Monday, July 20, 2009

Welcome to Obama's Clout Cuckoo Land

It seems clear to most conservatives now that we no longer operate under the kind of government we all grew up believing the USA was.

There are at least two schools of thought as to what we have become. One faction, subtly at first, and in whispers—but now openly and with great intensity—claims we have become a near-socialist nation, and are well on our way to communism. Another school of thought contends that we are merely experiencing a president who is the consummate politician, well-versed in political arm-twisting he learned from the masterful practitioners of it with whom he came up politically in the City of Big Shoulders.

I agree with both. We are living in a delusional dictatorship—a new kind of government that meshes the two, which I call “Clout Cuckoo Land.”

For those not versed in ancient Greek Utopian dramatics (wait? aren't we all?), "Cloud Cuckoo Land" is a term that comes from Aristophanes' play, "The Birds," wherein two characters construct a Utopian world in the clouds and give it that name. The plot is too complex to go into here. Suffice to say it now refers to any intellectual worldview that is unrealistically hopeful and ultimately proves delusional.

“Clout,” of course, is that uniquely Chicago form of corruption and graft that makes the political machine run smoothly. Politicians have clout. So do some media people. High-powered lawyers and many real estate moguls. You don’t sit on a board or get a foundation grant when you don’t have it. You don’t have to explain where the money went when you do have it (unless someone outside the system peeks in, like federal prosecutors--who have an unfortunate habit of swooping in every so often and catching a netful of felonious fish). It’s the purely Chicago mix of political influence and elitist amorality that gets both potholes and parking tickets fixed, because you know the right people, and you ask in the right way.

President Obama’s core world view (the Cuckoo Land he’s trying to build with our tax money) is the most idealistic form of communism, the global equality of outcome and redistributive justice that political science students stay up all night discussing and dreaming about, wishing for the day that they can implement it for themselves. (And “for themselves” is exactly how the dreams of utopian idealists always turn out.)

Born to a mother whose free-spirited Universalism knew few bounds, mentored as a child in Hawaii by (to coin a phrase) “unrepentant” Communist Frank Marshall Davis, with whom his grandfather (to coin another phrase) “palled around,” befriended in college by “radicals” and “structural feminists,” and finally as an adult living in the same neighborhood as Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and Louis Farrakhan, Obama’s vision of an ideal world where equality of outcome is assured by state fiat was never challenged by those he respected. Leftists all, they fed his communist idealism. Educationally and economically privileged for the most part, they never tested it in the crucible of reality.

Barack’s community organizing stints were difficult for him. As is usually the case for leftists, actual contact with “the people,” the experience of having to live among them was frustrating. He told his Harvard friends that he didn’t really know how to explain community organizing. “It’s about change,” he would say.

That sounds familiar.

And he didn’t go back there, either. Instead, armed with a law degree and a book contract, he wrote a book and joined law firms. Eventually, Obama chose to become a politician, essentially helping people from afar. He might appear in a neighborhood now and again, but essentially he voted on their lives without interacting with them, and went home every night to a house that could have been sold to rebuild whole city blocks full of the people he was supposedly working so hard to help.

As President, he now has the ultimate clout with which to recreate the nation as he wants it to be. Make no mistake: he doesn’t want to rebuild it, or reform it, or reclaim it. He aims to “re-make” it. He doesn’t like it the way it is, and the truth is that he has never liked it the way it was originally planned to be, either. Though he calls himself a capitalist, his every move is to dismantle the capitalist system, as his socialist allies around the world urge him to do. He is a capitalist in the way that pro-choice “recovering” Catholics urging the Pope to ordain women are “Catholics.” Love the social programs, hate the doctrine. Like them, given the power to do so, he aims to remake the system into something more to his liking. Something based on economic redistribution and equality of outcome.
Something, in other words, that is nothing like capitalism.

The egalitarianism of Communism and the elitist corruption of Chicago machine politics don't mesh well together, in pure form. Communism doesn't admit to that sort of favoritism, though it always appears when the system is actually run. Call it a bug. And the clout system is supposed to run exclusively to the advantage of the political elites. Otherwise, they wouldn’t want to play anymore, and they might just tear the sucker down and start a new system. So far, in Chicago, they haven’t. That’s because the clout system insures maximum reward for minimal effort, as long as you are willing to behave in an absolutely amoral fashion, doing whatever is best for the machine at any given moment; in that aspect, it is just like communism, because the only real interest protected is that of the state. The difference is that, in Chicago, the clouted politician is the state.

This is the way that communism always, inevitably develops. Look at Cuba, run by the Castro brothers as a "people's paradise" by a "benevolent" dictatorship. Have the wrong ideas, and the system crushes you--not because you have violated the rules, but because you have offended the ruler. Look at the old Soviet Union (as distinguished from the "new" Russia, though not by much.) When the economy was in dire straits (which was, basically, for the seventy years of its existence), everyone was supposed to wait in the same long lines for the same commodities they equally could not afford. But that's not how it went. How it went was that the people with the keys to the kingdom (and their relatives, friends, hookers, and drug suppliers, or anyone that pleased them at the moment) got first pick, and then the equal distribution began.

The communist program is supposed to run on equality and justice, redistributing everything to make us all equal. But, then, just like in Animal Farm, some pigs end up "more equal" than other pigs.

Obama's upbringing and education taught him the virtues of communism and nurtured in him a desire to see it realized. His time in Chicago taught him the means by which it just might be achievable.

Welcome to Clout Cuckoo Land.

In it, we can save the nation from bankruptcy by bludgeoning the taxpayers to shell out more money, billions of which is already being disproportionately redistributed to states that voted heavily for Barack Obama.

In it, we can maintain our integrity and have the strictest ethical rules in all of history, while following the same old rules of engagement in the awarding of ambassadorships, even providing more of them than usual to political cronies.

In it, we can promise more transparency and oversight and regulation and openness—and then brazenly fire an independent Inspector General when he gets too close to the corrupt secrets of a tax-funded charitable institution.

It is the perfect match of hopity-changeitude with the realistic bare-knuckle politics of the same-old, same-old.

It is the new system, and you will like it. Just relax. It won’t hurt a bit.

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