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Works and Days

Good News — What Good News?

July 2nd, 2012 - 12:04 am

I have a confession to make: I don’t quite understand the jubilation among the conservative-Republican forces during the last two months of the Obama crack-up, and here, unfortunately, is why:

1. The so-called Obama crash. I believe that Obamism — 41 months over 8% plus unemployment, anemic GDP growth, serial $1 trillion deficits, unsustainable rates of new aggregate debt, the takeover of health care, record numbers on unemployment insurance and food stamps — is not only strangling the country, but in the long run will be seen as such by most Americans. Obama is incoherent — castigating the Supreme Court’s right to overturn a law, then himself suing to overturn state laws, while simply ignoring federal laws. Abroad, even his supporters cannot claim the Russian reset was a success. What was so hard about supporting the Iranian dissidents in the spring 2009 demonstrations, or expressing support for secular democratic movements in the Middle East rather than praising the Muslim Brotherhood? Why treat Israel or Canada worse than Turkey? And was it worth the administration chest thump to risk the security of the United States by leaking classified information about Predators, the cyber war against Iran, the Yemeni agent, and the bin Laden raid?

But all that mess is not to say that in the here and now Obama cannot cobble together a 51% majority to win the election. He figures that he can by appeals to gays (gay marriage), those on entitlements (nearly fifty million are now on food stamps; 50% are paying no income tax or are on some sort of entitlement — or both), the greens (Keystone), the Latinos (de facto amnesty), feminists (“war on women”), the (fill in the blanks), etc.

Review Obama’s bad news of the last 90 days: the Scott Walker victory, the Obama gaffes (the private sector is doing “fine”), the Democratic defections (whether senators and representatives bailing from the convention or smackdowns on Bain Capital from Cory Booker, Bill Clinton, etc.), the Holder mess, the circumvention of Congress by de facto amnesty, the non-ending scandals (Solyndra, Fast and Furious, GSA, Secret Service, etc.), the Putin/Merkel put-down, our new Muslim Brotherhood friend and ally running Egypt, the supposed shortfall in campaign donations, etc. Yet this weekend Obama remains up in the polls and ahead in key swing states. If these “bad” weeks have led to his rise in the polls, what might good weeks do?

Sometimes when I watch Fox News, listen to talk radio, or read the blogs, I fear too many are in a strange bubble: the Obama embarrassments are tallied, his crashing defeat predicted — but no one seems to say, “But hey, he is still after all that ahead in the polls!” And to the extent someone might point to polling, he is met with “But the polls are biased!” Perhaps they are by 3-4 points.  But right now, given the power of incumbency, the changing nature of the U.S., and the no-holds-barred methods of Barack Obama, the advantage is still all Obama’s — and almost all the polls show that. And we should remember that fact rather than be told simply how bad Obama is.

2. The Supreme Court. I have read all the exegeses of why Justice Roberts voted to tip the court in favor of upholding Obamacare. I do not here care to comment on the case other than to note that the most radical piece of social legislation since the Great Society is now the law of the land. It may prove a boomerang in November; there may be some clever means to detect in Roberts’ decision a path for upholding judicial conservatism. In fact, there may be all sorts of hidden good news. But for now, the decision is a huge victory for Barack Obama — how can it be any other?

Other depressing notes: the Court is now 4 liberals, 2 swings, and 3 conservatives. Is this really the age of a conservative Supreme Court? But more importantly, the elite culture in the New York-Washington corridor is a force multiplier. It defines liberal blinkered orthodoxy on the Court as “open-minded” and “moderately liberal” in contrast to conservative orthodoxy that is “reactionary” and “closed-minded.”  In other words, there is always more pressure on a conservative than a liberal to be thought sober and judicious by joining the other side. A liberal justice joining the conservative side almost never happens. Because of the great decision of our age, Justice Roberts will be revered by the media-academia-arts-government nexus as the new Earl Warren, even as conservatives rightly respect his right of independent judicial review. And, as Roberts knew, had he voted otherwise to reject Obamacare, he would now be reviled by the Left in the manner of Robert Bork, while, without fanfare, being simply acknowledged as a fair and circumspect judge by conservatives.

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