It is apparently not enough for President Barack Obama to ramrod through a host of statist programs and czarify the entire U.S. government. He wants people to think his federal power grabs are perfectly in line with the liberties our Founders risked their very necks for.
Someone needs to tell the president that he just cannot have it both ways; that it's impossible even for him. Truth is truth, and the truth is, enslaving people more and more to the power of the federal government is no expansion of liberty, especially not America's founding brand of it.
Obama needs to man up and be honest with us about his vision for American government. He needs to state openly that his choice for Americans is, to use the words of Ronald Reagan in 1964, "to abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves."
If Obama believes instead that he has to cloak his programs in the star-spangled garb of American freedoms, is that not a very telling admission that he knows how unpopular they really are.
Obama has often resorted to portraying his statist desires as somehow imbued with the Spirit of '76, but his comments on Independence Day were beyond the pale. On that day, which he calls merely "the Fourth of July" (as if it were just some festival known by its date, like "Cinco de Mayo"), he spoke of "summon[ing] the same spirit that inhabited Independence Hall two hundred and thirty-three years ago today."
What would he have us summon that spirit to do? Among other things, to federalize healthcare (a program whose colossal costs are even now not fully fathomed — and those are just the monetary costs, not the unintended consequences such as the ones plaguing other nations with similar boondoggles) and force people to use a completely new and far more expensive set of newly created, government-mandated energy providers (a massive, job-destroying, cost-inflating restructuring of the economy based on little more than superstition and mass paranoia).
In short, he offered the kind of meddlesome, burdensome, arrogant governance that the Founders sought to supplant, not establish.
Now, to be fair, the Declaration of Independence does mention Obama's kind of government. Consider especially this part about King George III: "He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance." That part becomes more applicable every day under the Obama regime.
We can agree with Obama in his one statement about the "need to summon the same spirit that inhabited Independence Hall two hundred and thirty-three years ago today." Indeed, let's call it right now. We need to summon that spirit to kick out those who would grow government on our backs, destroy our opportunities, eat out our substance, harass us with multitudes of new regulations and swarms of czars, and to our faces call it freedom, progress, and most insulting, consistent with America's founding liberties.
Jon Sanders is a policy analyst and research editor at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C.