About This Month
Sometimes the headline is all you need to read: “Those Media Hysterics Who Said Obama’s Presidency Was Dead Were Wrong. Again,” the New Republic confidently declared on December 6, full of the arrogance and smugness that keeps liberals in permanent charge of American life. At least in their own minds, which is more than half the trick. Thus the spectacle of a Sandra Fluke’s lasting symbolism in this day and age.
There are none so blind as those who see things his way. Here’s a classic formulation, as presented by the New Yorker’s David Remnick toward the end of an epic profile of the president on the eve of the State of the Union Address. “Obama has every right to claim a long list of victories since he took office: ending two wars; an economic rescue, no matter how imperfect; strong Supreme Court nominations; a lack of major scandal…” You’ve got to love that, written with a straight face. Evidently, it must depend on what the meaning of “major” is.
So let’s think of them as “minor” scandals. Obamacare, which has left more people without coverage than it has signed on, all of it premised on a huge presidential lie, is on course to drag U.S. health care down to third-world levels. It’s already managed to corrupt Romneycare and make it more unworkable (see p. 18). Surely community organizer Obama is familiar with the term “economic sabotage.” It was not regarded as a minor matter.
You don’t have to be young to find Christmas the best day of the year, even if the latest edition occurs (it increasingly seems) no more than a day since the previous one. It doesn’t even have to be celebrated in a wintry wonderland. A sandy one will do, thanks very much. So thank you especially to Larry Thornberry, who captures the day at a certain place and time simply perfectly (p. 64). All the Grinches in the world can’t steal Christmas from us (pp. 16, 36, 41). It might even be the one time of the year we can feel sorry for them, as we wish them another year no less miserable than this last one. Maybe if they spent more time reading (p. 30) they’d find some greater purpose in life and we could then get along the way—Christmas reminds us—we’re supposed to.
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WANT TO HEAR a good one? According to the New York Times, not that it’s endorsing him, what’s the one thing that qualifies Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. for the U.S. Senate? Answer: He “helped write the Affordable Care Act.”
Once you’ve stopped guffawing, consider, as Jim Antle has done meticulously, Obamacare (among other related issues; see p. 26). With its “persistent flaws” and unpopularity, this jobs killer is doing as much as anything else to weaken Obamarule’s grip. Indeed, the law is making it possible to conceive that the deeply pessimistic question Jim posed in his essential recent book, Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? (Regnery), could actually have a bracing answer. Much of course will depend on Republicans displaying “political competence,” as Jim diplomatically puts it, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
THESE ARE WORDS that will live on famously: “The administration has now lost all credibility.” Most of us could have written that on January 20, 2009. The New York Times finally saw things our way on June 6, 2013, at least for several unbelievable hours. Then cooler heads prevailed and the paper offered a slight emendation, adding “on this issue” to the end of its famous sentence. So let the record stand corrected: While the Times no longer can support the Obama administration’s ravenous surveillance policies, it continues to find its credibility unimpeachable on everything from Benghazi and the IRS to the harassment of journalists and the corrupt enforcement of what it fondly calls the Affordable Care Act.
Of course it might be a little too late for that. Having let the cat out of the bag, the Times failed to declaw it. It allowed the sentence that immediately followed the revised one to remain untouched, and in the larger scheme of things its content is infinitely more damning. It said: “Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”
Could it be we took Mrs. Thatcher for granted? That’s the fate of many a good woman, particularly at the hands of men, as I’m reminded again, writing on Mother’s Day. But there’s no denying it. Search as we did on her death for a cover story the Spectator might have run of her, we came up with nothing. Disgracefully sad but true. During her prime we did run cover portraits of such distinguished of her compatriots as Orwell, Churchill, the Queen, even Michael Foot, not to mention President Reagan and Pope John Paul II. But never Margaret Thatcher.
Not until now, now that she belongs to God (p. 44) and to History (p. 20), newly appreciated and revered everywhere except perhaps in diehard Argentina (p. 24). No doubt she would enjoy and wave off what an erudite, poetic friend just told me, calling her “the greatest of the queens of Britain, an Elizabeth the First, a Victoria, or going back in time…she was Boudica, resisting the Roman invasion, she was the Faerie Queene, she was the soul and heart of England”—and he was just warming up.
For once let me say President Obama is getting a bad rap. In between shutting the White House to tourists and ogling California’s attorney general, he took to the basketball court during this year’s Easter Egg Roll and, according to official scorers, missed 20 of the 22 shots he attempted. Even more embarrassing, he was unguarded. Scores of adoring kids looked on. Yet there is no evidence he was on any Easter candy sugar high. He didn’t appear to be the least concerned about the crazy threats coming out of North Korea. The latest, ever lousier job numbers were still five days away. So what possible excuse did he have?
That one’s easy. Have you ever tried shooting baskets on a hard court in a dress shirt, dress slacks, and dress shoes, and, on top of that, with a heavy wristwatch strapped to your shooting hand? It can’t be done. End of discussion. I’m only surprised he smiled through the whole ordeal. A real B-baller would have called time and gone to the locker room to change into shorts and sneakers. Once again Mr. Obama was not up to the demands of his job.