Remember when liberals claimed Barack Obama was "probably the smartest guy ever to become president" and was "a sort of god"? Today they say "we are watching him turn into Jimmy Carter right before our eyes," and the center point of his presidency is "a disaster." So what changed exactly?
Is President Obama really a different man today than he was before he entered the Oval Office? The same Illinois legislator who voted "present" 129 times is now the debt-crisis-AWOL president who refused to present a specific plan of his own. The same presidential candidate who wanted to "spread the wealth" has unleashed redistributionist, collectivist policies on everything from health care and energy supply to runaway Keynesian spending and ever-increasing taxes. Should we be surprised?
The president may still win re-election in 2012, of course, but in recent weeks, his approval rating has crumbled, particularly among liberals, to an all-time low of 40 percent in a recent Gallup poll. Another poll shows that even among liberal Democrats, strong support for Mr. Obama's record on jobs has plummeted 22 points, to a paltry 31 percent. The hope and change of 2008 have given way to the joblessness and foreclosures of Obamanomics.
The only thing worse than the abject failure of a liberal president, at least in the eyes of the liberal, is the undeniable failure of liberalism itself. To claim Mr. Obama has been a good president no longer even remotely passes the laugh test. Consider the results thus far of the Obama presidency:
- Two million-private sector jobs have been lost.
- Unemployment jumped from 7.8 to 9.2 percent with a simply terrible 2011 first-quarter economic growth rate of just 0.4 percent.
- A record 1 in 7 Americans is on food stamps.
- Gasoline prices more than doubled, from $1.83 to $3.74 per gallon.
- National debt increased 35 percent, to $14.5 trillion, or $137,000 for each taxpayer.
- National unfunded liabilities increased 47 percent, to $114.9 trillion, or a cool $1 million for each taxpayer (and this does not yet include Obamacare).
- America is on the verge of losing its AAA credit rating.
What's worse, and was as easily predictable, is the systematic dishonesty Team Obama unleashed to persuade Americans to tolerate its big-government, collectivist agenda. America is, after all, a center-right nation with nearly 3-to-1 self-described conservatives compared to liberals. How else besides trickery could Mr. Obama further an agenda so unpopular with voters? Witness the dishonesty:
- The stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent.
- Stimulus funds would go to "shovel-ready" jobs.
- Obamacare would create 4 million new jobs - 400,000 almost immediately.
- You could keep your own doctor.
- The president's mother was denied health insurance.
- Obamanomics would mean a "net spending cut."
So, as the liberal presidency of Mr. Obama becomes increasingly indefensible, the liberal is faced with an unthinkable dilemma: acknowledge the fundamental failure of his collectivist liberal philosophy, which tends toward socialism, or blame its failures on a single man whom, until just recently, the liberal deified.
The conflict between liberal collectivist ideology and its application was easily predictable by anyone who has studied big-government economic failures throughout history, from the collectivist all-stars including Mao's China, Mussolini's Italy, Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union to today's honorable mentions such as Castro's Cuba or Chavez's Venezuela. Enforcement of collectivism has always depended on government power, from Stalin's iron-fisted gulags to Mr. Obama's mere heavy-handed plan for punitive fines for failure to purchase your government-imposed health insurance. The degree of autocracy may vary, but still the collectivist road to economic ruin is universal.
Here's what I wrote one year ago:
"As President Obama's failures mount, there will be an awkward reversal of roles among liberals, and to a lesser degree, among conservatives, that we're already beginning to see. It will be the liberals, rather than the conservatives, who will decry this man as personally incompetent. In the collapse of the social-welfare state, the last bastion for these scoundrels will be to sacrifice their own anointed deity as though it is his personal failures, rather than the inherent deep flaws of statism, that are to blame. Of course, one must ask how valuable an ideology can be if one man, even (or perhaps especially) a flawed man, can destroy it.
"Conservatives will then find themselves in the uncomfortable position of defending Barack Obama personally, or at least reminding the liberals of their earlier effusive praise, in order to redirect the blame where it primarily belongs - at the feet of the statist policies themselves. The liberals will be left to explain, of course, how valuable the liberal ideology itself really is if even a learned and godlike leader cannot manage it. Further, if Barack Obama turns out not to be the deity they once claimed, what does that say of the liberals' perception (and honesty) when they eventually anoint another?"
This cycle of liberal, cannibalistic personal destruction is the predictable result of the Democrats' cult-of-personality politics. Those purveyors of big-government rule are the mob that Ann Coulter described in her recent book "Demonic," quoting Gustave Le Bon from a century ago, that "knows neither doubt nor uncertainty ... it goes at once to extremes." The absurdity of liberals' deification and then condemnation of their own leaders is second only to their unwillingness to confront the failures of their collectivist philosophy.
In the end, Barack Obama's failures as president are not because he couldn't faithfully execute the liberal collectivist philosophy - he ushered in the Obamacare era, after all - his failures are instead because he bought into the failed philosophy in the first place.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and cousin of President Obama. He blogs at MiltonWolf.com.