Saturday, May 9, 2009

Give the Card Check to "Mr. O"

Every survey that comes out concerning the economy and/or the Obama administration -- like there's a difference! -- reflects that Obama is more popular than his programs... more popular than the other people in his administration... _way_ more popular than Congress... and, needless to say, way more popular than any Republican or anyone in the business world. This goes beyond Teflon -- this implies that he is really and truly considered "above it all" -- a kind of avatar. And actually, none of this is surprising, since an American president, once elected and in office, is assumed to thereby possess many supernatural powers as well as high intelligence and virtually infinite political power. It's only later on, when we get to see the day-to-day results, that these gods of ours start to show their feet of clay. For some, it happens faster than for others. FDR maintained a deity-like status throughout his extremely long presidency... as did JFK throughout his relatively short one. On the other hand, no one confused LBJ's use and abuse of power with reflecting anything more than just that... and the immediately manifest incompetence of Carter and Bush II served to keep those halos in the closet throughout. So in a sense, Obama is a throwback to FDR... not that other presidents since haven't had as much, or more, charisma (I'm speaking here of JFK and Clinton) but they didn't have even 1% as much to deal with as Obama has. JFK came in when America was at the top of her game... and Clinton came in on the heels of our victory in the First Gulf War -- not that it did Bush I much good. No, I think it can truly be said that Obama is in a position to "refresh everything" -- and yes, I know that's Pepsi's new slogan, and is it merely a coincidence that their updated logo looks so much like the logo for Obama's campaign? I don't think so.

But the story behind the nearly-daily survey data bears inspection as well. The numbers are about what you would expect given Obama's programs and priorities. Who is favorably disposed toward his plans? Those who have nothing to lose -- i.e. people who are not paying taxes now and who won't be paying them later on either. The unemployed, certainly, but also those whose jobs are not only recession-proof but secure for life, which means government employees at all levels, but especially at the federal level. And certainly the business world -- i.e. the "big" business world -- is all in favor of this new so-called "partnership" between business and government... and a few brave commentators have finally come out and said that this resembles nothing as much as fascism, Mussolini-style. So to make a long story short, the poor and the rich are "pro" Obama, and the good old middle class is... well, other than those "tea parties" we don't really know _what_ they think. But the "con" numbers have to come from somewhere, and I suspect they come almost exclusively from the middle class -- since they will be bearing most of the burden and receiving virtually none of the benefits. At this point in our social and economic history, the middle class is like a fatted calf who hears knives being sharpened in the yard outside his stable -- a bit anxiety-provoking, but he's sure it has nothing to do with him, so he hits the "snooze" button and rolls over to catch a few more Z's. The problem is, when his number is up he'll have no defenders, least of all himself. In fact, he voted to put the knives into the hands of the butchers! So I'm not going to waste any sympathy on his behalf.

Having said all this, once in a great while a sour note is sounded in what is otherwise a perfect chorus of cascading collectivism (wow -- I'm channeling Spiro Agnew). Like f'rinstance, an article in yesterday's paper pointed out that "three Chicago billionaires who helped fund President Obama's election campaign are fighting legislation he backs that would make it easier for unions to organize hotels they own." This refers, of course, to "card check", AKA The Goon Squad Full Employment Act. So the Tres Amigos Muy Ricos feel conned, do they? Too bad they got so used to the way things are done in Chicago that they couldn't imagine any other way. Of course, they might have noticed that Big Labor had also bankrolled -- and very generously -- the campaign. When a candidate gets money from both the Jets and the Sharks, pure logic dictates that he has to wind up preferring one over the other... but this never seems to occur to these big-time contributors until it's too late... which is fine by me, since otherwise they might have used their money for something even worse.

So these big-business types have developed a strange new respect for "voting privately"... even though, the rest of the time, they are perfectly happy gorging themselves at the public trough. Well, this isn't the first instance of Obama disappointing his supporters -- he's already written off the left wing of the Democratic Party pretty much totally -- and it won't be the last. It's just good to see that logic and reality can overtake even the highest forms of political delusion and cynicism... and that this process doesn't have to take very long at all, unlike everything else the government gets involved in.

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