by Cato 8/3/14
In the mid-1970s James Earl Carter, a classic bleeding heart liberal if there ever was one, was elected POTUS. He and the Democrats of Congress set out to finalize the welfare state that had begun with the Great Society initiatives of Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s, programs that had been slowed or interrupted by Richard Milhous Nixon and Gerald Rudolph Ford.
Jimmy Carter was no progressive. He believed in the Constitution. He worked with and through Congress. Carter was a classic liberal of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt school. With the massive foreign policy and economic failures of the Carter presidency the liberal quest of the perfected welfare state began to die. It crashed and burned. It self-immolated.[pullquote]Just as Carter killed the classic welfare state by fully implementing it, so Obama is killing the progressive totalitarian state by shoving it down American’s throats.[/pullquote]
Out of the ashes of the Carter welfare state agenda, programs reaching all the way back to FDR’s first term, arose Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Reagan was given two landslide election victories, in 1980 and 1984. Only a stolen election by Democrats in Minnesota, Walter Frederick Mondale’s home state, to which Reagan turned a blind eye, prevented America from awarding Reagan a 50 state victory. America reborn was Reagan’s Phoenix.
Classic liberalism was not totally dead, though. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s attempt to resurrect the classic liberal welfare agenda in the early 1990s … in the form of “HillaryCare”, her version of universal healthcare … collapsed in ridicule, derided as folly, almost before it was fully written down. William Jefferson Clinton spent the remainder of this two terms doing deals with Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. Never again would FDR-era liberal welfare politics anchor a Democratic campaign.
Liberal welfare ideology was finally dead. It remains so today. The redistribution policies of progressives are cynical shadows, mere crude attempts at buying votes, compared to those bleeding hearts like Carter installed. Democrats responded to Reagan’s routs by moving far left.
Liberalism was replaced with a progressive agenda built upon an authoritarian credo anchored in race baiting, gender politics, economic victimhood, fascistic abuse of anyone in opposition, and total disregard for written law. Progressivism reviles American Exceptionalism, seeking to transfer all American influence into international bodies. Progressives built and unionized a bureaucracy of autocrats out of which regulations and dictat flowed, divorced from the oversight of Congress.
Embedded in the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama this authoritarianism, hatred of American influence and power, determined abuse of regulatory bureaucracy and deep animus to individual freedom of speech and thought is now open and visible. At the center of this Obama-led subversion of 225 years of American tradition is a visceral progressive contempt for the US Constitution and the separation of powers it demands.
With the presidency of Barack Obama progressivism has come out of the shadows. Progressives don’t feel the need to lie about their goals, their intentions and their methods any longer. They don’t feel they need to sugar coat their demands. They are now blatantly open about abusing the IRS to silence political opponents, sneering at those of us demanding equal treatment; sticking a middle finger in our faces. They are plain spoken in their desire to destroy the coal, natural gas and oil industries. They are no longer circumspect about bypassing Congress to built a dictatorship of the regulatory state. Every commission and agency has become its own little dictatorial kingdom. The Department of Justice in particular is an Orwellian institution, run by a man, Eric Holder, who is infested with racial paranoia; seeming to be driven by a bitter hatred of all things White; totally politicized and severely biased in enforcement of laws; a American Black progressive version of a European Aryan fascist.
All of this is now obvious even to the most oblivious. What is less obvious is that the progressive assault on America is beginning to lose its balance. Like all jihads it is self-immolating. The program is beginning to collapse in upon itself in a hundred small ways. Cracks and fissures are showing up everywhere. The failure of one policy after another. The pushback from the destruction of entire industries with losses of hundreds of thousands of jobs. The abusive structure of ObamaCare … forcing millions out of their policies and to accept in its place inferior insurance at inflated prices. All of this and much, much more is gradually killing progressivism.
Just as Carter killed the classic welfare state by fully implementing it, so Obama is killing the progressive totalitarian state by shoving it down American’s throats. The old axiom “the best way to kill a bad law is to fully enforce it” was never more true than it is right now.
Americans are not an intellectual people. We aren’t policy wonks. We don’t think things through logically. Americans are entrepreneurs and experimenters. We learn by doing; by trial and error. We try out ideas and we reject the ones that don’t work. We’ve always been this way. We tried Carter’s welfare state and we learned. We are trying Obama’s progressive autocracy and we are learning.
26 states sued Obama in resistance to ObamaCare’s demands, to the cheers of vast majorities of Americans. The suit won, 34 states have now refused to abide by ObamaCare’s strictures. Democrats have lost control of the House of Representatives, 29 governorships and dozens of state Houses and Senates. The US Senate should be lost to progressives this year and the presidency in 2016. The resistance grows daily, as we learn. And Obama’s presidency is falling apart.
I smile at the thought of what is to come once this learning experience is finally done, when Obama’s progressive jihad joins Carter’s liberal crusade on America’s scrap heap of failed and rejected politics.
Cato blogs at Cato’s Domain.
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