Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why Are ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Critics So Dumb?Ã¢â‚¬Â ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the question posed by
Andrew Sullivan in the cover story of this weekÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Newsweek.
But youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have to be stupid, fanatical, and dishonest to argueÃ¢â‚¬â€œas
rig Truther Sullivan doesÃ¢â‚¬â€œthat Barack ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s failures are part of
an ingenious Ã¢â‚¬Å“long gameÃ¢â‚¬Â that is destined to succeed.
If this is the best ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s supporters can do, ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only hope
for re-election is the weak Republican field.
Sullivan, who claims to care about national debt, begins by arguing,
contrary to reality,that ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s massive $787 billion stimulus
(actually, $862 billion) turned the economy around. He offers no
proof other than the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy familiar from
basic economics. Sullivan also ignores the composition of the stimulus,
which shoveled cash to cronies and bloated big states with their
massive public sector obligations.
In addition, Sullivan claims that ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s auto bailout succeededÃ¢â‚¬â€œwhen
in fact it pushed aside property rights and subsidized failed Ã¢â‚¬Å“greenÃ¢â‚¬Â
cars, rather than allowing car makers to rebuild through normal
bankruptcy. He also commends Obama for continuing George W. BushÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
bank bailoutsÃ¢â‚¬â€œbut does not mention the Dodd-Frank financial Ã¢â‚¬Å“reformsÃ¢â‚¬Â
that enshrine Ã¢â‚¬Å“too big to fail,Ã¢â‚¬Â hurt small businesses and fail to
address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Next, Sullivan tries to defend Obama on taxes, pointing out that the
president passed tax cuts as part of the stimulus. He ignores the
numerous new taxes and tax increases that Obama signed into lawÃ¢â‚¬â€œfrom
higher cigarette taxes to the many ObamaCare taxesÃ¢â‚¬â€œas well as the
glaring fact that Obama has been campaigning for the past several
years on the promise to raise taxes on the rich, and would have done
so if not for Congress.
SullivanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defense of ObamaCare is that it is more Ã¢â‚¬Å“moderateÃ¢â‚¬Â than
it might have been. That is hardly a measure of successÃ¢â‚¬â€œand after
devious accounting tricks, thousands of waivers, and the abandonment
of ObamaCareÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Community Living Assistance Services and Supports
(CLASS) program, the law is clearly on a path to failure.
Fundamentally, it is unconstitutionalÃ¢â‚¬â€œa reality Sullivan does
not care to note in his encomium to Obama.
On foreign policy, Sullivan hails ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s success in the death of
Osama bin LadenÃ¢â‚¬â€œgiving a fantastical account of the presidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
courage, and perpetuating the false meme that Bush had Ã¢â‚¬Å“ignoredÃ¢â‚¬Â
Al Qaeda. In fact, it was the war in IraqÃ¢â‚¬â€œand the interrogation
methods that Sullivan decriesÃ¢â‚¬â€œthat produced the intelligence that
led to bin Laden.
Aside from the war on Al Qaeda, Obama squandered every diplomatic
and military success bequeathed to him by Bush. He destroyed missile
defense in Europe, and wasted hard-won gains in Iraq by withdrawing
troops against the advice of the military. While appeasing Iran and
gutting the future of our defense, Obama alienated and undermined
U.S allies. Sullivan, who detests Israel, even applauds ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
pointless confrontation with Benjamin NetanyahuÃ¢â‚¬â€œhardly a way to sell
a second Obama term.
Having dealt with conservatives (in his own mind at least), Sullivan
lists reasons that the left should be pleased with the president they
elected. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s correct that liberals should back Obama; they will never
again see a U.S. president with such radical policies and pedigree.
But he overlooks the degree to which Obama has discredited left-wing
theory by exposing its flaws in practiceÃ¢â‚¬â€œthe real reason the left is
distancing itself from him.
What is most telling in SullivanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s admonition to liberals is his use
of ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s inaugural metaphor of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“clenched fist.Ã¢â‚¬Â The president,
he says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“begins by extending a hand to his opponentsÃ¢â‚¬Â and outwits
them when they respond Ã¢â‚¬Å“by raising a fist.Ã¢â‚¬Â Yet Obama was referring
to foreign policy, not U.S. politics. Once in office, of course,
Obama embraced AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s enemies and bullied domestic opponentsÃ¢â‚¬â€œas
even the left knows all too well.
Sullivan quotes George Orwell: Ã¢â‚¬Å“To see what is in front of oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nose
needs a constant struggle.Ã¢â‚¬Â What is in front of SullivanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nose is
ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s incompetence. He has coasted on the military success of his
Republican predecessor, and is taking credit for moderate economic
progress enabled by a Republican Congress that has held taxes,
regulation, and spending in check. If he wins in 2012, Obama will
again have Republicans to thank.