Sunday, October 02, 2011

Mark Steyn: Finally, The Cognoscenti Ask: What Could We Be Thinking?

Author and columnist extraordinaire Mark Steyn has a great new piece out that directly addresses the 'buyer's remorse' some of the elites are now expressing about the man they fooled the American people into putting in the White House.Here's a slice:

'The way I think about it," Barack Obama told a TV station in Orlando, "is, you know, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft."

He has a point. This is a great, great country that got so soft that 53% of electors voted for a ludicrously unqualified chief executive who would be regarded as a joke candidate in any serious nation.

One should not begrudge a man who seizes his opportunity. But one should certainly hold in contempt those who allow him to seize it on the basis of such flaccid generalities as "hope" and "change": That's more than "a little" soft.

"He's probably the smartest guy ever to become president," declared presidential historian Michael Beschloss the day after the 2008 election. But you don't have to be that smart to put one over on all the smart guys.

"I'm a sap, a specific kind of sap. I'm an Obama Sap," admits David Brooks, the softest touch at the New York Times. Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek, now says of the president: "He wasn't ready, it turns out, really."

If you're a tenured columnist at the Times, you can just about afford the consequences of your sappiness. But among the hundreds of thousands of your readers who didn't know you were a sap until you told them three years later, soft choices have hard consequences.

If you're one of Obama's core constituencies, those who looked so photogenic at all the hopeychangey rallies, things are really hard: "Young Becoming 'Lost Generation' Amid Recession" (CBS News). Tough luck, rubes. You got a bumper sticker; he got to make things worse.

But don't worry, it's not much better at the other end of the spectrum: "Obama's Wall Street Donors Look Elsewhere" (UPI).

Gee, aren't you the fellows who, when you buy a company, do something called "due diligence"? But you sunk everything into stock in Obamania Inc. on the basis of his "perfectly creased pant leg" or whatever David Brooks was drooling about that day? You handed a multitrillion-dollar economy to a community organizer and you're surprised that it led to more taxes, more bureaucracy, more regulation, more barnacles on an already rusting hulk?

Hard statism is usually murmured in soft, soothing, beguiling terms:

Regulation is about cleaner air, healthier restaurants, safer children's toys. Sounds so nice. But federal regulation alone sucks up 10% of GDP. That's to say, Americans take the equivalent of the Canadian economy and toss it down the toilet just in complying with federal paperwork. Obama and the great toxic alphabet soup of federal regulation — EPA, OSHA, SEC, DHSS — want to take that 10% and crank it up to 12%, 14%, 15%.

Who could have foreseen that? The most dismal thing about that David Brooks column conceding that "yes, I'm a sap ... remember, I'm a sap ... as you know, I'm a sap" was the headline his New York Times editors chose to append to it: "Obama Rejects Obamaism."

In other words, even in a column remorselessly cataloguing how one of its smartest smart guys had been repeatedly suckered by Obama on jobs, on Medicare, on deficits, on tax reform, etc., the New York Times chose to insist that there's still something called "Obamaism" — prudent, centrist, responsible — that for some perverse reason the man for whom this political philosophy is named insists on betraying, 24/7, week in, month out, spring, summer, autumn, tax season. You can set your clock by Obama's rejection of "Obamaism."

That's because there's no such thing. Never was.

"Obamaism" was the Emperor's new centrism: To a fool such as your average talk-radio host, His Majesty appears to be a man of minimal accomplishments other than self-promotion marinated in a radical faculty-lounge view of the world and the role of government. But, to a wise man such as your average presidential historian or New York Times columnist, he is the smartest guy ever to become president.

In part, this is a natural extension of an ever more conformist and unrepresentative establishment's view of where "the center" is. On issues from abortion to climate change, a Times man or Hollywood activist or media professor's notion of "centrism" is well to the left of where American opinion is.

That's one reason why a supposedly "center-right" nation has wound up regulated into sclerosis, drowning in debt and embarking on its last decade as the world's leading economy.

You have to wonder if part of the rage stoking the 'occupy' protests comes from people reacting to how the elites sold them down the river with Obama. Read the rest here.

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1 comment:

B.Poster said...

"Regulation is about...." This paragraph on regulation touches on what is likely the biggest impediment to getting our economy on track. With our regulatory environment it is VERY difficult to manufacture here. In many cases, even if the workers could work for free it would be impossible to manufacture something here. The regulatory cost is simply to great. Essentially the companies have not choice but to move their manufacturing operations to other countires or they would not be able to survive.

So far there has not been a significant attempt by either major political party to address this in any significant way. Until there is I simply don't see how we can get our economy on track in any meaningful way. The current regulations need to be streamlined and some of them likely need to be eliminated all together.

At a minimim, there should be a mortorium on any new regulations for five years. This would give us the breathing space to properly address this and it would help the beleagured business community. Many business people won't hire or expand in the US because they aren't sure what new rules and regulations are coming next!! Knowing we are not going to be saddled with any new regulatory compliance costs for five years woudl provide some much needed stability to the market.

I do respectfully disagree with Mr. Steyn in one regard. I think the costs of regulatroy compliance are greater than 10% of GDP. I do agree though that even 10% is WAY TO MUCH. Until it changes manufacturers and even non manufacturers will continue to look to employ the people they need in other countries and our own economy will contine to languish.