When I was a kid I was a big fan of DC comic books… Superman, Batman, etc. There was one storyline in those comics I always found nonsensical and not even plausible: Bizarro, an un-Superman who was the wrong to Superman’s right. In a universe where you have to suspend reality to a certain degree in order to enjoy stories about the otherworldly powers of Superman or the superhuman powers of Batman, the writers of the Bizarro World saga wanted readers to suspend the functioning of their actual brains. At least if your goal is to achieve success, you can deal with failure and go on. If your goal is actual failure, success would be a failure which would in turn be a success. It was always too complicated for me to spend much time with because my brain would start hemorrhaging.
To those unfamiliar with the Bizarro World universe, it was focused on a square shaped planet Htrae, (Earth spelled backwards) where everything was the opposite of how things worked on Earth. Essentially, Bizarro World was a universe where everything that was bad on Earth was good there and everything good was bad.
Which brings me to the United States in 2009 and Obama World – and not, unfortunately, to a comic book version of reality. At the end of most days I can’t help but feel like I have somehow been transplanted into a Bizarro World, with our President playing the character of the un-Superman, Bizarro.
There is an old saying that even a blind squirrel trips over a nut every now and then which means that just by walking around randomly even a blind squirrel would trip over a nut on occasion. Apparently this President is not blind. How else could one explain the fact that he has been able to avoid tripping over the right policy at every single possible turn, both domestic and foreign?
Here are just a few examples:
The Obama Justice Department declining to prosecute Black Panther members for intimidating voters in Philadelphia on Election Day. Imagine had the thugs been white sheet wearing Klansman intimidating voters outside polling places in Selma, Alabama or Jackson, Mississippi. Somehow one finds it hard to believe this administration would have felt compelled to dismiss the charges.
This is the same Justice Department that has chosen to consider charging CIA officers and presidential advisors for doing their jobs with the stated objective of protecting the lives of American citizens. In an imperfect universe where there are thousands if not millions of Islamic fanatics who seek to do America harm, logic dictates that a course of action that forces those on the front line of defense to take their eyes off their targets so they can look over their shoulder at potential treats coming from their own side are counter productive. How many people would volunteer for a highly dangerous, stressful and difficult job if they believed that even if they did everything according to the rules, years later someone might come by and throw them in jail, regardless of how successful they were actually doing that job? Now that’s an incentive for attracting the best and the brightest!
Government Motors. In a world where success is forged in the kilns of competition, fired by the mix of entrepreneurship and failure, what makes providing a lifeline to abject failure a good idea? Had General Motors and Chrysler been allowed to fail, the owners and creditors would have been forced to take whatever actions were necessary to wring the greatest value out of the dinosaurs’ carcasses. It’s been the driving force of American economic might for centuries and it’s what Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter called “Creative Destruction.” Thanks to the Obama administration, the United States is now the largest shareholder in a car company that is really more a retirement plan with a side business of cars than a car company whose job is to make cost efficient, competitive cars consumers want to buy. While the UAW and management have driven the companies into the ground, that government does not escape blame with its CAFÉ standards and market manipulation. Management is gone but the government and the UAW are left, that should give one great confidence in the future of Government Motors.
Beyond the obvious problem with investing the public’s money in places where they don’t want it to go, perhaps even more problematic is the administration’s decision to simply do away with the Rule of Law that has been the foundation for or economic success for centuries. Essentially the administration browbeat and intimidated GM and Chrysler’s secured debtholders into agreeing to abandon their rights and allow the government hand the company over to the United Auto Workers. From this day forward, any time an American company seeks financing and offers to provide its assets as collateral, they will face lenders who are wondering about the government coming in and changing the rules after they’ve put their money into the pot. The result will be that credit will be harder to find and when it is found, it will cost more.
Reading Miranda rights to foreign fighters on the battlefield? Is there anyone with a functioning brain that thinks this is a good idea? One simply needs to look at our own dysfunctional jurisprudence system to recognize that introducing such rights into the middle of a war zone is nothing short of bizarre.
Health care. Eighty-five percent of Americans have health insurance and 100% of the people can get care in an emergency. While the American system is far from perfect, in what kind of universe does it make sense to expand the primary cause of the problem in the first place, government? Make no mistake about it, government is the problem, both federal and state. Regrettably, when given the choice between making a number of changes that might help insure the remaining 15% , the Obama administration chose instead to propose turning the entire system on its head and putting the imperial federal government in charge of almost 20% of our economy, not to mention in the hospital room where you discus the most intimate details of your health with your doctor.
With a plan that only someone who slept through Economics 101 could believe, President Obama promises to expand coverage to every American – and illegal alien, although the plan is to legalize them so they qualify – do so without increasing the deficit, not cutting any benefits and not increasing the burden on taxpayers. Has anyone at this White House picked up a history book and looked at the record of the federal government in running anything – Amtrak , Post Office, Katrina, Social Security, Food Stamps, Medicare? How about Thomas Sowell’s The Housing Boom and Bust? And now they want to put on a lab coat and a stethoscope and help our doctor take care of us?
The President has chosen to gut missile defense for Poland and Czech Republic in an attempt to appease the Russians and seek their support of sanctions on Iran. (The Russians have reciprocated by suggesting that sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive.” That worked well.) Was anyone in this administration actually awake or sober during the Cold War? After centuries of war and conflict between the various European states and the deaths of well over 100 million soldiers and civilians, 1945 began a period of peace on the continent that is unprecedented in a thousand years. The primary driver of that peace was the understanding to everyone involved that the United States felt it was in their national interests to defend its allies in Western Europe in the face of any threats. Under that umbrella of protection it was possible for the nations of Western Europe to build their socialist paradises. (Had they been forced to pay the true cost of defending themselves from the Russian Bear they could never have afforded to heap on their citizens the array of services they currently enjoy – and pay for in taxes.) Now, with a resurgent Bear to the east that has bared its claws in Georgia, threatened to do so in the Ukraine and cut off gas supplies to Europe, the Obama administration has decided to forego that security blanket for the hope of international cooperation. It was not “international cooperation” that saved Europe from itself for the past 70 years and it will not likely save America and its friends from the nefarious intentions of various tyrants, terrorists or tin pot dictators around the world.
Jobs. One would imagine that in the toughest economy in 30 years, with unemployment approaching double digits, an administration interested in helping the country pick itself up and storm back into economic growth would give individuals and companies a reason to expand their businesses, hire new workers, and risk failure for the potential reward of success. After all, small business is the home to 70% of American jobs and is responsible for 80% of all new jobs created. Inexplicably, instead of cutting taxes and unleashing the American industriousness that was at the economic vanguard of the 20th century, the Obama administration is doing literally the opposite. Increasing taxes, sucking investment capital out of the world markets and using its labyrinthine regulatory power to regulate everything from executive salaries to, tire prices to (soon) the carbon dioxide we exhale thousands of times a day.
Finally, freedom and constitutional democracy. In a normal world the United States would come down on the side of a constitutional democracy where legislators went through the independent judiciary to replace an executive who was seeking to usurp power by abrogating the country’s constitution. In the Bizarro world of the Obama administration, the United States has done just the opposite. When Honduran legislators (of his own party) replaced President Zelaya (with a member from said party) because he was intent on running for a second (constitutionally banned) term in office, rather than cheering a government standing up for democracy, the Obama administration cut off aid, denounced the act as a coup d’état and threatened sanctions. Combine that with the administration’s dithering while Iranian students protested for free elections and were shot in the streets, and freedom seekers around the world are left scratching their heads wondering what happened to that beacon of light that used to be that “Shining city upon a hill?”
In the Bizarro World comic there is some comfort in knowing that it’s easy to understand what is coming. You simply think of what Superman would do and then expect the opposite. In the Obama Bizarro World, with its soaring rhetoric, one sometimes is lulled into the expectation that this president understands what is going on in the world around him and you almost expect that he might accidentally trip over the right course of action. It doesn’t take long however, to figure out that you are not lost in some otherworld adventure or even a Lewis Carrol Wonderland, but rather aboard a slightly damaged vessel whose captain and crew are willingly beguiled by the seemingly incongruous sirens of internationalism, statism and socialism and have set course accordingly and continue to correct back to course despite the chorus of voices shouting danger. The rocks are getting closer with every minute. I hope there are plenty of lifeboats.