The Emerging Obama Pattern


Victor Davis Hanson puts the dots together on the Obama administration’s first 14 months and sees a pattern that seems to be unmistakable:

Chicago Does Socialism

As Hanson rightly points out, we might forgive an instance of statism here or there, a power grab or an unwise decision with adverse consequences, a diplomatic faux pas or a dubious association.  But when all things are taken together, a pretty clear portrait emerges, summed up in Hanson’s closing argument:

In any isolated circumstance, we are willing to give the president of the United States a pass on a particular disturbing decision. But after 14 months of them, the Obama particulars add up to a remaking of America that is now clear and consistent: Grow government; redistribute income; establish permanent political constituencies of dependents; increase entitlements; hike taxes; demonize “them” while deifying their supposed victims; seek global neutrality abroad; and always play fast and loose with the truth.


  1. Bob Robinson on April 5, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Interesting take. It’s good to hear the Right’s opposition to Obama so well articulated.

    Do you think the U.S. should support Israel no matter what they do? Is this good foreign policy? Will this ultimately bring peace to that region?

    Do you think it was fair of him to jokingly insinuate that Obama should tax the rich at 110%? Is that really helpful to the debate?

    Why doesn’t the Right not just be happy when Obama does things that line up with their own policies? Why not say, “Well, how ’bout that Obama doing the right thing with tribunals, renditions, Predators, and the continuing presence in Iraq? I like that!”

    But overall this is a good article. It shows what Frank Rich recently wrote about Obama, that if you are on the Right, you see Obama as one thing, and if you are on the Left, you see him as the opposite thing.
    “Depending on where you stand — or the given day — Obama is either an overintellectual, professorial wuss or a ruthless Chicago machine pol rivaling the original Boss Daley. He is either a socialist redistributing wealth to the undeserving poor or a tool of Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs elite.”

    It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Obama!

    • Byron on April 5, 2010 at 10:49 am

      ABROAD: No, the U.S. should not support anything Israel does; does he suggest this?

      TAXES: It’s a joke, as you say, and a fairly obvious and innocuous one at that. C’mon, Bob, lighten up on that one.

      PERFECTLY CLEAR: I said that very thing, the other day, in approving his decision to drill. I suppose you make a point: sure, it’s a good thing that he’s not doing everything he said he would on the campaign trail; reality has smacked him in the fact at points, to be sure.

      Here’s how I see him: he’s a grossly-underqualified novice, in over his head (hence, some of his mistakes are unintentional; he just honestly doesn’t know what note to sound), committed to the most left-wing ideology of any president (at least since Woodrow Wilson, I’m guessing), and who has a real problem telling the truth on a consistent basis.

      And that said, I trust Obama three times as much as I trust anything Frank Rich has to say.

  2. Bob Robinson on April 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    It’s sad you dismiss Frank Rich’s column so easily. It hurts your credibility when you only read those you want to agree with, everybody sitting around drinking the same Kool Aid, and never having a narrow political ideology challenged by outside voices. It happens on the Left and the Right these days, which is sad.

    It is not just Rich that has commented on how people view Obama based on their political ideology. David Brooks, one of the most balanced and thoughtful conservative columnists, wrote,

    “Who is Barack Obama?
    If you ask a conservative Republican, you are likely to hear that Obama is a skilled politician who campaigned as a centrist but is governing as a big-government liberal. He plays by ruthless, Chicago politics rules. He is arrogant toward foes, condescending toward allies and runs a partisan political machine.
    If you ask a liberal Democrat, you are likely to hear that Obama is an inspiring but overly intellectual leader who has trouble making up his mind and fighting for his positions. He has not defined a clear mission. He has allowed the Republicans to dominate debate. He is too quick to compromise and too cerebral to push things through.
    You’ll notice first that these two viewpoints are diametrically opposed. You’ll, observe, second, that they are entirely predictable…

    …The fact is, Obama is as he always has been, a center-left pragmatic reformer. Every time he tries to articulate a grand philosophy — from his book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ to his joint-session health care speech last September — he always describes a moderately activist government restrained by a sense of trade-offs. He always uses the same on-the-one-hand-on-the-other sentence structure. Government should address problems without interfering with the dynamism of the market.”

    See this insightful column here.

    • Byron on April 6, 2010 at 9:46 am

      As it hurts yours when you make baseless assumptions that I “only read those (I) want to agree with”, etc. Frank Rich is a nutjob, and I don’t have to read every one of ’em out there in order to comment on an issue; how did you possibly reach the conclusion you did about my reading habits simply by my discounting Frank Rich?

      Brooks, on the other hand, while frustrating at times, is a decent voice of moderation, I’ll agree. I’ll read the column. But what we have to cut through as best we can, it seems to me, are the sentiments attached to both sides of the debate, and look at the facts as they present themselves. Hanson comes from the right, to be sure; at what points, I’d ask, are his analysis incorrect?

  3. Bob Robinson on April 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

    how did you possibly reach the conclusion you did about my reading habits simply by my discounting Frank Rich?
    Because you so readily discount Frank Rich! As I talk about in today’s post at my blog, since you have labeled Rich a “liberal” you feel free to dismiss him as a “nutjob,” not even considering what he has to say.

    Hanson comes from the right, to be sure; at what points, I’d ask, are his analysis incorrect?
    My point is this: The analysis that Hanson offers is simply what you’d expect from the Right. While it has good points, its aggregated focus is off – making Obama what he is not. Hanson’s ideology is skewing his view of Obama.

    Rich’s analysis shows that for liberals, Obama is not liberal enough. For conservatives, he is the next coming of Marx or Mao. Brooks makes the same assessment.

    It seems to me that they are right, and Hanson’s diatribe against Obama is shown for what it is in that light.

    • Byron on April 6, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      Rich has said enough inane things that I just don’t find him credible, but that means that all I’m reading is right-wingers? Where’s the logic in that? I didn’t refer to all liberals, nor did I suggest that it was because Rich was a liberal that I didn’t listen to him; you read into that. He’s a nutjob, but there are plenty of liberals who aren’t, and I’d rather listen to them. By this reasoning, I guess I’m somehow obligated to watch Keith Olbermann, then? Because if I don’t, then I never listen to any lefties. I just don’t get it, Bob.

  4. Bob Robinson on April 6, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I’m sorry. I was put off by your comment. You told me that even though I recommended an article you won’t read it. Why? Because your preconceived notion is that the author is a nutjob. I found this offensive, friend. You basically said to me that my recommendation was so inane that you wouldn’t even consider it.

    • Byron on April 6, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      Well, I sure didn’t mean it personally, and I’m sorry you took it that way; didn’t mean to offend. And I’m sure that Mr. Rich gets some things right; the old saying is that even blind squirrels find acorns, right? I just find him very distasteful, that’s all.

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