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

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Fantasy Future

The President’s State of the Union speech will either serve Barack Obama well or expose the vacuity of his leadership and more importantly, his grasp of the problems facing this nation. Time will tell.

The President has essentially stopped governing and is now doing what he does best—campaigning. Although if you listened to his SOTU, you’d think his record on both domestic and foreign affairs was excellent.

You’d think that increasing spending across the board; countenancing only cosmetic changes to entitlement programs like social security and medicare, “making government more efficient” and long string of other political clichés would actually help reduce the deficit that our children and grandchildren will have to repay. But wait, you’d also discard arithmetic and believe that “taxing the rich” and reducing military budgets will magically offset a deficit that is growing at 4 billion dollars a day!

In the foreign policy realm, you’d think that the Arab Spring has vindicated the President’s approach to the Middle East. You’d nullify overwhelming evidence to the contrary and believe that the Muslim brotherhood and other Islamist groups can and will embrace true democratic reforms, you’d discount the belligerence of Iran; you’d agree with the President when he vetoes the construction of a pipeline from Canada that would help wean us from Arab oil.

You’d believe that the financial catastrophe that is on-going in Europe is theirs alone and that we can learn nothing from it. You’d think that the very European social democracies that are now bankrupt are a good model for the United States to emulate.

Richard Fernandez provides useful insight when he writes:
The great intellectual failing of the Obama administration has been its tendency to see Europe and to some extent the Middle East as harbingers of a “fair” future rather than as canaries in a coal mine; to confuse danger with opportunity and conflate its PR operations with leadership. It wants to be like what is dying rather than countenance a life that is not to its ideological liking. Or perhaps it is calculation. After all, if there is no “long run” and the administration knows there is no future at all, then short-term optimization is actually a viable strategy …

It can be argued that the administration by predicating its policy on short term gain and a fantasy future, is really acting as if a real future were no longer possible at all. And therefore they are gittin’ while the gittin’s good. But eventually the word will get out. Once Hope and Change vanishes, it won’t degrade gradually, as any genuinely sound effort would adjust its goals when met with difficulty, but it will collapse utterly, in the manner of a bubble burst.

If we follow the President as he leads us toward a fantasy future, the bubble will burst. And when it does, the people who suffer the most will be the very same people whom our President professes to care about so deeply.