Jim Geraghty at National Review takes note of an ad for [mc_name name=’Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’L000550′ ]’s runoff, in which Republicans are charged with showing Barack Obama “so much disrespect,” and sees a bigger lame-duck Democrat campaign theme struggling to crack out of its eggshell:
Watch for this maneuver more in the coming months. Barack Obama has lost the Democratic control of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Democrats in both chambers are less likely to go along with Obama after these awful midterms. He’s lost the public’s trust. The media is more critical than it used to be (if not as critical as conservatives wish). Many of his policies are flopping. Attention is shifting to Hillary. Accusing opponents of racism, greed, and xenophobia flopped as a tactic in the midterm elections.
What does he have left? The presidency.
Expect to see a lot more charges that “Republicans aren’t showing respect for the presidency” in these final years. The question is whether anyone will notice that the allegedly disrespected president shows no respect for the Constitutionally-mandated role of Congress.
So… was Mary Landrieu “dissing” Obama when she was denouncing him all over Louisiana during her re-election campaign? How about all of the other Democrats who either vowed to fight Obama like wildcats when they reached Washington, or went to comical lengths to avoid being seen with the toxic President?
Geraghty notes that this interpretation of “respect” essentially redefines it as “agreement.” Since we’re not just talking about applauding Obama during academic discussions, I would go further and say it redefines respect as obedience. There is a strong tendency among the increasingly illiberal Left to interpret disagreement with government as insulting, disrespectful, or even seditious, at least when they’re running it. Not long ago, Democrats were comparing the Tea Party to traitors and terrorists, even though they were merely trying to use the lawful instruments of representative government to express their policy preferences.
This is a natural consequence of the Left’s appetite for unified and unchallenged power, which is the only way to impose what they judge to be desirable social “improvements” on an unwilling populace. Their disgust with the mechanisms of representative government manifests itself through snarling about “gridlock,” as if any outcome that doesn’t involve government doing something huge to the populace represents a failure of the American system. A recent example of that thinking is President Obama’s offer to drop his plans for rewriting immigration law through executive orders, if congressional Republicans submit and give him what he wants. Whatever else you can say about this line of thinking, it certainly doesn’t allow for the possibility that action might not be taken because the peoples’ representatives in the legislature can’t come to an agreement about what should be done. And yet, if that’s not a legitimate possible outcome, then what’s the point in having a legislature? With virtually every utterance, Obama and the modern Left he exemplifies move closer to their ideal of a benevolent dictatorship limited only by failsafe elections, in which the people can thwart outright oppression by taking their chance to vote the dictator out of office every four years.
If we’re going to talk about showing “disrespect,” then let me denounce that philosophy as profoundly disrespectful to the American people. We take a lot of abuse from our Ruling Class these days.
That’s what the Gruber Revelations are really all about. At the heart of every notorious pronouncement by ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber lies a seething contempt for the American people, whose stupidity he famously expounded upon in some of the earlier tapes. Everything Gruber helped Obama do was based on the notion of forcing the American people to submit to a new regime they would not voluntarily accept, even though Gruber and Obama judged it was best for them: gaming budget estimates, lying about insurance cancellations, concealing the reality of how ObamaCare’s mandates would work, tricking the public into accepting the demise of tax benefits for employer insurance purchases…
Every aspect of the ObamaCare fraud is a profound gesture of disrespect for the American people. Obama’s Big Lie about keeping your plan if you liked your plan was a successful effort to fool people into believing ObamaCare would be essentially voluntary; all the way back to his earliest public statements about the scheme, Obama offered extravagant assurances that nobody would be forced into doing anything. In reality, ObamaCare is nothing but force: lots of sticks, plus a few carrots that can be screwed onto the tops of the sticks to make spears. It was insulting to trick people into accepting this enormous loss of freedom, because Obama and his co-conspirators decided it was dangerous to let the chowderheads out in flyover country retain it.
ObamaCare is one of many programs foisted off under the “progressive” theory of perpetual government growth, which of course means the perpetual erosion of freedom. Progressive plans are supposedly impossible to repeal, no matter how badly they fail, because they acquire dependents who value their continued existence more passionately than grumpy taxpayers want to terminate them. Freedom, once taken, is never returned; the government never gets smaller. It’s a one-way journey toward a collectivist singularity. No one could impose such strategies upon a population they respected.
It wasn’t terribly respectful of Democrats to try spinning the midterm election results away by claiming they didn’t really count, because the turnout was low, and too many people of the wrong age and skin color participated. The absurdist reduction of this spin was President Obama declaring that he would act on behalf of the people who didn’t vote, because he had some mystical ability to divine what they’re thinking. This ostensibly dismaying turnout came after efforts to make voting easier and longer, the way Christmas shopping season seems to begin in July these days. Election Day would more properly be known as “End of the Election Day.” And even with voting made so easy, we still get arrogant elites declaring that the people who took the time to vote don’t really matter. Voters deserve more respect than that.
Humility is an indispensable component of wisdom, and it’s grievously missing from our painfully arrogant Ruling Class, which looks across the fruited plain and sees nothing but revenue targets to be squeezed, unenlightened boobs to be punished, childlike dependents to be rescued from themselves, voting blocs to be marched around a political chessboard, and worker bees whose honey needs to be wisely redistributed. The elevation of government to become the senior, silent partner in every transaction insults our ability to conduct fair commerce between ourselves, guided by enlightened self-interest. The assertion that government is the primary owner of every dollar in the economy insults our industry. Faith in central planning, despite its century-plus record of failure, robs entrepreneurial geniuses of their due. “You work and I eat” insults both the worker and the eater.
Robust disagreement should never be taken as disrespectful, because that would require believing in the inherent superiority of politicians and bureaucrats. They should have to prove their mettle, just like the rest of us. Feel free to argue about the right way to run a pizza joint with the owners of Dominos or Papa Johns; they’ll probably even listen to you, because they have nothing to prove, and you are under no obligation to eat their food. No one who “succeeds” through compulsive force can say the same. I see no reason to respect a ruling elite that so clearly does not respect us, expressing their disdain not only through ill-chosen words to fellow elitists, but with the very tenets of their ideology. The Left will tell you that they want the best for everyone, but not a single member of that cohort could say, with a straight face, that they respect the people they seek to “help.” That’s why they’ll never hesitate to lie to you, for you own good.