I never thought I’d find myself writing that I expect Barack Obama to be elected President but, unless his slip about “spreading the wealth” causes voters to realize that he is a thoroughgoing Marxist masquerading as a center-leftist, that is what is going to happen. Already, some commentators are beginning to contemplate what an Obama Presidency aligned with a Democratic Congress could mean. The Wall Street Journal opines in A Liberal Supermajority that profound changes of the New Deal or Great Society variety could be in the offing. Indeed. The article frets about a “filibuster-proof” Senate but it fails to understand that the filibuster is no longer a reliable check on the majority Party.
Back in 2005, I criticized the GOP for “strategic ineptitude” when it proposed the “nuclear” or “constitutional” option to eliminate judicial filibusters. Quoting from my conclusion:
The Democrats wanted to eliminate the filibuster in 1995 before it became a useful tool for them. Now that the GOP has shown how easy it would be to change the Senate rules, the filibuster has become a dead man walking that can be executed anytime a simple majority of Senators has the political will to do it. By not following through the GOP has invited the Democrats to eliminate the filibuster when it will favor them.”
In fact, if the Democrats have 50 Senators (plus Joe Biden for a tie-break) to change the rules and eliminate the filibuster rule then they can do so. Moreover, they need not limit it to judicial appointments.
Eliminating the filibuster brings on all of the dire consequences listed in the WSJ article but the article only scratches the surface of what is possible. It is probably the case that most of the proposals would pass constitutional muster given stare decisis and three generations of leftward drift in constitutional jurisprudence. However, I think it is possible that the so-called Fairness Doctrine might no longer find favor with the 4 conservative justices plus semi-conservative Anthony Kennedy. No worries. Obama & Co. merely resurrect FDR’s Court packing idea.
The Constitution doesn’t specify a number of Supreme Court Justices. Article III, in fact, only requires that a Supreme Court be created. (The composition, organization, and even the existence of lower Courts are completely at the discretion of Congress.) Accordingly, President Obama and the Democrats could decide to add 4 Justices. These 4 would be in their mid-to-late 30’s and the most radical, living-document ideologues available in left-wing academia. Unconstrained by the ridiculous doctrine of stare decisis (I happen to agree about stare decisis), they can overturn Heller and any other troublesome impediment to our Glorious Leader’s vision.
Obviously, if there is sufficient public outcry, these things won’t happen. However, if Obama and the Democrats are given what appears to be a mandate for change, expect that it will be exploited. The Democratic leadership of Congress is very left-wing so everything will hinge on the ideological composition of the House and Senate Democrats – especially the latter – as well as the power of the Democratic leadership. Exploiting economic fears of the general public can make it much easier to achieve pliancy from the blue dogs so don’t underestimate what is possible.
We already know that Obama’s vision includes things like compulsory service. Any argument for compulsory non-military service would apply to military service for reasons of fairness and equity, if nothing else. The system would probably allow citizens to choose between military or peaceful domestic service. Charles Rangel and other Democrats have been pushing for a military draft for years so it already has support. The unstated reason for bringing back the draft is that the volunteer Army is ideologically conservative and combat units are disproportionately white and from “red states”. An organization that overwhelmingly votes Republican and probably takes its oath to defend the Constitution seriously might take action against a Marxist putsch and, therefore, has to be neutered.
Assuring a permanent Democratic-socialist majority would also entail rigid control of the internet. Hillary and others have tried to do this before on the pretext of protecting minors from violence and porn. The new Supreme Court will let nearly any regulation of internet speech stand and that will make an enhanced version of campaign finance regulation that applies to the internet easy to enact.
Of course, at any point, a couple of million dedicated citizens could go to D.C., filling the streets and shutting down the federal government by peaceful means. My view is that the citizenry is far too decadent to do anything so the radical changes I’ve posited will not be effectively resisted when peaceful means would suffice. No, the people most likely to fill the streets are the “worst [who] are full of passionate intensity” – the Marxist and eco-fascist zealots.
Madison said, “Oppressors can tyrannize only when they achieve a standing army, an enslaved press, and a disarmed populace.” The press is largely enslaved (if that’s the term for willing tools) already and Barack & Co. can complete the process as indicated above. The standing army exists but, like the press, can be made politically reliable or, at least, no threat to the government. That leaves the armed populace. If I am right that a worst case scenario doesn’t initially generate massive peaceful demonstrations, what is the likelihood that people will actually risk their lives when the disarming process starts?
Do I think my worst case scenario will come to pass? Probably not – that’s why it is a “worst case” - but it is more likely than most people realize. The thing to keep in mind is that the unstated reasons for the policies I’ve mentioned need not be in the minds of most or even any of the people who enact them, including Obama, who is neither particularly smart nor any sort of strategic thinker. As with any other system, a feature in a political system that serves one purpose can have other purposes as well.
Anyone who has been paying attention should be aware that Barack Obama is a radical Marxist with a hypertrophied ego. He could easily become the thing the Founders most feared: a cult-of-personality leader and a Caesar - a U.S. version of Hugo Chavez. The only question that remains is will he be given the power?