My reaction isn’t dictated merely by the conclusion that Obama is uniquely unsuitable to the office he will acquire next January.
I'm of the view that all presidents should be simultaneously inaugurated and impeached, and that there should be a streamlined procedure to expedite their conviction and removal from office upon each president's first documented violation of his constitutional oath.
This would be more than merely a convenient time-saving measure; it is entirely justified in light of the alacrity with which presidents become enemies of the Constitution. Nearly all newly installed presidents reveal themselves to be perjurers before the echo of their insipid inaugural addresses dies down. Indeed, in our degenerate socialist democracy it's impossible for a politician to become a "serious" presidential contender without promising, in extravagant detail, the crime wave he intends to preside over once enthroned.
But since there's no acceptable procedure for impeaching a candidate before he obtains public office, we would have to settle for a system in which presidents entered the office under the burden of impeachment and haunted by the prospect of immediate removal.
Granted, this would result in an executive turnover akin to that experienced by Argentina following its financial collapse earlier this decade, when that country went through five presidents in roughly a year. Governmental paralysis would ensue, with legislation lingering unsigned, executive appointments left unmade, and "rogue" nations left un-bombed.
Some would describe the resulting state of affairs as a crisis. I'd describe it as a miraculous improvement on the status quo.
In an interview with the redoubtable Lew Rockwell, former Federal Judge Andrew Napolitano – one of the few jurists in our history to display actual respect for the Constitution – yielded to what he called the human virtue of hope by opining that it's possible Barack Obama (we pause to observe a moment of chastened reverence) will prove to be a friend to constitutionally protected individual liberties once he assumes office.
Judge Napolitano correctly points out that Obama, whose absence during critical votes has been a consistent trait of his legislative career, made a point of being present to vote in favor of renewing the PATRIOT [sic] Act and the revised FISA law that supposedly authorized unconstitutional electronic surveillance. (Not mentioned in that interview, but relevant to this discussion, is Obama's explicit disavowal of any intention to pursue investigations or criminal prosecutions of Bush administration figures implicated in torture and other abuses once he is in office.)
However, Napolitano suggested that those votes reflected a cynical, election-year design on Obama's part to neutralize criticism that he was in some sense "soft on terrorism." So the best case to be made here is that Obama was willing to abet the assault on individual liberties in order to win election so as to be able to undo the damage he helped inflict on the Constitution. This would mean, in principle, that he is willing to impose tangible injury on innocent people in exchange for power while piously insisting on the purity of his intentions.
So we'd be seeing a familiar routine: A politician compromises his professed principles, insisting this is necessary in order to obtain the power he needs to act on those discarded principles.
Judge Napolitano did make a substantive point when he observed that the Democratic Party, unlike the GOP, has a civil liberties constituency, even if its influence is negligible. But whether or not Obama sympathizes with that element of his coalition and harbors a desire to rectify atrocities committed by the Bu'ushists in the realm of civil liberties, the hyper-activist role he prescribes for the State will inevitably mean that his reign will be even worse for individual liberty than that of his predecessor.
During the era of Bush the Lesser, conservatives who claimed to oppose big, intrusive government at home embraced unlimited government for the purpose of conducting imperial warfare abroad. As the history of previous empires demonstrates, pretending that such an arrangement is possible is an exercise in puerile self-deception: War is the definitive big government program, and – to quote James Madison yet again – "No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare."
The same principle applies with even greater acuity to the enhancement of government power for domestic purposes. It is impossible to mobilize government power on behalf of wealth redistribution without commissioning widespread and wholesale violation of individual rights – beginning, obviously, with the fundamental right to own and dispose of one's wealth and property.
Governments that get really serious about this sort of thing tend to kill all productive activity outright; often the only significant industry that remains is the manufacture of corpses out of once-living, breathing, productive human beings.
Barack Obama, a one-time professor of constitutional law, has famously criticized the Constitution for defining liberty in terms of "negative" liberties – meaning protections against various forms of state action. This is a hoary truism often invoked in theories of Constitutional law that were rooted in Marxism and nurtured by the federal government's post-New Deal demand for legal apologists and executors.
Obama, speaking as a state legislator in a recently discovered and inadequately publicized 2001 radio interview, observed that the civil rights revolution of the 1960s sought to overcome this "negative" concept of liberties, but was too wedded to the idea of pursuing its social revolution through the courts.
As he pointed out, "[T]he Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and the more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.... [O]ne of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, because the civil rights movement became so court-focused, I think there was a tendency to lose track of the community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which to bring about redistributive change. And in some ways we still suffer from that." (Emphasis added.)
Here in one paragraph Obama at once reveals his core ideological commitments and answers the much-asked question, "What does a 'community organizer' actually do?" From Obama's own words (soon to be printed in double-column, red-letter text on gilt-edged, leather-bound paper, according to his more devoted followers) we learn that a community organizer is someone who assembles "coalitions of power" in the interest of "redistributive change."
This is an elaborate way of saying that a "community organizer" is what less sophisticated people would call a Communist agitator.
Obama, who reads a teleprompter with panache and knows how to pose for a photo, often finds himself foundering when asked to extemporize.
He does have a certain facile glibness of the kind often mistaken for wit, as we saw when he dismissed charges that he is a socialist by "confessing" to sharing his brownies in kindergarten.
This was actually a moment of self-aggrandizing compound dishonesty worthy of Bill Clinton: In one stroke – a carefully rehearsed "spontaneous" one-liner – Obama offered a non-denial of his intentions while at once lying about the nature of socialism and adding another line to his auto-hagiography (a work constantly in progress):
- And the Child Obama, seeing that the multitudes in his kindergarten were an hungered, did say:
- Behold, my bosom abounds in compassion for you.
- Therewith He did take of his brownies and – offering thanks unto the Almighty State for its wisdom in erecting tax-subsidized child care through the great bounty of its divinely plundered wealth – did break them and offer them to the others,
- saying: Take, and eat; And the other children did eat, and gave thanks to Obama the Blessed for his divine generosity,
- foreshadowing the day when He, the Embodiment of Change and Hope, would have the power to compel those heedless of the requirements of social justice to surrender their brownies for redistribution to those more worthy.
- And the Child Obama did wax mighty in the Spirit of Alinsky, and great wonders were wrought by his hand.
At the risk of committing heresy, I have to point out something His Holiness sought to conceal: Socialism isn't about sharing one's own brownies, but rather about the forcible collectivization of brownies by seizing them from others at gunpoint – and then the ever-escalating use of lethal violence to regiment society once the inevitable shortage of brownies (or bread, or any other good subject to distribution through political rather than economic means) develops.
All State efforts to redistribute wealth and regiment the economy are, in principle and generally in practice, warfare against the rights of the governed. Obama's most impassioned supporters, some of whom have sung arias lamenting the criminal foreign aggression carried out by the Bush Regime, are already chanting hymns of praise in anticipation of the Holy One's war against the American bourgeoisie.
Prominent among those psalmists is Norman Solomon, who wrote a splendid book indicting the corrupt entente between the Establishment media and the presidential warmaking apparatus (War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death). Solomon insists that Obama's victory is nothing less than a mandate for war on Americans who stubbornly insist on the sanctity of their personal wealth.
"Two days before he lost the election, John McCain summarized what had become the central message of his campaign: `Redistribute the wealth, spread the wealth around – we can't do that,'" recalls Solomon. "Oh, yes we can. The 2008 presidential campaign became something of a referendum on `spreading the wealth.'"
Solomon complained – inaccurately, alas – that the Republican presidential campaign "recycled attacks on the principles of the New Deal. Like Franklin Roosevelt when he first ran for president in 1932, Barack Obama put forward economic prescriptions that were hardly radical. Yet, in the next few years, Obama's administration could accomplish great things – reminiscent of the New Deal...."
Assuming that he's familiar with the relevant history, Solomon is actually assuming that Obama's campaign was a work of deliberate deception, as FDR's initial presidential bid certainly was. As I've noted before, the 1932 Democratic platform actually criticized Herbert Hoover from the right, condemning his profligacy, demanding a balanced budget, endorsing a sound currency backed by precious metals and the expansion of free trade. FDR's first running mate actually accused Hoover of shepherding the United States into socialism.
Once in power, of course, FDR pivoted sharply to the left, filling the executive branch with squalid Bolsheviks and building a corporate socialist state along the lines prescribed by Italian technocrat Giovanni Gentile, a key adviser to a disavowed disciple of Lenin named Benito Mussolini. FDR ran as a conservative, and governed as an aspiring totalitarian.
Obama campaigned as an unabashed European-style socialist and, if he is given the means, will rule like a post-colonial African dictator.
I say the latter not because of Obama's attenuated African ancestry, but rather because of his preferred style of mobilizing public support – the grotesque Leni Riefenstahl-meets-Tony Robbins public spectacles that portend the advent of an Americanized version of Africa's "Big Man" theory of government.
Given Obama's youth, the bottomless devotion of his followers, the depth of our impending economic disaster, the eagerness of the mass media to help the Holy One "make history," the well-earned political disintegration of the Republican Party, and the totalitarian powers of the office Obama inherits, he may very well become America's second president-for-life, following the course set by FDR before he died and went to hell.
Can Obama rule by decree? Thanks to Bush's example, his answer would be: Yes, I can!
Can he and his followers overturn the 22nd Amendment? Yes, they can!
Can they succeed in creating an egalitarian paradise through forcible redistribution of wealth from the productive to the parasitical?
No – they can't.
But that won't stop them from trying, even if they have to destroy what remains of our liberties in the process.
November 8, 2008
Copyright © 2008 William Norman Grigg