Marvin Olasky

Washington news keeps marching in like a lion, and only the Lamb can stand against it.

Throughout the election campaign I wanted to think the best of Barack Obama. Because of his stand on abortion and other matters I opposed him, but still kept in mind a big positive: Obama as role model, showing some among our most alienated the fruits of education, hard work, and marriage.

I hoped that maybe, just maybe, a President Obama would graduate from campaign mode and apply cool rationality not just to winning votes but to strengthening our economy and America's position around the world. That hope has evaporated.

Obama's role model is Franklin D. Roosevelt, yet Obama evidently is not familiar with Amity Shlaes' fine book, The Forgotten Man (Topical Depression [], March 8, 2008). Obama says he is embracing "experimentation—if that doesn't work, then you do something else." Shlaes shows that what FDR called "bold, persistent experimentation" deepened and lengthened the 1930s Depression: Businesses faced with ever-changing rules didn't know whether to invest or hunker down.

At least, though, FDR famously said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." He tried to raise the nation's spirits. Obama, though, has repeatedly dampened them with his self-fulfilling prophecies of gloom. Why? Well, look at what the Bush recession did for Obama: It got him elected president, and it has now given him hundreds of billions to spend pretty much as he and his appointees see fit.

If a recession offers such privileges, what about a depression? Imagine an Obama Corps with millions of workers. Imagine, if much of the nation's wealth dissolves, the opportunity to educate children in the virtue of government requiring everyone to "share."

Ah, isn't there political danger here? Won't Democrats pay at the polls in 2010 and 2012 if the economy doesn't improve? Not if Obama and his media soulmates play it right. Already the drumbeat has begun: The problem with the stimulus bill is not pork and the power it gives to Obama to reshape America in his own image. The problem, according to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, is that the stimulus bill should have been twice as big.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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