STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Obama Feels the Heat as Town Hall Genie Emerges
By Staff News & Analysis - August 19, 2009

Obama and Democrat Congressional leaders uncorked the bottle and the peoples' Genie is out. He's not happy, this Genie. In normal times, he sits there quietly inside the bottle. Sometimes watching. Mostly not. He finds politics boring, if not disgusting. He sat and watched in silence as the TARP bill passed. Told the sky was falling, he looked up and saw it wasn't. But he shrugged, trusting the bipartisan nature of the effort. Then, as TARP rolled out, he stood up. The bailouts plowed a furrow across his forehead; his eyebrows lowered; his gaze intensified. But he stayed inside the bottle. Along came the Stimulus Bill. Or, in the language of the big spenders, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Genie smelled the bacon through the glass bottle. He heard the squeals coming next from the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. Another stampede of pigs. Inside the bottle, the Genie leaned forward, pressing his hands and nose flat against the glass. As he watched banks and car companies yield to government control, his jaw slid up. His lips pressed tight. His breathing shortened. But he stayed inside the bottle. … The people felt powerless because they were. They had no voice that carried. The big spenders pretended to listen, but then condescendingly told the people that everything happening was for their own good. It was meant to be, they said. Doing nothing, they said, is worse. When the people protested, they were called rightwing extremists, disruptive malcontents, organized mobs, Nazis, brown shirts, and other names which they are not. In fact, they're average American citizens in a nation where nothing is average about them. On the planet, they are the most extraordinary of citizens. Calling the people names was the last straw. The Genie tipped the bottle over, put his feet against the cork, and kicked his way out. Beware of an uncorked Genie. – The American Thinker

Dominant Social Theme: The last straw?

Free-Market Analysis: This article offers an alternative narrative to the one we have supplied – that it is the Internet and the explosion of non-mainstream media information that has led to US anti-healthcare town halls. And there is a reason for that in our humble opinion, as the article is posted on American Thinker, which is a conservative site. Conservative beliefs as defined by those who speak for American conservatives (Rush Limbaugh comes to mind) involve a series of free-market convictions married to support of a strong law-and-order environment and an aggressive military focused on defending freedoms.

Coming from this perspective, it is fairly clear why the American Thinker would end up with this analysis. Locked into a conservative versus liberal approach, the American Thinker and other such Internet publications will naturally arrive at the conclusion that it is the radical behavior of the leftist liberal element in the United States that have "let the genie out of the bottle." Here's some more from the article excerpted above:

Obama and the Democrat Congressional leadership let the Genie out of the bottle. It was an unintended consequence of their crass and heavy-handed methods of leadership. They forgot, if they ever knew, that Americans can be led, but they cannot be herded.

Obama and Friends thought it possible to ride roughshod over the Genie's people. They remembered the swooning crowds seduced by the oratorical skills of their leader. They assumed his charisma would carry the day, again. The people would fold and comply, even if they might not commit. And, for those who would not fold easily, there was always the muscle mustered from Obama's acolytes and allies. There was always the hype served up on demand by the old media. There was always the cumulative ridicule and name-calling spit from the lips of their Party leaders. These things would deflect the people's skepticism and temper their anger. So they thought.

They were wrong. All these things did was make the people angrier and harden their determination to be heard, and more – to be heeded.

One young woman at a town hall meeting said that, for the first time in her life, she was taking politics seriously because so much is at stake. Her freedoms mostly. Her children's future, too. She said the effort to force the healthcare bill on the people "had awakened a sleeping giant." She could have ended her sentence with the words Admiral Isoraku Yamamoto spoke after the Japanese attacked on Pearl Harbor: "I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

As we have indicated, we disagree with this reasoning. We don't think it was simply one bad Democratic decision after another that has awakened the American sleeping giant. We think it is part and parcel of the Internet information era. Bill Clinton was the first president to be faced with the challenge of the Internet and an argument could be made that the information available on the ‘Net eventually defined his presidency. George Bush was the next Internet president and any argument that his administration did not suffer from the steady drip of information onto the Internet is fairly risible. The information available on the Internet about Bush's various policy decisions, military adventures and spending decrees, resulted in a virtual route of the Republican party in 2008.

Obama, it can be said, won because he had the good sense to appeal to Americans as the first real Internet-savvy presidential candidate, someone who had stepped beyond the right/left arguments of the day. He won as a post-political president. The trouble has arisen because he is now governing as a pre-Internet Democrat.

Seen from this perspective a different analysis emerges than the one "conservative" Internet sites propose. This admittedly technological perspective holds that both the Democratic and Republican approaches to governance have been fairly well discredited in the past decades. Obama, who promised a kind of post-Internet presidency, has perhaps put paid to the paradigm. It is true that Conservative Republicans are already trumpeting a come back of a differently branded conservative party. But we wonder if this is optimistic thinking.

We think it is hard to make a case that there is a consistent "conservative" position. First of all, conservatives have little in the way of historical justification. Classical liberalism harkens back to Greek city states and then forward through the Roman Republic, the Italian Renaissance and the American republic. It is republicanism (classical liberalism) that has a 3,000 year old pedigree. We find conservatism first emerging about 300 years ago in Britain, and even then (and now) it is a mostly ill-defined sociopolitical concept.

Republicanism on the hand is quite well defined. Republicanism is what animated the United States and the British evolution toward the Magna Charta. Republicanism, especially as defined by the US Constitution, calls for a minimalist government with minimal taxes utilizing a peoples' militia for self-defense. The American and British conservative movements that claim to partake of republicanism have little of this libertarian modesty.

Conservativism in this guise has more to do with an aggressive and large military, an aggressive domestic intelligence effort and a generalized belief that the state must be dramatically armed against civil disobedience. The tension between this sort of conservatism – which costs trillions – and the republicanism of the American founding fathers can be seen clearly when described this way.

We believe that the town hall protests probably mark another step forward in the American reclamation of its exceptional republican status. We do not see these town hall meetings as merely the outpourings of American citizens that are sick of Democratic incursions on their freedoms. The Bush incursions were of a similar nature, after all. No, what has changed in our opinion is that the conversation is evolving and the monetary elite that has reshaped the American political system over time is gradually losing control of the dialogue.

After Thoughts

As we have stated before, this sort of evolution makes us hopeful about the evolution of the town hall movement. We believe sooner or later it will extend to American foreign policy generally, to an examination of the American – and Western – military industrial complex and to a reshaping of the American – and Western – financial economy, including its central banking orientation. A market-based metals standard is not out of the question, given these developments.

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