The Massachusetts "Miracle on Ice" hit Democrats like an avalanche
crashing in on a downhill skier. Gone is their 60-vote, filibuster-proof
Senate supermajority. Likely dead is the Senate version of health care
"reform," if not ObamaCare altogether. Stunned and confused, Democrats
now scramble around trying to decipher "what it means."
President Barack Obama's hard-left base calls the loss of Teddy
Kennedy's seat a wake-up call for bigger
spending. They see the defeat as a referendum for broader and bolder
"health care reform" that includes a so-called public option, higher
taxes and an expansion of the number of insured through Medicare. Their
argument goes like this: People are unhappy, not about reckless
spending, but because Obama has governed like a "centrist." He's "caved
in to special interests," hasn't gone far enough and hasn't increased
government fast enough. He abandoned his "progressive agenda," and
voters punished him. Voters, wanting more
government, elected a guy who promised less.
A Hofstra University professor represents this view in his analysis of
"what it means": "The obvious solution, of course, would be a sharp turn
to the left. Go where the real solutions are. Fight the good fight. Call
liars 'liars' and thieves 'thieves'. Do the people's business. Become
their advocate against the monsters bleeding them dry. Create jobs.
Build infrastructure. Do real national health care. End the wars.
Dramatically slash military spending. Produce actual educational reform.
Launch a massive green energy/jobs program. Get serious about global
warming. Kick ass on campaign finance reform. Fight for gay rights.
Restore the New Deal-era regulatory framework and expand it. Restore a
fair taxation structure. Rewrite trade agreements that undermine
American jobs. Rebuild unions. Fill the spate of vacancies in the
federal judiciary, and load those seats up with progressives. Rally the
public to demand that Congress act on your agenda. Humiliate the
regressives in and out of the GOP for their abysmal sell-out policies."
Good grief! So much for voters telling Obama to slow down and move
toward the center.
Obama didn't get elected by being that stupid although his immediate
comments on the GOP Massachusetts victory came close: "Here's my
assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts but the mood around the
country: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into
office. People are angry, and they are frustrated not just because of
what's happened in the last year or two years but what's happened over
the last eight years." Uh, whatever.
It's really, really the economy. Voters are suffering double-digit
unemployment, upside-down mortgages and shrinking 401(k)s. They oppose
tackling this with more spending, bailouts of imprudent companies and
"stimulus" that primarily "saves or creates" government jobs.
So Obama dashes into the phone booth and re-emerges "Fiscally
Responsible." An across-the-board "spending freeze"! As a candidate for
president, Obama, in all three debates against GOP candidate John
McCain, called such a freeze irresponsible akin to "using a hatchet"
rather than "a scalpel." Nice pivot utterly inconsequential.
As with McCain's proposed freeze, Obama's exempts everything that could
conceivably halt spending, let alone reduce the size of government. In a
time of war against Islamofascism, funding for defense, military pay and
benefits and homeland security is necessary. Our European allies,
post-9/11, now actually spend less on defense as a
percentage of their budgets. Until and unless the other members of the
"coalition" wake up and start pulling their weight in this global battle
or until and unless we tell Europe, Japan, South Korea and Israel to
"protect yourselves," we carry the burden of this fight. So reducing
defense spending is out.
Interest on the growing debt is also built in. Unless government
spending truly goes down, it cannot go down. Non-security-related
"discretionary" spending, the category that Obama wants to freeze
with a bunch of exemptions is less than 20 percent of the budget. And
this proposed freeze would go into effect after the greatest domestic
spending binge in history. The '09 budget deficit the gap between
what the government takes in and what it spends is more than three
times that of '08.
What about the national debt what we owe? According to the
conservative think tank Heritage Foundation: "The public national debt
$5.8 trillion as of 2008 is projected to double by 2012 and nearly
triple by 2019. Thus, America would accumulate more government debt
under President Obama than under every President in American history
from George Washington to George W. Bush combined."
The Big Entitlements Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid remain
the incredible spending faucets set on automatic growth. Neither Obama
and his party nor most "fiscally conservative" Republicans offer
anything resembling a way out. Meanwhile, the band plays on.