This past Monday (August 15th, 2011) Ryan Rhodes, a Tea Party organizer in Iowa, asked Barack Obama how Obama could call for more civility when “your vice president is calling people like me, a Tea Party member, a ‘terrorist.’”
Barack Obama — who, as you no doubt remember from his debates with Hillary, was against “forcing” (in his entirely apposite words) the individual healthcare mandate before he was so emphatically for it — this past Monday said:
“As someone who’s been called a socialist, not born here, taking away freedoms because I passed a healthcare bill, I’m all for lowering the rhetoric.”
To me, the most interesting thing about Obama’s comment here is the paradoxical nature of it: in actual point of fact he is a socialist, and until fairly recently he made no secret of this. (You can watch him on video here. Or, if you can stomach them, read his poorly written books, one of which I’ve excerpted here, and you’ll see that he’s not only an explicit socialist but, like his “friend and mentor” Jeremiah Wright, he’s a socialist of the black nationalist variety.)
Obama has also made no secret of the fact that he is all for taking away freedoms in order to nationalize healthcare — which is of course called socialism — and so the only real rhetoric here, still, is Barack Obama’s.
Because he’s told so many blatant lies, and because it would be so painfully easy to catch him up in all his circumlocutions and contradictions, Barack Obama would be much better off, in the important months to come, avoiding confrontations like this:
Rick Santelli, who is largely credited with starting the tea part back in the old days before the tea party had lost its teeth, is something of a hero.
Here’s his unforgettable — and inarguable — salvo against Barack Obama’s explicit call to “fundamentally change America”:
Now he has this:
RICK SANTELLI: You don’t compromise on principles.
STEVE LIESMAN: So, Rick — you’re ready to see the United States –
Santelli: — Bring it on! Bring it on! Bring it on! Our fearless leader [GE CEO Jeff] Immelt, was on talking about what he perceived as an impediment to creating better jobs and he talked about regulation. Is he against Dodd-Frank?
Liesman: I’m talking about paying our bills, Rick.
Santelli: You know what, we should pay our bills. We should pay our bills. But the other amount, the 42-cents of every dollar we don’t have let Congress figure out they made the obligations.
Liesman: The trouble is, there is a time and a place for this conversation and debate.
Santelli: Now is the time!
Liesman: It’s not when the credit card bill is due.
Santelli: This is the place. We’re here. If not now, when?! If not now, when? If not now, when?!
Zombie, an anonymous San Francisco blogger and photographer whom I admire, recently wrote an article for Pajamas Media that echoes what I myself have been saying for years: the left/right, republican/democrat, conservative/liberal alternative is a false alternative, and those two ideologies are really just two sides of the same penny: the one espouses (nominal) economic freedom but advocates government intrusion in political issues (the Right), while the other espouses nominal political freedom but advocates complete government intrusion in economic affairs (the Left). This issue is not a marginal issue — and indeed becomes more and more relevant each passing day, as this country creeps closer to outright revolution.
Zombie’s article is worth reading in full, but if you don’t have the time or the inclination, please take a long look at his graph, which he calls the real political spectrum: collectivism-versus-individualism — or, in my words, freedom-versus-statism. It’s not quite the graph I would have made, but it’s pretty good; and if freedom is ever to win the day, it is this distinction that must be understood:
(Note: to see Zombie’s explanation for his categories, click here.)