In the previous post, I speculated about the coming of "Obama Nation" -- if President Barack Obama's transformational, liberal dream comes true during his years in the White House.
Now, I want to look at the alternative. What if the next few years reflect the expectations and predictions -- "Obamanation" -- of his conservative critics?
There's no shortage of naysayers; and not all of them are hard-line ideologues. Certainly conservative politicos and analysts still cringe at Obama's liberalism; a surprising number of critics caution that he's promising more than he, his party, and even government can deliver; and others worry that he is making a tough road tougher -- both domestically and internationally -- for an already bedraggled America.
Now, let's get into public expressions of concern about Barack Obama and the future of American democracy.
Lingering Opposition to Obama's Vision.
Let's begin with the dour views of partisan warriors prior to Obama's reelection.
Jerome Corsi, a Harvard educated author and persistent critic, predicted during Obama's 2008 campaign that he will leave America weak and divided because of his allegiance to failed liberal policies of the past half-century (The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality):
Obama's radical leftist politics, driven by the cult of personality that he has manufactured, would be an abomination, in that the result of those policies would be to lead the United States in a costly and self-destructive direction.
Similar warnings were expressed by a Newt Gingrich Super PAC during the 2012 campaign:
Take a glimpse into the darkness of Obama's America in 2016. High unemployment. Record high gas prices. The Middle East in chaos. Religion on the run. Record debt levels. America downsized. America downgraded. It's Obama's plan. No American can afford to sit this election out.
Dinesh D'Souza, one of the most prominent and harshest critics, couched his analysis within a dismal historical framework (Obama's America: Unmaking the American Dream):
A future historian, contemplating the American era, might express surprise that a nation so young and robust, a nation whose power and prosperity was without rival in the history of the world, lost its preeminence so quickly ... Ultimately, history may show, this fall was achieved purposively, single-handedly. It was all achieved by one man, a man who in two presidential terms undid a dream that took more than two centuries to realize ... Obama is not merely the presiding instrument of American decline, he is the architect of American decline.
Warnings From Abroad.
Particularly surprising and biting were negative previews from outside critics.
Nile Gardiner, a conservative British commentator and former Margaret Thatcher aide, argues that Obama's aim is to transform the United States into a European-style social democracy. Instead of hope, he says, Obama offers "only the heavy fist of government intervention, rising taxes, increasing poverty and welfare dependency, and an increasingly bitter, angry and insular White House.
Canadian Conrad Black, a controversial publisher and author, likewise pulled no punches in his critique of a second-term Obama administration:
For the first time a combination of non-white minorities and whites who are invested personally, either emotionally or more often for tangible reasons, in the redistributive side of the political civil war between advocates of growth and of direct transfers of resources from those who have earned them (or inherited from those who did) to those who haven't (regardless of mitigating circumstances), has eked out a clear victory. If American politics continues along these lines, the social strains, piled onto the funeral pyre of the national accounts, will put the fate of what has long been the world's greatest nation in acute doubt.
A Nation Divided by Hopes and Fears.
The anti-Obama sentiments and analyses presented here and the pro-Obama declarations in my previous discussion demonstrate very clearly that America is divided in its hopes and fears regarding our re-elected president and his political agenda.
Obviously, Barack Obama's practical politicking has critical ramifications for the future of our Great Experiment. "Obama Nation" (or "Obamanation") will impact the functioning elements of American democracy, i.e., the people, politics, and government. But, even more importantly, the president's combined partisan politics/transformational ambitions likely will alter the broader systemic environment and operations whereby these functional elements historically have conducted American democracy. So his legacy second term could determine the nature, and quite possibly the survival of our national experiment in democratic ideals.
In my next post, I will try to summarize Barack Obama's mixed legacy so far.
Author's Note: This post is part of a series of discussions about "Election 2012, Barack Obama, and the future of American democracy." This series includes edited, updated material from my book, The Future of American Democracy: A Former Congressman's Unconventional Analysis (2002). I'm grateful to University Press of America for allowing me to borrow from that publication for my discussions on Huffington Post.