Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: What’s Off the Table in 2012? Everything except the economy
Posted on 09/02/2011 9:36:30 AM PDT by neverdem
What's Off the Table in 2012?
Everything except the economy
What should we not expect during next summer’s presidential campaign, given what was put off limits in 2008 and later?
There is much talk about what some are perceiving as the fringe religiosity of Republican candidates such as Michele Bachman and Rick Perry. But the media established the precedent four years ago that no candidate can be held responsible for his church. Barack Obama’s pastor of more than 20 years, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was an unapologetic racist, an anti-Semite, and a raving conspiracy theorist whose parishioners gave him standing ovations for his hate-filled “G*d damn America” rants.
Prior education and college preparation should not be 2012 issues either. Recent articles have referred to a leaked Texas A&M undergraduate transcript of Texas governor Rick Perry, showing some dismal grades and thus apparent proof that Perry was not much of a past student — or current thinker. But Obama has never released either his Occidental or Columbia transcripts. In response, the media in 2008 shrugged and chose not to pursue the matter the way it had with the C-grade records of George W. Bush, Al Gore, and John Kerry. Apparently, Obama has established a wise precedent that long-ago college transcripts, like churchgoing, are irrelevant.
Civility is off the table, too. Candidate Obama once called sitting president Bush “unpatriotic” for borrowing $4 trillion in eight years — a sum he matched in less than three. He advised Latinos to “punish our enemies” and mocked opponents for wanting to put “alligators and moats” on the border. Obama’s advisers reportedly promised to “kill Romney.” So civility is out the window, and 2012 will once again be a typically American no-holds-barred slugfest of anything goes from both sides.
Public campaign financing won’t come up either. Both sides will raise obscene amounts of money. You see, in 2008, Obama set another election precedent: He was the first president in the history of public campaign-financing laws to shun federal money and oversight in the general election, largely because he wanted — and got — a record level of private cash, much of it from Wall Street.
The old bogeyman George W. Bush won’t matter much either by 2012. Since 2008, Obama has blamed Bush for chronic high unemployment, record annual deficits, massive national debt, the erratic stock market, credit downgrading, a continuing housing slump, and near-nonexistent growth. But even the president’s supporters confess that Obama finally now “owns” the economy, especially given the newly elected president’s boast in early 2009 that if he didn’t fix things in three years, he would not deserve reelection.
In the 2008 campaign, Obama derided the War on Terror as ineffective and unconstitutional. That issue in 2012 will be ancient history, too, since President Obama has simply embraced all the major Bush-Cheney antiterrorism protocols and wars, and expanded many of them, from renditions to Predator-drone targeted assassinations to a third war in Libya. Obama’s campaign commercials will highlight the commander-in-chief who ordered the successful hit on bin Laden, not the civil libertarian who closed Guantanamo Bay as promised.
A supposedly do-nothing Congress that has thwarted Obama — like an earlier Republican one that had blocked “Give ’em Hell” Harry Truman — won’t come up much either. Remember, Obama had large majorities in both the House and Senate until January 2011. That’s how he rammed through everything from Obamacare to trillion-dollar subsidies along strictly partisan-majority votes. The “do-nothing” Congress of Obama’s first two years that failed to pass alien amnesty and cap-and-trade legislation and failed to grow the economy was controlled by his fellow Democrats. Even now, the loud but largely still impotent Republicans only control one-half of one-third of the U.S. government.
So if we know what won’t be campaign issues, what exactly will be?
The economy. If the current bleak picture stays the same or gets worse, Obama will be forced to argue, as did incumbent Herbert Hoover in 1932, that after four years his borrow/print/spend remedies still have not kicked in. And so he will claim that he needs eight years, not four, for Keynesian economics to finally work. Good luck with that silly argument.
But should things improve somewhat over the next year, Obama will insist that his spending tonic is at last working, and he deserves another term to further nurse the recovering economy.
It is that simple: Almost every campaign issue other than the economy either will be off the table or irrelevant — thanks largely to the past protocols of Barack Obama himself.
— Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and the author, most recently, of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern. © 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
Good analysis, and I hope all the Republican candidates take it to heart and rebuff any attempts by the media to talk about the same sort of things they concealed about Obozo.
Justice Joseph Story's concluding remarks from his "Commentaries on the Constitution . . . " bear careful consideration by all citizens who love individual liberty.
"§ 1907. If these Commentaries shall but inspire in the rising generation a more ardent love of their country, an unquenchable thirst for liberty, and a profound reverence for the constitution and the Union, then they will have accomplished all, that their author ought to desire. Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of fife, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence. The structure has been erected by architects of consummate skill and fidelity; its foundations are solid; its compartments are beautiful, as well as useful; its arrangements are full of wisdom and order; and its defences are impregnable from without. It has been reared for immortality, if the work of man may justly aspire to such a title. It may, nevertheless, perish in an hour by the folly, or corruption, or negligence of its only keepers, THE PEOPLE. Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."
Things will not be significantly better a year from now. Therefore, Obama will have no choice but to (i) run against the House and the Tea Party conservatives in it, claiming that they failed to adopt the new spending he is about to propose, and (ii) try to cause the electorate to fear the “extreme” Republican candidate, claiming that he or she will starve Granny, outlaw abortion, rape the environment, gut the public schools, and outlaw public and private unions. Even a Romney or a Huntsman would not be immune from these claims. This approach will fail, and Obama will be defeated.
You are exactly right but there is one more, deeply insidious tactic the Dems will employ; the fear of riots if Obama is defeated. White liberals will wonder if it's possible (knowing full well they're trying to raise the fear level of middle America), while Blacks will flat out say it will happen.
Keep your powder dry folks, it's gonna be a bumpy year.
Hansen is wrong.
Left and their media will attack on all of these fronts, and give Obama a pass again.
All of Hansen's points are good, but hypocrisy is still on the table. And will be in full display. Expecting anything less is just ignorant.
And still journalists wonder why no one trust them, why people have quit reading papers and why they're going out of business...
Reason and the electorate began their divergence in 1960.
The argument may be silly, but they are directed at equally silly constituents, and believe me, they don’t find those arguments silly at all.
Have we really stooped to the "every one does it" defense.
The talking head on FNC have to a man fallen into this moral equivelence b$.
Just ask anyone of them if something some politician has done should be condemned, no matt who, they response is always "Neither side should do it" The implication of course is that the other side has done it, when there is no evidence that the statement is true.
Of course the ploy is to take attention away from the true perpetrator. Nearly always works because the guilty party is usually not brought up again.
About the time the youth of America began experimenting with psychedelic drugs....
I disagree. Never let the adversary determine the terms of discussion, ever.
Everything goes in. Starting with bona fides and credentials, and with Obama's eligibility for the office.
Remember, he pulled that crap when he was running for local office in Chicago. Sauce for the gander.
In Perry's case, there would only be the semblance of "equivalence" if Perry had gone through Texas A&M on Saudi money while holding a Moroccan or Bahraini passport.
Not to worry. My new shotgun returns from the gunsmith in about five weeks.
Every time one of the drooling liberal loser media types asks any question of any kind of ANY of the Republican candidates over the next 14 months, the Republican candidate should reply “You aren’t getting an answer to that question until you can show you asked the same question of Obama”.
(1:) Read a "Reader's Digest" of the 1950's.
Compare and contrast with the 2011 version.
(2:)Read a "Hardy Boys" or "Nancy Drew" of the 1930's.
Compare and contrast with the 2011 version.
(3:)Read an American History textbook from a 1940's High School.
Compare and contrast with a 2011 "Social Studies" book from the Public High School nearest your home.
(4:) Then in your report to the class, tell us how the American public has been so dumbed down, that the election of this Affirmative Action Anus was a done deal in 2008, and actually could happen again.
Very good. Made me smile this AM.