by Patrick J. Buchanan
As Americans render what Catholics call temporal judgment on George Bush, are they aware of the radical course correction they are about to make?
This center-right country is about to vastly strengthen a liberal Congress whose approval rating is 10 percent and implant in Washington a regime further to the left than any in U.S. history. Consider.
As of today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco Democrat, anticipates gains of 15-30 seats. Sen. Harry Reid, whose partisanship grates even on many in his own party, may see his caucus expand to a filibuster-proof majority where he can ignore Republican dissent.
Headed for the White House is the most left-wing member of the Senate, according to the National Journal. To the vice president’s mansion is headed Joe Biden, third most liberal as ranked by the National Journal, ahead of No. 4, Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders.
What will this mean to America? An administration that is either at war with its base or at war with the nation.
America may desperately desire to close the book on the Bush presidency. Yet there is, as of now, no hard evidence it has embraced Obama, his ideology, or agenda. Indeed, his campaign testifies, by its policy shifts, that it is fully aware the nation is still resisting the idea of an Obama presidency.
In the later primaries, even as a panicked media were demanding that Hillary drop out of the race, she consistently routed Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania and crushed him in West Virginia and Kentucky.
By April and May, the Democratic Party was manifesting all the symptoms of buyer’s remorse over how it had voted in January and February.
Obama’s convention put him eight points up. But, as soon as America heard Sarah Palin in St. Paul, the Republicans shot up 10 points and seemed headed for victory.
What brought about the Obama-Biden resurgence was nothing Obama and Biden did, but the mid-September crash of Fannie, Freddie, Lehman Brothers, AIG, the stock market, where $4 trillion was wiped out, the $700 billion bailout of Wall Street that enraged Middle America — and John McCain’s classically inept handling of the crisis.
In short, Obama has still not closed the sale. Every time America takes a second look at him, it has second thoughts, and backs away.
Even after the media have mocked and pilloried Palin and ceded Obama and Biden victory in all four debates, the nation, according to Gallup, is slowly moving back toward the Republican ticket.
Moreover, Obama knows Middle America harbors deep suspicions of him. Thus, he has jettisoned the rhetoric about the “fierce urgency of now,” and “We are the people we’ve been waiting for,” even as he has jettisoned position after position to make himself acceptable.
His “flip-flops” testify most convincingly to the fact that Obama knows that where he comes from is far outside the American mainstream. For what are flip-flops other than concessions that a position is untenable and must be abandoned?
Flip-flopping reveals the prime meridian of presidential politics. If an analyst will collate all the positions to which all the candidates move, he will find himself close to the true center of national politics.
Thus, though he is the nominee of a party that is in thrall to the environmental movement, Obama has signaled conditional support for offshore drilling and pumping out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
While holding to his pledge for a pullout of combat brigades from Iraq in 16 months, he has talked of “refining” his position and of a residual U.S. force to train the Iraqi Army and deal with Al Qaeda.
On Afghanistan, he has called for 10,000 more troops and U.S. strikes in Pakistan to kill Bin Laden, even without prior notice or the permission of the Pakistani government.
Since securing the nomination, Obama has adopted the Scalia position on the death penalty for child rape and the right to keep a handgun in the home. He voted to give the telecoms immunity from prosecution for colluding in Bush wiretaps. This onetime sympathizer of the Palestinians now does a passable imitation of Ariel Sharon.
No Democrat has ever come out of the far left of his party to win the presidency. McGovern, the furthest left, stayed true to his convictions and lost 49 states.
Obama has chosen another course. Though he comes out of the McGovern-Jesse Jackson left, he has shed past positions like support for partial birth abortion as fast as he has shed past associations, from William Ayers to ACORN, from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to his fellow parishioners at Trinity United.
One question remains: Will a President Obama, with his party in absolute control of both Houses, revert to the politics and policies of the Left that brought him the nomination, or resist his ex-comrades’ demands that he seize the hour and impose the agenda ACORN, Ayers, Jesse, and Wright have long dreamed of?
Whichever way he decides, he will be at war with them, or at war with us. If Barack wins, a backlash is coming.