Fred LaSor: Hope and change after six years

When Barack Obama was inaugurated in 2009 it was understood the majority of Americans who went to the polls had voted for change. What type of change was not well defined — we just knew we were to experience a “fundamental transformation” in America during the coming four or eight years.

Three-quarters into Obama’s two terms we can better understand this transformation: a large power shift away from individual initiative and toward statism, continuation of crippling economic policies with only the barest hint of recovery, a foreign policy that has allies wondering about our friendship and adversaries doubting our resolve, a major move away from Judeo-Christian values and toward a coarser and more libertine society, a more confrontational atmosphere in our domestic race relations, and significant growth in the number of people who depend on government for sustenance.

We will never know how many Obama voters would have supported him had they foreseen where America would be after his time in office. A smaller number, I’ll bet. This is not to say he was elected under false premises, rather that his campaign was exceedingly vague and he was elected in part by new voters enticed by promises of government “gifts” from his administration.

The Democrat party now has a policy precedent that’s impossible to follow. They have promised free healthcare, free college education, extended unemployment benefits, expanded Medicaid, free cell phones, racism with no consequences, government-paid abortions, climate change as a national security issue, and open borders to people who won’t wait out the legal process, just to name part of the platform. What more could they offer? And how will we pay for it?

We have already seen potential Democrat campaign themes. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a Socialist who votes with the Democrats, wants more free government handouts under the guise of “redistribution” paid for by a huge reduction in our military. That will not reassure doubting allies like Japan or Korea who have long depended on our military umbrella.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who says she’s not running but has major supporters and the White House urging her on, has promised to go after large corporations and banks to pay for more social services for middle class Americans. Her claim to fame is the expression “you didn’t build that,” repeated shortly thereafter in clumsier fashion by Barack Obama.

And New York Senator Hillary Clinton, slow to stake out an electoral strategy other than her gender, has also spoken out against “fat cat bankers.” That’s an interesting formulation given the amount of money those same bankers have lavished on her.

No matter what you think of former Republican candidate Mitt Romney it’s hard to argue with his unscripted statement 47 percent of voters would support the Democrats because they have come to depend on government support in our tepid economy. What he implied without precisely saying it is this dependency is economically unsustainable and corrosive to American private enterprise.

President Obama will not have to pay the piper because the bill will come due after he will leave office. Future elected officials will be left to pick up the pieces. The class envy fostered by Democrat candidates will not pay the huge deficit Obama has incurred. Hope and change won’t either: it’s a slogan, not a policy.

Our next president needs to do more than attack success. He or she needs to restore America’s can-do attitude and stop encouraging dependency. And voters need to be more discerning — a tall order for people who can’t find a decent job.

Fred LaSor is a retired Foreign Service Officer living in Minden.


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