THE LIBERAL CIRCUS
Lately liberalism has gone from psychodrama to farce. Take Barack Obama. He has gone from mild displeasure with Israel to downright antipathy.
Suddenly we are in a surreal world where off-the-record slurs from the administration against Benjamin Netanyahu as a coward and chickensh-t have gone to full-fledged attacks from John Kerry and Susan Rice, to efforts of former Obama political operatives to defeat the Israeli prime minister at the polls, to concessions to Iran and to indifference about the attacks on Jews in Paris.
Who would have believed that Iranian leaders who just ordered bombing runs on a mock U.S. carrier could be treated with more deference than the prime minister of Israel? What started out six years as pressure on Israel to dismantle so-called settlements has ended up with a full-fledged vendetta against a foreign head of state.
Hillary Clinton likewise has gone from a rather run-of-the-mill liberal grandee to a political grafter. She apparently solicited donations from foreign government officials and wealthy foreign nationals to contribute to the Clinton Foundation – and this was while she was secretary of State conducting the foreign policy of the United States.
If those charges are proven accurate, how could she ever be trusted to become commander in chief? Unfortunately, in the last year almost every cause that Hillary Clinton has taken up has been belied by her own actions.
Inequality and fairness? At time when students struggle under a collective $1 trillion-plus student debt, much of it because of universities hiking fees and tuitions above the inflation rate, Hillary has serially charged universities well over $200,000 for 30-minute boilerplate speeches.
Women’s issues? We learn that women on Senator Clinton’s staff once made considerably less than their male counterparts.
Had Bill Clinton worked at a university, corporation or government bureau, his sexual peccadillos long ago would have had him thrown off the premises. The latest disclosures about his junkets with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein are so bizarre that no one quite knows what to make of them – the would-be first female and feminist president married to a man who serially cavorted with a convicted sexual pervert?
Transparency? Consider the recent disclosures that Hillary knew almost immediately that the Benghazi killings were the preplanned work of terrorists and not due to spontaneous rioters angry over a video – and yet continued to deceive the public that just the opposite was true.
The problem with Hillary’s scandals are not just that they reveal a lack of character, but that they are illiberal to the core on hallmark progressive issues of concern for equality, transparency and feminism.
We no longer live in an age of debate over global warming. It has now transmogrified well beyond Al Gore’s hysterics, periodic disclosures about warmists’ use of faked data, embarrassing email vendettas, vindictive lawsuits, crony green capitalism, and flawed computer models.
Now Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, has taken the psychodrama to the level of farce in a two-bit McCarthyesque effort to demand from universities information about scientists who do not embrace his notions of manmade global warming.
Where are the ACLU and fellow Democratic congressional supporters of free speech and academic freedom to censure such an Orwellian move? Finally, even the American Meteorological Society had to condemn the unhinged Grijalva for his bizarre efforts.
Attorney General Eric Holder came into office alleging racism and calling the American people cowards, and six years later is exiting, still blaming racism for his own self-inflicted failures.
In between, Holder became the first attorney general to be cited for contempt by Congress. He stonewalled the Fast and Furious investigations. His plans to try terrorists in federal civilian courts were tabled almost immediately. He ordered electronic taps and surveillance on the communications of Associated Press and Fox reporters for supposed leaks.
He ignored wrongdoing in the IRS mess, a scandal that continues to grow. He got caught using his government jet to take his daughters and their boyfriends to the Belmont Stakes.
But Holder will be remembered largely for his racialist tenure. He dropped a strong case of voting intimidation by armed Black Panthers at the polls. In congressional testimony, he referred to blacks as "my people"; anyone else – except Joe Biden – who had said the same would have been asked to resign.
Holder promised federal action on the Ferguson and the Trayvon Martin shootings – and then quietly backed off when the evidence for civil rights violations did not meet his own rhetorical excesses. The problem, he pleaded, was not that his targets were not guilty under the law, but that the law itself had to be changed to make them guilty.
Holder claimed repeatedly that opposition to Obama was race-based, and he leaves office as a caricature of incompetence and racial divisiveness.
The IRS scandal likewise went from melodrama to farce. The president said there was not a "smidgeon" of corruption in the selective targeting of conservatives. Lois Lerner, the focus of investigations, pled the Fifth Amendment after having received over $100,000 in merit bonuses.
When congressional investigators wanted to subpoena her computer records, IRS officials claimed both that her hard drive had crashed and that its data was unrecoverable. The latter proved untrue; but then so far so has everything the IRS has said.
The only lesson is that any private citizen who replied to IRS inquiries in the manner that the IRS responded to public subpoenas would be jailed.
Debt? Barack Obama stated out in 2008 calling George W. Bush unpatriotic for piling up nearly $5 trillion in eight years; he may be on target to double that amount – and trump the combined red ink of all prior presidents.
Obama raised taxes, slashed defense, and still ended up with over a $500 billion annual deficit, as he declared the age of austerity over.
So it has become with most liberal issues. The debate over illegal immigration has gone from arguments over closing the border to Social Security cash rebates to illegals and presidential threats to punish Border Patrol officers who enforce existing law.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf assures us that poverty and unemployment are catalysts to terrorism, just as so-called Jihadi John, the psychotic ISIS beheader, is revealed to be a preppie British subject from the upper middle class.
The president brags that gas prices have gone down because frackers ignored his efforts to stop them – and then vetoes the Keystone Pipeline.
Conspiracists once warned us that the government was buying up ammo to prevent private gun owners from purchasing it; now we learn that Obama by executive order may ban the most popular type of sporting ammunition.
Is there one element of Obamacare that has not been modified, delayed, or ignored – from the employer mandate to the fine for noncompliance?
So – why this descent into travesty?
The liberal left got what it wanted in 2009 with a supermajority in the Senate and large majority in the House, a subservient mainstream media, the good will of the American people, and the most liberal president in American history. It only took that liberal hierarchy six years to erode the Democrat Party to levels that we have not seen since the 1920s.
Almost every Obama-Democrat policy initiative we have seen – whether climate change, foreign policy, health care, or race relations – has imploded.
Their answer to these failures has not been introspection, humility, or reevaluation why the liberal agenda proved unpopular and unworkable, but in paranoid fashion to double-down on it, convinced that its exalted aims must allow any means necessary – however farcical – to achieve them.
The logical result is the present circus.
Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His latest of many books is The Savior Generals.