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Works and Days

Is the Country Unraveling?

June 25th, 2012 - 1:20 am

The Thrill Is Gone

The last thirty days have made it clear that Barack Obama is not going to win the 2012 election by a substantial margin. The polls still show the race near dead even with over five months, and all sorts of unforeseen events, to come. But after the Obama meltdown of April and May, I don’t think he in any way resembles the mysterious Pied Piper figure of 2008, who mesmerized and then marched the American people over the cliff. Polls change daily; gaffes and wars may come aplenty. But Barack Obama has lost the American center and now he is reduced to the argument that Mitt Romney would be even worse than he has been, as he tries to cobble together an us-versus-them 51% majority from identity groups through cancelling the Keystone Pipeline, granting blanket amnesty, ginning up the “war on women,” and flipping on gay marriage.

Mythographer in Chief

The Obama memoir is revealed not really to be a memoir at all. Most of his intimate friends and past dalliances that we read about in Dreams From My Father were, we learn, just made up (“composites”); the problem, we also discover, with the president’s autobiography is not what is actually false, but whether anything much at all is really true in it. If a writer will fabricate the details about his own mother’s terminal illness and quest for insurance, then he will probably fudge on anything. For months the president fought the Birthers who insist that he was born in Kenya, only to have it revealed that he himself for over a decade wrote just that fact in his own literary biography. Is Barack Obama then a birther?

Has any major public figure (57 states, Austrian language, corpse-men, Maldives for Falklands, private sector “doing fine,” etc.) been a more underwhelming advertisement for the quality of a Harvard education or a Chicago Law School part-time billet? Has any presidential candidate or president set a partisan crowd to laughing by rubbing his chin with his middle finger as he derides an opponent, or made a joke about killing potential suitors of his daughters with deadly Predator drones, or recited a double entendre “go-down” joke about a sex act?

From Recession to Recovery to Stasis

As we see in New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin, the cure for the present economic malaise is not rocket science — a curbing of the size of government, a revision of the tax code, a modest rollback of regulation, reform of public employment, and holding the line on new taxes. Do that and public confidence returns, businesses start hiring, and finances settle down. Do the opposite — as we see in Mediterranean Europe, California, or Illinois over the last decade — and chaos ensues.

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