When I was growing up, my mom would often refer to “the audacity” of my siblings and I for any number of our misdeeds. A few decades later when I heard Barack Obama campaigning for President while highlighting “audacity” as a virtue, I cringed a bit.
Yes, language evolves. And a big fan of language, I enjoy those evolutions and seeing words that once meant one thing come to mean something else in tandem with cultural or other changes.
But the word “audacity,” at least to-date, just isn’t one of those words. I realize President Obama wants audiences to infer “courage” when he touts audacity as a virtue — but given his embrace of audacity as a vice, his very use of the word can itself serve as the first instance of audacity we explore.
- In pursuit of alleged “social justice,” Senator Obama and his peers leverage ‘audacity’ to politicize our most delicately-balanced private sector (the housing market) by forcing banks to create lending instruments for people who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for those loans…and when the ripple effect of that misguided effort becomes a tidal wave he audaciously claims “Not enough government imposition” caused the fallout.
- A smiling, confident Obama looks in to the camera and touts the value of ‘audacity’ as a function of courageous compromise, before going on to audaciously call the GOP “obstructionists” for not agreeing to and with virtually everything he says and does.
- A happy, cool Obama reveres the role ‘audacity’ must play in achieving change, before going on to audaciously suggest that killing jobs is actually a good thing because it means people who had jobs they didn’t want can now go on to pursue their dreams.
- A forlorn, nearly-defeated Obama lifts himself back up in the face of gun-related tragedy by citing the need for ‘audacity’ in realizing progress…before audaciously blaming guns rather than the divisive, destructive rhetoric he and his leftist peers level that so often incites the violence we see in our nation.
“Audacity” very much is a virtue for President Obama and Obama-era Democrats, but to say it means “Courage” alone is an incomplete accounting.
“Audacity” to Obama and Obama-era Democrats means “Courage to lie so boldly, plainly and easily that it will infuriate those who oppose us and guarantee that they start with an appearance of ‘batsh*t crazy’ before they even utter the first words of their retort(s).”
That is the type of ‘audacity’ Obama and Obama-era Democrats both value and level, while audaciously implying all they really mean is ‘courage.’
“He’s not a socialist!”
Barack Obama gladly came out and told the world that “When you spread the wealth around, I think that’s a good thing.” He confiscated 20% of the private sector built and maintained by the American people, so that he could assert absolute government control over that industry and redistribute it accordingly. He claims the greatest threat we as individuals and humanity face manifests from our not handing over absolute control of the energy industry to him and the government, so that they can regulate and ultimately redistribute it as they see fit.
The Obama list of socialistic tendency and demand goes on, and on, and on…
But for nearly a decade now, any who dare attach “socialist” to Obama’s name are met with the ferocity of his faithful who insist emphatically, defensively and yes audaciously that “He’s not a socialist!”
I stood up and cheered for WFTV’s Barbara West when she — unlike virtually anyone else in the media — asserted the obvious with respect to Obama’s socialistic tendencies back in a 2008 interview with Joe Biden. For doing so, fairly and honestly, Biden audaciously mocked her and brushed off the question.
I started the clip at the most relevant spot, but earlier in that same interview Biden again denied Obama’s own stated intention of “spreading the wealth around” by saying “The only person who spread the wealth around is George W. Bush!” So twice in that interview Biden audaciously denied Obama’s own words about spreading the wealth around, all in audacious contention that Obama is not a socialist.
Enter Bernie Sanders
So we know the Obama-era left values ‘audacity’ for all of the word’s historically unsavory merit, while audaciously claiming otherwise. And we know they’re deeply offended any time someone ties “socialistic” to Obama’s positions and policies.
Then comes Bernie Sanders, an avowed socialist, and suddenly these exact same supporters aren’t quite so offended by the “socialist” label.
They effectively went from “He’s not a socialist!” with respect to Obama, to “So what?!” with respect to Sanders.
I’ve long predicted that the greatest contribution to leftism that Sanders’ candidacy would bring rests in making ‘socialist’ a more accepted part of the political lexicon. And of course that’s exactly what we’re seeing as he remains competitive against Hillary Clinton who was forever considered inevitable for the Democrat 2016 POTUS nomination.
Why Does This Matter?
The left believe ends-justify-the-means and will gladly lie, cheat and steal to achieve the ends they truly in their hearts believe to be morally good. This increasingly includes not only lying but lying audaciously, the purpose of which is twofold: 1) More expeditiously make any part or parts of their lies become truth, and 2) So contort reality that our heads are often spinning before we even mount our response. It’s #2 that we really need to be mindful of, because I too often see our side respond to the left’s audacity with exactly the frothing-at-the-mouth ferocity those leftists hope we will.
Get ready to be dragged in to an extremely difficult-to-rebut national debate on the veracity and efficacy of socialism. “Well that’s easy. We can just point to history and use facts and we win that conversation!” You’re wrong. Voters, just like anyone else, might think logically but they very much buy emotionally. The left will package socialism just as they have liberalism for nearly 5 decades now: Squarely in their smartly-branded exploitation of the morality-inspired truism that “Giving is good.” It’s not an easy argument for us to win, especially when they’re heaving “Jesus was a socialist and you’re a sh*tty Christian!” at any who challenge their enterprise “Giving is good” belief. (Please read “Stop Imposing Morality” for some thoughts on preparing for and combating that claim.)
Ultimately, we need to be prepared and well-armed to fend off the left’s constantly-evolving defensive and offensive postures. And as it stands now, we’re not. I know many in the grassroots need to believe that victory is just around the corner if only we had a “true conservative” in the White House with conservative majorities in the House and the Senate. This, unfortunately, is not enough. As noted exhaustively throughout this blog, we need to begin winning the national conversation if we’re to capture a mandate that allows us to effect real, lasting change — first socially, then culturally and finally legislatively. Even if we win the White House with majorities in Congress, any legislative change we effect without first effecting social and cultural change — will not only be short-lived, but will serve as the left’s primarily tool to use against us as they go on to continue winning the national conversation, elections and stronger/more lasting mandates.
Without disarming the biased institutional left and putting the Democrats so far on perpetual defense that they’re forced to repackage their entire platform, I promise both audacity and socialism will continue winning for the left — right up until we all lose and the bottom falls out entirely, at which point the bloated government will step in and ‘save us all’ by doing what the left have always believed it should: Asserting it’s heavy hand on every individual expressly at the expense of individual liberty.
It’s your call, grassroots and professional conservative classes. We can either keep chugging along with blinders on believing our preach-to-the-choir arguments are actually working…or we can assert some bold, historically-consistent GOP strength that will effect real change.