March 29, 2013
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Yes, it is true that there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq when George W. Bush took office. But it is equally true that there was essentially no al-Qaeda in Iraq remaining when Barack Obama took office.
Two months ago, a petition bearing more than 110,000 signatures was delivered to The Washington Post demanding a ban on any article questioning global warming. The petition arrived the day before publication of my column, which consisted of precisely that heresy.
Obama’s dismissal of Russia as a regional power makes his own leadership of the one superpower all the more embarrassing. For seven decades since the Japanese surrender, our role under 11 presidents had been as offshore balancer protecting smaller allies from potential regional hegemons.
Whether anything Obama says or does would stop anyone remains questionable. But surely the West has more financial clout than Russia’s kleptocratic extraction economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka.
Last Friday, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even The New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, “the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter.”
This is not to indict, but simply to advocate for caution grounded in humility. It’s not surprising that myths about the workings of the fabulously complex U.S. health care system continue to tantalize — and confound — policymakers.
Fixated as we Americans are on Canada’s three most attention-getting exports — polar vortexes, Alberta clippers and the antics of Toronto’s addled mayor — we’ve somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada’s current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.
The persistence of anti-Semitism, that most ancient of poisons, is one of history’s great mysteries. Even the shame of the Holocaust proved no antidote. It provided but a temporary respite. Anti-Semitism is back. Alas, a new generation must learn to confront it.
Who can argue with no bailout? Let the Senate Democrats decide — support the bailout and lose the Senate. Or oppose the bailout and bury Obamacare.
The lie of the year, according to Politifact, is “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” But the story of the year is a nation waking up to just how radical Obamacare is — which is why it required such outright deception to get it passed in the first place.
How to sum up our diplomancy? Three crises, one president, many bewildered friends.
At rallies, Obama routinely says he has important things to do and he’s not going to wait for Congress. Well, amending a statute after it’s been duly enacted is something a president may not do without Congress. It’s a gross violation of his Article II duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
The mullahs are eager for this interim agreement with its immediate yield of political and economic relief. Once they get it, we will have removed their one incentive to conclude the only agreement that is worth anything to us — a verifiable giving up of their nuclear program.
The more likely scenario, however, is that Obamacare does fail. It either fails politically, renounced by a wide consensus that includes a growing number of Democrats. Or it succumbs to the financial complications (the insurance “death spiral”) of the very amendments desperately tacked on to save it.
I’m not surprised that Obama tells untruths. He’s surely not the only politician to do so. I’m just surprised that he chooses to tell such obvious ones — ones that will inevitably be found out.
This week, the Obamacare O-ring froze for all the world to see: Hundreds of thousands of cancelation letters went out to people who had been assured a dozen times by the president that “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan. Period.” The cancellations lay bare three pillars of Obamacare: (a) mendacity, (b) paternalism and (c) subterfuge.
Let’s recognize that there are many people of good will for whom “Washington Redskins” contains sentimental and historical attachment — and not an ounce of intended animus.
As for the peace process, it has about zero chance of disarming Damascus. We’ve spent nine years disarming an infinitely smaller arsenal in Libya — in conditions of peace — and we’re still finding undeclared stockpiles.
Regarding Egypt, rather than emoting, we should be thinking: what’s best for Egypt, for us and for the possibility of some eventual democratic future.
At stake is not some constitutional curlicue. At stake is whether the laws are the law. And whether presidents get to write their own.
In the end, this isn’t about language. It’s about leadership. The wordplay is merely cover for uncertain policy embedded in confusion and ambivalence about the whole enterprise.
How many times must we learn the lesson? You can’t govern from one house of Congress. You need to win back the Senate and then the presidency. Shutting down the government is the worst possible way to get there. Indeed, it’s Obama’s fondest hope for a Democratic revival.
It doesn’t take a genius to see what happens when the entitlement state outgrows the economy upon which it rests. The time of Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, the rest of insolvent social-democratic Europe — and now Detroit — is the time for conservatives to raise the banner of Stein’s Law and yell “Stop.”
In a civilized society, however, where the mob doesn’t rule, justice is defined by the verdict that follows a fair trial. It’s the best that humans can do.