Here’s the mostly conservative and dismal take on things:
The global warming hysteria—with no measurable planet warming in the last 15 years despite sizable increases in carbon emissions—is abating, and with it, the push for cap-and-trade. Solyndra has become emblematic of an entire failed paradigm of government subsidizing wind and solar, often with crony capitalistic, Enron-like results. The disaster of Obamacare is unfolding week by week.
Suddenly in the year 2013, it has become almost impossible to buy ammunition of most sorts, while even .22 varmint rifles are scarce on the shelves; how widespread panic and all sorts of anti-gun legislation introduced at the state level prevents another Columbine, only the president can explain. There is certainly no push to address illicit handgun violence in the inner city that accounts for most annual shooting deaths. But while he is losing the PR fight with the NRA, the president is winning the longer-term strategy to create psychological conditions of rumor, panic buying, and apprehension that make it difficult to purchase a gun or bullets of any sort.
As there has been with gay marriage, there is a stampede to approve blanket amnesty, but not even the supporters of something called “comprehensive immigration reform” can explain what will be done with those who do not meet their own criteria of amnesty—those with criminal records, a past of public assistance rather than work, and recent illegal arrival into the U.S. — other than simply not to discuss it. Legal immigration reform is constantly pushed, but without any details, given that the liberal position is apparently to fast-track visas for those with the skills, capital, English, and education sorely needed in Silicon Valley and the high-tech industry, while simultaneously not tampering with the existing system of privileging those from Latin America who might just cross the border as they please, lacking such requisites.
The thousands of columns written in the last four years warning that Obama’s therapeutic foreign-policy approach would eventually lead to a Carter-like, 1979–80 reckoning are now proving true, whether we look at the implosion in Egypt, the lunatic North Korea action, Iran’s continual trajectory to the bomb, the reset/reset with Russia, the rising tensions between Japan and China, and the bewilderment of our allies — the common denominator being that most observers abroad assume the U.S. will talk loudly and offer moral sermons continually, and that’s about it: no worse friend, no better enemy. The perpetual Obama campaigning, the endless “pay your fair share” boilerplate, the courting of the 1 percent fundraising elites, the appointment of insider grandees such as Jack Lew, and the presidential aristocratic lifestyle in hard times have made the reformist, egalitarian sermons of 2008 a cruel joke. Utopian dreams of U.N. intervention in arms sales, radical reform of the way food aid is purchased and dispensed, and opposition to Keystone and new federal oil and gas leases have bewildered a lot of Democratic Senate and House members. All of the above takes place in an economy that officially got out of recession almost four years ago, but is in a permanent rut of chronic high employment, continual massive deficits, ballooning debt, radical spikes in entitlement costs, and near-zero percent interest rates.
The opposite, mostly liberal take on the above current affairs, as I understand, is something like “Bush did it,” becoming Europe is pretty cool, Obama is transformational, the country has changed — and get with, or over, it.