I suspect that free market advocates need to be careful not to jump to early conclusions about Obama. The fact that he has selected a senior team of credible, centrist financial men and women does not mean he is committed to free markets. As a cautious, shrewd man, he understands that he must steady the markets and the economy before he can start on his more ambitious, redistributive policies. As he said last week, don't worry about the centrist, experienced Clinton appointees he is selecting; it is his job, as president, to be the change.
Unlike some of his supporters, I take Obama at his word. In my reading of history, men with his level of intentionally displayed self-confidence should be believed when they earlier have asserted grand -- even grandiose -- goals. Whether they are actually that self-confident or tormented by secret self-doubt, it often leads to efforts at grand and "heroic" public policies once in office.
And as long as the president-elect will not declare himself publicly, these foolish psychological games are necessary. So I rather doubt that a man with his self-image is likely to be content to leave the White House eight years from now having been a mere steward of Republican capitalism and military policy. I suspect he wants to play for the history books and do something dramatic with America. I suspect, as he says, he intends to be the change -- and not merely of the "can't we all just get along?" variety. In fact, I suspect he doesn't want to get along with his philosophical opposition; he wants to overwhelm us politically.
On the foreign policy front, likewise, solid appointments may not lead to solid policies. Remember during the campaign when he was on his way to Iraq and he was quite dismissive of the role of the top generals? Once again, he used the phrase "my job, as president," and he said it is to make the policy. He said the generals' job is merely to carry out his orders. That was a very unrealistic view of the relationship between civilian and military leadership -- even by the example of such towering civilian leaders as FDR, Churchill and Lincoln.
Here is my suggestion to those who disagree with what, during and before the campaign, Obama seemed to be saying about economics, diplomacy, culture and foreign policy: Do not take too much comfort from his appointees. Brace for the change you do not believe in.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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