Saturday, June 27, 2009
The occupant of the White House may have changed recently. But the amount of ill-advised ideology coming from Washington has remained constant. Obama's list of economic errors is long -- and continues to grow.... Barack Obama and George W. Bush, it has become clear, are more similar than they might seem at first glance.
But not, sadly, in ways that would delight most of our readers. The scorn from the traditionally anti-American magazine, this time aimed at the sainted Obama, is really quite something, and the comparison of Obama to Bush and Summers to Cheney is arresting.
Now, do not confuse me with somebody who cares very much what editorialists in Der Spiegel or other outposts of the European chattering classes think of any American president. I could not care less, in no small part because I believe that the interests of such people generally diverge from mine own. I note, however, that many of the cosmopolitan Americans who voted for Barack Obama did so because they were embarrassed by the Bush administration's reputation among foreigners, particularly European elites. They hated having to explain themselves over dinner in Paris, Brussels, and Frankfurt, and worried that most Europeans would not understand that we are not all unnuanced rubes. I therefore wonder how such people will react if anti-Obama sentiment in Europe grows to the point where they have to explain themselves all over again. Will they rise in Barack Obama's defense, agree with the foreign critique but deny that they voted for him, or explode from the cognitive dissonance?
The possibilities for hilarity are not small.
MORE along the same lines from the Financial Times. The Obama administration may learn that the bond vigilantes were friendly little puppies compared to the currency vigilantes.
I would vote for the cognitive dissonance route, if it were not for the fact that many of these great geniuses (genusi?) still hold Ronald Reagan to blame for any and all problems with the modern world. So blaming Bush on problems that continue to raise their heads in the Obama administration will be childs play for them. Socially these countries are not our allies, they are our competition. One should expect to hear Pepsi proclaiming the benefits of Coke before you hear the Europeans praising the US.
If there is blame to be laid on the Fiscal side of the US, it belongs quite squarely on Nancy Pelosi, who as leader of the Democrats in the House for the last several years has laid the framework for the disasters that we now face. (and continues to lay framework wholesale even now)
Der Spiegel's criticisms are mostly spot on and come from a culture that understands the importance of a reliable currency. But I don't agree that Summers is leading Obama on this, that it's more likely the other way around. Summers tells Obama what he wants to hear ... that 1 + 1 = 3, so that Larry can stay in the game. Summers would be lost without a job title to fit his ego.
The key points in the Der Spiegel article are that we've been spending too much and borrowing too much, the US government especially. So what does Obama & Co want to do ? ... have government spend more and borrow more, on a massive scale. Obama & Co have already caused enormous long-term damage -- Energy and Healthcare would add to this.
To Georgfelis: This isn't just Democrats, Republicans under Bush-Cheney were profligate. I see a two-headed beast in DC. "We have met the enemy, and he is us."
The Financial Times article does manage to insert their BDS- "Mr Bush, rather than Mr Obama, deserves most of the blame for America’s deepening structural deficits"
The moonbats will be blaming Bush for years as the ship sinks into the mud.
Energy Bill sidebar:
Today Axelrod is saying that the Senate won't take up Energy until the fall and not until after Healthcare -- Obama & Co know that Energy's a loser right now. So much for Pelosi's pledge to have it signed into law by July 4. Credit Boehner and the other House Republicans ... they lost the vote but may have won the battle. Boehner's impromptu fillibuster was brilliant. I could go on and on about the idiocy of Energy -- Boehner yesterday was quoted as calling it a "pile of shit" -- but here's one procedural point: two days later and you still can't find a publicly available copy of what the House approved. The House was voting on a bill that only a handful had physically seen, let alone read. Hopefully Democrats will blame Pelosi for mismanagement and over-reach.
LSD makes a comeback?
Oh well, I was watching the first 15 minutes of Oliver Stone's "W" (surprisingly empathetic, even positive, about W.). No differences? Ha! Anyway, if Der Spiegel has declared Obama the return of the godhead Vishnu, you'd have another negative blogspot on the ready from the reactionary douche file cabinet to insert in this one's place. ;-)Perhaps it's time to reach for something from the "let's address this crap together" file, rather than the Pajamas Media/Fox/Rush School Depository?
To Christopher Chambers:
Never in a hundred years would America vote a black into the Presidency. But we did it. Obama played on our better instincts. I want to like the guy, honestly I do. But Der Spiegel is only saying what many have been screaming about here for months: Obama is pig-headedly and obstinately taking us on a path with dire financial consequences. Do you disagree with that? If he does fuck up as badly as I fear he will, what then?
Run away and hide now.
Slightly OT, but I challenge Mr. Chambers (and everyone else) to find some new vocabulary words. "Douche" and "douchebag" make you otherwise intelligent guys sound like an episode of Beavis and Butthead.
"Douche" and "douchebag" make you otherwise intelligent guys sound like an episode of Beavis and Butthead"
Well, I've seen "douchnozzle" used recently...
There's no reason to reply to Mr. Chambers anymore than one would be mad to stand and curse at a bird who craps on your windshield. Chambers, like most of those whose prefrontal lobe function is addled by liberalism, seem either uncomfortable with dialogue...or incapable of it. Why bother?
On topic. I think the the Euro's are going to become increasingly angry at Obama since their little utopia depends on the financial integrity and defense prowess of the USA to keep it afloat.
Much like the US being the "safety net" for the Health CAre debaucle in Canada.
Socialist Communities, regardles of their size, HAVE TO have that safety net. Obama is joining in...and there's nobody left to supply and maintain the lifeboats!!
Obama deserves a more nuanced description: child-like, sophomoric, uneducated, bullheaded, unable to debate ideas, petty, partisan, spoiled, hateful, mean spirited, spiteful.....unable to confront real problems or take criticism. He wants to talk to our enemies, but refuses to confront FOXNEWS.
Macro-level comment: We are witnessing the death of the post-Cold War, unipolar Pax Americana. The world is starting to slide back into multi-polarity ahead of schedule thanks to the perceived weakness of US leadership and our likely national fiscal suicide.
In a sick way, it's fascinating. International relations theory doesn't address the possibility that a supreme power will flog itself into secondary status.
Europe has been providing examples of what to do and what not to do. We just keep picking the wrong ones. We're following Spain on energy, not France. Some of the European countries are moving to the right to address their stagnation. Many nations are trying not to be profligate even though their citizenry are hurting -- always hard to do. I believe Germany recently put a hard cap on social spending -- it can't grow faster than the overall economy.
Another example we should't follow is Ancient Rome which collapsed from within with a loss of civic virtue. Bread and circuses, anyone?
LSD makes a comeback?
Judging from the rest of that comment, yes.
From that editorial: "President Barack Obama follows [Summers] like a dog does its master." I despise Obama and his economic policies, and I agree with a lot of Spiegel's criticisms (not sure whether inflation or deflation is the real danger), but I'd happily punch out the Kraut who was that insulting to my President. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty good attitude to run a squeeze play on the worldly types. You think they're upset that he's catching hell from Europe, imagine what they'd do if we started defending him from attacks by foreigners.
We all know how this will play out.
FDR was President for what, about 14 years? Ten of those years were the Great Depression. Four were WW II. Today, we blame the Depression on Hoover and WW II on Republican Isolationism and Neville Chamberlain.
Amazing, really. For example, I always thought that the Executive Branch ran foreign policy. Now it turns out a few powerful US Senators really did during the 1930's.
So, don't worry, the academics and the media will protect Obama's reputation for many decades to come.
So, when the US govt becomes insolvent, they will blame Bush and the Republican minority in the Congress and Senate.
"Explain themselves over dinner"? What a joke. Take it from an expat in Germany: Europeans are easy prey. They have never had their Weltanschauung challenged and when its underpinnings are challenged they tend to collapse in a stuttering heap. It's a lot of fun.
Anonymous -- When I travel to Europe, I get much the same feeling. It is fun to be at a table with a bunch of Euopeans when they find out I voted for Bush twice.
I was in Scotland in October 2008 and at a business dinner, everyone at table was astounded that I was a McCain supporter. I have only been to Europe once since the election, to Switzerland in February, but did not get the chance to mix much with non-Americans, so I am not sure what would have heppened if I said I voted for McCain.
Sadly, the entire foreign policy and economic ideas of Obama and his "sophisicated" leftists are nothing but a lame attempt to suck up to the "intellectuals" in Brussels, Cambridge, Paris, Berkeley, San Francisco and Paris.
To be totally fair, I have found that the average European is not as obsessed with politics and anti-American slogans as the white US leftists make them out to be.
Over dinner with both French and Swedes, I baited them a few times with a few Bush-supporting positions, and they didn't take it. They also did not take the opportunity to say much negative about Bush. The most that the one French guy said was that 'they like America, just not Bush'.
Then again, these were Europeans that work as Sales managers for a US high-tech company (hence my business dinners with them), so they are probably more attuned to free-market meritocracy and shaky job security than other Europeans.
Also note that Europeans voted IN Sarkozy, Merkel, Berlusconi, etc. by voting OUT anti-Americans like Chirac and Schroeder.
I have to commend Tigerhawk for not using the word 'liberal' to describe rigid, illiberal lefto-fascists.
Too many stupid Republicans still use that word. Any Republican who uses that word has already lost the battle before it began.
I therefore wonder how such people will react if anti-Obama sentiment in Europe grows to the point where they have to explain themselves all over again. Will they rise in Barack Obama's defense, agree with the foreign critique but deny that they voted for him, or explode from the cognitive dissonance?
I, for one, look forward to the hilarity, if only because it's better to laugh than to cry.
Anon at 3:34,
Well the leftists hijacked that fine old word liberal to disguise their march towards socialism, so they chose it. Why should not the GOP use the word the leftists chose and have made their own, even if it does constitute an oxymoron to call people devoted to socialism by the same name that described people like the Austrian School, Lord Acton, Gladstone, and Frederic Bastiat? Still, the socialists in the US have made the name liberal stink politically by taking it over then instituting socialist policies in its name, so now they are moving on to "Progressive" in order to confuse the voters further. That's their big hope for future success.
So Anon, what do you suggest? I'd be in favor of calling people like Obama and Pelosi fascists, as being a more accurate description of the policies and ideas they intend to carry out, but I suspect few would follow me, and almost no voters would understand what I was getting at. Feel free to suggest alternatives, or stop calling Packs stupid for using the term that has become associated, in the USA, with socialist policies pushed by the Democratic Party.
Excellent parsing of the semantics of "liberal" by Michael L. Yes it's a shame what happened to the word - it's hard to remember now that "liberal" and "libertarian" have the same origin. Some use the phrase "classical liberalism" to describe pre-New Deal liberalism, but that's probably too subtle for most people.