Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The Public Be Damned!
By Alan Caruba
The most dangerous political trend of 2009 has been the disdain for public opinion that has manifested itself in the White House and among the Democrats who control Congress. Combined with an obvious preference for lying to the public, it portends a difficult year ahead.
The assumption of politicians, from the President to the Democrat Senators and Representatives, that the public is too stupid to understand what they are doing and must be subjected to legislation that “transforms” our political and economic system has generated a growing firestorm of protest.
This was first seen in the spontaneous emergence of “Tea Parties” that has now coalesced into a political movement drawing large numbers of independents, as well as others in both parties. The contempt for the “teabaggers” was evident from its first days and even a massive Washington, DC protest was dismissed by the political elitists while the mainstream media did its best to ignore it.
This attitude has led to the forced passage, first of the Cap-and-Trade bill in the House and the egregious passage of the healthcare “reform” bill in both the House and Senate. Plunging the nation into levels of public debt and the potential for increased taxation and higher costs for all energy use has put the nation into a state of jeopardy it has not seen since the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
The rapid decline in the President’s approval ratings, rivaling all previous Presidents in their first year in office, tells you everything you need to know about public opinion regarding Barack Obama’s performance in office in 2009.
The Founding Fathers had such a high regard for public opinion that they engaged in extensive efforts, now called the Federalist Papers, to educate and inform the public of their times about the proposed Constitution. The steady erosion of the Constitution’s limits on the federal government over the past half century is further testimony to a trend that conservatives have warned against.
Today, however, the era of 24/7 news coverage affords the opportunity to see this trend in action and the most recent example is the appalling assertion by the Secretary of Homeland Security that “the system worked” in the face of the obvious fact that it had failed in the Christmas day attempt to destroy a commercial airliner. Secretary Napolitano reversed herself the next day, but the President, after a delay of three days responded by saying it was “an isolated incident” when al Qaeda announced it was just one more attempt to inflict terror on Americans.
Earlier, following the most recent worst enemy attack on U.S. soil, the murder of U.S. soldiers at Fort Hood, the President urged Americans “not to jump to conclusions.” School children born after 9/11 concluded it was a jihadist attack.
The primary duty of government is to protect its citizens against its enemies, but this administration has sought to close the detention facility in Guantanamo, extend Constitution rights to admitted terrorists, hold civil trials for enemy combatants, and transfer the most dedicated jihadists to detention on U.S. soil.
A Republic is by definition a governing system that is “representative” of the public’s opinion and preferences. When elected leaders ignore the public or regard it as just a body of people to be manipulated through lies, the nation is as greatly threatened from within as by external enemies.
The former U.S. Socialist Party presidential candidate, Norman Thomas, once famously said that, “The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’, they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without ever knowing how it happened.”
It is happening now at a rapidly increasing speed and it is being done by the Democrats in the Senate and House, and the President. Their exercise of raw political power, however, is more reminiscent of an authoritarian Communist regime.
Obamacare has been described as “a monstrosity” by Republican leaders and that is an apt description. It is the penultimate intrusion and implementation of government control over the lives of all Americans. Cap-and-Trade will impoverish the nation.
2010 is likely to see a new American Revolution as this trend continues.