Success in not an accident, but then neither is failure
For some reason, our elite classes either cannot or will not explain openly and without artifice why it is that innately wealthy countries like Mexico or those in the Arab world or in Africa cannot adequately feed, educate, house, and employ their own citizens. Instead, we are to assume that some sort of ubiquitous oppression exists that that makes us wealthy,and others thousands of miles away poor, and requires apologies rather than exegesis. (Don’t dare suggest that the age-old causes of wealth and poverty still apply everywhere: either one ensures the rule of law, private property, an open economy, a free press, independent judiciary, constitutional protections, and religious tolerance, and allows science to evolve free from government and religious interference, or one does not and stays impoverished).
The Wages of Never Waste a Crisis
All of which brings us back to Obama. Why has he crashed in just 18 months, or, better yet, why still at 47 percent approval? Perhaps many don’t want to be accused of racism in openly stating their disappointment. Others feel that to admit his failures is a sort of self-incrimination of having voted for him; others still believe in a honeymoon and want to give their relatively fresh president a fair shot. All that said, I think his polls will soon reach historic lows, largely because he did not address middle class unease, but instead manipulated it to press for a transformational neo-socialist agenda, when most wanted less not more government.
The point is not that Obama is ipso facto as president responsible for the recession, the 10% unemployment, the ongoing wars, the congressional corruption, or the BP spill, but rather that he sold himself on the notion that he was not merely a different politician (originally, distinct from Hillary and Bush, and then McCain), but an entirely new sort of public figure altogether, beholden to no one, eager for bipartisan 21st century-change, ready to address long-festering problems in untraditional ways.
You were had
After 18 months, the people feel they have been had — in the way that a blow-dried mansion living, philandering John Edwards is hardly an advocate for the “other America,” or a green-scheming, instant multi-millionaire Al Gore is hardly a disinterested advocate for welcoming reasonable debate about a sustainable planet. Prophets fall harder, especially when “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” prove to be a reflective of the Chicago way, the snooty ineptness of the Harvard lounge, and the shrill leftism of SEIU.
Rangel, Dodd, Geithner, the Blago mess, the lobbyists, the earmarks, and the political bribes to pass health care together have convinced half the electorate in just a few months that Obama is not merely not a reformer, but perhaps the most ethically compromised president since Bill Clinton or Richard Nixon.
Stimulus is Still Borrowing
His massive borrowing and poorly focused “stimulus” simply squandered federal cash and made things worse. As we go over the cliff, we are told by some that the stimulus was too small or we need to be bolder still and print ever more money — sort of like the madman who screams he needed wings as he jumps into the abyss. By constantly demonizing business, and libeling everyone from surgeons to investors, the administration scared the private sector. If that were not enough, serial loose talk of new taxes, health-care surcharges, income tax increases, caps coming off income exposed to FICA hikes, rumors of federal VAT or excise taxes, all coupled with the states raising income and sales taxes, has persuaded employers either to hold off buying equipment and hiring, or to look for part-time workers only. Psychology, of course, matters.
War on the war on terror?
The war on terror is seen not as a war at all, but a showcase of good intentions, and so constantly renamed, punctuated by apology, and characterized by complete hypocrisy and contradiction, whether flip-flopping on Guantanamo or the KSM trial, the politically correct new euphemisms, the appointments like Janet Napolitano or John Brennan, or the Orwellian adoption of the very Bush protocols (Predators, renditions, tribunals, wiretapping, intercepts, etc.) that Obama not long ago demagogued as unconstitutional. I fear the threat has grown, not passed.
Abroad, there is a general rule: any nation that was well intended toward the United States between 2001-09 (e.g., Britain, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Germany, India, Israel, Poland, etc) is now suspect; those that clearly were anti-American in that era (eg., Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Palestine, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, etc.) now earn American outreach and deference. Is it better to have been a friend or enemy of the U.S? The Russian spy ring, the Chavez socialist tour, the Syrian sale of missiles to Hezbollah, the Iranian full speed ahead on nuclear attainment, the increase in foiled terrorist plots at home, the China snub, and the Turkish furor all suggest that both neutrals and our enemies are not swayed by magnanimity as much as emboldened by tentativeness.
The recession, anger with Bush, deficits, the furor at Wall Street, unease with the long wars abroad — all that put the American people into a restive, herd-like mood by 2008 to the point that they were liable to charge at any given target. Barack Obama, however, focused that anger by using their hoof-stomping to sneak in a neo-socialist agenda that he knew in normal times had no public support. But he thought the current crisis of public confidence and the fawning media together might help him get it through.
Instead, the herd turned, roared, and now with horns lowered is charging at Obama — and of all people!