Actually, he wasn’t there in propria persona. But during a whirlwind trip that included a conference on the First World War in Melbourne, an outing with some deep thinkers on the Great Ocean Road, the Blue Mountains, and Sydney, I did my best to channel the former community organizer.
At a dinner hosted by the great Quadrant magazine (where I met the great Richard Fernandez, he of the Belmont Club), the only remaining journal of that suite of literary-political organs created by the enlightened patronage of Congress for Cultural Freedom after World War II, I was asked to talk about the Community Organizer in Chief, with particular emphasis on his foreign policy. My perspective was essentially that articulated by former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who in a radio interview yesterday, described Obama as “a failure as a president.” Cheney cited some of the scandals that have beset the no-hope-and-small-change administration — those involving the Veterans Administration, for example, and the IRS — but “even worse,” Cheney said, was what Obama has been doing to America’s defense capabilities. “They’re dramatically cutting back the defense budget, year after year after year,” he said. “That’s a terrible precedent to set because it’s going to cripple us in future years. When you make decisions about the defense budget, and especially when you’re cutting back on it, you are crippling your successors as president.”
Crippling successors, of course, is precisely what Obama is trying to do. It’s all part of his strategy of fundamentally transforming the Untied States of America. The crowds went wild when Obama first promised to undertake that transformation, lo, these many years ago. Not many people are cheering now. That, more or less, was the burden of my remarks in Sydney. You can read the talk on line at the Quadrant web site. The good news: enlightened leadership, such as that provided by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (despite his craven capitulation to the race-blackmail industry), can undo many of the disasters Obama is bequeathing us. Will his successors be able to undo the harm done to the US military? It’s too early to tell. I suspect, however, that the nation’s instinct for self-preservation will sooner or later reassert itself. Let’s hope it is sooner.