A new, horrible mis-match that we're going to see end badly-President Obama and the United States of America.
So far, nobody has really been able to prove to me that the United States-on a political axis-is more or less a center-right country. There's a fundamental distrust of the concentration of power outside of certain activites-military, some kinds of regulation and law enforcement. A belief in what the Little Red Hen said-she did all the work to make the bread, so why should people that did nothing but sit around and watch get anything? It may also be more of a modern thing, but the mores of the United States have changed in the belief in the melting pot-we got no problems with the Pakistani bistro down the street, but your kids have to learn how to speak English as their main language. And, they're here to stay-you're here to make a small bit of this country your home and bitch about the fact that your daughter is seeing that Irish kid down the street with his pants around his knees (but, if you kill her for the "dishonor", you'll be staring at a needle yourself).
Militarily, there is a belief in that a single source of leadership-however occasionally poor it is-is better than military control by committee. Better a George W. Bush than a Senate Armed Services Committee. We like having somebody that we can wave a finger at and say "he's to blame", and force changes by indirect (protests, letters, writing) and direct (voting out his allies, voting out the one who's the problem) means.
Like all generalities, there are exceptions-Johnson's Great Society is a big one (I suspect a lot of people thought it was a "fair" deal, and not what it turned out to be-bread and circuses). So was the massive demobilization after both World War II and the end of the Cold War, when the world kept showing that there were major threats on the horizon. But, both sides agreed that there had to be an end to the tools of war, if not for why there had to be an end.
And then, we get to President Obama. As it seems to be from how he's been treated in Europe, he'd make for a great head of a major leftist party. His politics are very much "we need to centralize power so the decisions can all be made once, here". And, many of the policies are ones that have been used over the decades in other places and failed horribly. You keep getting the feeling that it's like Charlie Brown and the Kite Eating Tree...instead of being careful, he just buys a bigger, more expensive, and much more tasty kite.
A few of the less brilliant ideas he's had...
- "Cash For Clunkers"-not does it mean that there are fewer cars on the used/secondary sales market (which a lot of lower-middle class and poor people get their cars) and the related parts market, most of the cars bought to replace the junked cars tended to be from Japan and Europe, not the United States.
- Bailing out GM. For years, the bitter joke has been that GM is pretty much a company that provides health care and benefits, and as a byproduct makes cars. Bankruptcy and restructuring would have been awful for the people that depended upon GM and people that depended upon GM people for their lives, but restructuring would have done something to make GM profitable. Now, all that's going to happen is that the crash is going to be higher and harder to avert. And the mess much larger.
- Dithering about his support in Afghanistan. Especially doubling-up with the Pakistani government that has been shown in the past to either look the other way or help Al Quedia. You can almost suspect that he's waiting for a Tet-like event that looks horrible on TV to pull American troops out.
- By words and deeds, pretty much putting Eastern Europe out in the cold. There's a steadily growing sense of Russian nationalism, an effort to go back to the "good old days" when Eastern Europe was where Russians went for cheap hookers and cheap goods. Not as free nations that have had enough-centuries enough-of being a part of a Russian Empire in all but name.
- Failing to provide political support in dealing with Iran. Had the election fight gone more against the mullahs, they would have issues supporting their nuclear program. When they start screaming that they'll soon be ready to nuke Israel-and Israel makes quiet plans to destroy their nuclear program-Obama dithers. An Israeli strike-no matter how justified-will set of a war in the Middle East that makes the Yom Kippur War look like a wet firecracker. A nuclear attack on Israel would probably result in massive strikes across the Middle East, as the Israeli military engages in retaliatory strikes.
- And, on that note...rather than develop heavy power industries such as nuclear power, improved coal, and such; there is the push for windmills and solar power. Nice if you want to run a few lightbulbs and maybe a laptop, but horrible if you want to run a machine shop. Especially if you want to work at your own pace, and not during the day or when the wind is blowing.
How did it happen? A golden window between the time of the perceived and actual failures of the Bush administration and a Democrat Party looking to try and reconnect with the glory days it had and lost with the 1994 Republican revolution. A Republican Party that has serious internal issues between the moderate and harder-right member of it's own party, especially as many of the members that were the ones that had been a part of what got Regan elected (by kicking out the worst of the conspiracy theorists, Birchers and such) died or left politics. And, a Republican Party where the conspiracy theorists-the Nirthers, the Birthers, the Truthers and such-began to take on a much more predominant role.
This golden window is why you see such pressure to pass health care reform, and a horde of other bills to try and "fix" things-soon enough, the 2010 elections are coming and you get the feeling from polling data that somebody is going to be left holding the bag. And, if they can't get enough things to show that they're making things "better", the Democrats are going to be the ones with the bag. A shift of votes to a more contested House and Senate, especially of Republicans that are going to try and show they are not "business as usual" types is a disaster for the cozy relationships that Obama has been trying to use to get his bills passed.
And, he's still there, still smiling and accepting the Nobel Peace Prize for being somebody other than Bush. Even more so than Jimmy Carter (whom I keep seeing as the nearest contemporary politician to Obama), you get the sense that if he stops smiling he might have to think.
And, that would be a disaster. More so than what's going on now, but definitely a disaster.