Monday, March 16, 2009

Not An Accident

This will be one of those sermons that will be rejected by the people who need to hear it, but unnecessary to those who will.

You Obama supporters who went back and forth, agonising over the decision before pulling the lever for Barack. I'm not yelling at you. As the growing incompetence is revealed, you will make the adjustments yourself. Plus, being the optimistic sorts that you clearly are, you will find some good things about the Obama administration that we postliberals will be unable to perceive, depressed as we are by the feckless offense given to allies, the political retribution, and the undermining of justice - all at tremendous expense. So we need you to notice those bits to keep us from getting suicidal.

And if you still haven't gotten there to recognising your mistake, no worries, mate. You will.

It's you others I'm talking to. The danger is that if things don't go well, you will retreat to the same position you did with the Clintons - that they were people who wanted to do good for the country but were unfortunately flawed, allowing their political opponents to hamper them. When such thoughts begin to occur to you about the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress, resist them. I want to take that excuse away from you. I want to make it harder, not easier for you to see the reality. I want to make it more expensive to admit you were wrong, and not allow you to plead guilty to a lesser offense.

I believe the key to America's improvement lies with progressives' ability to see the realities of the world and about themselves, and I don't want that to be watered down or deflected. The changes we will need to make will not come from 51% Republican majorities, but a greater national consensus of over 60%, applied consistently for more than one session of congress.

You have believed that politicians saying nice things to people who are oppressed - and insisting that everyone else say nice things - is more important than the downtrodden having actual jobs and dignity. You have believed that people having stuff collectively is worth more than self-respect. You have voted for that and you have gotten it, and when it tanks, you must not think it is some accidental misfortune.

You have believed that regular people will not get good things unless government makes it happen. You take it as a given that something called the market will treat people unfairly, and civil servants, not perfect but well-meaning, are needed to prevent abuse. You have thrown your lot in with the idea that the government is far less corrupt than private industry, and have hired that fox to guard the henhouse. This is exactly where Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Rangel, Dodd, et alia are taking us. When government corruption prevents recovery, it is not because you have had the bad luck to elect a few bad apples in with the good folk.

You have believed the spin that Obama's predecessor was stupid and incompetent, and reasoned that smarter people must obviously do better, so everyone can relax. You have bought the lie that governing is actually pretty straightforward if the leaders can just be inspiring enough and apply liberal ideas. Governing is hard, and as the reports of Obama being overwhelmed and tired are already surfacing in the first two months, I want you to come to grips with the reality that it is not his opponents who are just making things impossible. Obama has the greatest party majority with the President since Jimmy Carter 30 years ago. When the windmill falls, it's not Snowball's fault.

I say all this fully granting that Obama is inheriting a difficult situation. Remember, however, that it is partially of his own making, and even more, of his party's making. Remember also that this is the US Presidency we are talking about. It's never easy. If it were easy, we could elect any charming and bright person with a good heart to do it.

Truly, I would rather you continue to deny reality, infuriating as that is, than to accept a face-saving evasion. We will absolutely need significant majorities to get out of this, and you taking a flier on a couple of safe-sounding Republicans next time just isn't going to cut it. The safe-sounding Republicans, quite frankly, I will be voting against in the primaries.


Anonymous said...

"If it were easy, we could elect any charming and bright person with a good heart to do it."

um, isn't that what we did this time. well except for the good heart part...

excellent post. i'll be back!

Ticker said...

The progressives can not accept this rational thinking for they can not accept the idea of right or wrong. To them it's all relative regardless of the outcome. There in lies the predicament for them that you present.

Ticker said...

Great Article on the American Thinker today. Clifford Thier titled the article, "Useful Idiots". I agree.

Lenin famously said of liberals in the West that they were "useful idiots."

A number of really smart (go ahead, ask them) people endorsed Obama only to find out that they were hoodwinked. He's not the guy they fell in love with. It's the morning after, and they've been forced to confront the fact that he's a fraud. A forgery.

In John LeCarre's "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" master spy George Smiley points out that "the more one has paid for a forgery, the more one defends it in the face of all the evidence to the contrary." And, these people have paid plenty for their forgery.

They fell in love with the idea of Obama and that blinded them to the reality of the man Obama. The hard leftist. The man with no management skills. The man with no knowledge of history. The man who insults our allies. Now, as the reality of what they have done is hitting them in the face, they are painfully coming to grips with their colossal gullibility.
What have I done.

Alec Guinness brilliantly portrayed the moment of clarity when he contemplated the bridge he had built for the Japanese over the River Kwai and said, "What have I done?"

This occasional column will be a hall of fame for easy marks. If you have evidence of other really smart people waking up and exclaiming "What have I done?" please send it to The list will be growing.

He concludes the articles from those who have either sobered up from the drunkenness of "the One's" kool-aide or have discovered that they were scammed.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

heidiannej - thanks for getting my reference.

Ticker - thanks for the George Smiley reference.

@nooil4pacifists said...

Good post; will quote. And, apparently, the sort of progressive thought you describe is pushed at 8:45am each weekday morning.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to speak with anybody who voted for Obama who voted for him for any other reason than believed his twaddle and what he stands for.

terri said...

I have yet to speak with anybody who voted for Obama who voted for him for any other reason than believed his twaddle and what he stands for.

cuz you haven't spoken to me! ;-)

I'm probably the only visitor to AVI's blog who did vote for Obama...which puts me in league with Copithorne....which is a very scary thought, indeed!

I didn't vote for him because I found him charming. He actually annoys me quite frequently. I didn't vote for him because I am in lock-step agreement with him on the issues...I'm not.

I voted for him because I had two choices which I didn't really like. I could have been like the bunch of whiny evangelical republicans who chose not to vote because they viewed McCain and Obama with equal disdain. They stayed home and surrendered their vote when things weren't going the way they wanted. Too spiritual to dirty their hands with hard choices, they absolved themselves like Pilate, washing their hands of the whole thing hoping to be able to blame the unwashed masses for the outcome of the election, while blinding themselves to the role they played in its outcome through their inaction.

I voted for Obama because I am unhappy with the infringement of personal freedoms by the government. I voted for him because I think that we need to live up to our ideals and not scuttle them aside when we become worried about security. I wanted to see Guantanomo(sp?) shut down....which is not the same thing as wanting terrorists to go free.

I voted for him because I would like to see America try some sort of diplomacy first before heading into war. Diplomacy has a high failure rate, but let's at least give it a shot before we start rattling our sabers.

There are many things I can't stand about Obama, and many of his positions.

There are many reasons people voted for him, even if the media portrays those reasons as being part of some national love affair.

Since when do Republicans trust the media to get it right' anyway?

That's enough of my rant. As you can tell I feel defensive about my vote, but I had to interject at least the side of why someone might vote for Obama besides their longing for a pseudo-Messiah.

Anonymous said...

I voted for him because I would like to see America try some sort of diplomacy first before heading into war.Diplomacy has a high failure rate, but let's at least give it a shot before we start rattling our sabers.

So 12 years' worth of ~ 18 Security Council resolutions w respect to Saddam did not suffice for you?

Are you going to inform us that diplomacy hasn't been tried w respect to Iran? The EU diplomacy with Iran: are you prepared to inform us how successful that has been?

terri said... remarks are not aimed towards Iraq.

Something had to be done about Iraq and Saddam himself dug his own grave in some sense by bluffing about WMD's. In regards to Iraq, I was and still am wholly against preemptive first strike policies. I think it's a terrible policy and has the potential to drag us into wars with several countries...North Korea and Iran to name just a couple.

As far as the EU....I can't say that I can speak much about any details....though it sounds like you could fill me in. I would ask since when do we look to the EU for guidance about anything? The EU and the US are not exchangeable for one another and what works for one government may not work for another and vice versa.

Diplomacy has more than just one goal. Will Iran's current government play nice? Probably not. However, by making an effort we give them that slim chance to surprise us, and in so doing also remove excuses for any future actions we might have to take against them. We need allies in that part of the world. A valid way of getting them, or at least trying to, is to try as much as possible to talk softly and carry a big stick.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that we've been used to carrying the big stick for quite a while and have forgotten the talk softly part. Rhetoric often leads to escalation. Escalation often leads to war.

War is not always avoidable....but we should at least try everything else beforehand.

You don't have to agree with me...I'm just giving reasons for my own thinking which you are free to throw out as completely delusional.

my verification is "ilvent...ill vent....very appropriate.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

You will note that it was specifically your sort I wasn't yelling at, terri.

And there are at least two regular readers besides yourself who voted for Obama, but wild horses and all that...

terri said...

AVI...I wasn't aiming my wordy speeches at you...just trying to give anonymous an explanation of why someone who didn't believe the "twaddle" would vote for Obama.

rkfinnell said...

Honestly, I'd take Clinton with Monica under the table any day over Obama. Just saying.

Anonymous said...


This is by no means comprehensive, but here are some reports from 2005 and 2007 regarding EU negotiating with Iran with regards to nuclear issues, which also indicate said negotiating was done with the knowledge and support of the US.

“It took Europe months to get American support for its strategy of negotiating with Iran. Tehran's latest announcement that it can enrich uranium on an industrial scale shows that the EU course has failed.”

Kenneth Timmerman: Countdown to Crisis is a book on the subject.

Diplomacy and Iran: how do you negotiate with a Holocaust denier with regards to its wanting Israel wiped off the map?

The mullahs: who do you think these people are? This is a regime that invites David Duke to speak at an anti-Holocaust conference.

"The Zionists have used the Holocaust as a weapon to deny the rights of the Palestinians and cover up the crimes of Israel," Duke told a gathering of nearly 70 "researchers" in Tehran at Ahmadinejad's invitation.

Who do you think these people are? I refer to the rulers of Iran.
Just wondering.

Anonymous said...

I voted for him because I would like to see America try some sort of diplomacy first before heading into war. Diplomacy has a high failure rate, but let's at least give it a shot before we start rattling our sabers….. remarks are not aimed towards Iraq.

Then WHAT are they directed at , pray tell? Please inform me when in the last 8 years we have headed into war without using diplomacy first.

@nooil4pacifists said...

Ramesh Ponnuru is channeling you.

terri said...

Wow...I hadn't checked back in a while.

Gringo...first off, I don't really want to get all hostile or feel like you are, so I'm not sure how far to go in this.

Here's the thing about Iran..It's leaders are psychotic idiots. I know it. You know it. Most of the world knows it.

Diplomacy is not for the sake of Iran's leaders. Iran has a very young population. How can we, as a nation, begin to make inroads into that population? How can we set the tone? If and when the current leadership in Iran is no longer there, will we have a basis for better relations with the country?

Here's a question...when dealing with someone like Ahmadinejad, is it better to constantly be confrontational, making general threats towards him? Does such a tactic make him more aggressive? Does it corner him and motivate him to defy his critics? Does it feed his country's propaganda machine to have Americans on tape making these threats?

In the McCain/Obama debate one of McCain's contentions was that sitting across a table with Iran's leadership was tantamount to endorsing the leadership. That is gives them legitimacy.

I think that's rubbish. Like it or not, Iran's leadership already has legitimacy with it's people and it's allies. Those who are opposed to them aren't going to change their minds simply because the US meets with them.

I guess I don't understand what we have to lose. We make the effort and maybe look foolish because Iran doesn't change? So what.

The information we have about Iran is all without context in the sense that our intelligence comes from satellites and analyzing images from those satellites. We have reports from scientists that they don't think that Iran has weapons grade nuclear materials...yet.

Wouldn't it be better to have some sort of conversation going if only to hopefully glean some useful information through contacts or slip-ups made by Iran's leadership?

How can we prevent some of the issues related to intelligence-gathering in Iraq? How can we hope to move beyond conjecture and get reliable information?

It seems to me that the word "diplomacy"=weakness in the way it's being portrayed. That's not my view of diplomacy. I see it as information-gathering, making contacts that might be useful in the future, and maybe, if possible, putting out fires before they begin to rage.

Diplomacy does not mean giving Iran everything they want, or endorsing their Holocaust views.

We are in a unique situation with Iran. In the past, when we have had to deal with other countries with crazy leaders and repugnant political and world views, such as the USSR or China, they already had nuclear capabilities and had too many forces for us to try and prevent them from developing that technology. We could only build up our defenses to give us some reassurances during the Cold War.

Maybe I am remembering incorrectly...but didn't some of the major turning points in the fall of Communism in the USSR and the opening up of China to more Western influence occur as a result of diplomacy and continuing conversations between nations?

Perhaps the idealist in me is too hopeful.

terri said...

Very timely to this discussion...from the NYTimes.

So what's the solution? Threatening them doesn't seems to have worked. Indirectly working with the EU doesn't seem to have worked.

Is the only solution war? A war we don't have the resources to fight tat this point?

I don't ask simply for the rhetoric. How should the US solve this problem?

Anonymous said...

Here is a take on Obama’ s conciliatory speech to Iran. I concur with the comparison of Iran to the early stage of the Soviet government: a revolutionary government bent on spreading its form of governance throughout the world, which will take a mile for every inch of concessions.

Here is the mullahs’ response:

But he said that the US government "should realise its previous mistakes and make an effort to amend them".

IMHO, only when the mullah’s apologize for 444,their role in setting up the nuclear thingy in Syria last year, their role in Iraq, their bombing the synagogue in Buenos Aires, their truck bomb against the Marines in Beirut, etc.

We owe no apologies to Iran.Also note that we have previously made them, to no avail.

"Iran has chosen a direction for achieving peaceful nuclear energy.”

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

Terri: while we may try diplomacy, I would give 20:1 odds that it will fail. Europe will be unwilling for further trade sanctions: Iran is one of Germany's leading trade partners.

If we are not willing to use violence, Iran will will use the blackmail of the bomb to dominate the Middle East.

Not an easy situation.

terri said... touch on one of the reasons I think that war with Iran is untenable. By mentioning Germany you bring up an important aspect of the whole thing.

Iran is not like Iraq or Afghanistan. It has resources and allies....allies like Russia and Venezuela who, in turn, have their own resources and their own antagonism towards the US. Moving against Iran with force has the potential to start World War III, and I'm not being rhetorical in the slightest.

In addition, China has strengthened its relations with know...the China who basically holds the mortgage on the US economy at this point?

The world is not as it was 50 years ago. The US may be in the right, but would we really be able to win a war with Iran? I think the odds of 20:1 would apply to that prospect as well.

The balance of power and influence that we once enjoyed is slowly shifting away from the US.

I don't know. Either way, the scene isn't pretty.