Buyer’s Remorse

Sometimes, a concept can be so obvious that even David Brooks sees it. Brooks, the New York Times’ wishy-washy man of the Right no wakes up to the obvious and that Barack Obama is not a moderate at all and that he and the Democratic Party are engaged in an orgy of spending and ideological experimentation.

Brooks and other erstwhile conservatives—I’m looking at you, Chris Buckley—are just figuring out what should have been obvious all along: Barack Obama is not a moderate, and never was. He just played one on TV.

As Brooks puts it:

Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”

Where were these people during the campaign? What in Obama’s background suggested that he would be anything more than a doctrinaire left-wing liberal? His Senate voting record was the most liberal in the Senate by any objective measure. He grew up in the Chicago political machine. He was raised in a comfortable liberal orthodoxy. His books are filled with grand liberal planning. He’s a devotee of left-wing radical Saul Alinsky. And yes, Gov. Palin was right, he was “pallin’ around” with such esteemed “moderates” as Rev. Jeremiah Wright and admitted left-wing terrorist Bill Ayers.

What did these “moderates” expect?

They let their own gauzy feelings dictate their choices rather than evaluating Obama as he really is. They used Obama as an empty vessel into which they poured their vision of the ideal candidate. Of course, their idealized version of Barack Obama had little do with the real Barack Obama once one gets beyond the superficial elements. They thought that because Obama was so intelligent and articulate that he wouldn’t be so radical. How little did they know…

President Obama is not a moderate. He never was, no matter how fervently ersatz conservatives like David Brooks and Chris Buckley wanted him to be. Now that Obama has power, he is showing his true spots. The real Barack Obama is the most radical President in American history, even more so than LBJ. He aims to fundamentally transform American culture and society into something akin to a European welfare state. He does not believe in limited government, he believes in the expansive state. He does not believe in moderation, but in radical transformation. He does not need the support of people like Brooks or Buckley, he has the power he needs, and he will wield it.

Obama will not listen to Brooks’ proposed “moderate manifesto”—he doesn’t need to. He has his power. He has a Congress that is equally committed to left-wing experimentation. He has a media that is utterly supplicant to him. He has a populace that has yet to see through his charming façade. The more the markets sink in reaction to his dangerous experimentation, the more he can use the crisis as a justification.

Obama’s critics were dismissed as reactionaries for not recognizing his brilliance—and now it looks like those of us who questioned the President’s much-vaunted moderation were right. Brooks and the others who were so swept away by Obama’s surface appeal are not belatedly coming to see what others saw from the beginning. The problem is that it’s too late—Obama was figuratively and literally given a blank check, and now the “moderates” no longer matter.