President Obama's latest news conference was further confirmation that his voracious appetite for spending was not satisfied but whetted by the fiscal cliff deal, which he views as an appetizer.
We were told that the GOP achieved a coup in the fiscal cliff negotiations because they lured Obama into an agreement to lock in the Bush tax rates except for the highest-income earners. Never mind that Obama agreed to no spending cuts or entitlement reform after demanding a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction; they told us he'd be forced to address those matters in a couple of months in the debt ceiling negotiations. They argued that by agreeing to make the Bush rates "permanent," Obama had tacitly admitted that he couldn't sustain the welfare state through tax increases on the middle class and that he'd now have to -- grudgingly or not -- turn his attention to spending cuts and entitlement reform.
As I've written before, I never understood this optimistic outlook, because from the get-go, Obama and his Democratic colleagues swore that they had only begun on the "revenue" side and that they were bound and determined to focus on more revenue extraction in the next round of negotiations.
It is painfully naive to assume that Obama is operating in good faith. Throughout his term, he has rarely focused on the merits of policies he's promoted. He has used various scapegoats to distract the public's attention from the substantive arguments in order to facilitate the results he seeks.
With Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, his many environmental initiatives, his assault on religious liberty and his ruthless opposition to Arizona's immigration law, to name a few, he glossed over the substantive issues involved and demonized his political opponents and certain individuals and interest groups in order to make the outcome turn on personal, rather than policy, considerations. This is the stuff of sheer demagoguery.
Similarly, in the fiscal cliff negotiations, Obama wouldn't permit the discussion to focus on the real issue: our crushing national debt. If that had been his intention, he would have used his presidential bully pulpit to steer the conversation toward the major debt drivers, which are spending and entitlements, not a lack of taxes.
But he barely discussed the debt problem. His gambit was to distract the public's attention from our catastrophic deficits and debt and agitate them against the wealthy, whom he maliciously misrepresented as being responsible for these problems in the first place. He made the discussion not about the debt or deficits but about "fairness." As a result, he succeeded in raising rates (and phasing out personal exemptions and deductions) on the "wealthy" but saw to it that we ignored spending and entitlements.
Now, as we're poised to enter the debt ceiling negotiations, Obama has held a news conference in which he telegraphed that he's going to employ the same type of strategy again: to distract the public's attention from the pressing debt and deficit issues and continue to resist spending cuts and entitlement reform. Indeed, he said he would consider only "modest adjustments" to Medicare and other entitlements. That's it? Modest adjustments? Are you kidding me?
Instead, he aims to spotlight the alleged irresponsibility and partisanship of Republicans who would hold "a gun against the heads of the American people" over the debt limit and not allow him -- the paragon of fiscal responsibility -- to pay our bills and honor "the full faith and credit of the United States." Plus, he will aggressively pursue more "revenues" to close unfair "loopholes."
His purpose is to keep the evil Republicans on the hot seat over their threat not to raise the debt ceiling and over revenue "fairness," all the while claiming he's pushing for a balanced approach, by which he means a completely unbalanced, one-sided approach that focuses on tax increases only, ignores spending cuts and entitlements, and even includes new spending. If his ploy were to succeed, it would guarantee that America would go bankrupt, yet Obama is masquerading as the responsible one. It's surreal, and I swear I wouldn't believe it is occurring if I weren't witnessing it with my own eyes.
It's time for the naive among us to wake up and help in the fight instead of rolling over to this tyranny. Obama is going to continue his fast march toward fundamentally transforming America into a full-blown socialist state while pretending to be a champion of capitalism and representative government. Can those on our side at least quit providing him aid and comfort by refusing to open their eyes to what is happening?
It should now be abundantly clear what Benjamin Franklin meant when he responded to the question of what type of government the Framers had crafted: "A republic, madam, if you can keep it."
Well, can we keep it? Do we even want to keep it?