The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I remember the conversation as if it were yesterday. It was mid-October, 2008. Only a few weeks before the presidential election. Many of my more progressive friends and family were gung-ho for the election of Barack Obama and were uniformly offended when I stated that I could not in good conscience vote for the man.

“But Obama is so intelligent and so moderate,” my friends argued, believing the narrative that was promoted widely by the candidate’s followers in the main stream media.

I read everything I could on Barack Obama and concluded otherwise.

“You’re telling us that you’re willing to risk Sarah Palin as President,” remarked a physician friend, parroting a common mime of that period.”

I suggested that Palin, a VP candidate, was indeed unqualified to be President, but that Barack Obama was even more unqualified, and he was the Presidential Candidate.

“But look at how Bush wrecked the economy,” argued another friend. “Obama at least seems to understand what to do.” Recall that the great recession had just begun and bailouts and panic were the order of the day.

“No, he doesn’t.” I responded. "Obama’s background, his lack of private sector experience, his lack of legislative experience, and his very questionable associations with extreme-Leftists, lead one to conclude that Obama has Marxist sympathies.”

The people in the room gasped collectively. “How can you say that?” asked one. “He’s a moderate and you’re sounding like a crazy right winger,” said another.

I reminded them that I did not vote for George W. Bush in 2004, remarking that I felt that a CEO who mismanaged his business as badly as the President mismanaged the first years of the Iraqi war deserved to be “fired.” In fact, I reminded them, I voted for Bill Clinton twice because he was a true moderate.

Of course, my arguments did no good.

But today, every one of those people, both Democrats and Independents, now questions the motives, the leadership ability and the effectiveness of our President. Most admit that were the election today, they would not vote for him.

But that was then. As Obama supporters said during the election campaign, “Elections have consequences.”

Over the past 18 months, President Obama has done just about everything wrong. He recognized our problems, but misdiagnosed them by peering through the lens of class warfare, anti-business propaganda, and an ingrained sense that only big-government can solve problems, create jobs, and right the wrongs of social injustice. Sadly, he is wrong, and his leadership has resulting in every problem—domestic and international—becoming worse.

As his polling numbers continue to slide, President Obama feels compelled to turn up the volume. Mort Zuckerman comments on the President’s anti-business stance:
But one unfortunate pattern that has emerged in the last 18 months is to lay all the blame for our difficulties only on the business community and the financial world. This quite ignores the role of Congress in many areas, but most glaringly in forcing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration to back loans to people who could not afford them. And not to mention the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which in 2004 sanctioned higher levels of leverage for financial firms, from 12 times equity to over 30 times equity.

This predilection to blame business is manifest in the unnecessary and provocative anti-business sentiment revealed by President Obama in a recent speech that was supposed to be seeking the support of the business community for a doubling of exports over the next five years. "In the absence of sound oversight," he said, "responsible businesses are forced to compete against unscrupulous and underhanded businesses, who are unencumbered by any restrictions on activities that might harm the environment, or take advantage of middle-class families, or threaten to bring down the entire financial system." This kind of gratuitous and overstated demonization of business is exactly the wrong approach. It ignores the disappointment of a stimulus program that was ill-designed to produce the jobs the president promised—that famous 8 percent unemployment ceiling.

In observing the Presdient over the past 18 months, it seems that he takes “exactly the wrong approach” far too frequently.

With unemployment stuck at 9.5 percent and real unemployment in some populous states at 12+ percent, it appears that the administration and congress threw money at the problem without understanding it. Now, the administration and congress intend to raise taxes, continue profligate spending, and otherwise drive a stake into any chance of recovery.

Left-leaning pundits ask why business is not hiring, why people aren’t buying homes at bargain prices and historically low interest rates, why the economy is stagnant? Bottom line: uncertainty and lack of confidence in our “leaders.” When you don’t know what coming, you tend not to take risks.

Elections have consequences.