Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: Confessions of a Contrarian [deconstructing Obama, the Left and more]
Posted on 04/23/2009 4:57:55 AM PDT by Tolik
I. I am not on the Obama bus
I followed the Obama senatorial campaign and even his early career in Chicago, and confess I was not impressed. I think on any occasion he announces a moral standard it is reactivenot proactiveand we can be sure it serves as cover for something of questionable morality. So when he says he wont do something, it usually means he already has. Let us count the ways:
a) Highest ethical standards are proof we will get Richardson, Geithner, Daschle, Solis, etc. nominated who cannot or do not pay all their taxesamong other things. There will be only praise for, not silence about, tax-cheats and unethical players in Congress like Chris Dodd, John Murtha, or Charles Rangel. To suggest otherwise is to be cynical, sharp, partisan; most on the Left who preach about the Wall-Street/DC nexus and the big guys at the trough are silent on this disturbing new big money/Democrat connection.
b) Christian, Sermon-on-the-Mount declarations about forgiveness and moving forward, not backward indicate that Bush did it is the now the standard throat-clearing before every speech abroad. Suggesting that we do not wish to drudge up the past is assurance that we will try to humiliate lawyers in the Justice Department who years ago gave opinions at a time of national crisis. Do we try federal judges whose opinions we dont like?
c) Talking about financial sobriety and halving the deficit guarantee that we will triple the annual deficit, and add more to the national debt in eight years than we did in aggregate since the founding of the republic.
d) Soaring rhetoric about the reset button, a new softness, more listening, a new page, etc. assure us that we will have no moral compass, and treat Venezuela like Columbia, Georgia like Russia, Iran like Iraqthe more we hear of a new morality, the more we know there will be no moral distinctions.
e) The demonized percentile who makes over $250,000 who alone will be taxedwont be alone to see new taxes. Confiscate all their cash and you still cannot pay off debts piling up at $1.7 trillion per year. So gas, cigarette, alcohol, taxes will climb and soon even that will not be enough. The more we do not hear that, the more it is coming
f) The more Bush gave us false choices and shredded the constitution, the more Obama will adopt FISA, email intercepts, wiretaps, renditions, Bushs Iraq plan, the same old in Afghanistan, etc. Let us see whether Guantanamo closes within a year: watch especially the reaction to the poor teen-aged Somali pirate and ask yourself whether this administration wishes to repeat that again and againor whether other countries wish to have their framed, railroaded, tortured, and misunderstood pseudo-terrorists back on the streets of Berlin, Paris, or Cairo. Again, when one on Team Obama trashes Bush the law shredder, then assume that we have already adopted his security protocols.
g) We are postracial, transracial, multicultural, etc. and rightfully so dont talk about Hussein, or ones ethnic background, etc. But abroad? All that qualification simply means YOU dont dare do it, but HE does, all the time, everywhere, both to sway world opinion and ever so gently to distance himself from Americas past when convenient : so the first thing on the Latin American summit table is race. Arabs are told to be comfortable because of Baracks names, first and second and third, his Muslim father, his non-traditional background. In other words, anytime anyone in the US is told that racism is lurking its ugly head around every corner, be assured that Obama will broadcast his race and heritage to Europeans, Turks, Arabs, and Latin Americans. The two behaviors are joined at the hip. The warning always follows its antithesis
II. I do not understand the morality of the Left. Let me get this straight: catching the beheader and architect of mass murder Khalid Sheik Mohammed and waterboarding him in Guantanamo at the zenith of worry about more 9/11s, anthrax attacks, and the European bombings is outright torture, an horrendous stain on the US (cf. what FDR did to saboteurs caught on the east coast during WWII). But blowing up the heads of two Somali pirates during negotiations or incinerating houses of suspects in Waziristan (lots of collateral as they say in Hollywood) is ok? Did I miss the habeas corpus, Miranda rights, Army Field Manual rules, appeals, etc. that were followed in the nano-second between the trigger pulling and the heads exploding?
III. I have another confession to make, given that I just saw an ad for a new documentary on the Ali-Frazier fights, a film I will try to see soon. Here it isI never admired Mohammed Ali. Not that much at all.
He was a brilliant boxer, but his megalomania ushered a number of deleterious trends into all sportsthe ego-driven gestures (which were to be later manifested in everything from spiking the ball to trash talking the opponent) were all repellant.
So was his weird racismas he all but said that the more noble Joe Frazier or the sad Leon Sphinx were somehow African-Americans of a different, lesser caste from himself. Then he played on white guilt, writing doggerel, offering half-educated rants, opining in juvenile fashionall with the notion that a Howard Cosell or some other enabler would transmogrify that nonsense to the elite public as something deep and provoking, and thereby deeply fulfilling to a mostly upscale liberal audience desperate to find transracial resonance in the 1960s and 1970s.
No, I liked blunt, quiet, moody, and methodical Smokin Joe Frazier far better. I never bought into the notion that he was unduly bitter and unfairly blamed Ali (cf. the latters slurs of Gorilla against Frazier). He had the harder upbringing, showed more courage with the talent he was born with, and had a quiet nobility about his carriage entirely lacking in the narcissistic Ali, who crafted the pseudo-role as the uppity successful black that white closet racists were supposed to fear and loathe.
Fraziers quietude was true of George Foreman whom I thought the better individual and character than Ali. Far from being status quo yes-men, both fighters showed far more courage and individuality than did Ali, whose outrageousness was scripted and calibrated to please the ruling media elite. There was a tragic dignity about Frazier lost on the better-looking, more glib, swift-footed dancer, political activist Ali.
IV. The whole torture controversy took me back to fall 2001 and fall 2002. I was reading some old essays by various people written right after 9/11 and on into 2002-3. Thomas Freedman had a dramatic, but sensible piece warning us we were in World War III and worrying that the Bush administration was doing too little and bogged down in Norman Minettas security quirks. Andrew Sullivan in one of his earlier manifestations (which one, I am not sure) was dreaming of using nukes against Saddam should he be tied to biological weapons, and earlier whining that Bush, like his Dad, would wimp out and not have the guts to go into Baghdad. David Frum was proud of his contributions to the Axis of Evil speech, and busy writing his book, The Right Man. I could go on, but you get the point.
Some others who signed the Take out Saddam letter to Bill Clinton, later proved to be the most ardent critics as they turned on Bush. Pundits who used to talk about Bushs moral clarity now talk about?Obamas moral clarity. Call me a cynic, but there is only one constant with this Powellism: whatever is in power and riding high, the DC-NY nexus wants a part of; whatever is in decline and unpopular, they were scarcely ever for. This is the rise/fall/and rise of Harry Truman all over again.
Do the Obamians realize that no one is exempt from such cycles of adulation/vituperation? Should this $1.7 trillion deficit gambit fail, or should we be hit again after so publicly trashing the Bush-security measures, do they grasp that the present aficionados will be the first to reincarnate yet a third time and denounce them for security laxity and economic stupidity?
Generally on war, Orwell was right: the quickest way to end one is to lose it. We should think hard about going into one (we did from December 2001 to March 2003, through the debates at the UN, both houses of Congress, an off-year congressional election, national protests and rebuttal, etc.), but once in one, we should win, since the consequences of defeat outweigh all the pundits points about my brilliant war, their stupid occupation
All the above should not be contrarianism, but simply common sense.
Victor Davis Hanson: Obamatopia Can We Get Beyond Race? Victor Davis Hanson: Our New Sort of War. It might be the most dangerous of all Victor Davis Hanson: President of the World ...deeply pessimistic view of what America was and is The Politics Of Blame Victor Davis Hanson: The Postnational, Postmodern, Post-everything Presidential Trip Victor Davis Hanson: President Obamas First 70 Days. It really does all make sense Victor Davis Hanson: G-20 Outtakes. Europe Got Obama, Now What? Obama is moving to the left of Europe Victor Davis Hanson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part Three of Three [The Good] Victor Davis Hanson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part Two of Three [The Ugly] Victor Davis Hanson: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part One of Three Victor Davis Hanson: American Mob Rule. We need a Socrates in Washington right now Victor Davis Hanson: Thoughts About Depressed Americans Victor Davis Hanson: Bush Did It. What a difference an election makes [Brilliant Parody] Victor Davis Hanson: Dr. Obama: First, Do No Harm. Let nature do its work Victor Davis Hanson: Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Let me know if you want in or out.
Links: FR Index of his articles: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=victordavishanson
His website: http://victorhanson.com/
NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp
—another home run by VDH—
They'll get to this soon I'm sure.
Good one by VDH.
One thing everyone knows by now is that Obama always has done, or will do, the exact opposite of what his teleprompter so eloquently proclaims.
Nice to see VDH is finally starting to unbutton his collar, but he has a way to go before it gets fluent and easy as I. a) b) c) II. III.
Our New Friends Are Really Not Very Nice People [Victor Davis Hanson]
After listening to Ahmadinejads U.N. rant and seeing his goons shout at Elie Wiesel, hearing Ortega go on his 50-minute rant, and listening to the antics of the thuggish Chávez and Morales at the Latin American summit and collating all that with Obamas praise of the courageous Saudi royal (replete with bow) and the Turkish governments demands to derail the new Danish head of NATO (who courageously stood up for free speech) does anyone really believe that Obamas glad-handing, push the reset button, were listening now, Bush did it, I was only (fill in the blank) then overseas script constitutes morality, wisdom, or the advancement of our national values and interests? Or has the thin ethical veneer almost completely worn away from this narcissistic, Bono-like celebrity tour?
Multiculturalism Trumps Morality [Victor Davis Hanson]
The great threat to global morality, to paraphrase Aristotle, is the notion that you can be moral in your sleep that by condoning any and all, under the guise of tolerance of the other, you are ethical rather than amoral. Take the bankrupt U.N. secretary general Ban Ki Moon, who in Geneva sanctions the uber-racist Ahmadinejad even as he preaches tolerance from his U.N. soapbox. I fear that todays economic crisis, if not handled properly, could evolve into a full-scale political crisis marked by social unrest, weakened governments, and angry publics who have lost faith in their leaders and their own future, Mr. Ban said. Thus he cowardly ignores the concrete moral felony in front of him as he cheaply and easily goes after a putative moral transgression in the abstract.
We have forgotten that the clichés that have been so loudly on display during the recent Obama global tours such as tolerance (for what?), multilateralism, partnerships, etc. while often therapeutic, avoid the harder and often tragic choice to stand up to the glad-handing multicultural thug who wants a photo-op with an American president, who in turn wants a photo-op emphasizing how well he is liked abroad and resonates with the global masses all at the expense of the poor soul thrown into a Cuban jail, or beaten up by the Chávez goon squads, or slaughtered by the Ahmadinejad religious police, or shut down and hounded by the Ortega thugocracy. When all paths are equal, there are none better or worse than the others and we really are on the road to perdition.
Excellent. I can buy into this article completely, even the part about Muhammed Ali (AKA Cassius Clay).
How does this guy Hanson get right inside my head and straighten out my thoughts in such a way that I can understand them?
He is an amazing talent.
“to drudge up the past”
Sadly, common sense is not that common.
This may be more than a cycle. We are heading into a period of tribulation. Hopefully we can recover. If not maybe the seeds of democracy that we have planted around the world will thrive.
Dinna know that. Thanks!
Good post. His writing keeps getting better and better.
“Nice to see VDH is finally starting to unbutton his collar, but he has a way to go before it gets fluent and easy as I. a) b) c) II. III.”
Very well said. I of course massively agree with VDH but I also agree there’s always minimally that 10%-25% of his writing that veers off the road. In this case, it was the Ali-Frazier googah, at least for me. Still, I appreciate his insight.
Agreed. I rarely find anything to disagree with in his works, infrequently any poor examples of logic, yet for some reason he's just a muddy track for me to run.
Everyone should reflect on history and understand that whenever leftists/collectivists attain power,
they seek to eliminate their political opposition.
This takes the form of prosecuting their predecessors,
and naming political opposition as enemies of the state.
prosecuting predecessors - CHECK
criminalizing dissent - (hate crime laws) CHECK
political opposition is terrorism - CHECK
Leftists seek to ELIMINATE YOU. Always remember that. It’s not about polite disagreements.
Me neither - had to look it up - cuz that caught my eye too. Not sure what VDH intended.
He writes a lot lately, and the quality may be uneven sometimes. Also, I post his blog entries, and pajamasmedia IS his blog place as well as the Corner at NRO versus his more polished articles in the NRO and syndication.
Among the trends I see in his writing is a tendency to make observations of what's wrong; i.e., his dissection of how what Obama says, should be understood as a statement that he's actually doing the opposite.
This sort of thing is quite valuable -- it's always necessary to understand the problem before addressing it.
I just wish VDH would spend more time adressing the problems he uncovers. OK, so Obama practices the Big Lie ... what are some of the things we might do about it?
More than just about anybody else these days, Hanson brings to the table the intellectual heft and common sense that are so sadly lacking from our political discourse.
If we're ever to rebuild the foundations of conservatism, we need folks like Hanson to start thinking and writing about "what we need to do," rather than just pointing out "what others do."
I agree. What to do with the big lie when the media won't expose it or is in on it. Which leads to what to do with the media and how to deal with a society that is media dominated. It is easier to point to faults than know how to correct them, in general.
I remember President Bush, at the point of tears when he described the suffering of the North Korean people at the hands of their evil leaders.
That president didn't care about his image or the praises of men, but what his Final Accountability would be.
0bama isn't fit to lick his soles.
I would be hard pressed to think of a single person who did more lasting damage to our culture than Muhammad Ali, IMHO. May God have mercy on him.