What the Election Was Not About
by Victor Davis Hanson
1. Communication—As If You Would Have Liked My Agenda Had You Just Been More Informed
President Obama’s postmortem press conference was a near disaster. He seemed subdued, but also sometimes petulant—still convinced that we, in fear and distrust, “lashed out” in anger at the doctor rather than the disease. In fact, the same voter furor that turned on him is, he thinks, what earlier elected him: only his failure to channel it properly explains the setback. Finally he did admit that he was “shellacked,” but he believes that partisanship confused us voters into shellacking him.
This common complaint that he failed to communicate just how wonderfully he had done is quite an unhinged Carteresque/Kerryesque exegesis. The problem was not that the American voter did not know about the second stimulus, ObamaCare, the efforts to push cap and trade, card check, and $3 trillion more in debt, but that he knew them all too well. [....]
And his other points are:
2. We Spent Too Little?
Given what we know of the models of Spain, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and California, we should not take seriously another lunatic explanation that we did not borrow enough.[...]
3. Obstructionist Republicans
A third explanation often aired is that Republicans are good at destroying noble things like Obamism, but not good at governing. Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox News and the usual partisan suspects deluded the gullible public. The result is that we still do not appreciate the wonders of ObamaCare (check those rising premiums), and will soon choke without cap and trade, and will applaud Obama for the trivial things like the Government Motors Volt. Yet Obama and the left seem oblivious to the fact that they gave as good as they got. [....]
Oh yes, race. I mention that because on election day Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post has already played that preemptory card to explain the repudiation of the Obama agenda. Here’s why that is also crazy:
a) The anger is against the Obama agenda and those who promote it
b) The Tea Party zealots backed all sorts of candidates, women like Sharron Angle, Hispanics like Marco Rubio, blacks like Allen West, and Asians like Van Tran. Contrary to Robinson’s charges, race or gender was incidental — not essential — to their support.
c) Barack Obama has encountered no more venom—and in fact much less—than what George Bush or Bill Clinton endured. As of yet, thank God, we have not seen an Alfred Knopf novel like Checkpoint aimed at Obama, or anything like the 2006 Toronto prize-winning film Death of a President, which imagined the shooting of George Bush. I don’t recall Robinson at the time suggesting that such sick, unhinged hatred of Bush was either untoward or motivated by nefarious forces.
d) By 2001 the two highest foreign policy officials of the U.S. government—Secretary of State and National Security Advisor—were both African-Americans—and appointed by George Bush. [....]
e) To the degree racial divisiveness is more apparent after 2008, it is largely due to the Obama administration. The president himself called for Latinos to see Republicans as “enemies.”
So What Was Tuesday?
The truth is always the simplest explanation. Here it goes in simple language from the beginning: Obama was elected largely because of public furor over Bush/Iraq. The fawning media hid his socialist background. He ran as a centrist.
There is a lot more, go read it all.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Victor Davis Hanson on What the Democrats and their Leader Do Not Get
From Works and Days in Pajamas Media