Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

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How Presidents Lie

It’s nothing new for a president to lie to us, but Obama’s style is unique.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

In the past there have been all sorts of presidential fibbing. Some chief executives make promises that they know they probably cannot or will not keep. Before his reelection for his third term in the midst 450px-Revolving_Doorof a world war, Franklin Roosevelt swore that he would never send American boys to fight in a foreign war. In just a little over a year, he did just that. Lyndon Johnson likewise before the 1964 election said he would not send troops to Vietnam. But once reelected, he sent nearly 200,000 troops to fight the North Vietnamese; by the time he left office, over a half-million Americans were deployed in Vietnam.

In 1988 presidential candidate George H. W. Bush pledged that he would not raise taxes and did so emphatically: “Read my lips — no new taxes!” But in 1990 he flipped and agreed to tax hikes.

Barack Obama has offered all sorts of similar empty pledges, like promising to close the federal detention center at Guantanamo Bay within a year of taking office. It is still open. Obama also promised to halve the deficit by the end of his first term. Instead he doubled it. Ditto Obama’s promises on the good things to follow Cash for Clunkers, on the shovel-ready jobs that would follow the stimulus, and on the summer of recovery to be spawned by massive borrowing. At your own job, if you promise the boss that you will do something and then don’t, you’re likely to get fired; when presidents do the same, it’s called politics. Read more →

The War on Human Nature

For nations as for individuals, pretending self-interest doesn’t exist is perilous.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

At some critical point, everyone makes choices based on incentives and his own perception of self-interest. Somehow the Obama administration has forgotten that natural law.

A therapeutic sense of self-sacrifice is fine in the abstract, but in the concrete such magnanimity causes far more harm to the innocent than does a realistic appraisal of self-interest and a tragic acceptance of the flawed nature of man. The theme of the present administration is that it possesses the wisdom and resources to know better what people should do than they do themselves. From that premise arose most of catastrophes that have befallen this administration. Read more →

Secretaries Gone Wild

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

We’ve had some unusual cabinet secretaries in past administrations — Earl Butz, John Mitchell, and James Watt come to mind — but never anything quite like the present bunch. Read more →

It Was the Power, Stupid!

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

I. Power — Always Was and Always Will Be

In my dumber days, between 2001-2008, I used to wonder why the Left relentlessly hammered the war on terror (e.g., renditions, tribunals, predators, preventative detention, Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, Guantanamo Bay) when these measures had not only proven quite useful in preventing another 9/11-like attack, but had been sanctioned by both the Congress and the courts. In those ancient times, I was not as cynical as I am now. Read more →

Cabinets Gone Wild

by Victor Davis Hanson

Tribune Media Services

We’ve had some unusual Cabinet secretaries in past administrations — Earl Butz, John Mitchell and James Watt come to mind — but never anything quite like the present bunch. Read more →

Sitting Out Obama

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

We recently saw lots of sit-down strikes and demonstrations — the various efforts in Wisconsin, the Occupy movements, and student efforts to oppose tuition hikes. None of them mattered much or changed anything. Read more →

Beware of the Mob

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

Our Modern Lynch Mob

Democracies are in general prone to fits of the mob. Just read the Thucydidean account of the debate of Mytilene. Read more →

Faith-Based Energy Policy

by Victor Davis Hanson

Tribune Media Services

When the summer driving season starts soon, and tension heats up over Iran, gas may reach $5 a gallon. Nothing bothers voters more than paying an extra $20 or $30 every time they fill up. Read more →

The Gaseous Policies of Barack Obama

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

“They” Did It (Again)!

There are no “oil men” in the White House. So the Obamites cannot, as in the past, blame Halliburton, BP, or Exxon for rigging gas prices out of the Oval Office. Read more →

What We Do Not Want to Hear Anymore

by Victor Davis Hanson

Pj Media

NO MAS, MR. PRESIDENT

The State of the Union could have been written [1] by a computer program. Read more →

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