After a bit more than a month away from the partisan battles, I'm back in my blogger chair. I've had a chance to ruminate on the 2008 election results, and to my great surprise, the sun continues to rise in the East and set in the West (though I'm sure global warming alarmists will soon say that this, too, is in mortal danger). The real impact, of course, of the decisive Democrat victory won't be seen for years to come. I have to hand it to the President-elect -- he's crafty like a fox. His early appointments were designed to give him cover from attacks from the right, and reflect the sober reality he now faces in dealing with both the financial downturn and the ever-present terrorism and security threat. His appointments of Geithner and Summers were reassuring to the financial markets which are now expecting a high-level of government intervention. For those of us who still believe in free markets, its not good news, of course.
The financial bailout undertaken by the Bush Administration and Paulson/Geithner before the election has ushered in a whole new era of government intrusion into the private sector. And Barack Obama, with his predilection for "spreading the wealth around" is just the guy to take maximum advantage of it. The government will own banks, auto makers and insurance companies before it is all through -- and tax payers will be on the hook for it all in the end.
Of course, Obama's early appointments don't give a full picture of what is yet come -- for his next appointments will surely be grist for the far left of the party, still smarting over Obama's decision to keep Bush Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Interior, Energy, EPA -- all of these will be given to a left-wing ideologue who will seek to roll back environmental regulations in pursuit of greenhouse gas restrictions. All that "Drill here, Drill now"? You can forget about all that; now that gas is back to $1.50 a gallon, you can bet we'll be returning to the days of alternative energy investments and ever stricter emission standards -- all just as the auto makers are seeking a multi-billion bailout. Makes no sense -- but, then again, the global warming religion is based on faith, not facts.
Take a look at this piece in the Wall Street Journal -- a great example of the above:
Mr. Obama...(is) a student of the late radical thinker Saul Alinsky, who argued that you do or say what's necessary in a democracy to gain power, while keeping your true aims to yourself. Mr. Obama's novel contribution has been to turn this exploitation on his supporters on the left (who admittedly are so wedded to their hero that, so far, they don't seem to mind).
His next big challenge is an upcoming conference updating the Kyoto targets. Mr. Obama has not backed off his overwrought climate rhetoric, but listen carefully to Al Gore. Now that Democrats are on the verge of power, he's backing off cap-and-trade and carbon-tax proposals (i.e. visible energy price hikes for consumers) in favor of a new approach -- massive government subsidies for 'green technology'.
That's right -- open up the spigot. As long as we're spending a few $Trillion on the banks, bad mortgages and all, why not throw a few tens-of-billions at alternative energy? Start the presses! It's only paper, after all!!
In the end, of course, there will be a limit to all this largesse -- and it will come when taxes rise to support the massive debt we are now taking on for our children to deal with. Remember when "balanced budget" was the cry in Washington? Those days are long, long gone. In its place we have socialism in all its European glory.
And of course, don't forget health care -- the next great socialist experiment that is coming your way, like it or not. As the WSJ again shows in a brilliant editorial today, Tom Daschle is going to reform your health care -- like it or not:
Tom Daschle, the former Senate Majority Leader who Barack Obama has tapped to run Health and Human Services. "I think that ideological differences and disputes over policy weren't really to blame," he writes of 1994 in his book "Critical," published earlier this year. Despite "a general agreement on basic reform principles," the Clintons botched the political timing by focusing on the budget, trade and other priorities before HillaryCare.
President-elect Obama will not make the same mistake. Congressional Democrats are already deep into the legislative weeds, while Mr. Daschle is organizing the interest groups and a grassroots lobbying effort. Mr. Obama may be gesturing at a more centrist direction in economics and national security, but health care is where he seems bent on pleasing the political left.
According to Mr. Daschle, because of the Clintons' hesitation, "reform opponents succeeded in confusing and even frightening Americans about what change might mean," and this time the Democrats mean to define the debate. Consider the December 2 letter to us from Senator Max Baucus, who is upset that a recent editorial on his health-care plan did not use his favorite terms of art (his style being surrealism). "It will require affordability, but premiums will not be set," he writes. So the government will merely determine "affordability" -- which might as well be the same thing.
You see the pattern here: the issue in health care reform is style, not substance. Forget any discussion of the merits, the 1993 initiative failed because it wasn't sold properly, not because there are any inherent flaws in the concept. And lest you think that there will be proper study and debate before such a bill reaches the President's desk for signature, think again -- for the Democrats, so sure are they in the righteous of their cause, aren't wasting any time:
Most disturbingly, Democrats are talking up "budget reconciliation" to pass a health overhaul. This process was created in 1974 and allows legislation dealing with government finances to be whisked through Congress on a simple majority after 20 hours of debate. In other words, it cuts out the minority by precluding a filibuster. Mr. Daschle writes that reform "is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol," and Mr. Baucus has said he's open to the option.
Any taxpayer commitment this large ought to require a social consensus reflected in large majorities, but Democrats are determined to plow ahead anyway. They know that a health-care entitlement for the middle class will never be removed once it is in place; and that government will then dominate American health-care choices for decades to come. That's all the more reason for the recumbent GOP to get its act together.
Like Saul Alinsky and the other radicals in Obama's background, the ends always justifies the means. Ram it through at all costs -- the goal of social justice can't be hung up on the niceties of dissent and debate.
Yes, elections have repercussions. And this one more than most.
As I've said many times, folks: Hang on to your wallets!