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Obama's Statist Intentions

George Will has an excellent piece in Sunday's Washington Post that asks "Will Obama's Statism Ever Retreat"? The legislative agenda of the Obama White House this year has put the lie to the rhetoric of Candidate Obama's promises in 2008. Gone is the politically centrist, consensus building, post racial pretense of an election season. What we have instead is an activist and radical Democratic Party determined to arrange American life in their own vision. Will comments that what the electorate sees today is ...

shrewd and nutty people such as Rep. Barney Frank [who] are brimful of excitement about arranging American life. What will stop them? The president accurately says Americans are "reluctant shareholders" of GM, AIG and Citigroup. But is he?

The GM, AIG, Chrysler and Citigroup stakes presently held by the government provide a real life litmus test as to the statist ambitions of this President and Congress. Senator Lamar Alexander sponsored legislation that would have placed the government stakes in GM and Chrysler in the hands of tax payers:

The "Auto Stock for Every Taxpayer Act" drafted by Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, would have required the Treasury Department to distribute to individual taxpayers -- evenly, to the approximately 120 million who filed 2008 returns -- all the stock the government holds in General Motors (61 percent) and Chrysler (8 percent). The legislation also would have prohibited using any more TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) funds for GM or Chrysler. And the legislation would have prevented government from influencing corporate decisions for social, energy or environmental policy purposes.

Last month the Senate rejected this legislation 59-38. Only one Democrat voted for it.

That vote should explain the statist ambitions of these Democrats. If taxpayers hold such enormous stakes in these companies there is no reason why the Democratic Party control of these companies should not be turned over to a democratic process that has a long history of corporate control. But Democrats have chosen to turn their back on centuries of corporate governance law. Instead, they want to continue their newfound opportunity for control of private industry. They want to strengthen their grip on the private sector because it is one of the few remaining components of a society that, in their minds, requires their central planning magic.

However, the tumultuous aspect of the ObamaCare debate that most unsettles many Democrats is that taxpayers have figured out the statist intentions of their legislators and said "no more". That the Democrats refused to return control of their stakes in the auto companies should signal to all taxpayers that their intentions concerning ObamaCare will entail a similar coercive strategy. Fortunately grandma and grandpa (as the President so derisively refers to his favorite straw man) have figured that out already.


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Comments (58)

In a word George, No. Obama... (Below threshold)

In a word George, No. Obamalala would have never been elected had he been honest during his campaign. Liberals can't win in the arena of ideas because they are too radical for most of America. Some saw who and what he is but, not enough. All his life he heard that America is wrong and needs to be more "just" and in order to be more "just" it needs to be socialist. He heard it at school and at his church, e.g. Obamalala's twisted understanding of history and America's part in it, and he believes he is the one to make it happen. If the liberal leftist can't make enough of the electorate dependent on their policies they will lose in 2010 and 2012. If they thought the fight over Obamalalacare is surprising wait until immigration reform comes up. The uproar across the country says that those that weren't paying attention before are now. Hence the furious rush to pass his agenda before anything can be done about it. So George it is not in Obamalala to back off and change. And that gives me hope because it will almost guarantee a change in 2010 and 2012.

I dunno. Barry said he was ... (Below threshold)

I dunno. Barry said he was going to fundamentally change the United States of America. I can't say that we didn't know this was coming.

iwogisdeadI think ... (Below threshold)


I think many in the blogosphere (Left and Right) saw this coming, among them commenters like you. It becomes particularly interesting when MSM pipes like the WaPo start talking about it.

Yup, at some point WaPo, NY... (Below threshold)

Yup, at some point WaPo, NYT, and other well known left leaning news outlets simply wake up and go. Well, we cant bullshit anylonger, lets start telling the real news.

Perhaps the reason so many ... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Perhaps the reason so many votes were cast against Alexander's bill is that it would totally negate the reason for Congress's existence. If Congress can't influence social, energy, or environmental policy, what good is it?

If a bill such as that had passed 100 years ago, we wouldn't have such liberal tyranny as the 8-hr workday, "the weekend", safe food and drugs, or prohibition of child labor, among other things, like, oh, I don't know,.... the right of women to vote.

And perhaps the reason it got 37 GOP votes is because they knew it was cheap political grandstanding that would cost them nothing while providing talking points for rubes.

Perhaps, I mean.

Anybody who bothered to loo... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Anybody who bothered to look saw this coming.

He sees education as a tool for indoctrination not education. As chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge he systematically refuse funding to real educational proposals and funded ideological based ones.

He has sought to control the financial industry and the auto industry and has designs on the health care, insurance and energy industries.

He is up front about moving sharply away from a market economy to an economy where the government can control the economy to avoid economic fluctuations.

He is an ideologue and believes in his own infallibility.

Of greatest concern is his apparent lack of regard for democratic institutions and democratic process.

He has no problem with armed voter intimidation when it is in support of himself. He has stood with thugs like Zelaya even after clear evidence of Zelaya's attempt to subvert and destroy the democracy in Honduras became public.

He has no problem with suppressing public demonstrations by calling out union thugs and calling for informants to snitch on their neighbors.

He believes in his own infallibility and has no problem in comparing himself to God in his ability to deal with difficult moral issues. (thus simplifying any such issues for himself as whatever he decides will be infallibly morally correct).

He is never wrong and always has someone to throw under he bus when something goes wrong.

He see no evil other than those who oppose him.

It's not that he's a statist, he's more of a closet totalitarian. He will control everything he can and take no responsibility for any failures blaming and punishing others for them.

Bruce - The bill sai... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce -
The bill said nothing of what you assert. Congress would still have the power to do hat you said. More accurately it isn't congress who regulates those things, but rather bureaucratic institutions of the executive branch that congress has empowered to regulate.

The bill would not have abrogated the food drug and cosmetic act, or civil rights act or any of the countless laws that form the basis for the FDA, EEOC and other agencies.

What the bill would have done is prevent congress from taking and maintaining direct control of private industry. Something congress and the government have no business doing (pardon the expression)

The real problem with it was that there is no real way to distribute shares in the way it demanded and was unrealistic in that regard.

However, something needs to be done to make sure that private industry remains private and does not get taken over by the government.

Bruce Henry wrote:... (Below threshold)

Bruce Henry wrote:

If a bill such as that had passed 100 years ago, we wouldn't have such liberal tyranny as the 8-hr workday, "the weekend", safe food and drugs, or prohibition of child labor, among other things, like, oh, I don't know,.... the right of women to vote.

Wow. 100 years ago, how many shares of stock in private corporations did the government own? Even if the answer is "some," what does that have to do with safe food, child labor, or female suffrage?

Bruce Henry is hereby awarded tuition-free attendance to one session of "iwogisdead's Seminar on Non Sequiturs: How to Avoid Them When Emotional." Call for dates and locations.

iwogisdead-I don't t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I don't think that Bruce was being intentionally obtuse. He was simply reading from his talking points. I doubt he knows two straws about the bill beyond that.

Naw, Bruce is just using th... (Below threshold)

Naw, Bruce is just using the adolescent technique of bait and switch. Yawn.

Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkem... (Below threshold)

Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, Democrat-Pennsylvania was asked:
"Where in the Constitution does it say that providing universal Health Care is the business of the Federal Government?"

Her reply:
"Oh, we do lots of things that aren't in the Constitution".

As the Beatles sang:
you say you want a revolution...

Obama is on record saying t... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Obama is on record saying that the constitution is seriously flawed. He calls the Bill of Rights a "Bill of Negative Rights". You see, it says what the government can't do. It doesn't say what the government can do to the people against their will.

He wants a government that can impose itself on the public not one that serves it.

As I recall the Dem leaders... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

As I recall the Dem leadership in Congress put up quite a stink over "ownership" of the GM stock.

Right after the deal was done Barney Frank started talking about how "we're" majority stock holders and exercising the control that brought. Then someone pointed out that the Government received preferred shares.

Next thing we're reading about is how the Government wants to trade in their preferred shares for common stock. What's that thing about "giving an inch, taking a mile?"

They have enough control to... (Below threshold)
jim m:

They have enough control to demand the resignation of the CEO. That's more than they should have if you ask me.

If there was any doubt abou... (Below threshold)
jim m:

If there was any doubt about their hate for the constitution it is dismissed with Michelle Obama's insistence on the confiscation of cell phones from the public so they cannot take photos of her with their camera-phones.

As far as they are concerned we have no liberties and no rights what-so-ever.

Excuse me, Mr Jim, but I wa... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Excuse me, Mr Jim, but I was only going by the part of the block quote that Hugh chose not to emphasize:

"And the bill would have prevented government from influencing corporate decisions for social, energy, or environmental policy purposes."

As I said, if that had been enacted 100 years ago we would still have child labor, no food or drug safety regulations, no 8-hr workday, no job safety legislation, no weekends as we know them, and a host of other liberal innovations. I admit the women's voting thing was a stretch. What am I, a lawyer?

So the GOP felt safe knowing that Democrats would do the wise thing and reject this radical legislation, and they could use the "stock thing" as a tool to fool rubes with.

And, demonstrably, right here in this comment section, it's working like a charm.

Jim, you are right that i d... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Jim, you are right that i don't know two straws about the bill, though. I was only going by what Hugh quoted. So I could be wrong about the Republicans being cheap political opportunists.

Naah. I'm not wrong.

Bruce you still managed to ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce you still managed to miss my point. The bill would not have stopped legislation. It would have stopped direct intervention and direct government control of what are supposed to be private institutions, imposing political goals instead of business goals.

So again you misunderstand it showing that, indeed you didn't know anything. Thanks for your honesty.

Now if you want government to run companies you can go to Venezuela. Obama's buddy Hugo is doing that to great effect. I'm sure Obama will be catching up to him as soon as he can.

I will consider myself corr... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I will consider myself corrected. Bruce was being intentionally obtuse.

Jim, Bruce usually doesn't ... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Jim, Bruce usually doesn't actually consider what you say. He (if indeed he is a he) only looks for a point on which to hang his next pontificated talking point. Like a bad search engine bot, things sometimes do not relate all that well to what it actually being said. But that's better than Adrian, the bad dog, who races in and poops on the lawn... then runs away until he can do it again.

Anyhow, I think it's striking that Barney Frank can say something about "we're" majority stock holders, but then vote against distributing that stock to "us". Must be we're not the "we" Barney was talking about. But then, if he can ask a constituent what planet they spend most of their time on, I guess he's one of those exceptional people who can differentiate "we" from "we".

It's the "Imperial We", mea... (Below threshold)

It's the "Imperial We", meaning Congress itself.

Bruce didn't mention the Civil Rights Act as one of the things we wouldn't have without Democrat support.

That's because Johnson had to rely on Republicans to get it the Civil Rights Act passed. The Democrats opposed it, although they show no reluctance to falsely claim it as a success. I never did figure out why blacks support Democrats as blindly as they do.

Well, Mr Jim:YOU s... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Well, Mr Jim:

YOU say the bill is all about direct government control. But the article Hugh used says, and I quote, "the bill would prevent government FROM INFLUENCING CORPORATE DECISIONS for social, energy, or environmental policy purposes." And like I said, I don't know two straws about the bill. Just going by what Hugh posted here.

So you see, I didn't miss your point at all. It's just that you say one thing, and the article says another. That's hardly "being obtuse."

If I'm wrong, what IS the actual wording? Could it be that you, too, "don't know two straws" about the bill?

In any case, I'm glad I gave you and Mr Iwogisdead a chance to dust off your Thesaureses (Thesauri?)and use words like "obtuse" and "non sequitur."

You're both welcome.

"As I said, if that had ... (Below threshold)

"As I said, if that had been enacted 100 years ago we would still have child labor, no food or drug safety regulations, no 8-hr workday, no job safety legislation, no weekends as we know them, and a host of other liberal innovations."

Point 1: By the time child labor laws were passed it was already almost unacceptable to run sweat shops anyway. All child labor laws did was allow union employees to charge higher wages because it excluded unskilled laborers form the pool of potential employees.

It also prevents a willing and able kid from helping his family in any way. They used to be able to enter a journeyman or apprenticeship for a trade at a young age rather than going to public school. These children then became the masters of their fields when they reached the age of majority and could marry and provide for a family.

Point 2: The 8 hour work day? If a person is willing to work more than 8 hours a day to make the money they need to live they should be allowed to. The laws about overtime and normal work weeks drive up costs and "spread the money" around to other employees. It also means that a company has to hire more people, likely at lower wages, in order to accomplish the same amount of work.

Now you throw in Minimum Wage (or living wage) and costs soon become unsustainable for small businesses. If I own a barber shop and want to hire some kid who didn't graduate high school to sweep the floor for $4 bucks an hour I should be allowed to. Instead I have to pay them $7 or more so I am no longer going to hire that kid, I am going to find someone who I can get to do more for that money. Or better yet, i will just sweep the floors myself and save the money I would have spent hiring someone for less money.

Point 3: Workplace, Food and Drug safety; While these ideas are great in the abstract, in reality it drives up costs of everything that is made or consumed. It costs millions or more and 10 years to get new drugs to market which is why medications are so expensive. The Food should be inspected to make sure it won't kill people but don't make producers jump though so many hoops that the same food now costs two or three times what it used to.

Workplace safety is important, but if a company kills or maims its employees it is not going to get new employees for much longer.

All of your points assume that only due to Progressive actions did our country evolve, when in reality the US would not tolerate any of the abuses of the past in this day and age. Republicans are not evil people who don't care as long as they make a buck. They are just as compassionate as Democrats but they believe that a person should have the right to choose where his money goes and if he is willing to work a dangerous job for more money.

Its the biggest lie put about by the left, that only they care about the common worker. That only they can deliver us from evil. That the only way to make it "fair" for everyone is to let the government control everything and everyone.

All "fair" means is that we reduce everyone to the lowest common denominator. Everyone must win no matter that the other guy works harder or has skills that are in demand.

"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs."

It seems that every Democrat and their supporters now believe that being selfish is evil. That you should give away all your money because it isn't "fair" that you have a job and make enough money to live the lifestyle you want while the little guy barely survives do to not graduating high school or having 3 or 4 kids.

By the way, that quote is from the Marxist handbook. Don't tell me any longer that Obama is not at least a little socialist.

This is the point where Dems/Progressives will parrot the talking point about giving all those businesses money. Only caring about helping rich people.

To that I say 1) Obama is happy to do it as well, and 2) I never got a job from a poor or middle class person. The ones with the money are the ones who create jobs.

Not the govt.

OT, but a must read, Obama ... (Below threshold)

OT, but a must read, Obama checking out your laptop. Keystroke Loggers Installed in New Laptop Computers. http://obambi.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/obama-checking-out-your-laptop/

Bruce I actually have</b... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce I actually have read the bill.

It contains nothing of what you said which would prohibit Congress from acting to pass laws regulating corporate action.

It does prohibit acquiring additional stock in the auto companies. It requires the government to act (vote where applicable) in ways that enhance shareholder equity (a more specific description of 'value' and one that is less subject to political interpretation). It allows taxpayers to take legal action against the government if it violates its fiduciary duties as established in the act.

The last issue might be problematic, but shouldn't be if the aim is for the government to divest itself of the stock.

The effect of the act would be to prompt the government to divest and to prevent the government from meddling in the business operations of the companies for political purposes.

shiloh Read this:<b... (Below threshold)
Shorter JustRuss:"... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

Shorter JustRuss:

"I am FOR child labor, AGAINST safe food, AGAINST workplace safety, and FOR everyone pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, whether he has any boots or not! If he doesn't have boots, he must have made bad choices, and now he must accept his fate and live out his days in drudgery and misery! Maybe a compassionate successful person will show him some charity, although I most certainly won't. I mean, how is he gonna learn?"

Companies who let their workers get killed won't have any employees? Well, that depends on how hard times get. If my kids are hungry, and all the "good" employers are full, I might take a job at one of the "bad" companies, and then say, "You know, there oughta be a LAW about this shit!" Well, thanks to liberals, there is. You're welcome.

Libertarianism is nonsense, Russ. If you want a libertarian paradise, move to Somalia. There's certainly no government interference there. I'm sure you can employ all the little kids you want, at whatever rate you want to pay them, and eat some food that'll poison you to boot. Good luck.

Meanwhile, Mr Cult-of-Perso... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Meanwhile, Mr Cult-of-Personality has filled only 43 of over 500 positions requiring Senate confirmation.

Makes it look like he doesn't want anyone to hold him accountable.

So, Mr Jim, the article Hug... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

So, Mr Jim, the article Hugh quoted from was incorrect? Good to know. This way I'll know how much to trust Hugh's sources in the future.

So what is the actual wording of the bill you (claim to have) read? I mean, as it pertains to "influencing corporate decisions?" I notice you don't quote from it.

And "preventing the government from meddling in business decisions for political purposes" is quite different from "preventing government from influencing corporate decisions for..... policy purposes."

Policy, political...Same root, two very different words. Because, despite Adam Smith's , errr, I mean JustRuss's vision of free-market utopia, the government mandating child-labor, workplace safety, and environmental minimums is a GOOD THING.

Bruce-The Civil Ri... (Below threshold)
jim m:


The Civil Rights act was passed by a GOP congress. LBJ lamented that the Dems were giving up the South for generations to come when he signed it.

The Pure Food and Drugs act was signed by Teddy Roosevelt. He also created the National Park system

OSHA was signed into law by Nixon.

So thank God we didn't have Democrats in office otherwise we'd be living and working in dangerous hell holes according to your theory.

The really scary part is th... (Below threshold)

The really scary part is that Obama has "Czars" running things for him. You know, ADVISERS who essentially have a cabinet rank, yet have not been vetted by the Senate. But given his past choices, I can see why Barry would not want anyone taking too close a view of his buddies.

Bruce Henry, I just read ev... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Bruce Henry, I just read everything you posted here. I have come to the conclusion you are an idiot. I can only hope someone did not spend much money on your education as it prove a point I made about those on the left. You just cannot educate the stupid out of some people. BH, go back, read everything you posted here. Tell me you are being intellectually honest. But then denial is part of the program is it not?

Bruce-Read it your... (Below threshold)
jim m:


Read it yourself

It's not long.

Policy/political forgive me if I'm not being terribly picky about my wording here. The point is simply that government policy and political ideology have no place in running a company. The white house has already shown an interest in influencing GM to produce cars that consumers may not want. 70,000 electric cars per year? cars that heretofore have performed poorly in cold states? It's questionable. It could end up being a huge money loser and all because Obama wants 'green' cars.

Next time you take a medication or buy food you can remember to thank the Republican Congress, Republican Senate and Republican President that made it all possible for you.

Bruce - The article Hugh qu... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Bruce - The article Hugh quote is not incorrect, nor did I ever say so. I have stated several times that you misread/misunderstood it.

I'll stand by my earlier conclusion that you are being deliberately obtuse.

Don't forget to thank a Republican President for your safe work environment.

Thank you maggie for the li... (Below threshold)

Thank you maggie for the link.

Bruce,Your an idio... (Below threshold)


Your an idiot

Best wishe's alway's... Respectfully Yours.. 914

Just so you know, I was try... (Below threshold)

Just so you know, I was trying to be crazy to show you what it sounds like when you drop leftist crap on us that is more emotional than substantive.

I knew those were all Righty programs and laws but also knew someone far more eloquent would point it out.

I tried a few posts where I entered the mindset of a lefty and failed miserably. Nice to know I can mimick an unrealistic libertarian.

That said; I identify a lot more with the Libertarian party than either Dems or Reps lately. Just because I think the free market would fix things better than any socialist programs you could come up with doesn't mean I am a heartless bastard.

I am FOR child labor if it means that kid is better off than running around on the street or being thrown in some orphanage/foster home. If that kid can make money for his family let him. Don't put kids in school who have no interest being there. That is a waste of money.

I am FOR safe food and drugs, just not huge bureaucracy adding huge amounts of cost to get that product to market.

I am FOR workplace safety, but against workers compensation unless the fraud is fixed.

As for pulling yourself up by the bootstraps even if you dont have boots...what? Of course we should lend a hand to those in need. But not give a handout. In that strange metaphor we should give them the boots but leave it up to them to pull themselves up afterward.

Everyone in America has the right to the same chances as everyone else. What you do with your life is your own choice. You will find just as many if not more Republican stories of being born poor and making something of themselves despite the situation they came into as you would Democrats. Honestly most of the "old money" I ever hear about is in highly Democrat families.

I succeeded in doing exactly what I hoped. I made you froth at the mouth and look like an idiot.

yay me.

Bruce -"What am... (Below threshold)

Bruce -

"What am I, a lawyer?"

No - you're just someone looking to argue, with little to no respect for any other point of view. You're apparently not even seriously looking to CONVINCE anyone - you're having too much fun demonstrating (to yourself) just how superior you are to everyone else.

Jim M thinks that you are being deliberately obtuse. I have to agree.

Will co-opted the term stat... (Below threshold)

Will co-opted the term statist from Mark Levin. It'd be nice if he could at least thank Levin.

Jim, you are right that ... (Below threshold)

Jim, you are right that i don't know two straws about the bill, though. I was only going by what Hugh quoted. So I could be wrong about the Republicans being cheap political opportunists.

Naah. I'm not wrong.

17. Posted by Bruce Henry | August 23, 2009 9:32 PM |

I am actually beginning to enjoy comments such as these. Instead of becoming angry, I am now find myself smiling.

These guys just hate the feeling of the shoe on the other foot.


I agree DrJohn,To ... (Below threshold)

I agree DrJohn,

To me these posts are almost like a drug, I'm starting to get addicted to that anger and pain from my palm slapping my forehead. I find the commentary at least as informative and entertaining as the articles, but only when Adrian, Vic, Hyper, or Barry join in and try to convince us all that we are wrong.

I honestly hope they do not go away, some people in comments tell them to go back to huff or wherever but I enjoy a good debate and think this site would be a sadder place without them.

Hey Barry? Sorry for my snarky remark earlier, I actually enjoy debating you and you were correct about how I misrepresented myself earlier.

Er...bruce, I meant bruce</... (Below threshold)

Er...bruce, I meant bruce

These guys just hate the... (Below threshold)

These guys just hate the feeling of the shoe on the other foot.

They're starting to feel the pinch, all right. They're 'responsible' now, but they're too used to being able to shift the blame for the stuff they actually accomplish. Whenever anything goes wrong with what they've done (and it always seems to, since they continually ignore the possibility of unintended consequences) there has to be SOMEONE ELSE to blame.

The USSR used to blame 'looters', 'wreckers' and 'spoilers' for the problems inherent in their 'central planning' screwups - some poor schmuck was ALWAYS available as a scapegoat - and such was the power of the state that they could pronounce someone guilty and there would be no recourse. Once you were labeled an enemy of the state, that was it. With the power of the state as it was, there was no way for any victim of a show trial to say "I didn't do it!" and have a chance in hell of proving it. The script was written, the play was cast, all had to play their parts.

Of course, simply labeling someone guilty didn't have any actual effect on what was happening and certainly didn't mitigate the problems plaguing the state, but it made for good PR.

Now - the Dems would just LOVE to blame all the problems with THEIR programs on the Republicans. But there's only so much you can do with PR - and a lot of people have caught on that what's reported isn't necessarily what's happening.

The Dems don't control the media - and as the MSM catches on that their ratings plummet the more their support turns into fawning adoration, you're seeing less of a willingness to just parrot what Obama says without any analysis.

The media is starting to see the potential for ratings inherent in tacitly tearing down Obama through objective reporting. The only hope the Dems had was to get stuff passed fast without anyone seriously looking at it. Slow it down so it can be examined, and all of a sudden support collapses. And the more times it collapses, the less support there is for the NEXT crisis/emergency/problem/miracle that Obama tries to pass.

That sounds familiar. Anti... (Below threshold)
jim m:

That sounds familiar. Anti Obamacare people are 'troublemakers', 'liars', 'neo-nazis', a 'mob', 'anti-american', 'deceivers' and 'neanderthals'.

Dems essentially control the media, and I can see no evidence that the MSM is in any way deceived about what's going on. I think they are completely on board and wholeheartedly believe in socialism, central planning for the economy and informing on and tracking of dissenters.

The media senses its own power with the current Dem party. With the party it has greater influence to shape its own narrative about events and it has a partner who will try to stifle opposing voices online and on the radio.

No I expect that the media has hitched a ride all the way to the end of the line. They will either achieve a new ascendancy or they will end up on the dust heap of history. If they didn't hitch their fortunes to Obama they would end up on the dust heap anyway so they really have nothing to lose.

The MSM model is no longer sustainable as a commercial venture. Newspapers are closing all over. TV news viewership is dwindling. The Democrats promise to squeeze talk radio, Fox news and the internet. The Dems offer government funding and tax exemptions for the MSM. It's either play ball with the Dems or go out of business.

The MSM has chosen sides. They have no choice but to stay with the Dems no matter what the consequence for everyone else. There may be some mild second guessing and some fringe news outlets may drop out of the bargain, but the most of them will remain committed.

Howie Kurtz is whining at t... (Below threshold)

Howie Kurtz is whining at the WaPo that we ignorant masses aren't listening to the MSM anymore.

Could it be that we aren't interested in what the presstitutes have to say?


"What we have instead is an... (Below threshold)

"What we have instead is an activist and radical Democratic Party determined to arrange American life in their own vision."

Has any government in the entire history of the world NOT tried to rearrange life in their own vision? Why would you expect the current government to be any different?

Yeah Bruce, because we all ... (Below threshold)

Yeah Bruce, because we all know that any attempt to make the individual aware of what they're losing by handing over all free market decision making to Congress and a statist White House Czar faction is always "cheap political grandstanding". Right?

But see, in a roundabout way, what he's trying to say is that without the Democratic Party and their wonderous legislating and regulating we'd likely try to use our hair dryers in the shower and spend our paychecks on what we want, not what others want.

Bruce, don't pull that crap here. And don't even try to conflate progressivism with the current crop of "Progressives". Let me also wake you up to another rude bit of knowledge:

The liberals of 100 years ago or even less have NOTHING in common with so many who call themselves "liberal" today. There's a huge difference between statists and liberals. And you need to get the dictionary out and do some real soul searching to find which one you are.

Some months ago, Hyper tried to conflate today's "Progressive" with progressivism by rattling off a few big social achievements of the last century or so and attributing them to progressives with the implication that the two are one and the same. I had to remind him of exactly who was responsible for those advancements:

Abolishing slavery
Of what party was the President during that period?

Women's suffrage
What was the first political party to adopt women's suffrage as a platform?

the Civil Rights Act
Which party championed this act and which party fought against it?

labour unions
Labor unions began as completely non-partisan, so we'll leave this one out.

So who are you calling "progressives"?

Let's see... Kenne... (Below threshold)

Let's see...

Kennedy in the '60s gave us a vision of getting to the moon. He didn't herd people into barracks en masse to get us there.

Reagan didn't force everyone to watch his movies or join the military.

Carter didn't force everyone to eat peanuts, but he DID want everyone to 'save energy' and wear a sweater.

Bush 1 - let's see... I seem to remember something about... nope. No massive social reorganizations under his watch that I recall.

Clinton - where do I begin? Don't Ask, Don't Tell, medical takeover, then in '94 the Dems lost the House and Senate.

Bush 2 - I recall vividly the press gangs roaming the inner cities to sweep up cannon fodder for Afghanistan... oh, wait. That didn't happen. No other massive social movements as I recall, except fighting against folks who basically wanted to put the entire world under the thumb of Islam. He wanted freedom for as many people as possible.

Obama wants us all under a government thumb. I somehow fail to see that as an improvement.

Rance- if you read the earl... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Rance- if you read the early history of he United States it becomes clear that the framers of the constitution had little interest in managing the lives of the public. The main focus was opening up trade and establishing an environment that would promote security and commerce.

While you could stretch it to say that such a laisez faire attitude was rearranging life in their own vision I would argue that their vision was to let the people lead the lives they wanted and to keep government out of the way.

That perspective still informs much of the American mindset regarding government and has a lot to do with the resistance that Obama is getting with health care, TARP, the stimulus, the auto bailout etc.

The above was to Rance, by ... (Below threshold)

The above was to Rance, by the way...

Jim M,I guess I ha... (Below threshold)

Jim M,

I guess I have different history text than you do. The "founding fathers" were not of one mind in their vision for the country. That's why there has always been more than one party.

Just throwing this out ther... (Below threshold)

Just throwing this out there. How many people do you suppose will default on their cash for clunkers loans and "The Government" ends up having to try and repossess those cars for non payment? Monumental failure coming soon to a country near you.

JLThe statement I ... (Below threshold)


The statement I made was:

"Has any government in the entire history of the world NOT tried to rearrange life in their own vision?"

Reagan, Bush 41 and Bush 43 all pushed for lower taxes, smaller government, and spreading American style democratic government. That was their vision of what life in America should represent.

Or do you want to argue that none of those men had any vision for America of didn't push to advance their vision?

#52Defaults won't ... (Below threshold)


Defaults won't be on the government back, but on the back of the lender. Let's hope they did a little better job loaning out money than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But I wouldn't be surprised to see repossessions up over the next 6 months.

What's really going to suck is the leftist anticipation that this will 'jump start' the auto industry. The fucking idiots in this administration (who have secure jobs) don't understand:

1. people are out of work
2. people are afraid of losing their job
3. people are trying to minimize their debt

C4C sucked up those who feel secure enough to be looking for a new car. It's not a BIG pool
of people at any given time (except model end-of-year sales; and those idiots who always have to have the 'newest'). The rest of the sales are strung out over the course of a year. Barry and company just compressed that. Look at the sales that WILL NOT HAPPEN in Sept, Oct, Nov and Dec. So the car makers are ramping up production and paying overtime to make cars that will once again sit on showroom lots. Going nowhere. God how I love socialist central planning by people who've never held a real job or even run a real company!

Rance -When you sa... (Below threshold)

Rance -

When you say "rearrange life in their own vision", I tend to think more of the visions enjoyed by dictatorships. You know, like the mass spectacles enjoyed (?) by the people in the former USSR, or NK - where the decisions are made FOR the people by the dictator, with little to no input from the vast unwashed.

Our system? Seems to be designed to get you enough freedom to fail in your own fashion, or make something of yourself - as you choose.

Don't want smaller government? Vote in some bozo who'll promise cradle to grave security - all it'll require is a lot more in taxes. It's working pretty well in Europe, wouldn't you say? (As long as you don't look at the finances too closely.)

Don't like a representative republic? Move - there's no Iron Curtain or Berlin Wall or border guards keeping you IN.

As Jim M said - "I would argue that their vision was to let the people lead the lives they wanted and to keep government out of the way." And I don't think there were any of the founding fathers that thought that it was the government's responsibility to provide anything but a basic framework of laws and order.

They set that up. Been a lot of options added along the way - some good, some bad - as the Bill of Rights shows. But the funny thing is - the only Amendment that was ever repealed was one that restricted a person's freedom - the 18th, repealed by the 21st. (A classic case of 'unexpected consequences'... it SEEMED like a good idea at the time!) Some would say the 22nd is an abridgement of freedoms, but I'd disagree...

Your mileage may vary, of course.

JL,Again __Read wh... (Below threshold)


Again __Read what I wrote__.

I'm not saying who's vision is good, and who's is evil.

I said that every government tries to push things in the direction of their vision.

Period. End of statement.

Everything else you are arguing against is just a straw man that you have constructed.

Rance -Go sell you... (Below threshold)

Rance -

Go sell your straw elsewhere.

It's Obama's War Now... (Below threshold)

It's Obama's War Now

----The ouster of Afghanistan commander David McKiernan could make-or berak-the Obama presidency.

Defense Ssecretary Robert Gates announced this afternoon that he has "asked for the resignation" of Gen.David McKiernan,commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan,and that he plans to replace him with Gen.Stanley McChrystal.It's a very big deal now.

McKiernan's ouster signals a dramatic shift in U.S. strategy for the war in Afghanistan.And it means that the war is now,unequivocally,"Obama'swar."The president has decided to set a new course,not merely to muddle through the next six months or so.

First,let's clarify a few things.When a Cabinet officer asks for a subordinate's resignation,it means that he's firing the guy.This doesn't happen very often in the U.S. military.McKiernan had another year to go as commander.(when Gen.George Casey's strategy clearly wasn't working in lraq,President George W.Bush let him serve out his term,thenpromoted him to Army chief of staff.)Gates also made it clear he wasn't acting on a personal whim.He said that he took the step after consulting with Gen.David Petraeus,commander of U.S. Centgral Command;Adm,Mike Mullen,chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff;and President Barack Obama.According to one senior official,Gates went over to Afghanistan last week for the sole purpose of giving McKiernan the news face-to-face.

Gates emphasized at a press conference today that McKiernan didn't do anything specifically wrong but that "fresh thinking" was needed urgently.The United States couldn't just wait until the current commander's term ran out.

An intellectual battle is now raging within the Army between an old guard that thinks about war in conventional, force-on-force terms and a "new guard"that focuses more on "asymmetric conflicets"and counterinsurgency.

McKiernan is an excellent general in the old mold.McChrystal,who rose through the ranks as a special-forces officer,is an excellent general in the new mold.He has also worked closely with Gates and Petraeus.(In his press conference,Gates referred to McChrystal's "unique skill set in counterinsurgency.")for the past year,McChrystal has been director of the Pentagon's Joint staff.Morre pertinently,for five years before that,he was commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, a highly secretive operation that hunted down and killed key jihadist fighters,including,most sensationally,Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Last fall,Bob Woodward reported in the Washington Post that JSOCplayed a crucial,unsung role in the tactical success of the Iraqi "surge."Using techniquse of what McChrystal called "collaborative warfare,"JSOC combined intelligence intercepts with quick,precision strikes to "eliminate"large numbers of key insurgent leaders.

This appointment will not be without controversy.McChrystal's command also provided the personnel for Task Force 6-26,an elite unit of `1,000 special-ops forces that engaged in harsh intgerrogation of detainees in Camp Nama as far back as 2003.The interrogations wer so harsh that five Army officers were convicted on charges of abuse.(McChrystal himself was not implicated in the excesses,but the unit's slogan,which set the tone for its practices,was If you don't make them bleed,they can't prosecute for it.)

Gates also announced yesterday that he would nominate Gen.David Rodriguez to be the deputy commander in Afghanistan,a nesly created position.rodriguez is currently Gates' military assistant and,before that ,was commander of U.S. forces in eastern Afghanistan.These forces,whick are separate from those under NATO command,spend most of the time going after Taliban fighters.McChrystal and Rodriguez are close friends.They have both been in washington for more than a year.And Geoff Morrell,Gates'press secretary,said in a phone interview this afternoonthat they're both chomping at the bit to get back on the front lines."They're rested and raring to go,he said.They understand the strategy.They're determined to win.They will do what is necessary to win."

We've heard this kind of talk before,of course.fresh,new,and determined dont't necessarily addup to victory.But the shift in command does mark a dramatic change from the uncertain muddle we've seen up to now .And Obama's whole presidency may rise or fall on whether it succeeds.






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