The Wall Street Journal’s case against Obama

I’ve said all along that I would, with the most extreme possible reluctance, i.e., walking into the voting place backward with a sack over my head, vote for McCain if I became convinced that Obama would cause existential or grave harm to America of a kind that McCain would not cause. An October 17 editorial in the Wall Street Journal claims that Obama will do just that. Below are excerpts from the article followed by my response.

OCTOBER 17, 2008
A Liberal Supermajority
Get ready for ‘change’ we haven’t seen since 1965, or 1933.

* * *

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven’t since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.

* * *

A strongly Democratic Congress is now likely to lay the final flagstones on the path to government-run health insurance from cradle to grave.

Mr. Obama wants to build a public insurance program, modeled after Medicare and open to everyone of any income. According to the Lewin Group, the gold standard of health policy analysis, the Obama plan would shift between 32 million and 52 million from private coverage to the huge new entitlement. Like Medicare or the Canadian system, this would never be repealed. [LA comments: But hasn’t ever single Dem candidate stood for the same? Clinton, Gore, Kerry? And we stopped it in ‘93-94. We could stop it again.]

* * *

The danger is that Democrats could cause the economic downturn to last longer than it otherwise will by enacting regulatory overkill like Sarbanes-Oxley. Something more punitive is likely as well, for instance a windfall profits tax on oil, and maybe other industries.

- Union supremacy. One program certain to be given right of way is “card check.” Unions have been in decline for decades, now claiming only 7.4% of the private-sector work force, so Big Labor wants to trash the secret-ballot elections that have been in place since the 1930s. The “Employee Free Choice Act” would convert workplaces into union shops merely by gathering signatures from a majority of employees, which means organizers could strongarm those who opposed such a petition.

The bill also imposes a compulsory arbitration regime that results in an automatic two-year union “contract” after 130 days of failed negotiation. The point is to force businesses to recognize a union whether the workers support it or not. This would be the biggest pro-union shift in the balance of labor-management power since the Wagner Act of 1935.

* * *

- Free speech and voting rights. A liberal supermajority would move quickly to impose procedural advantages that could cement Democratic rule for years to come. One early effort would be national, election-day voter registration. This is a long-time goal of Acorn and others on the “community organizer” left and would make it far easier to stack the voter rolls. The District of Columbia would also get votes in Congress—Democratic, naturally.

Felons may also get the right to vote nationwide, while the Fairness Doctrine is likely to be reimposed either by Congress or the Obama FCC. A major goal of the supermajority left would be to shut down talk radio and other voices of political opposition.

* * *

The anti-antiterror lobby would be rewarded with the end of Guantanamo and military commissions, which probably means trying terrorists in civilian courts. Google and would get “net neutrality” rules, subjecting the Internet to intrusive regulation for the first time.

* * *

It’s always possible that events—such as a recession—would temper some of these ambitions. Republicans also feared the worst in 1993 when Democrats ran the entire government, but it didn’t turn out that way. On the other hand, Bob Dole then had 43 GOP Senators to support a filibuster, and the entire Democratic Party has since moved sharply to the left. Mr. Obama’s agenda is far more liberal than Bill Clinton’s was in 1992, and the Southern Democrats who killed Al Gore’s BTU tax and modified liberal ambitions are long gone.

In both 1933 and 1965, liberal majorities imposed vast expansions of government that have never been repealed, and the current financial panic may give today’s left another pretext to return to those heydays of welfare-state liberalism. Americans voting for “change” should know they may get far more than they ever imagined.

[end of excerpts]

Well, this is terrible. We are looking at a possible major, irreversible move of America toward much bigger government, much higher taxes, a much more controlled and bureaucratic society—in short, a Europeanized America—what the left has desired all along. With the exception that, unlike Europe, we have tens of millions of poor blacks and Hispanics whose needs and demands, for example their excessive use of hospital emergency rooms under state-financed medical care systems, will infinitely exacerbate the costs of social democracy. I always had the idea that America was protected from socialized medicine, simply because our vast underclass population would so add to medical costs that any third-party payer scheme would break down. But now, by some miracle (if you’re on the left) or by some perfect storm (if you’re on the right), leftism, nonwhiteness, and an appealing JFK cool have been combined in the person of one Barack Obama, and under the leadership of this polite messiah America seems poised to launch itself onto the seas of racial socialism—from each according to his abilities and whiteness, to each according to his needs and nonwhiteness—that I never imagined to be possible. If you think that’s an exaggeration, or even a racist exaggeration, see my analysis of Obama’s race speech of last March in which I show its true meaning.

However, these glum views, the Wall Street Journal’s and mine, fail to take into account something Patrick Buchanan said recently, a variation on my own long-time argument about the resistance to the left that will be awakened by an Obama presidency.

In a column entitled, “The Coming Backlash,” Buchanan, like the Journal, states that an Obama victory means expanded House Democratic majority and probably filibuster proof majority in the Senate to have “a regime further to the left than any in U.S. history. Then he asks:

What will this mean to America? An administration that is either at war with its base or at war with the nation.

He points out that the public (which in this case would mean mainly Democrats) has repeatedly shown buyer’s remorse about Obama, not accepting his radicalism. Also, says Buchanan, Obama has repeatedly abandoned and moderated his radical positions when he saw they were not acceptable to the public.

Will a President Obama, with his party in absolute control of both Houses, revert to the politics and policies of the Left that brought him the nomination, or resist his ex-comrades’ demands that he seize the hour and impose the agenda ACORN, Ayers, Jesse, and Wright have long dreamed of?

Whichever way he decides, he will be at war with them, or at war with us. If Barack wins, a backlash is coming.

This puts a different color on things, doesn’t it? Even if Obama has a majority in Congress to pass a radical program, a large part of the public will vociferously oppose it. They will not lie down. Political principle and passion, though lacking the votes in the Congress, may somehow force the Democratic majority to pull back. Or it may force Obama to pull back and go against the Congressional Democrats rather than against the country.

As I’ve said many times, on a gut level I prefer an ALIVE right half of America opposing a leftist President and Congress to a DEAD right half of America going along with John McCain. But maybe this is just a hopeful fantasy on my part. Maybe Obama and the Democrats would quickly push through a raft of socialist-type and anti-freedom measures, setting the country irreversibly on a leftist, statist, and anti-white course, and thus utterly defeating and demoralizing whatever remains of an effective conservative opposition in this country. In 1996 I had no problem withholding my vote from Dole and voting for a third-party candidate. In 2000 and 2004 I had no problem withholding my vote from Bush and voting for a third-party or write-in candidate. But this year is really tough.

—end of initial entry—

Jeremy G. writes:

I share your apprehensions about which candidate would be worse for America. But let’s be honest about McCain. He is a traitor to the traditional America and a liberal at heart. If he manages to defeat Obama, he may be president with a Democratic supermajority in both Houses of Congress. He will feel guilty about having defeated the historic black presidential candidate and will be under relentless attack from an enraged liberal media. As in the past, he will work assiduously to appease the unappeasable liberals, but this time he will be under immense pressure from them. At the same time, he will be in a prime position to pass the liberal agenda while trying to convince conservatives that this is bipartisanship and the best deal we could get. Thus instead of your “best case” scenario of liberals trying to pass a radical left wing agenda with unified conservative opposition, McCain will divide conservative opposition. Can any of your readers imagine McCain standing up to a leftist supermajority on cultural or racial issues? Most Republicans in the House and Senate have far more courage and integrity with respect to opposing the left than he does. We should look to them for leadership, whatever their diminished numbers and our circumstances after the election.

LA replies:

Thanks. You’ve bucked me up, so to speak. And you’ve introduced a new and telling argument. Not only would McCain be very bad, as a president saddled with a leftist Democratic super majority which wants the same things Obama wants, but this guilty drama queen, who has spent his whole career publicly indulging his guilt feelings about his various real and imagined failings, would feel super guilty for having prevented the election of America’s first black—and highly gifted and charismatic—president. He would feel compelled to be to Obama what Lyndon Johnson was to John F. Kennedy, the unromantic, undesired substitute who successfully puts through the idealistic program of the tragically thwarted young leader.

LA continues:

Just picture it … a government consisting of a leftist Democratic super-majority in the Congress, and of a super-guilty liberal Republican in the White House.

Buddy in Atlanta writes:

Jeremy G. writes:

“If he manages to defeat Obama… [McCain] will feel guilty about having defeated the historic black presidential candidate and will be under relentless attack from an enraged liberal media.”

Even worse, imagine that Obama’s defeat is followed by days of terrible, destructive riots by inner-city blacks. The media would *really* be clamoring for President McCain to “address the problems of the inner cities.” And he would love to deliver the new programs “to heal our nation.”

At the risk of sounding paranoid, I think the possibility of post-election riots is not trivial—following an Obama defeat, or even an Obama win. On the morning of November 4, I’ll be filling my fridge and gas tank and hitting the ATM for some extra cash. No sense getting caught unprepared.

LA writes:

In a phone conversation, Paul Nachman told me his decision was immovable, he wasn’t going to vote for McCain no matter what. I said to him, “But how would you feel if Obama was elected and they passed socialized medicine and the Fairness Doctrine and a federal entitlement for pre-school and statehood for D.C….”

He answered:

“But your argument on the other side is strong: McCain is the weakest reed imaginable.”

That really hit me. I think it’s the single most incisive statement I’ve heard in this entire debate.

October 23

Steve R. writes:

The rising up against the amnesty bill greatly depended on talk radio. They coordinated the attack. I am concerned that the very possible reinstatement of the fairness doctrine neutralizes Buchanan’s argument—making Obama’s election the existential threat that requires us to “put the bag over our head” and get drunk a la Ms. Coulter.

Paul Gottfried writes:

It may interest you to know that I share your sentiments and hesitations about this election. I too can’t make up my mind whether to vote for a former darling of the liberal media, running as a RINO-neocon, or an associate of black racists who has risen in politics by being on the social far left. I wish both candidates would disappear into the earth.

RB writes:

There may be hope that a McCain victory won’t lead conservatives to roll over and simply rubber stamp whatever brainless policies he comes up with. The mere prospect of an Obama victory may have so rattled conservatives and Republicans that they are rethinking their knee-jerk support of the leadership. John Fund, an affable and intelligent fellow, is expressing increasing concern at massive voter fraud. He may be approaching a teachable moment where he will begin to see that the third-worlding policies he and his colleagues have promoted are beginning to bear some very toxic fruit. Rush Limbaugh yesterday made the unequivocal statement that regardless of who wins, the conservative movement will be reshaped into an effective opposition. El Slowbo has shown an increasing awareness of the reality of the situation and he does reflect the sentiments of many mainstream conservatives. Given that, and with the extreme danger an Obama victory poses to the security and even continued existence of white America, I am joining the “get drunk and vote for McCain” crowd.

M. Jose writes:

But Mr. Auster, you live in New York. Obama is going to win there no matter what you do. Might as well vote for principle.

I know that I am writing in Chuck Baldwin.

LA replies:

I do not use the fact that I live in a securely Democratic-majority state and thus that my vote will not count electorally as an escape from the responsibility of casting a vote that that I think is the right vote. Also, the state by state electoral vote is not the only vote. The national popular vote is always considered significant, too. Why else would we pay attention to national polls as distinct from state polls?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 22, 2008 08:41 PM | Send

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