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By Mr. Curmudgeon:
The re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States has triggered a lot of soul searching among gobsmacked Republicans. After all, they thought high unemployment, a contracting economy, ballooning debt, an unpopular health-care mandate and a deadly gunrunning deal with Mexican drug lords were enough to stop him. Many among the GOP’s establishment intelligentsia are saying it’s time for the Republican Party to update its message and evolve with the times to become, well, more like winning Democrats.
It’s deja vu all over again.
As Amity Shlaes noted in her book “The Forgotten man: A New History of the Great Depression”:
“The Republicans … could not compete with [Franklin] Roosevelt’s new philosophy; to do so would be against their philosophy. The fact that they were trapped drove them crazy …
“… Whereas in the old America of the 1920s the sight of so many jobless men had provoked shock and alarm, now people accepted it, telling themselves that at least things were better than before. The same held for stock traders, who had stopped measuring success against the marker of 1929. People told themselves that the fact that the stock average was moving upward was the best they could hope for, even though it remained so far from the 1929 high. Recovery was supplanting prosperity as the goal.”
Does that sound familiar? And what was the secret of FDR’s success?”
According to Shlaes, “Roosevelt systematized interest-group politics more generally to include many constituencies – labor, senior citizens, farmers, union workers. The president made groups where only individual citizens or isolated cranks had stood before, ministered to those groups, and was rewarded with votes. It is no coincidence that the first peacetime year in American history in which federal spending outpaced the total spending of the states and towns was that election year of 1936. It can even be argued that one year – 1936 – created the modern entitlement challenge that bedevils both parties.”
President Obama one-upped FDR in one regard: He elevated “isolated cranks” like free-contraception queen Sandra Fluke as the face of desperate, helpless, entitlement-addicted twits urging his re-election. It was high comedy … but it worked. And this is what separates Obama’s America from FDR’s.
In 1934, the captured killer and Public Enemy John Dillinger was trotted out for reporters gathered at Indiana’s Crown Point Jail. He told the press he supported FDR’s Bank Recovery Act – after all, it provided banks taxpayer bailout money for the machine-gun-toting criminal to “withdraw.” There’s no doubt Dillinger knew he was an immoral no good criminal, “We can’t all be angels,” he confessed to a reporter.
Fast forward to 2012: “I am proud to stand with millions of women and men who recognize that our government should legislate according to the reality of our lives – not for ideology,” said Georgetown University law student, and Obama supporter, Sandra Fluke.
Unlike Dillinger, Fluke was hopelessly unaware. She displayed not an ounce of self-consciousness while testifying before Congress that her sexual desires were so intense, only the federal treasury had enough cash to meet her contraceptive needs. She required legislation for taxpayer-supported contraception not on ideological grounds, but to satisfy the moral vacuum that is her life. Dillinger knew he was no angel. Fluke cannot conceive of a universe with angels or devils. They reside outside the cosmos of her womb and, therefore, do not exist.
FDR’s bank bailouts satisfied Dillinger’s twisted needs, Obama’s dictatorial health-care plan did the same for Fluke. Although appearing to be unconnected, both are perverted constituencies of the modern, permanent administrative state.
Big-government advocates have capitalized on America’s moral decay. In fact, government has grown in size and power as America’s moral compass has degenerated. Organized theft has expanded beyond taking what sits in the pockets of living victims to the wages of generations yet unborn. What Progressives call the “social safety net” is a nice sounding name for the greatest heist in world history.
FDR used the power of the presidency during an economic crisis to build a new interest-group politics to secure power for himself and the Democratic Party. President Obama used the skills he learned as a Chicago community organizer to expand the pool of these corrupt interest groups.
Putting aside the high-sounding platitudes and goals of Progressives, their desperate, dependent interest groups are nothing less than gang members settling for the crumbs falling from a gangster’s dinner plate.
Establishment Republicans believe their party should devise a strategy to win a piece of FDR and O’s depraved constituencies. To get them, all they have to do is dive into the cesspool along with their Progressive friends across the aisle.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?” That is a moralistic, rhetorical question.
It is morality that forms the foundation of what Ms. Fluke dismisses as dirty “ideology.”
“We have no government, armed with power capable of contending with human passions,” said John Adams, “unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
Given a choice between John Adam’s vision for America and Sandra Fluke’s, the people chose Fluke’s.
Moral degeneration is not an ideology – but it sure is good politics. It maintains a kind of societal equilibrium between a corrupt government, its policing authorities and a dishonest public … much like that which existed in Al Capone’s Chicago.