Seeing Red: A Rising Tide of Red Ink Imperils the Obama Presidency
Whenever a politician or public figure enjoys a spectacularly meteoric rise, I remind myself that meteors have the curious habit of crashing and burning rapidly when they fall to Earth. Nevertheless, as hundreds of angry town hall meetings across the country have demonstrated, I never fully expected Barack Obama to squander his inexplicable popularity so quickly. His fall has been comparable to that of Icarus who flew too close to the sun and singed his wings. Hubris will do that.
Unemployment is up, the debt is up, taxes are up and there is no end in sight! The polls reflect growing dissatisfaction with the president and the Democratic Congress. How time flies when you are having no fun!
The summer of our discontent is moving towards autumn and the President and the First Family have been counseled to maintain a low profile for a few days since the healthcare debate has caused a meltdown in the president’s poll numbers comparable to the fate of a snow ball in Hades. His strategists have taken the counsel of their fears and concluded that Barry is the victim of overexposure. Verbalizing upon every subject without having bothered to read the bills pending before the Congress has damaged the Obama brand. The town hall meetings held during the Congressional recess have been so contentious that US Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) and US Representative Melissa Bean (D-IL-8th) have gone into hiding. Someday soon, both may be pictured on milk cartons as suspected missing persons.
The presidential vacation at Martha’s Vineyard has been interrupted to allow Obama an opportunity to announce that he has decided to reappoint Ben Bernanke to another term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke was originally appointed by the former president, George W. Bush. A few months ago, it was speculated that Obama would choose an ideological soul mate of his own for this important post. With Bernanke at the helm for another four years, will Obama be able to continue blaming Bush for the economic meltdown?
A year ago, when it seemed as if John McCain and his running mate, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, were poised to make a credible run for the White House, the Obama campaign was reeling from a series of attack ads that suggested that the former community organizer saw himself as a messianic figure and juxtaposed Obama’s environmentalist promise to heal the oceans with a film clip of Charlton Heston as Moses parting the Red Sea from the Cecil B. DeMille Biblical epic “The Ten Commandments.” The spot was devastating and hilarious as it derided Obama’s pomposity. For a brief time, McCain inched forward in the polls.
Of course, McCain opted to tone down his campaign advertising in the closing weeks of the election. The US Senator from Arizona lost further momentum following the economic collapse triggered by the failure of the real estate investment bubble that had been fueled by government sponsored sub-prime mortgages. In retrospect, it seems as if Obama would have been better depicted as being overwhelmed in his attempts to halt the rising tide of red ink that has been the hallmark of his administration. Red ink may threaten to drown generations of American taxpayers thanks to Obama’s binge of unaccountable and uncontrolled spending during the past eight months.
The insane economic stimulus bill promoted by the president and unread by most members of Congress delivered massive amounts of spending coupled with decades of resulting debts and deficits. When inflation hits the currency, look out below. Elsewhere in the world, other nations are beginning to shake off the economic doldrums that continue to plague the United States and its ally, Great Britain, which also followed the stimulus path. The thrifty Germans balked at a government sponsored economic bailout as unaffordable when the times were so tough and they allowed the market to correct itself rather than wasting their Deutschmarks.
As author Amity Shlaes demonstrated in her magisterial book, “The Forgotten Man,” Keynesian economics (cynics must resist the urge to refer to the current Obama stimulus plan as “Kenyan economics”) seldom works miracles as promised. President Herbert Hoover initiated a massive federal construction program, which continued under his successor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that did little or nothing to improve unemployment or halt the economic crisis. How could Obama have spent so many months and years on the University of Chicago campus without learning anything about economics from the Nobel laureates on the faculty?
The recent passing of US Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Ma) seems to be the prelude to a new push to enact an unpopular government health insurance scheme. One can imagine President Obama waxing eloquently from a teleprompter about the late senator and urging Congress to honor his memory by saddling the American taxpayers with another costly and unworkable entitlement program. Obama’s inept handling of the healthcare issue has called into question his ability to lead the nation as an effective chief executive.
Obama has also admitted that the current political climate has caused him to shelve his plans to “reform” the immigration system for the present.
Kennedy was one of the principal culprits in the overhaul of American immigration laws during the Sixties which proved to be an absolute success in undermining a system of laws that had promoted the assimilation of new citizens and demanded that new arrivals be gainfully employed and self-supporting. Under the current topsy turvy system that Kennedy helped to produce, some immigrants immediately seek to avail themselves of benefits provided by the social welfare establishment. The unintended consequences of Kennedy’s immigration legislation was to upset an efficient and beneficial system of orderly immigration that had been put in place during the Coolidge administration.
Despite Kennedy’s assurances that the 1965 legislation that he championed would have no impact upon the USA, Americans are confronted with a society which is increasingly balkanized. The continuation of a single nation with a common language is even in doubt. Public schools, government agencies and courts are spending substantial sums of money to provide bilingual education and translation services to millions of students and adults who are not literate in the English language. Angry citizens who want their country and their government back are dead set against an amnesty for illegal aliens and government benefits for undocumented workers. These people are the grassroots. They are not Astroturf protesters.
Fasten your seatbelts, my fellow Americans, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Daniel J. Kelley is a regular contributor to “The Chicago Daily Observer.”
photo Abert “Red” Schoendienst, longtime (1945- Present) St. Louis Cardinal.