On the Horizon

Some Modest Obama Predictions

1) We will begin to hear ever so insidiously mention again of the "war on terror"; some quiet memo will go out to cool all the talk of 'man-made disasters' and 'overseas contingency operations'.

2) Either shortly or soon next year, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano will resign. I don't see how the nation's point woman on domestic terrorism can claim that the system worked like "clockwork" (she has since backtracked) when the Nigerian terrorist's own father contacted American authorities long ago to warn us about the proclivities of his own son, who came within seconds of blowing apart a transcontinental jet. The system worked only at the 11th hour thanks to a courageous Dutch tourist who took matters into his hands.

3) I think the overseas bowing, apologizing, and kowtowing will stop in 2010—it brought no tangible results. Indeed, Obama is one bow away from global caricature and humiliation. And when one examines the recent behavior of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, or Syria, one concludes that they all think they can make favorable readjustments in regional landscapes and power relationships in 2010. Obama's advisors will try to stop his natural inclinations to apologize, and I think will be successful—given the gathering storm clouds of 2010.

4) We may hear something finally in support of the Iranian dissidents. The ‘reach out to Ahmadinejad’ line has failed. And Iran will probably get the bomb in 2010. Since we will not ratchet  up sanctions or impose  an embargo, the only hope to stop an theocratic bomb will be regime change—and that may prompt some Obamians to speak out on behalf of the courageous rather than worry whether the murderous will meet with us.

5) We will hear lots of talk about fiscal sobriety next year. Obama realizes that the $2 trillion annual borrowing is unsustainable and warping his foreign policy as well as his own sense of stature. He also knows that "they" who will pay increased income, payroll, health, and state taxes are simply not numerous enough to end the deficits, and may slow down or find ways to reduce income exposure—as the combine tax bite goes over 60%.  As a result, we can expect some sort of federal excise tax or stealthy fees, or at least some euphemism for finding more revenue.

More taxation won't get close to balancing the budget by 2012, but might get us in four years back to where we started in 2009 with the Bush 2008 deficits—after adding another $8 trillion in debt. Fiscal sobriety, not more spending, will be the 2010 campaign slogan. But even here expect the Orwellian: after establishing himself as the largest spender in US presidential history, Barack Obama will a) hope and change it all, as if “Bush did it”, b) assume that by talking eloquently about fiscal responsibility he has de facto achieved it.

The Tired Race Card

One Matthew Yglesias (whom I have seen quoted, but whose books or articles I have never read until today) wrote something that was just sent me called, “That Old Time Racial Paranoia.” In it, he suggested that I was a racist to have suggested Obama sees things from the prism of race/class/gender orthodoxy.

But surely anyone who collated Obama's self-described (cf. his 2004 interview with the Sun-Times [“Yep. Every week. 11 o’clock service.” Ever been there? Good service.”]) dutiful attendance at Rev. Wright's racist pulpit, reviewed his friendships with Father Pfleger, Rev. Meeks, and other Chicago activists, went back over his Pennsylvania clingers speech, remembered his "typical white person" quip, added in his rush to judgment "stupidly" remark in the Prof. Gates mess, recalled Michelle Obama's "mean country" slur and first time she was proud of the US remark--anyone who did all that, would conclude that, yes, an apparently strong influence in Obama's worldview is the assumption that oppression is predicated on race. (If I had gone to one religious service  in which my pastor evoked the sins of black people in collective fashion, then I would have left in shame of my attendance.)

Indeed, almost everything Yglesias wrote in his short hit piece is untrue or ill-informed.