Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Personal Aside: Will Everything be All Right? Yes, Ma’am! But No Thanks to Obama.


Two Sundays ago as I left St. John Cantius church after Mass (this city’s mother church of authentic Catholicism), a lady came up to me and said, “I’m so worried about the future of our country and I’ve been crying a lot lately. Your Wanderer articles seem to have an optimistic flavor. Tell me—are things going to be all right despite Obama and all?”

Yes, ma’am—we will be all right but no thanks to Barack Obama. Understand he has political skills and a quiet charm equal to Ronald Reagan’s. Understand, too, that you should not pay much attention to what he says but what he does. . And important: Appreciate that he came to Washington not to merely be president of the United States—but to change the system from capitalism to a variant of European socialism.

Believe, too, that when he told Joe the Plumber he wants “to spread the wealth around,” he intends to do so with staggeringly high taxes that mandate redistribution of income; that he means to dismantle capitalism insofar as he is able; that he is heedless of the fact that cap and trade will stifle growth, that he is determined to provide free college education for all; that he means to impose control on three major elements of our lives: health care, energy and public education; that with health care it will send costs through the roof and necessitate a Medicare-style single-payer system from which the only recourse to control costs will be rationing as in Canada.

Perceive that in Moscow he was so eager to announce sizable cuts in nuclear weapons that he disregards the fact the Russians have insisted on linking offensive and defensive weaponry. We can knock a missile out of the sky and the Russian’s can’t. For 25 years, beginning at Reykjavik, the Russians tried to hoodwink us out of our missile defense which Reagan blocked, Bush blocked, Clinton blocked and Bush II blocked and on which Obama is wavering because he wants the Russians to like us more. Then, too, there’s the strange disjointedness between Obama and his vice president, Joe Biden…Obama saying on Israel that we’re not giving it the green light to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities and Biden saying on the same day that we mustn’t tell Israel how to protect itself against Iran. Figure that out. Beyond that, the president’s strategy to placate America’s enemies by charm hasn’t worked with Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin.

Recognize also that Obama does not believe in furtherance of Judeo-Christian America; nor that he believes as did our forefathers that our country is exceptional.

And finally…and most importantly… that he intends to rid society of any instinct to protect unborn life and substitute for laws preventing euthanasia a new “doctrine of merciful release” where the elderly and terminally ill are not continued in life so as to be a burden on the remainder of us.

In these goals he is assisted by major broadcast media because of two reasons: first its executives as products of largely relativistic Ivy League universities feel as secularly as he does; and second by featuring Obama on their programs for very little cost the networks get strong ratings at time slots they would have to fight for if they aired commercial programs. Examples: CBS’ “Face the Nation” got its biggest ratings of 2009 thus far when he appeared on the program last March 29; the most watched segments of its “60 Minutes” last season were when he was on and no fewer than 25.1 millions watched its first post-election interview with him last November. While ABC’s prime-time show on health care with him was disappointing, it still topped anything the network had shown for the prior six weeks.

Why then did I tell the lady in front of St. John Cantius that I’m optimistic? Five reasons…most of which show Obama is governing by fiat like the Daley administration does in Chicago.

People Fear California May Become Us.

First, Obama’s telegenic charm aside, the American people, including Democrats, are wising up when they look at the waste of the stimulus package and unemployment. Support for the stimulus is at 29% now where a few months ago it stood at 57%. Obama himself stands now at 36% favorable and 33% unfavorable in the Rasmussen poll and the same poll shows heavy negatives on a second stimulus package. The initial Obama stimulus was designed to keep unemployment down during what has turned out to be the longest recession since the 1930s. Yet the June jobless rate hit 9.5% and is still climbing. And the budget deficit is prompting many to be concerned with Obama. The most recent Wall Street Journal/ NBC News poll shows unemployment is the first worry of the American people (35%) and the deficit second (24%). Americans favor the Republicans over the Democrats in handling the economy in the future by six points (Rasmussen).

Nor has his government takeover of GM and Chrysler to bail out the United Auto Workers won favor. And he has employed a Chicago-style governance—assuming that the private sector can support all the spending he desires, transferring greater chunks of the American economy to the public domain than ever before, threatening those who expose wrongdoing with firing as he did the AmeriCorps inspector general. That’s really Mayor Daley style Big Man “leadership.”

Second, more Americans are looking at what’s happening to California and calculate it may happen to the rest of the nation. Don’t kid yourself that they’re not. The state plans to issue $3.3 billion in IOUs in July alone—instead of cash, those who do business with the state will get slips of paper. It led one state wag to say “we’ve discovered that the state of California will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” Fear that California is in our future is the reason why Obama can’t get his program passed; the reason why unemployment refuses to go down but is going up. Ronald Reagan took a riverboat gamble that his tax cuts would pay for themselves with economic growth—and he was right. Reagan had what economists say is a “story”—a rationale with which to tell citizens that his plan would come out all right. It did. But Obama has no story. He doesn’t even try to say his welfare state is going to pay for itself; that’s why the Democrats themselves are starting to block his way.

Third, Senate Democrats are moving away from Obama economics quickly. Look at the next door state to Illinois, Indiana where Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh was elected and reelected as a moderate. Today Bayh has aligned himself with 15 Democrats in the Senate who are putting the brakes on spending. Cap and trade which would cost the average American nearly $3,000 per year according to the Heritage Foundation and which by Obama’s own statement would cause electricity rates “to necessarily skyrocket,” passed by only a handful of votes in the heavily Democratic House—and is sure not to go anywhere in the Senate. Nowhere. And on health care? Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Tom Carper (Del.) have linked arms opposing the public—or government—option. Everybody except the most radical in the Democratic party (e.g. Ted Kennedy and Chuck Schumer) are so scared they want to jump off a cliff when they see costs that will exceed more than $1 trillion.

Fourth, the Obama health care proposal is crashing of its own weight and Senate Democrats will have to craft a cosmetic bill that purports to be about health care but which is innocuous. And the arrival of the so-called 60th Senate Democratic vote with ex-comic Al Franken (Minn.) is not conclusive no matter what the media say. The longstanding absences of Ted Kennedy (Mass.) and 91-year-old Robert Byrd (W. Va.) for health reasons have cut down their majority and the above-named Bayh, Landrieu, Nelson, Lincoln and Carper make it worse (of course we’ve got prime defectors on our side: Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (Me.). But the odds still weigh heavily against the Dems. Last week a key Democratic senator said the public is so opposed to taxing high-end benefits on health care that some other way will have to be found to pay for the program.

Fifth and finally, Gallup’s hard numbers that Americans are becoming more conservative despite Obama: 40% conservative, 35% moderate and 21% liberal as of the poll of June 15, a growth in conservative affiliation of 3% in the public at large, conservative outweighing liberalism among both genders. There’s bound to be a big GOP pickup in the 2010 off-year congressionals. Obama who helped Dems greatly in Ohio last year has suffered a 13-point drop in the past two months there—and Republicans lead in all three Virginia statewide contests as of now.

Sarah Palin Makes a Good Decision.

Additionally, the lady in front of St. John Cantius was worried to death about the fall-off of Republican presidential hopefuls: the decision of evangelical Protestant Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to resign and the fall from grace of Episcopalian South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to a love affair with a former TV reporter in Argentina, and evangelical Protestants Nevada Sen. John Ensign and Louisiana’s Sen. David Vitter, a Catholic, with affairs. Let’s take Palin first.

Palin’s decision was the correct one which does not remove her from presidential contention now or in the future. The first thing to remember about her is that she is a veritable baby as the ages of presidential candidates go. She is 45 which is the gummy teething age for national candidates. She will be 47 in 2012, only 52 in 2016, 56 in 2020. She has wisely decided that this media-obsessed age can only be turned around by media themselves and will devote her formidable “retirement” to expressing her views forcefully where she does best—writing, speaking and television appearances. A Fox TV show could well be in her future. She has the most important thing any politician can have: a loyal base with 68% of Republicans viewing her favorably stemming from the valiant job she did in the vice presidential debate where she took on Joe Biden, a 36-year member of the Senate and came out favorably.

Palin can’t move on up the political ladder by neglecting her formidable family responsibilities as she would have to were she to continue in the governorship. In the 46 days on the vice presidential campaign trail she built a national reputation—which when she is in private life she can only expand.

Going to the media which is very smart for her to do. In the game of influencing people to conservative thought, media are where it’s at. Even my one-city ABC radio show in Chicago reaches 100,000 people, substantially larger than the capacity of Soldier Field (61,000 tops). Fox News where private citizen Palin may land, reaches 102 million households. You can see the difference between one governorship and the full-throated media.

Now we go to Sanford, 49: His problem is more than a fall from moral grace: it is obviously one of severe emotional stability for which he needs psychiatric as well as spiritual counseling. Anyone who by his own testimony spends ten days in Argentina crying…telling the media he has found a “soul-mate” in Maria Beten Chapur (a 43-year-old divorced Catholic mother of two, living in the upscale district of Palermo where she is a broker for the international agriculture firm of Bunge & Born, whom he met at a dance in Uruguay in 2006 and with whom he has been involved since 2008)…is in dire need of treatment.

Ensign, 51, was a very long shot for president. He admitted to an affair with the wife of a Senate aide after her husband, reportedly, tried to collect compensatory payment to keep the affair quiet. He has no ties to any important GOP constitutency in Republican politics nor has he sponsored any major legislation. His rating fell precipitously in Nevada where he was reelected in 2006—but still higher than his colleague Democrat Harry Reid, the majority leader, who could well lose reelection next year in that state. Vitter, 48, was found to be a patron of a D. C. madam; he’s running for reelection anyhow after his wife says she’s forgiven him.

Liberals are chortling over Sanford’s, Ensign’s and Vitter’s difficulties —but no sexual imbroglio has come close to equaling the Democrats’. That includes John Edwards’ affair with a TV consultant where he was caught sneaking in the Beverly Hills Hilton to see her and her baby (which may be his), the affair conducted during the illness of his cancer-stricken wife. Bill Clinton becoming only the second president to be impeached. He lied with a sworn deposition denying his trysts in a room off the Oval Office with a 22-year-old White House intern, the liaisons of Gov. Eliot Spitzer with prostitutes where he sought to transfer $10,000 via an offshore shell corporation prompting an IRS criminal probe.

And not to forget 63-year-old House Ways and Means Chairman Wilbur Mills (D-Ark.), a Baptist, whose 1974 drunken assignation with his own Argentine soul-mate at a sleazy Polynesian restaurant in Washington called the Junkanoo wound up with Mills’ companion, Fanne Fox, a 38-year-old stripper known as “the Argentine Firecracker,” jumping into the Tidal Basin and thrashing around in waist-deep water while TV cameras recorded the lovely scene…followed by Mills, well saturated with booze, going on stage at Boston’s Pilgrim Theatre in her behalf and conducting a news conference with her and her tolerant husband backstage.

Of all the offenders, Bill Clinton, shrewd guy that he is, successfully finessed it before he ran for president in 1991 and insulated himself against further rumors during the `92 campaign. He called a press breakfast with his wife Hillary after the Gennifer Flowers matter and with his best Good Little Boy face on let it be known that their marriage had problems in the past but now was solid…so as to anticipate divulgences that could come out in the future. He said he had strayed off the path in the past but now was a changed man. We saw how he kept his word.

Do Democrats want to continue the conversation about sexual improprieties now?

The Likelihood for 2010, 2012.

The winnowing down of presidential contenders in the Republican party for 2012 (Sanford and likely Palin) means that the likely frontrunner will be former Gov. Mitt Romney of Michigan, who is one of the few adults in both parties in the process. Assuredly there will be more contenders…Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty among them… but the Republicans have a habit of nominating “the eldest son,” which usually is the second-running survivor of previous runs, e.g. John McCain in 2008 who ran second to George W. Bush in 2000; George H. W. Bush who ran second to Ronald Reagan in 1980; and Reagan who ran second to Gerald Ford in 1976. I would imagine—indeed hope—that a contender…maybe more than one… would seek the office carrying the Ron Paul flag of much smaller government, much lessened international involvement (Paul will be 77 at the next presidential election).

There! I hope I satisfactorily answered the lady at St. John Cantius.

Wipe your tears, ma’am. We’re not going to play taps for the Republicans just yet—or any time soon.


  1. You have your usual factual errors in reporting about Sanford's mistress. Her name is Maria Belen Chapur; she does not work for Bunge, and he spent five, not 10 days, in Argentina.

    Remember? "If your mother says she loves you, check it out."

  2. Tom--you thought Ron Paul was a nut.

    Please explain your desire to have a Ron disciple in the 2012 primaries.

    I agree with much of what Ron said--he was wrong on Iraq and Afghanistan, though.

  3. The picture you are using of Obama is a cheap shot.

    Laura Bush was quoted in Vogue about her difficulty of giving up smoking. By all accounts, she was a long time heavy smoker. She also said at the time that her girls were still smoking.

  4. Tom-
    I was on a window ledge of a tall New Haven building ready to--
    My goodwife handed me your analysis and after reading I decided to ABORT my poor choice, and continue the struggle.
    I now have true HOPE for (BO) Change.
    Aside, it is so nice to hear from Madam Alexander again. She should apply for a federal judicial appointment.

  5. Richard ChanningJuly 15, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    He's detailing the problems of one smoker, not listing them all.