10.31.2009 0

The Obama Gang: Tyranny by a Thousand Cuts

  • On: 11/03/2009 09:47:14
  • In: Barack Obama
  • by Steven M. Cohen

    As Americans continue their dalliance with redistribution and collectivism—policies now being reversed or even shunned in other parts of the world—the process takes on the aura of a car wreck, an out-of-body experience seemingly taking place in slow motion. Yet the pace at which we are surrendering our fundamental rights is not a protracted deterioration but instead is breathtakingly quick, considering the fundamental damage visited upon our democratic system by the Obama administration in its brief tenure of less than ten months. Never have so few wreaked so much havoc on so many in so little time.

    The free Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia is a too-convenient tool to illustrate a point and this column usually (but not always) resists the temptation. In the Age of Obama, however, its definition of the phrase “Death by a thousand cuts” is just too perfect to ignore:

    The political tactic of making gradual changes over time so that nobody notices or those that do notice do not raise much of a protest.

    Creeping normalcy—the way a major negative change, that happens slowly in many unnoticed increments, is not perceived as objectionable.

    And, for those Americans not blissfully unaware of the seismic political shifts taking place:

    Slow slicing, a form of torture and execution originating from Imperial China.

    Thus is the current state of Washington politics a case of what the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have called “defining deviancy down.”

    The very audacity—a characteristic held in high regard by the president—with which the administration has attacked groups of private citizens exercising their right to speak out is perhaps unprecedented in American politics. During the government’s massive bailout of the car companies, bondholders who complained that their private property was being precipitously expropriated so that valuable interests could be delivered to Obama’s union enablers were publicly vilified as malefactors who were erecting obstacles to the “rescue” effort. In fact, these genuine company creditors were protesting actions by which the administration turned centuries of bankruptcy law on its head, thereby wiping out important private property rights in order to repay a political debt.

    The administration and its congressional acolytes have in similar fashion attacked citizens who have exercised their free speech rights at the numerous health care town meetings held all over the country. Administration officials and the Democratic congressional leadership have demonstrated a remarkable ability to selectively ignore opinion polls that do not support their objectives, and they have responded to the rising chorus of objections to their health care “reform” plans by calling into question the motives and integrity of plain citizens who are not falling in line. The Obama gang prefers to meet these objections with ridicule and contempt rather than concern and respect, with the obvious objective of bullying Americans into silence on the subject. Meanwhile, every effort is being made to ramrod through a plan—almost any plan, at this point, no matter how wrongheaded—before more Americans realize what is happening and speak up. These are the politics of intimidation, coercion and menace, Chicago writ large on a national scale.

    The administration’s thin-skinned and vindictive nature is perhaps best reflected in its rabid attacks on the Fox cable network, something so unseemly, petty and undignified that it sets a standard in political overkill not seen since Nixon’s enemies list. It took Nixon far longer than ten months to develop the bunker mentality so evident within the Obama team.

    Along with these attacks on freedom of expression has come significant erosion in property rights. At the same time the aforementioned bondholders were being stripped of their assets, hundreds of automobile dealers, some in business for several generations, woke up one morning to a government proclamation that they were no longer in business, instantly reducing to ashes some franchises that had been valued in the millions of dollars. This totally opaque process was overseen by one of many “czars” appointed by the president to conduct large-scale government business, people who were neither vetted nor approved by any other branch of government. Shareholders in public companies suddenly have found their boards of directors circumvented or completely made irrelevant by government fiat. Hapless taxpayers underwrite countless bailouts of favored industries, seemingly without end, often propping up for purely political purposes companies with outmoded business models that would quickly fail in a free enterprise environment. Just today the government announced its third—count them—bailout of GMAC, one of many instances of throwing good money after bad.

    While busy muzzling Americans and redistributing their wealth, the administration has been hyperactive on the international front. Its activities include abandoning long-time allies like Israel as it “reaches out” to hostile governments in places like Iran and North Korea. It has double-crossed countries like Poland, whose government took significant risks in agreeing to a missile-shield deal largely disavowed by the president and his advisors. The administration has forsaken principles of democracy by ignoring a brave and persecuted opposition in Iran and attempting to reinstall an ousted tyrant in Honduras. And all the while the president has shamed his country by courting tyrants and offering apologies for the supposed injustices America has heaped upon the rest of the world.

    Are Americans finally awakening from their slumber? The polls are delivering mixed signals. However, one of the most accurate opinion polls of all, the stock market, is beginning to deliver some unambiguous signals. Rising stock prices since March, an indicator of the economy’s natural ability to rebound from recession, have provided a free ride for the Obama administration. At present, the market appears to be changing course to the downside despite some modestly encouraging earnings and economic data. It could be that shareholders are beginning to realize—despite the incremental nature of the administration’s transgressions—that the policies moving forward in Washington, spearheaded by the administration and enacted by its congressional accomplices—will not produce a bona fide recovery, will not create jobs, will not rebuild the historic loss of wealth recently experienced by most families in America. Instead, these policies will simply create a bigger, more inefficient and wasteful government that will continue to sacrifice precious resources in an ideological crusade to achieve the lowest common denominator for all.

    Steven Cohen is a guest Liberty Features Syndicated writer.


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