The media has hijacked the campaign narrative and both sides play the game.
What happened to the issues?
What is and ought to be regarded as the most pivotal election in more than a generation has devolved into the usual media-fed horse-race analogy. Pundits compete with each other for insight and prediction like bettors at the race track handicapping the horses; candidates play to the media narrative as if riding their horses on the prescribed circuit. Parties whip their supporters into a get-out-the-vote frenzy as if the horse with the most bets on it will be the winner.
It really is pretty disgusting.
What happened to the competing visions for America’s future? What happened to the threatened fundamental transformation of America? What happened to the Tea Party-inspired focus getting spending under control?
Jim Lehrer, although he did tilt towards Obama in the first presidential debate, accomplished what he said he set out to do: establish clear differences in the visions of the two candidates. In the second debate, a me-too Obama sought to again blur the differences by saying, for example, that he is for the free market. We have video clips of him saying the free market never works.
Which is it? Which one is the real Obama and what is his plan for a second term?
Washington Times White House correspondent Dave Boyer wrote from New Hampshire that “even some of the president’s most ardent supporters have a hard time painting a picture” of what a second term agenda might look like.
Nonetheless, the outlines of what he would do are pretty clear to anyone who can read the tea leaves. Predicting the future isn't all that hard. As Shakespeare said, the past is prologue.
Obama cannot run on his record which is an unbroken string of golf games and policy failures. He claims we’re on the right track, he just needs more time. Like a medieval surgeon who prescribes a few more leeches or a little more bloodletting because the patient isn’t responding to treatment, Obama is poised to give us more stimulus, more deficit spending, more big government intruding ever more into what used to be our personal lives.
Spending would continue at the current high levels. In Washington-speak, they have “captured the baseline” so that what we recognized in 2009 as wasteful, bloated spending has become necessary. A great example occurred at an Air Force base near me. The government spent $500,000 to tear up a short one-block stretch of road and replace the concrete and asphalt with pavers, European style. Why? Water soaks through pavers instead of running off asphalt. The EPA declared that the Air Force needed to control runoff. This is an amazing example of a government mandate (supported by taxpayer funding) forcing compliance on another government entity, also requiring taxpayer funding.
The federal government has become its own money-eating machine.
But wait: there’s more. Remember Obamacare? Remember the government take-over of 1/6 of the economy? Remember the Supreme Court decision that was supposed to spark campaign debates? I have heard precious little about that lately except from dedicated health care reform organizations.
A second term would see full speed ahead for Obamacare.
How would all of this be paid for? Obama clearly wants to increase taxes and while he says he only wants to tax the rich, in fact taxes will hit us all. Obamacare itself introduces about two dozen new taxes—experts seem to disagree on the exact number. Do you think the housing market is set to recover? Is it time to sell your home and buy or build a new one? Did you know that the PPACA has created a sales tax on the sale of your house that will go to help fund Obamacare?
Do you own any stocks? Capital gains tax increases will affect you in exactly the same way they affect Warren Buffet.
Consider for a moment what would happen if Obama were given a second term and the Congress looks like it does today. The Senate would continue to block any action by the House, thus making Congress irrelevant. Even if the Senate were to change hands and such eager cost-cutters as Rand Paul and Mike Lee were put in charge, Obama would veto the bills he didn’t like and the Congress would not be able to override it.
In any likely scenario, in a second term Obama would simply ignore Congress and rule by executive order as he does today. The last count I’ve read is almost a thousand executive orders. Congress can repeal an executive order but not one of his have been.
While a straight line prediction for a second term based on the first one is very helpful, what are also needed are some specific indicators that will confirm the hypotheses. Fortunately, these are not hard to find:
In the vice-presidential debate, Biden declared that he and the president would not rest until social justice (read: income redistribution) is complete.
In the second presidential debate, Obama affirmed his support for a gun ban.
An offer by GM executives to buy back shares owned by Treasury was turned down. GM will remain Government Motors.
Government will control the economy by a combination of spending an increasing portion of our GDP, controlling some industries, such as auto and healthcare, outright and managing others through cronyism and regulation. We will have a centrally-planned economy.
In short, Obama's fundamental transformation of America will be complete. The land of the free will have become just another bureaucratic welfare state, well on its way to being a totalitarian socialist state.