Shortly after Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election, the man who became his chief of staff spoke at a Wall Street Journal corporate CEO conference as the economic/financial crisis was unfolding.
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before,” said Rahm Emanuel, who was then a U.S. congressman.
The statement has dogged Emanuel ever since. Republicans especially view it as confirmation that Democrats will take advantage of the people and the country during times of crisis in order to push through radical left-wing policies that under normal circumstances most people would consider extreme and overreaching.
Over the years, Emanuel eventually embraced the quote and has repeated it often, including during the coronavirus crisis currently gripping America.
“Never allow a crisis to go to waste. Start planning for the future. This has to be the last pandemic that creates an economic depression,” he stated a few weeks ago as Democrats in Congress were pushing to include unrelated agenda items the economic stimulus package, like wind and solar tax credits, fuel emission standard changes for the airline industry, and increased collective bargaining powers for union groups.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) was reported as saying during negotiations as to what would be included in relief bills.
The Democrats’ “never let a crisis go to waste” mentality was also on display just last week in comments Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) made in an interview with Vice.
“When we have this discussion about going back or reopening, I think a lot of people should just say, ‘No, we’re not going back to that. We’re not going back to working 70-hour weeks, just so that we can put food on the table and not even feel any sort of semblance of security in our lives,’” the freshman Congresswoman, who describes herself as a democratic socialist, suggested.
In other words, stay jobless and unable to provide for your family even when you do have the opportunity to go back to work, because now would be the perfect time to address so-called “income inequality” issues like not being able to make $15/hour starting pay as a cashier at a fast food restaurant.
Ocasio-Cortez also mocked President Trump for tweets he posted in which he encouraged “stay-at-home” protesters in blue states where the coronavirus social distancing orders were stricter to “liberate” themselves from their lack of freedom to be able go back to work.
“There’s a lot that we could be doing right now. But ultimately, I think, when we talk about this idea of reopening society — you know, only in America does the president – when the president tweets about ‘liberation’ does he mean ‘go back to work,’” she remarked with an incredulous look on her face, as if to suggest someone being free from overreaching government restrictions on being able to work to provide for their families should not be considered “liberating.”
To be sure, we are living in unprecedented times, so naturally some unprecedented steps are going to be taken. But they are meant to be temporary solutions to what hopefully will be a temporary crisis. This is not the time to push for long-term “solutions” that have nothing to do at all with the coronavirus crisis.
If your ideas for how government should work would not be very popular in normal times, they most definitely should not be tried in times of crisis. Because that amounts to nothing more than cruelly exploiting people and a nation at their most vulnerable, which is a pretty despicable thing to do.
Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah, and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.