Speaking of the first lady’s Academy Awards appearance, I see she gave the Oscar for Best Film to Ben Affleck’s movie Argo. If you haven’t seen the picture, it’s about a group of government operatives whose ingenious plan to achieve their objectives depends on creating a fake movie as a cover story. Obama seems to have taken this inspiring tale to heart. In the Affleck version, the fake movie is a space opera for which John Goodman rustles up a few cheesy costume designs for some generic aliens. They make a promotional brochure, take out an ad in Variety, and hold a well-attended press conference, awash in cocktails and canapés. But there is no movie. And so it goes with Obama’s monthly cliffhangers. The White House press corps show up for the reception, and they all excitedly report the intriguing teasers about the white-knuckle thriller coming soon to your town: This weekend, Les Sequesterables, starring Maxine “I Dreamed a Dream” Waters and a cast of hundreds of millions of downtrodden laid-off extras; next week Zero Debt Thirty, in which Paul Ryan proposes cutting $30 from the federal budget and all civilized life comes to an end; next month Django Short-Changed, in which a retired bounty hunter discovers his Social Security check is a buck seventy-three lower than usual because cruel plantation owners like Mitt Romney aren’t willing to pay their fair share; and coming soon No Silver Linings Playbook, in which Barack Obama warns yet again that total societal collapse is just around the corner but at the eleventh hour manages to avert it by swooping in with a daring, last-minute tax increase.
Government-by-fake-disaster-movie seems to be going swimmingly for Obama. Every Republican attempt at fiscal discipline now ends with both higher spending and more taxes: That’s the way it went with the Christmas blockbuster Fiscal Cliff, and that’s the way to bet with Les Sequesterables, too. Even the IRS can’t keep up: “Tax season” is upon us, and yet they’re not accepting tax returns from millions of Americans because the IRS hasn’t yet managed to process the tax changes passed in the dead of night at New Year. American government is a joke — and, sadly, not one of those jokes that everybody takes seriously and kicks up a fuss about, like Seth MacFarlane’s “We Saw Your Boobs” song that The New Yorker attacked for its “hostility to women in the workplace” or Joan Rivers’ joke about Heidi Klum’s Oscars gown that Abraham Foxman’s Anti-Defamation League is busy issuing stern denunciations of. No, in an America in which every throwaway gag is a hate crime, Obama’s fake disaster movie of the month is the only joke we all go along with, even though he’s insulting our intelligence far more than Seth and the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus singing “We Saw Your Boobs” to Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry.
Can you pierce the mists of time and go back all the way to the year 2007? Back then, federal spending was 40 percent lower than it is today. In a mere half-decade, has all that 40 percent gravy become so indispensable to the general welfare that not even a teensy-weensy sliver of it can be cut?
If you really believe that, then America is going to die, and a gullible citizenry willing to give this laughable charade the time of day will bear ultimate responsibility. We have seen the boobs, and they are us.
— Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2013 Mark Steyn