2008 Redux?

The prospect of a Biden presidency and a radical left Democratic administration running the country fills me with dread. But I believe it is instructive to compare my dread to what I felt 12 years ago when I contemplated the imminent Obama administration. At that time (December 2008) I wrote the following words:

“One hundred years of programming have borne fruit. The political heirs of John Dewey, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson have taken almost complete control of the media, the legal profession, foundations, even big business to some extent, but especially the American school system. Their relentless brainwashing and propaganda has had the desired effect—namely, installing into the oval office an unrepentant ultra left winger who shares their view of government as God with little or no respect for the founding principles of the United States of America. Together with his like-minded colleagues in the Congress, the courts and the administrative state, he will lead America further down the road towards a top down enforced equality, a heavily government-regulated economy, a belief that America is no better than any other country, and a vile and pornographic culture that denigrates the traditional family. Concomitantly, he will lead us away from the founding fathers’ concept of individual liberty and responsibility, adherence to moral values and a culture based on traditional religious beliefs, the conviction that America under a new and unique form of Constitutional government should serve as a model to the world, and that democratic capitalism — which can only function in a society comprised of moral individuals —brings the greatest prosperity to the most citizens. Well, Obama and his henchmen now have complete run of the farm. We are in for a heavy dose federal paternalism. If I may paraphrase: The Federal Government is God, and Obama is his prophet. May the real God help America!”

So what happened? According to his own words, Obama planned to bring about radical changes to American society. Here’s a partial list of his intentions:

  • Nationalization of health care.
  • Massive tax increases, sharply indexed.
  • Cap & Trade and other crippling societal maneuvers aimed to avert or ameliorate imminent and severe – but unsubstantiated – climate change calamities.
  • Drastic reduction of the military, an end to overseas deployments and the subjugation of American foreign policy interests to international “opinion.”
  • Legalization of illegal aliens, and policies intended to foster more of them.
  • Massive federal spending to address “societal needs.”
  • Crippling new federal regulations to regulate (i.e., overregulate) American business.
  • Card check and other favored programs to elevate the power of unions.
  • Change of tone involving acknowledgment of enormous crimes committed by the USA against peoples of color, indigenous peoples, and victims of foreign colonization.

Joe, and especially leading figures in the Democratic Party, promise those and much more:

  • If not nationalization of health care, then at least a national health care “option” – which of course will destroy private or employer sponsored insurance.
  • Pack the Supreme Court with liberal justices.
  • Add two new, guaranteed Democratic, states.
  • Abolish the Electoral College.
  • Defund the police, drastically reduce criminal prosecutions and empty the prisons.
  • Gut — if not eliminate – the Second Amendment.
  • Enhance racial polarization in the country with the incessant and misleading recitations of America’s failures in race relations.
  • Demonize “European Americans”, play up so-called “white privilege” and inflame race relations.
  • Ensure the success of the revolution that I wrote about in this journal in The Revolution the US is Experiencing – and What if it Succeeds (Oct 14, 2020) and bring about essentially the end of the United States as the Constitutional Republic it has been for a quarter millennium.

So what happened 12 years ago? What will happen in the next 12 months? Regarding the first question, I think it is fair to say that we dodged the bullets. Obama did not bring about a revolutionary change in the United States. He did preside over a further radicalization of the culture; a furtherance of the brainwashing of the American people – especially the youth—through the continued dominance in the educational establishment and the media of the radical left/socialist/totalitarian viewpoint. But the country was no more corrupted in 2016 than it was in 2008 (perhaps as evidenced by the election of a Republican President that year). His failure can be attributed to his obsession with his effort to nationalize health care and his virtually ignoring all the other items on his agenda. By the time he woke up to his malfeasance, the Tea Party had emerged and the Dems got clobbered in the 2010 elections. He did achieve a partial success with Obamacare – but at the expense of ignoring all the other radical ideas he wanted to implement. Even so, the reaction to Obama was so severe that it installed myriad Republicans in state, county and local legislatures (and executive offices) all over the country – effectively putting the brakes on almost all of his agenda. Regarding that agenda, he completely failed at Cap n Trade, defanging the military, union enhancement and other points. He had some limited success in tax policy, illegal immigration policy and of course in his apology tour. But largely through his incompetence, and because the country indicated clearly that it was not interested in a massive overthrow of the Constitutional system, Obama’s efforts to radicalize and remake America must be judged a failure.

So what will happen this time? Biden is clearly not as radical as Obama. Joe is a more-or-less classic late twentieth century liberal who wants what he has always wanted: more government direction of the economy; checks on the “excesses” of big business; equal opportunity for the underdogs; respect for women and minorities; stronger unions; cooperation with our foreign allies. He doesn’t frighten me at all.

But who will staff his administration? Set his legislative agenda? Influence his foreign policy decisions? Shepherd – or shape — his program in Congress? Alas, those of his ilk may be a minority in today’s Democratic Party. The donkeys have moved much further to the left than in the days of Hubert Humphrey, or Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton and perhaps even of Barack Obama. People like Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and yes Kamala Harris pose an existential threat to America and the free people who populate it. They scare the hell out of me. I hate to admit it but I expect to spend the next four years saying prayers for the health of one Joe Biden.

So in summary: Biden is far less scary than Obama was. In fact, some of his early picks for his administration are largely cut from the same cloth that he is, and so not so frightening. But today’s Democratic Party is significantly more terrifying than it was a dozen years ago. Furthermore, the country is more polarized; its people less schooled in the nuances and strengths of our society; and the brainwashing that our citizens are subjected to at the hands of our educators and media has had another decade plus to soften up the body politic. The man at the helm is less frightening. But the ship he will be driving is a much more substantial wrecking ball than that wielded by the previous threat.  So I guess on balance I am about roughly equally fearful for the fate of the US today as I was in 2008.

We survived 2008. Whether our society today is as strong and resilient as it apparently was then is debatable. Will we survive 2020? It remains to be seen!

A slightly different version of this essay appeared in The American Thinker on Dec 2, 2020