“Never allow a crisis go to waste.” So said Rahm Emanuel in November 2008, describing how President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats intended to use the country’s economic crisis as a pretext for passing radical policies that Americans might otherwise reject. “What I mean by that,” Emanuel explained, “is that it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”
One of those “things” was Obamacare, which was always intended as a stepping stone to nationalized health care and radical government interventions in other areas. The strategy for passing it was devised by Robert Creamer, the political consultant, Huffington Post blogger and Congressional spouse who wrote the plan while serving time in federal prison for bank fraud and tax evasion.
Creamer has been panicking over the prospect that Republican Scott Brown might defeat Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election for what he and fellow bourgeois Jacobins had taken to calling “Ted Kennedy’s seat.” He told Democrats that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would want them to “beat back this attempt by the Republicans and Scott Brown to return us to the failed policies of the Bush years.”
Brown’s likely victory in Massachusetts is the result of a hard-fought campaign, and voters’ rejection of the agenda that Creamer et al. have attempted to force onto the nation. Only a few weeks ago, Creamer was telling fellow Democrats that voters still wanted “fundamental change.” He added: “[W]e don’t need to ‘moderate’ our goals. God knows we don’t have to be more concerned with the deficit.”
The truth is that voters in Massachusetts and around the country are deeply concerned about the deficit, the health care bill, and the way in which Congress and the president have pursued “fundamental change” at all costs. People feel that their leaders are not listening. It is a sentiment that transcends party lines and ideological boundaries, and is the primary cause of the backlash in Massachusetts.
Creamer’s prescription was not for Congress to listen more carefully, but for Democrats to simply use more “populist” language—while getting rid of the Senate filibuster and targeting “conservative Democrats” who have “erected hurdles that block change.” He has even resorted to extreme language, comparing Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to a “suicide bomber” for opposing the “public option.”
Creamer’s wife and client, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), has followed his advice in the House. Rather than listening to her constituents in Illinois, she co-sponsored a bill to introduce single-payer health care—the most radical proposal of all. She has also “absolutely” supported transferring terror detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Illinois—a policy opposed by the majority of Illinois residents. The list goes on.
The Massachusetts special election demonstrates that there is a limit to what Americans will tolerate, even in places where Democrats are usually dominant. A year ago, pundits agreed that the Republican Party had been decimated in New England. It has been rebuilt in less than a year—thanks to Scott Brown, and thanks to the efforts of Creamer, Schakowsky and the radicals in power.
It is telling that President Obama chose to fly to Boston to stump for Coakley rather than using Air Force One for a more productive purpose, such as flying relief teams and supplies to earthquake-stricken Haiti. In his rhetoric, the president has often seemed at pains to distinguish his response to the disaster from President George W. Bush’s inadequate and much-maligned response to Hurricane Katrina.
Yet one can only imagine the outrage that would have erupted if President Bush had campaigned for Republican candidates less than a week after the levees broke in New Orleans. There really is a “serious crisis,” a humanitarian crisis, which is growing worse despite the best efforts of the U.S. military and the international community. But for the president, the political crisis at home has taken priority.
That confusion of priorities is what has defined the first year of the Obama administration. Instead of focusing on common-sense solutions to the nation’s economic troubles—tax relief, fiscal constraint, banking reform and transparency—Congress and the White House have pursued an ideology-driven agenda that has increased the size and power of government while reducing hope for job creation.
The message of Massachusetts is that the same voters who supported Obama in 2008 have run out of patience in 2010. Politicians who are not prepared to listen, and who insist on “fundamental change” that is radically at odds with what America needs and wants, should step down or face the harsh verdict of voters in November. No seat is safe—not in Massachusetts, not in Illinois, not this time.
Joel Pollak is the Republican challenger in Illinois’ 9th Congressional district. His Web site is PollakforCongress.com.