Obama’s Successful Presidency

August 27, 2012

I’ve heard it said about a thousand times in Campaign 2012, from Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan all the way down to the talking heads that proffer their advice to the Republican ticket on the news channels. It’s a variation of this:

Barack Obama is a failed President. He did not live up to expectations. His plans for moving the economy did not work.

I’m not entirely sure what the motivation behind these baseless claims is. Sure, Obama promised lots of things that sounded great: cut the deficit in half by the end of his first time, a free unicorn at the end of every rainbow, that sort of stuff. But those were just campaign promises, and anyone who managed to wipe the star dust from their eyes long enough to see what Obama was really offering can not say, with a straight face, that Obama’s policies did not work as intended.

Unemployment over 8%, more people on food stamps and other forms of government assistance than ever before, the massive increase in both debt and deficit, a healthcare reform act that lays the groundwork for socialized medicine, a decimated military, the abandonment of Iraq and, soon, Afghanistan, the “kill now, ask questions never” policy towards America’s Islamist enemies, the leaking of national security secrets that may well get Americans killed, the mealy-mouthed apology tour that launched his presidency, the denial of American exceptionalism, the cooling of relationships with traditional allies from Israel to England, government payoffs to unions, the over-regulation of Wall Street, the crippling of traditional domestic energy programs in favor of unproven, politically correct corporate cronies, the embrace of an Arab Spring that is looking more like an encroaching Arab Winter every day…come on, nobody can be that incompetent.

No, Obama’s plan has not failed. To quote a friend of mine: “This is the plan.”

Consider the 28 years leading up to the swearing in of Barack Obama. There were a couple of recessions, and catastrophic events, but the majority of those 28 years were good times for the nation under both Republican and Democrat presidents and Congresses. The economy boomed under Ronald Reagan, experienced a brief and shallow lull during the term of George H.W. Bush, soared in Bill Clinton’s second term, and was generally positive through George W. Bush’s two terms, though his presidency was sandwiched between recessions, the first after the dot-com bubble burst and 9/11, the second after the housing market imploded. We won the Cold War, engaged in brief military actions in Iraq and Bosnia, and then entered a period of extended hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11. Stretched out over three decades, America was mostly living through good economic times, low unemployment, a steadily increasing stock market, and relative peace.

This was the America that Barack Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” just five days before the election.

When it is all boiled down, 2008 Candidate Obama used an overwhelming amount of feel-good platitudes and just enough generic “promises” to convince a nation that was weary of war and reeling from the very recent crash in the housing market, a crash that nearly took down some of the largest banks in the world, that he was exactly what the country needed. But underneath the hopey-changey rhetoric, the Beatlemania-style adoration of his fans, and the promises of centrism and elevated political discourse lay his real agenda: to fundamentally transform the United States of America.

In this, he has been remarkably successful so far. Programs like Obamacare change the very nature of the relationship between government and citizen, while sweeping financial regulations of banks and environmental regulations of everything undeniably alter the way businesses can function. At one time a business was beholden to its customers, and good businesses would do everything they could to keep the customer satisfied. Businesses that did not keep the customer happy were short-lived. Under decades of Progressive leadership from both Democrats and me-too Republicans, businesses must now put their customers second. The first responsibility of business now is to conform to an ever-shifting set of rules and regulations written by people with little to no understanding of how the private sector functions. The first priority of any business now is to keep the government satisfied. If a business fails to conform, in even the slightest of ways, to the thousands of pages of regulations that Congress passes, the penalties can be so swift and punitive that doors are shuttered. New businesses find it harder and harder to get up and running.

Obama’s vision for America is the standard Progressive vision. When he was elected, his goal was to entrench the government deeper into the business world, to provide goods and services to more people because a voter addicted to government subsidies and handouts will almost never go back, to grow the size of government and dramatically expand its area of responsibility. For Obama, the private sector operates on the largesse of government, thriving only because business owners and CEOs went to public school and had good teachers, or because the government built roads and bridges to allow your customers easy access to your factory.

Obama set out to fundamentally transform America. Far from being a failed President, he has been remarkably successful in getting his agenda written into law. Given a second term, this agenda will be set into concrete, and generations of Americans to come will be living in a world created by a radical community organizer from Chicago…generations that will never know the America that used to be.

Today’s Lesson In Progressive Politics: The Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise

August 24, 2012

One of the hallmarks of Leftist ideology is the flexibility of the definition of truth. While conservatives largely believe that truth is objective, that Nature and Natural Law proscribe some verities that are eternal and unchanging, Progressives believe in the subjectivity of truth. For them, truth is your truth. What you believe, that is what is true to you.

When truth is subjective, it becomes malleable. You can stretch it like Silly Putty and imprint anything you want over it. By defining truth as subjective, you make it irrelevant. The notion of a subjective truth, that truth is what you want it to be, is really no different from the belief that truth does not exist. If it can be anything then it is, in fact, nothing.

For instance, this has been popping up on my Facebook page from so many self-satisfied Progressives:

Ryan and Akin

Objectively, there is nothing true in this photograph. There has never been a bill before Congress whose purpose was “to redefine rape.” The bill (about federal funding for abortion) they are hyperventilating over was supported by Paul Ryan, but not co-sponsored by him. The wording in the bill made reference to “forcible rape”, and was designed to distinguish it from statutory rape (which is often consensual). The wording was changed before the bill was passed. With bipartisan support. I’m even willing to bet the paper the photo identifies with an arrow as the bill is not, in fact, the bill at all. When was the last time you saw a bill from Congress that could be held with a couple of fingers?

It would be one thing if this was some guy in his basement armed with a chip on his shoulder and Photoshop. But this photograph is brought to you by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and promoted on their Facebook page. This is an official lie. The question then becomes: Do the Democrats believe this stuff? Or is this merely their “truth.”

The picture, commented on by nearly 2000 people with furrowed brows and a palpable sense of moral outrage, promotes several lies to get a reaction. The truth? It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is achieving the end result. Let the truth be damned. Or as Georg Wilhelm Hegel, the spirit guide for Marx and Engels, wrote: “If the facts do not agree with the theory, so much the worse for the facts.”

Don’t believe me that Progressives view the truth as irrelevant? Consider this exchange between CNN’s Anderson Cooper (no Tea Partier) and the odious Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Congresswoman and chair of the Democratic National Committee. She is the public face of the DNC, handpicked for the role by Barack Obama, the one who appears on every talk show to espouse the Democrat view in an official capacity.

Many of the things she says in this interview are also factually not true and Cooper, to his credit, holds her feet to the fire. Finally, when Cooper has backed her into a corner over her lies she unleashes the truth about the truth: “It doesn’t matter,” she says around the 2:50 mark when confronted with the fact that she purposefully misquoted a Los Angeles Times article in a fundraising email to make a case that is untrue. When pressed with the question “Do you acknowledge that what you quoted…was incorrect?” Wasserman Schultz replies “No” even though it is empirically, factually incorrect. When pressed further, with the full quote read to her she replies again, with no small degree of exasperation in her voice: “It doesn’t matter.”

Again, this is not the usual exaggerations and distortions that are the stock and trade of politicians of all stripes. The DCCC and Wasserman Schultz are acting as what philosopher Eric Voeglin referred to as “intellectual swindlers.” They know what they are saying is untrue, yet persist in saying it to achieve their goals.

Another example of how this works is also going viral in Progressive circles. Again, it’s popping up regularly on my Facebook page:

The comments on Facebook are all solidly in the “Wow! This guy is really sticking it to the Tea Party!” category. What none of the posters have commented on is the fact that radio host Michael Graham’s side of the argument has been completely edited out. What was, in reality, a dialogue that clearly shows Michael Higgins’s contempt for Israel via a ranting, scattered polemic, has been turned into a monologue where Higgins takes on the Tea Party. The self-congratulation of the Progressives over this is astounding. It is simply assumed that Higgins, the very far Left, virulently anti-Israel president of Ireland has destroyed Graham’s argument. This is clearly not true if you listen to the entire debate. It’s 20 minutes long, but worth hearing if the short version makes your blood boil. In context, Higgins evades questions and substitutes invective and name-calling for answers to Graham’s reasonable, though sometimes equally heated, questions. The truth here has simply been silenced, the detritus rearranged and the context warped. This was done for no reason at all, except to create a new truth.

It’s often been said that, for the Progressives, politics is war. It’s a favorite cliché of the Left to declare that various problems facing America should be looked at as “the moral equivalent of war.” They speak in militaristic terms: War on Poverty, War on Crime, War on Drugs. They talk of Republicans as waging a “War on women.” Well as Samuel Johnson wrote, “Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”

Truth, for the Left, is not what is. It is what you say.

Today’s Lesson In Progressive Politics: Touré Outre

August 17, 2012

Fresh from the cesspools at MSNBC, the political commentator/author/critic Touré emerges with one of his trademark race-baiting comments. Touré, who only goes by his first name à la Cher, Madonna, and Hillary!, has long been notorious in political geek circles as an advocate for the hard Left and a champion at taking the most innocuous comments and feeding them into the race mill.

On The Cycle, the MSNBC show that in no way whatsoever is based on Fox News’s extremely successful show The Five, Touré made the following comment about Mitt Romney’s campaign against Barack Obama:

I know it’s a heavy thing, I don’t say it lightly, but this is ‘niggerization’. You are not one of us, you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.

The first thing one notices is that Touré does say this lightly. He’s clearly been planning on dropping this bomb for awhile. But that’s beside the point.

The point is that this is very typical of the Left. Barack Obama is a black man, so any criticism of him is rooted in his skin color. It couldn’t possibly be the policies that the man espouses, and the programs he has put into law. It couldn’t be based on mounting debt, high unemployment, decreasing household income. No, for the Left, it’s always about identity politics. Because it’s Barack Obama, it’s racism. If the President was Hillary! it would be sexism. The Left does not see people as individuals, it sees groups of voting blocs. The black vote, the female vote, the gay vote.

The tendency of the Left to see people as groups and not individuals stems from a world view where everything is centralized, starting with the government. The Left wing conception of government is as a group of enlightened people who tell the other groups what to do and how to act. The people, for them, are just smaller, but equally centralized groups. It is a hive mind in action and it sees only other hives. It is the way shepherds view their sheep. At it’s heart, it is anti-human.

Any response I could come up with to Touré’s insipid and revolting comment would pale in comparison to this beautiful, powerful, and poignant response from Kira Davis.

Crazy Uncle Joe

August 15, 2012

Ha! That lovable rogue Joe Biden has done it again! You never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. This week, on Oh, That Biden!, he slipped into that down home, faux-black accent that Democratic politicians love to use when they’re speaking to black audiences. It’s a way of saying that they’re down with the Negro dialect, that some of their best friends might be black, or at least have black household help. And what did Biden say while he was patronizing those people by talking like a guest star in a Tyler Perry movie? Why, he implied that Mitt Romney wanted to bring back slavery! Oh, that Biden!

Speaking to a largely, though not entirely, black audience, Biden said that Mitt Romney wants “to let the big banks once again write their own rules—unchain Wall Street!” Then, slipping into that black dialect: “They gon’ put y’all back in chains.” Das right! He went there, girlfriend! Good Lord, the condescension is so thick you could walk on it.

Now the fact is that some of Biden’s gaffes are nothing more than the harmless side effect of having too much speaking time and too little brainpower. Lines like “The President has a big stick” when discussing foreign policy, or telling the nation that President Roosevelt went on TV to address the nation four years before he became President…well, it’s kind of like watching Homer Simpson in the real world.

This should make anyone, regardless of party affiliation, nervous. Homer Simpson is one of the funniest characters in TV history, but he’s a cartoon. On TV. I.e., he doesn’t exist. Joe Biden is one heartbeat away from being the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world.

He does exist. He’s not a cartoon. And he is a blithering idiot.

Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle were persecuted by the media for far more innocuous statements. Dan Quayle was forever branded as a moron because he misspelled “potato.” It’s 20 years later and the only thing people remember about Dan Quayle is that he can’t spell “potato” and he was involved in an imbroglio over some liberal wet dream television show that nobody can remember.

Joe Biden? The Human Gaffe Machine is considered a statesman and foreign policy expert by the same media. A little eccentric, maybe, but that’s just Joe being Joe. In fact, Barack Obama selected Biden as his running mate because of Biden’s foreign policy acumen, despite the fact that Biden has been wrong on every foreign policy issue for the past 30 years.

Personally, I don’t care about Biden’s legitimate slips of the tongue. He gives a lot of speeches, and everybody flubs their lines on occasion. For example, in the same speech where he implied that Romney is a preppy version of Simon Legree, he proudly proclaimed “We can win North Carolina!” Unfortunately, he was speaking in Virginia. Anyone could make that mistake.

But Biden’s lengthy string of idiotic statements are more than just the drunken ramblings of Uncle Nutty at the family reunion. What Biden said about Romney was more than just a gaffe. From the faux-black accent to the nature of the aside, it is clear to me that this was not a gaffe at all. It was a dog whistle, meant to be heard only by a select few. Biden’s eternal idiocy gives him cover to speak in code to the base. If caught, it’s only “Crazy Uncle Joe meant to say something different and it came out wrong.” If not caught, so much the better.

Not every gaffe is a slip of the tongue. Some of them are messages. What Biden said in Virginia was one of the latter.


August 13, 2012

One of the (many) knocks that Mitt Romney has had to endure is that he is unfailingly dull and cautious. Most of the talking heads on the news programs were convinced that Romney was going to pick either Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman as his running mate. The conservative base, meanwhile, was crying out for Marco Rubio and, to a lesser extent, Paul Ryan.

From the beginning, it was clear to me that Romney was going to have to choose a running mate who would meet with the approval of the Tea Party. A dull, safe choice like Pawlenty or Portman was going to neither inspire nor invigorate the conservative base of the GOP. It’s exactly why I feared those two choices. Portman is reliably conservative, and Pawlenty was a successful conservative governor but let’s face it: they’re as dull as dishwater.

To me, Rubio seemed the smartest choice. Young, handsome, Hispanic, from Florida, and completely Tea Party-approved. Rubio may still be where the future of the Republican Party lay. Right now I’m picturing him as the second half of the 2020 Ryan/Rubio ticket.

But Romney chose Paul Ryan, a lightning rod for the Democrats, a man who was accused of trying to destroy the social safety net, who has gone on record in great detail about cuts he wants to make to government, a man who has been visually represented in an advertisement literally throwing an elderly, wheelchair-bound woman off a cliff.

Bravo, Mr. Romney. Bravo.

Say what you will about Romney, the choice of Paul Ryan was the politically riskiest pick he could have made short of hauling Sarah Palin away from Sean Hannity for another attempt. Was it a smart choice? Time will tell. The Democrats are already blasting the choice, trying to paint Paul Ryan as an extremist right-wing nut. The hatchet job they are trying to pull off will make the character assassination of Sarah Palin look tame. I fully expect the lunatic Andrew Sullivan to write blog posts claiming that Ryan’s children are Midwich Cuckoos.

But Ryan’s place on the ticket proves one thing: Mitt Romney understands the stakes of this election. For a long time, I was unsure whether he fully appreciated the gravity in the black hole of debt with which Obama and George W. Bush have saddled us. Romney in the primaries talked a good game, but it seemed that he considered our rising debt and deficit as just another problem that needed solving, not an impending crisis of nation-shattering proportions.

Paul Ryan is the serious face here. There is nobody in Congress who understands the budget, the deficit, and the debt more than he does. And he has gone on record with his solution. What Paul Ryan does as Romney’s running mate is force this election to be about genuinely big issues. This is a debate the Left claims they want, but in fact they are terrified of this. Ryan has a plan. It is not a perfect plan, but it is an excellent starting point. Ryan is not a perfect conservative, either, having voted in favor of some of the debt he now is trying to curb. But that is in the past and Ryan has seemingly seen the error of his ways and emerged as a budget hawk without sliding into the fantasy fringe of Ron Paul. The Democrats will scream and point fingers, accusing Ryan of everything from trying to destroy Medicare to forcing old people to eat cat food. Ryan will counter as he always has: eloquently, with facts and figures, charts and graphs, and a smile. I’ve watched Ryan on news shows for years now and he has never come across as someone who is less than completely reasonable and rational. The liberal opposition, meanwhile, has no facts, no charts, no graphs, and only vituperation. Most telling, they have no opposing plan of their own. As Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Paul Ryan when asked about the debt: “We don’t have a definitive solution. We just don’t like yours.”

In their zeal to attack Ryan, the Democrats have moved away from their campaign strategy to keep this election about anything except economics. The Democrats have tried to make the election about birth control, about Mitt Romney’s taxes, about whether Romney put a dog crate on his car in the early 1980s. They have been loath to discuss anything to do with the economy because it is a losing issue for them.

By picking the poster child for entitlement and budget reform, Mitt Romney has shifted the focus of the election back to the issues that really matter. And while Romney is not comfortable with conservative speech, Paul Ryan makes the case for budget and entitlement reform with great eloquence.

The Democrats are falling all over themselves now in a rush to tell the world how happy they are that Romney has picked such a polarizing figure, that Romney’s choice is even worse than John McCain’s in 2008. This is a lie. The truth is they’re scared. They should be. Ryan is not some sort of monstrous ogre who wants to throw grandma into the snow. He is what the Left fears: a living, breathing rebuttal to the vapidity of their rhetoric and the absence of their ideas.

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