Change—and Some Hope
May 12, 2012 - 4:46 pm - by Victor Davis Hanson
Rays of Sun Amid the Storm
The Rasmussen Tracking Poll recently had Romney up 50 to 42 over Obama. At this early juncture, such polls mean nothing—except as diagnostic indices of why perhaps both candidates go up and down in popularity.
So why has Barack Obama plunged in the polls these last few days?
The Republican slugfest is over. The media cannot headline any longer the daily conservative suicide. Barack Obama’s job report came out at 8.1% unemployment—but, more importantly, with information that a smaller percentage of adult Americans are working than ever before, and fewer in absolute numbers than nearly four years ago when Obama took office.
So someone must be asking, “What then was the lost $5 trillion for?” Note, in this regard, the 5.4% unemployment rate that won George Bush the slur of a “jobless recovery” in 2004.
There was some pushback to Obama’s spiking the football on the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.
And have you noticed how Team Obama keeps losing the doggy wars? Seamus begat a photoshopped Dachshund sandwich; Romney’s supposedly terrible polygamist great-great grandfather in Mexico begat Obama’s polygamist father in Kenya; Rush Limbaugh’s “war on women” begat Bill Maher’s misogyny; Romney the high-school hair cutter begat tapes of Obama as the chronic drug user and recollections of Biden, the neighborhood teen bully. I know why the Obama people wish to distract from the economy, but at some point they must accept that they are losing these trivia tit-for-tats, and it now is beginning to show in the polls. (Hint: you may think it neat to ridicule a Mormon, but for purposes of fielding a clean candidate, Romney is a political operative’s dream in this age of adultery, sin, drug, and drink—which is why the Washington Post is back to a supposedly insensitive 18-year-old Mitt Romney this last week).
The flip-flop on gay marriage, of course, did not win Obama a single vote, just plenty of one-percenters’ money. More injurious to his cause was his idiotic refrain about his “evolving” views. No one believed that yarn: fifteen years ago he was for gay marriage when it was smart politically for him to be so, and then he revolved to “no” when it was not. All that happened this week was that clueless Joe Biden jumped the gun. Obama with a wink and nod had privately assured rich gays, as he had Putin, that after his reelection he would give them what was wanted, but could not quite yet, given his need to hoodwink the clingers to get reelected. I think most voters understood that con as emblematic of this presidency.
Then there are the lack of press conferences, the non-stop shakedowns of rich people whom he caricatures, and the somnolent speeches (“make no mistake about it,” “I/me/mine,” “in truth,” “let me be perfectly clear,” “I inherited a mess,” “pay your fair share,” and blah, blah, blah).
Add all that up, and one loses 6-8 points. Keep doing it and he will lose even more. At this rate, Obama will be October surprising Iran.
Despite, not Because of, Obama
But there is more good news. Surveys of federal oil and gas reserves keep soaring. At some point, some president is going to realize that by tapping such bounty all at once he can create new jobs, earn budget-deficit-reducing cash, stimulate the economy, cut down on the trade deficit, and marginalize the Middle East as a security issue. If Obama wishes to pass on that godsend, so be it: he can bequeath to his successor even greater riches that will only increase in value.
Rather than Obama destroying the economy, there is a sense emerging that he is merely restraining it. Should Obama lose in November, there will be the greatest collective sigh of relief since 1980 and a yell that all hell will break lose, in the good sense of business activity, commerce, investment, hiring, and resource utilization being unleashed.
Look at it this way: for four years Obama has poked and jabbed at the corralled stallion, and when the gate goes up he will roar out as never before. Or if you are a Greek, try this: for 30 years we have been lectured to death about global warming, the brilliant Ivy League technocrats, the genius of Keynesian borrowing, the need for multiculturalism in the White House, if only we had open borders, why lawyers and academics need to be in charge—all on the “what if” presumption that no one in his right mind would let any of the above become gospel. And so we had the constant liberal whine, “if only.…” Now we have it in the flesh, and in cathartic fashion Obama is going to purge us of that unhinged temptation for another generation.
We’re Mississippi and Massachusetts—All in One
In California, it is also the best of times and the worst of times. Jerry Brown just announced we are short $16 billion, not $9 billion, as he does his best to promote his massive tax increases on “them” on the June ballot. Yet it is still hard to kill off California.
Due to the globalized rise of Asia, there are now a billion new consumers in China, India, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, with money to buy California fruits, nuts, beef, and fiber. And while the state’s students have never been more unprepared in science and math, California high-tech farming—run by just a few thousand entrepreneurs—has never been more sophisticated and ingenious. Never have there been so many new hybrid species of trees, vines, and row crops, never so much mechanization and replacement of manual labor, never so much sophisticated computerized irrigation and fertilization. Just when I think no more production can be squeezed out of an acre, no more markets can be found for yet another 1,000-acre block of almonds or pistachios, no more new machines can figure out how to eliminate labor, prices keeps soaring and the profit margins keep growing—and in a government-induced depression no less.