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Friday, March 04, 2016
Obama: The Lamest Duck
By Victor Davis Hanson
President Obama is
boxed in a state of paralysis—more so than typical lame-duck presidents.
politics have insidiously eroded the Democratic Party, which has lost both
houses of Congress and the vast majority of the state legislatures, state
elected offices, and governorships.
Obama has redefined
the black vote, as a necessary, no-margin-of-error 95% bloc majority to offset
his similar creation of an increasingly monolithic 65% bloc white vote. We are no longer
individual voters, but, in Chicago-politics style, merely faceless
“Latinos,” “Asians,” “African-Americans,” “gays,” “women,” and now “whites.”
Obama issues a new
initiative—and the nation snoozes.
He wastes the day on the golf links—and the
He cozies up to
America’s enemies and snubs our friends—and the nation snoozes.
For the nth
time, he blusters about closing down Guantanamo—and the nation snoozes.
He opens the border
even wider to welcome in more illegal aliens and future constituents—and the
Lame duckestry means
not even being able to wake up your opponents.
There is so far no
Obama legacy, except
the creation of Donald Trump, a $20 trillion debt and zero interest
rates—and the gift of flat energy prices that came despite not because of
Almost every major
bureaucracy is awash in scandal or charges of incompetence. The common
theme of the disasters at the GSA, EPA, ICE, IRS, NASA, Secret Service, and VA is
ideological subversion and ingrained hostility to meritocracy.
Would anyone be
surprised that another government official pled the 5th, created
fake email personas, resigned at 5 PM on a Friday afternoon, declared a foremost
mission Muslim outreach, or withheld subpoenaed documents?
Obamacare, borne of
rank partisanship and serial mendacity, can survive until 2017, only by
bailouts and executive-order manipulations.
We now call health
care affordable by ignoring the new astronomical deductibles: we pay
premiums of $6,000 a year and forget that an annual $4,000 “deductible” ensures
no one thinks the real cost is $10,000.
Is that a small price
to pay to ensure granny has contraceptive coverage?
Americans shrug that
Obama has left the world abroad a far scarier place.
Libya has been
We can see in Iraq
what Obama would have done to South Korea had he been in Eisenhower’s shoes.
Syria’s death toll is
nearing Saddam Hussein’s.
We gave up our golden
special relationship with Israel for one of dross with an Islamist and roundly
disliked Turkey that, logically, now dislikes us.
What was astonishing
about Obama’s empty red lines that finished off any lingering sense of U.S.
credibility and deterrence in the Middle East was that after issuing such
threats and then ignoring them, Obama then blamed the UN and the U.S.
Congress for setting them!
But then again, he
blamed congressional Republicans for opposing the Iran deal and compared House
members to Iranian theocrat hardliners, in a way his team earlier had
compared them to suicide bombers. Even Neville Chamberlain did not blame
Winston Churchill for the “peace for our time” travesty.
In a tragic sort of
way, Obama has reminded us how savage is human nature, by demonstrating that a
vicious thug like Putin won more of an amoral world’s respect for his savagery
than a whining Obama earned pity for his diffidence.
While the Middle East
is aflame, China is marking out new atolls to control, like toll pirates of the
17th century, European-Asian sea traffic.
Russia is eyeing
neighbors, unsure only whether gratuitously embarrassing Obama is worth the
hassle of another annexation.
Is the solution to
global tensions really a trip to Cuba or shutting down Guantanamo by executive
When Castro soon
harangues Obama in Havana for his country’ sins, will he, as he did after
Daniel Ortega’s April 2009 dressing down in Trinidad, sheepishly reply with,
“I'm grateful that President Castro did not blame me for things that happened
when I was three months old”?
Obama cannot address
the massive debt he has run up. He cannot address entitlement reform. He has
neither the imagination to offer solutions, nor the disposition to share
accomplishment with any other than himself—even if he had the political clout
to compromise and reach consensus.
For the next nine
months the Obama presidency will be mostly teeth-gnashing and petulance.
He will offer
executive orders and do his best to incite division and rancor from a
somnolent public, the more the better to please his hard-core base, and to pave
the way for a lucrative (and iconic) post-presidency among leftwing
foundations, universities, non-profits, foreign governments, sports, Hollywood,
Goldman Sachs progressives, and the media.
But at least Obama
was an iconic president, who transformed racial relations?
Perhaps no single
individual has done more to erode racial reconciliation than did Barack Obama.
white person” grandmother who did so much to ensure his own
upper-middle-class prep-school existence,
savage anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism of consigliore Rev. “audacity of
The foundation for
the next eight years of Trayvon Martin as the lost Obama son,
How racism explains
all opposition to Obama,
The beer summit,
“Punish our enemies,”
Eric Holder’s “nation
of cowards” and
Obama’s racial legacy
is the strange phenomenon of whiny, wealthy black elites—whether a Skip
Gates, Spike Lee, Melissa Harris-Perry, Will Smith, or Chris Rock—acting hurt
and oppressed if rewards to elites such as themselves are not doled out on the
basis of racial percentages.
When Oprah feels
disrespected at a Zurich boutique called Trois Pommes for not being shown
quickly enough a $38,000 crocodile-skin handbag for sale by a European clerk,
we are supposed to feel across the Atlantic the ripples of Jim Crow racial
America is now
supposed to work on a strict 13 percent racial spoils system, everywhere except
in non-disparate impact professional sports or federal employment.
Complaining that an
awards show this year only had 10% black nominees in the top categories (3%
short?) is about like whining that the secretary of State was either black or
female or both for over 15 years between 1997 and 2013.
Who knew, who cared?
Will the NFL face
court orders to recruit Asian-American split ends, with outreach, mentorship,
and proportional representation writs?
Are there no talented
Hmong or Vietnamese athletes in a nation of 330 million who can run, catch, and
Or are the criteria
for NFL participation arbitrary and likely culturally constructed?
In our sick society,
is cultural appropriation white rappers with cornrows or black opera singers
with blond Scandinavian-like streaks in their hair?
Neither or both?
Christians are baited
at their prayer breakfasts with pseudo-historical snipes at the Crusades.
mythohistories pass for foreign policy.
terrorism only empower radical Islam.
The mythologies of
Ferguson are canonized at the UN.
All that can be said
for all this and more is that our enemies were put off guard and confused that
a president of the United States seemed so intent on deprecating his own
country and traditions, and thus could think Obama’s sermonizing might
really be some elaborate hoax, con, or Trojan Horse.
Nothing in the last
eight years is sustainable or can be emulated.
Race relations will
change after Obama for the simple reason that if they were to continue on
his segregationist trajectory we would quite soon end up like Bosnia or Beirut.
Fiscal policy will
change, because if we followed Obama’s all
“by his lonesome” Bank of China credit-card binge borrowing of another $10
trillion in the next eight years, the country would implode.
Monetary policy will
change because eight more years of zero interest would wipe out the age-old
idea of the wisdom of saving money altogether.
will change because the bureaucracy cannot endure legions of more Lois Lerners,
Lisa Jacksons, Kathleen Sebeliuses, Hilda Solises, or Eric Holders.
Health care will change
after Obama, because if Obamacare were to persist, the entire country would
turn to cash-only concierge medicine
Foreign policy will
change after Obama, because to persist with his policies would lead to four or
five major theater wars, a nuclear Middle East, Russia in the Baltic states,
and Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan as client states of China.
change, because to follow Obama’s open borders policy is to arbitrarily declare
federal law null and void, and to establish the roots of a new third world
country, neither American nor Mexican, along the border, but inside the United
The media will change
after Obama because it is about to be enshrined as an embarrassing government
Ministry of Truth.
It cannot again
proclaim that the next president is the smartest person in the history of the
presidency, a veritable god, a wizard that can lower the seas and cool the
planet or send tingles down our legs or make us wish to press our pants just
like the commander in chief.
At some point,
journalists will get back to sniping that the next president should know
that there are not 57 states, that "corpseman" is not the proper
pronunciation, that the trilled politically correct name for the Falklands is
not the Maldives, and that presidents do not normally make fun of the Special
We are witnessing the
lamest of the lame-duck presidencies, with the power neither to act nor
inspire—nor even to shock or surprise.