Is “hope and change” / left-wing agenda caving in on its own weight?


(Photo: politifake.org)

As I read through news stories the past several weeks, even just days, it seems there is a common theme to a lot of news and political stories:  the left-wing agenda seems to be crashing down around itself.

Don’t get me wrong….the America apologists, statists, socialists, and global warming maniacs among us will not be raising the white flag any time soon.  But the more they double-down on their agenda, it seems, the more reality is telling a very different story than theirs.

A key indicator that voters are fed up with the antics of the last 2 1/2 years?  How about the GOP defeat in New York City District 9 in Tuesday’s  special election.  The HUGE win by the GOP marks the first time a Republican has held that seat since 1923.

In the largely Jewish district in New York, it is believed that the election was referendum on Obama’s policies on Israel, the building of a mosque at Ground Zero, and local political issues like the handling of the 9-11 anniversary.  Some also believe it was a partial referendum on New York’s same-sex “marriage” law.

When it comes to things like the building of a certain mosque, the 10-year anniversary of the attacks on 9-11 and Israel, “for every action” there has come “an equal yet opposite reaction” and the first responders have again risen from lower Manhattan…….

(on the mosque)…An August CNN/Opinion Research Poll showed 68 percent of all Americans opposed the idea. It is hallowed ground, a sacred wound……As Larry Hart of Examiner.com put it; “There are 3,000 families backed up by millions of New Yorkers backed up by hundreds of millions of Americans that are saying ‘no, you can’t build it here.'”…..Still, in spite of overwhelming public outrage for what is considered a blatantly intentional insult, David Weprin – as did Barack Obama – sided with the imam.

(on 9/11)….Weprin suffered the reflexive voter slap for Democrat Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s salting snub in not inviting New York’s first responders to the official ten-year anniversary ceremony. Still, while it was ultimately the mayor’s decision to exclude the men and women who are still seen by most of us as heroes, the president did not object. Just as American’s will “never forget” the horror of 9-11 they will remember Obama’s silence on this sensitive matter – as well as his support of the mosque – in November 2012.

(on Israel)…Who can forget the day when Barack Obama stood before cameras and the world and advised Israel to reconfigure its border to their 1967 lines in compliance with Palestinian demands?  …Ed Koch feels quite differently. In fact – according to the New York Post – the Jewish former Democrat Mayor and Holocaust survivor endorsed Bob Turner with the express purpose of sending a message to Obama that would clarify the severity of the destruction. …..   Obviously, the majority of those who showed up at the polls on Tuesday got the memo.

More crash and burn?  Take the news today that a Nobel Laureate physicist is resigning his physics society post due to global warming.  No, he doesn’t believe the earth will burn up in two weeks and he just wants to spend those two weeks enjoying himself….but quite the opposite:

Dr. Ivar Giaever, a former professor with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and  the 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, abruptly  announced his resignation Tuesday, Sept. 13, from the premier physics society in  disgust over its officially stated policy that “global warming is occurring.”

Giaever was cooled to the statement on warming  theory by a line claiming that “the evidence is incontrovertible.”

“In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of  the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence  of global warming is incontrovertible?” he wrote in an email to Kate Kirby, executive officer of the physics  society.

“The claim … is that the temperature has changed  from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to  me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and  happiness have definitely improved in this ‘warming’ period,” his email message said.

Even more to the point and proof that Al Gore’s maniacal rages and Obama’s “green jobs” are not moving the public to their “incontrovertible” positions:

Public perception of climate change has steadily fallen since late 2009. A Rasmussen  Reports public opinion poll from August noted that 57 percent of adults  believe there is significant disagreement within the scientific community on  global warming, up five points from late 2009.

The same study showed that 69 percent of those  polled believe it’s at least somewhat likely that some scientists have falsified  research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs. Just 6 percent  felt confident enough to report that such falsification was “not at all  likely.”

And speaking of “green jobs”….it seems Obama’s BIG effort for green jobs creation has been nothing but an Obama campaign-crony-socialist-stimulus crock of potentially illegal and shady activity!

In February, the administration renegotiated with Solyndra’s billionaire investor- remember the one who was also a big contributor to the Obama campaign?- as the company was failing. That deal allowed billionaire George Kaiser’s foundation to jump ahead of the American taxpayers for all but $150 million of the government’s $527 million loan in any company bankruptcy.

Oh, and it’s a transaction that also happens to be illegal. Although Democrats are floating the idea that the government has the authority to make the taxpayers take a back seat to Kaiser in a bankruptcy, sources close to the investigating committee say that a plain reading of the statute never allows taxpayers to go to the back of the line under any circumstances.

In other words, under the law, the government always has the obligation to protect taxpayer money in any case, including a bankruptcy. It’s a novel concept for this administration, but it happens to be the law.

…….(from Bloomberg) When the Solyndra loan was restructured in February, OMB found in a preliminary analysis that liquidating, rather than renegotiating, would give the U.S. “greater recovery” of its investment, the committee said in the report. The company sought bankruptcy protection six months later.

Why then would the administration allow a billionaire to jump ahead of taxpayers as the company spun into bankruptcy?

Is the leftist agenda caving even further?

Yes. Speaking of bankruptcy and overall poor economic and employment performance….just soak in these headlines/articles for further proof that “Obamanomics” is a HUGE failure.  He needs to go in 2012.

Jobless Claims Rise Again — 428K Weekly First-Time Benefits Requests

Mortgage default warnings spiked in August, signaling potential new foreclosure wave

$1.29 Trillion Federal Deficit

By the Numbers … Obama’s Historic Record of Failure (ie Fannie/Freddie, GM, Cash for Clunkers, US Debt Downgrade, historic debt, historic spending….)

Obama’s current policies seem to resemble an avalanche….a large, ever-increasing wave of corruption, failure, and arrogance rolling us all downhill…..all thanks to ‘ol Mr. Greek Columns and his “hope and change”.

Obama’s loss of support and accompanying critics?…well…it couldn’t happen to a nicer god guy.

Speaking of critics….. do you know what Obama’s response is to his criticsAttackWatch.com.

The Obama campaign is launching a new website to handle misinformation against President Obama,” reports the Hill. “In an email, Obama’s reelection campaign manager, Jim Messina, announced the formation of AttackWatch.com“:

“Forming the first line of defense against a barrage of misinformation won’t be easy,” Messina wrote in a fundraising email to campaign supporters. “Our success will depend on a team of researchers and writers to stay on the lookout for false claims about the President and his record, bring you the facts, and hold our opposition accountable.”

The site features ominous red-white-and-black graphics and a form calledReport an attack.”

What an arrogant and creepy little idea:

The whole thing is both creepily paranoid and bumblingly buffoonish….produced by a chimera of Richard M. Nixon and Wile E. Coyote.

So true….It is serious that we have such a paranoid as President and the failures of his policies is critical. But laughing in the face of trouble is not a bad thing….Check out the thousands of funny Attackwatch jabs and quips on Twitter!  (#AttackWatch)

Obama: King of Excuses


Obama on August 15, 2011:

“We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, got the economy moving  again. … But over the last six months, we’ve had a run of bad luck.”

George Washington:

“Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.”

Obama is full of excuses.  And empty of any self-accountability whatsoever…..As only Krauthammer can elaborate:

A troubled nation wonders: How did we get mired in 9.1 percent unemployment,  0.9 percent growth and any economic outlook so bad that the Federal Reserve  pledges to keep interest rates at zero through mid-2013 — an admission that it  sees little hope on the horizon?

Bad luck, explains our president. Out of nowhere came Japan and its supply-chain disruptions, Europe and its debt problems, the Arab Spring and  those oil spikes. Kicked off, presumably, by various acts of God (should He not  be held accountable too?): earthquake and tsunami. (Tomorrow: pestilence and  famine. Maybe frogs.)……

…A plague of bad luck and bad faith — a recalcitrant providence and an  unpatriotic opposition. Our president wrestles with angels. Monsters of mythic  proportions.

A comforting fantasy. But a sorry excuse for a failing economy and a flailing  presidency.

Obama is a miserable failure at leading this great country.  However, Obama likely considers his promotion of class warfare, socialism, government/business alliances, and record welfare state as success.

Obama’s success = America’s failure.  Gee where have I heard something like that before?

Look, what he’s talking about is the absorption of as much of the private sector by the US government as possible, from the banking business, to the mortgage industry, the automobile business, to health care.  I do not want the government in charge of all of these things. I don’t want this to work. ……

…… We want to promote failure, we want to promote incompetence, we want to stand by and not object to what he’s doing simply because of the color of his skin?  Sorry.  I got past the historical nature of this months ago.  He is the president of the United States, he’s my president, he’s a human being, and his ideas and policies are what count for me, not his skin color, not his past, not whatever ties he doesn’t have to being down with the struggle, all of that’s irrelevant to me.  We’re talking about my country, the United States of America, my nieces, my nephews, your kids, your grandkids.  Why in the world do we want to saddle them with more liberalism and socialism?  Why would I want to do that?  So I can answer it, four words, “I hope he fails.”  And that would be the most outrageous thing anybody in this climate could say.  Shows you just how far gone we are.

Obama has failed this country (perhaps purposefully, in my opinion) but has succeeded in much of his anti-American, anti-capitalist agenda.  That agenda means America fails.  It it not too late to turn back the tide but it must be done in 2012.

Obama must be ousted in 2012…..that’s all there is to it.

American Thinker: Summing up the failure that is Obama and Dems in graphs


Over the last year, Randall Hoven at American Thinker has been putting out a “Graph of the Day” piece.  Each graph has generally been constructed from neutral data and each has demonstrated the failures of our government and the effect on our economy, defense, and more.

Today, Hoven summarizes what we have learned from those graphs and it is not a pretty picture for America…much less for Obamabots and those touting the brilliance of the “progressive’ agenda.

The summary is a great resource backed by data.  Read it all and share it!

……..what can we learn from a year’s worth of graphs and data?

Then came Obama.
He asked for the second half ($350B) of TARP bailout money even before he was inaugurated. (He also voted for the TARP bailout while in the Senate.) Then, as president, he went on to buy car companies with it.
“Pay as you go” went out the window, as Obama’s plans would explode the deficits, even in the years after the current recession was assumed over. He signed a “stimulus” bill within one month of being sworn into office, adding $814B to the 2009-2019 deficit in one fell swoop.
His crowning achievement was the trillion-dollar overhaul of all health care in the nation under a byzantine system of additional costs, additional taxes, and additional bureaucracy. The legislators who “wrote” the bill did not even read it. Estimates of its cost cannot be trusted.
All of his plans to end the recession and spur growth failed.

Yet much of this could have been, and was, predicted.

  • Obama’s very own chief of the Council of Economic Advisors, Christina Romer, demonstrated in academic studies that federal spending did not end the Great Depression or any post-war recession and that tax increases have significant and negative impacts on economic growth.
  • Fiscal “stimuli” did not work in Japan and do not seem to work anywhere else, either.
  • The Heritage Foundation has the cross-country data that show that economic freedom leads to prosperity.
  • Arthur Laffer has similar cross-state data that show the same thing.
  • International Monetary Fund data indicate that higher government debt leads to slower growth.
  • An academic study based on data from 44 countries over two centuries concluded the same thing: higher debt leads to slower growth.
For those who thought President Obama would overturn all the Bush policies on Iraq, Afghanistan, the War on Terror, “civil rights,” etc., sorry to disappoint you.
  • The enemy combatant population has not come down much at Gitmo.
  • The drawdown in Iraq is about what it would have been under a President Bush.
  • Our military involvement in Afghanistan has exploded under Obama, leading to more troops there, more U.S. fatalities, more Afghan civilian fatalities, and little apparent progress in reducing resistance or winning “hearts and minds.”
  • The federal government is authorizing wiretaps and fighting drugs as much as ever. It is even deporting illegal immigrants as much as ever.
Instead of fixing anything real, President Obama spent our money chasing dreams. His stimulus caused an explosion in spending on climate change research. Yet man-caused, catastrophic global warming, which Obama wants to address with an expensive Cap & Trade program, is becoming ever less credible.
Obama’s dreams of “green energy” and “green jobs” are equally empty.
  • The U.S. leads the world in recoverable fossil fuel resources, which are enough to last many more decades at least.
  • Renewable” energy resources, other than hydroelectric dams, supply less than 5% of all energy in the U.S., even after years of government-funded research, incentives, regulations, and subsidies. Fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydroelectric will dominate for decades to come.
  • The most economical source of electricity for some time to come is natural gas. The most expensive is solar panels.
  • Contra Bill Maher, Brazil is not exactly some outstanding example of bio-fuel generation or energy conservation we need to follow.
  • Spain has demonstrated that “green energy” leads to fewer net jobs, green or not.
  • Clean coal” is no panacea. It costs 27% to 83% more, uses 73% to 100% more water resources, and is technologically immature and uncertain. All that, just to use less of what all animals on earth exhale and all plants on earth inhale.

Not to put too fine a point on it: liberals have been wrong about almost everything, and conservatives have been right about almost everything, at least in my lifetime (half a century). That goes not only for the economy, the role of government, and climate change, but also for many “social issues” as well.

To me, coming up with a new graph every day for a year, this was a steady drumbeat. And always the same tune: things are bad, getting worse, and Obama and the Democrats are doing everything wrong.

Is there any good news?  Maybe.
  • The solutions do not require defying the laws of physics.
  • Other countries, as diverse as Canada, Sweden, and New Zealand, have reduced government debt by large amounts in the recent past and lived to tell the tale.
  • More people identify themselves as conservatives, and they outnumber liberals by more than two to one right now.
  • As bad as we are, much of Europe is in as bad or worse shape. (That might not be good news, but at least misery enjoys company.)

Extreme, Mr. President? Why that would be you and your statist cohorts on the left!


Great video from the NRSC outlining who the real extremists are — based on the view of the American people.

Spread it around…make it viral!

(H/T: Gateway Pundit)

“Deeming” of bills, the unprecedented “Slaughter Rule”, and a potential Constitutional Crisis


The “Slaughter Solution” being seriously considered by Nancy Pelosi for “deeming” the Obamacare Senate bill passed by the House is unprecedented and unconstitutional.

From RedState.com:

The fact of the matter is that there is no precedent for the House to pass a bill without a direct vote by using a budget reconciliation measure as a trigger and a means to pass ObamaCare.  Nancy Pelosi’s potentially unconstitutional strategy to pass unconstitutional ObamaCare is without precedent nor justification.

In a nutshell, Mike Pence gives us the reality of Obamacare government takeover of our healthcare and the just-as-hideous “slaughter” process:

Pence talks of the constitutionality, or lack thereof, of this move by Pelosi.  Similarly, at  Secondhand Smoke blog, Wesley J. Smith talks about the actual Constitutional Crisis:

…..But you can’t pass an internal procedural rule that effectively revokes the Constitutional requirement of what must actually happen for a bill to pass into law!  In order to become law, the Constitution requires a bill to pass both houses in identical form, and then either be signed into law by the president, or made law over a presidential veto. 

If this law is “deemed” passed via the Slaughter Solution instead of being actually voted and passed, and then signed by Obama, what might happen?

If President Obama signs an Obamacare bill that was not actually voted on in the House of Representatives, it will unleash a bitter constitutional crisis of the kind I haven’t seen in my 60 year-+ lifetime. There will be years of intense litigation.  Tremendous uncertainty as to whether it is actually law will roil the economy and divide the country.  People will refuse to pay the taxes required in the “statute” on the basis that there is no law.  Regulators will be sued.  Vitriol of the kind not seen since the session crisis of 1861 will take over our politics, sowing even deeper societal divisions than already exist.  At the end of the day, I believe, Obamacare will be declared null and void because it never actually have passed both houses of Congress.

But if that’s the best case, what’s the worst case?:

The worst case scenario is that the maneuver is somehow approved by the Supreme Court. Then, we will have lost our constitutional republic, because Congress will no longer have to pass bills.  Just pass internal rules.  And liberals who support Obamacare fervently enough to believe this expedient is justified, should understand clearly that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

EXACTLY — what is to stop Obama/Pelosi/Reid from “deeming” the next election null and void, or “deeming” cap and tax as law of the land?  I could cite almost any example. 

 Our Founders intended that our Republic have a representative government.  When ONE political party can “deem” takeover of 1/6 of our economy in something so personal as healthcare, we are no longer the America of our founders, but the America sought out by statists, Marxists, and tyrannical dictators.

That is exactly what a Constitutional crisis looks like.

Of course, the Democratic talking points that came out yesterday tried to convince us that “deeming” or the “Slaughter Solution” has been used before?   Well, it has, BUT never has it been used to CHANGE THE OUTCOME OF A BILL’S PASSAGE and has been used traditionally used for amendments to a bill and resolutions (not a binding bill).  From DougRossat Journal:

Hoyer attempted to deflect criticism by citing cases where Republicans used a “self-executing” rule.

Oh, the Republicans used it, right? Well, Stenky, could we please have the list of bills and laws passed using this method? There aren’t any. It’s been used to add and remove amendments, not pass entire bills without a vote. And certainly not for a giant, new and unaffordable entitlement program. And certainly not one that has zero bipartisan support.

Of course, other than just ignoring her oath to preserve the Constitution, Nancy Pelosi’s (and Louise Slaughter’s) hypocrisy is on full display in this endeavor.  Nancy Pelosi and others declared and sued long ago that the “deeming” rule (AKA Slaughter Rule) is unconstitutional

….Dial the date selector back to 2005 when the Republican majority in Congress approved a national debt limit increase. But there was a minor difference between the two chambers’ versions resulting from a clerical error.

Of course, there is one major difference between 2005 and 2010. Debt limit increases are routine in Congress and have been for decades. But to place the American private health care system under government control — effectively socializing one-sixth of the U.S. economy — that has never been done before. 

“Deeming” a bill passed is unconstitutional and should not be considered. If this Obamacare bill is passed in that manner, Obama should tear up the bill when it reaches his desk.

 
I’m not holding my breath.
 
Other reading:

Cheney–Lynne, that is–blisters Obama on his Cold War history rewrite, his anti-Americanism, and his ego-centric Presidency


From Lynne Cheney’s Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, straight talk from someone a whole lot smarter than Messiah Obama — On the Cold War:

There are two different versions of the story of the end of the Cold War: the Russian version, and the truth. President Barack Obama endorsed the Russian version in Moscow last week.

Speaking to a group of students, our president explained it this way: “The American and Soviet armies were still massed in Europe, trained and ready to fight. The ideological trenches of the last century were roughly in place. Competition in everything from astrophysics to athletics was treated as a zero-sum game. If one person won, then the other person had to lose. And then within a few short years, the world as it was ceased to be. Make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.”

The truth, of course, is that the Soviets ran a brutal, authoritarian regime. The KGB killed their opponents or dragged them off to the Gulag. There was no free press, no freedom of speech, no freedom of worship, no freedom of any kind. The basis of the Cold War was not “competition in astrophysics and athletics.” It was a global battle between tyranny and freedom. The Soviet “sphere of influence” was delineated by walls and barbed wire and tanks and secret police to prevent people from escaping. America was an unmatched force for good in the world during the Cold War. The Soviets were not. The Cold War ended not because the Soviets decided it should but because they were no match for the forces of freedom and the commitment of free nations to defend liberty and defeat Communism.

AMEN to that one, sister!  More…

It is irresponsible for an American president to go to Moscow and tell a room full of young Russians less than the truth about how the Cold War ended.One wonders whether this was just an attempt to push “reset” — or maybe to curry favor. Perhaps, most concerning of all, Mr. Obama believes what he said.

Lynne Cheney on Obama’s anti-Americanism:

Mr. Obama’s method for pushing reset around the world is becoming clearer with each foreign trip. He proclaims moral equivalence between the U.S. and our adversaries, he readily accepts a false historical narrative, and he refuses to stand up against anti-American lies.

The approach was evident in his speech in Moscow and in his speech in Cairo last month. In Cairo, he asserted there was some sort of equivalence between American support for the 1953 coup in Iran and the evil that the Iranian mullahs have done in the world since 1979. On an earlier trip to Mexico City, the president listened to an extended anti-American screed by Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and then let the lies stand by responding only with, “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for the things that occurred when I was 3 months old.”

Asked at a NATO meeting in France in April whether he believed in American exceptionalism, the president said, “I believe in American Exceptionalism just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In other words, not so much.

and on Obama’s ego-centric view of his Presidency:

The Obama administration does seem to believe in another kind of exceptionalism — Obama exceptionalism. “We have the best brand on Earth: the Obama brand,” one Obama handler has said. What they don’t seem to realize is that once you’re president, your brand is America, and the American people expect you to defend us against lies, not embrace or ignore them. We also expect you to know your history.

Wow! —  last week Sarah Palin called it plainly and correctly on Obama’s economic policy when she said it was immoral.  From Palin’s TIME magazine interview:

President Obama is growing government outrageously, and it’s immoral and it’s uneconomic, his plan that he tries to sell America. His plan to “put America on the right track” economically, incurring the debt that our nation is incurring, trillions of dollars that we’re passing on to our kids, expecting them to pay off for us, is immoral and doesn’t even make economic sense. So his growth of government agenda needs to be ratcheted back………allow free enterprise and the industrious Americans who run our small businesses and want to raise a family, allowing our families to grow and prosper and thrive, Americans who still believe in those ideals to get in there and effect change. I want to work for people who believe in that

This week Lynne Cheney correct Obama’s history and slams his anti-American views.

Perhaps we are getting a clearer picture of the conservative movement of the near future …..and it’s wearing lipstick and heels!

America: Glass-Half-Full or Glass-Half-Empty?


ea_on_flag_smVictor Davis Hanson recently gave us several reasons for our collective depressed state of mind in America.

I tend to be more on the pessimistic side, so while I would normally agree with him about 100%, I have found another view that is a bit more uplifting.  Even I realize that all is not lost…..so I can agree with some of the points I found at The Right Coast blog (more on it below).

Even as a  natural pessimist (my husband always reminds of this quality that I possess) there is also part of me that has an immense trust in American spirit — so much more than any trust I would ever have in our government no matter who is leading it.

VDH depicts what that lack of trust looks like today:

When Barack Obamasays the economy will soon grow at a 4.6 annual rate, I simply don’t believe him. I don’t believe Sec. Geithner’s reconstruction of when he knew about the AIG bonuses, or that he simply forgot to pay his payroll taxes.

If Chris Dodd were to say that gravity exists, I could be sure we would float into the stratosphere. If Barack Obama said he was against renditions, I’d assume he had merely renamed them “transfers.” I do know that as we run up more trillions in debt the next four years, Obamawill be in perpetual campaign mode with the same tired mantra “The Bush deficit mess I inherited” to screaming and adoring crowds.

Just as Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama “don’t want to waste a good crisis”…..I hope that the American people don’t waste this massive assault on our country.   This assault has to be used to turn this country around.

I hope we can turn back the tide of big government back about 80 years– give or take.   I do actually  see some opportunity for good coming out of this mess — hopefully a “shock and awe” smack down against large government and a country more aligned with its Constitution than it has been in decades.

How we do that, I don’t know, but the American Spirit that I trust is more powerful than the evil trying to crush it.

I guess even us pessisimists can be hopeful (and I mean that in a non-Obamamania way).   Like  Tom Smith at The Right Coast .   Here is his view titled “Things Aren’t So Bad”:

V. D. Hanson is moaning and gnashing his teeth.  Americans are depressed because things are so bad, and so on, and he is too. Perhaps untrue to type, I want to dissent somewhat from his gloomy view.  I offer no evidence, only impressions and points of view.

The economy — yes, things look bad now, but I think the worst of the recession will be over in a year or two, and that’s not so bad when compared to the Great Depression say.  There is still enormous potentialin the American economy, especially in its creative segments and in the willingness to work that Americans have compared to the Europeans, if not the Chinese.  We still have the secret of liberty figured out more than anywhere in the world.  There are people who want to ruin our economy, but it is far from clear they will getto. Resistance is already building rapidly to budget-busting schemes. People are finding their voices.  I’m not sure that this crisis will turn out to be the opportunity that Rahm et al. think it was going to be. This is a testament to our system of government, for all of its weaknesses.  It makes it hard to do the stupidest things quickly, though it makes smart things impossible as well.  So there is room for deep concern, and attention, but despair is not warranted at the moment.

American culture — yes, our most public culture is cracking up and decaying, but at the same time thousands of flowers, lichen, vines, weeds, you name it are growing up in all the cracks and vacant lots.  I am sure more Americans are reading more good books and writing more good prose than at any time in our history.  Huge amounts of dreck are produced to be sure.  But there has never been a time in our history when more Americans had access to the best that has been written and thought and were taking advantage of it.  There is going to be more and more of this.  In ten years, for a $100 you will be able to carry the equivalent of a university library with you whereeveryou go.  This is a big deal.  I notice that ordinary people are more informed than at any time in my life.  People forgethow much ignorance there was in the 1960s and ’70s in a typical American town. This aspect of the world has changed and for the better.  I also don’t agree about Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner and so on.  Sure, they were fine writers.  But I think they were also major beneficiaries of a rich-getting-richer dynamic where they were made part of the canon and promoted to be culture heros.  Now that system is breaking or has already broken up.  American publishing isn’t controlled by what I’ve heard called a cabalof twenty liberal women from Manhattan (sorry, but that’s how a famous conservative writer described it in a candid moment).  There’s a whole world now of self-publication now on the Web, and that’s just beginning.  Most of what’s published is bad, but most of anything always is.  I am much more impressed by how many people on their blogs, for example, write well, even really well, and have a lot to say.  There are lots of thoughtful people out there and they can talk and listen to each other as never before.  Old gatekeepers are gone.  This is not going to lead to some sort of nirvana, but it’s a powerfully good thing.  It will make it much harder to strip people of their freedom, for one thing.  Sort of the intellectual equivalent of the Second Amendment.
Religion, values and all that — I don’t agree that we are going to hell. I teach youngsters for a living and I am continually impressed by their resolve and courage.  They are plenty smart but one thing I have learned I think is that character you can never have too much of, while intelligence you need enough of but after a certain amount it is almost irrelevant, if you are not an astrophysicist or something.  Kids these days, from what I can see, are strong and brave.  Look at them in Iraq, for heaven’s sake.  Compare our military now to the US Army in Vietnam.  There are grave social problems, but I remember the seventies and early eighties.  In many ways, the country’s values are much healthier now.
I could be completely wrong, but Obama is beginning to look to me as a kind of Jimmy Carter.  He is either going to change himself, or people are going to cast him aside.  I don’t think he has what it takes (knock on wood) to lead us off of cliff.  I don’t think enough people will follow him.  In fact, I think a lot of moderates and independents may have learned or be about to learn a lesson.
I’m one of nature’s pessimists.  I see the glass as half full, with poisoned water.  Even so, I really think our best days are ahead of us.  The people who would like to stamp out or cabin inside of the state the best things about this country, have come along a few decades too late.  I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.