Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Blaming the Victims

I listened in dismay the other night as the lawyer for the Penn State pedophile declared that the allegations of the children made against his client are false, which was only to be expected. What troubled me in that interview, however, which was conducted by a photogenic young TV reporter, was that, when the reporter asked why eight boys would all claim falsely that the coach had molested them, the lawyer replied: 'Why does anyone make false allegations? You wouldn't; I wouldn't.' He then went on to accuse the boys of wanting fame and money, thus making exactly the kind of allegation he had just claimed he would never make. And the handsome young TV reporter was too stupid to call him on it.

The same sort of blame game, observed by the media with bland indifference, is being played by President Obama. First it was George W. Bush, then the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, then the Arab Spring, then the Tea Party, then the financial crisis in Europe, then "bad luck," then "messy democracy," and now, presumably having run out of things to blame for the failure of his economic policies, Mr. Obama is blaming us. That's right: The president says it's our fault, the fault of the American public, because we are unimaginative and lazy.

Which raises a few questions that seem to have escaped the mainstream media: When will this president take responsibility for his own failures? (Never.) When will he change his ideologically-driven course and try to correct the situation? (Never.) When will the blame game stop? (When he is removed from office.)

Meanwhile, this affable incompetent wanders the nation campaigning for re-election at taxpayers' expense, while the so-called Super Committee deadlocks, and a further downgrading of the U.S. credit rating looms. (And on the point of the Super Committee: What led anyone to suppose that an elite group culled from among the very political hacks who presided over the collapse of the American economy would be able to resolve it?) Earlier this year I heard a report that Belgium had for some time been operating without a government; well, we are doing the same. I think that it was Woody Allen who quipped that Dwight Eisenhower proved that America could function without a president. Mr. Obama is offering further proof.

Has anyone alive today ever seen such a woeful abdication of presidential leadership? Mr. Obama has spent more time on vacation than any other president. He has spent more time campaigning than any other president. And he has spent virtually no time actually governing. This is because he does not like the business of governing. And that is because he has no talent for it. He is good at campaigning, good at making speeches (when he has a prepared text), good at smiling and shaking hands. But where has he been during the many economic and international crises that have confronted his presidency? Why was he absent and silent during the alleged debt ceiling crisis? Why is he not leading the Super Committee in its deliberations? Where the hell is he?

He is, apparently, enjoying himself on the golf course and in Hawaii and at basketball games and on Martha's Vineyard. Is this what we elected him to do? Has he said anything profound or to the point recently about America's worsening economic crisis? His own party in Congress did not want to bring his sham of a jobs bill up for a vote. His own party voted unanimously against his budget. And his own party members seem to be distancing themselves from him as the 2012 election nears.

It is time for even Mr. Obama's most fervid supporters to admit it: He has been an unmitigated failure as a leader. The lone accomplishment of his presidency has been the forcing through Congress (without a single Republican vote) of the health care bill, which most Americans do not want, which most of his union supporters have opted out of, and which more than half of the states have challenged in court as unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court has now agreed to take up that challenge, which turns on the relative relation of the federal government's power to that of the states and the people. At stake is the question of individual liberty, the very principle upon which this nation was founded. A lower court has found that the general welfare trumps individual liberty, and this is a terrifying prospect. It does nothing less than cancel out America's philosophical birthright; and if that decision is allowed to stand, America, as we know it, as we inherited it from past generations, will be finished.

I will say it again: If the Supreme Court decides that the power of Congress to promote the general welfare trumps the people's right to individual liberty, the experiment which we call the United States of America will be over. And Mr. Obama may well win re-election on the shambles of its demise.