THE WEAK LINK IN OBAMA'S ARMOR
On April 4 in a low-key video and via email to millions of his supporters, President Obama announced the obvious, that he would seek re-election in 2012. As he made that announcement, opponents perceived their opportunities. There are several weak links in the President’s armor. Victory over Obama depends on a stark contrast arising in the minds of voters—one that pits Obama’s vision of an all-encompassing public sector that coerces and cajoles the private sector to achieve a planned economy with an opponent’s vision of a liberated private sector that retains wealth, enjoys freedom from regulatory constraint in the expenditure and investment of that wealth, and directs its own economic recovery through millions of free market choices. That defeat is not simply a good idea, it is an essential first step to restoring the republic.
President Obama is an unabashed advocate of the public sector who views with a jaundiced eye any unregulated private sector activity. He has unleashed and funded an army of federal bureaucrats who descend like ravenous wolves on private sector pray, tearing apart business after business with fines, fees, and regulatory restraints that cripple competitiveness. He stands all amazed at the inability of his government takeover and public works measures to resuscitate the economy, at the public disapproval of his budget (which proceeds as if there were no budget crisis), at his repeated demands for tax increases and new government fees to help feed the insatiable appetite of his government, and at those who question grandiose expenditures on high speed rail, Obamacare, and public works.
The President offers no argument in favor of his advocacy of the public sector from core principles. He instead simply states in a conclusory manner his desired programs and his unproven assumption that the programs will achieve ends that are impossible for government to achieve, even in the face of historical evidence showing the same approaches to have failed whenever tried. That lack of principle forms the weakest link in the President’s armor. His understanding is shallow.
A successful opponent must be steeped in knowledge of the Constitution, the principles underlying it, and the paramount aim of it to secure the people’s liberties. A successful opponent must inspire the public to recognize that America’s greatness arises not from government programs but from faith in a free people’s ability to invent and bring to those in need what they are in need of, thus lifting the standard of living to ever higher levels. The free market made America a great nation, its loss has crippled the country, and its revitalization is the only way to restore it.
Based on the principle of liberty, the centerpiece of the Declaration of Independence and the purpose of our Constitution (including its expressly enumerated powers, its system of checks and balances, its additional limitations on power in the Bill of Rights), those who would challenge Obama must show how each of his major initiatives have made us less free and have imperiled the nation. Throughout, the focus must be on the fact that Obama so distrusts a free people that he believes economic recovery possible only if government leads the way. But no recovery from economic calamity has ever been the product of government programs. The New Deal failed. The Great Society failed, and President Obama’s government initiatives to “secure America’s future” will also fail. Recovery depends on the unleashing of private initiative, trust in the American people to invent, to choose, and to invest in an environment that maximizes freedom of choice and minimizes the ability of federal agents to second guess private action.
The case against Obama is not a difficult one to make but it must be articulated with brilliant simplicity and incisively. In the end, victory over Obama depends on whether opponents can touch the chords within each American’s psyche that remind us of who we have been and long to be again, a people of freedom, of individual initiative, of personal choice and responsibility. We need to be told precisely how our freedoms will be protected so that we can once again chart our own destinies free of government and deserve once again our reputation as a bastion of liberty for the world.
The differences can be stark with the right opponent. On the one hand, we have a President unwilling to make tough essential choices. He has allowed the federal budget to mushroom, threatening a total destabilization of the American economy and a loss of global confidence in the ability of America to pay its debts, resulting in a shift in the global currency from the American dollar to another country’s, probably China’s, currency. The results of unchecked spending, of gargantuan federal programs with huge price tags, like Obamacare, will be a rapidly expanding debt. The nation already spends more than the value of all private goods and services produced in a year. Government spending exceeds the gross domestic product. Spending at that level is ruinous and unsustainable. There must be cuts and they must be far greater than anything either party has proposed. Entire federal programs must be ended. Obama, instead, has created dozens of new federal agencies and hundreds of new federal initiatives, costly new debts that will continue to grow in perpetuity.
If the contrast is stark, if the people come to appreciate just how dire the circumstances now are, and if they can be reminded of the definition of our character, as a free people, we may yet see Obama lose. Ordinarily crises bring to the fore people of great character and vision. Obama lacks both. His rhetoric from the first campaign now rings hollow because his performance has been so lackluster. He runs on a platform of promises unfulfilled. We are in a very real sense worse off today than we were four years ago (and four years ago we perceived ourselves to be in dire straits). Those who will oppose this President need to present a clear vision, a call for a return to limited government, for restoring constitutional limits to its powers, and for unleashing from regulatory constraint and over-taxation the free market. As part of advocating investment in private renewal rather than public programs, the successful opponent to Obama must combine a program of substantial government downsizing with one that liberates Americans from the burdens of regulation and taxation.
An economic boom would occur almost overnight if the personal income tax were eliminated. Why not do it? One third of government revenues would disappear but individual retention of money otherwise paid in personal income taxes would enable Americans to spend and invest hundreds of billions of dollars, uplifting the economy, creating sustainable jobs, and permitting innovation that could restore American market dominance. We have it in our power to resurrect and reinforce the greatness that is quintessentially American, individual freedom. All economic recovery in our history has occurred when individuals rely on their own wealth to pursue their dreams.
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Out of thousands of failed dreams come ones that succeed magnificently with freedom expressing itself in the right creation at the right time from the invention of the Model-T Ford to the personal computer and beyond. Government has never been responsible for a single invention of great moment; its prediction of where the market will go is almost always costly error, but the private sector, left free to express the passion of thousands of entrepreneurs, has ceaselessly invented means that uplift standards of living. No modern President has harbored as much lack of faith in the private sector and, correspondingly, as much blind trust in government as President Obama. It is precisely because there is no means an inherently parasitic state can force an economy to recover that Obama has failed as President. It is precisely because there is every reason to believe the market, if newly liberated, can create wealth, expand the economy, and lead to recovery, that Obama’s opponent, if artful, can stir within the American people a desire to retire the President for the good of the country.
© 2011 Jonathan W. Emord - All Rights Reserved