Remember this classic from October? The audacity of hope indeed:
But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr…
So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship.
A few trillion dollars in spending later, comes the reckoning:
Hold on—there’s a typo in that paragraph. “$3.6 trillion budget” can’t be right. The entire national debt is—what—about $11 trillion? He can’t actually be proposing to spend nearly one-third of that in one year, surely. Let me check. Hmm. He did. The Wall Street Journal notes that federal outlays in fiscal 2009 will rise to almost 30 percent of the gross national product. In language that even an innumerate English major such as myself can understand: The US government is now spending annually about one-third of what the entire US economy produces. As George Will would say, “Well.”…
If this is what the American people want, so be it, but they ought to have no illusions about the perils of this approach. Mr. Obama is proposing among everything else $1 trillion in new entitlements, and entitlement programs never go away, or in the oddly poetical bureaucratic jargon, “sunset.” He is proposing $1.4 trillion in new taxes, an appetite for which was largely was whetted by the shameful excesses of American CEO corporate culture. And finally, he has proposed $5 trillion in new debt, one-half the total accumulated national debt in all US history. All in one fell swoop.
Funny he should mention Will, whose latest piece for Newsweek addresses this precise idea of Obama being a statist wolf in sheep’s “pragmatist” clothing. (“Addressing Congress last week, the president said he is strengthening government ‘not because I believe in bigger government—I don’t.’ Chant it, everybody: Yes you do.”) Follow the link to see Buckley confess to feeling “almost unpatriotic” for doubting that the new New Deal will work. This, mind you, from a guy who declared in the aforementioned October piece, “I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets.” Exit question: Which of the right’s prominent Obamicans will be next to evince buyer’s remorse? Kathleen Parker’s ride on Air Force One should tide her over for a few more bailouts and The One’s speechcraft should give Peggy Noonan plenty to praise for the foreseeable future, so the smart money’s on Brooks. Welcome back, David!