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

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Point

In the wonderful 1971 cartoon feature by American singer and songwriter, Harry Nilsson, entitled, The Point, one of the key protagonists sagely says, "People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear." We're going to see and hear a lot of that as progressive writers begin their 16 month slog toward defining the "legacy" of Barack Obama in glowing terms.

Here's an early example from Dick Meyer. He writes (I don't think he's on medication, but after reading his piece, the possibility does exist):
President Obama will go down in history as an extraordinary president, probably a great one. He will have done this in era that doesn’t aggrandize leaders and presidents, but shrinks them. All presidents have had profound opposition, vicious enemies and colossal failures. A few were beloved and others deeply respected in their day, but none in the modern era and certainly not Obama.
Okay, then. Meyer goes on the discuss and defend five policy achievements that he believes will lead to a judgement of "greatness." They are: (1) The Iran Deal, (2) Obamacare, (3) the recovery from 2008, (4) the "epic triumph" of becoming the first black president, and (5) "dignity and honesty" (suggesting that Obama's presidency is the first in 70 years not tainted by scandal).

Meyer is a poster child for Nilsson's comment in The Point—"People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear."

Let's take each of Meyer's 'legacy achievements' in order.

The Iran Deal. My position on the "Iran Deal" has been made abundantly clear in four posts (starting here) over the last few weeks—not only is it a bad deal, it is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. It will lead to nuclear proliferation in the most unstable region of the world; it rewards (with billions of dollars) an aggressive enemy in the naive hope that Iran will modify its vicious, hegemonic behavior. It is an "achievement" in the same way that one might characterize creating a toxic waste dump as an achievement.

Obamacare. Constructed on lies in a hyperpartisan fashion, this program does little of what was promised. Medical costs continue to rise, insurance continues to go up, people have lost good coverage and replaced it with poor (very high deductible) coverage. It will cost the shrinking pool of American taxpayers trillions over the next few decades, will provide poor coverage for those who need it and riches for the crony capitalists (insurance companies) who benefit from it. It is a bureaucratic monstrosity and a monument to B.I.G. (big intrusive government).

The Recovery. We have experienced the weakest recovery in modern history, the lowest labor participation rate in modern history, the highest taxes in a very long time, and the largest deficits and debt ever. At the same time, under the stimulus $800 billion was wasted on Obama's core corporate and political constituencies, and at the same time an opportunity to rebuild our failing infrastructure (with stimulus dollars) was lost, probably forever.

The First Black President.

Dignity and honesty. We have witnessed the first president in modern history who publicly and repeatedly denigrated those who had opposing views, who treat true allies in a shabby fashion, whose political hacks called the leader of our ownly true ally in the Middle East, "Chickenshit." Yeah, that's real dignified. And honesty? Barack Obama has lied about key provisions of key programs and policies so often that it's no longer newsworthy. Whether it's "If you like your doctor, ... " or "We can verify whenever and where ever we choose ..." And scandals?—think Fast and Furious, the VA scandal, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal—there are more.

As progressives spin Barack Obama's "legacy," keep in mind that if he truly was a great president, there would be no need to spin his legacy. I guess that's the real Point.

UPDATE: (7/23/15):
Apparently, Barack Obama agrees completely with Dick Meyer's delusional assessment that there have been no scandals in the Obama administration. Undergoing a rigorous (??) interview on comedian John Stewart's late night entertainment show (this president does not have the courage to submit to a serious interview from a journalist unless that journalist is one of his trained hamsters), Obama argued that (1) the only "IRS scandal" is the fact the the IRS is "underfunded," (2) that any "confusion" in IRS enforcement was due to the [Democrat-controlled] Congress created confusing tax regulations, and (3) that there was no intent to target groups that opposed his policies.

Stewart, one of Obama's most docile hamsters, didn't bother to ask: (1) why IRS executive Lois Lerner took the fifth if there was no wrong-doing; (2) why the IRS (and the administration) has done everything possible to stonewall congressional requests for information regarding the targeting; (3) why only conservative groups were singled out and targeted; (4) why IRS officials visited the White House an inordinate number of times during that period; (5) why Obama replaced the IRS commissioner with an arrogant, combative  functionary, John Kostigan?

But no worries, Barack Obama is an exemplar of "dignity and honesty." Just ask Dick Meyer -- and John Stewart.