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Works and Days

America’s Wilderness Years

November 11th, 2013 - 2:39 pm

The Obama cabinet is the weakest in modern memory. Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress. By his polarizing rhetoric (“my people,” “cowards,” etc.), he has helped to set back racial relations a generation. Kathleen Sebelius oversaw the most disastrous rollout of a federal program of the modern era. Chuck Hagel is becoming irrelevant at Defense.

John Kerry at State will be known for his promise of an “unbelievably small” bombing campaign to come against Syria — that in itself was explained by Obama as a non-pinprick. Hillary Clinton had declared Assad a “reformer,” scoffed off Benghazi as “what difference does it make?” and tried to parlay “Bush did it” into a foreign policy.

Steven Chu proved a sort of idiot-savant at Energy, reminding us that Nobel Prize winners can lack even an iota of common sense. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s chief task was finding ways to grant election-time amnesties without being caught at it, while inventing adolescent euphemisms for terrorism.

The less said about the quotes about a peaceful and secular Islamism from James Clapper and John Brennan the better. Citigroup’s Peter Orszag and Jack Lew were refutations of the Obama promises to end the revolving door between big money and big government.

Lisa Jackson at EPA quietly left, after fabricating a fake email identity of “Richard Windsor.” Press Secretary Jay Carney has made Ron Ziegler’s tenure appear veracious in comparison. Thomas Perez and Hilda Solis at Labor saw their job as the promotion of unionism at all costs.

Obama, the self-described constitutional lawyer, has done more to endanger personal liberty and the rule of law than any president since FDR put Japanese-American citizens into camps. Associated Press reporters were monitored. The NSA tapped personal communications. The IRS went after Obama’s opponents. An innocent video maker was jailed on trumped-up charges of parole violations after being falsely accused by the president and the secretary of State of inciting the Benghazi attacks. When a law was deemed inconvenient, Obama simply either overrode or ignored it, whether Obamacare’s employer mandate or federal border enforcement statutes.

The president’s “signature” legislation was supposed to be Obamacare, a federal takeover of health care only dreamed of by past liberal presidents, but pushed through on a strictly partisan vote by the charisma of Barack Obama. The problem with the more than 2,000 pages of Obamacare — frontloaded two years ago with freebies — was not just that its web-based delivery system was inoperative, but that its entire concept of supposedly supplying superior insurance to more people at less cost was fiscally impossible, while its central assumption that young healthy people would be willing to pay more for health care that they would rarely use to subsidize older people who would pay less for more coverage was ridiculous.

Is there an Obama legacy?

In a way, yes. He has mesmerized the media in a manner entirely unknown in past presidencies. No matter the scandal or policy failure, it will be almost impossible for Obama’s popularity to dip much below 40%. Yet even more importantly than hypnotizing a once-free press into a Ministry of Truth, Obama has redefined the scope and purpose of federal redistributive entitlements, turning them into the political means of creating a permanent dependent constituency.

For the Democratic Party, Obama has been a disaster, discrediting the professed liberal commitment to socialized medicine, civil liberties, lead-from-behind foreign policy, Keynesian economics, and an open transparent government skeptical of Wall Street big money and federal overreach. He also managed to pass almost no new initiatives with large Democratic majorities in the House and Senate in his first two years of governance, before losing the former in 2010 and perhaps the latter in 2014.

Obama has been compared to almost every out-of-his-league figure in mythology (Phaethon at the reins of his father’s out-of-control sun chariot, Icarus flying too high on frail waxen wings, Narcissus transfixed at a reflecting pool of his own image), cinema (Chauncey Gardiner of Being There, or Bill McKay of The Candidate), or literature (Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Orwell’s pigs prancing on two legs). In that regard, the Obama presidency, to paraphrase Hillary Clinton, requires a suspension of disbelief, and a “what difference does it make?” at each new unfolding scandal.

His tenure will be known as the Wilderness Years — nothing gained, much lost.

(Artwork created using a modified Shutterstock.com image.)

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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.
44 weeks ago
44 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?
44 weeks ago
44 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.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (80)
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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.
44 weeks ago
44 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.
44 weeks ago
44 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).
44 weeks ago
44 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.
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
My only question is can America be fooled again by electing Hillary the next President? I hope not.
44 weeks ago
44 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.
44 weeks ago
44 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.
44 weeks ago
44 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.
44 weeks ago
44 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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44 weeks ago
44 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?
44 weeks ago
44 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?"
44 weeks ago
44 weeks ago Link To Comment
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