Thursday, November 8, 2012

Even I'm depressed

Usually I am angry or amused in a bitter sort of fashion or coldly sarcastic. But there is no way of getting past it: I am truly depressed and keep thinking about the terrible days of the seventies the repeat of which I had hoped never to see again.

Having written that paragraph about twelve hours ago I have had some time to think about things. I am a little less depressed but that may be a.) because I am sick of hysteria on both sides of the fence or b.) because, as an American Anglospherist friend said, I am 3,000 miles away from it. Mind you, he added, however bad things were  on his side of the Pond, he was not ready to swap them for the joys of the Coalition and the EU. Wise man.

All I can say in my own defence is that I remained doubtful about Romney's victory but was becoming mildly optimistic. No, he was not ideal but a good deal better than what is and stays in the White House. The final figures, together with the turn-out are still to come but the Electoral College vote is 303 to 206. Not a landslide but a comfortable victory for the man who has been in charge of some of the most disastrous policies of the last few years and his second in command, who habitually forgets where he is or who he is speaking to. The popular vote is close, something like 51 per cent to 49 per cent but, again, final figures will come. Obama got 9 million fewer votes than last time, which is a figure to bear in mind. Then again, it would appear that Romney got fewer votes than McCain did. We shall see.

What astonishes me is not that people voted for Obama - people vote different ways for different reasons -  but the hysterical joy being displayed by so many supporters and the equally hysterical cries of "Obama will fix it". You, ladies and gentlemen, have just re-elected the Administration that has presided over a completely dysfunctional and ever more debt-ridden economy with an ever lower rate of employment, a dysfunctional foreign policy that has resulted in the murder of an American ambassador, an ever more disunited country and you are hysterical with joy. Is that because so many Hollywood celebrities are happy?

On the other hand, I do not think America is or is about to become Communist or even Socialist. Big state cronyism is a bad thing, economically, socially and ethically but it is not Soviet Communism. Get a grip, people. Nor is it possible for a big, strong and basically rich country to be destroyed and annihilated by one bad Administration though it is very bad. No country gets annihilated just like that. Heck, even Belgium cannot destroy itself.

My prediction for what it is worth is that President Obama will do very little in the second term, partly because few president do anything much in the second term and partly because he just doesn't do much, which is a problem in itself, particularly in foreign affairs where things will go from bad to worse. To be fair to Obama, he promised nothing in his campaign and did not refer to Obamacare, still not in place and being challenged in various states or the porculus stimulus, which has proved to be a disaster. The economy is going to get worse, the entitlement mentality will grow until there will be no money to pay for it and the debt will continue to spiral.

Just for starters, here are a few items of news:

Boeing has announced large restructuring and lay-offs on the day after the election, having one assumes been asked to hold the news back. Suddenly, we are being reminded that the Treasury "expects the federal government to hit its legal debt limit before the end of this year--which means before the new Congress is seated--and that "extraordinary measures" will be needed before then to keep the government fully funded into the early part of 2013". Should be interesting. Then there is the usual flurry of falling stock and shares at the thought of a Democrat President and a Republican House but we shall know more from the pattern as it emerges in the next few days. Dow's immediate reaction was to plummet so, perhaps, it was a more serious worry. It didn't get any better though I am not sure we can blame the woes of European stock markets on the US election alone.

Meanwhile, serious conservatives, many of whom supported Romney with gritted teeth and because of the possibilities Paul Ryan presented are beginning to pick themselves up. Ryan, incidentally, is back in the House of Representatives.

First off, I received this e-mail from Jim Geraghty of the National Review (no, it is not a private e-mail but his daily update):
Looking back, we could justify 2008 to ourselves: the economic meltdown, fatigue of eight years of George W. Bush. The McCain campaign had a slew of problems, and the opposition promised America a chance to make history with the first African-American president. They had hope and change; we had an elderly vet who was never an economics-focused guy at a time when the economy was collapsing.
In 2010, we saw epic Republican gains in that smaller turnout traditional to a midterm election, and we persuaded ourselves -- I certainly persuaded myself -- that 2008 was a historical anomaly, a confluence of factors that created a perfect storm for Obama and the Democrats. Things would be set right.
In 2008, Obama had been elected on the promise of things to come. In 2012, he would be judged on his record.
The American people looked at that record and said, "Eh, looks pretty good, four more years of that."
After Fast and Furious. And Benghazi. And the stimulus. And Solyndra. And Obamacare.
All very true and inexplicable. Even less explicable is the fact that the opinion polls, which proved to be surprisingly accurate as to the  vote, said over and over again that the majority of people disliked Obama's policies, did not think that the country was going the right way and did not think they were better off than they had been four years previously. Then they went ahead and voted for the status quo: Democrats in the White House, a Republican House of Representatives and a Democrat Senate though that was due largely to a couple of idiots who talked utter rubbish about women, rape and abortion and should have been booted out immediately.

Ed Morissey spends a little time figuring it all out and coming to no conclusion. On the whole different parties in different parts of the political structure is no bad thing and I have no problems with legislative gridlock but President Obama who has shown dislike, ignorance and contempt for the US Constitution is rather given to Executive Orders and he may well proceed to have a few in the next couple of years, which is all he has at his disposal, realistically speaking. Those, as I was reminded by another knowledgeable American friend, can be easily revoked by a Republican President.

Stratfor's George Friedman thinks gridlock will be disastrous for foreign policy. Not as disastrous as ill-thought out intervention in Libya into which Obama was suckered by former President Sarkozy and the Boy-King.

Then there are all the various analyses of what went wrong, why it happened, and so on, and so on. I did not read all of them (there is a limit to my geekery, though readers of this blog must wonder some times) and I shall link to a few, only.

Ron Radosh is always worth reading, especially as he says much of what I thought of as well. He puts it better and goes into many other points. A good deal of interesting stuff in his analysis of the voting pattern but I don't think it was the sight of President Obama in a bomber jacket (copying Bush much?) that made people vote for him though that probably put an end to Governor Christie's presidential ambitions. The GOP does not forgive any more than any political party does.

Then there is the Latino or Hispanic vote that is becoming an issue. It seems that GWB got 41 per cent of the Hispanic vote, McCain 31 per cent and Romney 27 per cent. The movement is in the wrong direction and, given the demographic factor, that needs to be addressed. Radosh cites the Judis and Teixeira theory of the "emerging Democratic majority" that is really based on an alliance of the various minorities. This theory gets bandied about but is addressed comprehensively by Megan McArdle who makes the obvious point with some interesting details that nothing ever stays the same in politics and those alliances have a way of dissolving. The Republicans could think of addressing some of the individual groups' problems and encourage ambition in them.

Incidentally, while I don't think Romney was a particularly good candidate (though somewhat better than feared) I don't think he was "uniquely bad" and he was the best of a very weak field. His weakest point, I suspect, was that he was Governor of Massachussetts and a New Englander. They are not popular in the rest of the country as GWB, for one, understood very clearly and worked hard to reinvent himself as a Texan, which was despised by Europeans but remained fairly popular in his own country.

The point about the immense tax hike that is coming is probably accurate and will be a nasty shock to all who will wail in the time-honoured fashion of the electorate that this was not what they had voted for.

Another, less well argued piece on the Hispanic vote is by Heather MacDonald in the National Review and she links to her own longer article in the City Journal. I am not sure what she advocates the Republicans should do as it all seems a bit hopeless both politically for them and socially for the Hispanics. Her argument that Hispanic idea of family values is different from the Republican one is sound enough but the whole article  really argues that those family values have long ago broken down and when Hispanics say they think the government should be involved, they really mean that the government should take over where their own structures have collapsed.

Finally, we have an article on why the GOP has failed with American Indians, that is immigrants from the Indian Sub-Continent, despite politicians like Nikki Hailey and Bobby Jindal. Even more hopeless - unless the GOP ceases to be the GOP, according to this article, it will never attract the Indian vote. But, one might respond, if it ceases to be the GOP, it will not attract any other vote.

And there was plenty of other vote. The Republicans were not annihilated and did not lose as badly as some would have us believe. (That's quite apart from the problems President Obama has inherited from his predecessor, President Obama.)

Michelle Malkin gives twenty reasons why the election went better than some say and they have to do with Governors and other electoral matters in the states. In the US other things matter apart from the federal government.

In a slightly different vein, Dan Mitchell gives seven silver linings and three reasons to be unhappy.

And that's really it for the time being, except for a couple of articles. Brendan O'Neill comes up trumps in explaining that Obama's victory is that of an elite because there are now two elites around and Obama tapped into the second one that is the government, the media and academe. Of course, this is rarely mentioned by the media who prefer to present themselves as the opposition but it is true, nonentheless.

Let me end this blog with a link to a typically fighting posting by my friend Lexington Green on Chicago Boyz, entitled It Is NEVER Over. Nor is it.


  1. Don't the challengers always put up a "OK to lose" candidate every 8th year, it is so rare for there to be a one-term president ? Last one I can recall was Carter.

    Alan Douglas

  2. Am curious to see if we will witness more nullification (à la Madison) or interposition (à la Jefferson), emanating from organisations like the Tenth Amendment Center to offset legislation from the Obama Administration.

  3. Alan - you forget Bush Snr.

    This is good but depressing:

  4. The ordinary people (or most of them) may indeed have some doubts - but there is the fact of political culture.

    It is not just that the schools, the universities, the media (and on and on) are controlled by the left - it is the fact that it is a hidden left.

    In no other country on Earth do most socialists not call themselves socialists - indeed deny it, and ridicule (with all the dark arts of "entertainment") anyone who tries to tell the truth.

    The average "liberal" or "progressive" may not even know what the ideas they have been taught are (as they are taught under such masks as "critical theory" - or even "free enterprise - not big business and the rich") and what these ideas lead to. That is why there are so many of them in the business world - it is NOT just "big government cronyism" they really think they are being idealists (without any understanding of what the "ideals" they have been taught really are).

    But the core "intellectuals" do know.

    And I am sorry - but they are winning.

    Winning because any attempt to expose them will simply be met with a tidal wave of "you are crazy" and "paranoid" and on and on.

    In other nations (even big government nations such as France) one can argue against socialists.

    But one can not argue against people who will not even admit what they are.

    American socialists have learned to operate covertly, and they are highly intelligent and have been developing their methods for many years.

    American political culture is now dominated by a lie so vast that it is hard to grasp the scale of it.

  5. That is a seriously depressing analysis, Paul. I am trying hard to find arguments against it and failing. Which is even more depressing. The only thing that cheers me is that I know there are people in America who recognize the problem and are working to counter it just as the problem with the universities was recognized some decades ago and the think-tanks were set up.