Jimmy Carter never lied, Bill Clinton was re-elected and most Americans like bar-be-que pork and think an earmark is what is revealed when earrings are removed.
President Barack Obama seeks to spend trillions to fundamentally change America and borrow more money in the next four years than was borrowed by all 42 of his predecessors over the last 233 years with a 40-year old Democratic majority liberal wish list. Yet, is the most prominent argument heard against the Obama agenda from elected Republicans in Congress and even from some of our best conservative critics? Peter Wehner provides a “striking” example in today’s Commentary:
In the matter of just 50 days, a fissure has widened into a split; the split has become a gap; and the gap is becoming a gulf. I have in mind the extraordinary contradiction between what President Obama says and what he does.
Consider a partial list, starting with earmarks. During the campaign, Obama said, "the truth is, our earmark system -- what's called pork-barrel spending in Washington -- is fraught with abuse. It badly needs reform -- which is why I didn't request a single earmark last year, why I've released all my previous requests for the public to see, why I've pledged to slash earmarks by more than half when I am President of the United States..."
Yet yesterday, Obama signed rather than vetoed a massive, $410 billion omnibus spending bill -- which contained more than 8,500 earmarks.
This has led, sooner than anyone could have imagined, to a serious credibility gap. It would be unfair to say that Obama is unique in this regard; many times public officials make claims they cannot keep or find that governing requires them to make amendments to what they said during the campaign.
What is striking about Obama, though, is how antithetical his acts are compared to his words, his unwillingness to admit he is not practicing what he preached, and the sheer audacity of his hypocrisy and moral conceit.
Wehner makes great points (including about Obama's broken promises of bi-partisanship and ethics reform) and I don't doubt that a durable loss of credibility would be a major obstacle to his and his party's continued political fortunes, but only tangentially so.
Did enough Americans care enough that Bill Clinton committed perjury and broke his promise to be the most ethical administration in history? Did Americans reward Jimmy Carter for keeping his promise to give us a government as good as the American people?
No. They cared about peace and prosperity and dispensed rewards accordingly. They cared about big issues.
Senator McCain made pork and earmarks his signature issues during his congressional career and during his presidential campaign but he will never put his signature on a bill from the White House. Republicans put 40% of the over 8000 earmarks in the Omnibus bill just signed by the man that beat McCain. Moreover, McCain probably lost the Presidency due to his support for the Paulson bank bailout bill, despite the fact that it was opposed by most conservatives and was loaded with earmarks.
But McCain didn't lose the election because of the puny pork in the bailout. He lost because he supported the billions to bailout banks.
And now, as Obama uses the economic crisis to spend trillions to make America into Europe, we think that what is "striking" is his position on the less than 1% of the budget devoted to pork?
And by the way, the TVA and the Interstate Highway system is pork.
Some pork is good.
But no amount of ending welfare reform; putting government in charge of health care; making carbon a pollutant so as to direct the American economy from Washington; nor bankrupting the coal industry is good.
Rather, the big things Obama seeks to do are quite strikingly bad.
Another "bad" thing is limited time on broadcast and cable television, and every minute we spend decrying pork and arcane parliamentary procedures used to make pork, is time not spent sounding the alarm of the loss of liberty and prosperity that Obama's fundamental changes would bring.
Let's start being "struck" by the substance of what the liberal democrats are up to, before the clock strikes midnight on American exceptionalism.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson