Conventional political observers in the media and the Democratic Party establishment have been puzzling for a long time why President Obama didn’t yield on health care reform after the election of Scott Brown in early 2010 and the polls showing that it was increasingly unpopular, even though he was urged to do so by his own chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and others, or why he didn’t “tack to the center” after the 2010 election drubbing like Bill Clinton did after the 1994 election. If he had, goes the conventional wisdom, he might be cruising to re-election right now just like Clinton did in 1996, even with today’s bad economy. (And if he’d tacked to the center and compromised more with Republicans, the economy would be doing better than it is.)
The answer is quite simple, but somehow eludes the conventional wisdom: Obama is playing the long game, and he really does mean what he famously said to Joe the Plumber about “spreading the wealth.” And if he has to sacrifice a few dozen Democrats in the House and Senate to accomplish his long-term goal of fundamentally changing the nation, it is a small price to pay. Ron Radosh argues the case convincingly that Obama really is a socialist after all.
The latest evidence for Obama’s radicalism is his decision last week to gut the work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law—the one that Bill “End-Welfare-As-We-Know-It” Clinton signed under duress in 1996. Obama has decided to restore welfare as we knew it, even though this is possibly illegal. This, on top of the huge expansion in the number of people collecting federal disability payments (probably in excess of the increase in unemployment during this recession), and the record number of Americans now on food stamps. So Obama is the welfare check president as well as the food stamp president. (I seem to have lost my copy of the memo that says if I say that I’m a racist.) In other words, Obama has now completed the job of throwing away the last vestige of Clinton’s effort to moderate the Democratic Party’s disastrous liberalism of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Mickey Kaus, one of the liberals who backed welfare reform, is all over the case, noting that if Republicans can’t make hay out of this Obama move, they truly are the stupid party. At the very least, can we please revive the slogan, “Paychecks, Not Welfare Checks”?
We all recall how Obama told Russian President Medvedev over the open microphone that he’d have “more flexibility” in a second term. Given Obama’s track record of using executive power to the maximum, here’s my chief domestic policy prediction for a second Obama term, if there is one: Obama will use his presidential pardon power to grant amnesty to the entire population of illegal aliens currently in the country. Who cares if it causes a Democratic Party rout at the 2014 midterm election, if it ensures a huge new Democratic voting bloc for the long term (since amnesty would be step one toward citizenship and legitimate voting rights).
You heard it here first on Power Line. It would be nice if a reporter asked him about this idea.