For some time now a number of commentators on the right, most notably Rush Limbaugh, have been insisting that the failures of the Obama administration, which most people, even among Democrats, ascribe to incompetence and a general disdain for the details of governing, are in fact part of a deliberate effort to cripple the United States both economically and militarily to make it easier to impose a socialist economic model on the nation and to diminish the ability of the U.S. to "bully" the rest of the world.
In the wake of the events of the last couple of months proponents of this view seem to be growing more numerous and more vocal. Norman Podhoretz, formerly the editor of Commentary, has made a case for it at the Wall Street Journal.
It ultimately comes down to whether one believes that Mr. Obama and his acolytes are unqualified by either intellect, temperament, or experience for the positions they hold or whether one believes they are diabolically brilliant strategists determined to transform this country, by whatever means necessary, into their vision of a Marxist/socialist dystopia.
Perhaps Podhoretz and Limbaugh are correct. There's certainly much to commend their theory, especially in the wake of revelations about the Obamacare rollout which almost seems to have been deliberately sabotaged by HHS, but I think the most parsimonious explanation for the debacles and scandals we've witnessed in the IRS, the Department of Justice, the Obamacare rollout, the economy, the stimulus, and our actions abroad is that nothing in Mr. Obama's biography prepared him to lead a government, much less this entire country, much less the world. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt that he really believes that the policies he's ostensibly pursuing, at home and abroad, are best for the nation. I think he's completely and even catastrophically wrong in his judgment, but I'm willing to allow that he really believes he's right.
To accept the Limbaugh/Podhoretz's thesis, after all, one would have to believe that this president, a man with a towering ego, would nevertheless be willing to suffer the humiliation of being considered a disastrous failure and ranked among the worst presidents ever to occupy the office, in order to deviously effect the transformation of the country by deliberately bringing it to its knees. Maybe such treachery is indeed afoot, but I think we need more evidence than what's been adduced so far before embracing such a theory. Even Limbaugh seems unable to make up his mind whether Mr. Obama is a malevolent genius or a complete incompetent.
Of course, there is yet a third, even more disturbing possibility, which is that Mr. Obama is really just a figurehead, a puppet who allows himself to be cleverly used and manipulated by sinister puppet masters behind the scenes. It's possible, but there's no evidence at all that I'm aware of that it's true.
In any case, whether the explanation is gross incompetence, or a brilliantly conceived, convoluted conspiracy, or some combination of the two, there's no comfort in any of them for those concerned about what's happening to the country or who care about the country their children and grandchildren will inherit.