammer has shown, to convert our free and vibrant economy into a European-style nanny state.
Conservatives must be equally single-minded in the defense of our country’s way of life. There is no cooperating with Obama on domestic issues, and to the extent that Republican Senators like Arlen Specter cooperate, conservatives must do whatever we can to end their public careers.
JOHN adds: In Specter’s case, thispoll suggests that retirement could be at hand when his present term expires. It is notable that Specter garners much more support from Democrats than Republicans.
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