by Victor Davis Hanson
NRO’s The Corner
As Hugo Chavez continues to shut down the media and silence critics, Oliver Stone — who would never be allowed, if he were a Venezuelan filmmaker, to direct as he does in the states — praises Chavez’s coerced socialism.
Michael Moore, known for hard-nosed distribution and profit-making, announces, again like Stone in conjunction with hyping a profit-making movie, that capitalism (for others) is dead.
Van Jones, solidly middle class and Yale-educated, among other things, pontificated about revolution, an apartheid America, redistributing wealth, a**hole Republicans and George Bush’s involvement in 9/11, in between jetting between conferences, espousing his green jobs promotion that hyped book sales and his own career.
What is strange about all this chic-radicalism is how would-be revolutionaries that wish to dismantle America as we know it and/or emulate failed systems abroad, always do so from comfort, security, affluence, and freedom of choice unique to America and Europe, suggesting that radical politics and those who agitate for them are sort of a fashion statement, aimed to resonate among particular elite leftist audiences and to bring dividends from them, but not to be taken too seriously as guides in their own lives.
Obama’s problem is more fundamental than his healthcare mess. He campaigned on a no more red state/blue state, white/black, rich/poor polarity, and offered a sort of transcendence that was used to make up for his prior dubious relationships with the likes of Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers.
When governing, his supporters liked to think that he would have to rein in extremists like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to gravitate to the center and work in “bipartisan fashion.” But that was never in the cards. The problem is that beneath Obama’s hope-and-change veneer, his past legislative and vocal record (cf. his Senate partisanship, his statements in his memoirs, his spread-the-wealth, clingers, typical-white-person gaffes, his talk of single-payer healthcare and reparations, etc) were hard left, left even of Pelosi and Reid. The Van Jones appointment was logical, not an aberration. So to save his presidency, since the hope-and-change hocus-pocus has become old and trite, Obama would have to become an un-Obama, and do a 1995 Clinton switcheroo.
We have elected the most left-wing president in our history, apparently to many an unappreciated fact given the Bush unpopularity, the wars, the so-so McCain candidacy, and the September 2008 meltdown, but one that now, through a variety of minor and major incidents (from the apologies abroad and the cap-and-trade zealotry to the Gates incident to Van Jones), is being revealed to the American people — and they are not comfortable with it.
His supporters can charge “racism” or go back to the “this is our moment” tropes, or try to reexamine the crazies more carefully before appointing them, but the problem remains that the Obama worldview, one that he embraced at an early age and deliberately sought to enhance through his education and work in Chicago, is simply not one that most Americans feel comfortable with.
So we are in a race — will a majority of the American people wake up from their past anger at Bush and subsequent hypnotism by Obama before he pushes through and institutionalizes an agenda to the left of what we see in Europe?
Should be interesting, and tonight should be a preview of more frantic, hurried efforts to come.
©2009 Victor Davis Hanson