From an Angry Reader:
Victor David Hanson’s latest rant, “Obama left the president with monstrous mess (2/17),” is in its unmitigated slam at our “last president” not the least bit surprising, both in its orientation as well as in its patent bias. While it’s a fool’s errand to try to defend much of Obama’s efforts in foreign affairs, the notion that the present mess is Obama’s work alone is absurd. It is widely recognized that the work of a dud named Bush, in his less than honest war making policies had a good bit to do with today’s mess. Indeed, Hanson recognizes as much, but waits till his very last sentence (contrary to the title) to do so. In the meantime, should Victor tire of Obama bashing, he might do a column on the domestic economy under O. While it would be foolish to suggest that all’s super well on the domestic front, it is the case that Obama inherited a serious recession with an unemployment rate reaching 10% shortly after his inauguration, and which to today is significantly below 5 percent. Alas, in keeping with his obvious right wing bias, I’m sure that Hanson will soon join Trump himself in claiming credit for the present state of the domestic economy. Alas, it’s the blatant bias of folks like Hanson that helps create the deep hostility in so much of our politics. Sad.
As ever, and in not surprising contempt, David E. Kaun
Victor Davis Hanson’s Reply:
Dear Angry Reader David E. Kaun,
Much of what you write is not just emotional ranting, but simply factually incorrect (Davis not David) and logically incoherent (e.g., much of Obama’s efforts in foreign affairs are not defensible, but the present mess is not his alone). When Obama entered office in January 2008, Iraq was quiet—so much so that Vice President Joe Biden termed it the administration’s likely greatest achievement and Obama boasted that he was leaving behind a “stable” and self-reliant” Iraq. Thus the administration apparently felt the nascent consensual government in Iraq was not the source but the antidote to Middle East instability—which magnified by the abrupt 2011 Obama pullout, the destruction of Libya, the fake redlines in Syria, the promotion of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the rise of “jayvee” ISIS, the “daylight” between Israel and the US, the failed “special relationship” with Turkey, the invitation to Putin to reinsert Russia into the Middle East, the Iran deal, and on and on.
I have written on Obama and the economy: sadly, he is the first president since Herbert Hoover not to achieve 3% per annum GDP growth; he doubled the debt to $20 trillion in just eight years, and left a near record labor non-participation rate. The recession he inherited from George W. Bush ended in June 2009, suggesting that had he not enacted his agenda, the economy would likely have naturally recovered and robustly in a way it did not for the next eight years.
I don’t think Trump or anyone wishes to “claim credit” for the present economy: despite near record deficits, near zero-interest rates, and massive new federal spending, the economy was never primed—largely because of new regulations, the ACA health mandates, higher taxes, and constant “you didn’t build that” attacks on private enterprise. I assume that explains why the Democratic “blue wall” crumbled in 2016 due to dissatisfaction among Democrats with the status quo.
Trump will either fail or succeed, but we will have to wait at least 4 years for the verdict. If Trump is culpable, I will write just that.
Again, the letter’s venom (“contempt”) is once again thematic of the leftist inability to debate without slurs. Very sad.