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Works and Days

A Humpty-Dumpty View of the World

December 30th, 2009 - 9:34 am

What might explain the inexplicable like the following?

A president comes into office facing a $500 billion deficit and grows it to $2 trillion.

A president comes into office facing a threat of radical Islamic terrorism, and at home changes the very name of the struggle from war on terror to a variety of wishy-washy euphemisms.

A president comes into office facing a variety of Middle East thugs, from al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas to Syria and Iran, and employs the ancient kowtow, the postmodern apology, and the Carteresque reach-out to allay the threat?

A president comes into office after record high energy prices have nearly crippled the American economy, and he ignores new drilling and brushes off nuclear power — only to wax about wind and solar that provide less than 5% of our energy needs, and crushing cap and trade taxation to come.

The Wrong Narrative

I think candidate Obama had the wrong narrative. Many presidents do. Bush railed against nation-building and decided he would do just that.  Reagan raised not lowered deficits. Clinton ended up being a moderate after 1995. But rarely has a candidate’s entire world view been so abruptly refuted in the first year of a presidency.

As president, Obama suddenly found himself a stranger in a strange land, far from that of the Ivy League dean, the upscale liberal suburbanite, the radical chic, hip world of Chicago yuppies, and the brooding, shrill pulpit of Rev. Wright. The result is that his fantasies are out of place in the all too real world of the White House.

When he started his campaign in 2007 the U.S. economy was still strong, and he felt his redistributive agenda would merely need to skim off a few trillions from the wannabe rich.

There was plenty of money socked away; we could “share the wealth” and “they” could “pay their fair share” in “patriotic” fashion to ensure “redistributive change.” But when the recession hit, the money dried up, and there was no “they” any longer. No matter, Obama is stuck with his preconceived notion of gorging the beast, and so we will rack up $8 trillion more in aggregate debt and redefine the English language, as trillion becomes billion, and billion a mere million.

War—what war?

It was so simple in late 2007. The surge was “not working.” Few were dying in Afghanistan, now dubbed the good war where there were lots of Europeans. Al-Qaeda was quiet and its dozens of plots all foiled.

Presto — the real narrative was how the Bush-Cheney nexus destroyed our liberties. Only a Chicago law lecturer could understand the complexity: the Patriot Act, renditions, tribunals, wiretaps, intercepts, Guantanamo, Predators, all that had shredded the Constitution.  Such a compelling thesis — as long as one could blame the prior administration for keeping us safe.

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Barack Obama would drop this mythical war on terror, and instead conduct legal seminars at press conference to remind us how the “prior administration” had scared us to death to destroy our liberties.

Then the real war returned in Afghanistan. Iraq quieted down. And there really are thousands of radical Muslims like Major Hasan and Abdulmutallab who want to kill us.

So the narrative imploded. Even the most fawning Obama aficionado does not wish to get blown-up at 30,000 feet, because a political hack appointee wanted to broadcast politically-correct credentials.

Now a reluctant Obama has to face the reality that all his chest-thumping about his middle name, his unique background, and his liberal sensitivity means less than nothing to a killer such as Dr. Zawahiri.

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