Every American president ends up owning one word or phrase that tends to define him. Kennedy had “Camelot.” Johnson had “Great Society.” Nixon was “Watergate.” Ford was “Pardon.” Carter was “Malaise.” Reagan was “Shining city upon a hill.” George H.W. Bush was “Thousand points of light.” Clinton was “Slick.” George W. Bush was “Dubya.”
Barack Obama’s words have been “Hope and change.” But shortly before the midterm elections, we’ve heard another word association with Obama that may be more fitting.
In Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars,” President Obama is quoted as saying, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."
Obama’s key word is “absorb.” He sees America getting stronger to the extent that it can “absorb” pain—crises, loss, costs and consequences.
We have seen Obama’s “absorb the pain” philosophy and policies in service of what he contends will make the country stronger.
Beginning with his nearly trillion-dollar stimulus, his hundreds of billions in bailouts, and his record-setting debt, the president insisted that the country needed to “absorb” all his spending and government intervention to cure massive unemployment and an economic meltdown. Today, America is deep in joblessness and unsustainable debt and is still deeply mired in an economic stall.
Then came the need for the nation to “absorb” the reconstruction of its health care system with Obamacare as the president’s prescription. That was followed by Obama’s crusade for the free market to “absorb” an overhaul of financial regulations. Never mind that in both cases, costs, competition, choices, and other adverse effects have been grossly misrepresented by the president and his allies.
Now, the president has left all Americans to “absorb” the prospect that because Democrats wouldn’t vote to extend the Bush tax cuts, everyone’s taxes are scheduled to go up next year. If the president has his way, the nation will also need to “absorb” the following:
• Record tax increases on energy if Obama’s “cap and trade” bill passes.
• Millions of illegal immigrants. Is Obama planning some kind of amnesty next and what about border security?
• A nuclear Iran. While Obama blusters, the dangerous and demented leaders of Iran build their nuclear capability and mock the United States.
• The job-killing and bankrupting effects of union demands. Obama’s enabling of outrageously high pension, pay and other sweetheart deals for unions buys him union votes and buys America economic pain.
• Continuing seizure of states’ rights and individuals’ rights by a statist government. On just about any issue—including spending, taxing, health care, education, the environment and illegal immigration—Obama’s big government encroaches on laws and decisions best made by individual states (see the Constitution’s 10th Amendment) and individual citizens (see the Bill of Rights).
• The abuse by terrorists of America’s democratic systems. Obama’s Justice Department grants terrorists captured domestically the “right to remain silent” and fights to give them civilian rather than military trials.
• Apologies, appeasements, aid and arms to foreign foes. Physically, financially, militarily and in every other way, Obama has bowed to America’s adversaries such as Saudi Arabia and China.
• Corruption by elected or appointed officials. This includes our tax cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. It extends to loan scandals involving Democratic Senators Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota and also encompasses ethics investigations into Democratic Congress Members Charlie Rangel of New York and Maxine Waters of California.
Bill Clinton claimed to feel our pain. Barack Obama wants us to absorb the pain he inflicts on us for what he believes are higher purposes and a stronger America. If you vote in the November midterm elections, consider whether you prefer to "absorb" or reject the pain Obama keeps dishing out.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.
Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.