Open Forum: Are we to hurtle, ‘Thelma and Louise’-style, over the cliff?

Posted: November 5, 2012

The battle lines are drawn. The choices are clear — and diametrically opposed.

The conservative wing of the Republican Party, energized by the spontaneous rise of the Tea Party in 2010, returned to the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution — individual rights, limited federal government, and equality of opportunity.

Government is the problem, not the solution. The private sector is the engine for job creation, not the government or the public sector. Equality of opportunity results in the creation of wealth, which increases the quality of life for everyone, rich or poor.

The progressive wing of the Democratic Party would expand the federal government. The “state” is more important than the “individual.” The state will guarantee equality of outcome. The playing field will be leveled by distributing wealth, i.e., “economic patriotism.”

President Obama’s statement, “If you are successful, you did not get there on your own” is his belief, and in his case was true. The progressives ask that we forget our birthright of liberty for a false promise of cradle-to-grave security (the Julia cartoon).

Obama’s 2012 campaign theme is “FORWARD!” Forward implies something positive, something good. It implies progress (progressives). Forward progress is a measure of how far one has advanced.

The president repeatedly states “we have come too far to go back to the policies that got us here in the first place.” He neglects to explain that those “policies,” which took root in the 1980s and 1990s, were primarily Democratic Party policies that forced lending institutions, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to underwrite adjustable-rate subprime home mortgage loans to individuals who could not afford them.

The house of cards eventually collapsed in 2008, leaving the largest banks in America holding $4 trillion in defaulted loans, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac losing $5 trillion. The Bush administration was concerned in 2003 about the practices, but Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., replied, “These two entities are not facing a financial crisis.”

In 2007, the Bush administration again questioned the practices, and Frank again stated these charges were “inane.” The Bush administration let it slide and then it was too late. Panic ensued as the economy collapsed.

Unfortunately, Forward Progress can be a negative process. Hitler (until Leningrad) was making great progress against Russia in World War II. In 1956, Soviet Premier Khrushchev stated “We will bury you…”

Lincoln warned against assaults on our liberty: “At what point is the approach of danger to be expected? If ever it reaches us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad.”

Lincoln was correct. Khrushchev, and subsequent Soviet leaders, could not bury us. The Iron Curtain collapsed. But another grave-digger has sprung up among us. Obama, our economic and constitutional grave-digger, has been making great progress digging our national-debt grave deeper and deeper, $6 trillion in four years.

Obama’s plan is simple. Just keep digging, and digging deeper, until we default. Keep avoiding the Constitution with mandate after mandate.

Thomas Edison stated, “There is far more danger in public monopoly than there is in private monopoly. For when the government goes into business, it can always shift its losses to the taxpayers. The government really never goes into business, for it never makes ends meet.”

Self-destructive progressive ideas have sprung up among us. The enemy is at the gate, and must not only be repulsed but debated.

In the final scenes of the movie “Thelma and Louise,” this duo, knowing there was no escape, pause and exchange plaintive glances. They then embrace and, holding hands, “spin out” in a cloud of dust, “gunning” that convertible full speed “Forward” over the precipice. The film ends there, and we never see or hear the impact of their bad decision.

The past four years, President Obama has been “killing us softly” with his smile. Leading from behind, he is now exhorting us forward over the precipice. Should we obey this order?

Let us suppose that before the 2012 election every American was given the opportunity to attend a “Forum on America” and question two groups of five individuals (on the same stage) for sage advice regarding the best course for America in these difficult times.

Group I: Washington, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson, and John Adams.

Group II: Mr. Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer.

Of course, it is not possible to directly question Group I, but this group of statesmen left guidelines that have stood the test of time and became the blueprint for American Exceptionalism.

Group II has no statesmen. Four of the five are career politicians. All have become wealthy from Crony Capitalism. Mr. Obama is neither a statesman nor politician. He is simply an outwardly charming — some say charismatic — community organizer. To quote his wife, “Barack is not a politician first and foremost. He’s a community activist, exploring the viability of politics to make a change.”

His progressive alternative — redistribution of wealth — has always failed. Castro’s Cuba, Chavez’ Venezuela, Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea, and the riots in Greece speak volumes.

If you value this country, if you care about your children and grandchildren, and the enormous debt Obama has placed on them, then heed the advice of the Founding Fathers, not the president.

Bernard M. Swope is a resident of Winchester.