A week ago conservatives were all in a tizzy that President Obama would do "pivot" and start triangulating, just like President Clinton did when he got into trouble in his first term.
But my takeaway from the president's first State of the Union speech is that there is no pivot. It may not be full steam ahead with the liberal agenda, but there is no turning back. Not yet.
I listened to Glenn Beck for a moment this morning, and he marveled at the ratings he was getting. Over 3 million real viewers, at 5pm Eastern, 2pm Pacific! Not prime time, not close to prime time. People are searching my stuff out, he exulted. They must be looking for what I'm selling.
And that's the point. America is in transition right now; it might look like a proverbial Chinese fire drill to liberals and the MSM. But we conservatives know what is happening. Pretty soon even liberals will be seeing a pattern.
Let's change the metaphor. We are seeing a bunch of small formations marching about the political battlefield right now. What is going on? What is the battle plan? That's the way it always looks before a major battle. And then one day the guns start to roar, and it all makes sense.
Based on his speech, President Obama doesn't see the need to change his battle plan, except to propose a derisive spending freeze that doesn't begin to roll back the huge increases in spending already in the can. That's fine, for his opponents. It means that when the deployment of forces becomes clear in September and October it will be too late to make a big change.
So the president still wants one last Big Push on health care. He still wants a push on clean energy and green jobs. He wants to throw more subsidies at the grossly oversubsidized college sector. No change. Full speed ahead.
I've written before that the welfare state will never get reformed. It will end when it hits the buffers at the end of the line, when it hits the wall.
What, you may ask, happens then? We have a recent example that gives us a clue. It happened after the fall of the Soviet Union. A Polish acquaintance told me it was sad: So many old people "eating the paint off the walls."
That's probably what will happen here when the government runs out of money. The failed government will just walk away from the old and the sick. That wouldn't matter for them if family and fraternal ties were strong. But the whole point of the welfare state is to loosen those ties, to let people neglect the hard work of family obligation and rely instead on the government dole.
So the people that will flourish after the fall will be people that didn't listen to and didn't believe the governing class's promises.
All government promises are worthless. They are made to win elections. That is all.
It was troubling that President Obama also seemed to go out of his way to insult Republicans, even in a speech that exalted the virtues of unity. And the dig at the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United was clumsy.
In the coming months and years President Obama will have to be fast on his feet. For pretty soon Obama will be saying, as Claudius said in Hamlet:
When sorrows come, they come not single spies But in battalions.
The speech occurs after the death of Polonius when Ophelia had gone mad.
But President Obama doesn't seem to see any single spies yet, let along whole battalions. He is just going on as the liberal scion, born and educated in the "educated class," as David Brooks call our liberal elite, doing the things that liberals do. The trouble with well-born scions is that they don't have the street smarts to navigate through the confusion and fear of troubled times.
That is the way that all dynasties fall. And the liberal dynasty of the educated class is no different.