Imagine if a hard-right-wing president were to follow Barack Obama and embrace the new precedents that Obama himself has established for the presidency. Would he then be seen as an unusually polarizing figure, who abused the power of his office? Let’s call him Bucky
Brewster, the new Republican President from Montana.
President Bucky Brewster announces that he finds most of the Affordable Care Act patently unconstitutional. So he suspends all its timetables of implementation, stops the employer and individual mandates, and gives exemptions to big corporations, Tea Party groups, and the NRA. Brewster goes on to throw out Obama’s recently passed “comprehensive immigration reform” act, deporting at once four million illegal aliens and cancelling the Dream Act, remarking: “It contradicts prior law. The federal immigration law is the law.” Continue reading “How Hard Will We Be on the Post-Obama President?”→
Tuesday night President Obama will deliver another campaign speech, this one marketed as the State of the Union address. As such, we can expect to hear, through the usual white noise of “I,” “me,” and “my,” vacuous bromides like “moving America forward,” and empty promises “to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and empower all who hope to join it,” as White House flack Dan Pfeiffer said. So after token references to economic growth, we can expect to be served heaping helpings of “income inequality” and “economic mobility,” the redistributionist chum for his hungry progressive base. Continue reading “Fight the Next War, Not the Last One”→
For all the hysteria over former defense secretary Robert Gates’s new insider memoir of his tenure during the Bush and Obama administrations, the disclosures are more breaches of trust than earth-shattering revelations. Much of Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War is the ordinary stuff of public service.
What little gossip in the book there is that may be controversial — revelations that both Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cynically opposed the successful Bush-era surge in Iraq on political grounds, or that Vice President Joe Biden is a buffoonish blowhard — was already common knowledge to many Americans.
Gates sees himself as reluctantly drawn to Washington to help rescue the fading Bush administration’s unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2009, he grudgingly stayed on at the Defense Department, apparently to add some sobriety to an at times comically inexperienced new Obama team.
There is a long tradition of retired court insiders revealing unflattering details about their bosses before they leave office — and it is not uplifting. The Roman court insider Petronius thought he could get away with caricaturing the buffoonish emperor Nero through his racy novel The Satyricon. Continue reading “‘Duty,’ and the Taint of the Tell-All”→
This year we will see if America is still a center-right country, or if Obama’s two terms will mark a historic shift to the left. History and recent events give cause for optimism, subject, of course, to unforeseen events.
The champions of big government, wealth redistribution through taxation and entitlement transfers, and a coercive, intrusive regulatory regime have many times exaggerated the death of conservatism and the final victory of progressivism. Remember this famous pronouncement by culture critic Lionel Trilling in 1950? “In the United States at this time Liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation . . . But the conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not, with some isolated and some ecclesiastical exceptions, express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.” Even as Trilling wrote those words, the work of Russell Kirk, F.A. Hayek, Richard Weaver, Whittaker Chambers, William F. Buckley, and many others were developing a powerful conservative philosophy that would bear fruit in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. Continue reading “2014: Year of Decision”→
Will Kane of High Noon Pajama Boy wasn’t. Somehow we as a nation went from the iconic Marlboro Man to Pajama Boy — from the noble individual with a bad habit to the ignoble without a good habit — without a blink in between.
There are lots of revolting things in the Pajama Boy ad. After all, how can you top all at once a nerdy-looking child-man dressed in infantile pajamas while cradling a cup of hot chocolate with the smug assurance that he is running your life more than you his?
The Liberal Body-Snatchers
Still, there are one or two even scarier thoughts.
Will there be a scandal if the new political appointees at the IRS sic their auditors on Moveon.org? What will the Washington Post say should the new president keep Guantanamo Bay open for five more years, quadruple the number of drone missions, or decide to double renditions? Will it say that he was shredding the Constitution, or that he found the terror threat too great to honor past promises?
Will NPR run an exposé on our next president should she tap into Angela Merkel’s cell phone, or monitor the communications of Associated Press reporters — and their parents? Will investigative reporters go after the president should he falsely claim that an ambassador and three other U.S. personnel died in the Middle East during a video-sparked spontaneous riot? Or if he then jails the filmmaker for a year on a trumped-up parole-violation charge? Continue reading “2017 and the End of Ethics”→
Adding straws of scandal — Fast and Furious, the Associated Press monitoring, the IRS fiasco, and the NSA spying — on any presidential back except Barack Obama’s would have long ago broken it. Watergate ruined Richard Nixon. Iran-Contra earned a special prosecutor and nearly destroyed the Reagan second term. Katrina’s incompetent local and state reactions, coupled with a tardy federal effort — and the insurgency in postwar Iraq — ended the viability of George W. Bush in his second term. Continue reading “Obama and the Suspension of Disbelief”→
Rasmussen reported last Friday that 52% of likely voters approve of Obama’s job performance. This number is both astonishing and depressing. The avalanche of Obama’s failures both domestic and foreign should have buried this presidency months ago. Yet despite the slow-motion implosion of Obamacare now catching the attention of even the court-journalists of the mainstream media, millions of American voters still think one of the worst presidents in modern history is doing a good job.
In any other administration, even without Obamacare, the litany of scandal and bungling would have politically crippled not just Obama but the Democrats as well. The murderous gunrunning of the Fast and Furious debacle, Attorney General Eric Holder turning the Justice Department into the Democrats’ Luca Brasi, the out-of-control EPA waging its economy-killing war on carbon, the National Labor Relations Board unleashed to browbeat business and revive a moribund labor movement, the SEC shaking down banks for billions, the IRS targeting political opponents, the trillion-dollar “stimulus” spent to achieve the worst economic recovery in history, the trillions more borrowed and created out of thin air to finance entitlement spending and payoffs to political cronies––and that’s just domestic policy.
Add the outrageous incompetence and indifference that got 4 Americans murdered in Benghazi, the subsequent lies and cover-up for political advantage, the waste of American money, toil, and blood in Iraq by the precipitate withdrawal of our forces, the likely reprise of that malfeasance in Afghanistan, the alienation of allies like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, the cozying up to the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood, the appeasement of the equally genocidal mullahs in Iran, the groveling to a rampaging Russia, the whole Syria “red line” humiliation over chemical weapons––any one of these foreign and domestic fiascos would have inflicted serious political damage if we weren’t living in the alternative political universe in which we suddenly found ourselves on January 20, 2009. Continue reading “For Obama, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure”→