If the moderate Democrats fail to resist Obama, they will lose their party
And if all moderate Democrats fail to resist Obama, we will lose our freedom. Jay Cost is a knowledgeable, thoughtful, moderately conservative political analyst who writes regularly at Real Clear Politics. In his column today, he addresses the moderate Democrats on the health care bill. He says that Obama’s condescending contempt for the views of the people in this debate goes against the spirit of the Democratic Party (which, after all, is supposed to represent the people), and that if the moderate Democrats fail to stand up to him, the party will be changed into something narrow and sectarian:
What moderate House Democrats should not do is assume that, if they vote with him on this one, President Obama will stop here. This President talked during the campaign about building a broad consensus for change. Yet when push comes to shove, he cares much more about change than consensus. He plans to tackle immigration reform, and there’s no doubt he’s still eyeing cap-and-trade. He has promised the Congressional Progressive Caucus that they can revisit health care later. If their constituents ultimately disapprove, moderate House Democrats shouldn’t expect Barack Obama to give a damn. That’s not his style. He likes to give lip service to consensus—but when you read the fine print, he inevitably defines any divergent viewpoints as out-of-bounds. He did it on the stimulus. He’s doing it on health care. If moderate House Democrats don’t stand up to him now, he’ll do it on cap-and-trade, immigration reform, and who knows what else. Sooner or later, their constituents will elect representatives who will stand up to the President.Now I have said all along that the notion of a moderate liberalism (and thus of a moderate Democratic Party) is to a great extent a fantasy by which liberals conceal the true, radical nature of their liberal beliefs, even from themselves. The fantasy is foundational to the modern American regime, which I have described as the “radical mainstream.” There are two sides to this false liberal image. As far as their self-understanding and self-image are concerned, most American liberals, no matter how substantively radical their actual beliefs and goals may be (e.g., supporting the idea that two persons of the same sex should be allowed to “marry”), have a compelling need to see themselves not as radicals, not as extremist ideologues, but as moderate, commonsensical, regular Americans. At the same time, as far as their outward appearance to others is concerned, liberals, and particularly politicians, must present themselves not as extreme but as moderate in order to legitimize themselves politically and disarm conservative opposition.
Obama’s undisguised radicalism has shaken this arrangement, broken down the convenient and amiable front (transparently false as it was to an undeluded analysis) of liberal moderateness. The moderates now must make a choice—either to go along openly with the radicalism that has been the true but unspoken core of their party since 1968, or to step back from it and say no. Based on my analysis of liberalism, I expect that most of them will continue to go along with Obama. But the hope is that enough of them may now oppose him that the country can be saved from the horror that is Obamacare.
Diana M. writes:
John Loeffler has an amusing and apt metaphor for what is going on here. He’s been predicting for some time on his radio show (SteelonSteel.com) that when the Transnationalist movement attempting to remake government makes its final sprint to the finish line, it will have to, like a runner, rip off all its clothes, be seen naked for what it really is, and run like heck to the finish line, hoping that nobody will be able to tackle it in time. So the race is on, and one part of the Democratic Party is cheering the runner on from the stands because they think it will be absolutely great once he gets to the finish line. A savvy group of spectators, the Tea Partiers, has looked at the naked runner and yelled: “Oh my God! That’s it!” They’re jumping out of the stands and running to tackle him. Another group of spectators, the Radical Activists, takes off running after the Tea Party guys to prevent THEM from tackling the runner, while the self-styled Moderates from both parties look on uneasily in total confusion.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 09, 2010 12:22 PM | Send