Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Accomplished Leader

It isn't often that Noman concurs with President Obama.  So, he wants to acknowledge it when they agree, as about something he said at the end of a recent interview with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft.
As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president -- with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln -- just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history.

Noman couldn't agree more.  In terms of the legislative blitzkrieg and regulatory carpet bombing unleashed on the crisis-panicked public, his early Administration is one of the most accomplished, most opportunistic, ever.

Noman ventures to guess that nobody in American history has ever so completely disregarded the expressed concerns of large majorities in order to ramrod an unpopular collectivist agenda unilaterally down the throat of the nation.

Hats off to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the mainstream media for a big assist.  The President couldn't have done it without them.

From the stimulus to ObamaCare to Dodd-Frank to the regulatory imposition of cap-and-trade elements, to the end of don't-ask-don't-tell--his first two years were an orgy of Progressive willfulness.  This is the way that a like-minded blog views it.

The President certainly is a cocky son-of-a-gun.  But, in this instance, he is merely stating facts, not bragging.  That, however, does not exonerate him from charges that he is simultaneously arrogant and ignorant--even if intelligent, which has more to do with the possession of grey matter (which he evidently does) than with its application (the issue with ignorance).  

Arrogance is evidenced by his lack of reflection, self-doubt or misgivings about the unilateral use of power. Ignorance is demonstrated by the substance of the hackneyed agenda he imposed on a catatonic public and supine opposition when the nation could least afford it economically.

The results of his feckless leadership are economic stagnation, a frightful debt crisis, a ratings downgrade, an Arab winter, evaporated opportunity, palpable malaise, national decline, growing dependency, class warfare and extreme polarization.

To Noman's mind, President Obama deserves credit for more than he claims, specifically for being one of the nation's greatest tyrants ever.  He is a shameless demagogue and a committed ideologue of the Left.  If he is removed from office, public recognition of this, and not the fact that he is half black--as his followers suggest--will be the reason.

With respect to the rest of the interview, Noman was impressed by how many times the President responded to Kroft's interogatories with prefaces like "As you said yourself, Steve..."  It makes Noman wonder why the President was needed at all, since the interviewer was so successfully carrying water for him without any help.

Having given the President credit where credit is due, Noman feels obliged to disagree with him on a couple of points.  He'll stick with the last interview question and answer.
KROFT: Tell me, what do you consider your major accomplishments? If this is your last speech. What have you accomplished? 
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we're not done yet. I've got five more years of stuff to do. But not only saving this country from a great depression. Not only saving the auto industry. But putting in place a system in which we're gonna start lowering health care costs and you're never gonna go bankrupt because you get sick or somebody in your family gets sick. Making sure that we have reformed the financial system, so we never again have taxpayer-funded bailouts, and the system is more stable and secure. Making sure that we've got millions of kids out here who are able to go to college because we've expanded student loans and made college more affordable. Ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Decimating al Qaeda, including Bin Laden being taken off the field. Restoring America's respect around the world.
The issue here is not gonna be a list of accomplishments... But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we've got a lot more work to do. And we're gonna keep on at it.
Noman is impressed with the President's humility and sense of perspective.  Nevertheless, he begs to differ with him on a few points, in fact, all of them.

First of all, the President does not have "five more years of stuff to do."  He has an endless and ever-growing list of stuff--the eternal yearnings to command and control in Statist bosoms--to impose on the American people in his remaining year in office.

It will be more difficult for him in his last year than it was in his first two because the people are no longer fooled.  They know of his contempt for the middle class and all who oppose his idea of fairness, which seems unduly to favor the well connected and those who work for government.  Moreover, Republicans mercifully control the House, which forces him to work by stealth in the extra-constituional administrative sector rather than the legislative branch of government.  His regulatory incrustations will be easier to scrape away than legislative impositions.

Critically, he sees things in terms of himself.  To his mind, accomplishments are his, and opposition can only be explained by personal animus and a desire to see him fail.  He seems blind to his actual responsibilities to the nation he leads, as opposed to his ideological aims for it.  He governs the nation as if it were an ideal Rousseauian collectivity in need of forcing to be free.

In the final analysis, Americans are not a sheepish people, notwithstanding their lethal addictions to comfort and propagandizing entertainments.  Neither are they stupid.  This will cost him.

Secondly, he did not save the country from a great depression--something he has been credited for doing even in the Financial Times.  His Statist overreach and antipathy to individual initiative, small business and relatively free enterprise have prolonged the worst effects of the great recession--e.g., moribund real estate prices, tepid economic performance, high unemployment, immobility-inducing incertitude, debilitated financial institutions (despite carry trade opportunities galore)--and threaten the world's recovery.

Thirdly, he did not save the auto industry.  He saved the unions of two of the big three domestic auto makers.  By doing so, he prevented the industry from working out the systemic problems that vex it in comparison to foreign producers, even those on American soil.  He shafted lenders, rewrote the rules of bankruptcy, and imposed his untutored vision of what the industry should be producing on GM and Chrysler in order to perpetuate union prerogatives and favor environmentalist zealots.  In short, he hooked the United Auto Workers--a Democratic Party stalwart--onto a new host, the American taxpayer, after it had drained two of the Big Three Automakers of life.

Fourth, health care costs are headed higher, not lower.  It is service that is headed lower.  Noman is uncertain as to the wisdom of replacing the ultimate bad consequence of illness, viz. personal bankruptcy, with that of having the plug pulled on life, which is what ObamaCare's myriad bureaucracies will do whether called "death panels" or not.  Somewhere Jack Kevorkian is smiling, nay, cackling.

Fifth, the taxpayers will be forced to bailout financial institutions again as surely as God made little green apples.  Banks are no smaller or less interconnected than in 2008, and they impose no less of a systemic risk.  Taxpayers are already being forced to bailout Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on a quarterly basis without a peep by the alarum industry.  Neither GSE was the subject of financial legislation though both Democratic Party strongholds were primary causes of the financial crisis.  The CFPB will provide tens-of-thousands of high-paying government jobs to aspiring bureaucrats.  But, as it merely satisfies Elizabeth Warren's longstanding regulatory desires rather than addresses the causes of the financial crisis, it will not make the system more "stable and secure."

Sixth, we have not made college more affordable.  Quite the contrary.  By subsidizing the never-ending demands of educrats and educators for more money and higher income, it has been made more expensive.  The increased cost is simply being transferred into the future via debt, or onto third parties via loan forgiveness.  "Loan forgiveness," ha, ha.

Seventh, he has ended don't-ask-don't-tell for homosexuals, not for religious observers or secular thinkers who consider homosexuality to be unnatural as well as abnormal, and immoral.  Those who do not agree with the homosexual lobby will now have more impediments thrown in the way of their wanting to die for their country.  The burden of living in a closet has merely been further shifted from homosexuals onto an exponentially larger class of people who can more rightly claim the mantle of reason than a minority that defines itself by sexual predilection--a notoriously unreasonable impulse.

As to the rest:

Al Qaeda decimated?  Please, don't make me laugh.

Bin Laden taken off the field?  With whose intelligence, gathered where?

Restoring America's respect around the world.  Yes, Noman has noticed how belligerence against against the US has magically ceased, how the world looks to us with hopeful eyes, and how European and world leaders heed our counsel and advice with deference.

The President must mean that respect for America has been restored by the mainstream medias' ceasing to act as a hate-mongering cheerleader against its President and policies.  If he does, then Noman has found another point on which he and the President agree.

Noman finds the President's bravado fanciful, his reading of accomplishments puffed, and his "keeping at it" menacing.  May the nation survive him, justice be done, and ruin befall this most calamitous and self absorbed of Administrations.

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