Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Obama Presidency

Living through the first months of the Obama presidency feels a lot like:

The dizzying feeling that you can't get a grasp on what's going on because there's just too much coming at you from all sides;

Feeling overwhelmed watching Obama spend billions and trillions of dollars, more dazzling than even those bright stage lights;

The frustration of not being allowed to actually "read the book," (Remember the 1100 page stimulus bill that Obama gave no one time to read?)

The pressure put on you to hurry up, and let them move along with their program;

And the sinking realization that the power is all theirs, so that you really have no choice but to give in to the stage direction and go along for the ride.
A Master of Sleight of Hand

After 4 months of "Shock and Awe" policy making and power grabs, I've come to see Obama as a sleight of hand master, one skilled in the art of doing something while not letting on how it is done and in fact pretending to do something else.

I've learned to discount what he offers in his right hand, and look for the cards he's holding in his left. Here are just a few examples:

In his right hand: "I am not a socialist and don't want to run businesses." In his left hand: He runs the banks, owns car companies, hires and fires CEO's, strong-arms creditors to give up their contractual rights, sets executive compensation, and closes car dealerships.

In his right hand: The promise to look forward and not dwell on the past. In his left hand: His recent speech on terror criticizing Bush 27 times.

In his right hand: The promise to cut spending and cut the deficit "by half." In his left hand: His spending spree, which will triple the national debt in 10 years.

In his right hand: His decrying a "government-run health care" system as "extreme." In his left hand: His advocating a plan that will leave us with just that.

In his right hand: A debate about "empathy" as a criterion for a Supreme Court jurist. In his left hand: The real criteria are judicial activism and policy-making.

Who is this guy and what does he have up his sleeves?

Obama came to the presidency with little experience and as pretty much an unknown quantity. Even his many admirers in the media remarked to each other post-election that "We don't really know who Barack Obama is."

So we have a president whom we didn't know well to begin with, and who now is always saying one thing but doing another, who appears hell-bent on taking us tomorrow to some uncharted territory that is known to his mind alone.

Yogi Berra's famous advice comes to mind: "If you don't know where you're going, you just might end up someplace else." So I think a responsible citizen must ask the question: Who then is this guy, and what is he trying to do with our country?

With all his flip-flops, it's hard to detect any true core beliefs in this man. Everything seems to be negotiable and/or expendable, including many items on the far-left's agenda, which has made them understandably disappointed and angry over issues like gay rights, abortion and the wars.

In fact I can find only two principles of action (as opposed to core beliefs) on Obama's part:

Ensure reelection in 2012:
(To this end, he has been very busy rewarding those who elected him, especially the unions, and demonizing his opponents); and,

Seize as much power as possible to redistribute wealth before everyone catches on to what is being done to America. (Which is why he's moving with such great speed.)
In examining Obama and his actions, I always consider the writings of Obama's old mentor, Saul Alinsky, whose 1971 book, "Rules for Radicals" was Obama's guidebook through his years as a community organizer. (Alinsky referred to "radicals" interchangeably with "community organizers." See more on Obama and Alinsky in my previous posts of April 19 and May 3.)

Alinsky called his book "a revolutionary handbook" with the stated goal of advising radicals (organizers) who want to take wealth away from those he called the "Haves" and give it to the "Have-Nots" for a "more equitable distribution of the means of life." ("R4R," pp. 3- 10.)

His book advised a "pragmatic" approach to changing the world, one in which radicals would infiltrate "the system" and, from places of power within government, set about not to reform it, but to attack it:

"…we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people…a mass power organization which will change the world…This means revolution." ("R4R," pp. 3-5, Emphasis added.)

Alinsky's "revolution" was no violent overthrow, nor was it specifically communist. Rather it was to be a new form of government, the exact shape of which radicals (organizers) would have to figure out along their way.

For Alinsky, the only ideology was change itself, directed to the general welfare, and he urged disciples to avoid "dogma," (core beliefs), in favor of political relativism:

"An organizer… is in an ideological dilemma. To begin with, he does not have a fixed truth-truth to him is relative and changing…

…the organizer is loose, resilient, fluid, and on the move…To the extent that he is free from the shackles of dogma, he can respond to the realities of widely different situations…In the end he has one conviction-a belief that if people have the power to act, in the long run they will, most of the time, reach the right decisions."(R4R, pp. 10-11, Emphasis added.)

What Alinsky advises is what Obama appears to be doing: free from the shackles of core beliefs, he is focused on seizing power. Confident in his arrogance, and buoyed by his popularity, Obama doesn't have a plan so much as a belief that he will know the right way toward the general welfare when he sees it.

If I'm right, and Obama is still taking Alinsky's direction, then he is "winging it" to a far greater degree than most have feared.

Are we to believe that this inexperienced, arrogant, core-belief-free man has a better idea for our form of government than the one established more than 230 years ago on the combined wisdom of our founding fathers?

The stage is set for a grand finale trick to be played on America. We must not be fooled. In his right hand he holds out "hope" and "change," but in his left is "revolution."

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