Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Is America Ungovernable?

Did you ever meet one of those people who decides that something must be impossible because they weren’t able to do it? That’s a defense mechanism that keeps them from having to acknowledge a defect within themselves. Liberals are big on defense mechanisms, and this is one of their favorites. Indeed, every time one of their Presidents fails at something, they rush to warn us that this something is simply impossible. And when their Presidents fail utterly, we are treated to a whole slew of articles lamenting the fact that America is ungovernable.

Let me take you back to Jimmy Carter. When Carter was elected, liberals were elated. Things had not been going well for the country. Liberal John Kennedy botched foreign policy before he was killed. Liberal Lyndon Johnson botched the war in Vietnam, and his Great Society was worsening racial tensions and exploding poverty. Then, in collaboration with Satan, aka Nixon, the liberal Democrats in Congress passed a Soviet-style regulatory scheme to protect us from everything, and strangely the economy began to collapse.

But here was Carter. If anyone could fix our broken country, it was Carter. Why? Because Carter was a liberal-certified genius. Indeed, they called him the smartest man ever elected President. They pointed out that Carter was a former naval officer and a nuclear engineer (though Carter’s school records do not reflect this). They pointed to his supposedly incredible attention to detail, his legendary honesty (since dispelled by Bob Woodward), and his successful career as a Georgia State Senator and Governor of Georgia. Here was a man who was so smart that he could not possibly fail.

Yet fail he did. . . spectacularly.

He let the Soviets invade Afghanistan (a failure for which we are still paying today). He let inflation skyrocket and economic output collapse -- leading to a new term “stagflation.” Unemployment soared. The debt soared. He let the Arabs exploit American dependence on oil to dictate American policy. He let the military wither and the dollar collapse. And he went through an embarrassing hostage crisis.

Clearly the man was not up to the task of being President, right? No, not according to liberals. Instead, they “reasoned” that if the smartest man alive could not run the country, then the country must be ungovernable. Seriously. There was open talk in liberal ranks that “the Presidency is too big of a job for one man.” There was talk that “the economy had changed” and that 10%+ unemployment was the new natural state of our economy. And they talked about America needing to learn “to accept a diminished role in the world” because our superpower days were over.

It never dawned on them that the man they tagged as ultra-smart was simply not a good leader. It never occurred to them that he was weak, afraid, and that his economic policies (policies they believed in) were at fault for the nation’s problems. No, they chose instead to believe that these problems simply had no solution rather than accept the fact that the solutions they offered were wrong. Indeed, Reagan’s success in turning around each of these areas came as a great shock to them. In fact, they spent most of his first term waiting for their perceived reality to set in and the country to return to the “normal” state that Carter encountered.

Now fast forward to the present. George Bush and his liberal friends in Congress passed laws that caused bubbles to form and burst, blowing a huge hole in the economy. Our military was bogged down in failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. American influence the world over was waning. Oil prices were soaring again.

Enter Barack Obama. Liberals described him as the smartest man to ever be elected President, despite the total lack of any proof (and in spite of significant contrary evidence). They pointed to his ghostwritten books, his time teaching, his Harvard education, and his “successful” career as a United States Senator. Here was a man who was so smart that he could not possibly fail.

Yet failing he is. . . spectacularly.

Afghanistan is a morass. He let unemployment reach and exceed Carter-like levels, and he has no idea how to turn this around. The economy is failing. He’s driven the deficit/debt to unprecedented levels, so high that he’s risking bankruptcy. He’s let China exploit his party’s dependence on deficit spending to dictate American policy. Iran is getting closer to building an atomic bomb. And so on.

So what are liberals saying now? Are they admitting that their ideas didn’t work? No. It’s 1979 all over again. We’re hearing that 9% unemployment may be “the new normal,” and that Americans need to accept that the days of a strong economy are gone forever. We’re hearing that America must accept that “there are limits on American power,” and we can no longer play the role of superpower. And we’re hearing that the country may be “ungovernable.”

The ungovernable charge comes from the fact that Obama had supermajorities in both House of Congress, devoted zombies ready to do his bidding throughout the country, and a level of genius never before seen when he entered the White House. Yet, he failed repeatedly. He was never able to get his policies in place as he wanted them, and more significantly, his policies didn’t seem to help. Since liberals cannot accept that their policies run counter to human experience and human nature, and they cannot (yet) accept that Obama isn’t the expert to end all experts, the only conclusion they are left with is that there must be some change in the country that has permanently driven up unemployment, permanently depressed economic activity, and permanently weakened our power and influence.

In other words, it’s not Obama who failed, it is simply impossible for this country to succeed. . . just as it was impossible for America to ever succeed again circa 1979.

So watch for more and more of these articles, until they enter the next phase of their grieving -- anger directed at the false messiah. ETA November.


Joel Farnham said...


In a sense, they are right.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
- John Adams

Since the left are not moral and not religious, how could we expect them to govern a moral and religious people?

In other words, if they can't understand the people and their relationship to the government, how can they govern?

Tennessee Jed said...

It does seem this bit of "conventional wisdom" comes out whenever things are going badly for them. I will say this, though. We seem to have a relatively even divide in this country between the so-called left and right. The left has always had a more diverse coalition than the right. Government rules make it difficult to make major changes (generally a good thing.) The theory is, today, you need the presidency and a fillibuster proof congress.

Much of today's electorate seems to vote against something rather than for something. I am as guilty as the next in that regard. I voted for McCain only because the alternative was unthinkable, and was right to do so.

We have culture wars, size of government wars, economic system wars, etc. Still, I have to believe a majority of people in this country are not so far apart we couldn't have an effective government if they were skilled at the art of compromise without total loss of principles.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I don't agree. Our country is very governable and always has been. But it only works if the people doing the governing use common sense and aren't greedy or power mad. Theoretically, the checks and balances should stop people like that from making things worse, but sadly, they've found ways around the checks.

This is all just a delusional things -- a sour grapes argument made by the left, which is very, very good at finding reasons to justify their repeated failures.

In the rest of the world, it usually takes the form of "socialism hasn't really been tried" or "the people who ran the government were corrupt."

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, You make some very good points, although I would disagree to a degree. I don't think we're 50/50. I think we are 50/50 between Republicans and Democrats, but we seem to be 60/40 between conservatives/liberals.

I think the difference is key because the Republicans have not be conservatives, nor have they represented middle America. Instead, they've largely been the party of K Street, looking after the interests of big business, with a few culture warriors added in to appease the people they think we are.

That's the real change the Tea Party is after, to break the Republicans of this habit and to get them focused on real America rather than Washington-perceived America. If that happens, you will see a real revival of the country.

America is not ungovernable, but it will kick and scream the whole way if it's being led astray, and both parties have been leading it astray for far too long.

Tennessee Jed said...

I would agree with that response, although it gives me an idea for a separate post/discussion. Since where one sits defines where one stands, where is the line between left and right drawn. Put differently, how do we define the line or "the middle?" I suspect if one calls themselves a "moderate" Democrat they might have a different definition than an independent, a "moderate" Republican, a libertarian or a conservative. It would be a great discussion, particularly if we could attract responses from a diverse audience, don't you think?

Tennessee Jed said...

p.s. part of that discussion would include, naturally, what defines an ideologue?

Anonymous said...

Andrew: The whole concept of the American form of government and the immense diversity of its people and its States has been proclaimed "impossible" to govern since 1789. Somehow, we've always managed to fool the naysayers.

When the elected officials follow the plan set out by the Founders, things work. When they decide (as with Obama and the Leftocrats) that the Constitution is outmoded and too restrictive, they fail. In the face of a crisis, strong leadership is needed. Carter? Obama? It's a toss-up whether the Democrats are less adept at dealing with economic crises or military crises. Bush and the Republican Congress were no prizes either.

As you've concluded, America is not ungovernable, but a great nation requires great leaders. We haven't had one of those since Reagan.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That would make an excellent discussion and I think people would be surprised to discover that it's very fluid what counts as right or left.

For example, both libertarians and the religious right are conservatives, but they have very different views on many issues.

Still, I think I know how to actually define this issue and I'll put together an article (I've been meaning to write this one, but never quite got around to it).

Joel Farnham said...


I agree this government is easy to govern. It is easy to govern if you aren't a socialist. It is easy to govern if you prefer to max out individual freedoms.

It becomes ungovernable when the people governing it arrogant themselves as royalty. It just doesn't work that way.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I don't even accept the premise that our country is ungovernable. We have tons of evidence to the contrary and the only people who whine about it are the left and then only after their latest boy-genius has failed miserably.

I think that the country is set up in a very governable way. Our checks and balances are meant to stop the creation of a dictator or letting the majority run roughshod over the minority. Beyond that, our government is a very workable model.

The reason that Democrats keep failing doesn't really have to do with the rules laid down by the Constitution (though that is often the excuse) it's that they are trying to do things that just don't make any sense and that have shown repeatedly that they blow up.

But the left doesn't want to admit that it's their wrong views that are the problem.

LL said...

The country would be a whole lot more governable if the Federal Government would allow the States to do what the States do and would manage it's own Constitutional mandate.

It was set up like that for a reason.

The Obama Regime established itself as the arbiter of "social justice", far from the realm of government as established by the Constitution. Their liberal elitists have proclaimed, "All cultures are equally deserving of respect; BUT Western culture is uniquely destructive and bad."

That's not governing.

The inexperienced but rhetorically gifted nobody (barack hussein obama) has no concept of governing. His career was meteoric, and is based entirely on words, not deeds or accomplishments. He is the quintessential political postmodern demagogue; skilled in the neo-Marxist/fascist talking points and easily able to convince all who hear him of his passionate committment to "social justice," (better understood as the redistribution of wealth) and universal peace and brotherhood (better known as the appeasement and enabling of evil).

NONE of it has anything to do with governing.

If the Democrats spent the effort they spend on "social justice" on running the country, they'd find it disarmingly easy. Stick to the job they have outlined under LAW - and it would work for them.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, I concur on all points. I particularly agree with this statement:

"If the Democrats spent the effort they spend on 'social justice' on running the country, they'd find it disarmingly easy."

I think that's very true. Governing the country is actually very simple. They have only made it complex because they are trying to do things that can't be done -- contradictory things. For example, steal the wealth of the country yet make the economy grow. Force people to get along by separating them into competing gangs. Create a free society by squelching speech with which they don't agree and regulating every aspect of everything we do.

They are basically totalitarians without the guts to admit what they are. Thus, not only do their plans suffer from the usual failing of trying to run a command economy, but it gets worse because they're trying to be vague about who they are and what they want. That's a recipe for confusion and incompetence.

And in this case, they have (as they always do) invested all of their hopes and dreams in the guy who looks best in the suit to sort out their muddle and make it all work. It can't work. And it's no surprise that he failed and doesn't have a clue how to "unfail" himself.

And since they don't even understand what they really want, and they can't understand why someone they think of as so perfect could be failing, they assume that there must be something wrong with the country. But they're wrong.

It's like seeing the world's strongest man be unable to move a rock and thus assuming that the rock cannot be moved, when the reality is that he just failed to use leverage.

Notawonk said...

smarties who continue to point to their smartness are the very ones we need to fear in government. once someone starts pointing to their greatness via their smarts, it's pure arrogance, and nothing good can come from that...for me or you. they are the ones who make it hard to govern.

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, There is an old saying that if you have to point out how smart you are, then you aren't. And I think that's the case here as well.

CrispyRice said...

I agree totally with this, too - "If the Democrats spent the effort they spend on "social justice" on running the country, they'd find it disarmingly easy. Stick to the job they have outlined under LAW - and it would work for them."

Unfortunately, we the people (well, not "we the Commentarama-ites") have allowed and even demanded that the Feds do so. It's how they get re-elected, by promising us goodies. How do we break that cycle?

Tam said...

CrispyRice, first, we vote appropriately. Second, we don't participate in entitlements and make a point that we will not. For example, I got an application from my son's preschool asking "all parents to participate in the Children and Adult Food Care Program" so the school can get federal funds based on the information we provide (number of kids in the school, number of kids at home, income, SSN) The school is "proud to administer the program and we appreciate your cooperation." Instead of just passive-aggressively not participating in enabling the entitlement, I am going to tell the school that I am not participating and why. I am also going to write letters to the CACFP coordinator and other school administrators. We have to stop just sitting back and shaking our heads and getting mad. We need to actually explain our anger and in my case, my reasons for non-participation in this particular welfare entitlement. If that doesn't work, TO ARMS, patriot!

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, I think that's the dirty secret of our system. Everyone complains that the Congress does things it shouldn't do and doesn't represent "the people," but it's those same people who keep sending the same jerks back to DC and asking them to keep doing what they're doing.

That's my greatest hope with the Tea Party people is that they are genuinely different -- that they see their role as shrinking the government and getting out of the business of pandering to voting blocks that are looking to raid the treasury.

CrispyRice said...

Great point, Tam, and good for you! It just feels like fighting a losing battle against all the people who think that money from the gov't is somehow their birthright, yanno?


AndrewPrice said...

Good for you Tam! I think they will be shocked that you aren't playing the game and that you aren't thrilled that they managed to get their hands in your wallet (and mine).

I wish more people who take this stand and start holding it against companies and people who do have their hands out with the government. That's the only way to change the culture is to make it clear that we won't be supporting those looking to rob us anymore.


Ed said...

I saw the article on the new "structural" level of unemployment being more than 7% and I said that's total BS. Nice article.

AndrewPrice said...

Good catch Ed. "Structural unemployment" is the newspeak version of "full employment". I'm not sure who decided this sounded better, but there it is. In either event, it's crap. The historic level of full employment in the US was 4.5% - 5%. If it's higher than that, then you're doing something wrong.

Ed said...

Maybe they thought full employment didn't sound good in the speeches?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Probably true. It sounds better to blame unemployment on the structure of the economy rather than claiming that everyone who wants a job has one.

BoilerRoomElf said...

Nice comparison between Carter and Obama, Andrew. I look forward to O going down just as badly.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Elves! Welcome back from the world tour. Did you see anything worth writing about?

BoilerRoomElf said...

Maybe we did, Andrew. What's in it for us if we talk??

AndrewPrice said...

More booze.

BoilerRoomElf said...

It'll be on your desk in the morning, BossMan!

StanH said...

It’s imperative for the success of liberal policy too continue to dumb down America. Ignorant people are generally much easier to lead around by their noses. Barry is merely the latest incarnation of the perfect progressive president. He will fail just as Jimmy the peanut Carter did, the difference this time statist Washington has fully unmasked itself and the correction will begin soon 11/2.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I hope you're right about the electorate wising up. What's really ironic to me is that if they had picked a capable leader, then they could have actually made progress in socializing America. Instead, all they created was a massive backlash.

DUQ said...

This concerns me, Andrew - "What's really ironic to me is that if they had picked a capable leader, then they could have actually made progress in socializing America."

I see a big opportunity here for Hillary to run in 2012 as a "reasonable voice for the middle." Of course, in reality, she is nothing of the sort. However, she could do much worse damage in term of socializing America because I don't think there would be the backlash to her.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That is a concern. But unless Obama quits and doesn't run in 2012 -- which I can't see happening -- then any primary fight would be ultra bruising for her because she would need to run to his left!

Individualist said...

Maybe it's the iconoclast in me but.......

When democrats make statements such as the "county is ungovernable".

My only response to them is "Good!".

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, That is a perfect response! LOL!

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