Monday, 4 July 2011

Obama Gets It: It's the Morality, Stupid

Guest post by Jeff Perren

Like most shrewd Democrats, one reason Obama,usually wipes the floors with Republicans is that he unashamedly defends his positions from a moral point of view.

In another biased editorial masquerading as a news report, the LA Times lays out this one gem:
"This is not just a numbers debate," Obama said Thursday in Philadelphia. "This is a values debate."
Would that the Republican leadership understood that – and had the courage to fight back the right way.

Instead of endlessly talking about jobs, haggling over deficit reduction numbers and the like, Republicans should be talking about what the Federal government should and should not be doing. Mostly the latter.
They'll only make substantial progress when they're willing to declare, as even the generally head-and-shoulders-above Rep. Ryan does not, an important moral truth: that Social Security and Medicare aren't just absurdly expensive, they're morally wrong.

No rational moral argument could justify taking from some citizens to support others, particularly at the Federal level. No taxpayer in Illinois has the moral obligation to support another in Idaho, no matter how much I might need it. Theft is considered wrong in almost every moral code adopted in the past 2,500 years.

While Progressives sometimes lose debates over economics, they've been winning the culture war for a long time, and will continue to win because of this very reason. Only if — and it's a very big if — Republicans will confidently come out in favor of self-reliance as a moral imperative, and in favor of charity as a marginal, personal matter, only then will the welfare state get significantly shrunk.

No, I'm not holding my breath, either.


  1. What a strange post!

    Firstly Obama is in no way shape or form "wiping the floor" with Republicans. He is losing the debate and losing badly, because people are looking at Greece and realise that Obama is sending them there.

    Secondly, the GOP are fighting Obama on values - the value that it is morally wrong to spend more than you earn. It's simple and direct and unlike Perren's suggestions needs very little explanation.

    I agree that there should be more debate about what the Federal government should and shouldn't do, but the idea that the Republicans are losing the debate because they aren't talking about it is nonsense. Obama is in deep trouble, and the only reason he is not even less popular is that the media are absolutely fawning over him.

  2. Blair,

    Thanks for your comment.

    But think back.

    It's true that Obama is under fire and that the media are covering for him. But his poll numbers are still in the mid to high 40s.

    And, can you think of a single major initiative he has lost?

    ObamaCare waivers, Gulf oil permits, the action against Boeing, and on and on. No one in the Republican leadership is noting all this illegal activity.

    Yes, the Republicans are talking about how we should not spend more than we take in. But that's the whole point of my post. They talk only about money and agree with him that the social safety net - i.e. the welfare state - should be preserved.

    Obama may be losing the moral debate in your and my eyes, and many conservatives. But with the broader general public? I don't see much objective evidence of that.

  3. I listen to the debates on NPR quite often ( and find the same thing i.e. the side defending the libertarian position will not make a moral case.
    Their arguements end up being as unconvincing as the other side.

  4. I listen to the debates on NPR quite.
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