June 25th, 2010

Hanson on Obama’s hubris/nemesis

Another must-read column by Victor Davis Hanson.

And, on a slightly different (although related) topic, here’s an interesting comment to the Hanson piece, from Jason S. on June 24 at 11: 32 AM. Its subject is political change, and it gives me hope:

I wonder how someone with such thin skin would react when seeing the faded Obama bumper stickers, with slogans that seem so silly in retrospect, being removed from the vehicles of embarrassed saps who fell for this empty suit. My liberal parents, who were so eager to talk about Obama until recently, even going so far as to hang a picture of him in the office, now appear a little sheepish when the topic arises. Katrina is no longer remembered as a natural disaster exacerbated by Bush but is instead used as a gauge for the “unconscionable ineptitude” of the great experiment known as Obama. Americans were arrogant to think we could elect “anyone but Bush”, without regard for qualifications, and maintain our status in the world (not perceived status by pining, disgruntled Europeans but real status, measured by influence and effectiveness). My parents are hopelessly liberal but they love their country, and I don’t think they were quite ready for the postAmerican world Obama has tried to foist upon us. The logic that comes with being liberal politically but stuck in the real world without an ivy league degree or political connections, is beginning to open their eyes. They cannot seem to reconcile between the pretty words that sound so lovely being relayed from the teleprompter and the events happening in the real world. Buyer’s remorse? No, it’s much stronger than that. My folks, God love ‘em, are actually beginning to look deep inside themselves and question their long-held beliefs. Knowing them as well as I do and how closely they have held these beliefs for so long, I sense that there are many more like them who are beginning to acknowledge, if only on a subconscious level, the disconnect between the promises of those pretty words and the dimal, real-world effects of the political philosophy behind them.

38 Responses to “Hanson on Obama’s hubris/nemesis”

  1. G6loq Says:

    Jason S. is correct in his assessment or he’s projecting.

    When interacting we’re all constantly evaluating each others’ abilities for good judgement. Obamatrons’ credibility is gone for ever.

    Now and always, nagging doubts about what they’ll do next.

    Pomposity, sanctimony, holier than thou-ness and condescension carries a heavy cost.

    Towering over others from the towering heights of one’s moral superiority carries a very heavy cost.

    They’ve become the enemy within.

  2. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    Jason S.’s comment gives me hope (there’s that word again) that a reckoning is truly coming, and that I may not be too far off the mark in “…and the sharks will come.”

    -

  3. CV Says:

    I remember something that Charles Krauthammer said several months into the Obama administration…he said that many Democrats were in “quiet recovery.”

    I can’t help but think this must be true for many of those who voted for him. It’s hard to eat crow, isn’t it? You rarely hear anyone singing his praises these days, and silence can speak volumes.

  4. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    I too am hopeful — that many liberals will see the real-world results of silly policies they’ve been advocating for so long, and wonder if those policies were such a great idea in the first place. (“Talk to your enemies”, for example.)

    It’s also hopeful that the usual fallback position for a failed ideology — “the ideology was good, but it was implemented badly” — will not be easy to use here. Who will be willing to go on record and say that President Obama’s ideas were good, but that he was incompetent at executing them?

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  5. Judith Says:

    Man, I hope there are a lot more out there like Jason’s parents. I don’t mean just that they now regret voting for Obama, but that they’re questioning their long held liberal beliefs. It’s something I almost don’t dare to hope for (but I do): that the ultimate result of Obama would be to discredit modern liberalism (which isn’t liberal at all). It’s too soon to be confident – there’s a lot of fighting left and some very unsavory types to fight…but this kind of comment does give me hope that the worst impulses of the Left can be marginalized and we can remain a free Republic.

  6. SteveH Says:

    I don’t think liberals should reflect on voting for Obama as much as they should reflect on how they were so robotically programmed to detest GWB, conservatism and their country as founded in general.

    These people will be studied for mind altering political marketing techniques 200 years from now.

  7. Artfldgr Says:

    For nearly two years, senator, candidate and freshman President Obama ridiculed his predecessor — as if running the United States were as easy a job as community organizing, serving a couple of years in the Senate or campaigning for president.

    Any cook should be able to run the country. Lenin

    maybe who advises him gives him his attitudes, and since he grew up among people that are willing to make someone be something and are happy to lose the person that would have been, in order to get thri prize.

    but perhaps they missed the other things?

    Every cook has to learn how to govern the state.
    Vladimir Lenin

    A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution. Lenin

    lets hope that is so… for war is in the air, and when the hounds run wild, no one is safe, not even those who let Cerberus loose.

    Democracy is indispensable to socialism.
    Vladimir Lenin

    so true, but most don’t get what it means, and what they are… which is why it works. stupid people will step into a bear trap that the experienced with one leg would never do again.

    Our program necessarily includes the propaganda of atheism.
    Vladimir Lenin

    The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.
    Vladimir Lenin

    The goal of socialism is communism.
    Vladimir Lenin


    The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses.
    Vladimir Lenin

    The government is tottering. We must deal it the death blow an any cost. To delay action is the same as death.
    Vladimir Lenin

    There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.
    Vladimir Lenin

    The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
    Vladimir Lenin

    whats the price of gold?
    and how many bars are made of tungsten?
    [cant make any sense either way on this one! but wait till the public buying gold and driving up the price finds out... ]

    And tons of other stuff we don’t discuss anywhere.
    but boy are they more interesting than the stuff that is up front and down center.

  8. Artfldgr Says:

    Hey!

    I just realized that if obama was a real christian, then he would have not had the problems that Hanson points out.

    when it comes to blaming bush… and all that ill he throws around… (with blago in mind)

    “And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto Him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the Law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest Thou?”

    “This they said, tempting Him, that they might have to accuse Him.”

    “But Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. So when they continued asking Him, He lifted up Himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again He stooped down, and wrote on the ground.”

    “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”

    “When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

    “She said, No man, Lord.”

    “And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:2-11 KJV)

    its interesting that the politicians willing to throw the stones were Hypocrites…

    and about telling people how to fix problems when he ignores his own..

    which would lead to the SECOND admonishin towards his behavior..

    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5 RSV)

    besides greek tragedy, he is also living out various biblical parts, and either ignoring them, messing them up, or making farce of them..

    he came to us like the prodigal son, he wasnt.

    “Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-6 RSV)

    and views for statism.. he even messes up the unto cesear things…

    to put the complete goof in perspective.

    he follows a false secular religion created by an apostate of his own who set himself up as a prophet, who never gets much right…

    and through that has lived the actions and lessons familiar to greek religion AND christian religion AND judaism….

    while bowing to islam

  9. Artfldgr Says:

    ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” (Matthew 15:1-9 RSV)

  10. Artfldgr Says:

    Oh and the gods he has left to deal with, Nemesis was one of many that Obama will eventually be visited by..

    Ares is coming… Keres too… for if Nemesis is here, then the Moerae are too (or the Morrigan if your irish), of the sisters if your a fan of “that play”… Clothos laughed, as Lachesis wove, and will Nemisis keep the play going from Atropos?

    Aeolus runs through the press, what would Apollo. say? for he has certainly also angered Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne…. and so we suffer their absence…

    Was it Chronos who tempted him?

    lo come the Erinyes, Allecto, Tisiphone, Megaera, Nemisis is having such fun…

    Nike has left the building… Bia, Zelos and Kratos arrive to do their part soon.

    Clio follows, while Thaleia enters. players take the stage, and the time is set.

    Calliope can put her pen down, nothing to see here…

    did Nemisis ask Triton to kick a small pipe? or was it rhea? to seek Themis, and get Nemisis, is certainly to be blessed by hades. no?

    ah well.. i guess it’s all greek to him..

    [and if we remembered what each was for it would be better understood... ]

    sorry, slapped it together…

  11. Curtis Says:

    The programmed don’t get deprogrammed very easily. Jason’s parents are exceptions, not the rule. Note their sheepishness. Interesting clue. They were suckered; but then, we’re all sheep. They listened and didn’t know they were making an agreement.

    Go back and view Obama’s campaign speeches and notice the timing and gesturing and pacing which amounted to an attempt at mass hypnosis. Don’t think of it as hypnosis which removes your will, but rather provides a will, a will from the emotions, not the intellect.

    Remember the empty statements like “Many great problems are facing America; that is why I am here tonight.” An agreement, albeit unconscious, was made between Obama and all those who agreed with the implication of that statement: that he is the problem solver. It was not an intellectual agreement and removing it will never happen for many.

    Also, the problem with generalizing from Jason’s parents is contained in the phrase “BUT THEY LOVE THEIR COUNTRY,” a truth not attributable to MOST who voted for Obama. Some perhaps. Maybe five to ten percent. Hopefully that’s enough to turn the tide, but then the real battle begins.

  12. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    SteveH, agreed. The former follows from the latter. Once one has established a tribal dislike for a category of people, focused on their perceived captain, then any amount of mischief will be allowed in kicking them out. Whether that dislike is founded on paranoia or disdain matters little at that point. The hate is there, and any replacement will be seen as having a rosy glow. I believe in retrospect that any of a half-dozen Democrats could have beaten McCain, by about the same margin. The wrangling over the final few percent of the electorate would have been different from candidate to candidate, but the vast bulk of the Democratic votes would have been there regardless, based largely on demonization.

  13. G6loq Says:

    Assistant Village Idiot Says: Demonization …
    Yup.
    1- Demonize,
    2- Incarcerate,
    3- Work to death or use for medical experiment,
    4- Eradicate.

    See: Scroll to picts nb.: 11,12,13.
    http://www.lookingattheleft.com/2008/10/festival-of-obama/

    Also:
    The wise — as opposed to most of the highly educated — know, among many other things, that when you give people something for nothing, you produce ungrateful people; that when you obscure the differences between men and women, you end up with many aimless men and angry women; that when you give children “self-esteem” without their earning it, you produce narcissists who enter adulthood incapable of handling life; that if you do not destroy evil, it will proliferate; and that if you are kind to the cruel, you will be cruel to the kind.

    Good intentions combined with stupidity are unstoppable.

    http://article.nationalreview.com/436333/when-good-people-do-bad-things/dennis-prager

  14. CV Says:

    Thomas Sowell wrote on NRO earlier this week on the importance of an electorate that actually pays attention:

    “…When Adolf Hitler was building up the Nazi movement in the 1920s, leading up to his taking power in the 1930s, he deliberately sought to activate people who did not normally pay much attention to politics. Such people were a valuable addition to his political base, since they were particularly susceptible to Hitler’s rhetoric and had far less basis for questioning his assumptions or his conclusions.

    “Useful idiots” was the term supposedly coined by V. I. Lenin to describe similarly unthinking supporters of his dictatorship in the Soviet Union.

    Put differently, a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive. In our times, American democracy is being dismantled, piece by piece, before our very eyes by the current administration in Washington, and few people seem to be concerned about it.

    The president’s poll numbers are going down because increasing numbers of people disagree with particular policies of his, but the damage being done to the fundamental structure of this nation goes far beyond particular counterproductive policies…”

    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=M2I5M2VlNWMxNGI3Mjc1OWI0MTcxMGE1N2FlOTdiMjk=

  15. kaba Says:

    I work in Pensacola. Significant amounts of oil have been coming ashore in these last two days. This morning, while walking to my truck, I saw a vehicle with an Obama/Biden 2008 sticker very prominently displayed. Couldn’t help but think that the owner must either be incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.

  16. Mike Mc. Says:

    The political philosophy and behavior known as “liberalism” – and which is now indistinguishable from the Democrat party – is the single most destructive thing in America history.

    It is capable of laying waste to an entire civilization built over two centuries.

    It does no good, and only evil.

    Any adult Democrat is not a good person. The evidence of their actions is all around us, especially in the plantations that they farm for votes which are now called “inner cities” (as if they are prisons and not the places that used to be ground zero of civilization and progress).

    I have no sympathy for this guys parents. They can either get right and get out of the Dem party, or continue the barbaric decline of civilization because it gives them a warm feeling about themselves to think that they are the good guys.

    They are not. No Dem is.

  17. Barry Says:

    If only… I think very few people will actually admit they were duped by the hysteria of Obama. My Mom (bless her heart) is like the commenter’s parents. She ain’t backtracking at all. Why not? Gets all of her information from the nightly news and the major newspapers. And she is the “informed” one. Riiiiight.

  18. Curtis Says:

    Political liberty and the untrammeled free market are intertwined. And they both require and provide freedom of information. As CV stated, “a democracy needs informed citizens if it is to thrive, or ultimately even survive.”

    Obama’s Nemesis, his “winged balancer of life” is that his obfuscation and control of information is ever vulnerable. Neo’s thread on “Weasel resigns” is good news and hopefully shows that informational control is cracking.

    But the beat goes on, and especially disturbing is the recent letter to the FCC urging “diversity” and all the other Orwellian terms.

  19. SteveH Says:

    “”I believe in retrospect that any of a half-dozen Democrats could have beaten McCain”"
    AVI

    There was a kind of surreal inevitability that gathered momentum in that election. Sort of like thinking you got the kid talked out of a puppy and then the old family dog and the cat suddenly die. :)

  20. ELC Says:

    They’ll be a lot of heart-wrenching, hand-wringing, soul-searching over Obama among those Democrats who voted for him, all the way until they vote for the Democrat again in 2012.

  21. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    My younger brother and his wife are both liberals. They believe in Obama and hated Bush. I try to reason with them, but they have a vision of business and the Republicans as being against “social justice.” They are both active in their church, which is actively engaged in promoting “social justice.” Yet they live their lives in a very conservative fashion. They save and invest, live modestly, have raised three good kids who are productive citizens, and yet they see government programs as the solution. It is a conundrum to me, as it would be to most conservatives. They do not seem to be losing any trust in Obama and will undoubtedly vote for dems in November. They are good, decent people as are many of my neighbors who are similar in their political beliefs yet have conservative lifestyles. It is a conundrum to me. What makes these people the way they are?

  22. jon baker Says:

    Artfldgr,
    Do you have a good on line source for those Lenin quotes? I want to reference them but would like a reference if you have one- if not, then a title of a hardcopy book / source where you got them?

  23. SteveH Says:

    “” but they have a vision of business and the Republicans as being against “social justice”"
    J.J.

    I think Social Justice will go down as a focal point blunder for these times. It is a perfect example of how putting feelings before logic creates an impaired citizenry.

    It is the overly feelings driven person that can’t resist feeding the skinny bear cub in the park. The logical driven person knows it is destructive for the bear when looking at the big scheme of things.

    We mostly get it about bears. We mostly don’t get it about humans.

  24. TexExec Says:

    People who voted for Obama should at least be very embarressed and perhaps even ashamed of themselves.

    I continue to worry about the future of our country, knowing that the quality of a democratic government depends on the quality of its electorate.

    I fear that we are in the “bread and circus” days of this great experiment.

    But let’s don’t give up yet.

  25. Teri Pittman Says:

    Well, you are reading the Neo-neocon site after all, which means there is hope for even the most determined liberal. I think part of the problem is that the Repubs have not done a great job on giving solutions to social problems. My boyfriend is a lot like the folks JJ mentions. He’s run a business, so he understands capitalism. He lived in the South as a child and is totally opposed to bigotry, which makes a black candidate very appealing to him. And he gets his news off the MSM, so he’s not really heard a lot about the failures of this administration (except through me, of course.) I won’t say that he’s given up on Obama yet, but he’s certainly not as pumped about him as he was after the election. And I do think there are Tea Party candidates that he would consider supporting. I just don’t know if the changes can come fast enough to undo the damages already done.

  26. Curtis Says:

    J.J. if I may present an attempt to answer this conundrum where we have people who behave decently and yet are deceived as to the intentions and goals of “social justice.” I don’t believe this conundrum will long be with us.

    I know this is going to sound wingnut but so be it. But the answer must reference religious reasonings. And if I sound dogmatic, it’s mostly for brevity. Myself, I have lots and lots of questions and gaps of knowledge.

    I begin with one word: evolution.

    Evolution has, for the moment, defeated the Scriptures which give man a dignity and worth above the rest of creation on the basis of being created in God’s image. Indeed, man is the steward of nature.

    The “Church” responded in mainly two ways: One acquiesced and became “social gospel.” The other “fundamentalized” and became ridiculed and mocked as anti-intellectual.

    The social gospel persons have inherited a conscience both from the nurture by loving parents and families and, I believe, epi-genetically. This conscience guides them and they do not wish to act against it.

    But, having abandoned the God of Scripture, there is need for an organizing principle. And let’s face it. Liberalism, at first blush, seems more rational. It is primarily one’s bruising encounter with life that brings wisdom and an appreciation for the counter-intuitive and humility.

    Now, without the Truth that is written in Stone, this inheritence is being lost. Conscience is not something automatic. Indeed, in my religious view, if it were not for God’s promises to redeem man and His always active and provident nature which continually “saves” man, man would have devolved, by now, into either animal or demon. Thus God is the “Shield of our salvation in each and every generation.”

    Today, people all over the world are reciting Hoda’ah (Thanksgiving) as part of the Amadah. The following is an appropriate quote:

    We will give thanks to You and relate Your praise, for our lives, which are given over to Your hand, for our souls that are under Your charge, for Your miracles that are with us every day and for Your wonders and acts of goodness in every moment: evening, morning and afternoon.

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    i have a list of quotes in tons of files… but also, just search lenin quotes and most of them pop up. its the more rare quotes in which the people are kind of not focused on that fade

  28. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Curtis,
    You said, “And let’s face it. Liberalism, at first blush, seems more rational.” I certainly agree. For many people Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” is a difficult concept to grasp.

    It is also easy to see that life is not fair. There seems to be a need among many to make it fair. My brother will agree that the Soviet Union was a failled experiment in trying to make life fair. He somehow cannot grasp the connection between that and the kind of government solutions proposed by Obama.

    A lot of people think economics is a zero sum game. When I point out to my brother that Bill Gates created huge amounts of wealth from an idea, he agrees that it was a good thing to create millions of jobs, thousands of millionaires, and millions of satisfied customers. with just an idea. But his response is that, even with all the wealth creation, there is still poverty and unfairness in the world.

    When I point out that no one is immigrating from the U.S. to any other country and that millions are trying to come here, he agrees that this is a great country. Then he says it could be better if only we could eliminate poverty and unfairness.

    When I point out that the best way to reduce poverty is to increase economic activity, he agrees but doesn’t see how high taxes and regulations are a barrier to economic activity.

    He always falls back on his “feelings” and you are right, it is feelings, not reasoning that guides his thinking. He has had rough times and been cheated by a business partner. Still he sees the world through a totally different lense than I do. I wish it wasn’t so. It puts quite a strain on our relationship.

  29. Curtis Says:

    I have a sister like that.

    I’m sure you are gracious. Sooner or later, he’ll probably need you.

    Thanks for the reply.

  30. Rich Vail Says:

    Neo, thanks for posting this. I’ve linked to your article.

    Rich

  31. Julia NYC Says:

    My parents and my whole family actually are still democrats, and will still vote for Obama in the next election. It disheartens me, as I used to be like them, but awoke in 2008, and not because anyone talked me into it, frankly I didn’t know any conservatives, but it was so obvious that Obama would be terrible, and it was irresponsible to vote for someone like that who had no experience for the toughtest job in the world. Voting Republican was a no brainer, and I had been a life long rabid (albet brainwashed) democrat.

    I don’t get how they can still be Obama supporters, but they are. I am impressed at the author’s experience with his own parents, and wish I could say the same. Without trying to sound self serving, I will say that if I, of all people was able to vote conservative, there is indeed hope out there for the Republicans in 2012.

  32. Simon Says:

    I am still happy i voted for Obama, and not in the least embarrassed. The alternative was a situation where Sarah Palin could have been president. Before she came on the scene, I wasn’t too bothered either way. I saw McCain as a big improvement over Bush. When he chose her as his running mate and I saw the support she got from the right of the republican party it became clear to me that the Republican party had gone completely insane.

    Some of the things Obama has done have been disappointing, but this is always the case, whoever is in power. I was naive in that i knew very little about how hard it is to get anything done in the political system we have over here. I am quite jealous of my fellow Brits, whose leader is actually allowed to lead for the time he is in office. I have now become one of those people who is completely cynical when it comes to the broken political system in place in this country. Assuming there isn’t another Palin threat in 2012, I doubt I’ll vote.

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    Simon:

    Yeah, what a relief that we dodged that Palin bullet!

    Although funny thing, McCain remains hale and hearty. But she sure lacked experience, right? Too bad our current president not only lacks whatever executive experience Palin does have, but has made a series of terrible decisions on which Palin’s stated positions on the same subject are about a thousand times better.

    Oh, and too bad Obama’s working against the interests of this country, especially the economic ones (cap and trade, anyone? no jobs, anyone?) and has made one foreign policy error after another, with no end in sight.

    But at least Palin’s not VP.

    Right.

  34. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    I was naive in that i knew very little about how hard it is to get anything done in the political system we have over here.

    I’ve got news for you, Simon. You still sound rather naive.

    The system of government in the United States is intended to make it difficult for the government to make sweeping changes. America’s founding fathers understood all too well that, when a leader wants to make sweeping changes, that just might be a good thing… but historically, one shouldn’t bet on it.

    As such, they propounded a theory: that the purpose of government is to do the minimum necessary to enable ordinary people to earn a living and live their lives… and that otherwise, government should stay the heck out of the way. They’d had their fill of busybody leaders, thanks very much, and they knew their history well enough to know that this is the norm, not the exception.

    They were determined to be the exception. And so they wrote a Constitution for this country that, for the most part, defines what the government can’t do, and gives as much power as possible to the people. They also set up a system of government intended to contain power, by pitting one branch of government against another.

    And on the whole, it’s worked. The Constitution of the United States has been amended a few times, but for the most part it’s still the same document that it was in 1789.

    Let me add: if you think President Obama has a hard time “getting anything done”, please remember that he’s got it easy. He has healthy majorities in the House and Senate; he can pass any legislation he wants badly enough. He has the press rooting for him; he can make mistakes, and just shrug them off, that would end another politician’s career. Harry Truman had none of that, and was able to accomplish a heck of a lot more than Obama has, or is likely to. So did Ronald Reagan; so did George W. Bush.

    (Yes, I said George W. Bush. He was able to get an ultimatum for war passed, unanimously, by the UN Security Council. Can President Obama do that? Not likely; several members of the Security Council are now openly contemptuous of him.)

    The idea is to work within the system, instead of trying to upend it, and use leadership to get things done. President Obama doesn’t know how to do that. Maybe he’ll learn on the job… but the odds are stacked heavily against him. Because in the end, all he’s ever really done well was to give speeches, and find excuses for not making hard decisions.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  35. Simon Says:

    I am not really sure I follow a lot of what you are saying here. When you say “no jobs,” I am confused, as you stated in your most recent post that you think the bailout and everything that was done, saved us from a great depression. Surely then, the jobs situation is better than it would have been with no intervention?

    You also state that you do not know what needs to be done, and that no one else does. This is the same situation Obama is struggling with, and as the US economy, the birthplace of the financial meltdown, is currently fairing better than Europe, what he has done cannot be all that bad.

    I apologize, I don’t know your position on cap and trade, and I neither like that Obama flirted with it or that he then dropped it or that he may pick it back up again. I wish he would have some balls and go for a carbon tax. The idea of yet another system for speculators to game makes me sick to the stomach.

    I do however believe that Obama would also like a carbon tax, he just knows that it is impossible in the current political climate, so he goes with the half-assed compromise position. He works within the system (Daniel in Brookline).

    If we had a strong government that was able to make decisive policy, we could introduce a carbon tax overnight, and start to move ourselves off our addiction to foreign oil. We could scrap subsidies on corn and place them on proper food, so we aren’t the fattest country in the world. There are so many things that seem so simple to do, but are completely impossible because of the money tied up in the political system here. The sentiments you express Daniel are admirable, and I applaud everything you say in principle, but this stable system seems to be serving us very poorly at the moment. The moneyed interests and the strict partisanship make even the most sensible policies impossible.

    Palin’s positions do not seem at all better to me. I find her passionate position on gun rights the stuff of nightmares. I am not totally against the right to bear arms, but at the very most it should be a regrettable necessity, not a point of pride. These are machines designed to murder our fellow human beings after all. Perhaps I am too much of a wuss on this point, but her gloating over guns sickens me.

    Her position on abortion, which if at least rational, is too extreme. She is against gay marriage, which is a despicable position for any so called Christian to take. She denies anthropogenic global warming, which means she is out of touch with reality. She is a biblical literalist, which means she is delusional.

    I am not someone who is able to see these things as personal beliefs separate from what she offers as a politician. For me they paint a picture of a spiteful ignoramus. Someone I would be ashamed to have represent me in any fashion. And while I would agree with you that Obama has not thus far been a great success on the world stage, I can only begin to imagine the terrifying joke this country would be if Sarah Palin were its envoy.

  36. neo-neocon Says:

    Simon: actually, I was quoting Robert Samuelson; those were not my words. However, I did say “I’m with Samuelson on this one,” indicating agreement.

    But what Samuelson actually said on the matter was, “Granted, the initial response to the crisis (sharp cuts in interest rates, bank bailouts, stimulus spending) probably averted a depression.” Note the qualifier “probably,” and the three elements he mentions, of which stimulus spending was only one. Nor does he use the word “great” to modify the word “depression.”

    I actually don’t think the stimulus spending did much good; I think it was more the other things that averted or postponed a possibly worse crisis, at least for the moment (particularly the bank bailout, which at least temporarily kept the dominoes from falling). I think things stand a very good chance of getting worse again. I think the most basic problems have not been fixed in a way that would inspire confidence.

    And there is absolutely no way to tell whether the jobs situation is worse than it would have been without all this intervention, or better. I don’t think the stimulus had much effect on job creation either way—there just were too few jobs “created or saved.” Unfortunately, the other things Obama has done—particularly the tax increases he will impose on the “rich,” his demonization of business people, his favoring unions so strongly, his deals in the takeover of GM that gave unions precedence over the other bondholders who were supposed to come first according to the terms of contract law—all this and much much more has had a very chilling effect on the economy and jobs creation in particular. If he was trying to discourage the creation of jobs I do not think he could have done any better.

    As for the rest of it—there is a search function on the right sidebar. I’ve written a great deal about cap and trade, global warming, and Sarah Palin (who has a whole category of posts, all by herself, under “Palin” under “categories”). If you do a search for those topics you will see, if you read the posts, that you and I are in almost total disagreement on every one of these matters.

    As for Christians and gay marriage—you write that Palin’s stance on gay marriage “is a despicable position for any so called Christian to take.” I guess the Pope would beg to differ. Here is his position on gay marriage, “Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called abortion and same-sex marriage some of the most ‘insidious and dangerous’ threats facing the world today.” Would you say he’s a “so-called” Christian, or despicable?

    And what about Obama, who plays the game of sometimes sounding like he has one position on gay marriage and then taking the opposite side? Does he have any principles or convictions on the matter at all? I doubt it. Palin, at least, has the courage of her convictions, and takes the traditional straightforward Christian position that marriage is a sacrament between a man and a woman (same as the Pope does, although Palin is not a Catholic).

    And unfortunately, Obama has already been a terrifying joke on the world stage, albeit a very unfunny one. Sarah Palin would be rough around the edges, but she would be tough and she would be clear. And with Palin, our friends would be treated like friends and our enemies like enemies. Sounds pretty good to me, compared to Obama.

  37. Simon Says:

    Just to answer this one point for now, as I am getting ready for work. Would I say the pope was a “so-called” Christian, or despicable? Yes I would. I went to a Methodist church when I was a kid, and this kind of intolerance and hostility simply did not exist. The weekly sermons never even broached these subjects. They are not in keeping with the message of tolerance and understanding Jesus stood for.

    My memory of Jesus from that time is a guy who told us to forgive our enemy’s and love our neighbors, not someone who would deny people the right to consecrate their love, in whichever way they saw fit. Or a guy who would damn you to an eternity in hell fire for killing a blastocyst.

    The Catholic church has held despicable positions throughout its history. I am sure many of today’s Catholics would find the Catholic church of 200 years ago despicable. It is a human institution and its interpretation of the Bible is colored by a lot of freaky repressed priests. They get better as time goes by, but for me they are still so-called Christians. A lot of Atheists I know live much more Christian lives in my understanding than they ever will.

  38. neo-neocon Says:

    Simon: actually, the Pope’s position on marriage is not a fringe one. It is the position that’s been held by most Western religions since their outset. Jesus himself spoke of marriage this way:

    Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.

    Seems pretty clear he is speaking about marriage as being between a man and a woman (the reference to making male and female is to the Adam and Eve story). You will note also that Jesus is significantly more restrictive on divorce than you would probably prefer.

    I am neither a Catholic nor a Christian, but I respect Christian thought on the matter and consider the Pope a pretty good authority on Jesus. But I suppose the Gospel According to Simon is far more valid.

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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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