It seems that Ryan isn’t the only person asking what exactly Senator Obama wants to do to America. Last week, Hugh Hewitt latched on to the rather daft-sounding response Obama gave to a child who asked him why he wanted to be President: “America” said he “is, uh, is no longer, uh, what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, ‘I don’t want that future for my children.’” But what does he mean by that? Presumably he is not yearning to restore the days of conservative morals, Christian cultural preeminence and judicial restraint. The most natural thought is that he didn’t actually mean anything at all, that he just thought it sounded like the right thing to say. But Hewitt attempts the thought experiment of taking him seriously and comes to an ominous conclusion:
Rather than simply assume that Obama is unable to survive untethered to a teleprompter, we have to at least consider that Obama meant what he said, and that he genuinely believes the country to be not only badly broken, but unmoored from its essential nature: “No longer what it could be. What it once was.” It is the sort of critique that cannot be classified with a simple rejection of George Bush and his policies or even of the general conservative direction the country has been moving in since 1968 and especially since 1980.
Obama’s verdict—delivered in a few words to a very young American—is that America has gone radically wrong.
And that it will require radical change.
Perhaps we had an unscripted moment of candor, a declaration from the most radical nominee of a major party in history that he is not about a gentle turning towards the left, or even a major shift in legislative priorities or security policy.
Let’s take Obama at his word to a child: If he is elected, Obama sees his job as reshaping America in a fundamental way.
In a radical way.
My instinct is to call this overwrought partisan alarmism that overrates Obama’s political imagination and underrates his prudence, but it would be foolish to overlook the possibility that he could, as President, so completely buy into his own hype to try to reshape America. Democratic process being what it is, he would almost certainly fail. But the attempt could cost us dearly.