On Meet the Press today the guests on the roundtable were Marc Morial, Tom Friedman, Kathleen Parker and Tom Brokaw. They discussed the economic, military, foreign policy and political issues of this year. There was a lot of discussion about Obama's performance and the challenges facing him in 2012. Kathleen Parker, the token Righty, describes herself as slightly to the right of center, and Thomas Friedman placed the majority of Americans in the space slightly left and right of center, in other words, they pretty much agreed that Centrism is the major political space in America. Marc Morial didn't indicate if he believed this, but the rest appear to see Centrism as the moving force.
Modern liberalism/progressivism has met a wall, and the panel discussed this -- there is a growing distrust of Big Government. Obama's grand progressive vision was met with resistance to Big Government solutions. The 2012 election will, in large part, be about the role of government in the 21st century. Through the years when modern liberalism has met resistance, it's movers and shakers have relied on obscurantism, and 2012 will be no different. It's easy to see the strategy. Brokaw and Friedman and Morial spoke glowingly of public/private partnerships, and how efficient private partnership with government can get Big Things done. They all implied that Obama has to go big with solutions to our economic problems and the social problem of inequality, plus, Obama has to find a way to compete with China internationally for leadership position in the global economy. This all sets the stage for more Big Government solutions at home and more State capitalist solutions abroad, all under the disguise of bringing the private sector in to help. This strategy can only strengthen government/corporate enmeshment and all the cronyism that goes along with it.
Our problems were not caused, as Marc Morial proposed, by huge tax cuts and too much captialism -- our problems have been caused mostly by government control of the economy and the misdirection of capital. What the Meet the Press crowd is recommending is the same old statist path that got in this mess, just more of it -- they only want to provide a figleaf of New Nationalism in which the American people are brought on board as cheerleaders and willing sacrificial lambs. Modern liberals say we're all in it together, and if we trust our leaders to call on the help of the private sector, we can get out together. The result will be more fairness and a stronger, more efficient State.
Friedman and Brokaw praised Obama for his foreign policy accomplishments, although they did say that the full stoy on Iraq and Iran hasn't been told. Morial was less confident regarding our foreign policy accomplishments, asking what we've gained in Iraq after all the deaths and the costs. The narrative that Obama has been successful in foreign policy is probably the most troubling narrative going into 2012. Our interventions in the mideast, war talk regarding Iran, our operations in Libya, our destructive use of drones, our precarious dealings with Pakistan, civil liberty violations regarding the power to kill America citizens or detain Americans indefinitely without a trial -- all this presents an entanglement in the mideast that's draining us of resources and wasting the lives of good men and women in the military. Iraq can implode any minute, Libya will likely be as bad or worse than under Qaddafi, Egypt is falling under the control of tyrannical Islamists, Pakistan is a powder keg, Afghanistan is a morass of corruption, and US hawks are building up to a war with Iran. Oh, but we shot a decrepit, old, impotent man holed up in a dump, Osama bin Laden, in the eye, so let's have a parade.
Let's elect Obama to another 4 years of security and safety, and this time he'll Go Big. I don't think so.