The Wall Street Journal throws a dash of cold water on the celebrations of The One, and gives him a stark reminder of the real threats to his campaign promises and his re-election in 2008:
David Obey. The Appropriations Chairman wants to slash defense spending as a money grab for more social programs and entitlements. Fellow spender Barney Frank recently added that a military budget cut of 25% was about right. A military crash diet wouldn’t leave the funds for the surge in Afghanistan that Mr. Obama advocates, and it’s a sure way to hand the national security issue back to the GOP.
Chuck Schumer. The Senate Democrat and his friends are already threatening banks if they don’t lend more money instantly under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Other political masters want to use Tarp to nationalize large swaths of U.S. industry such as the Detroit auto makers or to bail out states like New York that are in debt. If Mr. Obama doesn’t want to have to pass a Tarp II, he’ll have to say no.
George Miller. Some Democrats are starting to target the tax subsidies for 401(k)s and other private retirement options. Mr. Miller, who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, calls them “a big failure” and recently held a hearing to ponder alternatives, including nationalizing pensions and replacing them with special bonds administered by Social Security. The proposal has also caught the eye of Jim McDermott, who chairs the relevant Ways and Means subcommittee. Mr. Obama won big with his promise of tax cuts for the middle class, which doesn’t square with attacks on middle-class nest eggs.
John Conyers. The man running House Judiciary is cheerleading the Europeans who want to indict Bush officials for war crimes. Other Democrats are thinking about hearings and other show trials. This is far from the postpartisan reconciliation that Mr. Obama preaches…
While many voters may think they’ve voted for “change” in Mr. Obama, they also handed power to the oldest forces in the Old Democratic Party. Jimmy Carter campaigned as a moderate and outsider, but Congressional liberals quickly ran his budget director, the economic centrist Bert Lance, out of town. Then they overrode Mr. Carter’s veto of a pork-barrel water bill. Mr. Carter referred to the tax committees as “ravenous wolves” after they transformed his tax reform into a special-interest bouquet. Next came Reagan.
I’ve abridged the WSJ piece substantially, and left out a number of the enemies identified by the Journal. That’s both in the interest in brevity and to get you to click over to the full piece — which is worth your time.
The surreal aspect of the situation is how little has changed since Bill Clinton was sworn in in 1993. He campaigned on middle class tax cuts, welfare reform and crime-fighting. When he got to Washington the liberal leadership in Congress convinced him to support tax increases, gays in the military, and pork-barrel projects. And who were the liberal leaders of Congress in 1993? Henry Waxman chaired a critical health care subcommittee. John Conyers chaired the Government Oversight Commitee — which is today run by Henry Waxman. David Obey was second in seniority on the Appropriations Committee; today he chairs it. In 1993, Pete Stark chaired the Ways and Means Subcommittee on health; he holds the same position today. Nancy Pelosi, Charlie Rangel, Charles Schumer and George Miller were all influential liberals in Congress; today they remain so.
Given all that, it becomes apparent that Rahm Emanuel’s first job as White House Chief of Staff is to keep Barack Obama from getting suckered by the liberal Congressional leadership in the same way that Bill Clinton did.
And that’s where Red State comes in. We invite President-elect Obama to visit this site on a daily basis, to get some guidance on how well you’re doing in sticking to your promises of reducing taxes, reducing net government spending, staying vigilant in the fight on terror, fixing health care without expanding government intrusiveness, and promoting bipartisanship. Attention to these priorities is critical to keeping the support of the American people, but you’ll fail at all of them if you listen to the troublemakers who convinced Bill Clinton to run hard left.
Am I sincere? Well I admit, I foresee a real downside personally if you give Red State significant influence over your agenda. But I’m willing to risk it for the good of the country.
Think it over.