magine a child falls down a well. Now imagine I offer to lend the parents my ladder to save her, but only if they promise to paint my house. Would you applaud me for not letting a crisis go to waste? Or would you think I'm a jerk?
I ask because I'm trying to come to terms with Rule No. 1 of the Obama administration.
In other realms of life, exploiting a crisis for your own purposes is an outrage. If a business uses a hurricane warning, for example, to price-gouge on vital supplies, it is a crime. When a liberal administration does it, it's taking advantage of a historic opportunity.
Obama's defenders respond to this argument that Obama's motives are decent, noble and pure. He wants to help the uninsured and the poorly educated. He wants to make good on his vow to halt those rising oceans.
But this is just a rationalization. Every president thinks his agenda is what's best for the country; every politician believes his motives are noble. The point is that scaring people about X in order to achieve Y is fundamentally undemocratic.
This was transparently obvious to Bush's harshest critics, who alleged that 9/11 was merely a convenient crisis for devious neocons who wanted to topple Hussein all along. But it's now clear that many of these critics simply objected to the agenda, not the alleged tactics. Now that it's their turn, they see nothing wrong with doing what they so recently condemned.
They even admit it, over and over again.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009