A ray of hope

Monday, September 19, 2011
Victor Davis Hanson's essays usually have a streak of pessimism in them. His most recent, The Great Obama Catharsis, is instead optimistic.
Barack Obama has done the United States a great, though unforeseen, favor. He has brought to light, as no one else could, many of the pernicious assumptions of our culture from the last half-century. He turned theory and “what ifs” into fact for all America to see, experience, and, yes, suffer through.

The Years of Wandering…

Jimmy Carter tried to enact the therapeutic agenda, but he was inept. Liberals for the last thirty years blamed his failure on incompetence rather than his statist message. Until the Obama meltdown, progressives had faulted Bill Clinton as a wily sell-out who had won an improbable second term only by cynically reforming welfare and balancing budgets. Dick Morris engineered his comeback and now he works for Fox News: enough said. So the complaint was that the messenger was slick, but the noble message was diluted.

But Obama was supposed to be Clintonian in his political charisma and Carteresque in his devotion to liberal causes. When he boasted that he was “The One” we had been waiting for, he was more accurate than he thought in assessing liberal sentiment. You see, as a young, post-racial, first African-American president — glib, hip, cool, charismatic, with unapologetic Chicago hard-core leftist roots and Ivy League certification — Barack Obama was right out of liberal central casting. He would do what no other liberal had done in fifty years: prove to America that it really, really was left-of-center by ramming down its throat both a liberal agenda and thousands of left-wing facilitators. Greek columns, the Victory Monument, talk of a cooling planet, and worry whether the country would survive from December 2008 to January 2009 heralded His coming. We forget now that Obama arrived with a super-majority in the Senate, and a large majority in the House: anything was now possible and almost everything was thus tried.

Home at Last

At last we sheep got the messianic prophet to deliver the divine message. When he was declared a “god,” with supernatural powers that sent tingles up journalists’ legs, we were at last to climb the mount into the Promised Land. Electing him was the trick; simply enacting his redistributive agenda would be easy. “Wealthy” people would keep on working as before (they are by nature greedy and love working to buy superfluous things), but now the people’s money could be at last directed to saving the planet, helping mankind, and bringing heaven to earth.
From that point he lists a large number of left-leaning Conventional Wisdoms that he thinks will not survive Obama's fall. Keynesian economics, European style health care, the left's control of what can and can't be debated, and so forth. You should really read the entire essay.

He may being overly optimistic, but the more Obama flounders, with his skill at campaigning of no use when what he really needs is skill at politics, it does seem as if he is bringing down a fair amount of what progressives took for granted. One senses the entire structure wobbling, and the only question that remains is how much of the structure is built of brick and mortar, and how much is just carefully balanced cards.


OMMAG said...

Sunshine is the best disenfectant.

ambisinistral said...

Yup. There are things being discussed today in politics that never would have been talked about 5 years ago.

When I first saw Christie going after the teacher's union in NJ I thought he was bold, but crazy. Instead, it was one of the early rumblings of the political landscape changing.