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The Reactionary Utopian
January 15, 2008

The Democrats
by Joe Sobran

Not long ago, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Hillary Clinton took charge of her own coronation. Unfortunately, it turned out to be premature. The Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire had their own ideas and withheld the crown from her.

They seem to have felt that she’d been a bit too smug a bit too long. In the Iowa caucuses she took a stunning defeat from Barack Obama, who is no longer confused with Osama bin Laden, not even by the president of the United States. She won in the New Hampshire primary, but not by the decisive margin she had hoped for: her margin of victory there was a measly, meaningless 3 per cent.

The day before the New Hampshire primary Hillary already seemed to realize that the end of her imperial dream was imminent. We should have seen it coming long ago, shouldn’t we? The midnight comics have been making Hillary jokes for ages, a notorious omen; after a year of intense exposure, I can’t think of a single Obama joke. He just hasn’t done anything to make himself risible.

Experience? Well, if sleeping with Bill Clinton counts as experience, Hillary obviously has a lot more of it than Obama.

Meanwhile, Obama has conducted himself with what I can only call a durable dignity. He makes no enemies, inspires no wisecracks, and seems not even to have any eccentricities. His mistakes have been so few and so minor that you can hardly remember them. His views are orthodox liberal, rigidly so, but he comes across as so genially moderate in his manner that nobody resents him. He avoids all the more overt mannerisms of the Left.

The Democrats have been obsessively chanting the word change. After his Iowa victory and elsewhere Obama spoke ecstatically of changing the world. The whole thing, I guess. They don’t feel it necessary to define what needs changing, or from what into what, which makes their whole debate absurd, though nobody seems to notice. I think of G.K. Chesterton’s words: “It is futile to discuss reform without reference to form.”

If we really want change, we could start by observing the U.S. Constitution, as only one candidate, Congressman Ron Paul, has proposed to do, thereby making himself a pariah to other Republicans. That way impeachment lies: a president who actually kept his oath of office would outrage nearly everyone in Washington.

A less ambitious change that would cause nearly as much consternation in both political and media circles would be to pull all U.S. military forces out of the Middle East. Paul would like to do this too, and it is hardly deniable that American involvement in that region has been extremely costly, disastrous, catastrophic, ruinous, unconstitutional, and really, really dumb.

Only Paul has kept his head and a sense of proportion during this mad political season. No matter who becomes president, the lawless superstate, which is just about everything the Framers of the Constitution meant to make impossible, will remain. (The less said about the other Republican presidential candidates, the better.)

Imagine trying to explain to George Washington or Thomas Jefferson how this country adopted such monstrous deformations as the income tax, the welfare state, nuclear weapons, and legal abortion, to name only four of the once-unthinkable evils we have come to take for granted. Would they congratulate us on having made progress, or on having improved on the original (and simple) political system they bequeathed to us?

Much has been said and written, most of it silly and quite irrelevant, about Obama’s African genes, as if they make him “black,” when of course they don’t. His speech, manners, polish, intelligence, and so on — these are the things that count, not his crude demographic profile, which is no more than a curiosity. As Joe Biden once observed (so explosively!), he is “clean.” Yes, he may be literally “African-American,” as I suppose a man born in Cairo, Tunis, or Capetown would be, but why make a big deal of that?

Has everyone forgotten the most basic things? In this country the government is supposed to be confined to the few powers and functions specified in its Constitution — such concrete things as coining (not printing) money and punishing counterfeiters.

The hysterical democratic flattery with which the news media constantly assure hoi polloi that “you decide” (as if the individual vote could make any difference now) can only demoralize anyone who grasps what is really going on. Despite the plausibility of his surface, Obama is no more genuine than the others. He believes in the falsehoods as gullibly as anyone. Pitiful fact!

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