The best-case scenarios are probably that Republicans/T.E.A. candidates et al will win simple but less than veto proof majorities in the House and in the Senate in November, that within those majorities there will be sufficient conservatives to play dominant roles beginning in 2011, and that many others — maybe even including some lapsed Democrats, particularly those up for reelection in 2012 — will fall into line, sort of. Nevertheless, we will continue to be “blessed” with President Obama at least until January of 2013.
Will ObamaCare be repealed in 2011? Will the Environmental Protection Agency and other monoliths respond to a new and improved Congress quickly? Will the light of reason break through the dark clouds, causing the economic future to be bright, clear, and sunny and the threat of terrorism to cease? Not likely, at least not as soon as we might hope. Will there be a Republican betrayal? Maybe, but with continued efforts comparable to those exhibited during the months leading up to November 2010, it can at least be minimized. Will there be rampant disappointment? Probably. One of President Obama’s biggest blunders was in raising expectations so high that even were he as good, omniscient, and omnipotent as people were led to believe during the campaign he could not have met them.
It is said that everyone can serve as an example, and even bad examples are very useful; to that extent, we must learn from President Obama — the very model of a modern U.S. president — who claims not to have done as well as he thinks he should have because the nasty people on the right have caused We the Peons to become absurdly afraid and frustrated; because we are just too frightened, stupid, and uneducated to understand his genius. Some of us aren’t even grateful that he lowered himself and deigned to run for the presidency to help us, the simple folk who cling miserably to guns, religion, and dislike of those who aren’t like us.
Regardless of whatever disgust these words and attitudes of disdain may yield, and regardless of hope to the contrary, the laws of thermodynamics won’t be repealed, and neither will Newton’s laws of motion. To paraphrase the latter only slightly:
A government at rest tends to stay at rest and a government in motion tends to stay in motion. If government is going in a specific direction, unless something happens to it it will continue to go in that direction.
The acceleration/deceleration of governmental movement produced by a force is directly related to the magnitude of the force, in the same direction as the force, and inversely related to the mass of the government. The effect on a smaller mass will be greater than on a larger. The effect of a 10 newton force on a football would be much greater than that same force acting on a mountain; even the Great Mohammad couldn’t move a mountain.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When you sit on a chair, your body exerts a force downward and the chair exerts an equal force upward lest it collapse. When the cannonball is fired the cannon is pushed backward.
The federal bureaucracy consists of numerous extraordinarily massive entities which are to an extent independent of each other but united by some basics. These include civil service employees who do not change from administration to administration, and senior appointees who sometimes do change but who nevertheless rely heavily on the career civil servants. Forces from the top are resisted by forces from the bottom and vice versa. In addition, rules and regulations often need to be changed before much else can be done, and modification of agency rules under the Administrative Procedure Act can take a very long time, normally but not always a good thing. That process is often followed by judicial review, also a lengthy but sometimes salutary process. The bureaucracy is a cumbersome and often lethargic dinosaur and altering bureaucratic direction takes lots of effort; there are few short cuts. As noted here:
Government is very big and very powerful; it is also clunky and slow and, despite campaign promises, there are structural and substantive reasons why it can’t do everything promised by candidates efficiently and right now. That’s the way it is, and it is not going to change, no matter how much we may wish that it would.
This does not mean that we are stuck indefinitely with ObamaCare (the courts may kill it), the fruits of the Holder “Justice” Department, the failure to enforce our immigration laws, kowtowing to Islamist fascism, apologies for our past exceptionalism, and other abominations pushed along over the past couple of years. President Obama recently got at least one thing right:
So what this election [is] about is not where we are right now. It’s where we want to be two years from now, where we want to be five years from now, where we want to be 10 years from now, where we want to be 20 years from now.
Scott Johnson at Powerline offers some powerful and highly relevant contrasts between the recent rescue of the miners in Chile and ObamaCare. Robert Goldberg, vice president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, reminded him (not that he had forgotten):
Private-sector innovators from around the world contributed their expertise to the rescue effort in Chile, and the result was nothing short of miraculous. Yet when it comes to rescuing our health care system, President Obama and his allies are hellbent on limiting — if not eliminating — the role of private-sector innovation. America’s leaders should take note of Chile’s example — and reverse their cynical, government-heavy course.
Some of America’s leaders have done so and more probably will. President Obama? No way.
Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Daniel Henninger (also quoted at Power Line) observed that without capitalism the miners would still be in the hole:
If those miners had been trapped a half-mile down like this 25 years ago anywhere on Earth, they would be dead. What happened over the past 25 years that meant the difference between life and death for those men?
Short answer: the Center Rock drill bit.
The Center Rock drill … is in fact a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit [Great Zeus! Such unmitigated greed is disgusting.] That’s why they innovated down-the-hole hammer drilling. If they make money, they can do more innovation.
This profit equals innovation dynamic was everywhere at that Chilean mine. The high-strength cable winding around the big wheel atop that simple rig is from Germany. Japan supplied the super-flexible, fiber-optic communications cable that linked the miners to the world above. (Emphasis and snide bracketed comment added.)
There were other fruits of the profit motive: a cellphone with its own projector, and socks made with copper fiber to consume bacteria and minimize odor and infection. Chilean Health Minister Jaime Manalich said: “I never realized that kind of thing actually existed.” He works for Chilean President Piñera who, as Tim Daniel writes, is the kind of president America needs:
[Pinera] turned to his worldview and belief in the ability of any market — even in crisis — to meet a demand. He turned to his illustrious career in business. He drew together international minds on mining, geology, and science. He consulted America’s own NASA, which devised the “Phoenix” capsule that retrieved the men and a rocket-science, space-age diet to inhibit claustrophobic nausea during their nearly half-mile ascent to the earth’s surface.
Beyond this, Piñera and our own President Barack Obama could not be more polar opposite. Obama is a man motivated by something mostly unfamiliar to [North] Americans — redistributive anger and envy.
In President Sebastián Piñera’s shoes, Barack Obama would have undeniably acted much differently. He would have turned to his “community organizing” background and been hamstrung by his naive and far-left, us-versus-them philosophical roots. He would have been paralyzed by a toxic combination of arrogant professorial theory and lack of real-world executive experience. He would have attacked the mining company for the entire 69-day affair. He would have done so right off the bat. He would have copped out and stuck to a rigid, defeatist, backwards ideology. And in his failing, he would have put responsibility on everyone around him, except himself.
Henninger concluded with a useful comparison of the Chilean mine disaster recovery and the BP well blowout, Hurricane Katrina, and various disasters in China: “What’s needed now is a new American economic model that lets our innovators rescue the rest of us.” I quarrel with the adjective “new” — the capitalist model is far from new — but otherwise agree. (Here is disheartening but nevertheless realistic and humorous speculation about how such a mine disaster would be handled in the United States under the Obama administration; it is excessively optimistic but otherwise right on.)
Scott at Powerline continues the thought:
Absent government interference, the [Chilean] rescue was not only flawless — it took less time than expected. Compare the speed and efficiency of the Chilean operation to, say, the government’s response to the BP oil spill. The administration, abiding regulations and chain of command inured to one way of doing things, requiring a test before introducing a new technology, made matters worse before they got better. Ultimately the Gulf response was organized around the belief that resources are finite and that government must regulate human activities to protect the commons.
The federal government, with all of its power and its numerous czars, departments, and alphabet agencies (with the former exception of NASA, now ghosting along rather aimlessly) doesn’t do these things. It instead retards innovation, and a governmental paradigm shift is needed.
President Obama will not change his basic outlook between now and January of 2013, no matter what happens on November 2, 2010. He will remain “steadfast to the last” to his fundamental and flawed premises; he will still have lots of power to bring about at least some of his objectives to fruition.
A national paradigm shift is possible only if We the Peons continuously remind our masters (as they apparently deem themselves) that they lease rather than own their power, that a truly free market with minimal governmental interference is needed, and that if they don’t get cracking and bring it about they can and will be evicted.
It will take time and effort to overcome governmental inertia and to make President Obama’s paradigm irrelevant; but it very simply has to happen. If it does not, we are likely to find our country in an even worse pickle than at present. We the Peons must, absolutely must, remain involved with a level of commitment at least comparable to that demonstrated during the lead up to the November 2010 election. There is no other way.