- 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

“Rasmussen’s health-care polling results since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid orchestrated the Christmas Eve vote are full of undeniably bad news for Democrats. In roughly ascending order of bad news (if one is a Democrat) …” Jeffrey H. Anderson writes in a blog at Weekly Standard.com.

- “Likely voters oppose Obamacare by more than the (18-point) margin by which Ronald Reagan beat Walter Mondale: 58 percent to 39 percent.

- “There are far more likely voters who ‘strongly’ oppose Obamacare (46 percent) than there are likely voters who support it even ‘somewhat’ (39 percent).

- “Only 24 percent of likely voters think that the quality of health care would get better under Obamacare, while 54 percent think it would get worse - a gap of 30 percent.

- “Only 13 percent of likely voters think that the cost of health would go down under Obamacare, while 63 percent think it would rise - a gap of 50 percent.

- “Seniors oppose Obamacare by more than 2 to 1: 63 percent to 31 percent.

“And the worst news of all for Democrats …

- “Independents oppose Obamacare by the head-turning tally of 66 percent to 28 percent.

“Lest Democrats try to console themselves with the thought that perhaps Rasmussen has got it wrong, CNN’s latest poll, from just a few days before the Christmas Eve vote, showed Americans opposing Obamacare by a similar tally: 56 percent to 42 percent,” Mr. Anderson said.

“In light of these numbers - and in light of the extreme difficulty that the Democrats had in squeezing a bill tailor-made for the House through the House, and one tailor-made for the Senate through the Senate - anyone who thinks that either the passage or the subsequent implementation of Obamacare is anything remotely resembling inevitable, is forgetting that Tocqueville’s book wasn’t called ‘Monarchy in America.’ ”

WINDY WARMISTS

“The cover of Al Gore’s new book, ‘Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis,’ features a satellite image of the globe showing four major hurricanes - results, we’re meant to believe, of man-made global warming. All four were photoshopped. Which is nice symbolism, because in a sense the whole hurricane aspect of warming has been photoshopped,” Michael Fumento writes at Forbes.com.

“True, both greenhouse gas emissions and levels in the atmosphere are at their highest, but this year had the fewest hurricanes since 1997, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For the first time since 2006 no hurricanes even made landfall in the U.S.; indeed hurricane activity is at a 30-year low,” Mr. Fumento said.

“None of which is really all that remarkable. What’s remarkable is that the hurricane hysteria essentially reflects a ‘trend line’ comprising a grand total of two data points in one year, 2005. Those data points were named Katrina and Rita.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.