Saturday, October 6, 2012

Obama's Debate Slip Tells More About His Real View than Anything Else He's Said As President

By Barry Rubin

The Obama-Romney debate has been analyzed from many angles, especially about who won. Yet in the course of the event, Obama said what might be the most revealing slip he has ever made. This one phrase tells more about Obama and the ideology of his left-wing supporters than every other word they have spoken in the last four years.

It came near the end of the debate when Obama was summarizing his policies. He was clearly on comfortable ground, going through all of his cliches. But then, lulled into carelessness by rote repetition of his basic slogans, Obama got lost for a second--as demonstrated by his trademark stutter when he becomes unglued--and dropped in an amazing admission. Obama said:

"All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is -- is channeled and [emphasis added] -- and they have an opportunity to succeed. And everybody’s getting a fair shot. And everybody’s getting a fair share -- everybody’s doing a fair share, and everybody’s playing by the same rules."

Obama was flattering the American people (genius, grit, determination) and promising that everyone will get a fair share (redistribution of wealth?) and fair shot--terms he has never actually defined. As for everybody playing by the same rules, Obama and his supporters favor different rules for each race, gender, and ethnic group, not to mention crony capitalists.

Yet it is that word "channeled" that gives the game away. Channeled by whom? The government, of course, and the great geniuses whose ideology and book-learning seeks to dominate the economy and culture, forcing people to do things for their "own good." Who has ever proposed that some power should override the liberty of the American people to channel them, to tell them what to do? 

The problem is that in a free enterprise (with reasonable regulation) country under the Constitution, Americans decide for themselves what to do. Nobody channels them, a phrase which sounds like a rancher driving his cattle to market. "Channeled" is a nice way to say manipulated, pushed, forced, and ordered. 

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We are not speaking here of laws against, say, murder or robbery or littering. These are clear and explicit, accepted by a consensus.  This is something far more hidden, in which the implications of laws--for example, how Obamacare is intended to produce nationalized medicine--lead to something that the public opposes or certainly doesn't want. And it is far wider and more systematic than under any previous government, too.

Thus, Americans will be told what they can do in pursuit of good health, what they can eat, how they can do business, what they are supposed to think and know about, what their religious institutions can do, and so on.  Can one imagine any of the great American presidents talking about how he was going to "channel" the people with an increasingly large government that soaked up all the capital; determined the investment; set the rules to direct the health system, energy production, the auto industry, and just about everything else? Clearly, Obama wasn't channeling George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. 

In that moment he revealed himself totally. And, as far as I'm aware, nobody even noticed it.

PS: Another typical Obama moment came after the debate when he ridiculed Romney for saying that there were no laws that rewarded companies with tax breaks for exporting American jobs. Any real intellectual or serious leader would simply have cited the specific laws to which he was referring, but Obama merely kept saying how silly--or dishonest--Romney had been without giving any evidence. And any other president would have been pressed to provide evidence. A small incident but quite revealing of how fantasy-based administration policy has become.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press. Other recent books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center  and of his blog, Rubin Reports. His original articles are published at PJMedia.

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