Arrogance Unlimited

The big political question now is how President Obama will proceed. Will he moderate or push ahead with his plans to remake the economy in his own image? I think voters are upset by both the substance of what he is pushing and the tacky methods being used.

I beg to differ with the president’s appraisal of why Massachusetts voters turned to the Republican candidate. They were angry, yes, but that anger was directed toward him and his congressional allies, not just Washington in general.

His latest attempt to appear as a “populist” is to declare that banks ought to be taxed. Now there’s a good idea: we already have a problem with money flow, so let’s now make it even harder. As many commentators have noted, this proposal is pure nonsense. All it will do is make the economy worse, thereby increasing unemployment, etc. I’m trying to figure out if he really knows that’s what will happen and he’s just making political points or whether he’s simply clueless. He comes down on the banks, but allows government entities to proceed without any checks or balances.

Then there’s healthcare. There’s always healthcare. Are you getting as weary of this subject as I am? The evidence would seem to indicate that it’s dead for now, but you never know.

An Arkansas Democratic representative announced he’s not running again for Congress. Rep. Marion Berry reported that he lost confidence in the president at a recent meeting. Those in the meeting told Obama they were concerned that a replay of 1994 might be in the offing—that was the year the Republicans took over the Congress after two disastrous Clinton years. Berry commented on Obama’s response to the concern:

“[The White House] just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’” 

That comment reveals nearly unlimited arrogance. I used to think we had reached the epitome of arrogance under Bill Clinton. His face on the Esquire cover featured here received a lot of comment at the time. The smugness was so blatant it was impossible to miss.

I’m perceiving a difference, however, between Clintonian smugness and the particular brand Obama demonstrates. I see it like this: Clinton’s arrogance was always “I can get away with anything”; Obama’s arrogance is more “I know everything and I know what’s best for you.”

I believe the president may try to sound more moderate in his upcoming speeches—the State of the Union, in particular—but I predict his policies will not change. He will not pull a Clinton and modify his goals. He’s much too sure of himself to do that. He is “right,” and he will force his way on an unappreciative people if he has to. At least, that’s what he will attempt to do.

Principled resistance can defeat that type of arrogance. Are we up to the challenge?