Dick Morris, as you may recall, is the political genius whose efforts got us 8 years of Bill Clinton – an achievement for which he ought, by rights, to be exiled to some storm-swept crag in the North Sea for the rest of his days. But that's not the way the world works any longer (assuming it ever did), and Morris is now a political columnist. But let's admit, he's a smart guy, and when he writes a column entitled “Is Obama Competent?” (March 17) he might be worth listening to. The question refers, of course, not to foreign policy, which we have seen transitioned almost seamlessly from Bush to Obama, but to economic matters, where Obama's strategy is to, basically, load up a very large cannon with taxpayers' money each morning, and fire it from the roof of the White House in a randomly-chosen direction, while at the same time complaining about the lack of cooperation and “bipartisanship” he's getting from the Republicans, and acting shocked – shocked! -- by the ongoing larcenous conduct of outfits like AIG.
One answer to Morris' question is that Obama is certainly no less competent than was Bush in handling this crisis... and that in the case of a few isolated domestic and foreign policy matters he's actually showing hints of greater competency than Bush & Co. The main difference, it seems to me, is that Obama is doing pretty much what Bush would have done, but he's doing it faster, and with more overt expressions of helplessness, bewilderment, and indignation. He's like that air-headed blonde who was always carried off, helplessly kicking and screaming, by the mustachioed villain in the old serials. If only she'd learned a bit of self-defense! But there are none so helpless as Democrats who have managed to take over both the White House and Congress. All of a sudden all the easy answers go out the window, and they turn out to be pushovers and victims of much smarter people to every bit the extent that the Republicans were.
One of Morris' comments does cut right to the heart of the matter, when he says “... conservatives can dismiss the utter failure of Obama's bank rescue plan, saying that he doesn't really want it to succeed. He probably wants to nationalize the banks – and never let them go. But he has to make a good show of doing all he can to rescue them before swallowing them whole.” In this, Morris displays remarkable insight into the liberal mindset and strategy; and he ought to know, based on his own background. Certainly the nationalization of the banks has been a liberal dream since the dawn of liberalism, and FDR's regulation of the banks provided only a tantalizing taste of the full possibilities. But now that the banks have "blown it", a golden (so to speak) opportunity knocks, and there would be very little opposition to nationalization at this point. How do we know? Because the process has already begun, and no one is objecting. Actually, they _are_ objecting -- but only that it's not being done faster.
But Morris' next topic is the mortgage rescue plan, and he says “Clearly, Obama wants his rescue plan to work. He is anxious to bail out homeowners facing foreclosure. Those are his constituents, after all.” This is also insightful, but the fact is that those people will be constituents no matter what happens. If they're bailed out, they'll be forever grateful to Obama (not to the taxpayers whose money they were given, note)... and if they're _not_ bailed out and are foreclosed, and forced to move, they'll be even _better_ constituents because then they'll be even more dependent on government than they are now. So in either case, socialism wins.
And these are just two facets of the overall problem. But the last thing we should expect from the administration is anything that helps people get back on their feet again, and move toward self-sufficiency. That would go against the whole liberal agenda. The time was never more ripe for a complete socialist consolidation of the American economy... and the Obama administration has clearly adopted this as their primary mission. Other aspects of domestic policy, and foreign policy, are mere sidebar items by comparison. Yes, they'll get attention -- and some of them already are -- but the good socialist always homes in on wealth first -- "wealth" being defined as anything above and beyond people's most basic needs, i.e. anything that they need less than the government does. So we can expect to see an acceleration in the process of "defining wealth down", i.e. closing the gap between the "rich" -- as defined by the government -- and the "poor" -- ditto -- to the point where they will meet at some point, with the officially-defined "middle class" having vanished. In place of the middle class, there will have to be a distinction made between "the rich who pay taxes" (AKA "Republicans") and "the rich who don't pay taxes" (AKA "Democrats"). But at least we'll have gotten rid of that boring, up-tight, reactionary middle class.