The Way Our World Works

by Victor Davis Hanson

PJ Media

The Strange Thing About Nemesis…

…is that the deity picks its victims on the basis of irony and arrogance. For every media-frenzy about ethical lapses of columnist Armstrong Williams taking Bush administration money for hawking No Child Left Behind, there is a Jonathan Gruber [1], the MIT go-to pundit on healthcare, who raked in $400,000 from the Obama administration for … hawking ObamaCare.

For every racially insensitive Trent Lott, Senate party leader, there is a racially insensitive Harry Reid [2], Senate party leader. For every illegitimacy story about Levi Johnston and Sarah Palin’s daughter, there is a John Edwards’ love child. For every supposed Bush fabrication, there is Barack Obama on YouTube swearing he will air all the healthcare debate on C-SPAN [3] (sort of like his old public campaign financing promises, or closing Gitmo within a year, or getting out of Iraq by March, 2008, or …).


But, of course, by now you readers protest! — why haven’t we heard of Gruber, why did the media go easy for so long on Edwards (and his complicit wife), why is Harry Reid still majority leader?

The answer is that those on the left are moralists, smarter people who pass up their own personal agendas to help the community. They think of society, not self, and so when they err, they do it under stress, in accidental fashion, and with no lasting significance — not like their selfish Neanderthal cousin conservatives, for whom transgression is a valuable window into their flawed souls. Bushisms became a media pastime, but no one suggests that a president who says Cinco de Quatro, or 57 states, or references the “Austrian” language is a Dan Quayle wrestling with potato.

That Enigmatic Joblessness?

We are still at double-digit unemployment in December. But I am relieved that it was not 15% thanks to Obama’s various stimuli programs, bailouts and healthcare initiatives that saved us.

Is this Ivy League brilliance? For three years as candidate and now as president, Obama targeted the productive small business and entrepreneur class. They should be “patriotic,” “pay their fair share,” and “spread the wealth” to the more deserving. If they made over $250, 200, or was it 150K(???), they should pay higher state, federal, payroll, inheritance and now healthcare taxes. From time to time, Obamians, like Anita Dunn and Van Jones, referenced the great redistributist and killer Mao, or the greed of “white people.”

I could go way on, but you get the picture. Somehow in such a landscape, the family dentist, small trucking operator, and insurance agency owner were supposed to go out and hire more people, buy equipment, and work a little harder, when they a) don’t know how high their taxes will climb, and b) accept that they are targeted by this president and so expect that any new healthcare, energy, or education initiative will come at their expense.

Jobs, you see, are largely instead made by the federal government, which borrows about $100,000 per employed in some grand new “millions of green jobs” or “remaking America” plan that puts more of us on the unfireable, always promoted federal payroll.

Why instead would not the proverbial small business person pull in his horns and wait out the statist experiment, as our present 10% unemployment rate suggests is actually now happening — despite printing an extra $2 trillion through deficits this year alone?

Psychology Matters

In short, what we are witnessing millions of times over are the following conclusions of the small entrepreneur: “This guy hates me and what I stand for, and wants to appropriate lots of what I make and give it to others he likes better. Therefore I am not going to take any risks, since he’s either going to take lots of what I already made or even more of what I hope to make.”

So far Obama has uttered not one word such as: “And then we must thank all those Americans who put aside money for their own healthcare, who pay their taxes on time and in full, and who treat their employees well.” Maybe one less Cairo speech or Al Arabiya interview, and one reach out to the small business community?

Modest Suggestions for Obama 

1) Each time you invoke Bush and proceed to trash him, just substitute al Qaeda. Try it today or tomorrow. Or better yet, close your eyes, take a deep breath and envision Sarah Palin, and as your blood pressure rises, say “Bin Laden.” Then go out to address the country on anti-terrorism. Your credentials as a mean SOB anti-terrorist fighter would soar.

2) In the long promised spirit of bipartisanship, each time you think of a new strange way of praising the Islamic world, just substitute Bush. Your “there is no purple state America” credentials would be reestablished.

3) Instead of talking about all the uninsured and exploited, try suggesting that millions of Americans should buy catastrophic health care plans and pass on big-screen TVs, I-phones, and DVD players. And why not tax at 10% (since we now are in the age of taxes) all remittances sent back to Latin America ($50 billion last year). Not all of that sum is sent by impoverished illegal immigrants, but much of it is, and ensures that workers here will have less disposable money to pay for their own health care.  We could set up plans with the $5 billion in revenue and send a message to cover one’s own expenses before sending money to family back home.

4) Do not hire any more cabinet officials or government agency heads with Ivy League degrees. Enough already. Nothing has destroyed the reputation of Yale-Harvard-Princeton more than the present administration. Geithner did not learn how to pay his taxes. Summers sleeps through meetings and has contradicted almost all that he used to believe in; Holder wants to accommodate the architect of 9/11 with a show trial in New York, but try the CIA agents who interrogated him. The old Yalie Van Jones thinks Bush was in on 9/11. And Barack Obama of Harvard Law Review believes the Muslims gave us everything from the printing press to the Renaissance and Enlightenment. One contractor, surgeon, engineer, or pilot is worth five lawyers and academics. The Ivy League seminar explains a lot of the problems with the now imploding Obama administration — so much self-referential talk of elite standards, so little actual proof of any at all.

5) Get ready and brace yourself. 2009 was spent sowing the seeds of foreign adventurism through apology, kowtowing, trashing the prior administration, reaching out to thugs, neglecting allies, and talking up the corrupt U.N. 2010 will be spent reacting to the harvests of that bitter investment. Right now we are down at the OK Corral, with a lot of seedy gunmen looking sideways to see who fires the first shot in expectation that he can get what he wants with a little flashy holster work. If he gets away with his threats and braggadocio, down the road a real shoot-out will follow.

URLs in this post:
[1] Jonathan Gruber:
[2] Harry Reid:
[3] C-SPAN:

©2010 Victor Davis Hanson

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