Monday, October 27, 2008

Will President Obama be a disaster or just a disappointment to his own supporters ?

With many commentators now predicting that the election of President Obama, is a foregone conclusion, it is probably worth noting a few points about the man who could effectively be "the most powerful man on the planet" from next week.

Nothing I have read, and I have read fairly widely, gives me a serious idea about what policies he is proposing other than some broad outlines. The broad outlines, I frankly find disturbing especially in the troubled times we live in.

My summary of the broad outlines Obama has revealed are as follows:

1) Raise taxes and increase spending. Hardly inspirational in times like these when the economies of the world are so fragile. The Wall Street Jounal summarised his tax plans like this:

2) Introduce trade protectionism- not a particularly positive plan at a time of world recession.

3) Withdraw US troops from Iraq. On examination this amounts to a little more than a discussion over timing so is hardly a radical proposal, whether right or wrong.

Obama's only clear message is "change" without any definition of what this change really is. Worse still, most of his supporters do not seem to have any clear idea what this change is about except that it must be something good. This is to imagine that change in itself is always good which seems very dangerous. Surely the leaders who have caused the most change were the most revolutionary or brutal. Hitler and Stalin certainly brought about a lot of change.

Obama's most obvious skill is his ability to speak. This seems unarguable to me. By extension this could be seen as an ability to inspire. However without clear plans or with some undesirable broad outlines, this seems no reason to elect him.

Perhaps most telling is a story being reported by today's Telegraph referring to a 2001 radio interview Obama gave when he spoke positively of the need for "redistributive change". That can mean many things but what he seemed to be saying was that it was not enough for the courts to do this but that legislation would be required.

Here are some extracts from the interview:

So one possibility is that Obama will be elected on the basis of some vague emotional notion of "change" to introduce redistributive based legislation and taxation at a time of global recession. That seems a recipe for disaster.

The other option is for him to be another Tony Blair and be elected to the cheering screams of his most extreme supporters only to be remarkably unradical and in the process alienate most the people who first supported him. This may also be possible and certainly has its precedent ! It is possible to imagine in that scenario that in 4 years he is viewed as little different from a black CEO of a major corporation and the most ardent critics will be the signifcant number of black voters who supported him but feel nothing has changed for them.

However the option to be most worried about is an increase in taxation and legislation to support redistribution of wealth (as described in his radio interview). At a time of global recession not even the Liberal Democrats are proposing that.

So unless there is a surprise next week I will not be joining the majority view in cheering the result. I will be quietly worried as to what Obama change really means. I will be watching with concerned interest.


Rositta said...

Luis, I think he will be a disaster as do my two stepsons in California. There's something about the redistribution of wealth that pisses them both off. They work 16 hour days, pay lots of tax and will be expected to give more to the "beer guzzling guy who sits in front of the tv all night while I bust my ass" as said by one of them. Will be interesting times for all...ciao

cw-patriot said...

Your insights are remarkable, Luis, from far 'across the pond'. :)

Although I suspect that, since you are not bombarded with the same blatantly biased, pro-Obama news reporting to which we Americans are subjetc, you may have a better chance of hearing the truth. :)

I agree with you that Obama's economic and fiscal policies are frightening, but even more frightening are his desires to suppress free speech and silence the voices of opposition. Just one (of many) such examples is his support of what is called the 'Fairness Doctrine'. That piece of legislation has been defeated a number of times, but, should his party gain a majority in congress, it is very likely to pass, and would effectively result in silencing much of the opposition now free to broadcast and telecast their opinions.

He also holds our Constitution in disdain, and, under an Obama presidency, that precious document would find itself shredded even finer than it already is. Our national sovereignty would be dealt a major (if not deadly) blow, our safety and security would be compromised, and our ability to seek energy independence would be set back terribly.

So, while his economic policies are something to fear, even more frightening are the attacks on those 'intangibles' relating to our safety, sovereignty, and individual liberties, that he would seek to author and enforce.

Thank you for the excellent research you have done, and for your insightful analysis. It is always uplifting to read your well-written, well-conceived commentary!

~ joanie

Luis said...

Rositta. I agree entirely. When you look beyond the silver tongued speeches and the chants of "change", one of the most obvious features is a desire to increase tax and spending a create a "client class" dependent on the state for evermore.

That is something we have experienced a lot in Britain and it is not something I would wish upon America. It would be a "change" but definitely not a change for the better.

Luis said...

Joanie- thank you for your kind comments.

You raise far wider concerns than the largely fiscal concerns I described.

"The Fairness Doctrine" sounds like something out of George Orwell's 1984- truly concerning.

I really hope it is not as bad as some are predicting.

I guess there is still an outside chance the polls are getting this wrong- they are at least tightening somewhat today.

If nothing else I really hope you avoid an Obama landslide. To have an unfettered President Obama could be really troubling.