The Corner

‘A Pretty Damn Good Presidency’

Finally, someone person enough to stand up to you hate-spewing hateful haters and the insufficiently prematurely anti-fascist recidivist revanchists on our side and tell it like it is about the Emperor Hussein. Unfortunately, he’s letting the cat out of the bag:

Unless national security is pretty much your sole obsession, I really have a hard time understanding progressives who are disappointed in him. Obama has gotten more done for the progressive cause than Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, JFK, or Harry Truman — and, on balance, nearly as much as LBJ, since he doesn’t have any epic disasters to weigh down his successes. For an actual, existing human being, that’s pretty damn good.

My colleague in anti-running-dog-of-kapitalism sentiment, Kevin Drum, the author of the Mother Jones article — bet you didn’t realize that there still was a Mother Jones! — is riffing off an upcoming cover story in the Washington Monthly by Paul Glastris, “The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama,” bemoaning the fact that too many correct-thinking defenders of Fairness & Tolerance are not giving enough credit to the Ruler by Fiat for his thus-far magnificent presidency. After all:

Measured in sheer legislative tonnage, what Obama got done in his first two years is stunning. Health care reform. The takeover and turnaround of the auto industry. The biggest economic stimulus in history. Sweeping new regulations of Wall Street. A tough new set of consumer protections on the credit card industry. A vast expansion of national service. Net neutrality. The greatest increase in wilderness protection in fifteen years. A revolutionary reform to student aid. Signing the New START treaty with Russia. The ending of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Even over the past year, when he was bogged down in budget fights with the Tea Party-controlled GOP House, Obama still managed to squeeze out a few domestic policy victories, including a $1.2 trillion deficit reduction deal and the most sweeping overhaul of food safety laws in more than seventy years. More impressively, on the foreign policy front he ended the war in Iraq, began the drawdown in Afghanistan, helped to oust Gaddafi in Libya and usher out Mubarak in Egypt, orchestrated new military and commercial alliances as a hedge against China, and tightened sanctions against Iran over its nukes.

Oh, and he shifted counterterrorism strategies to target Osama bin Laden and then ordered the risky raid that killed him.

That Obama has done all this while also steering the country out of what might have been a second Great Depression would seem to have made him already, just three years into his first term, a serious candidate for greatness. 

All true, but I wish he wouldn’t say things like that. Subterfuge and taqqiya are our middle names, and shows of bravado like these only serve to alert the few wakeful hounds around your campsites that all is not as it seems.

Still, you really have to love our side. Ice cubes in Hell wouldn’t melt in our mouths. Here we are, positively thrilled to death at the unimaginable progress we progressives have already made while pretending to believe in, you know, representative democracy and the rule of law and all that obscuritanist claptrap, and yet some of us can still maintain our pose of being “disappointed” in Obama because he hasn’t stopped the rise of the oceans. Here’s Gastris again:

In short, when judging Obama’s record so far, conservatives measure him against their fears, liberals against their hopes, and the rest of us against our pocketbooks. But if you measure Obama against other presidents—arguably the more relevant yardstick—a couple of things come to light. Speaking again in terms of sheer tonnage, Obama has gotten more done than any president since LBJ. But the effects of some of those achievements have yet to be felt by most Americans, often by design. Here, too, Obama is in good historical company.

The greatest achievements of some of our most admired presidents were often unrecognized during their years in office, and in many cases could only be appreciated with the passing of time. When FDR created Social Security in 1935, the program offered meager benefits that were delayed for years, excluded domestic workers and other heavily black professions (a necessary compromise to win southern votes), and was widely panned by liberals as a watered-down sellout. Only in subsequent decades, as benefits were raised and expanded, did Social Security become the country’s most beloved government program. 

We couldn’t be happier with the Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique, which is why we have to pretend to be miserable at this stage of Fundamental Transformation. Because if you think we’re going to give up now you are smoking crack. Sure, there’s one more election standing between us and the complete realization of every leftist goal (most of which involve your destruction) since Rousseau abandoned his bastard son, Karl Marx, on the steps of a foundling home, but no matter what the polls say, we’re pretty damn confident about winning that one. With a rock-solid base of whiners, complainers, Communists, chiselers, recently released felons, university professors, layabouts, wastrels, takers, sponges, and editors, columnists and reporters at major newspapers and TV networks, we’re already assured of 40-plus percent of the vote. When you throw in the sizable numbers of repeat voters, the deceased, illegal aliens and wholly imaginary citizens, we can get pretty close to 50 percent without breaking much of a sweat. So all we need is a just a few gullible dupes and useful idiots to fall for whatever “narrative” Jake Lingle will be peddling come the fall, et voila! A whole new country is aching to be born. . .

So go ahead: Keep reading polls that make you feel better about your chances in November, forgetting that we control the horizontal and the vertical, that we can manipulate gas prices with a wave of Obama’s magic Keystone Pipeline wand, that we can even make the Pope in Rome prostrate himself before us. Forgetting that the criminal organization masquerading as a political party has long since mastered the art of election stealing, going back to our Tammany Hall days, especially in the crucial precincts that will make a difference in the soon-to-be-disbanded Electoral College. As some genius once wrote:

Yes, the party of Slavery, Segregation, Secularism, and Sedition — that Tammany party. The Tammany Party whose motto is, “Stealing Elections Since Boss Tweed.” The Tammany party as in Tammany Hall, which was once led in its earliest days by none other than that great Democrat, Aaron Burr, who nobly served his country as Thomas Jefferson’s vice president, shot and killed Alexander Hamilton, and was later tried for treason..

Forgetting that everything the Department of Social Justice under Eric Holder is doing is designed to undermine your electoral system. Forgetting ranters like Mark Levin, who are trying to warn you about what’s coming. And forgetting essays like this one by Andrew McCarthy, who correctly notes:

Obamacare is a textbook example… a nearly 3000-page monstrosity that gives bureaucrats limitless authority to take over the healthcare sector in an amount of time that will be much shorter than most people appreciate, and that gradually strangles private insurance out of existence. Obama got his hand on the controls, exploited the tools that were available, took the measure of his feckless opposition, and went as far as it was practical to go while maintaining a fairly good chance at being reelected (which would mean appointing hundreds more likeminded bureaucrats and federal judges, who will apply and interpret Obamacare for years to come). It is a radical masterstroke, and even if it will take time to flower fully, no pure activist could have done it better.

There’s a famous scene in the most conservative movie ever made, in which Jeff Goldblum doodles on the back of an envelope and then announces, “They’re using our satellites against us.” Well, duh. How else would we aliens be able to undermine, hollow out and destroy everything you’ve built for the past several hundred years? By armed revolution? We tried that in 1861 and got our rear ends kicked by the first Republican president. (So, naturally, we had him assassinated.) By blowing up the Pentagon? Ask Bill Ayers whether he’d rather be in jail or in academe right now.

But of course your “leaders” are blind to all this. Just listen to weepy John Boehner, talking to Peggy Noonan the other day in the WSJ:

It’s late Wednesday morning and the speaker of the House is seated in his Capitol office smoking and sipping coffee from a Styrofoam cup. What the conference is feeling is “the normal state of affairs for a majority that’s frustrated by a president who doesn’t want to work with us and a Senate that doesn’t do the bills we send over. And then the frustration builds and they get to nipping at each other. And so it was one of those mornings where you had to kind of reset the table.”

He told them the historical moment is more promising than it looks: “Instead of looking at what we can do with it, we’re busy gnawing at each other over small differences that we might have.”

He sighs. A really big sigh…

As for the president, “he and I get along fine. But boy do we have big differences.”

Sigh. As Hank Stram famously said: “It’s like stealing.”

Since February 2007, Michael Walsh has written for National Review both under his own name and the name of David Kahane, a fictional persona described as “a Hollywood liberal who ...


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