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Oil leak crisis final nail in Obama liberalism coffin?

Is the continuing oil spill disaster off the coast of Louisiana the final nail in the coffin for the country’s short-lived infatuation with the notion of government as the omnipotent provider of all things good?

It took an unhappy series of events to put Pres. Barack Obama and his vision of barely-restrained liberalism in the White House: a Republican Party that had been retreating from the conservative antidote to this, small but prolonged and nagging foreign conflicts that taxed a nation historically impatient in the realm of international affairs, and economic problems prompted by liberalism’s own prescriptions but whose followers won a public relations battle to shield themselves from the blame. Add to that the trait that the American public by and large doesn’t pay much attention to politics and then only episodically and few of it understand history and economics, and the rare condition emerged.

However, reality glares harshly and cannot be changed by fiat, no matter how slickly or forcefully the alternatives to it are presented. Eventually, the contradictions of policy versus reality have become so invasive into people’s lives that increasingly they and more of them perceive the vastness between what was promised and what is reality. That has been an ongoing process relative to the Obama Administration since its inception, and the predictable political deterioration has been surprising only by its rate of acceleration, for as a pendulum is drawn further back, its speed to swing back increases dramatically.

Of course, the policy failures based upon the belief that big government knows better than do people what to do with their resources have mounted for Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress: horrifically high spending levels that have retarded economic performance, continue to nudge unemployment higher, and promise crippling inflation in the future; financially ruinous changes in health care provision laws designed to empower ultimately government and the expense of the quality of people’s health care; catering to special interests such as unions, unscientific environmentalism, those who blame America first for any evil in the world, etc.; foreign policy that embraces enemies and chastises friends – and this represents only what has come into being, not what has been sidetracked. The fundamental wrongness of these policies has been realized in an increasing number of Americans’ consciousnesses, resulting in declining poll numbers and a growing sense of catastrophe at the polls for Democrats in November.

Yet the month-long gushing of oil into the Gulf may end up as the straw that breaks the camel’s back, clarifying the invalidity of Obama’s claims. Obama has overpromised again and again, believing that if he says something often and forcefully enough that enough people will buy it to allow his ilk to maintain enough power to keep remaking America into something it is not. His shtick rests on propagating the myth that government knows better than people how to order their lives and to produce prosperity, based on the false beliefs that free enterprise inherently produces unjust results and thereby those who acquire wealth from it must be penalized to atone, that societal institutions need government-directed reform to create equality, and that these poison our relations with other peoples so that we put our presumably selfish interests ahead of those of humanity, leading to oppression of the world.

But the oil keeps spewing. Commissions are formed, hearings held, threats and made against the industry and withdrawn, the rhetoric continues but so does the impotence of the federal government. The oil keeps coming out, and the eyes of the people open more to the fact this is one more promise not kept by Obama’s big government philosophy.

Worse for Obama is that he is getting shown up by Gov. Bobby Jindal. While exhorting for the problem to be solved, sometimes with critical language, Jindal has been taking action even when the federal government seems balky. In doing so at a macro level, Jindal has been presenting a contrasting view of the role of government – to act only under well-defined and limited situations, instead of as an intrusive agent claimed to solve all problems and said to provide for individuals desires, even if people have the capacity to provide for themselves. Most of the American public won’t conceptualize it to that degree, only vaguely aware of Jindal, but they will process at a micro level that Jindal is doing something reasonable to deliver, abjuring use of the incident as an assault on the oil industry in particular and the free enterprise system in general as Obama and Democrats are doing.

When asked to evaluate political philosophy, most Americans, who just want to get on with their lives, can be quite slow on the uptake and preternaturally drawn to the simplistic bromides of liberalism. But experience helps them to inculcate the complex verities of conservatism, and this event may be the one that crystallizes in their minds the limitations and false promises of liberalism to lead to its decisive rejection at the very least now and perhaps far into the future. If there is a silver lining to this looming economic and ecological disaster, that is it.


Kent Payne said...

Professor, surely you realize that your state and local government do not depend solely upon the drilling corporations to manage rig disasters. When there is a rig mishap, EMS, fire departments, hazmat crews, and other agencies likewise respond to these emergencies. The drillers' are left to manage the rig site. Only the rig site.

While you shill for those who deregulated us into this mess, the rest of us are wondering where our government has been all this time. Most of us, and not just liberals, want MORE out of our government, not less.

Without government, everybody's business becomes nobody's business. Get a clue.

Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

Jeff Sadow has his tinfoil hat on tight this time. Lets unpack just a bit of his deranged diatribe against liberals.

Morons like Jeff might think that liberals view govt as "the omnipotent provider of all things good," but only the most cocooned neocon would think this. Liberals, like conservatives, believe in the free market. The only difference is that there is a tiny fraction of government interference that must be employed to protect the economic system itself. That is, we can't rely on the free market to put automatic shutoff switches on vulnerable oil rigs, instead we have to insist on it by regulation. But in your upside-down world, Obama is responsible for this oil spill somehow.

And "economic problems prompted by liberalism's own prescriptions"? You idiot. The economy was in great shape, with huge surpluses when we handed it off to you clowns. For the record, it was Al Gore who prudently suggested paying down Social Security with the huge surplus that we had liberal leadership to thank for. But no, you immediately went about screwing everything up. Crony capitalism. Professional incompetence. Deregulation. Dragging the American flag through the mud of Abu Grahib. Wasteful military spending. And huge deficits in the trillions. These are all the destructive legacy that YOU left us. Do you think that you liberals ran the show from 2001 on? Hell no, it was you morons. Yet you try to pin this on liberals!?

Of course, you provide nothing to support your diatribe. Just a bunch of "liberals think big govt knows better than people" crap. Only idiots like you think in such simpleton terms.

ARRA retarded the economy and caused unemployment to go HIGHER?! You are out of your mind. Did you SEE the CBO report today? Hell no you didn't, you're in the Sarah Palin cocoon. You profess ruinous financial crippling doom just over the horizon, like any good tinfoil hatter.

"Unscientific environmentalism." Are you serious? We should be taking science classes from Glenn Beck? Has any presidential administration been as anti-science as your precious W's administration?

"Blame America first for any evil in the world". "Embracing enemies". You charlatans think the stupidest things about liberals. You describe them in all the same terminology that you describe jihadists. It's obvious that you've conflated liberals with evil, and there's no end to your hatred. That's how all you glenn beck, sarah palin's are. The world's opinion of this country is rising on the efforts of our president, and it eats you alive. You'd never admit it, but the more people that love this country and the fewer people that hate us, then the fewer terrorists and people that want to do harm to us there are in the world. You'll never learn that lesson, Jeff.

Everytime liberals get in power in this country, we see economic growth. Whenever you get into power, it's nothing but deconstruction and reckless behavior.

Mr. Harris Plutocrat said...

You can tell how terrible of a professor you must be by how you argue. No real substantive arguments, just a bunch of wild characterizations straight from the extremists lips, coupled with a series of premises about how liberals hate free enterprise (you're an idiot if you think this), that wealthy need to be "penalized" for acquiring "unjustly". What planet do you live on? Liberals don't argue this crap, it's just what you neocons train yourselves to believe in order to whip yourselves up into McCarthy-esque frenzies. People like Jeff Sadow will believe anything when they set their mind to it.

The OBVIOUS lesson from this oil spill is that where simple, inexpensive PRUDENT safeguards have the best chance at preventing a CATASTROPHIC oil spill, then those safeguards should be regulated into the system if they would not be implemented otherwise. It does not "ruin" industry, "redistribute" wealth to minorities, or "penalize" the wealthy to do so. Instead the tiny cost to oil companies is negligible, particularly when compared to the cost we all must shoulder if something goes wrong. Keep in mind that it is our collective resources we are trying to prudently manage. If you were truly serious about writing a blog that addresses serious issues, then you would squarely address my last post about deregulation at MMS and the corruption in your W's administration that led to the removal of oil rig safeguards. But don't hold your breath for Jeff Sadow to put together a coherent post about that. He's too busy hurling his feces at imaginary communists in the white house.

Here is a better thought for your readers to chew on, since you won't get anything worthy of reflection from reading the blog's author: there is a delicate balance between what we should leave up to the free market, and what we should require by government regulation. Liberals believe that where inexpensive, prudent measures serve to protect the public interest by safeguarding significant environmental and public health issues, then there will be rare infrequent times when such government regulation is unfortunately required. The difficult questions we should all be mulling are: just how much damage a breakdown can cause, what are the chances of that happening, what is the cost of the safeguard available, what is the likelihood it will work as designed, what are the consequences of a worst case scenario, and what are the chances that that could happen?

Here is the real difference between liberals and conservatives, unlike what your diatribe flaccidly attempts to demonstrate: liberal administration (Clinton) wrestled with all those questions, and made the decision that the tiny cost to oil companies to install safeguards was unfortunately required because of the dire consequences of an unlikely blowout. The conservative administration (W) came in with the typical conservative approach: whatever makes oil companies even the tiniest bit uncomfortable should be waived. So even the tiny cost of the safeguard outweighed the catastrophic damage of a blowout.

Liberals = prudent development of natural resources
Conservatives = reckless development of natural resources

It's too bad your hatred of Obama prevents you from ever grasping or even seriously contemplating such a plainly-viewable lesson.

Poseur alert! => "preternaturally drawn to the simplistic bromides of liberalism. But experience helps them inculcate the complex verities of conservatism..." [Private note to Jeff (everyone else stop reading now): all those big words make you sound even more moronic. A good teacher and a good writer will convey with clear, plain words.]

Anonymous said...

To whom ever the hell you are, isn't it a bit convenient for you to not acknowledge the benifits gained by your liberalism from Reagan or the fact that many lost their lives on 9/11.

That response of yours from someone who obviously think's he is some intelect with all the answers negelcts several key points in history. While i'm sure you are some brainiac who has many title's behind his name, hell you may have it in front as well, but the truth is you lack the most important title of all and thats the title of having common sense.

Go take your zanax and worship your liberal god B.O. while you can.

This from a simple guy with no title, who doesn't ignore facts!

Have a nice day!

tithonia1 said...

Typical liberal spew I've come to know very well, Mr. Plutocrat. You must come from Pluto because your grasp on world and political situations are pathetically 'out there' somewhere. Liberal thought and their laws literally ruined this great country, but you'll get a first-hand look at what "We, the people" want back when we kick your high and mighty asses in the coming November election and the following one in 2012. And as far as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck go, they have more common sense and intelligence than you, Obama and the whole nation of college professors put together.