A Change of Pace
I received the following e-mail from 'Organizing For America' (OFA), President Obama's constant campaign mode cheerleading and fund-raising squad.
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I was particularly fascinated by the first sentence. It says: "[Tuesday's] disappointing election results show deep discontent with the pace of change." The e-mail never explains what that means, so one must naturally ask: what are they talking about? Is the pace too fast, or too slow?
Since Obama has not yet achieved any of his major goals -- closing Gitmo, creating jobs, pulling troops out of Iraq, reforming health care, capping-and-taxing energy, or reforming immigration -- one would naturally assume that the e-mail is suggesting that the pace of change is too slow.
But that conclusion flies in the face of the Massachusetts election results where Scott Brown (R) was elected running on a campaign that was literally "anti-Obama". As one pundit suggests, Brown ran a "Reagan-Bush" campaign, meaning that he favors tax cuts and small government like Ronald Reagan, and that he wants a strong military and tough stance on terrorism like George W. Bush. Besides that, Brown ran saying he would be the 41st vote in the Senate against the current health care reform bill, and he rejects Obama's planned Cap-And-Tax bill.
Thus, it makes no sense to suggest that the election results reveal a deep discontent on the part of voters that the "pace of change" is too slow. If voters felt that Obama wasn't moving fast enough, they would have voted for someone that could speed up the implementation of the Obama agenda, not someone who vows to slow it down or to obstruct it.
Mitch Stewart at OFA must be suggesting then that the pace of change is too fast. That would seem to be supported by the remainder of his e-mail in which he says things like: "Any change worth making is hard and will be fought at every turn." If voters are fighting the change, then the change must be too fast. But this returns us to our original analysis where it is clear that Obama has not actually accomplished much in the way of change. How then can the "pace of change" be too fast, when little if any actual change has occurred?
Well, let's consider a couple of things. First, Scott Brown has called for the openness and transparency that Obama promised but has failed to deliver. Brown is against the "back-room deals", closed-door negotiations, vote-securing bribes, and "politics-as-usual" in Washington that Obama also promised to end, but failed to deliver. In that sense, the "pace of change" in Washington is indeed too slow. But somehow I don't think that this is the "change" that OFA is referring to in their e-mail.
On the other hand, President Obama was roundly criticized for trying to accomplish too many things all at once. Obama laughed it off saying that he could do more than one thing at a time. It now appears however, that Obama was not as competent a multi-tasker as he first thought. But one thing Obama did manage to accomplish with his early shotgun approach to "change", was to advertise a large chunk of his true agenda.
By moving in multiple directions at once, Obama revealed exactly where he wants to take the country. He advertised that he wants to nationalize health care and have the federal government take over 1/6th of the US economy. He wants to force energy prices to "skyrocket" (his words) through an oppressive Cap-And-Tax plan. He wants to give amnesty to illegal aliens. He wants to "make friends" with America's enemies, downplay the "War on Terror", and appease Islamic jihadists.
In that sense, the "pace of change" coming out of Washington was way too fast. This was not the kind of "change" that most voters were "hoping" for when they elected Obama. Obama's election was not a mandate to bankrupt America, drag the country into socialism, or turn it into a third-rate power.
To make matters worse, Obama's proposed plans were only matched by his apparent policy failures. His $787 billion stimulus plan isn't working. Unemployment went from less than 8% to more than 10%. His promise of earmark reform has never materialized. His promise of transparency remains "hidden" (pun intended). His promise of working "across the aisle" was scuttled one month into office. And his foreign policy strategy has borne no fruit.
Just a few weeks before the Massachusetts election, Martha Coakley (D) was 30 points ahead of Scott Brown in the polls. Yet, Brown beat Coakley by a margin of at least 5 points. So what were the crucial elements that caused the rapid turn-around? One need only to look to Washington for the answers.
The announcement that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, mastermind of 9/11, would be tried in a civilian court in New York City was undoubtedly the event that started the snowball rolling. The $300 million bribe given to Democrat Mary Landrieu to buy her vote for the health care bill -- dubbed the "Louisiana Purchase" -- surely didn't help. The snowball undoubtedly gained momentum when Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson announced he would vote for the health care bill which now contained a provision where the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost to expand Medicaid in Nebraska in perpetuity (ie, forever). That one was dubbed "Cash for Cornhuskers".
Then there were the two rare Christmas Eve votes in the Senate. One vote passed the $871 billion health care reform bill. The other raised the US debt ceiling to $12.4 trillion. As people gathered for the Christmas holiday, they no doubt discussed these shenanigans and other Democratic shikanery.
On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, a Nigerian, tried to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it was landing in Detroit. The response of the Obama administration to this incident was shameful. President Obama first tried to downplay the event and called the terrorist a "lone extremist". Janet Napolitano, head of Homeland Security, came out and said "the system worked". White House spokesman Robert Gibbs echoed Napolitano's statement. The FBI interrogated the suspect for 30 hours and read him his Miranda rights. The suspect stopped talking when he got "lawyered-up". President Obama continued enjoying his Hawaiian vacation.
As more information came out, Janet Napolitano was forced to clarify her remarks. President Obama made almost daily statements where we eventually learned that the suspect was part of an al-Qaeda plot, that the suspect's father had warned the US embassy in Nigeria about his son, and that the suspect was a known threat but not on any no-fly lists. The administration was criticized for treating the suspect as a criminal rather than an enemy combatant. Ultimately, Obama was forced to accept responsibility for the intelligence failures saying: "The buck stops here."
When Congress returned from the Christmas holiday, Democrats started talking about reconciling the Senate health care bill with the House bill. Brian P. Lamb, Chairman and CEO of C-SPAN, wrote a letter to Congress requesting that the conference committee meetings be open to the public and televised. Nancy Pelosi laughed off the notion despite Obama's campaign promise of transparency.
Then, just days before the election, it was announced that unions got a sweetheart deal where union members would be exempt from paying any taxes on their "Cadillac" health care plans through the year 2018, while everyone else would still have to pay.
All of these events cast President Obama and the Democrats in a negative light. Scott Brown took advantage of them, and focused the attention of Massachusetts citizens on the failure of the Democratic policies, the failure to keep their promises, and their back-room shenanigans. The voters of Massachusetts sent a signal loud and clear that they repudiate this administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress that is trying to shove their agenda down America's throat.
The OFA e-mail states: "The President isn't walking away from these challenges. In fact, his determination and resolve are only stronger." This might be nothing more than mere window-dressing to cheer the morale of the base. On the other hand, it might be an indication that Obama will look for a new way to circumvent the will of the people. If the latter is true, it suggests just how out of touch he is with the American people... or just how much of a die-hard ideologue he is.
With any luck, Scott Brown's election will help "change the pace" in Washington.