Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Obama's Speech Flawed # 3

From RealClear Politics:

In foreign policy, he promises the miraculous: "I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease." He's going to defeat terrorism with "partnerships"; face down Russian and Iranian aggression with diplomacy; and while he's at it, he will end poverty, disease, and changes in the weather.

Oh yes, and he will "cut taxes for 95% of all working families," but he'll "pay for every dime." How? "I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less--because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy." Does anyone remember the Grace Commission in the 1980s or Al Gore's task force in the 1990s? Eliminating "waste, fraud, and abuse" is a perennial promise made by politicians, but it will never produce significant results, because you can't pare down a $3 trillion federal budget by squeezing out dimes.

In essence, Obama is declaring simultaneous loyalty to individualism and to collectivism, to independence and to dependence, to free markets and to state control.

If you wonder which half of this self-contradictory agenda will win out, Obama doesn't leave you in suspense. He criticizes McCain because "For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy--give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else." The references to "two decades" and to "trickle-down economics"--a derogatory term for Ronald Reagan's pro-free-market policies--make his meaning clear. It is the free market that he wants us to regard as "discredited."

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