The Disconnected President
posted at 11:50 am on January 28, 2010 by Doctor Zero
Viewers of the State of the Union address last night were treated to the spectacle of a man completely disconnected from reality, insisting the country join him in celebrating his failures as rousing successes… or at least the best anyone could have expected to do, in the long shadow of George Bush. It wasn’t a President honestly discussing the state of the union. It was a long, rambling exit interview from a deluded employee, who thinks he was called into the office to get a raise instead of a pink slip. It was the hurt and confusion of an academic who doesn’t understand how his B+ term paper could have become such a disaster when implemented in the real world, and insists it will still work, if everyone pays closer attention to the extensive footnotes.
Beyond the fact-checkable whoppers fried up on the grill of desperate political necessity, the speech illustrated a disturbing ignorance of the way every facet of our economy and culture is connected. Barack Obama is a disconnected President, who lacks a basic understanding of the fantastically complex system he pretends to control. He’s a vain and egotistical man frantically waving his arms in front of a symphony he can barely hear, and claiming to be the conductor.
It was surreal to watch a politician announce his top priority is job creation, then spend the next hour listing class-warfare enemies. I hope people making less than $250k per year start hiring like crazy, because everyone with a higher income just became a hated enemy of the state. Why, if they work for a large corporation, they shouldn’t even have free speech rights!
It’s painful to listen to someone who wants to add nationalized banks to his collection of state-run car companies wax poetic about the power of entrepreneurs, then list all the ways he’s going to punish risk-taking and achievement. Anyone who successfully starts a business, and creates jobs through rising profits and expansion, will quickly become a member of the evil $250k Legion of Doom. The financial speculation he pounded with the poverty-stained cudgel of socialist rhetoric provides the investment capital for those small entrepreneurs. If no one has incentives to excel, and risk-taking is a felony offense, small businesses don’t appear and grow. Entrepreneurship does not thrive in the thin soil of a command economy. Contrary to Democrat Party rhetoric, banks do not exist to give people credit cards they can pay off whenever they get around to it, or mortgages they “deserve” but cannot possibly afford.
Praise for the resilient spirit of the American people rings hollow, coming from a man who doesn’t think they can be trusted to manage their own health care without government supervision. As Governor McDonnell explained in his splendid response, private property and free speech rights are inseparable components of liberty. Neither of them dissipates with rising income levels, or membership in private corporations disliked by the ruling political party. All of those targeted tax cuts and transfer payments promised in the State of the Union are links in the very chain of state control that strangles innovation and risk-taking. If a nation desires economic growth and technological development, it must celebrate achievement and respect individual wealth. The last thing America needs is another five thousand pages of tax law, telling us how we can avoid the tariffs our political class has leveled on activity it has declared incorrect. A “targeted tax cut” is actually a punitive fine, leveled at everyone who doesn’t comply with the government’s designs. We can only hope the Americans who work in the financial sector demonstrate resilience in the face of Barack Obama.
A politician who wants to swell the size of an already-titanic government has no business complaining about lobbyists and special interests, especially when he thinks “special interest” means “a powerful group that doesn’t contribute money to my party.” The party of George Soros, and the candidate who turned his campaign website into a Swiss bank account by disabling its basic identity checks, have nothing useful to say about keeping “foreign money” out of politics. Big Government always brings lobbyists. They’re the only boom industry of the Obama economy. If you want to reduce the control of wealthy interests over our politics, you must reduce the size of government. As the sad fate of the McCain-Feingold regulations prove, you can’t purge those interests through increasingly draconian and illogical rules on political speech. The acolytes of Big Government always pretend that “fighting special interests” means being more aggressive in designating their enemies as special interests.
This State of the Union speech was the midterm exam in a long, painful lesson about the interdependence of politics, culture, and the economy. The challenge facing a democracy is to maintain a government that secures freedom against anarchy, without following its worst instincts into tyranny. Government is force, and the larger its programs become, the more it becomes fixated on compliance. The belief that we can let the government control some portions of our lives and industry, while the rest remain vibrant and creative, is a childish fantasy that should have died for good last night, before the spectacle of a man who doesn’t understand why his declared capitalist enemies aren’t producing enough jobs to boost his approval ratings. When he urged Americans to begin removing the obstacles to their success, he was too disconnected to understand that process already began in Massachusetts last week.