Thursday, October 1, 2009

Things Were Not Always Thus (Part 1)

At the beginning of the movie "The 13th Warrior" (one of my favorites!), Antonio Banderas is on the deck of a Viking ship that is rocking violently in a storm. His voiceover says "I am Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, Ibn Al Abbas, Ibn Rasid, Ibn Hammad." [water crashes on the deck of the ship as waves batter it] "And things were not always thus. At one time, I was a poet in the greatest city in the world. Life was easy and I lived without care."

I feel that way about our political landscape now. When I think back over the last year and a half, it's amazing to me how far we've come from where we were. Eighty weeks ago, the GOP was gearing up for a fight with Hillary Clinton for the presidency. 56 weeks ago, John McCain's campaign was soaring, buoyed on the wings of Sarah Palin. 52 weeks ago, his campaign was souring, weighed down by a collapsing economy under the tenure of a Republican president, and Obama coasted into the presidency after 180 days of actual service as a US Senator (followed by his campaign, which last time I checked was still ongoing). He coasted, just like he did for the Illinois State Legislature, when his campaign staff meticulously disqualified signature after signature on his opponents ballot registrations until Obama was running unopposed [1]. He coasted, just like he did when he ran for the US Senate and a few months before the election word leaked out that his opponent had tried – unsuccessfully - to take his actress-wife Jeri to sex clubs [2]; after this revelation, Obama was again running virtually unopposed. Events sure have a way of repeatedly going Obama's way in a fashion that would raise suspicions at the black jack tables in Vegas. It's no wonder, then, that he and his team expected little to no resistance when his reign began and he began to shove his agenda down our collective throats.

The American people, on the other hand, are used to a certain level of apathy from our politicians. They make a lot of promises, bloviate, muddle through some legislation, but by and large they don't do a tremendous amount of damage; or if they do, the next guy (or gal) can undo it when the balance of power shifts. We've grown accustomed in many cases to voting for the least objectionable candidate, or blindly pulling the lever for the person with the 'R' or 'D' next to their name. Most people, if they're honest, would say they do more research when buying a new car, the latest generation plasma TV or iPod than they do when going to the polls. Some people are so jaded they think voting for the R or D doesn't even matter – they'll both just screw you in the end. I can and have identified with many of these attitudes at various times.

This is why the ferocity with which the Obama administration attacked their agenda has taken so many people by surprise, including congress. Take the stimulus bill – it was pushed through before anyone had a chance to read it, and no one really knew what hit us.

The omnibus spending bill, with it's hundreds of earmarks, was next. Obama had promised during the campaign (which still hasn't ended) to go through spending bills with a scalpel, removing earmarks and waste. He didn't even take a second look at the omnibus bill before signing it. We were left like a batter who just watched the first two pitches whiz by. We were down 0-2 in the count without even having the chance to swing.

We hit a foul ball into the stands with the House's crap & trade bill. Even if the eight RINOs had voted against it, it only means eight more democrats would have had to vote for it . It would have passed anyway, but we gave it a good fight, and the people started to wake up. Finally, people became alarmed at the spending and the nefarious methods being deployed to get us to foot the bill for this fiscal gluttony.

Like a college student waking up with a hangover wondering "What the heck did I do last night?", Americans are viewing the economic wreckage that we now have to clean up, and we're saying "not one more cent." People are either unemployed, about to be unemployed or have a job but in the back of their minds are wondering when the sword will fall on them. They're either facing foreclosure, a mountain of debt they can't pay off, or they're terrified to spend money lest they need it for that rainy day – and they see storm clouds on the horizon. Like the hung over college student who wretches at the thought of taking a drink, the American taxpayer sees the amount of spending going on, and feels sick. They know that in the end they are the ones left holding the bill; so they reject it.

Enter Obama and the Democrat controlled congress. At the very time when Americans are fighting to regain some fiscal stability and control over their destinies, the Obamacrats blow through the debt ceiling, recklessly approve legislation not because it's right but because Obama asks them to do so, blame the previous administration for their own actions, and they're not done yet! With health care reform, they have pitched legislation that portends to take away our control over choices in our healthcare and carry with it a great cost to boot. These changes only stand to benefit a small number of people. Consider:

  • Cuts to Medicare negatively impact seniors.
  • Plans to force all people to carry the prescribed levels of coverage negatively impact the people who are young and healthy and don't need gold plated coverage.
  • Plans to tax – I mean fine – people who don't buy insurance negatively impacts those who either don't want it or can't afford it.
  • Mandating what insurance plans must cover to stay in business negatively impacts the 90 % of the people who have insurance today and are largely satisfied with it.

With these changes being so negative to so many groups, and so many promises already broken, is it any wonder that people are skeptical? When elected officials can't or won't answer or explain things related to the plans proposed, is it any wonder we began to voice that skepticism? When politicians dismissed our skepticism, is it any wonder we began to protest? The politicians, with the help of the media, minimized the size of our protests; so we got organized and created larger protests. Rather than address our issues, or at least even play lip service to them, the media and the politicians openly mocked and insulted us [3], calling us racists, domestic terrorists and whatever other 'ist' they had handy. Is it a wonder, then, that we began to lose our tempers at town hall meetings?

Even in the face of massive opposition they still won't give it up. They know that even in their own party support is weak, so they keep saying that the 'nuclear option' where the legislation only needs 51 votes in the senate to pass, as opposed to 60, is being considered. Essentially they're saying "You don't like it? Too bad, we're doing it whether you like it or not." It seems they've forgotten that they work for us!

As this escalates back and forth, what is our next move? We're facing the possibility of our government breaking protocol to pass legislation that has overwhelming opposition from the people who elected these folks in the first place. If they do it, where do we go from here? A likely move will be to eject all the people who supported the bills and are up for re-election in 2010. Will there be open rebellion? Will Texas secede? Are we potentially facing a modern civil war? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I truly believe the DNC doesn't really care about the seats they'll lose, because they know that once they get this entitlement passed, even if they lose power in 2010, they'll get it back because step two is to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants. Naturalized citizens predominantly vote Democrat, so with heath care and an influx of tens of millions of Democrat voters, they will have created their nanny state. We want to boot them in 2010? You can't threaten them with taking away something they're prepared to lose. My advice? Work to defeat their agenda, but stock up on bottled water and canned foods…if this thing passes, life could get interesting, and we may all be saying "things were not always thus…."


[1] In the book "The Case Against Barack Obama", David Freddoso details how Obama talks of a speech he gave during this time being one of his best at that point in his career. The fact is, he could have stood on the dais and made fart noises in his armpits for 20 minutes; when you have no opponents it only takes one vote to win, and he could probably count in Michelle's support.

[2] This has been called the "sexless scandal" and many allegations have been levied that David Axelrod pushed hard on the Chicago Tribune to ensure this got a lot of press.

[3] When I think about Rachel Maddow using the phrase "tea bagger" as often as possible and chuckling to herself because she's so clever that she put one past the network censors, I want to vomit with rage.