The Conversation

Peeling back the banana republic

In response to Obama: 'We're Not a Banana Republic' (Video):

Actually, Obama's best response to charges of banana republic government might be pointing out that he doesn't really think we're a "republic" at all.  Obama's vision of America is an all-powerful executive that "transforms" the populace with his wise policies, assisted by a vestigial rubber-stamp legislature, while a Supreme Court he's not above terrorizing watching haplessly from the sidelines.  

Mark Steyn has a great column on this topic, touching on the many ways in which Obama's America is coming to resemble the low-rent tinpot dictatorships of the planet - from the blatant political thuggery of the IRS to fiscal policy:

Still, Obama is right. We’re not a banana republic, if only because the debt of banana republics is denominated in a currency other than their own – i.e., the U.S. dollar. When you’re the guys who print the global currency, you can run up debts undreamt of by your average generalissimo. As Obama explained in another of his recent speeches, “Raising the debt ceiling, which has been done over a hundred times, does not increase our debt.” 

I won’t even pretend to know what he and his speechwriters meant by that one, but the fact that raising the debt ceiling “has been done over a hundred times” does suggest that spending more than it takes in is now a permanent feature of American government. And no one has plans to do anything about it. Which is certainly banana republic-esque.

I would also point to the total lack of accountability in the Obama regime, which really is a historic first.  Absolutely no one in this Administration is every held accountable for anything, from the Empty Chair on down to the Benghazi bumblers, Justice Department gun-runners, and IRS voter-suppression specialists.  

Incompetence is routinely offered as a defense against allegations of wrongdoing.  You can't blame the President for his complete ignorance of every scandal - he only knows what his mega-government is up to when he reads about it in the papers.  Attorney General Eric Holder doesn't read his email.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was only vaguely aware of the department she ran.  An earlier, better era would have expected to see garbage like this on letters of resignation, but instead these lame Incompetence Defenses are tossed out like caltrops to pop the tires of investigators, and drag things out until a friendly media loses interest in each story.  

The lack of an adversarial press is another defining characteristic of the banana republic.  They have no sense of historical memory, no impulse to hold the Dear Leader accountable for what he said yesterday.  Political convenience erases inconvenient rhetoric like a cold autumn breeze scattering dead leaves.  No one in the media pins Obama down and asks him to contrast his "What, me worry?" attitude toward limitless debt today with the 180-degree-different rhetoric he was dishing out when he was a Senator, angrily denouncing a Republican president's request to raise the ceiling on a vastly smaller pile of debt as a catastrophic failure of leadership.

And before the tally man comes to tally me republic bananas, let me add a deep personal pet peeve of mine: Obama is all about the "one man, one vote, one time" ethos of the sham banana-republic election.  He thinks the Constitution is an Etch-a-Sketch he can shake whenever he doesn't like what it says, but a disastrous failure of a program passed in 2010 is now an eternal feature of the landscape, a permanent alteration to the character of this nation.  We hear that from Democrats a lot.  The most absurd, counter-productive, and corrupt of their programs is supposed to endure long after the ink from the Founders' pens has faded to nothing.  A fantastically expensive Department of Education that makes education steady worse, year after year?  A Department of Energy that spends most of its time preventing people from generating energy?  An Environmental Protection Agency forced to admit that its billion-dollar programs are basically psychotherapy for global warming cultists?  That stuff's forever - you can never even dream of doing away with it..  We've got to ride insolvent programs like Social Security and Medicare into the ground like Slim Pickens riding an H-bomb.  

We can never have our freedom back, no matter how badly it has been squandered.  We never get to vote again on any issue the Left declares settled.  Not only is the sphere of American liberty diminishing, but the list of things we're allowed to vote on grows steadily shorter.  Health care?  That was settled in a midnight party-line vote after a few billion in special favors was handed out.  The banana republic has spoken.

Anyone willing to settle for that state of affairs is bananas.


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