In the wake of Republican Scott Brown’s stunning victory in the recent Massachusetts Senate race, many are wondering (and pontificating) on what President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats will do to adjust their message to the American people as they prepare for the midterm Congressional elections looming on the horizon in November, 2010. Will they abandon their efforts to impose a socialistic national health care system upon us and “move to the center”, as President Bill Clinton did in the 1990s? Will Obama and the Democrats back up, change their game plan, and attempt to achieve their goals in stages, a little at a time, or will they try to give us more of the same thing we have been getting during the first year of the Obama administration – massive spending, higher taxes, more government intrusion in our daily lives, and dramatically increased regulation of private businesses, big and small? My best guess: MORE OF THE SAME, although cleverly packaged with a populist message designed to appeal to the great public anger, reflected in Scott Brown’s victory, against corrupt government run amuck and those public and private officials who irresponsibly created high job losses and the tremendous upheaval in the nation’s financial system. Note that in the days following Scott Brown’s victory, the President has been saying that he is ready to “fight” for the American people and now wishes to place new regulations and taxes on the “big banks”.
In the January 23, 2010, issue of POLITICO, Obama’s former campaign manager and senior White House advisor, David Axelrod, is quoted as saying . . . “that there will be ‘no reinventing’ of the President”; and “[t]here is no need to.” He added . . . “we got elected – to push back on the special interests . . . and to build an economy that works for everyone and not just a fortunate few.”
I believe, however, that there is a bigger and darker reason why President Obama and his associates will not change course in their efforts to impose a government controlled economy on the American people. They recognize that if they can hold on to their huge majorities in the Congress and re-elect the President to a second term, they can permanently change the economic landscape in this country and that there will be no turning back. If they lose this unique opportunity during a period of great unrest to impose a European-style economic system on the country, a similar opportunity may not present itself for another generation.
A recent article (“A Most Uncomfortable Parallel”) by Andrew Stuttaford, a contributing online editor for NATIONAL REVIEW, in that magazine’s January 25, 2010 print edition, makes my case. Stuttaford, rather than comparing Obama to FDR, the Messiah, the Anti-Christ, or “harsher still”, to Jimmy Carter, instead compares the President to CLEMENT ATTLEE, the “Labour leader who humiliated Winston Churchill in Britain’s 1945 election. . . .” The author states the 1945 victory by Attlee and the Labour Party, in the aftermath of World War II in which Great Britain and its economy were devastated, was “one of the most sweeping in British history” and permanently changed the landscape of the British economy.
Although Attlee was shy and dull (“as the jibe went, an empty taxi drew up and out stepped Attlee”) the new Prime Minister, like Obama, although “unthreatening”, was “cool and calculating” and the two also “have in common their pasts as ‘community organizers’” in depressed areas. In addition, Attlee, like Obama, recognized the unique opportunity in Britain for “the closest regimentation of the whole nation” and as such “the opportunity for fundamental change of the economic system.” In Britain at the time, “there was an irresistible demand for ‘change’” and it was believed that Britons “could finally turn the page on the bad old days and build the fairer more egalitarian society they felt they deserved.”
Attlee was not concerned over the costs of the proposed new National Health Service and national compulsory insurance for everyone from the cradle to the grave. “The creation of the welfare state was his overwhelming moral and political priority.”
The nationalization of a “key slice” of British industry (“including the railways, some road transport, gas, coal, iron and steel, the Bank of England . . .”) and the “crippling taxes he promoted” eventually proved disastrous and resulted in Britain’s “inevitable” decline to “lesser-power status.” It remains so today.
The author finally states that although the costs of the new National Health Service and his other “reforms instantly spiraled beyond what had been anticipated, Attlee won the day because he had “irrevocably committed Britain to the welfare state he believed to be an ethical imperative . . . .” Although Margaret Thatcher turned back the socialist model in Britain to some extent a generation later, Attlee’s legacy lives on.
What will Obama’s legacy be at the end of the day? We shall see.
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