Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The View from Britain

Simon Heffer of the Telegraph U.K. wonders aloud if it's not the end of the road for Barack Obama's presidency. His column opens with this:

It is a universal political truth that administrations do not begin to fragment when things are going well: it only happens when they go badly, and those who think they know better begin to attack those who manifestly do not. The descent of Barack Obama's regime, characterised now by factionalism in the Democratic Party and talk of his being set to emulate Jimmy Carter as a one-term president, has been swift and precipitate. It was just 16 months ago that weeping men and women celebrated his victory over John McCain in the American presidential election. If they weep now, a year and six weeks into his rule, it is for different reasons.

Despite the efforts of some sections of opinion to talk the place up, America is mired in unhappiness, all the worse for the height from which Obamania has fallen. The economy remains troublesome. There is growth - a good last quarter suggested an annual rate of as high as six per cent, but that figure is probably not reliable - and the latest unemployment figures, last Friday, showed a levelling off. Yet 15 million Americans, or 9.7 per cent of the workforce, have no job. Many millions more are reduced to working part-time. Whole areas of the country, notably in the north and on the eastern seaboard, are industrial wastelands. The once mighty motor city of Detroit appears slowly to be being abandoned, becoming a Jurassic Park of the mid-20th century; unemployment among black people in Mr Obama's own city of Chicago is estimated at between 20 and 25 per cent. One senior black politician - a Democrat and a supporter of the President - told me of the wrath in his community that a black president appeared to be unable to solve the economic problem among his own people.

Mr. Heffer goes on to suggest that it's not premature to be writing Mr. Obama's political obituary, but perhaps there are a couple of problems with his analysis. First, he seems prone to exaggeration as for example when he states that FOX News "pours out rage 24 hours a day." There are, maybe, two hours of programming a day in which one could say that the network expresses something more than mere displeasure with the Obama administration. To aver that it "pours out rage" is to discredit one's case.

Mr. Heffer also seems to underestimate the fickleness of the American people who, though they may be abandoning Mr. Obama in droves today, might well return to him in droves tomorrow if the economy, despite the President's best efforts, turns around and jobs reappear.

Mr. Heffer also misses the mark somewhat when he notes that:

A thrashing of the Democrats in the mid-terms would not necessarily be the beginning of the end for Mr Obama: Bill Clinton was re-elected two years after the Republicans swept the House and the Senate in November 1994. But Mr Clinton was an operator in a way Mr Obama patently is not. His lack of experience, his dependence on rhetoric rather than action, his disconnection from the lives of many millions of Americans all handicap him heavily. It is not about whose advice he is taking: it is about him grasping what is wrong with America, and finding the will to put it right.

Mr. Obama's problem, however, is not that he lacks the will to put things right. His problem is that his view of what is wrong and what can be done to fix it are both obfuscated by the left-wing lenses through which he views the world. You can't fix a problem if a) you don't know what the problem is and/or b) you do know what the problem is, but your remedy is greater government control, higher taxes, and deeper debt.

During the Vietnam war the Left hooted in derision when some general justified bombing a village that harbored the enemy by opining that sometimes you had to destroy a village in order to save it. Today the Left's avatar, Mr. Obama, has adopted the same philosophy concerning the country. He seems to believe that he must destroy it in order to save it.


Nancy in Wonderland

It's hard to believe that someone who has climbed all the way to the rarified heights of political accomplishment attained by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and who has maintained even a minimum level of consciousness throughout the battles over Health Care Reform that have ebbed and flowed across the nation over the past year would say something as bizarre as Ms Pelosi said yesterday.

In a speech to the National Association of Counties the Speaker intoned:

You've heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don't know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America .... It's going to be very, very exciting.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy. (Emphasis mine)

Isn't this exactly backwards? Shouldn't we know what's in the measure before we pass it? Do the congresspersons who'll be voting on this 2000 page monstrosity of a bill really know what's in it, or are they, too, waiting until they pass it so they can find out? Is there any significant difference between Congress and Lewis Carroll's Wonderland?

Here's the incriminating video of the Speaker articulating her political dyslexia:

It's no wonder Americans think so little of their politicians. The Mad Hatter is more sensible.