Obama II vs. Obama I

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

I don’t think it has occurred to the divine ones that the administration now is at odds with the sort of ideology and attitudes Obama himself espoused on the campaign trail.

They call for patience and for confidence in Iraq — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, dismiss our chances while demanding a strict and rather rapid timetable to get out.

They ask for understanding about renditions, tribunals, Guantanamo, intercepts, wiretaps, and Predator missile attacks as complex issues — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, dismiss these necessary tools as Constitution-shredding authoritarianism.

They ask for patience on jobs — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, pontificate about a “jobless recovery” when jobs and growth were far better.

They reassure us that missile defense is insurance against North Korean lunacy — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, dismiss such investment as needless militaristic provocation.

They ask for latitude about the definition of what is a tax, what defines unemployment, and how we calibrate deficits — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, blast obfuscation while promising “transparency.”

They reassure that their planted questions, the favoritism shown some journalists, the refusal to release White House visit logs, and the arbitrary firing of inconvenient auditors are nothing new — and not, in prior Obama-like fashion, charge government intimidation and suppression of thought.

They ignore corruption in the Democratic-controlled Congress, cater to lobbyists, are not bothered by the tax improprieties of their major cabinet appointments — and do not, in prior Obama-like fashion, demand an end to executive malfeasance.

I know this is old-story politics, but two things are different. One, never has the gap between pre-presidential and in-office behavior been so wide (heaven and earth really are quite distant), and, two, the past promises of utopia have so conditioned a mesmerized media that they don’t realize their own complacency in allowing an administration to use whatever means they chose for professedly exalted ends.

This is a strange time, when we are borrowing into oblivion, redefining 60 years of bilateral foreign policy, embarking on unproven — but costly — environmentalism, nationalizing industry and health care, and gleefully establishing a veritable state-sanctioned, pro-government media on the lines Americans used to be terrified about.

In response, as I read between the lines, conservatives are told by the Obamans something to the effect, “Forget our prior demagoguery, aren’t you at least happy we backtracked and are now adopting some of your war-on-terror positions we used to trash?”, while liberals are supposed to be happy with something like, “Just forget all that stuff about ethics, transparency, and anti-lobbying/influence; we’re in power now and will do anything necessary to fulfill your agenda.”

There will be a backlash to all this, and one of unprecedented fury.

©2009 Victor Davis Hanson

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