In Charlotte, the Democrats played Phantom of the Opera, ripping off the mask, providing the nation a view of their raw face, without the concealing façade of swing-voter targeted centrism.
With surprising abandonment, the Democratic National Convention went in-your-face with their unmasked face. "If you elect us, this is what you will get," President Obama's party seemed to be saying.
What can America – and the world – expect from a possible Obama second term? The undisguised party profile gives us clues, in the shape of seven trends.
1. Secularism as the underlying motif of policy
The initial exclusion and subsequent wrangling about re-inserting "God" in the party platform language signaled the Democrats' secularist bent. Platform committees lay foundations for policy, sometimes ignored by the candidates they support, once in office. However, if the first Obama administration's secularism was so intense it had no problem forcing creed-breaking policy on religious institutions, expect the second Obama term to be secularism on steroids.
2. Utilitarianism as the measure of the right to life
"Rare" was erased from the 2012 party plan regarding abortion, though "safe" and "legal" remained. "Rare" acknowledged some protection for unborn children, but that limitation has now been officially removed from the party platform. Even left-leaning female commentators like Cokie Roberts found the Charlotte Democrats over-the-top on abortion. On the other end of life, too, utilitarianism will prevail, tucked into Obamacare's exclusions of some levels of insurance for the elderly. It's not quite Dutch-style euthanasia or China-variety abortion, but the second Obama term will accelerate "Forward" when it comes to advancing threats to the basic right to life.
3. Equivalency as the standard for universal values
President Obama has struggled with the idea of American exceptionalism like George H.W. Bush wrestled with "that vision thing." Equivalency is the idea that all belief systems and cultures are equally valid and valuable. Among other things, this causes a naïve foreign policy view, as evidenced in the Platform's statement that the "Arab spring" was "a sweeping recent movement toward democracy."
4. Internationalism as the context of foreign policy
Internationalism is the idea that relations between nations should be worked out in the perceived best interests of the global community, rather than the specific interests of any one State. In terms of policy, Obama's "new internationalism" will increasingly look to the "keepers" of the "post-American" world order, like the UN Security Council, rather than acting unilaterally to protect the United States' own interests.
5. Statism as the means of the "general welfare"
It may be going too far to label Obama a socialist, in light of his bailing out bastions of capitalism like General Motors and Wall Street institutions. Nor has he attempted a nationalization of industry. However, he has muscled the energy sector off potential domestic sources of oil and gas by claiming federal proprietorship over vast amounts of land, pursued tax policies some regard as an attempt at income redistribution, and put the federal nose into what should be individual decisions on matters like health insurance. Expect continued growth of government and statism in the next Obama administration.
6. Keynesianism as the basis for economic policy
John Maynard Keynes believed that increased government spending infuses capital into a national economy that stimulates consumption and therefore requires more production, thus creating jobs. In that sense, government is a key generator of national prosperity. Spending and the mounting deficits are actually positive forces that lead to economic vitality, according to this notion. Republicans like my boss Nixon, and both Bushes, flirted with Keynesian policy, but Obama has embraced the idea passionately. Look for continue expansion of federal spending and the nation's debt under the second Obama administration if there is no significant congressional opposition.
7. Anti-institutionalism as the attitude toward traditional values institutions
Evangelicals, Catholics, and others who oppose Roe vs. Wade, same-sex marriage, and other newly created rights and values promoted by the left in general and the Obama administration in particular will be increasingly marginalized and isolated. In a second Obama administration, the State will encourage, through its laws, the tagging of traditional values institutions as hate-mongers. If Obama has a cooperative Congress, legislation will be passed to reign in those who fight for traditional values, perhaps even including threats to seek removal of charitable status for institutions and agencies perceived as opposing the President's policies.
The first Obama presidency was the thundering blast that ignited a major tectonic shift, redefining America's political, economic, social, and cultural landscape. A second Obama term will cement the new American State.
That new America is a nation whose elected government continues to sanction abortion as a constitutional right, and a State that promotes values regarding sexuality and marriage counter to the Judeo-Christian worldview that was the foundation of the original America. Yet, as several Bible passages declare, God raises up and puts down national leaders. Why might He do that with rulers who oppose His principles?
That's the question we will probe in the final article in this series.