Thought it would be interesting to repost one of my scattershooting blogs, this one from November 23, 2008, just days after Barack Obama was elected President. I note that I was wrong about Iraq, but pretty much on target otherwise. Take a read; not a word has been changed.
Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Christopher Cross . . . Magazines and posters equate Obama with hope. It never ceases to amaze me at how people and pundits left and right continue to put their hopes in politicians. I pray that Barack Obama is a good – even great – President, but as the embodiment of hope he is certain to fall short, Oprah’s fawning description of him as “The One” notwithstanding. At the risk of sounding kneejerkingly predictable, hope is found in God alone. Not in politicians, pundits, or preachers. . . . It is also of interest to me that Obama is being portrayed as the next Lincoln or Roosevelt (FDR, not TR). More and more historians now believe that the New Deal of FDR was a failure at rescuing America from The Great Depression. The economy turned around courtesy of World War II. Lincoln without the Civil War is probably a forgotten President, for it is doubtful that he would have issued the Emancipation Proclamation were the war not going badly. Lincoln does leave us much to remember and even more to ponder. Today I hope President Obama can complete what Lincoln helped start, the freeing of African-Americans from slavery. Not from chattel slavery, but from mental slavery to victimhood embraced by far too many and harbored as reason to be insular and irresponsible. It is tragic that the growth of the Black middle class has not been pervasive enough to fulfill the aspirations set forth in the Constitution. There have been many barriers to this advancement – certainly not all self-inflicted, and I pray that more barriers are removed with the triumph of Barack Obama. . . .
Meanwhile, is it just me or do you notice how the reasons given by the business geniuses on CNBC and FoxBusiness for the ups and downs of the market seem to change day to day, if not hour to hour? Seems to me that were we living under Jewish Old Testament Law most of these false prophets would have been stoned to death long ago. Or maybe they’re just stoned. . . .
The choice of Rahm Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff continues to puzzle. Guess the new President was looking for someone to play bad cop to his good cop. . . . As many pundits have noted, we seem to be living out Ronald Reagan’s assessment of how Washington thinks and acts: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps on moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it.” . . . If, as the anti-Detroit crowd crows, “Americans would start buying American cars again if Detroit built what they wanted to drive,” then why are more than 50 percent of cars sold in America made by GM, Chrysler, or Ford? And why are Toyotas and Mercedes clogging the port of Long Beach, California? I don’t think it’s because Americans don’t want to buy Japanese or German. . . . I wonder what has made Bill Maher such an angry, sullen, sarcastic hater of God and religion. He wasn’t always that way. Reminds me of George Roy Hill, the film director, who did the charming Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and other smile-getters only to turn out dark and somber films like The World According to Garp and Little Drummer Girl.
. . . Time magazine’s Man of the Year? Shoe-in: Barack Obama. This time the award is well-earned and not a celebration of the bad guys. I’m still not sure it was wise to make Adolf Hitler “Man of the Year,” but Time famously did so. . . . Speaking of villains, how about Hank Paulson? I can’t get past the fact that as the head of Goldman Sachs he qualified himself as being a bigger part of the problem rather than the man with a good solution. Then there’s George W. Bush (43), who apparently skipped economics classes at Yale and Harvard. So we can now add the economic mess – greatest since the Great Depression and still not as bad as it will become – to his list of bad decisions. When he chose to invade Iraq I knew it was a horrendously bad decision: bad for Americans, bad for America’s standing in the world. Once in, we had to win, but despite the surge that looks like an impossible dream. Rival factions within Iraq are unraveling things more and more every day, and greed and graft has siphoned billions into the hands of a relative few. This may have been the most ill-advised war in American history, making Vietnam look like a smart move (which it wasn’t) in contrast. . . .
Meanwhile, inspiring quotes from the 1920s: “I cannot help but raise a dissenting voice to statements that we are living in a fool’s paradise, and that prosperity in this country must necessarily diminish and recede in the near future.” – E. H. H. Simmons, President, New York Stock Exchange, January 12, 1928. Or how about Irving Fisher, a leading economist who told the New York Times on September 5, 1929, “There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash.” Of course, the market did crash in late October, 1929. . . . My thinking says that very dark economic times are ahead, and that even a new administration with a new philosophy won’t help. For all the credit given FDR, unemployment remained at record highs throughout the 1930s and the stock market remaining in the tank until the 1950s. “The Greatest Generation” handled it, but will we? . . . And then there was the elephant who loved to shop but was scared to death of trunk shows.