Little Hope, Less Change
Consider: The 120,000 troops in “the surge is not working” Iraq are now complaining of ennui —while the White House is paralyzed over whether to send more troops to the new escalating front in Afghanistan. How odd the present perceptions: Bush’s bad optional war became good in the public mind, and Obama’s necessary good war became bad. (Careful study of the history of both countries, the existing challenges, and the topography might have suggested to candidate Obama to be careful about demonizing the surge while chest-thumping a war he never wished to finish. Did Obama really think he would be elected, hailed as the anti-war laureate, simply summon home the troops from the “quagmire” in Iraq, and then fly over to Kabul to do a Victory Column speech?).
The Russian gambit failed; Putin humiliated the Eastern Europeans and then rubbed it in by lecturing us about “hands off Iran.” The July threat to Iran of comply—or “face consequences” by September—morphed into September’s comply—or “face consequences by the October head-to-head meetings—which, in turn, morphed into October’s comply—or some day soon face consequences.
Sorta, Kinda, Maybe Diplomacy
Soon we will get everything on the official transcripts and websites scrubbed down to read: Guantanamo really will close on March 1, 2010; Iran must comply this time by June 1, 2010; all combat brigades will be out by March 2008, 2009, 2010; health care must pass by August, September, October, November.
Oil is climbing back over $80 a barrel; the dollar is falling against the Euro to 1.50. The annual deficit is already over $1.6 trillion and may go well over that. The tab for health care will hit right under $1 trillion. Unemployment may be headed over 10%. The people who voted for Obama were mad over Bush’s bailouts, unemployment, deficits, and supposed divisiveness. And?
They got greater bailouts, higher unemployment, larger deficits, and Chicago politics.
Right now to save America we need some steady leadership that reassures businesses of lower taxes, less government spending, no new regulations, educational reform to improve the work force, and confident expansionary energy exploration and development. Instead, we get a prescription to terrify private enterprise: Mr. President, every time you besmirch someone as greedy, lying, and unduly rich, some business, somewhere, pulls in its horns.
Full recovery is uncertain, given (1) oil prices have been low and are now climbing, boosting the import tab higher and higher (what happened to candidate Obama’s promises of more drilling?); (2) interest rates are historically low, meaning the price of servicing the mega-deficits hasn’t hit yet; but they too will climb, further taxing the hocus-pocus borrowing; (3) so far higher taxes are just talk; but soon the income rates will climb at a time when many of the states have already increased their sales and income rates. Remember the promised end to the FICA caps on higher incomes; note the promised health care surcharge taxes. And keep in mind that 55% of those in the cross-hairs who make over $200,000 voted for Obama.