Political writers love to make comparisons between different politicians in different times. How does X politician compare with FDR? Is the Iraq War comparable to Vietnam? Can we really call the IRS Tea Party targeting McCarthyism? Comparisons abound. And in making these lightly theorized analogies, this writer is no exception.
So here is another consideration from history to throw into the mix: If Hillary Clinton wins, and if Democrats regain Congress (the latter proposition probably won’t happen but bear with me), she will probably be quite successful in passing liberal agenda items like immigration reform, climate change legislation, new pro-Big Labor “card-check” rules, and national protections for gays and lesbians against discrimination.
But even if she isn’t as successful as proposed, we can still do a thought experiment. Suppose she get’s all the the aforementioned Democratic initiatives through (regardless of the fact that besides immigration reform they don’t work and violate constitutional liberties) and liberals still loath her like the did Lyndon Johnson.
LBJ did in two years what it took Franklin Roosevelt to do in four terms and what it would have taken John Kennedy to do in 10. He passed Medicare and Medicaid, the Civil Rights and Voting Rights and Fair Housing Rights Acts, passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, passed Pell Grants, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and opened many new federal regulatory departments and welfare programs. He also cut taxes quite a bit.
And yet, after all this, the left of his own party despised him. Yes, this was mostly because of the disastrous Vietnam War, but that can’t explain everything because the Obama administration has engaged in many more costly wars in Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. Whether it’s Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Harry Truman, or Bill Clinton, liberals are usually always willing to elect warmongers to the White House if they’ll agree to reduce economic freedom and property rights protection and increase legal plunder through income redistribution to bride voters.
But there are shining moments when the Left puts it’s government greed aside to pick candidates that are genuinely anti-war, like Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern.
Barack Obama, while many consider him in those latter two molds, is much more like JFK, and that’s not necessarily a compliment. By that comparison I mean to say he is considered to be a dove but is really hawk, but is able to portray himself as a dove and capture the imaginations of the electorate. He also did not accomplish much domestically.
His civil rights bill quickly became stalled in the Congress by segregationist Democrats and Republicans skeptical of expanding federal power.
President Kennedy created the Peace Corps, which symbolically is more important than it is actually. Another policy change, unionizing federal employees, would turn out to be fiscal disaster many decades later as we are now experiencing.
Now, as before, contrast that with the Johnson record: liberal and effective at ramming left-wing social welfare legislation through without much debate.
If elected, Hillary would be a classic warmongering hawk in the old Cold War sense. She believes in war as a “humanitarian” cause, like her failed war in Libya. But if she get’s a climate bill through passing or restricting First Amendment liberties with a campaign finance “reform” bill, that would be a liberal dream.
But she will not be loved like Obama. That does not mean she’ll suffer like LBJ. But it does mean that President Obama will defeat her all over again, only this time in the history books and in the memories of the American people.