January 20, 2012

Forgive me for the title, but I wanted this column to catch your attention.

It's not that I am calling myself dumb, or asking how I came to make a dumb decision or have a dumb thought. It's that Andrew Sullivan called me dumb!

Andrew Sullivan, if you don't know (and you will be excused for not knowing since he writes for a major weekly news magazine that has only 29 percent of the subscribers it had back in 2006), wrote the cover story for this week's Newsweek which he entitled: "Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?"

In a simple sentence, Sullivan's answer to his own question was: "Because they (his critics) criticize him." Wow! And I thought my criticism of the President qualifies me as a racist!

But you’d have to be stupid, fanatical, and dishonest to argue–as Sullivan does–that Barack Obama’s failures are part of an ingenious “long game” that is destined to succeed.

If this is the best Obama’s supporters can do, Obama’s only hope for re-election is the weak Republican field.

Sullivan, who claims to care about national debt, begins by arguing, contrary to reality, that Obama’s massive $787 billion stimulus (actually, $862 billion) turned the economy around. He offers no proof other than the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy familiar from basic economics. Sullivan also ignores the composition of the stimulus, which shoveled cash to cronies and bloated big states with their massive public sector obligations.

In addition, Sullivan claims that Obama’s auto bailout succeeded–when in fact it pushed aside property rights and subsidized failed “green” cars, rather than allowing car makers to rebuild through normal bankruptcy. He also commends Obama for continuing George W. Bush’s bank bailouts–but does not mention the Dodd-Frank financial “reforms” that enshrine “too big to fail,” hurt small businesses and fail to address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Next, Sullivan tries to defend Obama on taxes, pointing out that the president passed tax cuts as part of the stimulus. He ignores the numerous new taxes and tax increases that Obama signed into law–from higher cigarette taxes to the many ObamaCare taxes–as well as the glaring fact that Obama has been campaigning for the past several years on the promise to raise taxes on the rich, and would have done so if not for Congress.

Sullivan’s defense of ObamaCare is that it is more “moderate” than it might have been. That is hardly a measure of success–and after devious accounting tricks, thousands of waivers, and the abandonment of ObamaCare’s Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, the law is clearly on a path to failure. Fundamentally, it is unconstitutional–a reality Sullivan does not care to note in his encomium to Obama.

On foreign policy, Sullivan hails Obama’s success in the death of Osama bin Laden–giving a fantastical account of the president’s courage, and perpetuating the false meme that Bush had “ignored” Al Qaeda. In fact, it was the war in Iraq–and the interrogation methods that Sullivan decries–that produced the intelligence that led to bin Laden.

Aside from the war on Al Qaeda, Obama squandered every diplomatic and military success bequeathed to him by Bush. He destroyed missile defense in Europe, and wasted hard-won gains in Iraq by withdrawing troops against the advice of the military. While appeasing Iran and gutting the future of our defense, Obama alienated and undermined U.S allies. Sullivan, who detests Israel, even applauds Obama’s pointless confrontation with Benjamin Netanyahu–hardly a way to sell a second Obama term.

Having dealt with conservatives (in his own mind at least), Sullivan lists reasons that the left should be pleased with the president they elected. He’s correct that liberals should back Obama; they will never again see a U.S. president with such radical policies and pedigree. But he overlooks the degree to which Obama has discredited left-wing theory by exposing its flaws in practice–the real reason the left is distancing itself from him.

What is most telling in Sullivan’s admonition to liberals is his use of Obama’s inaugural metaphor of the “clenched fist.” The president, he says, “begins by extending a hand to his opponents” and outwits them when they respond “by raising a fist.” Yet Obama was referring to foreign policy, not U.S. politics. Once in office, of course, Obama embraced America’s enemies and bullied domestic opponents–as even the left knows all too well.

Sullivan quotes George Orwell: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” What is in front of Sullivan’s nose is Obama’s incompetence. He has coasted on the military success of his Republican predecessor, and is taking credit for moderate economic progress enabled by a Republican Congress that has held taxes, regulation, and spending in check. If he wins in 2012, Obama will again have Republicans to thank.

I'm going to stop criticizing Sullivan now, or else I will be considered "Double Dumb."