Victor Davis Hanson is one of my favorite authors — so much so that I was surprised just now to discover that I never made a VDH “tag” for my blog posts. (I just made one now… maybe someday I’ll go through the annoyingly tedious process of assigning the tag to past blog posts. It involves paging through nearly 400 blog posts, 20 at a time. #$&*@ WordPress.)
Where was I? VDH. I started following him at NRO in the wake of 9/11, and now he writes at Pajamas Media as well. His writing from late 2001 still holds up quite well for the most part. 38 of his essays are collected in An Autumn of War: What America Learned from September 11 and the War on Terrorism — and you can buy it via my Amazon widget at the right! (Theoretically I would get a tiny commission on the sale, but you can’t prove it by me.)
Hanson soured more quickly and more thoroughly on Obama than I did, and I started to notice something. Whenever he wrote at length about Obama, he almost invariably tied aspects of his immediate topic back to earlier episodes, missteps or gaffes from the Obama campaign and presidency. All polemicists do this, of course, but VDH is a master at teasing out links that are not immediately obvious.
I found myself thinking, “he must be keeping a cheat sheet — nobody can remember so much detail.” Turns out he was keeping a cheat sheet, and yesterday he published it, at Pajamas Media:
So why are people angry? I’ll end with a brief list of twenty-one months of examples in no particular order. Each incident in itself was perhaps explicable by Obama supporters given the exigencies of the time or perhaps could be contextualized by the liberal media and political establishment. But in the aggregate they confirm an overwhelmingly damning pattern of ideological extremism, polarization, and basic incompetence – to such a degree that dozens of politicians are not running on the very Obama agenda that they once voted for.
Here We Go…
A vast new health care monstrosity that will send private insurance rates through the ceiling. The Machiavellian way in which it was slammed through. Failed stimulus. Wasteful pork-barrel spending of hundreds of billions in borrowed money. Persistent near 10% unemployment. Three trillion dollars in new debt in just two years. Record levels of federal spending. The vast increase in the size of government and its share of GDP. Eight years of projected $1 trillion annual budget deficits. Record high foreclosures. Record high usage of food stamps. The Keynesian zeal of Romer/Summers/Orzag followed by their sudden resignations in the wake of failure. Constant talk of higher taxes on “them”— the promised new health care surcharge taxes, the promised return to the Clinton income tax rates, talk of a VAT, talk of lifting the caps on income subject to FICA taxes, new capital gains taxes, new inheritance taxes on the horizon.
The use of extra-cabinet czars to avoid confirmation and audit. The neglect of the law, from reversing the order of Chrysler creditors to announcing a BP $20 billion shakedown and punishments for health insurers who don’t toe the line. The ascendance of ACORN and SEIU. The months-long shutdown of Gulf drilling. The failure to encourage coal, nuclear, and oil and gas new production. The Black Panther voting intimidation mess. The bowing abroad. The apologies. The outreach to enemies, and the snubbing of allies. The unnecessary humiliation of Great Britain and Israel. The Iran serial “deadline” charade. The unnecessary announcement of Afghan troop withdrawal deadlines. “Overseas contingency operations” and “man-made disasters.” The proposed civilian trial of KSM. The Ground Zero mosque mess. The beer summit mess. NASA’s new main mission of Muslim outreach. Stopping the border fence. Suing Arizona and demonizing the state. The apologies to the Chinese over the Arizona law, which was trashed from the White House lawn by the president of Mexico, and sued by foreign governments to the apparent approval of the administration.
The constant “Bush did it” refrain. The gratuitous slurs against limb-lopping doctors. The thrashing of the “rich” going to the Super Bowl and Las Vegas. The artificial divide of them/us based on $250,000 of annual income. The racial divisiveness from a sad cast of characters that gave us “cowards,” “stupidly,” “wise Latina,” and whites polluting the ghetto. Unhinged appointees like Van Jones and Anita Dunn. The occasional unguarded admissions like “never waste a crisis” and “at some point I do think you’ve made enough money.” The wacky behavior from the whining of “like a dog” to the sudden junketing to Copenhagen to lobby for the Chicago Olympics. The Orwellian cheap damning of the Bush anti-terrorism protocols only to accept or expand tribunals, renditions, Guantanamo, Predators, Iraq, and intercepts and wiretaps. The golf obsession and Costa del Sol while trashing the indulgent rich.
I’ll stop there since we have another 27 months to go.
Again, to invoke any one or two of these can be written off as partisan nit-picking; in toto they paint a picture of ideological zealotry determined to remake the U.S. abroad into a UN neutral and at home into something like Belgium or Sweden.
I would urge everyone to vote next week…
Some of the emphasis is in the original, some I added. (If you care which is which, check the original.) I just want to point out one subtlety. Obama caught a lot of grief over the BP oil disaster, although I and others consistently argued that he was getting a bum rap. VDH could easily have tossed in a line above about Obama being too slow to respond — but he didn’t. He limits his Gulf-related criticism to the drilling moratorium and the BP shakedown, both points based on clear conservative principles.