Maybe the third try will be a charm for President François Hollande. After doggedly attempting to apply socialist dogma for his first two disastrous years in office and bringing the French economy to its knees, he reshuffled his cabinet again this summer. It has dawned even on this Socialist Party apparatchik that governing by tax-and-spend while subjecting businesses to an incomprehensible thicket of hostile, hobbling regulations—the Labor Code now runs to over 3,000 pages—won’t work. That inventing a new levy here, tweaking an old one there, creating still another special handout, is ruining not only his term in office, but the country as well. His third stab at forming a viable administration, coming only 147 days after the second one, set a record for the shortest duration in Fifth Republic history and makes the Italian government look rock-stable by comparison. The sweat on the beleaguered presidential brow is now visible to all.
The latest Gallup poll indicates that 14 percent of the people “moderately disapprove” of Barack Obama’s performance as president and 39 percent “strongly disapprove.”
Since Obama won two presidential elections, chances are that some of those who now “strongly disapprove” of what he has done voted to put him in office. We all make mistakes, but the real question is whether we learn from them.
With many people now acting as if it is time for “a woman” to become president, apparently they have learned absolutely nothing from the disastrous results of the irresponsible self-indulgence of choosing a president of the United States on the basis of demographic characteristics, instead of individual qualifications.
It would not matter to me if the next five presidents in a row were all women, if these happened to be the best individuals available at the time. But to say that we should now elect “a woman” president in 2016 is to say that we are willfully blind to the dangers of putting life and death decisions in the hands of someone chosen for symbolic reasons.
I will never be out-n**gered again” was the vow George Wallace made after losing to John Patterson the 1958 Democratic primary for governor of Alabama. And so he wasn’t. The very next year, his sights already set on second run for governor in 1962, Wallace proclaimed:
There’s some people who’ve gone over the state and said, “Well, George Wallace has talked too strong about segregation.” Now let me ask you this: how in the name of common sense can you be too strong about it? You’re either for it or you’re against it. There’s not any middle ground as I know of.
The strategy of playing the race card, by then a Democratic Party staple (as Bruce Bartlett notes in detailed fashion in Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past), delivered the political victory Wallace sought. By January of 1963, George Corley Wallace was being inaugurated as the new Democratic Governor of Alabama, famously declaring in his inaugural address:
Here we are back in L.A. In Beverly Hills, to be specific. The weather is glorious. Maybe a bit too hot but the air conditioning takes care of that. Both wifey and I have had some respiratory thing. It has laid her low and it makes me a bit tired. I bring her take out Mexican food and frozen yogurt from little places in gay West Hollywood. That’s how she stays alive.
I have been working on my bills and taxes. Boring, maddening work. How anyone who spends as much as I do has avoided bankruptcy is a miracle.
Today, I worked like a myrmidon on a speech for some super-smart engineers, then went to a little café on Sunset Plaza all by my little self to have some calf’s liver. It was heavenly, although contemplating the idea of eating a calf’s liver right now makes me feel sick to my stomach. How did I do it? Crazy.
As I sat out on the sidewalk and watched people go by, people of all races, speaking many different languages, looking menacing in many different ways, I felt a super-powerful wave of missing Sandpoint. I have been back from Idaho for one week now and I am ready to go back for good.
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I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being,” our president told the graduates of West Point on May 28. Not bad for someone who five long years ago thought his country no more exceptional than Greece. He came up with other uncharacteristic howlers, too: “America has rarely been stronger relative to the rest of the world.” “Our military has no peer.” “Our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth.” He bragged about trouble spots where under his leadership America has made a huge difference, most notably Ukraine. He praised Ukrainians for voting in the millions on May 25. “Yesterday, I spoke to their next president,” Obama added, without naming him. Perhaps he didn’t catch his name on CNN, or was afraid to be provocative. A week later he had a chance to meet him in Kiev, but that would have been doubly provocative. So it had to be in Warsaw, with fingers crossed. Now the Vistula, Poland’s largest river, is great in its own right, but Mr. Obama would have been better off had he caught a glimpse of the Dnieper.