President Barack Obama is turning out to be the most liberal American president since the liberal conservative debate began in this country. President John Kennedy, for example, governed from the center left. The big debate of his administration was federal aid to education. Bill Clinton also governed from the center left. And he joined Governor Chuck Robb and others in organizing the moderate coalition that was the power in the Democrat Party at the end of the century. Lyndon Johnson was truly liberal but at least he partnered with Republicans and Southern Democrats on foreign policy. So this experience, a completely true liberal, a George McGovern in the White House, is new for Americans and coming as a bit of a shock.
The American people like Barack Obama. And they especially like the idea of an African America as president. It purges the land of so many demons and it has made American popular again in the world. But the move toward socialism, as Newsweek outlined in its last issue, is happening at breathtaking speed. And the opening of the federal treasury to pay off political debts is stunning in its transparency.
I was invited in to talk about all of this yesterday night on the FOX NEWS CHANNEL. Here is the link.
One example in particular illustrates what is happening.
Charitable Choice was signed into law three times by Bill Clinton. A bi-partisan congress liked it so much that they enlarged the bill each time. What it does is offer government subsidies to disadvantaged Americans who need social services that can be provided more effectively by the private sector. Say a young lady needs drug rehab and Teen Challenge can boast a recidivism rate six times better than the government program, then Charitable Choice will help the young lady get into the program. Or say that a young man in the inner city needs a job and a Catholic job training program has a stellar record of training and placement.
Well, Barack Obama is gutting the whole thing. He is introducing a “cannot hire your own” provision which means the Catholic program cannot hire only Catholics or Mormons, Mormons or Christian Scientists, Christian Scientists. They must hire atheists or gays or whoever applies. Of course, the program will lose its effectiveness, the very thing that makes it more successful than the government programs. So the programs will drop out of Charitable Choice.
Who is hurt? The hundreds of thousands in the inner city who lose their ticket out. And maybe some of the programs that have been caught in the middle of expanding to meet the need. For Barack Obama, this was the payoff to a coalition of atheists, gays and the ACLU, a way to punish the religious groups in their behalf. But it doesn’t really help the groups either. They don’t get anything out of it and it costs them a big chip. Everybody loses on this one, except the President. Good politics, I guess.
The point is this… Nothing like that would ever happen on Bill Clinton’s watch. He supported the program as did 90% of the Democrats in congress. Only a handful of the most liberal senators and congressmen ever opposed Charitable Choice and one of those was Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.
Most Americans like Barack Obama and want him to succeed. His gracious and kind personality makes him a sort of Ronald Reagan of the left. But there is a big difference. Reagan governed from the right at a time when the American people were on the right. Obama is governing, at least in these first weeks, from the left, and the American people aren’t there yet. We will see.