One hundred days into the Obama administration we are reminded of the oft told exchange between Mrs. Powell and Dr. Benjamin Franklin as he exited Philadelphiaâ€™s Independence Hall upon completion of the United States Constitution. â€œWell Doctor what do we have, a republic or a monarchy,â€ asked Mrs. Powell.Â â€œA Republic,â€ replied Doctor Franklin, â€œif you can keep it.â€
Sentient Americans find themselves asking a similar question today. â€œWell Doctor Obama, what do we have, a republic, a monarchy, socialism, crony capitalism, corporatism, fascism, communism â€¦ what?â€Â No one seems to know.Â
Newsweek magazine famously (and gleefully) declared, â€œWe are all Socialists Nowâ€ citing the massive expansions of government, first under the Bush administration then accelerated exponentially under Mr. Obama.Â
Others call it fascism, not as a pejorative Hitlerian reference, but according to the definition of fascism as, â€œa system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.â€Â Arguably all are applicable at present but the belligerent nationalism and racism.Â Belligerent Leftist political correctness, however, may yet prove an effective substitute.
Conservative political activist and former diplolmat, Alan Keyes, believes Mr. Obama to be a radical communist.Â Â Â Â
And economist Larry Kudlow, in a recent column about Obamaâ€™s economic interventions, muddied the waters still more.
Itâ€™s not socialism because the government wonâ€™t actually own the means of production. Itâ€™s not fascism because America is a democracy, not a dictatorship, and Obamaâ€™s program doesnâ€™t reach way down through all the sectors, but merely seeks to control certain troubled areas. And in the Obama model, it would appear thereâ€™s virtually no room for business failure. So the state props up distressed segments of the economy in some sort of 21st-century copy-cat version of Western Europeâ€™s old social-market economy. So call it corporate capitalism or state capitalism or government-directed capitalism. But it still represents a huge change from the American economic tradition.
Zounds. And all this in just 100 days.Â
So please tell us, you Hope & Changers, exactly what was it for which you voted? It would seem most haven’t a clue.Â
In a recent letter to members, Heritage Foundation President, Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. analyzed the â€œpuzzling ambivalence in the America people.â€
Following President Obamaâ€™s speech to Congress on February 24, a national poll sought the publicâ€™s overall reaction; 68 percent said they found it â€˜very positiveâ€™; 88 percent said the policies he proposed will take us in the â€˜right direction.â€™ But now consider some other polls. Rasmussen asked people whether Congress knows what it is doing in addressing our economic problems; 69 percent of voters said they didnâ€™t think so.Â In another poll, Rasmussen asked whether Ronald Reagan was right when he said, â€˜Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.â€™ Surprisingly, 59 percent of all voters (not just Republicans) agreed with that. President Obama is proposing something on the order of $1 trillion in new taxes; yet 57 percent of voters say tax cuts would help the economy.Â
Such analysis leads one to the only logical conclusion which is that the American people are on crack. Not all of them. The sober are either attending Tea Parties desperately trying to resuscitate what remains of Dr. Franklinâ€™s Republic, or quietly delighting in the phenomenal progress their Marxist schemes are making in all sectors of society. The masses in the middle, however, are clearly on crack.Â Â
Poor timing this. Iran, Russia, North Korea, Islamists the world over, and, last but by no means least, China are all vying for position to be the first to seriously challenge American resolve in the age of hope and change. In public, the rest of the world applauds Mr. Obamaâ€™s conciliatory gestures in face of it all. In private, they crave vigorous and unapologetic American protection; for they know that without it, all is lost.Â Â
â€œThe price of greatness is responsibility,â€ declared Sir Winston Churchill before an audience at Harvard in 1943 regarding Americaâ€™s role in the world. This is more true now than then. This is not the time for the American people to be smoking crack, or experimenting with Marxist variations of government and economy, or whining for chimeras like risk free loans and free health care.
The United States Constitution and free market principles have served Americans and, consequently, the world quite well. Would that theseÂ institutions be shown the respect and attention they deserve.