Here's the latest from R.C.'s Blogger Christian Stockel.....
Thoughts from the Right Side
May 6, 2009
The first 100 days of the Obama Administration has come and gone. While the mainstream media has spent their time shouting accolades for Obama's looks, his coolness, his dog, and his “swagga” (yes CNN hit a new low there), I have my own list of “achievements” upon which I could provide criticism – some of which I have discussed here on ReaganConservatives.us. However, I have to admit that President Obama has been very successful in packaging a radical, leftist agenda in a moderate veneer. Obama's skill at sounding like a moderate and the Democrat's uncharacteristic discipline to stay on message have handed Republicans a string of political defeats. Fortunately, there appears to be an unlikely trend developing that provides Congressional Republicans an opportunity to seize the initiative in the public debate over key issues. It is becoming clear that Congress is even more liberal than President Obama and willing to act on their pent up desires to implement what they consider to be the “Great Society Part II”. Some members are no longer content to rely on Obama's soft euphemisms like healthcare reform, energy independence, and education investment to sell policy. They are boldly declaring their intentions without fear of being called socialist or liberal – they are seizing on the political environment as an opportunity to implement policies and programs that have been - previously - impossible to achieve politically. This change in strategy offers conservatives a rare opportunity.
One example of this can be seen in the discussions on health care reform. To date, Obama's objectives have been described in broad and comfortable terms and has managed to explain a $680 billion budget line item for healthcare as a down payment. Obama's stated objective is to lower cost and increase access (the difficulty of doing both will requires a separate discussion) yet he fails to explain that accomplishing this will require reduced levels of care spread ever more thinly among the people. During these discussions, President Obama has been careful to not utter the words single payer or National Health Service. Well it appears that some on the Democrat bench are tiring of that restriction and are ready to lay bare their plans. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) has publicly, and on camera, stated that the goal of “healthcare reform” is to bankrupt private insurance and implement a single payer plan (Click on the Link to watch the video). She states her objectives boldly:
“I know many of you here today are single payer advocates and so am I … and those of us who are pushing for a public health insurance don’t disagree with this goal. This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there and I believe we will,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Granted, this is only one statement from one Congressional representative from Illinois. However, it is one of many examples illustrating a trend away from President Obama's strategy of using moderate and obtuse language to steer clear of controversy. With absolute control over the White House, Congress, and favorable polls, Congressional Democrats are losing the fear of these labels and are more open about their objectives. They are going for “the gusto”. While Representative Schakowsky's comments are grating to conservative sensibilities, we do have to see this as a positive trend that can clarify the public debate on key issues and restore the meaning and value to the words used in such a debate. Up to this point, conservatives and the Republicans have been rather ineffective to counter President Obama's lethal ability to look and sound moderate while implementing radical policies. Since the cost of Obama's budget and stimulus bill has not impacted American taxpayers, his personal poll numbers have stayed relatively high. A reasonable person can assume that as Obama's initiatives on healthcare (as well as energy and education) come into focus and the reality of their impact become clear, Obama's obtuse use of language will lose its effect on voters who are still under the impression that they elected a moderate Democrat as President. However, by the time this happens, the damage done to the country could be too much to overcome.
Republicans and conservatives should take advantage of the new clarity in language offered by the Democrats and contrast them with clear, bold, and Conservative approaches to healthcare, energy, the economy, and entitlements. Conservatives have a small opportunity to pull the curtain back and expose the charade that is this Administration and the current Democrat party. More importantly, we need to illustrate the ultimate impacts of these policies in ways that overcome the seductive power of offering people something for nothing. Once voters are provided with an understanding of what the Administration's proposals mean to their freedom, their property, and control over their lives, it will be easier to make an alternative argument and increase resistance towards government expansion and the populist arguments that have defined the Obama administration thus far. Clarity will reveal President Obama and Congressional Democrats as the same old liberals that has haunted Washington DC since the days of FDR.
President Obama and the Democrat's in Congress have achieved significant political gains through the clever use of language, obfuscation, and moderate terminology to package their policies and disguise their real objectives. Obama was successful in convincing a large segment of the voting population that he was a Reganesque moderate Democrat. His policy initiatives were couched in vague terms like healthcare reform (i.e., government healthcare), energy independence (i.e., ban on domestic drilling, nuclear power, and a push to buy Dutch windmills), and education investment (federalizing K-12 education and the elimination of private schools). Obama has been able to convince the American people that he is not interested in running corporations. Meanwhile he fires the CEO of General Motors and hands over American industrial icons over to the Treasury and labor unions. His skill at oratory in general and the ability to sell the American people one thing while doing another in particular is a core pillar of Obama's political strength. It seems the Democrats are feeling confident about the political environment to abandon his strategy and to go “naked” with their plans. This is an opening that must be exploited if Republicans are to begin their long journey back to political relevance.
History has shown that liberals succeed when they disguise their policies in moderate and dishonest language. Conservatives thrive when they use clear, concise, and bold language. Recently, Republicans have tried to use the same strategy as the Democrats in an effort to seem more moderate resulting in a muddled message. It is time to change the playing field back to our advantage. I just hope there are still members in the Republican party with the intellect and the backbone to do so.
Audaces fortuna iuvat