Friday, April 9, 2010
THE ROAD FROM 9/11 TO OBAMACARE
9/11 was an epochal event in recent American history (duh). It produced a wave of dread that I myself got swept up in, along with an outpouring of support for the President, who was nearly spot-on in those early days (if tone-deaf for most of the rest of his presidency). Bush rode that wave into complete overconfidence and a supposed mandate to conduct wars on foreign soil against shadowy terrorist networks, extending this war in 2003 with the backing of large majorities of the American people and of Congress to Iraq, which was connected to the War-on-Terror only in the sense of being a potential threat (not, as we learned, an actual one). As the war turned from a "quick victory" to an mismanaged, violent boondoggle to something that most Americans just wanted to ignore, Bush lost any lustre that he once had with Americans, and in a very big way. As more facts came out about how badly things were going over there – and the circumstances by which we got in – Americans turned on their president, who himself compounded matters by becoming one of the biggest presidential spenders & expanders of government of all time.
Bush and the Republican Party undid any differentiation they once had with free-spending Democrats, helped drive a recession, and hugely alienated large swaths of the American people, myself included. As punishment for quote-unquote imperial overreach, Americans voted for the fresh-faced new guy who promised a way out of the wars. We all figured that, yeah, he’s pretty liberal, but he just might move to the Center on economics – like Clinton did, right? He has to – we’re in a deep recession – right? So here we are, with a new President presiding over the greatest expansion of government since the mid-1960s, at one of the worst possible times to do so in American history. We’re still fighting and paying dearly in both money and lives for two wars, one of which he’s escalated. Entitlements at the federal and state level are threatening to bankrupt multiple states very soon, including California, for years the state that could most rightly be said to be the economic engine of America. And Obama and Congress just rammed through an entitlement that will set us back even further for decades, all on smoke, mirrors and lies they sold to the CBO that everyone knows were bogus. There will be no reduction in the nation’s ballooning, and frankly very scary, national debt, and everyone in Washington knows it.
So the terrorists won? I remember all sort of talk back in 2001 about how they wanted to bring down the Empire with one cataclysmic statement. Ironically, this chain of events that they set off may very well do just that. I keep hoping for good-old-Yankee ingenuity and some wake-up leadership in Washington to help make it right again, but I fear that only several state bankruptcies and the drying up of overseas lending to the US will start the ball rolling (both are coming, I am convinced - and for years I've been a total optimist), and even then far too slowly for meaningful change for years.
Sobering stuff, and a linkage I’m sure will be at least part of the history curriculum when the years 2000-2010 are studied & debated.
Posted by Jay H. at 9:56 AM