2012: Crisis and Opportunity Await

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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This year will be a time of crisis and opportunity. The incompetence of President Obama is now manifest to all but his most devoted followers, who remain trapped in their progressive Jonestown, chanting the bankrupt mantra of “hope and change” as they stir the vats of government Kool-Aid. For the rest of us, Obama’s economic failures are obvious in the numbers: $15 trillion in debt, $4.5 trillion of it added just during his three years in office; 8.6% official unemployment, while the real number of jobless is more than 11%; the proliferation of job-killing regulations with an average annual cost of $12.5 billion; and a complete indifference to the looming crisis of “unfunded liabilities” created by entitlements, a tab that Andrew McCarthy has calculated at $80 trillion, more than the whole net worth of the richest country on the planet. All these fiscal dysfunctions are concentrated in the trillion-dollar entitlement called Obamacare, a hijacking of one-sixth of the economy that will increase government spending and debt, and strangle the health-care industry with intrusive and expensive regulations.

This fiscal failure is matched by Obama’s political malfeasance. The “post-racial” president who would transcend party and unite all Americans has been one of the most divisive and partisan presidents in recent history. He has exacerbated racial tensions by recycling when politically convenient the old “whitey done us wrong” melodrama peddled by the race-mongering hustlers and conmen. He even sacrificed his own grandmother to this narrative when he chastised her for voicing the perfectly rational fear of black criminality Jesse Jackson had once articulated. Lately his Attorney General Eric Holder, who once called Americans “cowards” on the subject of race, has been Obama’s racialist Luca Brasi, using the coercive power of his office for his boss’s political advantage. Look at Holder’s ongoing legal thuggery against South Carolina’s voter-I.D. law, one similar to others already deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. With a record of dismal failure, not least being a worsening unemployment rate for black Americans, Obama must scare black voters to the polls in November by conjuring up dusty Jim Crow bogeys. As for the coming fiscal apocalypse, all Obama can do is play the class warfare and class envy cards, increasing income redistribution disguised as “stimulus” spending, as he castigates the “rich” for not “paying their fair share”–– even though the top 10% already pay 70% of federal income taxes, and confiscating all the wealth of Forbes magazine’s richest 400 Americans would barely cover Obama’s 2011 deficit.

Then there is the crony capitalism that rewards political friends like the United Auto Workers and the “green energy” industry with tax-payer-funded bailouts and subsidies. Perhaps even worse are the disastrous policies the sole purpose of which is to gratify his political base and make sure the campaign donations keep flowing no matter how much damage such decisions inflict on the rest of the country. The refusal to approve the Keystone pipeline, which would create up to 20,000 jobs and replace the oil we now import from thug regimes like Hugo Chavez’s with oil from a friendly Canada, is the most egregious example of partisan opportunism in recent memory. And it is just the latest decision––think of the ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill, or the EPA’s assault on coal-fired power plants––that has harmed our economy and national security merely to gratify the juvenile nature-love of well-heeled bicoastal liberals.

Obama’s foreign policy has been equally disastrous. To give him his due, he has kept in place much of the George Bush anti-terror apparatus he vilified as a candidate, though the proscribing of water-boarding has taken away an interrogation technique that generated reams of intelligence, including the information that allowed Obama to enjoy one of his few triumphs, the killing of Osama bin Laden. And his liberal use of drone attacks has been a cause for cheer.

But these few achievements are dwarfed by the more numerous failures. The attempt to push the “reset” button with Russia by negotiating an unfavorable arms control agreement and backing off anti-missile installations in Eastern Europe gained us nothing but Russia’s firmer intransigence against supporting meaningful sanctions against Iran. His “outreach” to the Muslim world, replete with protestations of American guilt and fantasy histories of Islamic tolerance and cultural achievement, has made America even more unpopular among Muslims than it was under George Bush, and done nothing to secure our national interests and security. Obama’s groveling courtship of the mullahs in Iran has earned him nothing but contempt from a regime that continues to kill our soldiers, develop nuclear weapons, and most recently has threatened to close the straits of Hormuz.

The abandonment of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, and the “leading from behind” collusion with France and England in removing Gaddafi in Libya––with no clue about what sort of regimes would replace them––was another grievous error. Obama sacrificed our national prestige and security to gratify fantasies about liberal democracies midwifed by tech-savvy “Facebook kids,” who are now marginalized by Salafists and the Muslim Brothers eager to impose illiberal shari’a law. The precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, another decision based on politics rather than national interests, has instantly been followed by sectarian violence that threatens the fragile government we left behind, and opens up opportunities for a predatory Iran. Meanwhile, our staunchest ally in the Middle East, Israel, has been bullied and treated with contempt, her security endangered by this administration’s incompetence. Obama has managed to convince the world that being America’s friend is much more dangerous than being America’s enemy.

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  • 11bravo

    Great article; kind of sad really. Makes you think there is NO HOPE in changing the trajectory of government drift into our lives. I hope the Tea Party gets on their horses this year, I for one will attend all rallies close to home, and maybe a trip to D.C. if asked.
    12 more months of this misery and the regular democrats (which there are many in the electorate) will vote Obama out. Like moths to the light these nihilists just want to drag our country toward an ideology which has killed 126 million people in 126 years and ruined every economy and society it has ever touched…and we are losing the arguement? Geezuz the Republicans are inept. Maybe Bohner and McConnel will get ousted too! One can HOPE.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    For the rest of us, Obama’s economic failures are obvious in the numbers: $15 trillion in debt, $4.5 trillion of it added just during his three years in office;

    I agree that Obama is one of the most incompetent presidents ever in history. As a matter of fact, the reason we are seeing Iran pushing so hard today to acquire nukes ASAP is because they see the writing on the wall and are betting that Obama won't be reelected. Hence, they realize that if they don't acquire nukes before Obama is gone, they will never get them. Hopefully, Israel will come to the rescue and buy the free world a little more time if worse comes to worse before Obama is voted out of office.

    Nevertheless, although $4.5 trillion has been added to the national debt under Obama's presidency, he is not solely responsible for all that explosion in the national debt. Indeed, a great deal of it is because GWB like a Dhimmicrat on steroids massively expanded the size, scope, and power of the federal government in response to 9/11 via the creation the very intrusive Patriot Act, the humongous and totally useless Department of Homeland Security, the incredibly invasive TSA, and the gargantuan and totally incompetent National Intelligence Directorate. Ostensibly to protect the homeland from so-called terrorist attacks, but in reality to create the false sense of security necessary so that we could continue accommodating mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage.

    Anyway, can anyone point to another immigrant group that forced America to massively increase the size, scope, and power of the federal government in order continue accommodating them? Not to mention that mass Muslim immigration to the West for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest is the most prevalent form of non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad employed against the West by the Islamic world today.

    Hence, the solution to our massive financial problems today is to outlaw Islam and ban and reverse mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage ASAP. As zero Muslim stealth jihadists living in America as a fifth column would equal zero violent jihad attacks. As a matter of fact, the 9/11 jihad attacks would have been completely impossible without the millions of Muslim stealth jihadists already living in America as a fifth column. Thus, if we outlawed Islam and banned and reversed mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage ASAP, then we could easily roll back all the useless massive expansion of the federal government that occurred under the GWB administration and get our financial house back in order.

    In fact, had GWB outlawed Islam and banned and reversed mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage, that for all intents and purposes is really non-violent stealth and deceptive jihad, instead of declaring that Islam is a Religion of Peace™ being a hijacked by a tiny minority of extremists and then like a Dhimmicrat on steroids massively increasing the size, scope, and power of the federal government, all those unfortunate Americans that died in various violent jihad attacks inside America – such as the Fort Hood Massacre – would all still be alive and well today and the national debt wouldn't be nearly as out of control as it is today.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    To give him his due, he has kept in place much of the George Bush anti-terror apparatus he vilified as a candidate

    George Bush like Obama was also a moron and one of the worse presidents to ever grace the white House also. Indeed, at the same time George Bush proclaimed that Islam was a so-called Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by tiny minority of extremists in response to the 9/11 jihad attacks that murdered in excess of 3,000 innocent Americans in cold blood, he also announced his so-called “War on Terror,” which was exceedingly ludicrous to say the least, because jihad and terrorism are two very separate and mutually exclusive manifestations and in fact two entirely different and very distinct things altogether. As Jihad is an Islamic manifestation only, while terrorism, on the other hand, is a Western manifestation only.

    Hence, George Bush was so unhinged and mentally incompetent that besides proclaiming Islam to be a so-called Religion of Peace™ being hijacked by tiny minority of extremists, which is also still official American policy to this day, he also actually declared “War on Terror” and on what was in reality a Western manifestation only. Therefore, is there any wonder that Bush's two incredibly counterproductive and fantasy based nation-building missions in Iraq and Afghanistan that were also both founded on false PC multicultural myths and assumptions inevitably turned into the two biggest strategic blunders ever in American history.?

    Indeed, considering all the trillions of dollars that were wasted and the thousands of patriotic American troops who were either killed or maimed, I hope that George Bush is drug out of retirement and held accountable so that this type of grossly incompetent malfeasance in office never ever happens again.

    Hence, I can't understand how Bruce could be giving that moron, George Bush, a pat on the back for a job well done. Indeed, I just lost a whole lot of respect for him.

  • mrbean

    ObamaYoMomma is a verbose bloviating fool who "talks when he should listen" and "who posts when he should read"! He obviously has what Krauthammer has called the Bush Derangement Syndrome, as well. Teddy Roosevelt describes him and his ilk of critics: It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

    • ObamaYoMoma

      A lot of times Mrbean is either a racist or a bigot depending on the topic at hand and he can't use paragraphs for crap. Not to mention that he never quite mastered the English language as well.

      Apparently, he is also a GWB apologist and sympathizer, even though GWB didn't have a conservative bone in his incredibly leftwing body and left the Republican Party a train wreck that led to the lost of both houses of Congress and an Obama landslide victory.

      In any event, I hate to rain on his incredibly delusional parade, but I don't suffer from Bush Derangement Syndrome, as unlike the left who believe that Bush lied people died, my criticisms, on the other hand, are truthful, legitimate, and based from a conservative standpoint, and from that perspective GWB is easily one the most incompetent presidents to ever grace the White House.

    • ziontruth

      "He obviously has what Krauthammer has called the Bush Derangement Syndrome, as well."

      Honestly, Mrbean, do you really think Bush was right when he called Islam a religion of peace? Do you think his hobnobbing with the Saudis was any worthier of silence than Obama's? Bush's heart was in the right place, which is more than you can say about Obama, but that's not sufficient, the mind needs to be in the right place as well. It's not "Bush Derangement Syndrome" to note how Bush was less than perfect in his views on Islamic imperialism.

      ObamaYoMoma has an obsession (but then so do I, and so do many posters here), but it's a worthy obsession: Emphasizing the mainstream imperialism of Islam is something badly needed. Bush was an overall good guy, but he was wrong about nation-building and he was wrong about the nature of Islam, and it's not anti-Bush to say so.

      • alexander

        "peace loving" neanderthals torture wives and children in front of husbands/fathers, stone to death raped girls, cut off heads of prisoners alive……yep, they love "piece" …
        Please, please correct me if I am wrong but:
        Didn't FuBar Ack said that the sound of uesin calling on muslims is the sweetest sound to him?

        • alexander

          a typo…should read" "muesin'

      • StephenD

        Zion, well said on all counts. Our enemy is Islam. It is anathema to our Constitutional way of life. Eventually, there will be a showdown. Only one can prevail. I'd rather we on the side of Personal Liberty and Individual Responsibility in a land governed by a Constitutional set of Laws equal to all that to be a subject of the dictates of a Tyrannical Theocracy.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    I consider George W. Bush a liberal Republican and yes he grew government over
    and beyond what was necessary. In fact you can think on his adding one trillion
    tax dollars to Medicare which at the time was know to have no way to pay for.
    That act was delusional and preparatory to conduct that would continue with
    the man he literally gave to America as his successor,the villian Obama who
    would help bring about the World Government George's father wants so bad,
    the New World Order. I think the contenders were Hillary Clinton as President
    and ready to put American might behind Bill Clinton for the first World Ruler
    via the UN………..not a to far out speculation. If sane people do not revive
    Americanism and our Constitution we are done, the left has stolen our
    Treasury and subverted education, demoralized our citizens and are ready
    for the kill, are we up to the fight for our freedom?……………………William

  • mrbean

    I have noticed that all the really poor Presidents with a liberal to a strong leftist bent were all Mommy's boys (meaning raised by their liberal mother without a strong male influence) and all attended either Yale or Harvard with the exception of Jimmy Carter. H, Wilson, FD Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, GW Bush, and Barack Obama.

  • KusoJiJi

    We all know Obama can't run on his record and already see evidence of the Alinskyites implementing their game plan. The MSP (Marxist-Socialist-Progressive) Media is hard at work constructing and controlling the narrative that works so effectively on masses of Americans who are easily manipulated. Every defender of liberty must speak out and involve themselves in the process to counter it's affects. It is truly time to rise up in every city, town and hamlet and make it known the enemy is at our doorstep. This great experiment of individual liberty we call America depends on it.

  • NAHALKIDES

    Fine article by Thornton.

  • Ghostwriter

    The world is beginning to find out that President Obama is a person who,like Ron Paul,lives in a fantasy world. America needs leaders who live in the real world,not the Land of Make-Believe.

  • Waldemar

    As a not-so recent immigrant from Communist Eastern Europe I see things differently: Obama is not a failure but a colossal success. Bruce Thornton believes otherwise for he obviously believes Obama's objective is that of most of Americans: A prosperous and free country. I think nothing can be farther from the truth: Obama's goal is a totalitarian society which, like Bolshevik Russia, has to be built on the ruins of the existing one. One cannot but admire the scope of destruction inflicted on the country by Obama. This also explains his love for tyrannical regimes of any hue, most specifically the universal tyranny of Islam. I would like to be wrong but is the idea of Caliph Obama too far-fetched? YoMoma is right about the idiocy of looking for "moderate" Muslims: Equally successfully one can look for moderate Nazis or Commies (yes, both were tried). Bruce is right that just changing the president without rebuilding the American culture is a losing proposition: We are in the middle of a KulturKampf.

    I recommend the "Liberty and Tyranny" by Mark Levin, an excellent analysis of our predicament.

    Let Allah have mercy on us,

  • alexander

    because Rush Limbaugh said "no President ever was reelected with unempl. above 9%", FuBarAck forced lap-dog-urinalists-from-MSM to publish 8 something %…..
    What a circus.
    REAL unemployment? Above 20% and growing.

  • Fred Dawes

    The globalists will install some new puppets in our government unemlpoyment will be 16 percent we will see a mass move of poor people from many nations, into the USA, The dollar will become the new world money all other money will disappear a chemical attack on the USA May happen and that will be the pertext for war against Iran.