President Obama is politically insane. This is the real meaning of his speech Thursday night in front of a joint session of Congress. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting
a different result. By that definition, Mr. Obama is a lunatic leftist.
Much of his speech called for more of the same - government activism; massive spending on infrastructure, bridges and roads; extending the payroll tax cut; and more public aid to states and municipalities. In short, he seeks to perpetuate the dismal policies of Obamanomics. He is a reckless ideologue masquerading as a pragmatist.
Mr. Obama's presidency has been dominated by one seminal reality - failure. His nearly $1 trillion stimulus; record budget deficits; unprecedented levels of public spending; the government bailouts of the auto, insurance, housing and banking sectors; billions heaped on "green jobs"; Obamacare; Dodd-Frank to reform Wall Street, and huge outlays for food stamps and unemployment benefits - all have failed to restore the economy.
In fact, they have done the opposite. Unemployment is 9.1 percent. Growth is anemic. In August, no new net jobs - none - were created. Consumer confidence is low. Inflation is rising. The value of the dollar plummets. Burdensome regulations are strangling business. America is being buried under a mountain of debt. For the first time in history, its credit rating has been downgraded. The country is not only on the verge of national bankruptcy, but of economic collapse.
Any reasonable person would change course - but not Mr. Obama. He is a big-government liberal who worships at the altar of statism. The fact that we are broke and can no longer afford his borrow-and-spend policies means nothing. Like all fanatics, he is disconnected from reality.
Contrary to popular myth, liberalism is not politics committed to science or rational thought. It is a substitute religion - a secular philosophy similar to Marxism that seeks to replace Christianity and provide believers with existential meaning. Hence, it must be defended at all costs, even in the face of irrefutable evidence or logic. Mr. Obama is not an anomaly among progressives. They share his stubbornness. Reassessment is not possible. If Mr. Obama truly were to tack to the center, it would represent a fatal admission of error. The liberal faith would collapse.
This is why left-wing Democrats are demanding that he defy the Tea Party - and reality. Rep. Maxine Waters of California is urging Mr. Obama to pass another trillion-dollar stimulus. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argues that Obamanomics has not spent, borrowed or taxed enough. The problem is not Keynesian liberalism, but the lack of sufficient zeal. In Bolshevik Russia, hard-core communists criticized Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin for not completely abolishing private property. They argued that it was Lenin's "deviationism" from Marxist orthodoxy - not central economic planning and state socialism - that explained the failures of the Soviet system. For liberals, Mr. Obama is now the new Lenin.
Yet, Mr. Obama - like Lenin - cannot escape the consequences of his disastrous worldview. Whether it's $300 billion, $1 trillion or $10 trillion - no amount of "stimulus" or public spending will provide a long-term cure for the ailing economy. The reason is simple: Government does not - and cannot - create wealth. Only the vibrant free market can.
This is why liberals are now left with only two options: lie about Mr. Obama's record or engage in dangerous demagoguery. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is more of a cheap propagandist than a serious party spokesperson. Mrs. Wasserman Schultz insists that Mr. Obama's stimulus "worked." The "facts" speak for themselves, she says. They don't. In 2009, Mr. Obama vowed that if the stimulus were passed, the jobless rate would remain under 8 percent. Under his tenure, America has lost more than 2 million private-sector jobs. Mrs. Wasserman Schultz is the equivalent of a Stalinist-era hack jabbering about the Soviet economic miracle. No one believes her - not even her staunchest supporters.
This leaves political gangsterism. Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa recently said that it's time for unions to declare "war" on Republicans and Tea Partyers. "President Obama, this is your army," Mr. Hoffa thundered at a Sept. 5 Labor Day rally in Detroit. "We are ready to march. Let's take these SOBs out and give America back to an America where we belong." Mr. Hoffa's comments were vile, reprehensible and could foment civil violence. Labor unions, such as the Teamsters, have a long history of street brawls and physically intimidating opponents. Once these kinds of furies have been unleashed, it is difficult to contain them.
The Democrats' hypocrisy is staggering. For days following the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others, leading Democrats and the liberal media blamed conservative talk radio, Sarah Palin and a "climate of hate" for the massacre. Mr. Obama even called for a "new civility" and "tone," tacitly chastising his critics. Yet, now that a key ally has called for blood to flow in the streets, the White House is silent.
Mr. Obama is a man of the hard left. He deeply loathes everything America stands for - capitalism, limited government, individual freedom and Christian civilization. In particular, he despises our exceptionalism. His stated goal is to create a "post-American world" where the United States is simply one of many countries - no bigger, better or stronger. He exhibits a form of madness, a self-loathing, reminiscent of the late pop singer Amy Winehouse. Mr. Obama keeps injecting the heroin of class warfare and socialism into our national bloodstream. And he can continue to play on the biggest stage and boast a huge audience. In the end, however, it leads to the same result: insanity and death.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.
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