Opinion | Morgan Liddick: A litany of lunacy at the Dem debate | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Morgan Liddick: A litany of lunacy at the Dem debate

Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County. His column appears in every Tuesday in the Summit Daily News.
btrollinger@summitdaily.com |

The first Democrat debate last week was certainly informative — but perhaps not in the way the candidates or their party wished.

We discovered, if we had not already known, that Vermont Socialist Bernie Sanders hates rich people and wants to see them punished for their successes. That the frontrunner continues to think her being seen as a liar by a large majority of the American people is the product of some retreaded “vast, Right-wing conspiracy.” That four out of five Democrat presidential candidates think open borders are a great thing. That those who entered or remain in the country illegally have the makings of fine citizens. And that vast new giveaway programs are essential to the preservation of our way of life.

That last in the list of lunacy is the most telling. We are watching candidates vie for their party’s nomination not by challenging their fellow citizens to do something for their country, but by promising that their government will salve every wound, wipe away every care, right every wrong, solve every problem (except where conflict is involved; too hard). Free health care. Free college tuition. Mandated paid parental leave. Mandated higher wages. Green energy for everything. It’s a spendapalooza: the more, the merrier.

It’s all a bright, shiny lie. There is no “free.” Not for anyone. There are only benefits for some, paid for by the political class with money they have used the government to take from others. Nor is the benefit free to the recipient. There is an expectation of a quid pro quo: a vote in exchange for a boon. What we witnessed last Tuesday was vote buying at its most blatant and stomach-churning. Not much further down this road is the ruin of the nation.

To understand why this is true, consider: America’s top 20 percent of income earners pay 84 percent of all income tax; the top 1 percent pay about 28 percent of that. They own about 34 percent of the total wealth, so perhaps a bit more tax might be equitable, except the level crazy Uncle Bernie and his clones propose looks more like divesture, not taxation. But, for members of the top 1 percent there are options. New Zealand beckons. Ireland. Even Canada might be better. And once they and their money is gone, it’s gone. To whom will the confiscatory state then resort? The “revolution” Sen. Sanders calls for will soon begin to consume its own to avoid the inevitable collapse because, to quote Dame Margaret Thatcher, “Socialism works until one runs out of other people’s money.”

So the sums don’t add up. The plans are worthless promises, I.O.Us written on the wind. But there is far more to cause concern.

National security? Yes, we must address the single greatest threat to our nation: global warming. Four out of the five candidates agreed that the snake oil must be applied in large amounts and immediately. One proposed a complete shift to “clean” energy by 2050, regardless of the effect on the national economy, which is bound to be monumentally bad. No matter. It must be done. The others nodded sagely and agreed, though none would go so far or even offer a detailed prospect. But they all looked and sounded terribly earnest in their environmental fixations, undoubtedly attractive to those on the Left more fixated than they.

ISIS, or Islamic extremist in general? Russian aggression? Chinese expansionism and cyber warfare? Not a bit of it, save from Senator Webb, who made great sense about China’s strategic plans in the South China Sea, their drive to become the world’s pre-eminent power, what that would mean for us and about why we should care. Not that it mattered. The rest of the Democrat field couldn’t think of a single reason to resort to armed force in today’s world — save Senator Chaffee, who might do so if the population of Kosovo were again threatened with human-rights violations.

What does it say that Democrat candidates use a populist “Wall Street versus Main Street” shtick dating from the turn of the twentieth century? While good ideas seldom go out of fashion, this is not one — coming from the party that habitually accuses its opponents of “dividing Americans.” That their “No More War” mantra reeks of the 1930s, with a dash of the 1960s thrown in? That each of them apparently believes that social and economic policies from the New Deal to Obamanomics didn’t work because not nearly enough money was shoveled into the rabbit hole? The only new ideas they’ve come up with are gay marriage, abortion-on-demand and that the only lives which matter are those of black people. Four of the five candidates explicitly endorsed that last one.

All of which tells us a lot, whether we want to hear it or not.

Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily.

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