April 26th, 2010

The calm before the storms

The Obama administration appears to be in a slight—a very slight—resting phase.

For a while the pace of change was so fast and furious that it seemed that each day there were about fifty pressing topics vying frantically for contention and discussion. Now there are only a few, and they are not so very pressing; not yet, that is. Now and then we even have what you might call a slow news day.

But there is no sense of being able to take a breather. Rather, there is the ominous feeling one gets as a storm approaches. The pressure builds and our joints ache. We look at the threatening sky and wonder just how bad it will be, and what form it will take. One huge domestic dark cloud looming at the moment is financial reform, with immigration reform and a climate change/energy bill waiting on the not-at-all-distant horizon, jostling for the privilege of being next on the agenda.

Why do I liken them to clouds and storms? After all, aren’t these issues that need tackling, problems that call out for solution (except, perhaps, for climate change—although proponents of the bill are managing to act as though Climategate has not happened and/or is irrelevant)? Is it not clear, for example, that financial reform is needed to prevent another meltdown like the one that occurred in fall of 2008? And that illegal immigration is a problem that has gotten out of hand, and has been ignored way too long?

Yes, and yes.

The problem is that most Americans’ trust in the ability of Congress to solve such things, or even to tackle them in a way that will not make them worse, is nonexistent. The idea that our representatives would listen to our concerns, be responsive to our needs, and then have the intelligence to craft solutions based on common sense and/or intelligent thought or even well-meaning effort has been waning over the years but has finally evaporated. If there had been any lingering faith in Congress, HCR erased it.

We have come to expect lies, so that now when we hear “we have the votes” or “we lack the votes,” one means about the same as the other and neither can be trusted. For the most part, our press is no more help to us than Pravda was to the Soviets. We have come to understand that the idea of bipartisan compromise has died a lingering and painful death (unless the term happens to refer to Lindsay Graham, who for a while kept the “bi” in “bipartisan,” appearing to have previously been—at least as far as I can ascertain—the sole Republican on board with both the immigration and climate change bills. He has since threatened to bail on the latter because he says it is being ignored at the expense of the former.)

We assume that the cure will be worse than the disease. We expect that the bills will be rushed through without proper debate and enacted at the stroke of midnight, like evil spells in a fairy tale. We are no longer surprised at the depth and breadth of the corrupt and shady behind-the-scenes deals involved. We know the legislations will be lengthy and complex. We do not think our representatives possess the intelligence to even understand the bills they pass—that is, if they bother to read them at all—and either do not appreciate their negative consequences or actually intend them to do us harm. We know that, just when we think we’ve driven a fatal stake into the heart of an unpopular bill, it rises and staggers forward to attack us.

We do not know what the outcome of the election of 2010 will be, except that it is likely to involve an increase in the number of Republicans in Congress, and that it cannot possibly come fast enough to stop the multiple storms that are part of this increasingly threatening weather pattern. And these are not passing storms, either—we predict that they are likely to do permanent and perhaps irreparable damage to important structures that have remained in place for centuries.

We scan the skies, and we wait.

[NOTE: I've dealt mainly with domestic policies in this post. That's not to say that there aren't major international storms looming as well. But Congress isn't a big part of the mix on most of the latter---although Obama and his advisers are.]

[ADDENDUM: The Anchoress adds her reflections.]

58 Responses to “The calm before the storms”

  1. Bob from Virginia Says:

    The next couple of months will reveal the extent that we have a genuine Benedict Arnolds as congressmen. The really big question is whether the public will understand it. If not then the US deserves what it gets. As for corrupt press, they have been trying to elect Dems at least from 1968 (see Theodore White, The Making of the President 1968). If they are more dishonest now they are more obvious as well.

  2. John Says:

    The skies are indeed dark and threatening. I think it’s safe to say that most conservatives are thinking “What’s next?” and WTH will the dems ram through before the next election.

    “We have come to expect lies,,,,,,”

    Victor Davis Hanson touches on that in

    An Age of Untruth

    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson042410.html

  3. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Harry Reid is saying that ramming HCR through on a party line vote was the best thing the Democrats have ever done for the country, and Pelosi and other Democrats are telling us that when we see all the good things in HCR we will thank them, and that the upcoming 2010 mid-term elections—while they will as usual result in some Republican gains—will not be that bad for Democrats. If we are to believe these self-assessments, the Democrats are in deep, deep denial, and, so, will press on with their legislative agenda—believing that we will all weep and kiss their hands in gratitude in the end.

    Another way to look at this is that, the far Left ideologues/Socialists/Marxists who have captured the Democratic party and ram-rodded the leading elements of Obama & Co.’s “transformation” through Congress know that these measures are deeply unpopular, that their time to ram through other essential parts of the “transformation” is dwindling, and they are, therefore, going to press forward even harder, and the electorate be damned; they trust that once people get in line for free government cheese—tasting like Velveeta but ultimately costing ten times more than Brie–they will not tell the delivery trucks to return—still full–to their warehouses.

    Thus, I expect an even more frantic full court press, and the resumption of Obama & Co.’s Blitzkreig, only this time in an environment in which—thanks to the Blitzkrieg’s successes so far–the government now owns a majority stake in GM, a large chuck of Chrysler and other parts of the Auto industry, many banks and financial institutions, has taken over the student loan industry, is about to take over the Health Care industry, and now controls 90% of the mortgages in this country, and perhaps a majority of the economy, all this against a background in which some of the regulatory subversion his Czars have so busily been fabricating behind the scenes will have started to come to fruition and surface.

    Don’t forget either all of that Americorps recruiting and their training sessions all over the country.

  4. Curtis Says:

    “And these are not passing storms, either—we predict that they are likely to do permanent and perhaps irreparable damage to important structures that have remained in place for centuries.”

    Well said. The storm is delivering the coup-de-grace from damage that is already irreparable. We’ve lost two generations who were gobbled up by our enemies in universities who, at the same time they hurled curses and tomatoes at our ROTC cadets, demanded our tax dollars. We must begin the march forward by gaining control over federal and state spending. This is a political solution we can all do. And if you are religious. . . pray.

  5. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Curtis – “beginning.” Exactly. This is Round One of a 10-Rounder.

    As to the post, it’s like the old movie cliche: “It’s quiet…” “Yeah, too quiet.”

  6. SteveH Says:

    We’ll we allocated the dems 4 years worth of rope to hang themselves. I’d say they’re ahead of schedule by about 2 years.

  7. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    It would be interesting to track the trends of public trust of late.

    The professional journalists have squandered all their credibility, and see their market shares dropping like stones. Congress has made it clear that they do NOT listen to their constituents, and don’t want to, and their poll approval ratings are at an all-time low. The President has made it embarrassingly clear that, with respect to his campaign promises, he’s mostly talk with very little action — and what little action he does take makes us wish he was all talk — resulting in the fastest slide downward in the polls of any President in recent memory.

    But people need to put their trust in something. What has increased in public trust? The American military? The Supreme Court, which at least maintains a modicum of class?

    I don’t know, really. I’d welcome suggestions.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  8. Ed J Says:

    What a great little essay! I’m a new fan.

    I just wish that what you’ve said were less true.

  9. will Says:

    It’s worrisome, this “what’s next” phase. Never have I been so anxious to see an administration replaced as I am now. I also know that there is a percent of the population that really gets off on that, and has wanted the climate of uncertainty for a long time. Given the players surrounding the head of state and the tolerance thereof, absolute and unwavering attention and scrutiny of what transpires is paramount. These folks know they are despised, and I feel they are more desperate than ever to push dramatic “change” regardless of consequence.

  10. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    The primary foreign policy issue wherein Congress is involved is in approving the new START treaty.

    That’s a wonderful opportunity for the Republican’s to highlight that Obama is no better in the foreign policy arena, than he is in the domestic arena.

    Here’s a synopsis of Obama’s domestic agenda in 2010:

    Legislation that permanently establishes CZAR determined, automatic bail-outs; the Financial ‘Reform’ Bill

    Amnesty for Illegals; euphemistically termed ‘Comprehensive’ Immigration Reform

    Cap and Trade; hamstringing American business and destroying the recovery, while simultaneously eliminating jobs. A twofer!

    Legislation amending the Clean Water Act, amounting to a federal seizure of ALL waters…http://hotair.com/archives/2010/04/24/video-oberstars-clean-water-act-amendment-a-federal-seizure-of-all-waters/

    The EPA regulating CO2 emissions, a critical part of the cycle that allows life itself to exist. And along with cap & trade, making it impossible for American industry to compete, devastating the economy.

    Card check legislation, exponentially increasing the power of unions.

    New legislation to overturn the SCOTUS’ Citizens United decision. This one they’ll try to push through no matter what. Dems have to have the ’tilted playing field’ that previously existed; union’s able to contribute up to the very last minute but business banned from speaking out in the critical closing months of the campaign.

    Obama’s upcoming budget, which effectively bankrupts the nation.

    So, is that enough rope? If not, the public does deserve what they shall get and “there shall be much wailing and gnashing of teeth”…

    Hopefully, all of the above, demonstrates that by November, we shall bear witness to the start of the greatest political alignment in this nation’s history.

  11. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    oops! should be, “we shall bear witness to the greatest realignment in this nation’s history.

  12. physicsguy Says:

    My real concern is that the economy will show a major uptick due to the influx of stimulus money that was very well-timed. If I remember right, the economy is a major indicator of how elections go… econ up.. incumbents stay in.

    Barring that, I also would then expect a manufactured major foreign crisis that would also allow the Dems to garner votes.

    No… I don’t think the Republicans gaining ground in November is even close to being a possibility. These are very ruthless people we now have at the reigns of power.

  13. Mike Mc. Says:

    Must we wait? Obama and the Dem/Socialists/WreckAmerica Crew have the initiative.

    In war, this is not a good thing.

    We need some 21st c. political version of the Doolittle Raid. We need to get them on the defensive, waiting, reacting.

    Palin is the only one who has even attempted to step on that battle field. This is why she is a great woman, a great American, and we love her. She may never be President. Perhaps she should never be President. But she is a great courageous woman and we love her.

    The next Pol or two who steps out and puts the bad guys on the defensive will be an American hero. He can’t get here soon enough. I have no idea who it is but we need them quickly.

  14. John Says:

    Daniel in Brookline Says:
    April 26th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    “It would be interesting to track the trends of public trust of late.”

    Trending down.

    Polls: Trust in Big Government Near Historic Low

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126047343

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/110458/trust-government-remains-low.aspx

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/5392/trust-government.aspx

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/19/trust-in-government-poll_n_542423.html

    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=3383

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/19/nation/la-na-distrust19-2010apr19

  15. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “What has increased in public trust?” Daniel

    An increase presupposes more people placing their trust in an institution or person or group.

    Conservatives place their trust in God, family, friends and the Constitution.

    Liberals place their trust in a Gov’t led by those sharing their beliefs.

    Liberals believe consciously in or subconsciously accept the premises of post-modernism, a nihilistic ‘philosophy’ which posits that nothing is worthy of trust because everything is relative. For that group to increase its trust beyond gov’t. would mean rejecting the premises of postmodernism’s nihilism.

  16. Scott Says:

    When I read posts like this one (and this blog generally) it makes me wonder how Neo could ever have been liberal. I plan to eventually read the posts in the category “a mind is a difficult thing to change…my change story” to find out, but so far procrastination has gotten the best of me.

    I bet it’s quite an interesting story.

  17. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Scott,

    It is an interesting story and there are more than a few of us who comment on this blog who share similarities in their own personal story with neo, including myself.

    neo, I and others, are simply former liberals (we care, we really, really do) who awoke from the illogic of the left. Many of us I suspect, were Scoop Jackson or JFK Democrats, or independents who leaned that way, who discovered our own version of Ronald Reagan’s comment; when asked why he, a formerly staunch democrat, had left the party…he replied, “I never left the Democrat Party, they left me”

  18. mikemcdaniel Says:

    No, I’m afraid they don’t bother to read the bills, because many of them aren’t even completed–there is no final copy–when they are voted into law. In effect, the Congress has degenerated to a body that votes for ill-defined concepts and the “laws” that embody those concepts are little more than a combination of cut and paste wish lists and fill in the blanks constructs.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that when a finance bill is announced, it’s already more than 1700 pages long. Where did that come from, and can a single member of Congress be found who has read it? I won’t bother to ask if any of them understand it.

    As serious as our domestic difficulties are, as Neo-neocon observed, the Congress will inevitably make them worse. Yet, few people are aware of the incredible danger that awaits us on the international front. At the moment North and South Korea are on the brink of war over the torpedoing and sinking of a South Korean warship. Stupidity on the part of the North, or merely a feint to gauge Obama’s reaction?

    I suspect the South will not go to war as their leadership surely understands that President Obama is more likely to abandon than to militarily support them. This is a dangerous understanding, far more likely to provoke war than to prevent it. And this is only one potential trouble spot. There are many more and more closer to home.

    And the best part? To whatever degree Obama is successful in implementing his domestic agenda, our military will be deprived of the equipment they need and as we weaken, the probability of war increases.

    How’s that hope and change working for us now?

  19. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    I should also add that Obama & Co. have managed to jack up spending, the deficit and our national debt to ruinous and admittedly “unsustainable” levels, and are all now talking about the racist, ignorant and unhinged Tea Parties, who have created a climate of fear and violence with their unpatriotic—some say seditious—criticisms.

    Thus, should some sort of major economic crisis or domestic disturbance occur, you can be sure that Obama & Co. would be only too glad to increase their control of each and everyone of us and every aspect of our lives—all in an earnest, non-partisan and high-minded effort to “help us,” of course.

  20. Bob from Virginia Says:

    mikemcdaniel wrote
    “How’s that hope and change working for us now?”
    For the Obami it working out wonderfully, for the future of mankind, which depends on American strength and moral compass, …well the Dark Ages were adventurous.

  21. jon baker Says:

    The domestic issues ARE the Foreign issues! Its all about weakening American Sovereighnty! The power that is being gathered by the Feds from the States and the Private economy is being gathered to the Federal level so they can give it away to International bodies. The economic crisis is about causing the American people to relinquish those powers to the Federal government. The amnesty is about flooding the population with voters who have no definite allegiance to U.S. soverienghnty- I see the Mexican flags,and the red, white and green decoration schemes- they show where their loyalties lie!
    There are powers at work behind the scene that even Obama may not be aware of! I am no “Truther”-I understand the Islamic threat. One need only look at the way the EU has been cobbled together to see where various forces are pushing us. And it is not a place where the American people are in control of their destiny!

  22. jon baker Says:

    I cannot escape the feeling that either the internationalist will break us, or they will try to destroy us trying. They want their world government, whatever it takes. A strong, Independent, armed, self reliant American population that puts their trust in “Divine providence” as the Founders put it- and not in International bodies- is a problem from their point of view.

  23. betsybounds Says:

    Yes, as Neo says, we are in something of a calm before (or between) the storms. It reminds me of standing in a very heavy surf, there’s a bit of a break between a couple of great waves, but you know more are coming. You hope you have, maybe, just enough time to catch a breath and gain a bit of a purchase on the roiling sand underfoot.

    Then there’s the chess analogy. Obama’s been likened to a 3-D chess player by some, both admiringly and disparagingly (and maybe fearfully). I’m thinking we should give up on the notion that he’s incompetent or stupid, though (fool or knave, anyone? :) ) Consider his position: After HCR, he can afford a break, a breather, and it’s him, not the Republicans and conservaatives, who feel free to take it. He’s got multiple pieces at his command: He can choose to advance immigration or cap-and-trade as the big ones, the bishops or the rooks or the knights, and meanwhile he has the pawn of financial reform with which he parries. And no one knows what to do.

    I have a dear friend at work who is utterly pessimistic, who thinks that we are in the early days of a new Dark Age, and no one knows how long it will go on. He thinks what we need to do, and what we will NOT do, by the way, is march, in our millions, on Washington, and literally storm the Capitol, drag the leaders out into the streets, and hang them from lamp-posts. But we won’t, because we have other things we must do: Go to work, tend our families, pay our bills, keep our cars repaired, recreate on the week-ends. In this connection, I’m reminded again of the words from the Declaration of Independence (I think of it often in these times, as I’m sure we all do):

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.”

    But then there comes this: “But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

    We are seeing a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations at this very moment, and they seem to have invariably the same Object: Implementation of an absolute Despotism. It is our Right, and it is our Duty, to throw off such Government. Will we perform this Duty?

    I do not know the answer to this (or to many another) question. I am hopeful, but not necessarily optimistic.

    I asked my friend today if he thought I would live long enough to see the beginning of the new Dark Age. He answered that I already have.

  24. rickl Says:

    Yes, I have said for a long time that the internationalists know that in order to create a world government, they must first destroy the American economy and the American military. After that, there is nothing to stop them.

    People who have been warning about “the International Communist Conspiracy” and “One World Government” have for decades been ridiculed as tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy nuts. Yet it is becoming obvious that they were right all along.

  25. holmes Says:

    “Their eyes were watching God.”

  26. Mike Mc. Says:

    Betstybound,

    “He thinks what we need to do, and what we will NOT do, by the way, is march, in our millions, on Washington, and literally storm the Capitol, drag the leaders out into the streets, and hang them from lamp-posts.”

    I would love to see Americans marching in their millions on DC. We can do without the lamp posts, but the Capitol and the WH belong to us, not them.

    Surely, if we do not take our government back, we will lose it and our precious liberty that so many better than us fought for, won, and defended.

    My growing emotion these days is becoming one of shame. How could we have been given so much by others, only to have kicked it away in a temper tantrum and fit of whiny ingratitude and entitlement known as liberalism? I hang my head in shame for my generation (boomers) because it will have been on our watch that America was lost.

  27. SteveH Says:

    “”I have a dear friend at work who is utterly pessimistic, who thinks that we are in the early days of a new Dark Age”"

    There is nothing to be gained by such thinking. Most of us come from a long line of farmers who defeated the most powerul empire on earth. And did it barefoot in the snow. I see leftist heads rolling across the world and a blossoming renaissance coming.

    Plus i may have mentioned, i have a 3 year old grandaughter and i need all of you in the right frame of mind to help save Freedom for her.

  28. rickl Says:

    Either lamp posts or stout tree limbs are fine with me. Or just stand them against a wall and shoot them.

    The stark reality is that if we don’t kill the communists, they WILL kill us. If we only learn one thing from the 20th century, it should be that.

    “The only good communist is a dead communist.” It’s not just a slogan any more.

  29. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Two points:

    Things aren’t bad enough.

    Had the American colonists revolted when Samuel Adams was ready, their lives and fortunes would have been forfeit. Gradually and most reluctantly, men like John Adams slowly came to accept, that only two courses of action lay before them, fight for their independence and freedom or accept being chattel before the English Crown and Parliament.

    We on this blog are like Samuel Adams, able to see things as they are but before our fellow Americans are ready to awaken. They haven’t taken the ‘red’ pill. (ref. to The Matrix)

    Does that entail the possibility that by the time they awaken, it will be too late? Of course and so must Sam Adams have feared. But “if providence be not on our side, there is little we can do but fight for liberty, while knowing that the death of liberty has already occurred”.

    Second point; the time for talk of ‘stronger medicine’, if that time comes, will be after the November mid-terms. If Obama and the left prevails, then little recourse will be available, for representative democracy will be gone.

    Perhaps Shakespeare said it best, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;… [we must take it] when it serves, or lose our way.”

    The tide is not yet at flood. That time will be in November.

  30. Curtis Says:

    Obama, reportedly, reads Shakespeare.

    No way.

    I think the tide is now. If we wait until November, it will be too late. I believe we will win in November and the only way the Progressives will win is by engineering a massive problem and suspending law.

  31. NeoConScum Says:

    In regards to the O’Bammites taking a breather from full court press..? Just harken back to what the Mule Skinner said to General Custer as they took a gander down on the Little Big Horn encampment:”Yes Sir, General, you go on down thar…Them’s thousands of Souix & Cheyenne warriors, general–not women & chillin like at the Washita River..When they get thru with you, Gen’rul, there ain’t goin to be nuthin left but a greasy spot..Yep, y’all go on down thar, Gen’ral.”

    Assumption being the Mother of All Fu** Ups.

  32. NeoConScum Says:

    BetsyB…Can we put Lindsay Grahnesty on the lamp post next to Barney Frank and the hideous Dodd?? Oh, and don;’t let’s forget Tommy Harkin!

    Ahhhhhh…Dreams are goooood.

  33. Occam's Beard Says:

    I see many of the brethren and the sistren are in the same place I was the other night, when Tatyana commented on my gloom. In a way I feel vindicated that others have the same view, and in another way, alarmed.

    It does feel like storm clouds are gathering, and that a cataclysmic reckoning may be in the offing. We are divided into two groups whose visions of America are fundamentally incompatible, vitiating the potential for compromise. Still, in a sanguine view, we may be in the prodromal stage of a massive sociopolitical sneeze that will put all to rights.

    November will tell.

  34. rickl Says:

    I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.

    –Abraham Lincoln, June 16, 1858

  35. Perfected democrat Says:

    More Democratic Party dishonesty

  36. SteveH Says:

    “”We are divided into two groups whose visions of America are fundamentally incompatible, vitiating the potential for compromise”"

    But only a person from one group could sit down for a conversation with a John F Kennedy and have him recognise them as American. The other he would recognise as filled with Marxist mind parasites. We are the ones on firm ground here and we can never forget that.

  37. betsybounds Says:

    Again, Mary Chestnut: “We are divorced, North from South, because we hated each other so.”

    Except that now it’s not North from South. Although the difference between free and slave does hold some relevance.

    Obama is dividing us, and I think divide and conquer is a big part of what he’s about, along with stooping to do so.

    Boomers. Pfui. Yes, we’ve been a damned, destructive generation.

    Yes, by all means, NCS, Lindsay Grahmnesty should be one, and Harkin, and all the rest of them. No mercy. Let’s keep Paul Ryan, though, and a couple of others of like stripe.

    I also think that by November it may be too late–too late to avoid the desperate, literal battle, that is. I hope we can pull it off, for Steve H’s granddaughter, and for the grandchildren I, myself, hope to have.

  38. armchair pessimist Says:

    If we believe the society Obama&friends want to foist on the country is unsustainable and must collapse out of its own idiocies, we should start planning the rebuilding.

    That would sure be easier if all the right-minded people were concentrated in one huge swath of US territory, which we firmly dominated. A 13 Colonies 2.0, if you will. Right now, so many of us are like isolated frontier homesteads during the French and Indian War. Easy pickings.

  39. SteveH Says:

    armchair pessimist, i don’t see the answer as anybody moving anywhere. We stand our ground and help facilitate this marxist narrative destroying itself. And it will. Because poverty doesn’t really mean prosperity, slavery doesn’t really mean freedom and running up oppresive taxes to let half the people sponge of the other half is not fairness.

    This marxist narrative will unravel and unravel quickly when it does.

  40. ethos Says:

    Obama is out there lying about the deficit.

    The democrats are preparing themselves for battle and they are digging deep into their arsenal of lies.

  41. ethos Says:

    The democrats are desperate to place tax payers on the hook to bailout their large corporate Wall Street donors. (and call it “reform”)

    This e-mail to Jonah G. at NRO’s corner nails it:

    “Goldman is NOT being thrown under the bus. This is a rope-a-dope scam and Goldman is in on it. A politically divided SEC has brought a very weak case that will never see a court room. It will be settled with a wrist-slap. In return for being made the whipping boy — which Goldman is very used to and even thrives on — it will get a “regulation” bill that enshrines too-big-to-fail status upon it and which will give it the same competitive advantages that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac enjoyed. That is, an implicit taxpayer guarantee. It will then be able to borrow at lower rates and engage in riskier behavior at a lower cost. Meanwhile, smaller competitors will not enjoy this advantage, thereby making Goldman even more powerful and profitable.

    Don’t buy the spin on this. Obama is not throwing Goldman under the bus. Goldman willingly jumped and will receive a huge payoff for its “sacrifice.” But the rest of us will pay. This is all a political scam from start to finish.”

  42. James Says:

    As usual I’m the odd man out here…..

    Obama is a spent force. He has taken as much out of the Democratic party as they can give.

    I guess I was wrong when I said that he would tack to the middle to save November. He didn’t do that.

    But that is sort of ok, since congress has done it for him. They may get financial reform through – though I doubt it. There is no way Cap and Trade or Immigration reform will pass.

  43. Mrs Whatsit Says:

    I understand and share the frustration that leads to the talk about hanging and shooting, but to the extent, if any, that the talk is more than metaphorical, I strongly disavow it. If violence is the only way to win this battle — or if violence is used when it’s not the only way — then we lost what we were trying to save, long before we started to fight.

  44. Tom Says:

    James: How often have you, the “odd man out”, been proven right ? How successful was King Canute ?

  45. Bob from Virginia Says:

    James you are the resident optimist and of course I (we) hope you are more perceptive than the rest of us. However this is the first time in US history that a President’s commitment to democracy is not only not total but, judging from Honduras and his communist appointments like Van Jones and Floyd Wilson, seen as an impediment. Mix that in with a demented ego, a pandering press, a Congress committed to his will rather than it’s constituents interests, a near 50% approval rating after 500 days of being the worst president in US history and it takes more than I got to be an optimist.
    I also thought Obama was a spent force after the Massachusetts election. Look what happened.

    Mrs Whatsit, do not disavow violence. I should remind you that our government has decided to act against our interests and will. Can you assure me they will stop with healthcare or will the electoral process be the next “crisis” that needs to be “fixed” (see Amnesty Bill)?

  46. Tom Says:

    Mrs. Whatsit: In the face of violence (which we now have), the nonviolent do what? LOSE.

  47. Occam's Beard Says:

    But only a person from one group could sit down for a conversation with a John F Kennedy and have him recognise them as American.

    Good point. Liberals idolize JFK (who was in fact a so-so President at best), but most have never heard or read his speeches, which were patriotic enough to make a contemporary right-wing Republican blush.

    It would be some wonderful performance art for some Republican politician to deliver one of JFK’s lesser-known speeches verbatim to see the firestorm of “fascist” and “war-mongering” charges that would erupt.

  48. The Anchoress | A First Things Blog Says:

    [...] perhaps sluggishness is a better word) of the news; her sense of the whole world holding its breath for the next big storm: We have come to expect lies, so that now when we hear “we have the votes” or “we lack the [...]

  49. James Says:

    Hi Tom,

    I think I’m right about 50% of the time. I guess that makes me as good as a monkey.

    Hi Bob,

    I really don’t think Obama is going to be able to do anything extra-democratic. He won’t be able to buy votes on a scale needed to hold on to power. He can buy them retail in a few select locations, but that won’t be enough.

    He also won’t be able break typical legislative precedent such as a filibuster. So to get anything past the Senate, he needs to get a Republican on board. He may get one here and there, but not for anything substantial.

    I’d love to give a dissertation on my optimism, but I only have time for bullets:
    1) We are still a freer country than any country in Europe – except maybe Ireland.
    2) The tide has been turning conservative/libertarian on many key issues for a long time: Education, Welfare, Crime, Gun Policy, taxes, even health care. Obama is attempting hold back the damn. He is good (in a bad way) at it, but he won’t be enough.
    3) We know a lot more about how bad it is because of alternative media. Things were just as bad – or worse – under Carter and Johnson. But the alternative media didn’t exist, so it seems like it was better.
    4) Obama stays relatively popular because he lets congress take the lead on really bad legislation. This destroys the Democrats in congress, but leaves him “Above it All”. Obama is destroying his own party to get what he wants. That isn’t a recipe for long term power.

    Thanks for the conversation. Continue on if you find it useful.

    James

  50. Bob from Virginia Says:

    James, interesting points. I would have to take exception with the statement that things were as bad or worse under Carter. He was incompetent to say the least, but he was not a proto-fascist, indeed he made human rights a diplomatic catch word and never passed nonsensical legislation over the will of the people. Obama has done the opposite.

    I will never forgive you for leading me to say something good about Jimmy Carter.

  51. Occam's Beard Says:

    Bob, Buraq has definitely broadened my own horizons, not that I wanted them broadened in this respect.

    A couple years ago if you’d told me I would one day wish Hillary or even Jimmy Carter were President, I’d have asked for a pair of pliers to rip my own tongue out.

    Yet here we are. And I would prefer either of them to Buraq. By far.

  52. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Occam, it is awful what we have been reduced to, these are indeed evil times.

    Someday, hopefully, we will be able to forget.

  53. James Says:

    Bob,

    Thanks for the compliment. As far as Jimmy goes, I think I unfairly used him as a symbol of the Democratic party of the time.

    The Democrats let Indochina fall to the soviets, and watched 3 million people die. The press reported it, but as little as possible. Jimmy ran a mildly leftist presidency, but less than congress wanted, which is why Teddy K opposed him in the 1980 primary.

    Also, I don’t claim Obama is anything other than what you say he is. My point is that he is severely constrained in his job and in his power. One of the biggest and newest constraints is new media. He also is a man of limited talents. He really can only do one thing – give a moderate speech off of a teleprompter, and then try to sign as leftist legislation as he can get away with. People eventually figure out the trick, and then there is nothing left.

    James

  54. Political Prevaricators, Oh Wait, That’s Redundant « Obi’s Sister Says:

    [...] Elizabeth and Neo, women whose opinions I value, feel a calm before the storm. Can it get any worse? Oh yes, much [...]

  55. Foont Says:

    The Lincoln quote is very apropos. I do not see how the nation can remain one when significant percentages of the population hold such diametrically opposed world views. The argument used to be about how we arrived at an agreed upon destination. Now the argument is over the destination itself.

    If the democrats maintain majorities in both houses after November there will be no stopping their agenda. They will take such an outcome as vindication and a mandate. This will result in some places in open defiance of the central government. Where that will lead is anybody’s guess.

    Times of real crisis tend to produce real leaders. So far the U.S. has avoided the rise of a Caesar, Cromwell or Mussolini. God willing we will continue to avoid such. But, in my estimation, the reason the U.S. has avoided these is because the bulk of the citizenry has been a moral and responsible people. That unifying set of principles and moralilty has been weakened (deliberately in my estimation) significantly and may not serve to guide the majority of people to make right decisions. If there is no unifying set of priniciples around which the majority can rally then there will be either fragmentation as disparate groups seek their individual enclaves or there will be a unity imposed by force by the dominant faction.

    All of this is the fruit of indifference or apathy in the face of a concerted effort by authoritarian statists to undermine the founding principles and replace them with essentially nothing but naked power and coercion used to push whatever political/social/economic agenda is currently most expediant in keeping the ruling elite in place.

  56. Steve G Says:

    In the 30′s Roosevelt was apposed to “business” and in favor of strong government control over the economy. He succeeded in extending the depression until the war sucked up the unemployed by putting them into the armed forces and production of armaments. Nonetheless, he was unsuccessful after his first term in pushing us into his version of fascism. The electorate went for him but the Democrat Congress turned from his agenda.

    The MSM, Hollywood, whatever, was in his corner and the Republicans were tarred successfully as not in touch with the people or their needs. There was no opposing viewpoints that made it to the public but for a few ornery newspapers. And, the Democrats were successful in writing the history of the 30′s as their great success in saving capitalism. All crap.

    I think the Democrat Congress is running out of steam as the Democrat senators and representatives are looking around and wondering if they may not have gone a little too far and put their reelections in jeopardy. Perhaps they may have placed a little too much confidence in the abilities of their leadership to lead them to 40 more years of Democrat dominance. Perhaps the slowdown in due to the realization that there is an election coming very soon and it is time to stop playing games. Who knows.

    Insofar as the Dope is concerned, however, who I think is using the Democrat party for his own purposes (as there is no longer any question but that he is a marxist and was never anything but a marxist), there is always something else in his pantry more stupid than his last proposal and its worth pushing if to do nothing more than further destabilize the country.

    The saving grace for our country is that, at heart, we are all cowboys and have been since we ran around as youngsters with our cap pistols going bang, bang and shooting wild indians (unless we were then playing the indians). Our parents and grandparents and great grandparents came to this, the land of opportunity, to escape tyranny. Just as happened in the 30′s we will end up standing firm and, for the time it takes, undoing the Dope’s nonsense.

    Keep your chins up. Life may (I hope) soon get more boring (at least on the domestic front).

  57. John Says:

    GOP to abandon blockade of banking regulation bill

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100428/ap_on_bi_ge/us_financial_overhaul;_ylt=At_ITLAt7qT6D41Bp333CHKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNsOWwxYmZnBGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMTAwNDI4L3VzX2ZpbmFuY2lhbF9vdmVyaGF1bARjY29kZQNtb3N0cG9wdWxhcgRjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzIEcHQDaG9tZV9jb2tlBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA2dvcHRvYWJhbmRvbg–

  58. rickl Says:

    Foont:
    Excellent comment. I’ve been thinking about the Lincoln quote for a while. We are now at a point where roughly half of the people believe in our traditional freedoms and way of life, and the other half wants to create a totalitarian slave state with themselves in charge.

    These positions are utterly irreconcilable, and no compromise is possible. Either the totalitarians are decisively defeated in November, or there will be war. There has to be, or else the totalitarians will move to exterminate anyone who stands in their way. It’s what they do. Remember Bill Ayers’ quotes from the 1970s about eliminating 25 million recalcitrant capitalists. I take him seriously.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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