Thomas Sowell: Obama vs. Obama
Many voters will be comparing Mitt Romney with Barack Obama between now and Election Day. Even more revealing might be comparing Obama with Obama. There is a big contrast between Obama based on his rhetoric (“Obama 1”) and Obama based on his record (“Obama 2”).
During the 2008 campaign, Obama 1 spoke of “more transparency in government,” so spending plans would be posted online days before passage. After he was elected, he “committed” his administration to “an unprecedented level of openness … .”
Obama 1 sounds like a very good fellow. No wonder so many voted for him.
But Obama 2 passed a mammoth ObamaCare bill so fast that Congress and the public didn’t have time to read it. It was by no means posted online days before the vote.
The Constitution requires Cabinet nominees to be confirmed by the Senate, so facts about them can become known before they are given power. Although Obama complied when he appointed Cabinet members, he made other appointments to powerful positions created by executive orders — unknown, unaccountable “czars” with vast, unchecked powers.
The Constitution requires that Congress pass a budget every year. The Democrat-controlled Senate under Obama has not passed a budget, which tells the public about spending and the deficit, for three consecutive years. Obama 2 and his party are in effect saying to the public, “It is none of your business.” Transparency?
Obama 1 swore to faithfully execute the laws. Once in the White House, Obama 2 explicitly waived enforcement of laws he didn’t agree with.
Failing to get Congress to pass amnesty for illegal aliens, Obama 2 issued an executive order exempting certain classes of illegals from the immigration laws.
We are not likely to have the same freedom under rule by presidential fiat as under constitutional government. This is especially dangerous in a president’s second term, when he need no longer consider what voters want. With a couple more Supreme Court appointments, he can permanently change the very nature of American government.
Last March, Obama 2, unaware that a microphone was on, told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that, after he is re-elected and never has to face voters again, he will have the “flexibility” to make a deal on missile defense systems — a deal he couldn’t make if voters knew about it before the election.
Think about that chilling prospect and what it reveals about the real Obama.
Nowhere is the contrast between Obama 1 and Obama 2 greater than in his policy toward Israel.
He has a long string of mentors and allies marked by hatred of the United States and a vision of the world in which white, Western nations have prospered by oppressing and exploiting non-white, non-Western nations.
And after Obama worked for a time in a private business, he regarded himself as being, in his own words, “a spy behind enemy lines.”
This is not the Obama that most voters elected president in 2008. They saw a carefully crafted image of a bright, articulate, energetic, genial fellow who would heal racial and partisan divides. His likability remained high even after many became disappointed with his policies.
Have you ever heard of a grumpy confidence man? Geniality is a prerequisite.
What many regard as failure of Obama’s foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, may well be one of his biggest successes. His desire to redistribute wealth domestically is part of a larger ideological vision that includes redistribution of power internationally.
Obama has long said the United States plays too large a role internationally. His policies suggest Islamic countries need a larger role. The troubling question is whether he still sees his own role as “a spy behind enemy lines” in the White House.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.