An April 14 op-ed by Norman J. Ornstein, "The great 'socialist' smear," argued that to those "outside the partisan and ideological wars," it is "bizarre" to accuse the Obama administration of "radicalism, socialism, retreat and surrender." I was among those he cited, for having called Barack Obama "the most radical president in American history" and describing the goals of the left and its methods of operation as a "secular-socialist machine."
In fact, Ornstein has it exactly backward. It is only from the perspective of the cultural elite that the left-wing governing of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team could be seen as moderate.
Arthur Brooks, who is the president of the American Enterprise Institute (where Ornstein and I both serve), has analyzed years of Gallup data to show that America is largely (70-30) a center-right country. Polling by American Solutions, a citizen action network I founded in 2007, shows that on issues such as producing more American energy, cutting taxes to create jobs, balancing the budget by cutting spending, English as the language of government, and more, Americans oppose the views of academic elites by 75 to 85 percent. And a recent New York Times/CBS News poll showed that 52 percent of Americans think the Obama administration's actions are leading America more toward socialism (38 percent disagree).
It was precisely my effort to place the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team in some historic context that led me to conclude that this is, indeed, a secular-socialist machine. While clarity may make some uncomfortable, such language is appropriate in explaining a movement of big government, high taxes, big bureaucracy, massive deficits and huge debt run from a politician-centric system of power.