Sunday, October 31, 2010



In a Washington Post editorial this past Saturday, two prominent Democratic pollsters wrote that President Obama, who promised a new, post-partisan era during his campaign, has been the most bitterly divisive and partisan President since Richard Nixon. The authors then spell out the parallels between Presidents Obama and Nixon.

Making America Safe for Partisans.
President Obama has used the office of the President to make wildly false and partisan attacks against political enemies. Even the New York Times has noted the lack of evidence to back up the White House claims that Rove and others have been funneling illegal foreign money to Republican candidates.

And the President's troublingly flaccid grip on the truth is not limited to false accusations against Karl Rove, but extends to major policy initiatives:

Obama is walking a knife's edge. He has said that the 3.5 million "shovel-ready jobs" he had referred to as justification for the passage of the stimulus bill didn't exist - throwing all the Democratic incumbents who had defended the stimulus in their campaigns under the proverbial bus.

Although he said, as part of his effort to enact health-care reform, that the health-care mandates were not taxes, now his administration acknowledges in court papers that they are, in fact, taxes.

The editorial makes sobering reading. It is more sobering when you read the warning these same two pollsters made in March of this year about the consequences of pushing an extremely unpopular health care bill through Congress.

When influential members of the President's own party begin denouncing the President's behavior in Washington Post editorials, one is hard pressed to think of any word to describe the situation but "Nixonian."

I wonder what the remaining Dems in Congress will say about the President Wednesday. My prediction: not pretty.

Perhaps the phrase "not pretty" is understated. Maybe "coyote ugly" would be more accurate.


Today at Mass, during the consecration of the host, this old hymn began singing itself in my head. These hymns often pop into my head during the consecration of the host. It is one way I know a miracle is happening.

A beautiful, simple hymn:

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

I remembered on the way home that a version of this hymn is sung in the movie "Bella" as the young protagonist understands what he must do.

If you haven't seen the movie, rent it. Beautiful. The hymn is a perfect fit.

Speaking of wonderful hymns, listen to this, by Ladysmith Black Mambazo. You may remember them from Paul Simon's "Graceland" album.

"The Lord bless you, and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." Numbers 6:22-27.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


A recent article in a left-leaning blog lambasted President Obama for not "getting it," The article quotes Rabbi Michael Learner, a liberal political figure, in a massive, oxygen sucking sentence that complains about every last thing Obama has not done for Progressives. The good Rabbi left no whine unopened.

Just Not Liberal Enough

"Progressives" are now raging against President Obama, in an effort to get what crumbs are left before the political avalanche in November. Jon Stewart is bashing Obama on a regular basis for being clueless.

The "Progressive" diagnosis is that the President has not been liberal enough. Apparently the trouble facing the Democrats in November would not have occurred had Obama spent more, taxed more and punished business more.

Wow. That's like betting your underwear because you lost your car shooting craps.

Go Ahead. You're On a Roll.

16 months ago Eternal Optimist suggested that the "Progressive" agenda would succeed or fail politically based on whether it worked. It will not be punished politically because the American people are too dumb to "get it," but because the American people are unhappy with the results. After all, Americans voted for President Obama and the Democratic party in droves in 2008. They are not averse to voting for a Progressive agenda, provided it works.

"Progressives" won in 2008 because the economy was tanking. Two years later "Progressives" are busy running on anti-Bush: "W" is the reason the economy continues a-crappy (new word EO has coined) and unemployment is stuck at about 10%.

Progressives cannot be blamed for this tactic. Roosevelt did it for 3 election cycles in the 30s, as his economic policies extended the Depression from an ordinary 2-3 year cycle to the "Great Depression." Apparently America does not have the stomach for this anymore.

Stop the Whining
Photo Credit

News flash (this just in): VOTERS DON'T CARE ABOUT DIALECTIC. They don't care about Bush anymore, either. Americans hired President Obama to fix the economy, not to make great speeches explaining how the crappiness is not his fault.

Economy: Craptastic. Mathematical Opposite of Fantastic.
Photo Credit

Bottom line: we've forked over a couple trillion (literally) in debt over the last 22 months to fix the economy and pay for all the cool government stuff. And the economy is still stuck. And our entitlement programs are not fixed. Goldman, Sachs is doing well, thank you, having invested heavily in President Obama. The rest of us, not so much.

Having themselves invested a couple trillion (I like how that sounds) in President Obama, middle-class Americans want unemployment fixed. What they see at present is NADA (a technical economic term). So they are ticked off. Making well-crafted speeches about why the investment went sour is not the same thing as fixing the problem.

That's how Americans are. Ask the Yankees or Phillies how their fans react when they lose. "Boo!" say the fans. Doesn't matter you just won 97 games. "Boooooo!" Then they say things like "YOU S#$@" And much worse.

Yankee Fans Booing World Champions
Aside from having been very expensive and not having worked, the "Progressive" vision suffers from an historical disadvantage. The "Progressive" diagnosis is that America is not regulated enough, not taxed enough, and doesn't have enough entitlements. The solution? More government. MUCH more government. Everywhere, all the time.

But if this is so, then somewhere, somehow a perfect command society should be humming along in perpetual bliss, a living rebuke to our selfish and stupid American aversion to big government. There's been no lack of commitment to the "Progressive" vision during the last century. Plenty of societies have taken the vision to its logical conclusion: Lenin's Soviet Union, Mao's China, Castro's Cuba, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

It hasn't worked out. All command societies wind up delivering the same basic product: (a) a chronically broken economy (b) mass starvation and (c) the Gulag. This historical fact has a way of rapidly eroding confidence in the "Progressive" vision, no matter how earnestly peddled or honestly believed. No matter how good the speeches are, and no matter how bovine the opposition is.

One does not have to be a fan of unbridled capitalism to be nervous about Progressives in control.

Typical Progressive Worker's Paradise
(Soviet prisoners walking to Gulag)

An electoral tsunami is headed toward Washington. There are still a lot of hopeful articles about how voter discontent and the Tea Party will hurt Republicans as much as Democrats. My suspicion is that this is magical thinking, of the "I am the Emperor Napoleon and I shall ride a winged unicorn from barren Elba" variety.

Napoleon: A La Recherche Du Temps Perdue.

Election Day will not be pretty for "Progressives." The question is how badly it will go, not whether it will go badly.

Democrat Vision of Conservatives, ca. Election Day, 2010

Fortunately for Democrats, their opposition party is the Republicans. Based on past history, these folks are more likely to make a stop for a highball at the "Ear-Mark Bar and Grill" than they are to bring the electoral paycheck home to the wife and kiddies. When they come out of the bar there is an 80% chance they will trip on their own shoe-laces and fall off a curb. So Progressives can just relax for a couple years. Things will be better in 2012.

Republicans ca. 2012
Photo Credit

Come to think of it, both parties tend to be more attractive while out of power. This ensures they rotate endlessly, which probably helps ensure our freedom, in a painful but strangely human way. "Through institutionalized folly, freedom."

God bless America, spectacle that I love.