Saturday, October 06, 2012

In Debate, Obama Lets On That Americans Really Do Belong To The Government

"All those things are designed to make sure that the American people, their genius, their grit, their determination, is -- is channeled and  -- 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, in first presidential debate in Denver, 10/3/2012

Barry Rubin sees something revealing in this particular comment Obama made in the course of his first presidential debate with Romney and that Obama's Debate Slip Tells More About His Real View than Anything Else He's Said As President

Rubin notes in passing the odd claim by Obama about "everybody's playing by the same rules" -- a peculiar turn of phrase considering "Obama and his supporters favor different rules for each race, gender, and ethnic group, not to mention crony capitalists".

No, what is more revealing about the way Obama thinks is his point that the American people need to be channeled:
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.

They 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.
Rubin notes that apparently no one else has made an issue of that comment by Obama.

Then again, the media has tended to ignore Obama's approach to government, preferring to see him as a typical democrat rather than examine the kinds of domestic policies that have been pushed by his administration over the past 3 1/2 years.

Rubin's point reminds me of a similar point Jonah Goldberg makes in his September 14 edition of his Goldberg File, where he notes:
as the producers of the Democratic National Convention's introductory video put it, "Government is the one thing we all belong to."

Really? We belong to the government? Really?

No. We belong to our families and our convictions. We belong, in a poetic sense, to our country. But the government belongs to us.
That last point may in fact be what this year's election is all about:

Does the government belong to us, or do we belong to government.

Next month we'll have an answer -- at least for the next 4 years.

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