So now, in the midst of a financial disaster, presidential polls indicate we will elect Barack Obama, the man who practically cheered this mess on and now promotes ideas that would worsen it.
I know, I know, he’s a saint, and it doesn’t matter that he emerged out of a shady Chicago political machine. Or that his community organizer days accomplished nothing. Or that he hobnobbed with a racist preacher and a now-convicted influence peddler. Or that he evaded tough issues with "present" votes in the Illinois legislature.
No question, he is eloquent and smart. He is also inexperienced and a consistent leftist, but let’s focus first on how his solutions to a situation brought about by excess are more excess. He wants ultra-spending to pay employers for creating jobs, to further subsidize mismanaged auto corporations, to dish out dough to undisciplined cities and states, and to wrap an extreme welfare state around the citizenry.
His craving, in short, is for more of the extravagance now bringing us to our knees. But then, considering his other campaign enthusiasms, this instinct for simplistic, interventionist overreach should come as no surprise.
We have, after all, witnessed his regulatory gusto, his sense that anything goes to bring unions back to power, his anti-trade demagoguery, his desire to take from one portion of the population to give freebies to the rest, his implied stance that government is the one-and-only answer for everything and an apparent desire to spend us into oblivion.
Once upon a time, there was a Democrat named Franklin Delano Roosevelt who told a nation that the only thing we had to fear was fear itself, and now we have Obama, who has been preaching fear throughout his campaign, contending we were in a recession when we were not, vastly exaggerating real but controllable middleclass problems and making endless allusions to the Depression.
What better formula to encourage stocks to tumble and banks to shrink from extending credit while discouraging the confidence needed to rebuild?
Recently, the government has gone further to nationalize our economy than ever before in American history, even more, some calculate, than occurred in the New Deal. Bush says he’ll retreat from this extraordinary intrusion as soon as he can, that he will get the government out of bank ownership and asset purchases, but Bush, of course, won’t be president for much longer.
Someone else will decide whether to proceed with a future that robs people of much of their freedom and ultimately diminishes their standard of living in the name of something for nothing, equality of outcome, the illusion of security, and resentment of the rich.
Should Obama become president, watch for him to take the moment’s socialist adventure to a monster level, making this emergency seem only a hint of what was to come, a precursor to free-market devastation.
John McCain has hardly been Mr. Hero in all of this. There was his peculiar criticism of the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, his pointless drama of going to Washington to fix things and then his wacky $300 billion proposal for saving sour mortgages and stabilizing banks.
He nevertheless understood the dangerous bloat of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and does get it that federal spending is an enemy that must be defeated. He has done far more than Obama to preach faith in our ability to overcome, and nothing to prop up panic, to make it seem as Obama has that our economy is fundamentally unsound.
To deal with this peril, McCain is easily the more trustworthy of the two.
(Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)aol.com.)