ObamaHopeProgress.jpg

Does Barack Obama Even Want to Save His Presidency?

Back on the first day in December, 2009, I sent Powerline a post entitled Can Obama Save his Presidency? Those were early days, to be sure. But I was already persuaded that President Barack Obama had laid the groundwork for a political realignment against his party, and I considered the thought experiment worth engaging in. I even offered the President some unsolicited advice – that he reposition himself politically – and I suggested that he had in front of him a golden opportunity. Next week, I wrote, Obama

will be once again in Copenhagen — where some weeks back he made a colossal fool out of himself (and us) while seeking to persuade the International Olympic Committee to hold the next Olympics in Chicago.

This time, however, if our President wanted to, he could present himself as a paragon of principle and strength.

In his inaugural address, President Obama pledged to “roll back the specter of a warming planet” and “restore science to its rightful place,” implying — graceless as always — that the administration of George W. Bush has suppressed scientific truth in the interests of ideology.

In Copenhagen, President Obama can show us that — however unjust he may have been to his predecessor — he is as good as his word, and then he can regain in some measure the trust that he has lost by his involvement in the lying, the wholesale bribery, and the other shenanigans associated with the “stimulus” scam and the proposed health care reform.

In the last few days, we have learned that what has long been suspected is all too true: that the work done by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which formed the basis for the four reports issued by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a sham — that the data were doctored, that the computer simulation was a fraud, and that systematic efforts were made by the most prominent climate scientists to corrupt the peer-review process and suppress legitimate criticism: all for the purpose of imposing a straitjacket on the world economy.

As radical climate alarmist George Monbiot has acknowledged on his blog, “Pretending that this isn’t a real crisis isn’t going to make it go away . . . I know that opaqueness and secrecy are the enemies of science. There is a word for the apparent repeated attempts to prevent disclosure revealed in these emails: unscientific . . . No one has been as badly let down by the revelations in these emails as those of us who have championed the science. We should be the first to demand that” climate research be “unimpeachable, not the last.”

This is precisely what President Obama could say in Copenhagen — that some of the most prominent climate scientists have betrayed their calling, that the global-warming hypothesis remains, in fact, unproven, and that the reports issued by the IPCC provide no basis for the making of public policy.

In this fashion — mindful that a specter is “an apparition inspiring dread” and that one of the principal functions of science is to dispel illusions of this very sort — he really could “roll back the specter of a warming planet” and “restore science to its rightful place.”

In such a situation, it would be appropriate that President Obama recommend that there be further study, that the raw data collected and the computer code written be available for inspection by all, and that research funds be apportioned equally between those who assert and those who deny that we are threatened by anthropogenic global warming.

In short, he could rise above the fray, as presidents are supposed to do. And, at the same time, he could get out from under the economically destructive and politically suicidal cap-and-trade bill that Nancy Pelosi jammed through the House and that he endorsed.

He would infuriate the true believers that make up much of his party’s base, to be sure. His science czar John Holdren — a radical socialist who was an alarmist regarding global cooling back in the early 1970s before he became an alarmist regarding global warming — might resign. Al Gore, who has made something like $100 million in the course of peddling junk science, would rise up in high dudgeon.

But the President of the United States would win the hearts of his countrymen. Climategate could be for Barack Obama what Sister Souljah was for William Jefferson Clinton.Alternatively, of course, President Obama could hunker down, embrace “the specter of a warming planet,” and disgrace himself by telling us what anyone who pays the slightest attention to developments knows to be untrue, as he has done so often in the health care debates. If he does so, however — if he really is, as I suspect, a one-trick pony, an empty suit with a golden tongue — he will only accelerate his precipitous decline and that of his party in the polls.

Needless to say, the President did not take my advice; and, frankly, I never expected him to do so. His vanity is an insuperable obstacle to his rethinking anything. William Jefferson Clinton had vices galore. But, as Newt Gingrich once pointed out, an obstinate refusal to rethink was never among them. He was always learning something. Barack Obama is more like the Bourbons of France. He never forgets, and he never learns anything.

WilliamDaley2.jpgI was not the only person to send a shot across Obama’s bow that December. There was someone else – far more distinguished than I am – who did so in a particularly dramatic way. His name was William Daley. He had been Clinton’s Secretary of Commerce. He had chaired Al Gore’s Presidential campaign, and he was the brains behind the Chicago machine. On Christmas eve – when no one but political junkies, Congressmen and Senators, and Democratic operatives would notice – he published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he warned that the President and the Democrats in Congress were in danger of bringing about a realignment in favor of the Republicans.

After alluding to the announced retirements of four centrist Democrats in the House and to Parker Griffith’s switch to the Republican side, Daley argued that “the Democratic Party — my lifelong political home — has a critical decision to make: Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.”

The political dangers of this situation could not be clearer.

Witness the losses in New Jersey and Virginia in this year’s off-year elections. In those gubernatorial contests, the margin of victory was provided to Republicans by independents — many of whom had voted for Obama. Just one year later, they had crossed back to the Republicans by 2-to-1 margins.

Witness the drumbeat of ominous poll results. Obama’s approval rating has fallen below 49 percent overall and is even lower — 41 percent — among independents. On the question of which party is best suited to manage the economy, there has been a 30-point swing toward Republicans since November 2008, according to Ipsos. Gallup’s generic congressional ballot shows Republicans leading Democrats. There is not a hint of silver lining in these numbers. They are the quantitative expression of the swing bloc of American politics slipping away.

Griffith and the Democrats who have decided to retire are, Daley says, “the truest canaries in the coal mine.”

Of course, Daley thought that the Democrats could head off danger by changing course. “It may be too late,” he observed, “to avoid some losses in 2010, it is not too late to avoid the kind of rout that redraws the political map.” All that his party had to do was to “to acknowledge that the agenda of the party’s most liberal supporters has not won the support of a majority of Americans — and, based on that recognition, to steer a more moderate course on the key issues of the day, from health care to the economy to the environment to Afghanistan.” The Democrats need not, he added, abandon their radical agenda. They need only take the polling data “as a sign that they must continue the hard work of slowly and steadily persuading their fellow citizens to embrace their perspective.”

I argued at the time that Daley’s warning was “too little and too late.” “With the Senate’s passage of Harry Reid’s version of the healthcare bill in the wee hours this morning,” I wrote, “the die is cast.”

Realignments take place when the American people come to feel — I use that last word advisedly — that one of the two parties is a conspiracy to take away their liberties.

This was the charge that Thomas Jefferson and the Jeffersonian Republicans of 1800 directed at the Federalists, and the conduct of the New England Federalists at the Hartford Convention a few years thereafter persuaded a majority of their compatriots that there was something to the charge.

It was the charge that Andrew Jackson directed at supporters of the second Bank of the United States, that Abraham Lincoln’s Republicans directed at the slave power, that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Democratic Party directed at the so-called “economic royalists” in and after 1932.

The argument that FDR lodged in 1936 –that “a small group” is intent on concentrating “into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives” — was then a lie. But it worked. Americans were suffering, and someone had to be blamed.

FDR’s charge is now quite obviously true. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid have unmasked the Democratic Party. We now know who and what they are. We know that the entire party supports what I once described as “Obama’s Tyrannical Ambition.”

All that it now takes to turn American politics upside down is for someone on the Republican side to rearticulate FDR’s charge and drive it home.

President Obama ignored Daley’s warning. Not even the election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in liberal Massachusetts was sufficient to cause him to rethink. And, in November 2010, he and his party got a “shellacking” on a scale not seen in my lifetime. At the state level, which is especially telling, it was the greatest Republican victory since 1928.

President Obama responded to that defeat by hiring William Daley as his Chief-of-Staff. I speculated at the time that this might signal on his part a Clintonian willingness to accept the will of the people, pivot politically, and work assiduously with the Republicans elected to the House and the Senate in crafting legislation that would come to grips with the country’s fiscal crisis. “Well, one thing is now clear,” I wrote when the appointment was made.” Barack Obama very much wants to be re-elected, and he is willing to do whatever it takes.” I thought that Daley would wield far more authority than was ever allowed Rahm Emanuel.

Daley’s arrival at the helm also means that Obama has decided to pivot and reposition himself as a budget-cutter and a friend to big business. The left within the Democratic Party is now in an uproar, which will help the President far more than it will hurt him. If he is to present himself as the Comeback Kid, he will have to ditch his party in much the same manner as Slick Willie from Arkansas. John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will have to be ready to do business with one hand – while they are investigating malfeasance on the part of the administration with the other. Politically, we are in for a battle royal.

To a considerable degree, the outcome will turn on contingencies. The stock market is up, business leaders seem sanguine, and investor confidence is high. As I argued in an earlier post, however, there are storm clouds on the horizon. Housing prices are dropping, and some observers believe that they are still overpriced by twenty percent. If they continue to fall, more homeowners will find that they owe more than the house is worth – and many of these will default on their mortgages. Moreover, almost all of the states and a great many of the municipalities in the country have large unfunded obligations which will soon at least in part come due, and some of our most populous and wealthy states – Illinois, New York, and California among them – have massive deficits in their current operating budgets. They will have to cut jobs and services, and they may be forced to raise taxes. Neither expedient will speed the recovery. We could easily slip back into recession – and if we do or if, as is highly likely, unemployment remains high, the President will get the blame.

To the discontent derived from the economy, we can add that attendant on Obamacare – which grows more unpopular with every passing month. If the Republicans in the House vote to repeal the bill and if the Democrats in the Senate block the bill, President Obama and his party will be made to pay. If the bill passes both the House and the Senate and President Obama vetoes it, he alone will bear the blame. The situation favors the Republicans. The President is vulnerable.

I underestimated – and my bet is that Daley underestimated – Barack Obama’s unwillingness to accept the verdict rendered by the voters in November, 2010. Yes, of course, he gave way on the question of the Bush tax cuts. He acknowledged that the last thing to adopt in the middle of an economic downturn would be a tax increase. But he did so in as graceless and resentful fashion as possible, and he did not thereafter tackle the fiscal question. He ignored the recommendations of the commission that he had appointed to look into the question. In the budget he presented, he made no acknowledgment that there was such a crisis. His unwillingness to face up to the facts was so egregious that, in a Senate controlled by his party, it was voted down 95-0.

Yes, under pressure, Barack Obama eventually reached a compromise with the Republicans on a budget requiring no new taxes. No one claimed, however, that the budget passed was anything but a stopgap measure, and the President soon launched a campaign to do the very thing that he had admitted would be disastrous in the middle of an economic downturn: raise taxes. It is clearly his view that he can succeed where others before him have failed – in ignoring the will of the people expressed in a decisive manner a short time before, and in running a campaign based upon class resentment. He could not do more damage to the Democratic Party than he is now doing – not even if, as I once puckishly suggested might be the case, that evil genius Karl Rove had foisted him on the Democrats as a Manchurian candidate. What species of folly could Rove suggest that would top what we have seen?

In effect, President Obama is saying to the American people, “My way, or the highway!” And there can be no doubt that they are going to send him and his party out on the highway. It is hard at this stage to believe that he has no notion of what he is doing. When he hired Daley, I figured that he had decided that it was time for adult supervision. But the adolescent in the White House is clearly incapable of accepting that. He would not only rather be right than victorious; he is unwilling even to contemplate the possibility that he might be wrong. His answer to the failure of the first “stimulus” is to propose another one no less indecent.

As a Republican, I welcome this, and I hope that the leaders of my party have the good sense to seize upon this opportunity with both hands – for it is the chance of a lifetime. Obama has said, “All or nothing,” and that means that, if we find a standard-bearer capable of articulating the grounds for a restoration of constitutional government in this country, we can begin to turn the administrative entitlements state gradually put into place by the Democrats and by me-too Republicans over the last century into a nothing.

As an American, however, I cannot wholeheartedly welcome the suicide of one of our two major parties. I have a pretty good idea of what one-party rule looks like. To get a notion, one need only take a glance at Massachusetts where serving as Speaker of the House has repeatedly turned out to be a preparation for serving a long term in prison for malfeasance. Or one can look at Chicago where no mayor has ever gone to prison. The Republicans may generally be preferable to the Democrats, but the existence of an alternative is necessary to keep them honest.

Were I a Democratic Senator, I would give a speech denouncing the most recent proposal put forward by President Obama. I would denounce it on principled grounds as an unjust attack on the investors and entrepreneurs who actually create jobs in this country. I would denounce it as bad economics likely to produce long-term structural unemployment, and I would say bluntly that a Democratic Party hostile to small businessmen – the bulk of those who make over $200,000 a year – has no future in the United States. In short, I would throw down the gauntlet; and, in the process, I would lay the foundation for the Democratic Party’s return to sanity after 2012.

JimWebb.jpgI could even put a name on the Democratic Senator who should do the job. Jim Webb was a genuine war hero during Vietnam. He did yeoman service as Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan. His political career has, however, been a disaster. He allowed his anger – some of it justified, some of it not – at the manner in which George W. Bush was conducting the war in Iraq lead him into a pact with the left wing of the Democratic Party, and after 2008 he was a reliable vote for the so-called “stimulus” bill, for Obamacare, and for Dodd-Frank. He has done his country considerable harm; he has a lot to answer for; and I suspect that, on his better days, he knows it. When not enraged, Jim Webb is as sharp as they come. It is now time that he do penance for his sins – and by way of doing penance he could do his country and his party considerable good.

Jim Webb should give the speech, and he should run in the primaries against the President. He would not win the nomination, but the effect of his presence would be electric – and it would sow the seeds for the Democratic Party’s rebirth as a party ready and willing to participate in our great national project of restoring constitutional government. All that Webb would really have to do is to stand up and say, “The Emperor has no clothes!”

  1. Kervinlee

    I hear now that even Kenyans are saying that Obama was born in America.

  2. Mel Foil

    Unless Obama can repel a Canadian invasion of the USA between now, and a year from now, he’s toast. The Democrats have to decide how likely that Canadian invasion is, and maybe act accordingly. I’d use Mexico as the invasion example, but he’d feel compelled to just ignore that. He has so far.

  3. David Williamson

    I think what we are seeing is similar to the collapse of the Labour party in the UK, followed by Mrs Thatcher and the rise of New Labour and Mr Blair.

    So, best case scenario would be the collapse of the Democrats, and their rebirth into the New Democrats, which would be a return to the way they were in JFK times.

    However, I have a feeling it is gonna be much more ugly than that.

  4. liberal jim
    George Savage

    David Williamson: So, best case scenario would be the collapse of the Democrats, and their rebirth into the New Democrats, which would be a return to the way they were in JFK times.. · Sep 20 at 11:56am

    For the health of our constitutional republic, I pray for a return to Kennedy-era fiscal sanity on the part of the Democrats. · Sep 20 at 12:21pm

    It would be good if the GOP did the same.  The GOP is talking about collecting 18-20% of GDP  Kennedy was far below this.

  5. liberal jim
    Paul A. Rahe

    Joseph Stanko: 

    The trouble is that the top 1% of earners pay something like 50% of the taxes collected. This won’t work. Nobody believes what Obama says any more — not even the partisans who loyally repeat the mantra. Like everything else he has touched, this will end up stoking cynicism. · Sep 20 at 12:22pm
    Wasn’t the primary argument leading up to the passage of the Income Tax Amendment  that only the vary rich would pay income tax?  Why aren’t you making an original intent argument?
  6. Joseph Stanko
    ctruppi

    Joseph, I think the reality is that the VAST MAJORITY of Americans want a plan that will actually work in (a) getting the economy going again and (b) lowering the deficit.  The folks who buy into this “make the rich pay their fair share” drivel is a very small minority (albeit, a loud one).  The simple truth is that the Buffett rule amounts to a pimple on an elephant’s keister in terms of doing anything positive for the economy.  When Obama’s actual plan comes out and is graded by the CBO, most people will think even less of Obama.  · Sep 20 at 12:32pm

    I agree that’s what Americans want, but here’s the problem: a lot of moderates still believe that government spending stimulates the economy, and that massive spending cuts as proposed by the GOP will hurt the economy.  So if you want to lower the deficit without cutting spending, the only other way to do that is to “raise revenue.”

  7. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Joseph Stanko

    I agree that’s what Americans want, but here’s the problem: a lot of moderates still believe that government spending stimulates the economy, and that massive spending cuts as proposed by the GOP will hurt the economy.  So if you want to lower the deficit without cutting spending, the only other way to do that is to “raise revenue.” · Sep 20 at 1:34pm

    At this point, these moderates ought to be open to persuasion. We tried stimulus to no effect. Nearly all of these folks know that raising taxes does positive harm.

  8. MBF
    liberal jim

    George Savage

    David Williamson: So, best case scenario would be the collapse of the Democrats, and their rebirth into the New Democrats, which would be a return to the way they were in JFK times.. · Sep 20 at 11:56am

    For the health of our constitutional republic, I pray for a return to Kennedy-era fiscal sanity on the part of the Democrats. · Sep 20 at 12:21pm

    It would be good if the GOP did the same.  The GOP is talking about collecting 18-20% of GDP  Kennedy was far below this. · Sep 20 at 1:08pm

    Revenues were about 18% of GDP every year during the 1960′s.

    Link

  9. Franco

    Obama is bumbling. He’s now trying to make an argument that is so vacuous only people still inclined to vote for him are likely to believe it, while annoying everyone else.

    Didn’t we just have this argument about taxes? Personally, I’m glad to have it again because it exposes the Democrats as socialists they are.

    Obama really hasn’t had to work much in his life and there are many pictures of Barack in a state of recline, his feet on the desk or on a table. He doesn’t like to wear neckties and jackets. He golfs, vacations, travels and parties. Even his arguments are lazy.

  10. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    liberal jim

    Paul A. Rahe

    Joseph Stanko: 

    The trouble is that the top 1% of earners pay something like 50% of the taxes collected. This won’t work. Nobody believes what Obama says any more — not even the partisans who loyally repeat the mantra. Like everything else he has touched, this will end up stoking cynicism. · Sep 20 at 12:22pm
    Wasn’t the primary argument leading up to the passage of the Income Tax Amendment  that only the vary rich would pay income tax?  Why aren’t you making an original intent argument? · Sep 20 at 1:14pm

    The wording of the amendment is far more telling than any lies told to promote its ratification. It certainly does not rule out the constitutionality of taking anyone’s income. Are you proposing that the new tax be limited to Warren Buffet — who never declares capital gains and allows himself a salary of $100,000?

  11. Joseph Stanko
    liberal jim

    Paul A. Rahe

    The trouble is that the top 1% of earners pay something like 50% of the taxes collected. This won’t work. Nobody believes what Obama says any more — not even the partisans who loyally repeat the mantra. Like everything else he has touched, this will end up stoking cynicism. · Sep 20 at 12:22pm

    Wasn’t the primary argument leading up to the passage of the Income Tax Amendment  that only the vary rich would pay income tax?  Why aren’t you making an original intent argument? · Sep 20 at 1:14pm

    Huh?  I don’t follow.  Original intent is a judicial doctrine that applies when there is a dispute over the meaning of the Constitution.  The 16th Amendment is pretty unambigious: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

    The appropriate tax rate is a legislative question, not a judicial question, so original intent doesn’t apply here.

  12. Joseph Stanko
    Paul A. Rahe

    Joseph Stanko

    I agree that’s what Americans want, but here’s the problem: a lot of moderates still believe that government spending stimulates the economy, and that massive spending cuts as proposed by the GOP will hurt the economy.  So if you want to lower the deficit without cutting spending, the only other way to do that is to “raise revenue.” · Sep 20 at 1:34pm

    At this point, these moderates ought to be open to persuasion. We tried stimulus to no effect. Nearly all of these folks know that raising taxes does positive harm. · Sep 20 at 1:43pm

    If we’re really serious about shrinking the size and power of the Federal government, we’re going to need to reduce the number of Federal employees, right?  And that will reduce the number of jobs and increase the unemployment rate.  Plus it means hiring fewer contractors, buying fewer supplies, etc.

    So I think there’s at least some merit to the idea that steep spending cuts would hurt the economy, at least temporarily.  Good in the long term but painful in the short term.

  13. Viator

    Wow, that’s some post. Did you just dash it off? There are intimations of many things in that post. For instance, why can’t the Democrat Party go the way of the Whigs? The left parties in Europe are rapidly disappearing. Keynesianism is a dead man walking, after that what do the Social Democrats have in their quiver? And we have yet to see the edifying spectacle of the European Project disappearing down the toilet bowl of history.

    Why can’t the GOP bifurcate into two new major parties? The statist, neo-con, crony capitalism – including all the government/industrial complexes – conservative party and the libertarian, entrepreneurial, local, small government, constitutional, states rights conservative party? And I deem there may be other ways to split that apple.

    Is Obama doomed, probably, unless luck or events intervene. He looks  like Carter on steroids to me.

    Visions of paradigm shifts and tipping points dance in the air.

  14. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Viator: Wow, that’s some post. Did you just dash it off? There are intimations of many things in that post. For instance, why can’t the Democrat Party go the way of the Whigs? The left parties in Europe are rapidly disappearing. Keynesianism is a dead man walking, after that what do the Social Democrats have in their quiver? And we have yet to see the edifying spectacle of the European Project disappearing down the toilet bowl of history.

    Why can’t the GOP bifurcate into two new major parties? The statist, neo-con, crony capitalism – including all the government/industrial complexes – conservative party and the libertarian, entrepreneurial, local, small government, constitutional, states rights conservative party? And I deem there may be other ways to split that apple.

    Is Obama doomed, probably, unless luck or events intervene. He looks  like Carter on steroids to me.

    Visions of paradigm shifts and tipping points dance in the air. · Sep 20 at 2:21pm

    I have been ruminating on this subject for a while. This morning, finally, I found time to throw it together.

    It is a time, I think, for speculation and reflection. The times they are a-changin.

  15. Alan Weick

    I share professor Rahe’s wariness if the Democratic Party dissolves or becomes a rump urban party.  But, for that to happen the Republicans must offer a compelling argument.  As Dr. Rahe reminded us, it was Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and FDR who offered not just a critique but a vision of the future that could be embraced so that the rotting party could be cast aside.  Who will be that Republican visionary?  I doubt it is the current crop of Republican presidential candidates.  Many of us thought it was Paul Ryan.  Assuming a Republican victory in 2012 can the real visionaries in the Congress (Ryan, DeMint, Rubio, McCotter, and, I’m sure others, along with the Jindals and Christies in the states bring a compelling vision of the future to bear for the general population to embrace?  If not, the evolving pattern seems to be great pendulum swings in the composition of Congress and the White House as the reigning party cannot but disappoint.

  16. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Percival

    Paul A. Rahe Needless to say, the President did not take my advice; and, frankly, I never expected him to do so. His vanity is an insuperable obstacle to his rethinking anything.

    Boy, I’ll say! The only error I can recall him admitting to so far is that Bush left things in a much worse state than he originally thought.

    Convenient, that.

    I’ve never known a computer professional to exhibit this kind of tunnel vision.  Anybody so disposed would never have made it out of school.  The ability to rethink basic assumptions is just about intrinsic to getting anything done.

    What exactly is keeping Bill Daley in place? He’s got to know that this train is going to wreck. · Sep 20 at 5:53pm

    Loyalty, I suspect. The guys in the Chicago machine respect loyalty and punish disloyalty. When it is all over, perhaps he will write a memoir or an autobiography. He will not tell all.

  17. Paul A. Rahe
    C
    Alan Weick: I share professor Rahe’s wariness if the Democratic Party dissolves or becomes a rump urban party.  But, for that to happen the Republicans must offer a compelling argument.  As Dr. Rahe reminded us, it was Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, and FDR who offered not just a critique but a vision of the future that could be embraced so that the rotting party could be cast aside.  Who will be that Republican visionary?  I doubt it is the current crop of Republican presidential candidates.  Many of us thought it was Paul Ryan.  Assuming a Republican victory in 2012 can the real visionaries in the Congress (Ryan, DeMint, Rubio, McCotter, and, I’m sure others, along with the Jindals and Christies in the states bring a compelling vision of the future to bear for the general population to embrace?  If not, the evolving pattern seems to be great pendulum swings in the composition of Congress and the White House as the reigning party cannot but disappoint. · Sep 20 at 4:27pm

    God help us if the pendulum swings against us. The left’s complaint against Obama is that he is insufficiently ruthless.

  18. Percival
    Paul A. Rahe Needless to say, the President did not take my advice; and, frankly, I never expected him to do so. His vanity is an insuperable obstacle to his rethinking anything.

    Boy, I’ll say! The only error I can recall him admitting to so far is that Bush left things in a much worse state than he originally thought.

    Convenient, that.

    I’ve never known a computer professional to exhibit this kind of tunnel vision.  Anybody so disposed would never have made it out of school.  The ability to rethink basic assumptions is just about intrinsic to getting anything done.

    What exactly is keeping Bill Daley in place? He’s got to know that this train is going to wreck.

  19. Illiniguy

    The most dangerous time for the losing side in any conflict is at the very end, when those who until then had looked outward toward a common enemy start to look at inwardly in an effort to salvage what they can for their own survival. At the same time, they turn on those who led them into the disaster, even though they were the most enthusiastic supporters.

    The current state of the Left is beginning to look like the last few chapters of Atlas Shrugged. While I, with trepidation, agree with Dr. Rahe that the survival of the Democrat party is good for the system, we must be aware that that party can go one of two ways. The first way, and the preferable one, is as David Williamson describes above, but I believe that party died with Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey. I’m afraid we’re going to end up with a fringe left party, with a third party arising out of the remains. Ugly wouldn’t begin to describe that scenario.

  20. Joseph Stanko

    I don’t know, I think the “Buffett Rule” might be more politically astute than you think.

    “The idea is to make sure they pay at least the same percentage as middle-income taxpayers” says this article.  If they can successfully sell the idea that millionaires are paying a lower effective tax rate than the middle class, they can say they aren’t actually raising taxes, merely closing “loopholes.”  Then it no longer looks like class warfare, they can say they merely want the rich to pay their “fair share.”

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