5. It’s COLD! Cold weather has hit North America and much of the world. Here in Southern California it got down to the 30’s at night. Environmentalists claim that weather extremes are the result of global warming, but I don’t think people are buying it. I believe doubt is starting to spread. There is a lot of talk among scientists that we’re heading for a new Ice Age now. All of this is important because if global warming hysteria fails, environmentalism will suffer a huge blow to its credibility.
4. The Never-Ending War. It’s been seven years now since September 11, 2001, and American troops are still dying in the Middle East. We have settled for a state of permanent war and altruistic nation building because all-out war would be an assertion of our national self-interest that would anger the rest of the world. Every American death in the Middle East now is a sacrifice to the gods of altruism and world opinion.
And how much of our never-ending war is a function of welfare state pressure-group politics? The libertarians and paleo-conservatives, though wrong on many things, have a good point with the link between the welfare state and the warfare state. Randolph Bourne said, “War is the health of the state.” I predict that at the end of President Obama’s four years we will still be have troops in the Middle East. Do you think that a statist like Obama would want to give up that power?
3. Political Surprises. 2008 defenestrated conventional wisdom. The long primary process, which seemed as never-ending as the war for a while there, held some interesting surprises. Hillary the Inevitable turned out to have miscalculated when she thought she could take Democrat primary voters for granted. Following the policy of her husband and the moderate Democrat Leadership Council, she voted to support the invasion of Iraq. After seeing candidates from McGovern to Dukakis get beat up by Republicans for being soft on national defense, Senator Clinton was determined that would not happen to her. The Democrat base voted for its principles over Clintonian calculations. Senator Obama (more about him below) upset Senator Clinton and won the nomination.
The Republicans had a passel of candidates that were unsatisfactory to one faction of the party or other. Rudy Giuliani, for example, was hated by the social/religious conservatives for supporting abortion. The religious Huckabee was unsatisfactory to the fiscal conservatives. Republicans finally settled, disastrously, on Senator McCain, a big government guy who had become the media’s favorite Republican by poking his own base in the eye. The moment he won the nomination he was no longer the media’s pet, but, like all Republican presidential candidates, the enemy. After spending the last 10 years or so pleasing the liberal media, McCain was unable to run a competent campaign against a Democrat. He loved to “take the high ground,” even when it meant ignoring a legitimate issue like Obama’s relationship with his anti-American pastor and mentor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It seemed as if McCain felt morally stained when he was forced to “throw red meat” at the troglodytes in his own party. It turns out that “can’t we all get along” is a lousy campaign slogan.
McCain provided another surprise in the summer by picking Sarah Palin as his Vice-President running mate. Like Obama, Governor Palin of Alaska was something different. She was a woman — and not a bad looking one. (When was the last time you voted for a sexually attractive female? Like never, maybe?) She was an authentic, American middle class mom, and not a liberal; her type had never been seen before at the presidential level. And she knows how to shoot a gun! Liberals immediately loathed Sarah Palin and the press went into their feeding-frenzy mode, desperate to turn Palin into Quayle. This just made Republicans circle their wagons around her.
The CW now is that Palin and Huckabee, two religious conservatives with little understanding of economics, are the future of the Republican Party. Let’s hope that CW gets thrown out the window, too.
2. Obama Wins. Americans elected a black man as President. Let us take a moment to enjoy this. Think of all those effete welfare states in Europe that look down their nose at America because we’re supposedly racist. How many black presidents have they elected?
The only other good thing about Obama I can think of is that he seems to be a sincere family man who loves his wife. This is better than Bill Clinton.
There is a lot of bad about Obama. Just how bad he will be we’ll find out in the next four years. He is perhaps the least experienced man to be elected president in US history. I write “perhaps” because some of the 19th century presidents are just names to me. He won because a) his empty rhetoric sounded idealistic; and b) he was black. You could add c) he was a Democrat at a time when Republican approval ratings were at historic lows. It’s nice to set the precedent of electing a black man, but these are not very good reasons to elect someone president.
Although statists such as David Brooks swoon over Obama’s intellect, I have yet to hear the President-Elect say anything intelligent. This hardly makes him unusual among politicians. He is a welfare state mediocrity, his mind filled with PC platitudes and altruistic bromides.
He is aware enough of Ayn Rand to attack the virtue of selfishness. In response to the McCain camp attack on Obama’s plan to raise taxes, he said,
“John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic…. You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”
Obama has been around communists, far-leftists and anti-Americans all his life. His father was a hard-line communist who denounced moderate communists who went against Marxist doctrine in a futile attempt to make the Kenyan economy work. Obama’s mentor when he was a teenager was the communist Frank Marshall Davis. Obama’s political career started in the salon of the anti-American terrorist William Ayers. (Astonishingly, the MSM ignored all this. The facts came out only because of diligent bloggers.)
Obama seems to have used the radical left to further his political career — and what does that say about the state of the Democrat Party? — without entirely buying their ideology. He is, rather a social metaphysician (one who places what others think above the facts of reality) and a pragmatist. This all means that we’ll get more of the welfare state status quo (see below). Obama will continue Bush’s lead in expanding government and diminishing freedom further and further.
1. Crisis and Leviathan. An economic crisis in the mortgage industry created by government intervention brought about a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street, a massive further intervention. This led Congress to attempt to bail out Detroit automakers for $14 billion, but the bill did not pass. Bush then decided by himself to give the automakers even more money, $17.4 billion. As George Will writes, the Executive Branch is flouting the separation of powers written in the Constitution. The President is supposed to administer the spending that Congress authorizes.
If a Democrat president had done all this, Rush Limbaugh, Hugh Hewitt and the rest would be screaming across the airwaves about how we’re becoming a dictatorship. But Bush is a Republican, so we get a few tired statements that the bailouts won’t work, then the talk show hosts turn their attention to the devil they love to hate, the Democrats.
Thanks to George Bush’s forging new ways to destroy our liberty, Obama will merely take up where Bush left off. And that is the biggest story of 2008.
Our march to fascism accelerated in 2008; 100 years from now this might be the only thing remembered about this dismal year.
Those are my picks for the top five stories of the year. If you disagree or think I missed a story, don’t be shy. Let me have it in the comments.