“The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men.” Samuel Adams
Monday evening will mark not just the final debate between two men on the nation’s stage prior to the election, but the final real-time clash of two very different visions. On the one hand we have something approximating the advancement of the individual over the state and the proposition that free men, free minds, and free markets are to be preferred to a central authority that bleeds the citizen of his resources and, in return, orders him about as if he were born with a ring through his nose. On the other hand we have a philosophy which says that the very idea of individual sovereignty has been anachronized by the (empirically discredited) collectivist fads and dogma of the last century.
That this debate will take place in the arena of foreign policey is fortunate for Governor Romney. There’s not a better platform upon which to build the case for the basic function of government, which is to keep its citizens alive and free, than that of foreign policy. For when the nominal leader of the free world characterizes the coordinated attack and murder of an American Ambassador and his staff as, “a bump in the road,” or “not optimal,” he has departed the sweaty world of flesh, blood and death, and has fluttered up to the world of the perpetual faculty lounge where theories have no consequence. Fine. Let him stay up there. We’ll build him a golf course. Meanwhile, on planet earth, the security and freedom of the American citizen depends on American strength and resolve, not inchoate and vacuous mumblings about leading from behind.
Recall if you will, the weeks and months immediately after his inauguration when Barack Obama talked, and lectured, and promised, and cajoled, and discussed a veritable galaxy of initiatives. His agenda was well known. In fact, he wouldn’t shut up about it. Every time the television was on, there he was, and when the television was off it seemed an imprint of his image remained. There was no facet of American life that could escape that man’s attentions. And there was no meaningful opposition to his agenda since he controlled both houses of Congress.
He got what he wanted and then he gave it to us, whether we wanted it or not. Now, with the mideast in flames, our diplomats under attack, our embassies under siege, our troops murdered by the very people they are training even as the published date for our retreat from Afghanistan draws near, where is our leadership? Making small talk on The Daily Show? Providing “eye candy” on The View? Last week, Vice President Biden stopped laughing long enough to announce that we had imposed “crippling sanctions” on Iran, yet this crippled nation is tap dancing like Fred Astaire toward nuclear weapons.
What is Barack Obama’s second term national security agenda, aside from gutting our military? Why is the most transparent President in history so transparently muted? Why did he feel it necessary to say in hushed tones to Russian President Medvedev, when he thought the microphones were off, that, “After my election, I have more flexibility”? Flexibility to do what, exactly? The most transparent President in history won’t tell us. Why have those Presidential vocal cords, that kept going with all the incessant clamor of the Energizer Bunny four years ago, suddenly gone quiet when it comes to his intentions?
The answer is that the results of his agenda are already unfolding around us and, if his lips were to frame an agenda of further weakness, further capitulation, the further emasculation of a super power, it might scare away what remaining true believers he still has. Because the truth is that American weakness, a dead Ambassador, a nuclear Iran, an America incapable of defending itself, …these are all just bumps in the road to this President. Whimpering like a whipped puppy for two weeks about a stupid video after a coordinated Al Qaeda attack? A mere bump in the road. Throwing freedom of speech out the window with the arrest of the video’s creator? Another bump in the road. The dismantling of missile defenses even as our enemies develop more missiles? Still another bump. Crippling our military? A big bump, yes, but a bump nonetheless. While we had hoped he would change, Barack Obama’s impervious pursuit of American decline continues apace, and the unsightly truth is that the road is now so full of bumps that it qualifies for stimulus funds and several truckloads of those stupid orange barrels. But that’s the price of going Forward, right?
Yes, this is the time, and this debate is the setting, to press home the point that any governing philosophy which leaves the citizen vulnerable to attack from abroad while subservient to the whims of central planners at home, is antithetical to the American idea. Liberty is not an anachronism, and strength is not immoral. Let Obama take his place beside Chamberlain and Carter, and with all those pitiful souls who howled their disreputable protests even as Ronald Reagan went about the business of defeating the Soviet Union. Let him repair to the faculty lounge, where ideas discredited by history can waft about like so much greenhouse gas without hurting anyone. The rest of us have work to do. The Founders didn’t pledge their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to secure the subjugation of a great nation.