It Depends on What the Meaning of the Word “Ideology” Is
The day after Governor Romney selected Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate, David Axelrod, senior adviser to the Obama campaign, said, “There’s no doubt that I think the appointment … has thrilled the base of the Republican party — the Tea Party Republicans, the social conservatives because Congressman Ryan is a certifiable right-wing ideologue.”
I noticed that Axelrod chose to pronounce the word “ideologue” as “IDIOlogue” as in idiot as opposed to “IDEOlogue” as in idea, which according to all the dictionaries is the correct pronunciation. The subtle nastiness in word association is intentional, believe me.
Later that day at a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Obama echoed his advisor almost word for word when he said, “This weekend, my opponent chose as his running mate the ideological leader of the conservative Republican agenda. He is an articulate spokesman for Governor Romney’s vision, but the problem is that vision is one which I fundamentally disagree with.”
It appears the Obama campaign wants to make “ideology” a dirty word. That’s interesting since the definition of ideology is: “The body of beliefs that guides a person, institution, or group.” So in other words, if you do not have an ideology, then literally you have no core beliefs to guide you. Gee, that sounds to me like being an “ideological leader” as Obama has described Ryan, is actually a very GOOD thing.
Ryan’s core beliefs are no secret: free market capitalism, smaller federal government, lower taxes, increased individual liberties, and strong Constitutional adherence to our founding principles which are based on the belief that our rights were God-given, not government given. His ideology has been shaped by the writings of Milton Friedman, F.A. Hayek, and Ayn Rand, as well as the Reagan presidency. Gov. Romney’s ideology is of the same stripe, which is why he chose Ryan.
In a recent column George Will observed the following: “When Ryan said in Norfolk, ‘We won’t replace our Founding principles, we will reapply them,’ he effectively challenged Obama to say what Obama believes, which is: Madison was an extremist in enunciating the principles of limited government — the enumeration and separation of powers. And Jefferson was an extremist in asserting that government exists not to grant rights but to ‘secure’ natural rights that pre-exist government.”
It doesn’t get more “extremist” and “ideological” than when Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The real irony in Obama using ideology in negative terms to describe his opponents is that he himself is an ideologue. The difference being, of course, the particular ideology that he clings to, i.e. social justice, redistribution of wealth, larger government, weaker military, more welfare programs, and a revisionist attitude to the Constitution.
As stated in his own autobiography, Obama’s inspirational mentor was Communist Party member, Frank Marshall Davis. Other influences have been community organizer and author of Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky; The Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn; and the America-hating Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
As you can see then, ideology is in the eye of the beholder. A couple of presidencies ago, Bill Clinton rationalized to a grand jury (with a straight face) why he wasn’t lying when he said “there is nothing going on between us,” with regard to Monica Lewinsky: “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.” Obama’s words, “Hope and Change” are just as vague. These are words that can mean anything you want them to mean.
You can “hope” for traditional American values and renewed American Exceptionalism or you can “hope” for a socialistic welfare state. You can “change” America back into that once shinning city on the hill where anything is possible for those willing to work for it, or you can “change” America into a food stamp, entitlement society with government control over every aspect of our lives.
President Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Although that is very much a valid question once again, a much graver question might now be, is the United States of America a better country today than it was four years ago? Is America stronger? Are prices lower? Are jobs more plentiful? Are our cities more prosperous? Are you more secure? There’s no question that this is an election not of men, but of competing ideologies. Which America do YOU want?