If the things this man has already said about expanding the U.S. government beyond all bounds, don't send chills down your spine, here's something that will.
"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," [Obama] said Wednesday. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
I know there's no point in asking a liberal such as Obama where he finds authority in the Constitution for the things he wants to do. But his belief that only government can do the things he thinks are"good" for the country, has roots far outside anything envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
They intended that the people do pretty much everything, except for functions that obviously must be done by government (running the military, coining money, foreign relations, prosecution of criminals etc.). We've gone far beyond the limits they set out in the last century or so. But this would be a colossal jump that would surpass even the New Deal, both in its lack of constitutionality and in its potential for abuse and oppression.
Perhaps Obama can call his new civilian security force something like the "Kinder, Gentler Brotherhood". Such a title would simultaneously reflect the good intentions he doubtlessly has for it; and its acronym would reflect the history of other organizations that were probably started for those same benevolent purposes.
Oh, what a brave new world, that has such people in it!
Is U.S. ready to serve?
Experts: Bipartisan support, societal woes could aid Obama's attempt to boost volunteerism
by John McCormick | Chicago Tribune reporter
July 3, 2008
From Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, presidents and those who aspire to be president have long put forth calls for greater public service. Some found success, while others fell short of their lofty rhetoric.
Roosevelt formed the Civilian Conservation Corps and Kennedy created the Peace Corps with strong support and participation, while Clinton's AmeriCorps has never fully realized its potential, hampered by continuing funding struggles since its 1994 inception.
Still, as Sen. Barack Obama called for greater public service Wednesday, some experts predict the potential now exists for programs seeking an expansion of volunteerism to succeed, despite a slumping economy and the nation being at war.
"This may be a moment in time that is different from when earlier calls did not prove that effective," said Stephen Goldsmith, a former Indianapolis mayor and chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Obama hopes to expand U.S. service programs: GRAPHIC Goldsmith, a Republican and professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, said bipartisan support, serious societal problems and heightened interest in service among young people could offer new or expanded service programs the ability for growth not seen in decades
He said surveys show today's youth, a group sometimes called the " 9/11 generation," is deeply attracted to service, even as such interest has fallen off for other age groups following the attacks in 2001.
"It may represent a real shift to interest in community service," Goldsmith said.
Amid that environment, Obama outlined several proposals to boost service, both at home and abroad, during a speech in Colorado Springs.
"Loving your country shouldn't just mean watching fireworks on the 4th of July," Obama said. "Loving your country must mean accepting your responsibility to do your part to change it. If you do, your life will be richer, our country will be stronger."
In his speech at a University of Colorado campus, he pledged that enhanced public service and active citizenship would be a central cause of his presidency.
"We will ask Americans to serve," the Illinois Democrat said. "We will create new opportunities for Americans to serve."
Obama's draw to youth
For supporters, Obama's credibility on the topic is enhanced because he proved during the primary campaign that he could captivate and then mobilize young voters. His campaign argues they might also follow him into community service.
Clinton had a similar, though not quite as powerful, pull among youth. But his AmeriCorps program, which recruits workers in exchange for an education stipend, has never caught on the way the Peace Corps did in the 1960s and '70s.
Funding for AmeriCorps has been strained amid agency mismanagement and disdain for the program among some Republicans.
Still, it recorded its 500,000th participant last year. Volunteers nationwide have served needy communities by tutoring children, feeding the homeless, caring for the elderly and rebuilding areas struck by disaster.
Obama promised to increase AmeriCorps slots from 75,000 to 250,000 and pledged to double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011.
Presumptive GOP nominee John McCain of Arizona also supports an expansion of both programs and has stressed public service, including in the military, during campaign appearances.
Obama repeated his pledge to boost the size of the active military. But he said the nation's future and safety depends on more than just additional service members.
"It also depends on the teacher in East L.A., or the nurse in Appalachia, the after-school worker in New Orleans, the Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, the Foreign Service officer in Indonesia," he said.
Obama had outlined many of the proposals offered Wednesday during appearances in Iowa last December.
Goals set for students
"We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set," he said Wednesday. "We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."
He said he would make federal assistance conditional on school districts establishing service programs and set the goal of 50 hours of service a year for middle school and high school students.
For college students, Obama would set the goal at 100 hours of service a year and create a $4,000 annual tax credit for college students tied to that level of service.