July 21, 2010
Barack Obama's Endless Crises
There is no evidence that Barack Obama willfully precipitated the Nashville floods, but almost all of the other gloomy, intractable quagmires that feed the country's pessimism are of his creation. But unlike crises of past administrations that seemed to get resolved in some fashion, his simply fester. Every day we read the same headlines, except that the crises deepen, become more insoluble, and grow less amenable to the standard cures of government policy.
Even with a corrupt, compliant liberal media in the role of constant Obama booster, 62% of the country senses that we are headed in the wrong direction. The country has been driven to this opinion by Obama's flagrant ideological radicalism, which might have been forgiven had it not led to our most pernicious crisis, that of worsening joblessness. Only Obama and Joe Biden believe that the job trajectory in America is positive. Everyone else -- those who actually look at data or look for work -- are scared witless.
Each job opening has five to six applicants. The average unemployment period now extends to 35 weeks, the highest since the end of WWII. Last month, more than six hundred thousand Americans gave up looking for work. The same report revealed that average hourly earnings for those lucky enough to be working have fallen. Average hours worked also dropped. These figures simply get worse from month to month.
But somehow, all of this deteriorating evidence leads the smartest man who ever held the office of president (according to historian Michael Beschloss) to proclaim that we're on the right track. Christine Romer and Jared Bernstein, who form the bulwark of his crack economic team, assured us with almost mathematical certainty in 2009 that Obama's near-trillion-dollar economic stimulus would guarantee unemployment rates that never rose above 7.3%. And since the stimulus has burdened us with trillion-dollar deficits as far as we look, economic and job recoveries grow ever more distant and unlikely. As unemployment, debt, uncertainly, and pessimism grow unabated, so too does our sense of hopelessness and crisis. Israel might fear Obama because his middle name is Hussein, but many others fear him because his first name is "president."
The sense of crisis is palpable in the Gulf as well, where along with 60,000 barrels of light crude and thousands of cubic feet of natural gas, a potentially toxic and carcinogenic stew of benzene, toluene, and hydrogen sulfide also constantly spew. Our only hope of salvation lies with the ingenuity and resources of BP. BP has brought the Discoverer Enterprise on site to collect some of the effluent a mile above the geyser. Only BP had the infrastructure, skill, and operation scale to bring two relief wells into play should their latest gambit to cap the open Macondo wellhead fail. At the same time, Obama's Coast Guard offers America spokesmen to assure us that they approve of all BP actions and occasionally verify that crew members of assisting ships are wearing their life jackets.
There are two executives who own the crisis in the Gulf: Tony Hayward of BP and Barack Obama from Washington, D.C. Hayward was relieved of all operational Gulf rescue duties and will probably be fired when the discharge is contained. Obama, because of a quirk of constitutional government, remains in charge of the unending polluting crisis. His government awarded BP kudos for safety, accepted the highest level of funding from the firm's PAC, and forced BP to accept a terribly flawed flow model to calculate the probability of oil reaching shore after a major underwater breach. Obama is at least as culpable for the deaths of pelicans, sea turtles, and marshlands, and for the loss of fishing and tourist revenue, as is Hayward. The difference is that BP acted after their malfeasance, while the government reaction was and is almost comic in its bureaucratic lethargy.
War in Afghanistan is the final crisis about to engulf Obama. The man, who once accused American troopers of killing innocent Afghan civilians, is now in charge of America's longest war. He has fired its most recent field commander and, in a cruel irony, replaced him with George Bush's most successful general, whose Iraqi success Obama once ridiculed as illusory.
Bush and Petraeus succeeded in Iraq because Petraeus had a splendid counterinsurgency strategy and knew he would never be betrayed by his commander in chief, no matter how intense the political pressure against the war became. Obama can promise no such allegiance to Petraeus, who must grasp victory in an environment where the Taliban knows that Obama's patience is finite. Still Obama, must attempt to succeed because he has held up the Afghan war as true and just, in contrast to Bush's so-called war of choice in Iraq.
At some point, the left will revolt against Obama's halfhearted Afghan war prosecution as they did against LBJ's endless enterprise in Vietnam. Last month was the deadliest for American soldiers, and many Australians, along with the British and the Dutch, are beginning to say they've had enough. We might know that a true moment of crisis has arrived when the radical fringe openly references the recent stories of Afghanistan's mineral riches and pens protest signs that read: "Obama, No Blood for Lithium!"
The Obama presidency will irreversibly collapse once his kook antiwar base abandons him. Since that moment will come only after the country has been traumatized by depression-level unemployment and unending images of Gulf coast filth, the worry is that we might not even notice it.
Claude can be reached at email@example.com.