Allow me to refresh your memories concerning the infamous Cloward-Piven strategy, which was the brainchild of two leftist professors to take total control of America by overwhelming its social support structures to create a “crisis”:
In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.
The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.
I genuinely believe that Barack Obama – a follower of Saul Alinsky as well as the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate when he belonged to it to go along with a long and deep relationship with leftist radicals – is pursuing a “heads we win, tails you lose” strategy. If the economy somehow miraculously picks up under all of this massive spending and even more massive debt, then Democrats win big and Republicans lose. If – far more likely – the economy crashes under its own massive weight due to hyperinflation as interest payments on the debt soar and the Obama Treasury devalues the currency by printing money, then a starving, terrified people will scream for help from their government. And Democrats will – in solving the “crisis” they themselves created – secure the pure-socialist totalitarian state they have always envisioned. Either way, Obama liberals believe they will win big.
Government by crisis is a tried and true fascist approach. It is up to you to decide whether it is a coincidence or not that Barack Obama is using the same approach, as described by his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel:
EMANUEL: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before. This is an opportunity. What used to be long-term problems — be they in the health care area, energy area, education area, fiscal area, tax area, regulatory reform area — things that we had postponed for too long that were long-term are now immediate and must be dealt with. And this crisis provides the opportunity for us, as I would say, the opportunity to do things that you could not do before.”
Obama began his presidency by fearmongering a crisis to get his way. He fearmongered the stimulus through the Congress, predicting terrifying scenarios if it failed and hyping claims that have turned out to be completely false if he got his way. Republicans were completely shut out of the stimulus, and the legislation was rushed through Congress so quickly that not one single Representative or Senator had any chance to read the bill that Obama then took leisurely four days to sign.
There was just one problem: Cloward-Piven depended for its success upon a death by incrementalism, as vividly depicted by a frog placed in a pot of water. If you put the frog in boiling water, it will leap out immediately. But if you put the frog in cool water and gradually turn up the heat, you can literally cook the frog to death. Obama’s problem is that he turned the heat up too fast for the American people, and they are now leaping out of the boiling cauldron he created for them.
Or, perhaps another illustration will do to depict the American people-as-frog:
Note that the article that follows is written from a clear liberal slant (e.g., “Then Obama lost control of the health care debate by letting Republicans get away with their bogus claims about “death panels.”). Nevertheless, the article clearly admits to the crisis-style mentality that Obama used to try to push through his entire agenda at once.
Obama’s Big Bang could go bust
By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
August 21, 2009
Barack Obama’s Big Bang is beginning to backfire, as his plans for rapid, once-in-a-generation overhauls of energy, financial regulation and health care are running into stiff resistance, both in Washington and around the country.
The Obama theory was simple, though always freighted with risk: Use a season of economic anxiety to enact sweeping changes the public likely wouldn’t stomach in ordinary times. But the abrupt swing in the public’s mood, from optimism about Obama’s possibility to concern he may be overreaching, has thrown the White House off its strategy and forced the president to curtail his ambitions.
Some Democrats point to a decision in June as the first vivid sign of trouble for Obama. These Democrats say the White House, in retrospect, made a grievous mistake by muscling conservative Democrats in swing districts to vote for a cap-and-trade energy bill that was very unpopular among their constituents.
Many of those members were pounded back home because Democrats passed a bill Republicans successfully portrayed as a big tax increase on consumers. The result: many conservative Democrats were gun-shy about taking any more risky votes — or going out on a limb on health care.
The other result: The prospects for winning final passage of a cap-and-trade bill this year are greatly diminished. And, while most Democrats still predict a health care bill will pass this year, it is likely to be a shadow of what Obama once had planned.
“The majority-makers are the freshman and sophomores from conservative districts where there’s this narrative building about giveaways, bailouts and too much change at once,” said a top House Democratic strategist, who requested anonymity to discuss internal politics candidly. “There’s this big snowball building in those districts. That’s why those folks are so scared.”
David Axelrod, Obama’s political architect, said it was “very clear early in the transition” that Obama would have to attack a number of festering issues simultaneously.
“The times demanded it,” he said in an interview. “We didn’t have the luxury of taking things sequentially, year after year, and hoping we got there. That’s the reason that all these major issues had been deferred for decades: Change is hard.”
Axelrod said the president is “looking forward to an active fall” when he returns from next week’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, and is not as worried about the outlook as the denizens of Washington, where “every day is election day.”
But the “Big Bang” theory of governance, as some White House insiders called it, is not without risk and consequences.
By doing so much, so fast, Obama gave Republicans the chance to define large swaths of the debate. Conservatives successfully portrayed the stimulus bill as being full of pork for Democrats. Then Obama lost control of the health care debate by letting Republicans get away with their bogus claims about “death panels.” The GOP also has successfully raised concerns that the Obama plan is a big-government takeover of health care — and much of Middle America bought the idea, according to polls.
By doing so much, so fast, Obama never sufficiently educated the public on the logic behind his policies. He spent little time explaining the biggest bailouts in U.S. history, which he inherited but supported and expanded. And then he lost crucial support on the left by not following up quickly with new and stricter rules for Wall Street. On Friday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman echoed a concern widely shared among leading liberals. “I don’t know if administration officials realize just how much damage they’ve done themselves with their kid-gloves treatment of the financial industry, just how badly the spectacle of government supported institutions paying giant bonuses is playing.”
By doing so much so fast, Obama jammed the circuits on Capitol Hill. Congress has a hard time doing even one big thing well at a time. Congress is good at passing giveaways and tax cuts, but has not enacted a transformative piece of social legislation since President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform of 1996. “There’s a reason things up here were built to go slowly,” said another Democratic aide.
By doing so doing so much, so fast, he has left voters — especially independents — worried that he got an overblown sense of his mandates and is doing, well, too much too fast. A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Friday found that independents’ confidence in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions had dropped 20 points since the Inauguration, from 61 percent to 41 percent.
Axelrod and others argue Obama had no choice but to tackle all of these issues at once. That might be true for a stimulus bill and the bank and auto bailouts — but that case is harder to make for energy and health care, which have been the focus of intense debate for decades past and probably will for decades to come.
Go-big-or-go-home isn’t the only theory of the case that a new president can adopt. The most promising alternative is to build public support over time by showing competence and success, then using that to leverage bigger things.
So imagine if Obama had focused on fixing the economy, and chosen presidential power over congressional accommodation and constructed his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as a true, immediate stimulus without the pork and paybacks.
He then could have pushed through tougher regulation of financial institutions, making it clear people were paying for their sins, and would have a much harder time doing it again. This would have delighted the left and perhaps bought Obama more durable support among independents. Instead, the left thinks he’s beholden to investment banks, and much of the public sees no consequences for the financial mess.
Add in some serious budget cuts, and Obama would have positioned himself as a new kind of liberal with the courage to tame Washington and Wall Street, as promised. Under this scenario, Obama might be getting more credit for the economic recovery that appears to be under way. This would have positioned him to win health care reform starting next year — a mighty achievement, and clear vindication against the doubters. Some White House officials said they are skeptical of moving controversial bills in an election year, when lawmakers are often more timid.
White House officials say they never seriously considered a more incremental approach to the year, though they did privately discuss trying to get regulation of the financial sector done right after the stimulus bill. There was too much disagreement among Democrats at the time over how far to go with regulation to proceed.
If the current strategy fails, the same person who got much of the credit for the crisp first 100 days will get some of the blame: White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. It was Emanuel who has strongly advocated the big-bang approach, declaring during the transition: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Now, what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do.”
The confidence of Obama’s aides was bolstered by their fresh memory that a similar approach had worked very effectively for then-President George W Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks. With the public on edge, Bush was able to enact restrictive policies under the banner of protecting American soil, and build an entire new department of government that voters otherwise might have opposed. The economic meltdown would be Obama’s Sept. 11 — the predicate for sweeping legislation that he wanted to enact anyway.
Just past halftime in his first year, the president has won passage of a long list of bills that the White House points to as proof of their approach. In addition to the stimulus, Obama signed major bills on tobacco, pay equity, children’s health insurance, national service and the mortgage rescue. If he gets health care and either energy or regulation this year, it would be hard to argue the big-bang plan wasn’t a success.
Former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), now president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, cautions that any verdict on Obama would be “kind of like judging a major surgical operation in the middle of the operation.”
With Obama reaching the defining season of his freshman year, Hamilton said the current agenda reminds him of the scale of the Great Society programs Congress was tackling when he came to Congress in 1965. “This president thinks big but I also think he acts pragmatically,” Hamilton said. “So many things in a congressional session come together at the last few hours, the last few weeks.”
But sometimes they just come undone.
Zachary Abrahamson contributed to this report.
A number of points of order: Politico says that “Congress…has not enacted a transformative piece of social legislation since President Bill Clinton’s welfare reform of 1996.” But Bill Clinton did not transform anything; it was the Republicans under the Contract with America who imposed the welfare reform of 1996 – and Bill Clinton was forced to sign the thing he subsequently took credit for.
Politico cannot stop itself from falling into blaming Republicans for their health care demonizing. But there is an admission that even before health care came up on Obama’s timetable, it was DEMOCRATS who were worried and frightened at the agenda: “There was too much disagreement among Democrats at the time over how far to go with regulation to proceed.” It would be nice if the mainstream media finally reported honestly and acknowledged that if health care doesn’t pass, it is because Democrats are worrying about their seats as an outraged electorate gets its revenge.
Another problem the Politico article glosses over is summed up in the statement: “By doing so much, so fast, Obama never sufficiently educated the public on the logic behind his policies.” But the issue isn’t that Obama never educated the public on the logic behind his policies; it’s that his policies don’t have any logic beyond the most superficial big-government liberalism that most Americans reject. Other than the argument, “This is a naked power-grab intended to secure Democrat control for perpetuity,” there simply IS no argument.
There’s another point that the Politico article glosses over that emerges from the statement: “There’s a reason things up here were built to go slowly,” said another Democratic aide.” That reason is the Constitution. We were never set up to be a fascist dictatorship or a totalitarian state disconnected from the deliberation of the people. Our founders made us to be a nation of laws, and follow a tried-and-true process that would slow us down to avoid tyranny.
But liberals have trampled on the Constitution for years. Too many leftist intellectuals regard it as the irrelevant product of a cadre of dead, white, sexist, slave-holding males. Barack Obama has derided the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you.” The Constitution becomes a problem for Obama.
We have the right to assemble, but the government is not obliged to transport us to protest sites. We have the right to speak, but the government is not required to provide us with a megaphone or a platform. The “negative liberties” allow us our basic freedoms while preserving our individual liberties and responsibilities. Obama wants to fundamentally do away with the Constitution in order to impose an entirely different system which creates a mega-state that will have innumerable duties to take care of us.
If he succeeds, the America that the founding fathers created will officially cease to exist. The nanny state isn’t in the Constitution, no matter how many penumbras and emanations liberal justices might claim to see in their crystal-ball-gazing.
As for the “death panels” being a bogus claim, do you want to know where the death panels are? They are right here:
The whole damn maze of bureaucracy is a “death panel.” Anyone who thinks that the government will be able to expand their government health care – which is already about to go bankrupt – to tens of millions more people, and save money doing it, is a fool. They are people who cannot see the facts through their ideology.
The Cloward-Piven strategy appears to be having a problem due to Barack Obama’s arrogance and unwillingness to continue to use the system to “get there” gradually.
The only question, given the massive debts Obama has already accumulated – deficits that literally are more than every president has accumulated from George Washington to George W. Bush, combined – is whether the Cloward-Piven strategy will yet have its chance to work. It might already be too late. When you look at our real national debt of more than $100 TRILLION and realize that we cannot possibly repay it, if you have any sense you should get more than a little bit concerned that our leaders simply WILL NOT control their spending.
The Democrats have an endgame: when the system collapses, the panicked people will turn to the very government that created the calamity and demand that it take care of them. And that is precisely what big government liberals have always preached.
One thing is clear: if Obama wins his “public option” in any form, it will become the anvil that broke the camel’s back.
If Obama’s “Big Bang” doesn’t go bust, America will be the one that goes bust and ends up exploding in a big bang of debt.