- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 31, 2009

DAY OF RECKONING

“America is at a day of reckoning that it never quite expected to face,” Victor Davis Hanson writes at National Review.com.

“Not long ago, tired of eight years of Republican rule, terrified by the September 2008 financial panic, unimpressed by the campaign of John McCain, and mesmerized by the hope-and-change elixirs and landmark candidacy of Barack Obama, the American people voted for change.

“But change of what sort?” Mr. Hanson asked.

“I think voters wanted an end to the Bush deficits. Big government and Wall Street insiders sickened them. They were tired of the expense of two wars. By 2006, the scandals of the Republican Congress had turned them off. But mostly voters just wanted an end to the shrill politics that had torn the country in two.

“Barack Obama saw all that. So he gave the crowds what they wanted: promises of vetoes of wasteful spending, no more lobbyists, an honest Congress for once, financial sobriety, and no more red-state/blue-state, at-your-throat politics. For millions of believers, Obama was to be our version of Truman or Eisenhower - centrist competence, but spiced up with 21st-century postracial pizzazz.

“The people took Obama at his word, and here we are a year later with the largest drop in popularity of a first-year president in poll-taking history. A clear majority of the country is now opposed to almost all of the Obama program - more stimuli, bailouts, deficits, and takeovers; statist health care; cap-and-trade; and therapeutic-apology/ reset-button diplomacy abroad.

“I think it is a fair generalization to say that both the Right and the Left agree that Obama ran as a moderate in order to move America sharply to the left. The former calls it perfidy; the latter, necessary politics to achieve the desired ends. So what we now have is a progressive, grass-roots populist who is doing his best to obfuscate his own goals and ignore the desires of the great majority of the people.”

AUTHORITARIANS

“The health policy atrocity that Washington Democrats are now finalizing represents an ugly new turn in American politics,” the American Spectator’s Peter Ferrara writes at Spectator.org.

“From almost the founding of the Republic, we have seen demagogues seek to sway public opinion in their favor with crass arguments appealing to base motives in the electorate, from racism to class warfare to xenophobia. But that is NOT what we are seeing in Washington today, on issues from health care to ‘global warming’ to federal deficits, spending, taxes, welfare, energy, and beyond,” Mr. Ferrara said.

“What we are seeing in Washington today is much worse. What this mob currently in power is telling us on health care, and the rest of the issues, is that they know what is best, and they are not the slightest bit interested in what the people think. If any of us disagree, that is because we are ignorant yahoos, malevolent Nazis, or crazy teabaggers, and our ‘elected representatives’ have not hesitated to respond by calling American citizens precisely such names when they have exhibited the temerity to dissent.

“This is not a perversion of democracy. This is a complete abdication of democracy, or rule by the people, displaced by a new elitism, or rule by elites, which is a form of undemocratic authoritarianism. …

“Demagoguery at least shows some respect for public opinion. What we are seeing in Washington today is the replacement of a functioning democracy, based on consent of the governed, with a New Authoritarianism based on arrogant power.”

BY THE NUMBERS

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