by Victor Davis Hanson
Says It All
1) a new poll revealing a vast majority of investors see Obama as anti-business
2) Obama declaiming on what he has done and what he will do to create jobs
3) After a year Obama still has not yet figured out that his promiscuous talk of higher income, payroll, healthcare, and inheritance taxes, serial demonization of finance and business, and all sorts of new regulations, create a psychological climate in which the employer pulls in his horns and decides to ride things out—and this individual reaction is being repeated millions of times over, energized by the pique at everything trivial from Van Jones to apologies abroad to “Bush did it.”
What Did They Expect?
Now that the voters of Massachusetts have splashed our hypnotized young god back into his own reflecting pool, it is almost surreal to follow the left’s sudden petulance and occasional hysteria — akin to the climate of 2005-6 among some of the right when the once pro-Iraq War neocons began bailing and heading for the exits.
Then some of the most vehement pro-war sounding zealots suddenly swore that they had never supported the invasion at all. I think I called it at the time “my victory; your defeat” to explain their chameleonism between 2003 and 2006.
This present liberal bloodletting will continue, as Obama’s polls dip even more, and the next liberal Coakley appears in the political cross-hairs. The left neither quite understands the populist outrage nor would have a clue how to deflate if it did. (One of the most painful things to watch was Obama’s anti-Scott Brown stump speech: a perfect storm of gaffes in which he showed no knowledge of Brown’s record, slipped into his faux-black-pulpit cadences, did the old “Bush did it” whine, made silly jokes about pick-up trucks (can one imagine Obama driving up and down Illinois in one?), and reflected once again the Obama brand of thinking that the people are deluded and must be warned by a philosopher-king not to do what is not good for them.)
There is a pent-up fury that is a dividend of a year’s bad economic news, the constant presidential condescension, and the hubris of false hope and change—and we have not seen the extent of it yet. The people are weary of being talked down to as if they don’t understand climate change, as if they don’t get the inside scoop on deficit spending, as if they can’t appreciate the brilliance of massive new government entitlements, as if they need moral sermons hourly on their race/class/gender shortcomings, and as if they can’t quite fathom why KSM, the terrorist warrior who planned the killing of 3,000 Americans and declared al Qaeda at war with us, must be tried like a bank robber in New York. (Perhaps during the Battle of the Bulge we should have shipped back captured German saboteurs to New York for trials.)
We, the Ignorant
Meanwhile on planet earth I was thinking of Secretary’s Chu’s warning that our farms in California would “dry up and blow away” as today I chain sawed limbs from a week of horrific storms and flooding, and prepare tomorrow to go to Huntington Lake to dig out 10 feet of snow from the house.
Our populists seem to be shouting back at Washington, “We’re tired of you—at least we don’t cheat on our taxes, at least we pay our bills and don’t call maxing out the charge card ‘stimulus,’ and at least when we say we are going to do something, we do it.”
Republicans must be gleeful as an inept Obama in some sort of delusion now claims that the prairie-fire pushback dovetails with his own Ascension in 2008. Oh yes, Barack—those who voted for a conservative in Massachusetts surely are the same sort of angry voters who turned out in droves for your hope and change mantra?
And, therefore, of course, fresh new liberal mavericks in places like Utah and Alabama will soon be leading grass-roots rebellions against entrenched conservative incumbents to emulate Massachusetts. And, yes, we are to believe that Obama himself never used the term “tea-bagger”, and warmly embraced the Town-hallers, as he had the rural folk of Pennsylvania?
And, yes, Barack, the reason that you are experiencing an historic crash in the polls and your coattails are radioactive is, as you said, because you did not speak often enough to the American people — not enough interviews, cover stories, photo-ops, presidential addresses, staged press conferences, and perpetual campaign teleprompted stump speeches.
This sort of unreality will ensure that the Obama flame continues to engulf the congress of liberal moths that swarm to it. Did Obama really think the laws of physics did not apply to him — that one can in a year and a half run up over $3 trillion without consequences or nominate a nut like Van Jones or bow to a Saudi royal or denigrate the police or serially break his promises or attempt to socialize medicine or that employment comes as manna from heaven once a rhetorician calls for so many billions to be borrowed for so many millions of jobs?
Fodder for Conspiracists
The Left cannot face the truth that this is for a generation or so longer a center-right country that in defiance is rejecting the statism of Obama—and therefore it will construct a ludicrous hypothesis that Obama’s failure is predicated on his being too centrist. That way, they can disguise their own desire to distance themselves from an unpopular, and, for now, losing cause, by some sort of adherence to a higher principle.
Obama, again for now, will blame congressional candidates, subordinates, the media (yes, imagine that), all for matters of poor tactics and communication that prevented us dunces from appreciating the Obama godhead. In truth, he must be some sort of Manchurian candidate working under deep cover for the Republican Party, since his first year has translated into tens of millions of dollars in free conservative advertising, proselytizing, and public relations.
Politically-correctness on the Richter Scale Metaphor
I confess I have no apologies to critics over my using the Richter scale metaphor in the last blog. I live in California and work in the seismically-active Bay Area. In the last 50 years I can recall dozens of major earthquakes and aftershocks, and they are a way of life here. I cannot monitor my speech because of the deadly nature of such realities in Haiti, any more than I would because a city in Iran or thousands in China are leveled, and many have been in this millennium. To do so, would mean because of Hiroshima we can’t use the “nuclear option” to describe congressional action, or a “political tsunami” or a “presidential hurricane” or “ perfect storm”.
Serious readers know well enough not to confuse metaphorical usage of the “Richter scale” and “aftershocks” with insensitivity toward Haiti. I don’t think we want to set rules that require suspension of metaphorical and allegorical evocation of particular natural disasters every time one strikes.
We also see the pernicious effects of PC in the latest Pentagon white paper on the Ft. Hood massacres, in which Hasan is not identified as an Islamic zealot acting out religiously-driven extremism. PC (which serves a variety of purposes from stifling free expression to claiming some mythical higher moral ground through gratuitous censure) ends only when we collectively shrug, and sigh, “Linguistic extortion has zero influence on me.” I went through all that in 2003 with Mexifornia, when I was scolded in debates and reviews for the use of “illegal alien” instead of the more ideologically correct, but imprecise “undocumented workers”—despite the fact that at least 25% of illegal aliens in California themselves were not employed and very few had documents in the first place that could become un- anything.
©2010 Victor Davis Hanson