Monday, September 24, 2012


A Voice from a Planet We Don't Live on

Andrew Sullivan, the excitable boy of political musings and amateur gynecologist, and a person I used to read every day, has a somewhat far-fetched premise to his long, and not that distinguished, article in Newsweek (yes, it still somehow exists) but which I read on the Daily Beast here.

He thinks President Obama is the Democrat's Reagan.


It doesn't appear to be a parody.

First, he thinks Obama is going to win; that, in and of itself, is Reaganlike, he thinks (and yes, he's aware Bill Clinton won two terms). But there's more.

Obama has been playing a long, strategic game from the very start—a long game that will only truly pay off if he gets eight full years to see it through. That game is not only changing America. It may also bring his opposition, the GOP, back to the center, just as Reagan indelibly moved the Democrats away from the far left.
What? The Democrats have moved ever leftward since '72, and '81-'89 is in that period. Obama has polarized us to the extent that the Tea Party arose to fight the "squishy" Republicans and stop sending big spenders of other people's money to Washington with an R behind their name. Moving the Republican party to the center is about as far from what has happened as is possible to describe. In other words, wrong again, Andrew.

Looking back, of course, the comparison between Obama and Reagan seems -absurd (sic)...

Blind hog finding an acorn.

Nonetheless, the administration has soldiered on since 2010, and the tally of achievements is formidable: the near-obliteration of al Qaeda, democratic revolutions in the Arab world that George Bush could only have dreamed of, the re-regulation of Wall Street after the 2008 crash, stimulus investments in infrastructure and clean energy, powerful new fuel-emission standards along with a record level of independence from foreign oil, and, most critically, health-care reform.

Only on Planet Democrat are these achievements. We Republicans and the nation as a whole (except for some Democrats) like it that the President ordered the killing of Bin Laden and is obliterating the homes of suspected terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen, along with everyone inside the houses. But obliterating al Qaeda he isn't. Just ask Ambassador Stevens. Oh that's right, he can't answer because he and three other Americans were murdered by a co-ordinated al Qaeda attack on 9/11/12 in Libya's second capital. What democratic revolutions in the Arab world? Do you mean the Arab Spring which allowed hardcore Islamic extremists to take over formerly somewhat sane nations? Before, the powerful rulers kept the Islamacists from doing what they do and now they are gone, replaced with the tyranny of Islamacist rule. (Sorry, women and homosexuals, you are in for some very hard times in Egypt, etc.) This is an achievement? There were no stimulus investments in infrastructure. Even Obama has admitted this. Unfortunately, "clean energy" (like with Solyndra) is merely wasted taxpayer money. The reason we are getting more independent from foreign oil is because of the non-recovery to the recession--we are using less and thus importing less (some achievement); and the oil and gas we do produce is despite what the Obama administration does, not because of it. Obamacare is not healthcare reform, but another unfunded entitlement we can not afford. Not one of these is an achievement or anything, Osama's death excepted, to be proud of.

He's right to say an Obama win will seal Obamacare as the law of the land, but that's something the majority of Americans who don't like Obamacare should consider when they vote. Now or never, America.

As to the vaunted second term of Obama, he will not have the House (Bill Crystal's fears and Nancy Pelosi's fever dreams notwithstanding) and should not have the Senate (although a Republican takeover there is less likely than a few months ago). In any event, with a decidedly minority position in the House and at best a closely divided Senate, Obama's chances of any further legislative 'achievements' are exceedingly small.

I won't go into the pie in the sky hopes Sullivan has for compormise and recovery. They are not realistic with the sort of non-leadership the current administration has provided. Let's end with his second recounting of achievements:

But in a first term, he ended the Iraq War on schedule, headed off a second Great Depression, presided over much more robust private-sector job growth in his recovery than George W. Bush did in his, saved the American automobile industry, ended torture, and saw his own party embrace full marriage equality and integrate gays into the military.
President Obama didn't end the Iraq War (Gulf War II); George Bush (son) did with the gutsy surge which all but wiped out al Quada in Iraq. All Obama has done is claimed credit for nothing he did and, worse, he has jeopardized Bush's, our victory, by failing to negtiate a meaningful military co-operation agrement. There are few of us in the know who credit the President with saving us from a fiscal calamity; the worst of the financial crisis was over when Obama took office and his actions after that have only worsened the recovery, not aided it. Obam has barely made it back to even for the jobs lost. Bush is a plus 4.4 million jobs for his 8 years and Obama is a plus 300,000 for his 4. How is that more? Ford was not saved or 'rescued". Chrysler was not saved, but went into bankruptcy and the remnants were bought up by competitor Fiat, along with the Union and the US government. GM was not saved but underwent bankruptcy and now the U.S. Treasury wrongly owns some substantial share (around 60%) of the still slowly declining business. There was no torture to end. Waterboarding, which is routinely done to our own soldiers and sailors during SERE training, is not torture. If it never started, it wasn't ended. And is it better to blow up a suspected terrorist with all his family than to put a wet towel on his face for a few seconds? I'd say ask the blown up terrorists, but that's futile. We already know what the "tortured" 3 terrorists say: Thanks for giving us an excuse to spill our guts. We'll leave off discussing the homosexual issues that are so near to Sullivan's heart but I couldn't care less about. OK, one last comment. Marriage equality? Don't make me laugh. Homosexual men can marry women just as heterosexual men can, they just don't want to.

He thinks Obama has done a grand job and ought to be re-elected. I can think of no greater evidence of his inability to see things clearly.


Bravo. Well said. However:

"Obama's chances of any further legislative achievements are exceedingly small."

The key word here being "legislative."

Much of what he was not able to obtain via legislation, he has managed to obtain via regulatory rules and waivers (pending the long wait for invalidating court decisions - which only increases business uncertainty). I would expect this to continue in a 2nd term, absent Congress "growing a pair" and using defunding as a cudgel.

Further, unless Obamacare is repealed, which will not happen with a close House and Senate and a vetoing President (i.e., no veto override vote), I believe that the health care & insurance industries will have invested so much in compliance (both in cash and restructuring) that it will be impossible to reverse post-2016.
I kept writing after your comment. I know about the executive orders, but even Sullivan doesn't call them achievements. I couldn't agree more about our chances of getting rid of Obamacare in 2017 if we don't elect Romney in 2012.
To ignore the ex ords is to mislead. After all, Obama is looking forward to more flexibility in his second term -- if he can't get there via legislation, then he will use all available tools, and he will have zip accountability.

I don't know if you follow any of the mil-blogs, but there is much derision directed toward the increasing pc-ness of the military. Not re: gays, but rather the feeling that the highest priority these days is to fulfill HR quotas, as opposed to preparing and executing the mission.

Have you found The Duffle Blog yet? It's a mil version of The Onion. Fairly rank, but very funny.

You keepin' busy? It's the best way to keep your mind off'n your troubles until it's your choice to ponder on them.
Thanks for the recommendations, advice and, as always, your thoughtful comments.
Yeah, well, my advice is worth about what you paid for it....
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