After Barack Obama regains the presidency — a prospect that seems likelier, the more the Republican candidates slice and dice one another — we can look forward to four more years of statements such as: "You can either stand up for the oil companies, or you can stand up for the American people."
I invite attention to a statement that is remarkable for so neatly packaging together condescension, arrogance and economic brainlessness — the president's preferred operating mode (see: Obamacare and Solyndra) — and no great compliment to his fellow Democrats, either.
Obama was speaking at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire. He must have thought he had a bunch of live ones in front of him — the kind likely to give him 11 dimes in change for a one-dollar bill. The New York Times' account made no mention of any rapturous cheers that accompanied the president's tirade against practically the only manufacturing component of the U.S. economy that still pulls its weight.
The automobile industry he brags on himself for "saving" runs on the gasoline we wouldn't have at all save for the persistence and ingenuity of the same petroleum industry that, in his own mind, stands against "the American people."
Well, wait. He's got an answer for that one. It's that Americans need to embrace such industrial wonders as the battery-powered car: GM's (Don't forget how he rescued the company) Chevrolet Volt. In fact, Obama promised to buy a Volt when he leaves the White House. The trouble is, not many other people want to buy Volts. In February, GM sold 1,023 Volts, one reason, we might assume, is the price: $41,500, before a $7,500 government energy-efficiency rebate.
With this gaudy success story still on their lips, GM officials announced they were idling production of the Volt, giving 1,300 Michigan car workers an uncomfortable month-long vacation.
The Wall Street Journal quoted an auto research firm executive to the effect that "The price premium of the Volt just doesn't make economic sense for the average consumer when there are so many fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars available, typically for thousands of dollars less."
The peasants! How dare they refuse the car their president promises to buy? Don't they — can't they — understand the evils of products brought to them through, more than indirectly, the perversity of the oil companies? The voters Obama seeks to ensnare are in plentiful degree a bunch of ingrates. Why can't they thank instead of resist him?
Possibly, because in a generally free marketplace — the kind for which our president appears not really to care — people don't want to be lectured by their leaders as to the virtuousness of particular consumer choices. They tend to like making their own choices
A socialist Obama doubtless is not in the developed sense of believing government should own — outright — the means of production and distribution. On the other hand, as we know very well from observation, he has a highly developed sense of what voters ought to want. That is, if they had a lick of sense and listened to their grand and glorious leader.
Leaders who, as they see it, the public bloody well ought to listen to, have never been as common in America as in other parts of the world. Wherever they live, theirs is a nosy, often suffocating, vision of duty. Their duty is to command, ours to follow. Take it from Obama; he knows, better than we do ourselves, what's best for us. He knows, moreover, what we should do — namely, vote for him. Put more and more power in his benevolent hands, enabling him to bestow upon us the favors — e.g., compulsory federal health care — he knows we desire and require.
He knows that we depend on it. He knows something else as well: That he may be about to have another go at it, for four long years, not just because the Republicans are dolts, which many are, but because we admire him and love him. When hearing that great, melodious voice, we can't help but swoon.
Well, aren't you swooning now?!
William Murchison, author and commentator, writes from Dallas. To find out more about William Murchison, and to see columns and cartoons by other Creators Syndicate, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.