FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Barack Obama: One Man, One Vote, One Time
This May Be Your Only Chance To Stop Obama's Agenda
Barack Obama is the most left-wing major-party presidential candidate in modern history. The evidence of this is all over his record and his campaign. Yet for a variety of reasons, ranging from terminal frustration with the Bush Administration to swooning over Obama’s pop culture cache to buying Obama’s and the media’s spin that he’s really a mainstream figure to the right, not the left, of John Kerry, Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Howard Dean, we keep encountering moderates, independents, liberal Republicans and even self-identified conservatives who are willing to give Obama a chance in the White House. Even though America remains a center-right country, Obama leads in the major polls, and the odds currently favor his chances of winning the election, and of the unpopular Democratic Congress expanding its majorities to approach a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate, something the nation has not seen since the Great Society.
Our friends who take seriously the future of America as a non-left-wing country with a viable party of the Right should reconsider lending any support to this venture. Under the normal rules of politics, we would accept the idea that Obama, after winning, would inevitably overreach to the Left, leading to a backlash from which Republicans could rebuild a new and better GOP in 2010 and 2012, as we did in 1980 and 1994 after the last two Democratic presidents overreached and underperformed. But this assumes that Obama’s agenda will be mostly about policy, and will seek by traditional means to persuade a center-right voting public to support a European-style left-wing social-democrat government.
In fact, it is highly likely that Obama and the Congressional Democrats will instead concentrate major efforts on a number of longstanding policy priorities are aimed at stacking the deck to change the electorate and the political process themselves, and thus entrenching themselves in long-term power without ever needing again to persuade a center-right electorate to support their policies. Let’s look at a number of examples of things the Democrats are likely to do with their new majority to bring this about:
(1) Card Check: The vanguard of this movement to redistribute political power to the Left – the sign you will see early on to know that an Obama Administration is prioritizing political entrenchment – is legislation with the Orwellian title of the Employee Free Choice Act, which was stopped in this Congress only by GOP filibuster. The “card check” bill puts its thumb on the scales of union organizing in a number of ways, most notoriously by eliminating the secret ballot in union elections, allowing workers to be coerced to form unions which will then route coerced union dues to the Democratic party.
(2) Same-Day Voter Registration: Another longstanding priority of left-wing groups like ACORN – and near and dear to Obama’s heart as a man who came up through the PIRGs and has made voter-registration and recruitment the central theme of his career – is mandate that every state allow people to register and vote on the same day. The downside, of course, is that this precludes efforts to follow up before Election Day to make sure that a voter has registered at a bona fide address, among other things. It’s an invitation to voter fraud. Yet liberal writers are insistent, in the face of all evidence, common sense and understanding of human nature and political history, that voter fraud does not exist and that all precautions against it are misguided at best and racist at worst.
(3) Abolish Voter Identification Requirements: Relatedly, the Left was frustrated when the Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s law requiring voters to present a valid form of identification. Expect federal moves against such state laws as well, whether through legislation or by action of the Justice Department (we’ve already seen career DOJ prosecutors move against wholly truthful political speech designed to warn non-citizens against voting). Like same-day registration, this is a maneuver primarily to empower corrupt urban political machines.
(4) Quash Investigations of Voter Fraud: Of course, it would be embarrassing to these efforts if investigations turned up voter fraud by ACORN during the 2008 election. So naturally, an Obama Justice Department will view voter fraud investigations as something to be investigated themselves, as evidenced by its call for a special prosecutor to investigate voter fraud investigators. This is a sure-fire way to send the message that any prosecutor who looks for evidence of voter fraud can kiss a career in an Obama Administration – and maybe even his or her liberty – goodbye.
(5) The Fairness Doctrine: With the mainstream media thoroughly in the tank for Obama, conservatives have had to rely on the alternative outlets – talk radio, blogs, conservative magazines, and the one network – Fox News – that at least gives conservatives a fair shake. This option, though, wasn’t always available: before 1987, the FCC’s so-called “Fairness Doctrine” required that “equal time” be given to opinion programming (but not opinion masquerading as “news”), which as a practical matter made conservative talk radio – long more popular than liberal alternatives, given among other things the greater conservative need for alternative media – uneconomical (it’s no accident that Rush Limbaugh went national in 1988). Bringing back the Fairness Doctrine has been a long-cherished goal on the Left. Obama, of course, would particularly love to remake Fox News; he blamed the network for his loss in the Kentucky primary and now argues that it’s unfairly hampering his presidential campaign:
“I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls,” Obama told liberal journalist Matt Bai. “[T]he way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that?” …”I guess the point I’m making,” he went on, “is that there is an entire industry now, an entire apparatus, designed to perpetuate this cultural schism, and it’s powerful.
This might be regarded as a typical example of a politician complaining about press coverage, were it not for the history – here’s the Heritage Foundation in 1993 explaining the operation of the Fairness Doctrine and discussing efforts to revive it by legislation the last time Democrats controlled the White House and Congress, a 2005 article making some of the Left’s arguments for restoring it, and a 2008 talk with a current FCC Commissioner on how the Fairness Doctrine could make a comeback and be applied to the internet. More here and here.
(6) Campaign Finance Reform on Steroids: Democrats are still bitter about the independent ads run by groups like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004, engaging in free and open debate on subjects – like the Democratic nominee’s own life history and past political activities – that Republican campaigns were too timid to touch. Obama talks frequently about “swift boating” and has complained incessantly about how it’s beyond the pale to run ads about his own career. (Obama has also been known to send threatening letters like this one about an NRA ad). Even recognizing that Senator McCain is also no friend of independent advocacy groups, it’s the Democrats who are likely to have a major axe to grind in 2009 to shut down such groups and exclude them from political debate in the future.
(7) A House seat for DC: The District of Columbia has a unique political status – it enjoys subsidies from the federal government and 3 electoral votes for President far out of proportion to its population. In return, DC operates under federal supervision and has no votes in Congress. But there have been moves by the Democrats in recent Congresses, which nearly succeeded, to take a House seat away from the states and give it to DC, the most reliably Democratic locale in the entire nation. (A more extreme step would be DC statehood or adding two Senators without formal statehood. Either, like the House seat, would be unconstitutional, which brings us to our next point).
(8) Liberal Judges: The best and surest way to reduce the scope in which a center-right electorate can operate is to have the federal judiciary take more and more issues entirely and permanently out of the hands of voters, and take the meaning of the constitution and of legislation out of the hands of the people’s representatives. Obama is certain to appoint life-tenured federal judges, including probably at least two Supreme Court Justices, who will impose their own preferences (or worse yet, unelected international law) on American democracy.
(9) Census Sampling: A major demographic trend is working against the Democrats, as population shifts from blue states in the Northeast and industrial Midwest to redder states in the South and Southwest. Certainly the Democrats have tried to win over voters in those states, but another way to battle demographics is to change how you count. In 1999, the Supreme Court held that current federal law required that the 2000 Census use an actual count of people, rather than applying a “sampling” formula backed by the Democrats to “estimate” population, a method subject to manipulation and which was argued to be helpful to Democratic-leaning urban areas. The Bush Administration then blocked efforts to impose “sampling” on the 2000 Census. Expect renewed efforts to use it on the 2010 Census, so as to skew redistricting in Democrats’ favor.
(10) Voting Rights Act Bigfooting of the Redistricting Process: Another way for the federal government to interfere in redistricting is to use the Justice Department’s powers under the Voting Rights Act to manipulate district lines and block “preclearance” of new districts, often under the guise of preserving racial minority-held seats (long a pet cause of Senator Obama dating back to his State Senate days). Expect moves by the Democrats to use DOJ to draw legislative lines in their favor after 2010, regardless of how elections go at the state level.
(11) Immigration: If you don’t like the voters, get new ones. You don’t have to be anti-immigrant to notice that massive waves of non-English-speaking entrants to the voting process, combined with elimination of ballot security and the new entrants’ lack of grounding in American values, could swamp the current electorate. Obama’s attitude towards immigration is best shown in two ways: his sponsorship of a bill in Illinois to give drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens and his support of biligual education, which is an educational failure best suited to keeping Latinos locked in a linguistic ghetto cut off from the American mainstream. Here again, John McCain has been a supporter as well of “comprehensive immigration reform,” but McCain has pledged his own supporters that he will tackle border security first, he doesn’t have Obama’s history of offering governmental benefits and identification specifically to illegal aliens, and he’ll be constrained in other ways by his party.
(12) Voting Rights For Felons: Another Democratic constituency is convicted felons. Prepare for a major push to restore felon voting rights.
These are not the only ways in which we may see efforts to entrench the Left. Obama’s tax plan will create a newly enlarged group of citizens dependent on government handouts. The Left may also press to abolish the hated Electoral College, thus nationalizing the effects of ballot-box stuffing anywhere in the country, although it’s less clear that this will actually be on the agenda.
Now, if you were the Left, and you wanted to prioritize political entrenchment over persuasion, who would you choose as your candidate? A man with no real experience governing but years of experience organizing, a man who has structured his campaign as a movement centered on new voters that sends its recruits to Camp Obama.
And what would be the keystone of any public relations effort to prepare the ground for changing the political structure of the nation to marginalize the current center-right electorate and create a ‘post-partisan’ (i.e., one-party) political future? You would seek to delegitimize the Right by portraying it as a violent and dangerous mob in need of governmental supervision. You’d tell everyone that unfettered debate is too scary because Republicans are unstable and easily inflamed to violence. And that’s exactly what the Left and the media have been doing in this campaign.
The most obvious example of this, recounted here and here and here by Walter Olson, is calls by liberal bloggers to prosecute McCain and Palin for criminal incitement for their criticisms of Barack Obama. But there are many examples of emphasis in the media or by the Democrats and their prominent supporters on stories – the bulk of them false or severely distorted – suggesting that Republican crowds are dangerously angry due to supposedly false rhetoric or simply tough arguments about Senator Obama’s past – see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Indeed, Senator Obama himself made this argument, citing false news stories, in the third debate. Meanwhile, actually dangerous and violent behavior or extremist, hate-filled rhetoric from the Left is downplayed or wholly ignored – see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
We can’t allow Barack Obama the opportunity to remake America in the image of foreign countries. We can’t allow the center-right electorate that has sustained our nation as the last, best hope of mankind to be silenced, marginalized or extinguished. This is a battle that will be fought on many fronts over the next several years, but the most important front will be on Election Day. Today’s GOP isn’t perfect – win or lose this election, there’s more work to be done to clean our own house. But those who don’t join the fight against Obama on November 4 may end up finding there’s nowhere left to go to fight him later.