Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

The Liberal Circus

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

 This Nov. 28, 2012 file photo shows then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listening as President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)


This Nov. 28, 2012 file photo shows then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton listening as President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Lately liberalism has gone from psychodrama to farce.

Take Barack Obama. He has gone from mild displeasure with Israel to downright antipathy. Suddenly we are in a surreal world where off-the-record slurs from the administration against Benjamin Netanyahu as a coward and chickensh-t have gone to full-fledged attacks from John Kerry and Susan Rice, to efforts of former Obama political operatives to defeat the Israeli prime minister at the polls, to concessions to Iran and to indifference about the attacks on Jews in Paris. Who would have believed that Iranian leaders who just ordered bombing runs on a mock U.S. carrier could be treated with more deference than the prime minister of Israel? What started out six years as pressure on Israel to dismantle so-called settlements has ended up with a full-fledged vendetta [1] against a foreign head of state.

Hillary Clinton likewise has gone from a rather run-of-the-mill liberal grandee to a political grafter [2]. She apparently solicited donations from foreign government officials and wealthy foreign nationals to contribute to the Clinton Foundation — and this was while she was secretary of State conducting the foreign policy of the United States. If those charges are proven accurate, how could she ever be trusted to become commander in chief? Unfortunately, in the last year almost every cause that Hillary Clinton has taken up has been belied by her own actions.

Inequality and fairness? At time when students struggle under a collective $1 trillion-plus student debt, much of it because of universities hiking fees and tuitions above the inflation rate, Hillary has serially charged universities well over $200,000 [3] for 30-minute boilerplate speeches.

Women’s issues? We learn that women on Senator Clinton’s staff once made considerably less than their male counterparts [4]. Had Bill Clinton worked at a university, corporation or government bureau, his sexual peccadillos long ago would have had him thrown off the premises. The latest disclosures about his junkets with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein [5] are so bizarre that no one quite knows what to make of them — the would-be first female and feminist president married to a man who serially cavorted with a convicted sexual pervert?

Transparency? Consider the recent disclosures that Hillary knew almost immediately that the Benghazi killings were the preplanned work of terrorists and not due to spontaneous rioters angry over a video — and yet continued to deceive the public that just the opposite was true. The problem with Hillary’s scandals are not just that they reveal a lack of character, but that they are illiberal to the core on hallmark progressive issues of concern for equality, transparency and feminism.

We no longer live in an age of debate over global warming. It has now transmogrified well beyond Al Gore’s hysterics, periodic disclosures about warmists’ use of faked data, embarrassing email vendettas, vindictive lawsuits, crony green capitalism, and flawed computer models. Now Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, has taken the psychodrama to the level of farce in a two-bit McCarthyesque effort [6] to demand from universities information about scientists who do not embrace his notions of manmade global warming. Where are the ACLU and fellow Democratic congressional supporters of free speech and academic freedom to censure such an Orwellian move? Finally, even the American Meteorological Society had to condemn the unhinged Grijalva for his bizarre efforts.

Attorney General Eric Holder came into office alleging racism and calling the American people cowards, and six years later is exiting, still blaming racism for his own self-inflicted failures. In between, Holder became the first attorney general to be cited for contempt by Congress. He stonewalled the Fast and Furious investigations. His plans to try terrorists in federal civilian courts were tabled almost immediately. He ordered electronic taps and surveillance on the communications of Associated Press and Fox reporters for supposed leaks.  He ignored wrongdoing in the IRS mess, a scandal that continues to grow. He got caught using his government jet [7] to take his daughters and their boyfriends to the Belmont Stakes.

But Holder will be remembered largely for his racialist tenure. He dropped a strong case of voting intimidation by armed Black Panthers at the polls. In congressional testimony, he referred to blacks as “my people”; anyone else — except Joe Biden — who had said the same would have been asked to resign. He promised federal action on Ferguson and the Trayvon Martin shootings — and then quietly backed off when the evidence for civil rights violations did not meet his own rhetorical excesses. The problem, he pleaded, was not that his targets were not guilty under the law, but that the law itself had to be changed to make them guilty.  Holder claimed repeatedly that opposition to Obama was race-based, and he leaves office as a caricature of incompetence and racial divisiveness.

The IRS scandal likewise went from melodrama to farce. The president said there was not a “smidgeon” of corruption in the selective targeting of conservatives. Lois Lerner, the focus of investigations, pled the Fifth Amendment after having received over $100,000 in merit bonuses. When congressional investigators wanted to subpoena her computer records, IRS officials claimed both that her hard drive  had crashed and that its data was unrecoverable. The latter proved untrue; but then so far so has everything the IRS has said. The only lesson is that any private citizen who replied to IRS inquiries in the manner that the IRS responded to public subpoenas would be jailed.

Debt? Barack Obama stated out in 2008 calling George W. Bush unpatriotic for piling up nearly $5 trillion in eight years; he may be on target to double that amount — and trump the combined red ink of all prior presidents. Obama raised taxes, slashed defense, and still ended up with over a $500 billion annual deficit, as he declared the age of austerity over.

So it has become with most liberal issues. The debate over illegal immigration has gone from arguments over closing the border to Social Security cash rebates to illegals and presidential threats to punish Border Patrol officers who enforce existing law. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf assures us that poverty and unemployment are catalysts to terrorism [8], just as so-called Jihadi John, the psychotic ISIS beheader, is revealed to be a preppie British subject[9] from the upper middle class. The president brags that gas prices have gone down because frackers ignored his efforts to stop them — and then vetoes the Keystone Pipeline.

The Trayvon Martin controversy descends from the purportedly preteen of released photos who was shot down in cold blood by a white vigilante into doctored NBC tapes, airbrushed photos, the New York Times’ invented rubric “white Hispanic,” the president weighing in on Trayvon’s shared racial appearance, girlfriend Rachel Jeantel’s explanation of Trayvon’s violence as a sort of homophobic act of “whoop ass” — only to be echoed by MSNBC talking head Melissa Harris-Perry’s ugly sanction of violence on Martin Luther King Day with the amplification of Jeantel’s term “whoop”:  “I hope [Martin] whooped the sh-it out of George Zimmerman [10].” It would be hard for a satirist to make all that up.

Michael Brown goes from the icon of a “gentle giant” in vain calling out “hands up, don’t shoot” only to be gunned down by a white racist cop — to a thug who strong-armed a store clerk, walked out into the middle of the road under the influence and then attacked a police officer. Conspiracists once warned us that the government was buying up ammo to prevent private gun owners from purchasing it; now we learn that Obama by executive order may ban [11] the most popular type of sporting ammunition. Is there one element of Obamacare that has not been modified, delayed, or ignored — from the employer mandate to the fine for noncompliance?

Why this descent into travesty?

The liberal left got what it wanted in 2009 with a supermajority in the Senate and large majority in the House, a subservient mainstream media, the good will of the American people, and the most liberal president in American history. It only took that the liberal hierarchy six years to erode the Democratic Party to levels that we have not seen since the 1920s. Almost every policy initiative we have seen — whether climate change, foreign policy, health care, or race relations — has imploded.

The answer to these failures has not been introspection, humility, or reevaluation why the liberal agenda proved unpopular and unworkable, but in paranoid fashion to double-down on it, convinced that its exalted aims must allow any means necessary — however farcical —  to achieve them.

The logical result is the present circus.


Article printed from Works and Days: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/the-liberal-circus/

URLs in this post:

[1] with a full-fledged vendetta: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2015/03/01/obama-threatened-iaf/

[2] to a political grafter: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/foreign-governments-gave-millions-to-foundation-while-clinton-was-at-state-dept/2015/02/25/31937c1e-bc3f-11e4-8668-4e7ba8439ca6_story.html

[3] well over $200,000: http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/07/12/hillary-clinton-speeches-20000-bill-clinton/2511459/

[4] than their male counterparts: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/02/the-appalling-hypocrisy-of-obama-and-hillary.php

[5] convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein: http://www.newsweek.com/2015/02/06/sex-offender-who-mixes-princes-and-premiers-302877.html

[6] McCarthyesque effort: http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/25/democrats-witch-hunt-global-warming/

[7] using his government jet: http://weaselzippers.us/196206-holder-uses-government-owned-jet-to-fly-daughters-and-their-boyfriends-to-attend-belmont-stakes/

[8] catalysts to terrorism: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2015/02/17/another-day-at-nbc/

[9] a preppie British subject: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2972333/First-picture-Jihadi-John-adult.html

[10] whooped the sh-it out of George Zimmerman: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2015/02/25/nbc-hopes-trayvon-whooped-zimmerman/

[11] Obama by executive order may ban: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2015/02/the-obama-administrations-ar-15-ammo-ban-whats-it-all-about.php

Copyright © 2015Works and Days. All rights reserved.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

16 Thoughts on “The Liberal Circus

  1. Raenalle DeGidio on March 2, 2015 at 7:57 am said:

    This sums up the Obama presidency. His legacy? It’s simple. He won.

  2. Pingback: Bibi’s Speech, Obama’s Grand Plan, and Those Annoying Jews

  3. dupere on March 2, 2015 at 10:27 am said:

    “” U.S. fears that britain’s defence cuts will diminish army on world stage””” from the Telegraph. RAF squadrons cut from 30 to 7 since first gulf war, Army cut down by a fifth. The evil of the Liberal menace. Farage to the rescue, or the Farage mindset. Dangling fresh meat before a lion

  4. I am beginning to wonder if there needs to be a Constitutional Amendment to construct a “fail safe” provision that would prohibit or sanction some unilateral executive actions that contravene treaties, such as the one we currently have with Israel.
    I have no idea whether it is true or not, but I know that it has been reported that our president authorized the interception and destruction of Israeli jets on preemptive strikes against Iranian nuclear targets.
    I certainly would not want any of our allies telling our government how to deal with an immanent perceived threat.

  5. Kit Ingoldby on March 2, 2015 at 11:27 am said:

    The chaos is the point. It is the feature, not a bug. Permanent class and race and sex war.

  6. Masterful summary of “a liberal/progressive” series of policies run amok. Needless to say, they are deserving of their path toward self-destruction which apparently they still prefer as opposed to owning up to their many failures and starting anew.

    But, focusing the the key foreign policy issue confronting our nation today—Iran—the question is: Can our President who lies about virtually everything be trusted to make an agreement with Iran that will prevent them from becoming a nuclear state? Like, when our President tells the media that he can’t even see the Israeli PM this week because he doesn’t want to “interfere with their election process,” yet he sends his political operatives to Israel do just that!

    I come from a place that you don’t tell a lie unless you have something to cover up. In this case, I don’t know what that “something” is as yet, and would love to hear your thoughts on this very important matter.

  7. zygote314 on March 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm said:

    Just as Hamlet’s Danish kingdom were usurped by an impostor, aided and abetted by a weak and compliant former sister-in-law, the American people are seeing their country’s republican institutions corrupted by an unchecked, incompetent ideologue. The mainstream media have surrendered their vital role of independent watchdog, and have instead joined ranks with our president as he wields his apparent imperium to “fundamentally transform” our nation. As the clock runs down on his presidency, I believe Obama will become increasingly brazen and will push the limits of a Congress he knows will never impeach him nor shut down the government in order to restore some fiscal sanity.

    Last came Anarchy, he rode on a white horse splashed with blood,
    And even he was pale to the lips, like Death in the apocalypse.
    And he wore a kingly crown, and in his grasp a sceptre shone.

    And on his brow this mark I saw:”I AM GOD, AND KING, AND LAW”
    And they cried with one accord:”thou art king, God and lord”
    Anarchy to thee we bow, be thy name made holy now.

    So, he sent his slaves before to seize upon the bank and tower,
    And proceeded with intent to meet his pensioned Parliament.
    When one fled past a maniac maid, her name was Hope, she said.
    But she looked more like despair as she cried into the air:”my Father time is
    Weak and grey, waiting for a better day. See how idiot like he stands,
    Fumbling with his palsied hands.”

    Men of England, heirs to glory
    Heroes of an unwritten story.
    Rise, like lions after slumber
    In an unvanquishible number.
    And shake to earth your chains like dew,
    Which in sleep had fallen on you,
    For ye are many, and they are few.

    And let a vast assembly be
    And with great solemnity
    Declare with measured words
    That ye, are as God made ye – free

    The old laws of England
    They whose reverend heads are aged with grey
    Children of a wiser day
    And whose solemn voice must be,
    Thine own echo – LIBERTY !

  8. zygote314 on March 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm said:

    The poem I cited in my previous post was a fragment from Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy.

  9. Joan Sands on March 2, 2015 at 3:23 pm said:

    Beautifully written, Mr. Hanson. What I do not understand is why so many people in the country think Obama is doing a great job. Why are there so many really stupid people in the country?

  10. All this being said, sadly this administration has come together at a time when our checks and balances–both Congress and the Supreme Court–have never been weaker and more ineffectual. It can be very confusing sometimes, trying to figure which side the Republicans are on. My guess is it doesn’t matter much. They aren’t help to either side-just null and void. There are a few very good Americans that are working really hard to preserve our country but they are gravely outnumbered. They are vilified by the “others”.

  11. John the Econ on March 3, 2015 at 9:13 am said:

    I have long since discontinued the use of the term “liberal” to describe what the Democrats and the bulk of left-leaning ideology in this country has come to represent over the last decade.

    With the obvious exception of issues relating to sex or sexuality, (where now, almost anything goes) since the reign of Obama there is very little “liberal” left within the left. There hasn’t been anything “liberal” in the left’s economic agenda for generations. Last week, Obama through the FCC is going to begin their clampdown on the last bastion of economic and political liberty in our economy, the Internet. The vast majority of our universities, formerly bastions of liberalism and unlimited “free speech” today not only have squelched open debate and free speech, but are now doing what the left has always accused the GOP of trying to do, sending women back to the 1950s.

    The people behind this are anything but “liberal”. They are more accurately some combination of “fascists”, “communists”, or “totalitarians”. I use the more historically concise term “Progressive”. The “Progressive” movement in America is where all the Communists went when they discovered that Americans had no interest in communism between the world wars. The Progressives softened their message, finally finding resonance with the baby boomers during the ’60s. Since then, it’s been a slow march back to the real goal, totalitarianism.

    Either way, there’s nothing “liberal” about “totalitarianism”. The word “liberal” has its root in the Latin root “liber”, which means “free”, as in “liberty”.

  12. The culmination of the joke that America is becoming under these Democrat demagogues and their Keystone Cops opposition, would be for those two Arkansan hicks to reensconse themselves at the big house sitting at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Do think they’d bring back the $75,000’s worth of silverware and other items that they stole and kept? http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121856

  13. WRFREE on March 4, 2015 at 6:34 am said:

    I’d suggest the ‘circus’ analogy takes us along a more serious note if we look back situationally to Leonidas at Thermopylae. We know where he stood with his emphatic enunciation of ‘Molon labe!’ giving a strong and unequivocal stand to Xerxes.
    .
    Today it appears we have no Leonidas at the helm. Our current leaders appear as if they’ve lost their way. Flim flamming and flopping all over the place. They have no sturdy political will in their policies. We just may be blind-sided like Leonidas but we, with ridiculous and ineffective policies ,may have the misfortune to bring about that sort of deleterious self-destruction.

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