Friday, March 20, 2009

Victor Davis Hanson Examines Obama's Mindset

Cross-posted by Maggie at Maggie’s Notebook

Victor Davis Hanson is taking a look at inflation, and it is good for us to realize that unavoidable inflation can be the thing that undoes America for years into the future. He also takes a look at who Barack Obama is and what makes his policies tick - in other words, what is Barack Obama’s “method of operation.”

Victor Davis Hanson (Photo)

After the inflation-dialog, Hanson offers the possibilities of Barack Obama’s “method of operation.”

(1) Clueless
(2) Not so clueless
(3) A mean streak

If you have a minute, let me know which of the three you think is applicable, or add your own opinion. My choice is No. 3 and this has been my contention since Obama became really visible during the elections.

(a) Clueless. Obama, the community organizer from Chicago with a mere two years plus in the Senate, is clueless. He has never run a business, never served as an executive, never done anything in matters of commerce other than speak and write and authorize spending bills as part of his government job. The result is that he listens to the last person he speaks with — and with dozens of advisors with dozens more agendas, we are seeing a herky-jerky, now this, now that, everything but the kitchen sink, sort of governance. This version of the President is a nice guy who wants to please everyone and will please no one.

(b) Not so clueless. Or Obama has a pretty certain, calculated European objective of high taxes, big-spending programs, utopian foreign policy initiatives, and a therapeutic sense of ensuring we are all going to be equal by result. In that sense, the recession was a godsend, since he has a brief window of about six months of fright and uncertainty to ram through programs that will last a lifetime, and whose expense will ensure a vast redistribution of income. His closest advisors are life-long government technocrats who are inured to spending others’ money and can use tax-free public appurtenances (salaries, perks, benefits, travel, etc.) to emulate the grand lifestyles of those they detest in corporations and on Wall Street. So we will get a new technocrati overseer class to replace the now disgraced masters of the universe on Wall Street. This manifestation of Obama is a hustler of the first order, and almost everything he says from FISA and earmarks to raising the ethical bar on appointments and limits on spending is, well, made up as he goes along, with the assurance that the media is still ga-ga.(c) A Mean streak. Or there is not so much chaos or European utopianism at work as a sort of primeval dislike of capitalists and those who have access to money — an angry President Obama whose furor now and again peeks through (remember the clingers’ speech, the accidental middle finger scratches, and the Robespierre rhetoric). Never mind the hypocrisy involved, or the mega-fortunes at play in the rise of Obama’s candidacy. Instead concentrate on the effects, both direct and insidious, of his initiatives on capital of the near-do-well. This is a quadruple whammy:

1) Aggregate tax rates are going to approach 70% in some states, effectively destroying the idea that anyone from the lower classes can ever achieve wealth in a single lifetime, and pass some of it on to his children (increases in estate taxes will be next).

2) The pulverizing of the Dow (cf. Obama’s flippant talk of gyrations and advice to invest now at rock bottom prices, as if those who were wiped out have disposable cash to buy more stocks) means that the aggregate wealth in 401(k)s and stocks for millions — along with equity in homes — of the upper middle classes has effectively vanished. In some cases, the lawyer or contractor who a year ago had $400K put away in retirement funds and $300K in home equity has effectively lost half, if not more, of his hard-won wealth. And when one computes the additional taxes on future income he will pay, it will be almost impossible in his remaining lifetime to make it back.

3) The promises of free health and free education for everyone most surely will come with salary considerations and mean-testing (we are seeing that already with ideas floating about charitable contributions). In other words, the more you of the upper middle class will pay for new expansive entitlements, the more likely you will not be eligible to use the full extent of them.

4) The power of anti-“rich” rhetoric is already beginning to demonize the wealthy as those who have somehow done something wrong in paying the full ticket for their children’s’ educations, or their own health care, or their full mortgage payments. Of all the things that worry me about Obama, the most troublesome is his conflation of the super wealthy — who are so rich that even Obama cannot touch them and who often are his most fervent supporters — with the entrepreneurs, the scramblers of the small business class who make between, say, $250,000 and $600,000.

These already pay over 50% in various taxes, are eligible for almost no government support, do not have access to insider government breaks and special legislation, pay their own way — and create both jobs and new innovations critical to the performance of the U.S. economy. Yet between Wall Street and DC they have been targeted for extinction.

Read his entire essay at Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers.

The first Victor Davis Hanson video below is a snippet taken from the second video. The title is Victor Davis Hanson Questions Obama’s Political Past. Filmed in October 2008, it is as pertinent today as it was six months ago, and it is a good reminder of who Barack Obama is and what is behind his “method of operation.” The second is the full, 39 minute video titled: Victor Davis Hanson: Obama, Palin and the Culture Wars.

Victor Davis Hanson on Barack Obama (Video)

Victor Davis Hanson (Video)


  1. Number three is the correct answer, but I will go further: there is no distinction between those that fall into category number two and category number three - they are all of a kind and their supposed ´European utopianism´is just a convenient cover which they use to camouflage their true intentions. Scratch a liberal - any liberal - and you will find a fascist. Obama is no exception. He is, in fact, the quintessential example.

  2. Congrats to Maggie for this excellent piece. I say both: (2) Not so clueless and
    (3) A mean streak