America has been moving down this path for several decades now. Leftists have acquired a stranglehold on many of the influential organs of culture and education (movies, television, publishing, the arts, charitable foundations, the schools, universities, mainline protestant religious denominations, private sector unions, civil rights organizations, environmental and conservation groups, old line news publications, tv news, and public sector unions). Obama's presidency has been a four year journey to solidify as much of their goals as possible.
To understand how Obama thinks and how his actions and rhetoric are consistent with these goals, I urge you to read this four part series prepared by a New York lawyer who was educated at Harvard Law just after Obama. In Part I he describes the essential difference between corporatist collectivism and traditional socialism:
The crucial distinction between corporatism and socialism is that socialism demands public ownership and operation of businesses and other major institutions, whereas corporatism tolerates private ownership while insinuating pervasive government control.
If the natural enemy of the collectivist system in general is the free individual, the natural enemy of the corporatist system is the free institution - the private business (from small businesses to large corporations), the free church, the independent trade union, the private civic or charitable organization (e.g., the Boy Scouts), the private hospital, the homeowner's association or neighborhood watch, the unregulated newspaper, TV channel or political action committee - in short, any way in which individuals can associate with each other or participate in the life of their communities without the intermediation of government telling them how to do so. ... Corporatist systems do not seek the abolition of these institutions - the fascists, unlike the Communists, did not reflexively ban Christian churches or private corporations - but rather to co-opt, compromise and control them, to ensure that a combination of financial enticements and regulations saps them of their independence from the state. The same impulse, in the American federal system, extends even to the independence of state and local governments; as long as things like health and education are the province of many and varied governments, corporatist systems fear that they will not be able to impose their policies universally and must contend with competition from approaches that may prove more attractive in practice.In Part II he compiles a long list of examples of the ideology and rhetoric of Barack Obama that demonstrates how committed Obama and his allies are to this world view. The post is long, but must reading.
Barack Obama is well-known for his polished oratory, his delivery off a TelePrompter of carefully prepared and vetted speeches. Unsurprisingly, these prepared texts generally seek to cast his ideas and programs as consistent with the American traditions of free enterprise, free markets, free people and free institutions. But there is a long history of mostly unscripted statements from Obama and his wife Michelle - which I supplement here with just a few choice examples from the party he commands - that reveal a consistent strain of his thinking that is hostile to private business and the private sector, favorable to redistribution of wealth, and collectivist in worldview. Together, they illustrate the rationalizations behind Obama's policies.(my emphasis). Read it all.
In Part III he examines the stimulus, the bailouts and Obamacare and demonstrates how each of these fits into Obama's corporatist/collectivist ideology. Again, must reading.
"The stimulus, bailouts and Obamacare are the most egregious and well-known examples of the corporatist tendencies in Obama's policy portfolio. But there numerous others." .And in Part IV he discusses some of them -- entitlement reform, education policy, labor policy, student loans, housing and suburbs, the BP shakedown, the defense sequester, and the Warn Act.
As I noted at the outset, corporatist tendencies are on some level unavoidable in modern government, and certainly the Republican party at both the national and state levels has engaged in corporatist excesses at times. A major part of the Tea Party movement has been about combatting that within the GOP. But the Tea Party has a constituency within the GOP because its mission is consistent with the opposition to collectivism and reduction in government interference in the economy that is necessary to pare back corporatism. Democrats may conduct sporadic fights against the surface corruption, but always come back to expanding the underlying system that produces it.
The pattern of behavior laid out above really only scratches the surface of the Administration's record - I'm not even touching here on complex areas like telecom and tech policy, or the status of other entities trapped either temporarily (like GM) or permanently in semi-public limbo, neither free private companies nor totally public - Amtrak, the Postal Service, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, etc. That pattern may look, at first glance, inconsistent. How can Obama be hostile to private enterprise, yet in bed with big business? Why is he sometimes operating through private companies, and sometimes through direct government action? But the point of a corporatist system is to retain governmental control, through private entities if possible, through government action if necessary. The more private businesses and semi-private "public private partnerships" are kept off-balance and wondering whose honey pot will be taken away next, the more incentive they have to keep donating, keep playing ball, and keep their objections to themselves. It's a highly sophisticated system, honed by years of experience in the operation of political machines, and it inevitably, quietly politicizes everything while stifling public dissent as it does so.
The Obama Administration's embrace of collectivism and corporatism at the expense of individual economic liberty, free markets and free institutions has been on a level unprecedented in the United States since at least the mid-1930s. This is not mere run-of-the-mill liberalism, much less "moderate" Democratic policy; it is a pattern and practice of undermining all the bulwarks we possess against thoroughgoing national politicization of the entire economy. Its defeat is the necessary first step in reclaiming space for free individuals, private enterprise, and the free associations that make up our communities - the American way of life.