Monday, December 28, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson: Some Modest Obama Predictions.

Classicist, observer, and blogger extraordinaire, Victor Davis Hanson, issues some keen predictions in his latest post. Here are some worthy highlights:

Some Modest Obama Predictions

1) We will begin to hear ever so insidiously mention again of the “war on terror”; some quiet memo will go out to cool all the talk of ‘man-made disasters’ and ‘overseas contingency operations’.

2) Either shortly or soon next year, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano will resign. I don’t see how the nation’s point woman on domestic terrorism can claim that the system worked like “clockwork,” when the Nigerian terrorist’s own father contacted American authorities long ago to warn us about the proclivities of his own son, who came within seconds of blowing apart a transcontinental jet. The system worked only at the 11th hour thanks to a courageous Dutch tourist who took matters into his hands.

3) I think the overseas bowing, apologizing, and kowtowing will stop in 2010—it brought no tangible results. Indeed, Obama is one bow away from global caricature and humiliation. And when one examines the recent behavior of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, or Syria, one concludes that they all think they can make favorable readjustments in regional landscapes and power relationships in 2010. Obama’s advisors will try to stop his natural inclinations to apologize, and I think will be successful—given the gathering storm clouds of 2010.

4) We may hear something finally in support of the Iranian dissidents. The ‘reach out to Ahmadinejad’ line has failed. And Iran will probably get the bomb in 2010. Since we will not ratchet up sanctions or impose an embargo, the only hope to stop an theocratic bomb will be regime change—and that may prompt some Obamians to speak out on behalf of the courageous rather than worry whether the murderous will meet with us.

5) We will hear lots of talk about fiscal sobriety next year. Obama realizes that the $2 trillion annual borrowing is unsustainable and warping his foreign policy as well as his own sense of stature. He also knows that “they” who will pay increased income, payroll, health, and state taxes are simply not numerous enough to end the deficits, and may slow down or find ways to reduce income exposure—as the combine tax bite goes over 60%. As a result, we can expect some sort of federal excise tax or stealthy fees, or at least some euphemism for finding more revenue.

It doesn't take a razor sharp observer to notice the stark incongruities and blunder of the Obama administration's first year. Hanson is on to something with his first point. Political correctness is a severe disease of the mind that infects many in power these days. Sadly, one of the more acute symptoms of the vicious, paralyzing, self-imposed affliction is a complete inability to see something for what it actually is. Political correctness is an intellectual paralysis that is sourced by blending fear, resentment, and dishonesty of facts and masquerading the abominable outcome as "sensitivity." Following the massacre at Fort Hood and the failed Christmas day "undie-bomber," maintaining the politically correct delusions about the "War on Terror" as nothing more than a "man made disaster" has become increasingly untenable for the administration. A simple, and honest shift in rhetorical positioning could be a good sign that the newly installed PC apparatchiks at Homeland security are doing their job of taking threats more seriously.

Pursuant to his second point, I was and still am mildly agnostic towards Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security. Let's put aside the fact that she revels in looking androgynous and reminds me of Janet Reno on several levels. Also, other than being a former Democratic governor of a red border state, who backed Obama during the primaries, I am not sure what her homeland security qualifications are, even though she has held the portfolio for nearly a year. However, that observation is way above this exile's pay grade. It has become increasingly evident over the past few days that she has no idea what exactly is going on or how to articulate the priorities of homeland security on the Sunday talk show circuit. Given the administration is already at capacity with rhetorical and incompetent buffoonery, via Joe "The Mouth" Biden," and "tiny" Tim Geithner, I'd agree that Napolitano's day's are numbered.

I take exception to point three. Obama's constant apologizing abroad is inherently part of his international shtick. Does anyone recall that gaudy speech he delivered in Berlin back in the summer of 2008? That says it all. I find his lack of distinctly American resolve to be an appalling and feckless trait, but it was clearly part of the deal when we elected him. As much as I'd love to see a savvier and effective Obama overseas, I don't see how a switch in approach will occur because such a switch would be an admission of having been wrong. Obama strikes me as too proud and egotistical to ever imply he somehow erred. We are talking about the guy who had the gall to accept the Nobel Peace Prize after authorizing an escalation of violence in Afghanistan, and having done absolutely nothing prior to that. It takes a self-centered delusion of grandeur to pull that off with a straight face.

As for Iran, Obama's silence last summer was deafening. Especially while pro-democracy activists were being gunned down in the streets of Tehran. He has positioned himself as being fundamentally unserious about addressing the Iranian threat directly. I think he is concerned that a strong rhetorical stance, may undo some of the positive buzz associated with his Cairo speech. As much as I'd like him to, I don't see him seriously tightening the rhetorical vice on Iran in the near future. There is a lingering neurosis throughout most of the left and the Obama administration that an aggressive stance with America's known enemies and a dedicated pro-human rights posture would too closely resemble President Bush. We couldn't have that now, could we?

Finally, short of the U.S. defaulting on its debt, things can't get much worse from a governmental macro-economic policy perspective. However, fiscal and monetary sobriety will be nowhere in sight during 2010. Between the looming health care bill that bails out big insurance, and talk of a second economic stimulus package, the best we can hope for is containment of the pending damage. Maybe the dems can nationalize the legacy airlines, all government contractors, old print media, and a few construction companies next year. Yes, more middle class tax hikes can be expected. Remember, if you voted for "hope," change is all you are going to have left in your back account.

1 comment:

  1. Hanson's defense against Yglesias's racialism accusations is interesting, too. I'd add, in addition to Hanson's point #3, that to whatever extent the President does play the race card in his own defense, it will (mercifully) cheapen that currency.