- - Friday, March 11, 2011

Democrats are the Forrest Gump of American politics. They’ve taken to heart the advice Jenny gave him right before he deployed to war: “Just, if you’re ever in trouble, don’t try to be brave, you just run, OK? Just run away.”

And run they have. Like frightened French soldiers.

There’s hardly a politician in the world who hasn’t promised they’d fight for you but the basic fight-or-flight response has unmasked today’s Democrats’ indefensible defense of big government.

Wisconsin state Senate Democrats cowering under their beds in an Illinois no-tell motel put 1,500 state workers at risk of layoffs and only delayed the inevitable and necessary budget cuts that Wisconsin, like the rest of America, must face. But these cut-and-run Badgers weren’t alone. Indiana Democrats also turned Hoosier tail and ran to Illinois as well. In 2003, Texas Democrats went yellow and scurried across the Red River to Oklahoma. For Democrats, political courage is like most vintage French World War II era MAS-36 rifles: never fired and only dropped once.

I must confess, however, that I do have sympathy for our frightened Democrats. They’re simply on the wrong side of history. They’re trying to defend the indefensible and the cadre of anti-free-market, big-government, central-control holdouts is dwindling down to Hugo Chavez, the ailing Kim Jong-il, the Castro brothers and the American Democrats - and the Castro brothers are one broken hip away from splintering the coalition. In the 1990s, the oldest political party in the world was reduced to claiming that oral sex isn’t sex. Now their claim is even more laughable - that free enterprise doesn’t create prosperity.

The free market is the most powerful engine of human prosperity in the history of mankind and today’s Democrats stand desperately in its way to appease those who are enriched by big government at the expense of everyone else. It’s not by coincidence that the most prosperous and powerful nation the world has ever known grew out of the cradle of democracy. Freedom, after all, is the core of the free market. It’s the freedom for you to control your own resources and with them, your destiny. It’s the understanding of a simple concept that you can spend your own dollars more effectively than the government can spend them for you. After all, free consumers don’t buy $600 hammers or build bridges to nowhere - politicians do.

The world over, the freest nations are also the most prosperous and their citizens - in all classes - enjoy a better standard of living than their counterparts in government-run economies. Most poor souls around the globe can only dream of living as well as America’s “poor,” the majority of whom own cars and televisions and live in air-conditioned homes and struggle more with obesity than hunger.

Freedom is on the march. The 20th century witnessed the spectacular but predictable implosion of the world’s largest centrally-planned economy in the Soviet Union. A few years earlier and equally as dramatic was the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. Both were fueled not by ideology but practicality. Dictators became powerless in the face of parents who simply wanted to feed their families and teenagers who wanted to buy Bruce Springsteen CDs and wear Levi 501s. Meanwhile, nations with very few natural resources like Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan rose from squalor to become economic giants by unleashing the power not of the bureaucrat but of the entrepreneur.

We enter the 21st century with even long holdouts like India and China finally embracing the power of free markets and, as such, enjoying increasing standards of living. They are unshackling themselves from the bureaucratic burdens of big government that American Democrats love: higher taxes, more spending, endless regulations, coddled cronies, and - the cruelest of all - false promises of government-supplied prosperity that never arrives. Meanwhile, befuddled Democrats wonder why these nations are prospering.

American Democrats are in defiance of history and common sense. As Canadian and British patients flee government-run socialized health care, Democrats rush to implement Obamacare. As once-impoverished nations become wealthy by manufacturing goods for Americans, Democrats and their union allies are aiding them by raising manufacturing costs here at home. As Asian auto companies make cars people actually want, President Obama nationalized car companies and is now bribing you with your own money to buy an electric clunker nobody wants. As our competitors understand the elegantly simple yet profoundly powerful concept of supply and demand, Mr. Obama implements an oil-drilling moratorium and rushes toward $5 per gallon gasoline. As our competitors are recognizing the inescapable reality that increased government spending and taxes mean fewer resources available for the private enterprises that drive prosperity, Mr. Obama unveils a $3.7 trillion budget and calls for more taxes.

Such is the plight of the big-government types who hopelessly think every problem calls for yet more government. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Defending the indefensible is tough work and the only thing as laughable as the cowardly flight are the ridiculous contortions of those Democrats who stick around to defend big government. Filmmaker Michael Moore sees the same $14 trillion national debt we see but still screams into the microphone a cruel, false promise to the wanting crowd, “America is not broke!” How so? He’ll simply confiscate free Americans’ money, rationalizing, “That’s not theirs, that’s a national resource, that’s ours.” Mr. Moore may not be a hammer, per se, but he is certainly a tool.

Unless the Democrats can eventually come to understand and embrace the free market, we will see plenty more of their desperate fight-or-flight responses. Their allegiance to big government may compel them to scatter like frightened French soldiers or plan panty raids on your bank account. Either way, Forrest Gump’s mom was right: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.

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