There is a phrase that has stuck with me from a PoliSci class looking at radicalism and leftism in the modern world, which apparently has a few derivations on it. But the gist of it is:
As they come to power, so shall they rule.
This is not the statement of the obvious, the simple 'hey they won the election/overthrew the government/undermined the society to destroy it and now get to rule' sort of thing. No the meaning here is that whatever the form and method used to get to power is reflected directly in how that individual or group then rules. And, yes, this is *ruling* not *governing* as this usually applies to non-democratic systems or ones sliding from democratic to non-democratic ways. If you take a look at how that individual or group ascended above everyone else, you would then have a very, very good idea of what was in store for you.
As the current President-elect had some salient features of his campaign show up while on the trail for over a year, we can start to examine just what the form of methodology will be during his term in office. It is true that the office shapes the man more than the other way around, because to shape the office you have to have some idea of what it is supposed to do, even if you disagree with it.
If you look at President Bush (43) you would see his quaint ideas for Big Government Conservatism (Compassionate Conservatism) led to ineffective legislation like 'No Child Left Behind', the expenditure of great wads of federal cash to corrupt institutions (why the government enabled them, so they must be 'good') and a stark unwillingness to understand that the money of the People does not discriminate via religion. He was very lucky to have his plans short-circuited by al Qaeda and be forced to the more basic role of trying to figure out how to protect the Nation. Outside events limited his ability to 'do-gooderism' and required a multi-year redirection of federal attention to 'stopping the worst people from gaining the worst weapons'.
President Clinton came in with his own version of 'hope & change' but a thin record of delivering on such, and a strong record of 'triangulating' his politics and, of course, 'Bimbo Eruptions'. His few attempts to get things like a change of status for gays in the military or for National Health Care both fall absolutely flat, while anything he started to 'triangulate' with on no fixed idea of what he wanted would tend to succeed. Then there are the 'Bimbo Eruptions', blue stained dress and perjury under oath about same. His ideas of 'hope & change' got the US attacked in McLean, VA, New York City, Somalia, Kenya, and saw a piratical attack on a US warship by the end of his term. 'Good will' gestures in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and Haiti, plus airstrikes in Sudan and a cruise missile attack in Afghanistan, along with 'Operation Desert Fox' all demonstrated a non-serious view towards America's role in the world.
More famous examples do come to mind, like FDR, but people tend to forget his impact due to WWII, until you take a look back and see Progressive economic policies lengthening the Great Depression from a short, hard bout with financial instability to one that was drawn out over more than seven years. As the decline started in 1928 and recovery to the old line of growth didn't happen until 1937, it is interesting to speculate about the mismanagement of government during that era against the great hopes that it would do so well.
On the radical front, the Communists came to power in a bloody, factional revolution in OCT 1917 in Russia, and then proceeded to rule by factions and blood all the way up to Stalin who's deathtoll to the USSR before WWII still has not been properly calculated. The NSDAP came to power under a strong plurality in Germany by killing and intimidating their way to power and liquidating their opponents, then the outcome of gas chambers for 'undesirables' should not have been a major shock to anyone. Fascists coming to power in Italy before that likewise had a civil war and then the use of a set of secret police set upon destroying any opposition political organization or dissenters. The lines of how to get to power and what is done afterwards are far more clear on the Left/Radical side of things, because they are willing to 'break a few eggs to make an omelette' than traditionalists and conservatives (here meant in the supporters of the old regime). The ascendancy of mob rule in France was predicated on some elevation of Man to rule over everything, particularly his fellow-man, and the killing wouldn't stop until an enterprising young Corporal stood up to take power with more than 'a whiff of grapeshot'.
So, when looking at the campaign of President-Elect Obama, what did we see on the campaign trail?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, well, you know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that --
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist!
MATTHEWS: Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country.
SCARBOROUGH: Your job is the make this presidency work?
MATTHEWS: To make this work successfully. This country needs a successful presidency.
And just how many will be willing to overlook things to make this new presidency thingy work? Only time will tell, of course, but Chris Matthews now leads the way on brown-nosing press sycophants who see their job as cheerleaders and not reporters or even journalists. Instead just think of them as 'fellow travelers' in this great cause of supporting the new order. Mind you that now makes Chris Matthews an expert on just how a President should wave his hand and will now criticize the 'windshield wiper' wave (H/t: Hot Air). I am so sure that is 'racist' that I really shouldn't have to comment on that... if anyone made that during the campaign, that charge from the MSM would have been out in minutes. Luckily if you are 'on the winning side' you can now be as 'racist' as you want.
2) Gaffes. It was at least a gaffe every other day with the selection of Sen. Biden, but Sen. Obama made no few of his own on the trail. Be it 57 states (the United States of Heinz Ketchup!) or clearly going against position held just months, sometimes weeks, earlier on foreign policy or taxation, the Obama Campaign was riddled with gaffes, 'misunderstandings' and 'clarifications' that did not clarify anything. Gaffes are the great 'unforced errors' of politics, and while some politicians make them, very few have made them as frequently as Sen. Biden and now Sen. Obama appears to have picked up that trait and has tried to excuse it as: 'inartful eloquence', 'mis-spoken' and the ever popular 'you didn't hear what I said' when someone has obviously listened to what he just said. Thus we have the apology to Nancy Reagan over 'seances' in the White House (H/t: Insty), which was an unwarranted slighting of a former First Lady who also had to deal with her husband going through Alzheimer's. Yes an 'unforced error'.
3) Orwellian airbrushing. Did anyone note that all the negative references to Gen. Colin Powell were removed from the Obama Campaign web site *before* Powell endorsed Obama? How about the airbrushing of Sen. Obama's criticisms of 'the surge' in Iraq? Add the MSM and you get them also airbrushing Obama's statements so as to remove contradictory statements. And the church he attended airbrushing its mission statement to be less radical. Or the throwing under the bus of Rev. Wright? Or Martin Klonsky? Or the MSM covering up for ties between ACORN and Obama?
So with this is it any wonder that there is now serious airbrushing of President-elect Obama's proposal for a mandatory volunteer service system (H/t: Insty)?
I'm going to jag here just a bit: what part of 'mandatory' goes with 'volunteer'? If those on the Left got all up in arms about having to serve government via the Selective Service System because it was undemocratic, then *why* is a 'mandatory volunteer' system a good idea? And just why is the idea of the federal government stepping in to MANDATE what parents allow their children to do in the way of 'volunteer' service a 'good idea'? Can't get enough of the way the USSR and NSDAP ran Germany with various 'youth corps'? What part of individual freedom goes with being told to work for government? Because being forced or coerced (via 'incentives') to 'mandatory service' smacks of involuntary servitude. That was outlawed under the US Constitution in case folks on the Left have forgotten. That was the prime attack against the SSS: it was involuntary service to government. And now there are bright ideas to do this from the Left? Do they not remember the demonstrations AGAINST registering for the Draft in college? Or are the boomer parents who did that self-same protesting now wanting to sign off their rights over their children TO government... the very one they didn't trust back in the '60s? Do they not understand 'abuse of power'? Or is it that they think, just like Teddy Roosevelt, that the power will accumulate to the MAN and NOT THE OFFICE?
Yeah, its kind of hard to airbrush authoritarianism when it is being called to account within a day or so of issuing its views on compulsory goodness. The amount of airbrushing of the past of President-elect Obama has been staggering, and yet no matter how much this is recognized, those behind it continue to pursue cleaning up their history and hoping that we will not remember the change.
4) Paying off cronies. Back when he was Sen. Obama, he was one of the grandest of porkmeisters on the Hill. Much of that was political support for those that had supported him early in his career, and that was, by and large, the local PACs, Unions and other political organizations that made up the largest contributors to those campaigns. Now that the 'bailout' to Fannie and Freddie, plus the federal purchasing of parts of five major banks 'isn't enough', the line-up begins behind President-elect Obama of those with their hands out for MORE federal money. Yes, why not appoint a Chief of Staff who was part of the book cooking at Freddie and Fannie? It is just a 'minor' payoff, after all, and its not like he has a vested interest in doing any obfuscation of his activities... Over at the Hit & Run column at reason, Matt Welch looks at a Big Business with its hand out: the auto companies. This is direct political support of Michigan which has had some of the worst Democratic administration by its Governor that has put it on a downwards spiral because of high taxation. Apparently telling a Governor that she should really clean economic house BEFORE asking for federal help is beyond President-elect Obama. Or the UAW wanting a $25 billion bailout AND an end to the secret ballot so they can coerce workers to unionize? Yes, lets make the automakers unaccountable, their workforce overpriced and underproductive and, generally, take control of the auto companies from the federal governments. And the AFL-CIO is pressing for the bailout of *all* American workers that have faced any economic hardships. Hardships caused by those seeking to lessen responsibility and financial accountability in Congress via government legislation and lack of oversight. And the AFL-CIO does seem to be a bit more interested in helping its own bosses than actual labor, at least according to the Progressive Labor site. Maybe the States will start to line up for their mismanagement of unemployment trust funds and pensions.
So its AIG, Freddie, Fannie, GM, Ford, Chrysler, UAW, ACORN's home mortgage group, La Raza's home mortgage group... bailouts for them, not for you. So on top of the $700 billion in the hole, just how much will trying to bailout large sectors of the industrial economy cost? Another trillion dollars, maybe? Let's triple the size of the federal debt, support inefficient businesses and inefficient labor practices and become a lovely socialist republic where everyone owns everything and nobody is responsible for a damned thing. In no time at all I am sure we will see the Yugo as a shining example of product efficiency.
Any bets on investigations of Charlie Rangel (D-NY) going to prosecution? How about prosecutions in the Countrywide VIP loans to Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)? You know, the 'Friends of Angelo' loans?
5) 'Racism'. All that was supposed to go away now, right? Don't tell that to the supporters of Proposition 8 in California, they, apparently, are not only going against religious minorities... but blacks, too. Say, how about some of that hopenchangehealing there? Because the one to bring up race in the Presidential election was Sen. Obama, warning about how he didn't look like the 'other faces on the dollar bill' and that he was, indeed, 'black'. Sen. Clinton may have brought that up against him, but Sen. McCain did *not* and attacked those that attempted to do so... now can we see some of that open-mindedness from the 'healing' President-elect? So far, no word, no promise of an 'intervention' to bring 'dialogue' and 'calm fears'.
Probably doesn't have time for that as engineering another Great Depression is hard work.
That is how the 'rule of thumb' on those coming to power works: as they come to power, so shall they rule.
It is, actually, a very good rule as it is the rare leader that can actually change his views and methodology enough to moderate them and gain wider acceptance over time.
And when I take a look at the way this past campaign has been run, that means some very, very bad times ahead for the Nation. Bad enough to have one candidate that doesn't 'understand the economy', far worse to elect one that doesn't understand that, the culture of America or even the simple differences between socialism and capitalism. And as soon as you begin to mandate doing 'good things' you change from one culture and one system, to one that is far worse, far more impoverished and less capable of dealing with a complex world. The simplistic nostrums are always lethal, and the simple ones always the most complex... and what this President-elect has always done is head for simplistic views, not simple ones.
Now we will learn that lesson about why we shouldn't go that way.
Maybe we will be lucky and this will be farce.