Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Return of Hope

Everyone kept telling us how much better things were going to be with President Obama in the White House. As a somewhat cynical conservative commentator, I was skeptical and disinclined to hope that the change would make all that much of a difference. Now, I have to admit that they were right. If Obama's first two weeks in office are any indication, this promises to be the dawning of truly a golden age for conservatives.

During the campaign last fall, my blogging compadre Saint Paul tried to look at the bright side of the coming Obama victory and opined that conservatives would be better off with Obama in office. Instead of having to try to excuse or ignore the less than conservative actions that a President McCain would surely have taken, we instead would be freed up to actively criticize and oppose the liberal actions and missteps that surely would come with an Obama presidency. While I appreciated the insights offered by Saint Paul at the time, I never realized just how accurate and prescient they would turn out to be.

Seriously, with the filling his cabinet with people who seemed to think they were too important to pay taxes to pandering to foreign enemies like a kid afraid of getting beat up on the playground to allowing Congressional Democrats to turn his economic stimulus plan into a joke by loading it with every pet project that had been gathering dust on the liberal wish list, is there anything else Obama could have done in the last ten days to make it easier for conservatives to rediscover their vim and vigor? The only negative so far is that the mishits have been coming so fast and furious of late that it's difficult to keep up. It would nice to space them out a bit more to allow us to savor each one more fully. Maybe only have one of your cabinet appointments withdraw in disgrace per day.

In case you too have been struggling to keep track of Obama's bungles, Victor Davis Hanson has compiled a rather through scorecard at National Review Online:

We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion--and with no Dick Morris to bail him out--brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.

First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson--with the relish of the Blago tapes still to come. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?).

Second, was the "stimulus" (the euphemism for "borrow/print money") that was simply a way to go into debt for a generation to shower Democratic constituencies with cash.

Then third, there were the inflated lectures on historic foreign policy to be made by the clumsy political novice who trashed his own country and his predecessor in the most ungracious manner overseas to a censored Saudi-run press organ (e.g., Bush is dictatorial, the Saudi king is courageous; Obama can mend bridges that America broke to aggrieved Muslims--apparently Tehran hostages, Rushdie, serial attacks in the 1990s, 9/11, Madrid, London never apparently occurred; and neither did feeding Somalis, saving Kuwait, protesting Chechnya, Bosnia/Kosovo, billions to Egypt, Jordan, the Palestinians, help in two Afghan wars, and on and on).

Fourth, there was the campaign rhetoric of Bush shredding the Constitution--FISA, Guantánamo, the Patriot Act, Iraq, renditions, etc.--followed by "all that for now stays the same" inasmuch as we haven't been hit in over seven years and can't risk another attack.

Fifth, Gibbs as press secretary is a Scott McClellan nightmare that won't go away, given his long McClellan-like relationship with Obama (McClellan should have been fired on day hour one on the job). Blaming Fox News for Obama's calamities is McClellan to the core and doesn't work. He already reminds me of Reverend Wright's undoing at the National Press Club--and he will get worse.

Six, Biden is being Biden. Already, he's ridiculed the chief justice, trashed the former VP, bragged on himself ad nauseam in Bidenesque weird ways, and it's only been two weeks.

Two golden weeks. Obviously not for the country, but definitely for conservative commentators. The question now is whether things could possibly get even better for us. VDH warns that unless Obama changes his course, he risks historical comparisons not to Lincoln or FDR, but another Oval Office occupant whose legacy is not so vaunted:

This is quite serious. I can't recall a similarly disastrous start in a half-century (far worse than Bill Clinton's initial slips). Obama immediately must lower the hope-and-change rhetoric, ignore Reid/Pelosi, drop the therapy, and accept the tragic view that the world abroad is not misunderstood but quite dangerous. And he must listen on foreign policy to his National Security Advisor, Billary, and the Secretary of Defense. If he doesn't quit the messianic style and perpetual campaign mode, and begin humbly governing, then he will devolve into Carterism—angry that the once-fawning press betrayed him while we the people, due to our American malaise, are to blame.

We all recall what four years of Carterism wrought: bad times for the country, good times for the conservative movement.

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