It is becoming common for national political commentators, who don't share Obama's political vision, to wish him well. David Brooks of the New York Times hopes he succeeds in restoring America; Peggy Noonan wishes him well. Their generosity is misplaced. We must separate the personal from the political. I don't dislike Obama personally; in fact, I don't know him personally and have no basis on which to have any opinion of him personally. I have studied his public persona, which he has carefully constructed and promoted, and some aspects of it are admirable, though under-developed. He has a somewhat conservative view of the black community, but he has not developed that part of his vision, while, alas, snuggling close to the vulgar philosophy of black nationalism and inhaling gigantic quantities of anti-semitism in the process, neither of which he has honestly repudiated.
Politically, I don't agree with his political ideology, his political economy, or his vision of America. I don't think that America is fundamentally a problem in the world. I do not agree that the problems America has now are the result of an era of irresponsibility. I do not think that the gap between the wealth and income of the classes was the result of government policies or political robbery by Republicans. I do not agree that our foreign affairs will be suddenly made better or the world made calmer and less violent, by repudiating the War on Terror or abandoning support for Israel or abnegating our role as the world's only policeman. His first effort at dialog and charitable engagement with the Islamist forces of anti-semitism, at Durban II, failed and he has had to back off. Similar efforts with Iran, Syria, the Taliban, with Jidadists everywhere, will similarly fail--there is absolutely no evidence, no historical experience, that his naive and silly Leftist approach will succeed. His misguided efforts to implement it will severely set back the Bush administration's hard-won successes against our enemies. Why should I wish Obama well in these policies? Why should I wish him to succeed, when success would injure our allies, weaken democratic movements in the Islamic states, and encourage our enemies?
I do not agree that the solutions to our domestic problems lie in expansion of governmental power and government's position in the economy. Obama's domestic economic policies are economically ill advised and will almost certainly prolong and deepen the nation's now-deep recession and probably push it into a mini-depression. To the extent that these policies succeed, the national economy will fail. Why should I wish him to succeed in his misadventure?
His notion of "energy independence" is based on a deliberate political lie. He and his Democratic allies maintain the fiction that the US is somehow "dependent" upon "foreign" oil, implying Middle Eastern oil. But of course, we are not. We provide nearly half of our own oil needs from our own oil supply. We import oil to satisfy the remaining needs from, in this order, Canada, then Mexico, and then Saudi Arabia. Only 18% of our oil come from Saudi Arabia. It is misleading, though technically true, to call Canada and Mexico, "foreign". They are our closest trading partners. Canada is our nation's closest ally, who has stood shoulder to shoulder with the US in war and peace. Canada is our friend in a deep sense that makes it offensive to label our northern neighbor as "foreign". Mexico is, if not a historical friend in the same sense, a special trading partner and has a special relationship with us. It is the motherland for a huge minority of our citizens and residents, most of whom would be offended to have their native land despised in the way Obama and the Democrats talk about our dependency on "foreign" oil.
The political fiction about oil dependency is simply a ruse to hide their decision to enact an anti-oil, green economic agenda. The Democrats realize that this agenda will raise the cost of living of most Americans and will, concommitently, lower their standard of living. To get away with their green warfare against America's working and middle classes, they have to disguise their agenda by saying it is to free America from the bad Middle Eastern oil despots, even though we are not enslaved to them by our consumption of petroleum. Why should I wish Obama well and hope these lie-based "oil independence" and "green" policies succeed? The policies will hurt the working and middle classes, and hurt Canada and Mexico. There are ways to transition to cleaner technologies without hurting ourselves and our friends and allies; but those ways involve capitalism and free markets. And Obama and the Democrats want to build big government, and their own power, and not the capitalists and free markets.
Do I want the recently enacted economic "stimulus" not to succeed? What "stimulus" bill? Another political lie from the President and his party. The so-called stimulus isn't, as hundreds of economists, the CBO, and many other observers, including me, have explained at length. It is simply another gimmick to expand government and give the Democratic Party more political power. I can't support something that doesn't exist.
Do I oppose the national infrastructure rebuilding programs in the economic so-called stimulus? Nope. I wish they had been separated out in the Congressional bill that brought us the stimulus. I expect some of them to have a positive effect on the nation; but they will not stimulate economic recovery. Indeed, their cost will lower the national growth rate for decades to come (thank you, CBO, for this analysis). And many of the infrastructure projects simply have not been examined, cost-benefit analyses applied, and argued over. Have we prioritized our infrastructure needs? What kind of America do we want to have in thirty years that the infrastructure projects will help bring? Are all the projects of equal value? Do we need tax-payer funded high-speed rail lines in the US? For what? For whom? For the 6% of Americans who use mass transit? It would be better that the infrastruture sections of the so-called stimulus fail and we start again with better thought out and analyzed projects.
Do I support the President's plan to increase taxes on everybody--on the "rich" directly and on everyone else indirectly through the increased prices of carbon emissions cap and trade? Nope. Class warfare taxation is inimical to a just society. I hope that these policies fail and fail quickly, can be abandoned, and better ways found to fund social programs and environmentalism.
As more proposals for health care and education eject from the White House, I will have more opportunities to repeat my hope that the President fails. No one should hope that bad policies, ill-advised programs, and lie-based disguised grabs for more political power succeed. We should all hope the President fails. I don't wish him politically well.
Update. March 2, 2009. AP writers report on economists' efforts to define a "depression". Hint--we're getting close.