Monday, March 17, 2014

Tamny: Rejoice In Big Government's Myriad Failings---A Review Of Recent History For GOPers Obsessing Over Obama, Clinton



WITHOUT DEFENDING OBAMA'S FAILED PRESIDENCY for even a second, Republican obsession with him that includes the assertion that he's "ruining the country" gives a charitably average politician and thinker way too much credit, is an insult to Americans for presuming someone so second rate could reduce them to prostrate supplicants of the State, and it ignores the myriad GOP policy failures up to 2008 that made Obama's presidency possible in the first place.

By John Tamny

To read, listen to, or watch much Republican commentary today is to be told that President Obama is ruining the country. About Obama, it should be said up front that he's very much a failed president.

That said, for Republicans to say with such certainty that Obama is ruining the U.S. is for them to pay him quite the compliment. They should be a little bit more circumspect. The fortunes of countries rise and fall all the time.

China almost literally committed suicide after World War II with its rush into the murderous horrors of communism, and then England's post-war lurch toward socialism tragically impoverished a once great nation. But at present China is booming, and England too is alive with economic activity.

For Republicans to say that Obama is doing un-fixable damage to the U.S. is for them to ascribe otherworldly charisma and powers to him, and that plainly don't exist. Worse, they're saying that a less than impressive politician can in six years wreck the richest and most entrepreneurial nation ever formed. That's not likely, and it's an insult to Americans for Republicans to presume they're so weak as to let someone of Obama's ilk bring them down. If China can rebound from Mao, the U.S. can and will surely rebound from Obama.

Part of the Republican line about Obama is that he's imposed the biggest deficits in history on the U.S. Actually, he hasn't. Presidents per the Constitution can't spend money, rather Congress allocates funds. In that case, the Democrats controlled the purse from 2006 until 2010, but since then the Republican Party has managed spending. Democrats were notorious for labeling Ronald Reagan's relatively austere budgets as "Dead on Arrival," so why don't the Republicans do the same to Obama, only in reverse?

And while deficits obscure the much bigger economic problem that is spending, the Republicans have been in control of Congress the majority of the time since 1994, including some years under a Republican president in George W. Bush. Where was the spending restraint then, and budget "surpluses," when Bush was in office?

As for Obamacare, Republicans should be thanking President Obama every night for foisting this disaster on the nation. It's failing before our eyes due to its myriad contradictions, and in collapsing it's vividly exposing the fatal conceit of big government programs to voters. Obamacare is the best thing that ever happened to the freedom movement, so rather than bemoan this obnoxious bit of government overreach, Republicans should enjoy its implosion while talking loudly about how the federal government should have no role in the provision of healthcare in the first place.

Most comical of all, Republicans like to claim that Obama wouldn't be president today if he weren't black. If by that they mean that Americans are generous in spirit, that's fine. But it doesn't seem to be what many mean. Instead, Republicans seem to be saying that absent Obama's skin color, the electorate would have put John McCain into the White House while revealing their preference for a continuation of Republican policies that had prevailed up to 2008. This is dangerous and rather foolhardy thinking.

The Republicans lost big in 2008 because the Party of Growth and entrepreneurial capitalism in the '80s had by the 2000s morphed into something quite different. Lest we forget, it was President Bush who signed the business-sapping Sarbanes-Oxley law (at the time he bragged it was the toughest anti-business "crime" law since the days of FDR), a McCain-Feingold bill that restricted free speech, and with a Republican Congress largely in control of the purse, it was Bush who never vetoed obnoxiously large budgets, not to mention his signing of a rather expensive prescription drug benefit.

It was also Bush who foisted on us a brutally cruel economic "blessing" in the form of Ben Bernanke, imposed tariffs on steel, shrimp and softwood lumber all the while bashing China, promoted with great gusto an economy-crushing devaluation of the dollar that authored an economy-strangling rush into the consumption of housing, and then when the markets revealed the horrors of Bush's policies with bank failures, rather than allow the capitalist system to fix his myriad errors, Bush, working with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Bernanke, decided to blame the markets for not working right such that they bailed out banks that the free markets had decided were not worth saving. In committing their egregious bailout errors Bush and Bernanke fostered a wholly unnecessary "financial crisis" that had nothing to do with capitalism, and everything to do with them running away from it. And in blocking the infinite and very curative wonders of the marketplace, they robbed our economy of a substantial recovery.

We don't suffer a presidency today that is an affront to good governance because of President Obama's ethnicity, rather we have a lousy president because the Republicans proved in the 2000s that they could easily match the Democrats when it came to obtuse policymaking. Until the Republicans realize this and acknowledge just how poorly their own party governed while in control, they won't be credible.

Of course, that's what's so concerning about their whining about Hillary Clinton. It says here that she won't run for president as is, and that if she doesrun she won't get the nomination, but it's been suggested on the right that Clinton will get the nomination, and that the mainstream media will give her a free pass in terms of coverage all the way to the White House.

Ok, it's probably fair to say that the mainstream media will be easier on her assuming she runs, but so what? As an aged USA Today piece by Peter Johnson noted about Ronald Reagan's campaign in 1984, coverage of him was over 90 percent negative. Despite this, the electorate wasn't fooled such that Reagan won 49 states out of 50; his success coming without Fox News,Rush Limbaugh, and all manner of alternative media sources that we enjoy today, and that tell us what the mainstream media does not.

To be blunt, if the Republicans can't field a candidate in 2016 to beat Hillary Clinton and all her baggage, or another Democratic Party candidate carrying the heavy weight of President Obama's numerous failings on his or her shoulders, they'll only have themselves to blame. Logic dictates a Republican victory in light of Obama's implosion, and if not, a logical answer for why will be the ongoing failure on the part of the GOP to look in the mirror, and wake up to the fact that the electorate got it right in firing an aimless, increasinglystatist, and largely anti-growth party in 2006 and 2008.

The late great free-market columnist Warren Brookes long ago wrote that envy "is the single most impoverishing attitude of thought." The Republicans thankfully aren't the Party of envy as their reliably dense competitors in the Democratic Party are, but as evidenced by all their wailing about President Obama and Hillary Clinton, their thinking is similarly impoverishing. Rather than spending so much time obsessing about their opponents, and elevating them in the process, they should rejoice in their failures that are discrediting big government with each passing day, and that will reward the Republicans if they develop a clue about how economies grow.

1 comment:

Bob said...

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