Conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Monica Crowley says that President Barack Obama supports policies that can most accurately be described as “economic fascism.”
“Obama doesn’t run around wearing a Carrie Bradshaw-esque nameplate necklace that says ‘Socialist,'” Crowley told The Daily Caller while defending her description of the president as a socialist in her new book, “What the (Bleep) Just Happened?: The Happy Warrior’s Guide to the Great American Comeback,” which was released Tuesday. “But his policies, actions, words, background and associations speak louder than any ID necklace ever could.”
“As a technical matter,” she continued, “economic fascism (government control of the means of production without ownership) more accurately describes what Obama is carrying out than socialism (government ownership of those means of production), but ‘fascism’ and ‘socialism’ are highly charged words — and arguments over the labels often obfuscate the reality of the policies.”
Crowley, who holds a Ph.D. in international relations from Columbia University, worked for Richard Nixon in the 1990s and considers the late president “brilliant” and “visionary.” But didn’t he institute economic policies — such as price controls — that were in some ways more left-wing than Obama’s?
“Unlike President Obama, President Nixon was a capitalist who did not believe in ‘remaking’ the very character of America,” Crowley replied, admitting that Nixon “did institute some wildly progressive policies.” Nixon came “to regret most of those initiatives,” she added.
Check out the full interview with Crowley about her new book, her work for Nixon and what her Ph.D. thesis focused on:
What’s the “bleep” stand for in the title of your book? The Daily Caller’s readership can take it.
I was going to call it Fifty Shades of Obama but then thought better of it.
One day last summer, I was having dinner with a good friend. I told her that I wanted to write another book but wasn’t quite sure as to what its focus should be. We then started talking about how epically weird the last few years under Obama have been. Every day, we were getting hit with a new piece of insane, leftist social engineering or some new policy to take down American power or prestige abroad — a rapid-fire assault I call “Barack-a-mole.” Our enemies were getting olive branches, our allies were getting dissed, and millions of Americans were being moved into government dependency at home. “What the (bleep) just happened?” I sighed. She looked at me and said, “That’s your title.” And so it came to be. Of course, I used an actual unprintable word. I thought I’d let each reader supply his or her own favorite profanity.
What are the attributes of the Reaganesque happy warrior you seek to revive?
In the book, I list the ten keys to the happy warrior. The first is that we recognize that we are, in fact, in a war: We’re in an ideological war against leftism, an economic war against the forces of radical redistributionism, and a war with Islamism in all its forms. The happy warrior understands that we must fight these wars, because our opponents are certainly waging the battle relentlessly, and that fighting them will require some pain and dislocation as a necessary consequence.
But above all, the happy warrior is, in fact, happy. Two famous happy warriors — Reagan and his political soulmate, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — knew they were fighting their own ideological and external wars. But they did so with the sunny dispositions and positive outlooks of those who knew they were on the right side of history. And so it must be with us.
We must take the Reaganesque happy warrior brand, revive and update it, and turn it into our political and attitudinal anthem for bringing America back.
You believe Obama is a straight-out socialist. How so?
Obama doesn’t run around wearing a Carrie Bradshaw-esque nameplate necklace that says “Socialist.” But his policies, actions, words, background and associations speak louder than any ID necklace ever could. As a technical matter, economic fascism (government control of the means of production without ownership) more accurately describes what Obama is carrying out than socialism (government ownership of those means of production), but “fascism” and “socialism” are highly charged words — and arguments over the labels often obfuscate the reality of the policies. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. The only things that matter are the content of the policies and their consequences. And Obama has engaged in extreme government-directed redistributionism to undermine the free market, generate widespread dependency and further centralize state power.
Didn’t your former boss, Richard Nixon, implement economic policies that were far more left-wing than many of the policies President Obama has implemented, like price controls?
Unlike President Obama, President Nixon was a capitalist who did not believe in “remaking” the very character of America. He did institute some wildly progressive policies: Wage and price controls, an expanded food stamps program, began the EPA, took us off the gold standard. It’s always interesting to watch leftists try to grapple with Nixon’s legacy: They so want to hate him but they like much of what he did domestically. I didn’t, and often told him so; we had some tough arguments over those policies.
In many ways, Nixon started the modern notion of “compassionate conservatism,” which as we all know is neither “compassionate” nor “conservative.” Although on some level he felt the need to defend his legacy, he did come to regret most of those initiatives. On the creation of the EPA, he once told me that he began it with a noble intent to ensure clear air and water, but that like every government bureaucracy, it grew out of control. And on food stamps, he sighed and said to me, “Once you begin a government program, you can never take it away.” He did become more conservative and unapologetically free market-oriented in his later years. I used to joke with him that with age came wisdom.
Is there anything about Obama that impresses you?
Yes. His absolute and unwavering commitment to his philosophy and his steely discipline in affecting it as policy. He is single-minded and uncompromising in his beliefs, and relentless in seeing through his mission. It’s quite astonishing.
What do you believe the consequences will be for the nation of re-electing President Obama?
The nation is at the proverbial fork in the road. One path will lead us to Obama’s ultimate vision of Orwellian statism. The other path will lead us back to what made us exceptional from the start: individual freedom and economic liberty. If we choose the Obama path, it will spell the end of America as we’ve always known it. This is not your grandfather’s or even your father’s Democrat Party; today’s party morphed into a far more radical and determined leftist army long ago — and without much notice. They are what I call in the book “the kooks.” The kooks have been running the show for several decades, but have done it in hyper-speed once Obama took office.
Once the tentacles of redistributionism wrap themselves tightly around every part of the economy — and around our psyches — they can never be unwound. Once the majority is dependent on government in significant ways, we will have passed the tipping point. America as an economic dynamo will be no more, America as an international superpower will be no more, and America as an exceptional nation will be no more. It’s not too late to save her. The choice is still before us, but time is running out.
Do you think Mitt Romney is a good candidate to put up against Obama?
I think Governor Romney is exactly the right man at exactly the right time. He may not be the conservative dreamboat for whom many of us pine, but he knows that the very existence of exceptional America is at stake. After years of supremely effective business and political leadership, he knows how to put this country back on its traditional rocket path of job creation and economic growth and innovation. He’s a man of tremendous personal and professional integrity; even Bill Clinton called his business record “sterling.” Romney has the potential to be a truly great president given the enormous challenges he will inherit.
First, however, he’s got to get there. And as a candidate, he’s been far more formidable than many people —not least of whom, Team Obama — expected. Romney is not John McCain, Bob Dole or George H.W. Bush, God love ’em. Romney is a different political animal. He’s a political killer, which is what we need to go up against the quintessential political killer, Barack Obama. I would like to see more of the happy warrior in Romney, though. If he adopts that joyful stance that comes from a genuine love of America, this race will be his.
What were the most important lessons you learned by working for Richard Nixon?
Working for President Nixon was the most extraordinary professional experience of my life. He was endlessly fascinating: brilliant, visionary, kind, generous, warm, funny — and yes, a good man. I learned so much for him, particularly how the real world works, from American politics to the media to the international power game. I learned that emotional intelligence is just as critical for a leader as intellectual intelligence; he often said that the most effective leaders have the full trifecta of “head, heart and guts.” He also came from nothing to reach the pinnacle of success, a journey complete with great highs and desperate lows. The power of that example — that quintessentially American life — has never left me.
You earned your Ph.D. from Columbia. What was the focus of your thesis?
My doctoral dissertation examined U.S. policy toward China under Truman/Acheson and, twenty years later, Nixon/Kissinger, with an emphasis on the domestic reasons for their vastly different policy orientations toward that then-sleeping giant.