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Works and Days

America’s Wilderness Years

November 11th, 2013 - 2:39 pm
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Help! Is there anybody out there?!

Most two-term presidents leave some sort of legacy. Ronald Reagan won the Cold War. George W. Bush prevented another 9/11, and constructed an anti-terrorism protocol that even his critical successor embraced and often expanded.

Even our one-term presidents have achieved something. JFK got Soviet missiles out of Cuba. LBJ oversaw passage of civil rights legislation. Jerry Ford restored integrity to the White House. Jimmy Carter finally issued the Carter Doctrine to stop Soviet expansionism at the Persian Gulf. George H.W. Bush won the first Persian Gulf War and got Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

And even our impeached or abdicated presidents at least left some positive legacies. Richard Nixon went to China and enacted détente. Bill Clinton through compromise balanced the budget and incurred budget surpluses.

But Barack Obama?

The economy is anemic. We have never seen unemployment dip below 7% in the last five years. Real jobless rates that include those who have given up on working are perhaps double the official figures. By 2017 the national debt will have doubled. The stimulus did not lead to a “summer of recovery.”

Near zero interest rates, vast expansions in the money supply, and huge increases in federal redistributive payouts have not jump-started anything — except to end entirely the cherished American idea of receiving a modest interest rate on lifelong passbook savings accounts. The middle class has been squeezed as never before, lacking the administration’s romance of the poor and its crony-capitalism connections of the rich.

Even with new taxes on top incomes, the end of the war in Iraq, sequestration, and a supposed recovery, the 2013 annual deficit will still near $700 billion — a bragging point for Obama, given that this is the first year of his administration that we did not borrow over $1 trillion. To the degree that Obama has made headway — the sequestration forcing cuts and reducing the 2013 budget deficit somewhat, or gas and oil production soaring on private lands — success has come despite his opposition, not because of his advocacy.

Not since Richard Nixon have we seen such a record of scandal. The disclosures of wrong-doing and cover-ups now come so often that they become mind-numbing — Fast and Furious, Benghazi, and the IRS, AP, NSA, and ACA messes. After the president’s flips and flops over Syria, confusion about Egypt, and leading from behind in Libya, no one believes him — which is why also that no one was surprised at home about the untruth about Obamacare. In such a context, misdeeds like the Pigford payouts or Solyndra do not even raise an eyebrow.

Foreign policy is likewise in shambles. No one in the administration brags of “leading from behind” in Libya, or of “reset” with Russia, or of “red lines” and “game changers” in Syria. On most foreign policy issues, Obama is to the left of the current French socialist government. A Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s legacy is trying to bypass the UN about Syria, exceeding the UN mandate in Libya, and now ignoring it with Iran.

I know of no major Democrat figure who claims a foreign policy success for this administration — unless estrangement from Israel, or the courting of Islamists in Turkey and Egypt, or open mic promises to go easy on Russia after the election count. The irony is that the more the Obama administration has courted our enemies — Venezuela, the Islamist Middle East, Iran — the more they have disliked us, as our appeasement earned contempt rather than appreciation of magnanimity. There is no longer an American-led West. Germany is becoming the world’s fiscal arbitrator, France the Western bulwark against radical Islam, Japan the impediment to Chinese expansionism, Israel and the Persian Gulf the last chance to stop an Iranian bomb.

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Top Rated Comments   
The Democrats have forged a nearly impregnable 35-45% bloc of voters based upon funding. Romney, despite his faults, was correct about this.

Nobody who gets a magic government check - yes, welfare recipients, but more importantly public workers, grant recipients, subsidy recipients, and owners of and employees in rent-seeking "private" businesses dependent upon government regulation (this would include nearly all attorneys) - none of these people will vote for fiscal responsible politicians, ever. Particularly in a down private economy, where the loss of the magic check translates into a life with anxiety and a diminished material standard of living. At this point in history, it isn't only welfare recipients who vote for a living but all of the groups I mentioned above. The Democrats know this, know that a rebounded private economy means defections, and so they are doing all they can to prevent a real recovery.

The truth is that there is no way for America to get back to success that doesn't include millions who are supported in some way through the coerced sector (government funding) being jettisoned from the gravy train and thereby being obliged to make it in the dreaded private sector. The smarter ones in that crowd know that this is inevitable and that they are simply putting it off as long as possible. The bulk of them really believe this can go on forever.

How we can get out of this without considerable civil unrest eludes me.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
MAYBE OBAMA'S LEGACY WILL BE THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL.
Obama is pressuring Israel to make a bad 'land for peace' deal with the Palestinians. How's he doing this? By blackmailing Netanyahu. The threat: I'll give the go ahead to Europe to sanction Israel for (legal) settlements and your whole economy will suffer. Of course, if Netanyahu goes back to the '67 borders or trades the Jordon Valley for peace, Israel's defense capabilities will suffer -- especially when you consider that Israel is surrounded by terrorist in Lebanon (Hezbollah), Syria (al Qaeda/al Nusra/Hezbollah) , Sinai (al Qaeda/Hamas), Gaza (Hamas) and, probably in Jordon as well. The 'peace' with Iran is even worse. If Iran gets nuclear weapons, the whole mideast goes nuclear, terrorists included. Israel is small enough that it could lose everything with one bomb. Israel, at this point, doesn't even have the option of bombing Iranian nuclear sites. For one thing, it would become a pariah if it bombed Iran just as Obama was about to achieve 'Peace in our Time'. For another, the Multinational Force in the Sinai can detect any Israeli planes taking off for Iran or missiles being fired. Obama has already shown Israel that he cannot be trusted: 1) By leaking Stuxnet; 2) By leaking info about drones, as well as a possible attack plan through Azerbaijan; 3) By leaking the recent attack on Russian weapons in Syria and, most importantly, 4) Letting Iran go nuclear. With an ally like Obama who needs enemies?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
All this is true, Obama is a complete CF disaster a thousand times over. His election was a vote for national suicide.

And yet . . . the Republicans have managed the near impossible, making themselves even LESS desirable to voters than Obama or any Democrat. They managed to make is so the Democrat could be Satan himself and they still would not want to vote for the Republican. What kind of idiocy is able to accomplish that??

Meanwhile, the Republican Establishment thinks that all they need to do is stand back, let the country crash and burn under Democrat leadership, and people will suddenly come running to the Republicans, full of love for them and showering them with votes. Wrong. Complete and utter disgust for the Democrats does not automatically translate into love for Republicans if the Republicans themselves are self-interested worms who care only for getting power themselves.

The Democrats are well on their way to turning the entire country into Detroit. And we would do well to remember that even though Democrats have turned Detroit into a hell-hole, they still would never vote for a Republican in a thousand years.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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The Democrats have no clothes (they like parading around naked anyway), and the Republicans have no dentures.
How many people, here, have commented about the outcome of the first Obama coronation as being a disaster?
More than are here now, because a lot of them gave up, and have gone fishing.
Communism will never be eradicated from planet earth; It shall only migrate from one country to another, into eternity.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama has perfected the art of hatred and contempt for his opponents here and allies abroad, and cold indifference towards the middle class. Those who voted for him have now outlived their usefulness so he could care less how he treats them anymore. He has called people with differing political beliefs and religion "terrorists" and worse, and there is no stopping his vile insults. He has brought fear into this country for a great many undeserving citizens who wonder how far he will go against his designated domestic Tea Party and GOP terrorists and Christians. Should we be fearful every time we post anything that opposes him? We know he can see everything and enjoys his drones and is really good at killing people (in his own words). Silly as this might sound, besides all of these things, he has shown a profound disrespect for the WH furniture and puts his feet up on the desk while he arrogantly orders his subjects around. He is such an insult to America.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Had he been a white guy named Fred Smith, O would have been out on his ass last year, had we heard of him at all. (And no offense intended toward any Fred Smiths out there).
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Red Smith" would never have been elected. I blame all the ultra conservatives, for whom no one is conservative enough, who are patting themselves on the back because "they have standards"....for Obama's election.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
My only question is can America be fooled again by electing Hillary the next President? I hope not.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bravo Zulu! Truth. A simple recitation of the last five years is devastating to Obama. I think these days are the most dangerous the Union has faced, ever. Economic collapse and war are probable without sound, ethical leadership.

Obama's legacy is too horrific to contemplate. The electorate has been corrupted. A communist was elected (twice) to the highest office in this country.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whatever emerges from the benighted tunnel of Obama will no longer be the America familiar to most of us.
O tempora. O mores.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Wilderness Years...

How apropos.

I hope to Hades we can find our way out more quickly than the Russians have.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
My bet is that Barry-O's "legacy" will be the internalization by a majority of the American people that we are a nation in decline, and that not only are our best days behind us, but we deserve all the bad things that are coming our way.

In November of 2008, I wasn't convinced of that idea; but in November of 2012, the only conclusion is, "Q.E.D."

In the spirit of Dr. Hanson's penchant for the classics, when it comes to "legacies" Barry-O reminds me of either the Roman Emperor Caligula or the Emperor Commodus: the former, some have argued, wasn't so much a madman as the first emperor to fully appreciate and act upon the knowledge that there really were no checks whatsoever on his power, not even cosmetic ones honoring old and defunct traditions. Similarly, Barry-O's unique realization was that, via the decades-long Long March of the Left through its educational, political, informational and entertainment institutions, America is now ready to be "transformed" into a Banana Republic.

Put another way, there's a saying that "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Well, Barry O's first legacy is that he saw that America was ready for a Pied Piper to lead it to ruin. And he was the first one to whip out a flute.

As for the Emperor Commodus... there is a reason why Edward Gibbon in his history books and two Hollywood movies on the subject have all chosen the ascension of Commodus to the purple as the moment when Rome began its Decline and Fall. History will look to Barry-O as our "Ebony Commodus:" he won't be the end of the USA, but after him even the ablest presidents will struggle simply to slow down the rate of decline.

There had to be some generation of Romans to live through the tipping-point period, when things started heading irreversibly south. America is not the end of history, but a part of its grand sweep; so it follows that there has to be some generation of Americans who will live through its transformation from Superpower to declining power.

Why not us? Decline is a choice in many ways, and we chose Ebony Commodus... twice.
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36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your picture for this article would make a good caption contest entry. Such as... if a tree fell on the president would anyone report it?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
VDH - I love you! You manage to summarize this administration's breath-taking, jaw-dropping (to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer) incompetence in just about every piece you write. And it always comes across fresh!. This emperor has no clothes and now it's possible to see just how much damage one can do even if naked. By the way, love your new book.

Question for you. I can't help thinking (and it's been for some time) that Obama is truly the Manchurian candidate. I think it's possible without overt and specific foreign control if one actually believes, deeply believes in the storyline. I mean, isn't this admin just filled with "useful idiots?"
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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