Obama Ruins a Coinage


Back in the early days of blogging, columnist Robert Fisk’s anti-Bush tirades were so full of oversimplifications, arguable statements proclaimed as fact, and other means of rhetorically missing the mark that hawkish bloggers coined the verb “to fisk.”  Fisking entailed a blog post that responded to something somebody else had written in a call-and-response fashion, sentence by sentence, rebutting each point.  Particularly outrageous essays were said to be “fiskable.”

Well, President Obama has not only undermined that perfectly good package of new words, but truly accomplished what many had thought impossible — even in the heady days of the 2008 campaign.  He’s made Robert Fisk right, which is to say that he’s put him on the same side as War on Terror defenders like me.  Here’s the non-fiskable proof:

If Barack Obama decides to attack the Syrian regime, he has ensured – for the very first time in history – that the United States will be on the same side as al-Qa’ida.

Quite an alliance! Was it not the Three Musketeers who shouted “All for one and one for all” each time they sought combat? This really should be the new battle cry if – or when – the statesmen of the Western world go to war against Bashar al-Assad.

A few months ago, I initiated the practice, whenever I had no other way to express astonishment at the actions of America’s present executive administration, of adapting an Obama campaign catch-phrase and tweeting: “We are the ones we were warned about.”  If I’m now in agreement with Robert Fisk, one has to wonder whether there’s any remaining conscious rationale for supporting the president beyond rank partisanship.

The same question applies to the economy.  Consider Ed Rogers:

The Obama administration is stuck in a surreal world, where bad news is good news for the economy it has created. Trickle down from the stock market and artificially low interest rates are the only drivers of the economy. The second-estimate gross domestic product report this week will be vital to the life-support system that President Obama has constructed for the 1 percent.  If the revised GDP numbers are good – relatively speaking – it will suggest that bond-buying by the Federal Reserve will be tapered in the near future.  If the tapering begins, the stock market is going to fall.  If the stock market falls, the wealth effect and the trickle-down that stock market boom has produced are going to dry up.

Obviously, an economic crash would be terrible, but so would a slowing down of the conveyor belt of money between Washington and Wall Street, which is fueling what little growth we have.

The fiscal and monetary policies that have guided our ostensible economic recovery have been a technocrat’s dream: Leaving things in the hands of people at the top to operate the controls and goose the numbers rather than trusting our great nation of individuals to pursue their own interests and thereby move the economy forward.  Not surprisingly, the people at the top have used the opportunity to inflate their own currency (investment funds), effectively socializing the losses from investments that turned out to be inadvisable during the mortgage-backed crash.

The problem is that the technocrats may have overestimated the extent to which people will slave away purely to keep the economy going.  Folks need to be able to take risks and innovate in their own work… and then to be able to collect the fruits when doing so pays off.  Facilitating that, through tax reductions and regulatory reform, was the secret to the Reagan recovery.  There’s no secret to what’s going wrong now.

Investments can be made in the form of both money and effort.  The effort kind has a physical and quality-of-life component that the money kind more or less lacks.  Present policy favors the easy kind, which also happens to be a kind weighted to the so-called fat cats against whom progressive talking points rail.

To the extent that the Left sticks with Obama, we might say that it is beyond fisking.  Clearly, we bloggers need to coin another term.

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