In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


The Sickness Besetting the Country, and the President

There is a sickness gripping America, an systemic illness that threatens President Obama more than any particular problem.

Because the problems are but symptoms of the illness.

Two of the symptoms appeared just in the last few hours: the downgrade of U.S. debt, and the shooting down of a Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special forces.

The downgrade is not just an economic blow; it’s a disgrace. The helicopter is not an isolated incident, but consistent with stepped up attacks by a Taliban sensing our eagerness to leave.

The illness, perceived by a country that overwhelmingly says things are on the wrong track, is such: This country is out of control, and the president is either incompetent or unwilling to lead it.

Other symptoms abound: the abnegation of the U.S. leadership in the world, the rise of China to take our place, the failure to deal with a gnat like Qaddafi, the high price of gasoline, the millions of jobless Americans.

The president has both created the illness and failed to cure it, because he has failed to rise above his limitations: He is a leader who has never led anything larger than a Senate office, and he is a liberal ideologue.

The credit downgrade is the direct result of the president’s failure to get a handle on the cascading U.S. debt, a potentially existential threat to the nation. Instead of proposing serious solutions, he has actually raised spending, increasing outlays for many discretionary domestic programs and dropping an $800 billion stimulus bomb on the country.

And he took a trillion in potential debt reduction off the table when he “paid for” his health reform law, which will inevitably cost even more. This was exactly like someone who is maxed out on their credit cards heading over to Best Buy and coming home with a top of the line 60″ flat screen TV and a state of the art sound system.

Like such a compulsive shopper, Obama just had to have it. His ideology trumped any sense of responsible management of the country.

Similarly the war in Afghanistan. Presented by the military with the options of increasing troops by 80,000 to get the job done or 40,000 to maybe get the job done, he took 35,000. And just as even this limited number was starting to have some success, he began withdrawing them.

If the job is not going to get done, it would have been better to take the option that had been offered by Vice President Biden – ignominious defeat, with the withdrawal of most troops while trying to keep the pressure on al Qaeda. At least we wouldn’t be wasting lives.

But the president harbors the traditional liberal abhorrence of anything having to do with war. It just is not in him to fight a war in the brutal manner necessary to win it. And so we have incompetent leadership in wartime.

Conservatives will be out in force in 2012 because of Obama’s ideology. But what’s worse for him, independents are turning on him because of his incompetence.

Both groups will be responding to the pervasive sickness, that of a great nation suffering indignities and crises it hasn’t experienced since the era of the last failed Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.

104 thoughts on “The Sickness Besetting the Country, and the President”

  1. Well said. The economic reality I can not blame 100% on Obama. There is much blame to spread at the feet of Republicans AND Democrats. However I do place a significant amount of responsibility of the wars in Obama’s lap. Either fight the GD war right or get out!!!

  2. I would leave poor old Jimmuh out of it—but otherwise agree. I got up this morning completely demoralized. As for the so-called two trillion buck “math error” S&P suipposedly made and caught by Timmy & the Wonks–I bet trhe optimistic assumptions will in 10 yrs not play out and S&P will be right–if it even was an error. I think 10 yrs is way too long to do this stuff–10 days is more like it.

  3. Keith…I wonder if the RoE or rules of engagement have anything to do with this tragedy in Afghanistan? Also does it bug anyone else that we are negotiating with the Taliban or is it tal-lee-bon? No matter which way you pronounce it they are animals.

  4. Excellent article Keith. You have captured the mood of the country. There is blame to spread around for the many years of fiscal malpractice, but Obama is bringing this country to her knees with his flagrant abuse of power and choice of political advisers.

    Just watched Neil Cavuto’s special report. One interview was with a man named Leo Hindrey. He is described as a former economic adviser of Obama’s. The guy came straight out and called himself a Trotskyite. Trotsky was a Marxist. How much more do we need to hear from Obama’s acolytes to understand what he wants for America.

    1. Somehow I am not seeing this as deliberate…he has no money to play with to create some socialist utopia, this is making him–personally–look like a nincompoop–you can be a socialist all day and these are not ideal conditions.

      1. Star…. his plan is also to level the playing field…what better way than to lower the credit rating which directly penalizes those who invest in our wonderful country. It’s hard to imagine someone would do this purposely but there is no logical way to deny it anymore.

      2. What did Margaret Thatcher say? “…and Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They [socialists] always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them.”

        I think we’re way over ‘out’.

    2. AP is reporting that many of the casualties on the Chinook were members of SEAL team 6, the heroes who took out Osama. Don’t know if I can trust anyone in this government any longer.

      1. I got chills when I heard this on the news. Then had the thought that it is one way to ensure their silence on the Osama mission.

        God rest their souls and have mercy on their families.

          1. Lighten up, guys, No conspiracy here- “only” war and its brutal and permanent aftermath. Some of the brave guys that died were SEALs but not involved with the UBL raid. Silly talk of Obama knocking them off to keep the story quiet makes all conservatives looks like tin-hat wearing mental cases.

            Seriously- ease up.

          1. The Truthers, the Birthers, and now this: a conspiracy theory that Obama shot down a plane full of America’s heroes–none of whom were involved in the Bin Laden operation, mind you–to silence them about…

            Jan, would you mind filling in that last part? Because I just don’t have enough batshit in my brain to complete the thought.

          2. DR, Just need to step in here a bit and tell you that your childish name-calling will not win you any converts. Your posts contain no facts only insults towards others. Saul Alinsky tactics are now well known, and they have lost their effectiveness. Continue to post things that make you look like a foolish adolescent bully, because that is what this conservative sees you as.

          3. Yes, Saul Alinsky was big on individual, atomized webizens trying to sabotage existing power structures through random blog comments. Once again, citizen patriots like yourself have unearthed the Big Lie.

            Although I don’t expect anyone here to dog pile on Jan, don’t you think the world would be better without one more obnoxious conspiracy theory?

          4. Susan – thank you for your comment. I have thought many times to reply to DR re his inappropriate language and juvenile name-calling. I have resisted because I didn’t want him to believe he was worth a reply. Think we should all just ignore him.

          5. Apparently you do have batshit for brains and it was no “conspiracy theory”…just a thought. Do you know the difference? What if….there was no Osama take down? Did you see a body or the burial? What if there was an Osama take down but it did not go according to plan? There are many possibilities arent there ? One of which is that the government is not telling the entire truth. Duh.

            Yes they were heros and I do grieve their loss.

            Have you ever served this country? Do you know what military families go through on a daily basis? Somehow, with all your juvenile name calling, I think not. Arent you one of those who is sooooo in favor of free speech? And a last thought….are ad hominum attacks what you specialize in or do you have other sterling qualities…if so, none of them are on display thus far.

          6. Boo: “Think we should all just ignore him.”

            Better people than you have tried, Booski.

            Jan: Conspiracy theories are thoughts, Jan. You decided to float that one, y’know, test the waters. Hey we all do it, right? And I am doing my duty by letting you know that if you actually do believe it, even slightly, then you are 100% insane and should be locked up in a rubber room. I’m not saying you do believe it, but that is MY thought on the matter. Ain’t thinking grand?

      2. Keith,
        Any word from the WH?

        (ABC News) — A helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed 31 Americans, including as many as 25 Navy SEALs in one of the worst single-day U.S. losses of life since the war began, a senior military official told ABC News early this morning.

        A total of 38 people were on board the Chinook helicopter when it crashed overnight in the eastern Afghan province of Wardak.

        Initial reports indicate up to 25 Navy SEALs were on the aircraft at the time.

        It was also carrying seven Afghan Special Forces troops, one interpreter, five member helicopter crew and one dog.

        The worst single day loss of American lives in Afghanistan is 10 years!

    3. Thanks Susan – and yes, I didn’t mean to excuse Republicans who contributed to this mess. Still remember, for example, Schuster, the Transportation committee chairman some years back, padding the bill for all he was worth.

  5. If someone were to do a psychological work up on Obama, they would probably find that he suffers from a poor self image caused by abandonment issues going back to his mother, and if you are Freudian he probably suffers from an unresolved oedipal complex.

    His lack of will to be a leader probably stems back to his emotional and physical detachment from his father, thereby causing him to seek affirmation from other strong male role models, such as Mao, Lenin, Rahm, Reid, et al.

    His inability to truly make a decision is probably brought about by an identity crisis of ethnicity. Is he black or white? Black leadership once said that he was not black enough, and many whites do not except him due to his physiology. Not being able to decide what he is has lead him to be indecisive about everything.

    Add to the equation his own admitted drug use (possibly abuse) as a young man, and you have an individual that is emotionally, psychologically, philosophically and psycho-sexually underdeveloped.

    Of course that’s all psychobabble, but who knows there maybe something to it. Perhaps a few dozen years on therapy will help the man. Until then he is going to reek havoc on the country as a way of repaying it for all the childhood injustices he endured, real or imagined.

  6. When are we going to pull the plug on this god forsaken piece of shit country? What the hell is our goal? To drag them out of the 4th century and into 7th?
    It’s not worth the life of one more American.
    If Islamic Taliban fundamentalist’s want to torture and kill Islamic Afghans in the name of Allah, that’s just too damn bad.
    What’s next? Are we going to hustle our troops over to Somalia, Yemen and every other Islamic shit hole, to even up the score with the “prophet’s” crazy followers?

    “Predator” strike the ever living shit out of them from 15,000 ft.

    If they ever actually threaten the United States again, under any circumstance, for any reason, State sponsored, proxy group, rebel insurgency, whatever, turn this desolate place into a parking lot.

    Maybe then they’ll get it.

  7. I do believe the left can see this analysis is correct. That is why they are changing the discussion to process (compromise as the goal) and are using such violent (hostage taking, terrorist) rhetoric. They do not want to be in a position of defending Obama’s spending or running for election on tax increases. Obama has led the Dems to a very difficult political position. The man is no politician. He is an ideologue better suited for the classroom.

  8. Amen. This is worth a few more dollars going to the website. At least for now we don’t have to deliver them in a wheelbarrow.

  9. The downgrade will help our country in the long run. Too much borrowing and spending has finally caught up with us. This will be rectified.

    The facade of a liberal government is also being exposed by no one other then the current President of the United States. It shows itself everyday this President and his administration makes one mistake after another. Hopefully this lesson will be learned and will be worth the eventual cost.

  10. Thanks to many of you for your compliments on the piece.

    Latest is that while the 22 SEALs killed in the crash were part of the same unit as those that got Bin Laden, none of those who actually participated in the raid were killed. Still of course an awful tragedy. Our best men.

    1. Over the years I have had the privilege to know and work with some former SEALs, actually they are like Marines, once and always, and I would venture to guess that while they are grieving for the loss of their own, they are also working intel to develop some hard targets.

      Those that were hailed as heroes today by the Taliban will soon be martyrs. Will we as a nation hear about it? No, and do we really need to? Mr. Obama let these men do their job, and don’t take credit for what they do and sacrifice.

  11. Well said. Just started reading this site within the last couple of months. Just about everyone I encounter at work and socially would mirror Mr. Koffler’s thoughts and comments. Who are these people that approve of this administration? Tired of hearing all the I inherited this; not my fault…..Heard a CEO on Neil Cavuto today – she commented that she inherits a mess every day and that’s her job to deal with it to bring the team together. If the job of being President was suppose to be easy, we wouldn’t need a President.

    The President needs constant affirmation – I believe any prior President in memory would have given up the huge birthday celebration given the problems right now. How silly is it to have parties all over the country singing Happy Birthday on a video conference call? How silly is it to want millions to sign a birthday card and have the request elaborate on how hard the man works?

    Truly an empty suit!

  12. This is a common sense explanation that shows how deeply in debt our government really is:

    “If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, and are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget and debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.” ~ Dave Ramsey

  13. And let me add, what is really sad, is that so many of us have to say thank you for pointing out so many failings in our countries leadership. Couple that with the events in Afghanistan and the shooting down of the recent helicopter and the loss of so many good and very specialized men is beyond tragic. I truly wonder what kind of quality of life will be available for my now teen son. Because the people who are leading this country care little for the everyday person.

  14. In this article it could have been said louder but not more clearly. The president is incompetent. He wants to lead but doesn’t know how and is sinking the country while trying a variety of estranges formulas. What a pity. God Bless and Safeguard America!

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  16. This piece has that sometimes missing quality of coming straight from the heart. Although I think would have noted that the S&P as well as the other agencies’ were complicit in today’s problems by making polished turds out of bundled mortgage securities, your thoughts clearly seem a result of a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’. The ‘load’ is deftly defined and enumerated throughout the piece. And boy, does it add up!!

    Well done!!

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  18. Were these events closer to November 2012, I think that Obama and this Congress would be unseated.

    But Americans’ memories are notoriously short. What’s happening now may now have a dramatic effect in November 2012.

    1. When it hits the wallet then it becomes “game on” so to say.
      In a jaded sense I see nothing but a lot of hurt upcoming for us.

  19. This hread is old, so I doubt that anyone will read this comment, but I wanted to offer a different psychological profile of The One. The Enneagram would position him as a Nine, which personality is lazy, indulges in small pleasures, elusive, and appears to go along to get along, but actually withholds agreement. Nines tend to disappear when it’s time for action and commitment.

    Now, Nines have two other positions on the Enneagram. When they feel confident, they “go to Three,” which means they are performers of great skill. Then they can present opinions and positions and appear to be confident and assured. This lasts, however, only as long as they feel confident, then they retreat back to the small indulgences and slippery elusiveness of Nines.

    When Nines feel under attack, they “move to Six,” which means they become paranoid and angry. They feel themselves under attack and strike back in passive, underhanded, and aggressive ways. They suspect a conspiracy against them and look everywhere for enemies.

    So we have Obama’s style: am I the only person who has noticed that when the time comes for action, he disappears and lets others commit themselves? then he reappears and sells a historic overview speech that makes him look like a confident, broad thinker? and when he’s opposed, he is petty and mean, like the way that he responded to the criticism of last year’s Easter message by giving no message all this year.

    Textbook Enneagram Nine — that The One. On the Enneagram, I like Helen Palmer’s writings the best.

    1. like the way that he responded to the criticism of last year’s Easter message by giving no message all this year.

      At our house we call this pass-agging it. But this is interesting, this post.

    2. “The Enneagram would position him as a Nine, which personality is lazy, indulges in small pleasures, elusive, and appears to go along to get along, but actually withholds agreement. Nines tend to disappear when it’s time for action and commitment.”

      I have known a few super high energy super achieving individuals-they were so intelligent and so quick they were blinding

      they resonate at a way higher vibration than most and I don’t envy them!

      They live fast and intensely – super high functioning to the point of absurdity

      It all balances out

      I don’t think OB is one of them

  20. Thinking the exact same thing and you are the first I’ve seen to articulate it. You get it – this should be widely distributed. Please get it on hotair, instapundit, lucianne and drudge if possible.

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    1. “Koffler’s sentiments could have been written by anyone at anytime during a period of economic malaise, and revisionist history always trots at the heels of those who have just woken up to long-term trends.”

      Death Ray that is ridiculous-did you write something that anyone at anytime can read-do you even have an audience? You were already awake to long term trends? Then you must be independently wealthy by now.

      Where exactly is the revision of history you reference? Don’t advise me to read your posts because this one was enough

      Yes there is economic malaise but you didn’t invent it and you sure as heck cant cure it

      1. Gosh, did I come across as taking soul credit for America’s economic malaise? That wasn’t the tone I was going for at all! Thank you for recognizing the absurdity of that premise.

        As for the substance of Keith’s editorial, yes, I’m afraid that it is a cookie cutter sentiment that could be applied to any leader during tough times. Obama didn’t shoot down the Chinook. We are occupying Afghanistan, so things like that will happen. Obama didn’t start the depression, and if he hasn’t yanked us out of it as quickly as we all want, well, take a look at Europe. Is Obama to blame for Greece, Ireland, Italy?

        The Meltdown of ’08 wasn’t just some hiccup. It was an earthquake, and the aftershocks haven’t stopped. Maybe Obama could be doing better, but the problem is obviously larger than politics.

  22. Obamie is doing exactly what his masters planned. Destroy America from the inside.. Bush’s wild spending followed by Obama’s super wild spending and total disregard for the Constitution( with help from Cowardly RINO Repubs) have put us as a nation into free-fall.

        1. Sooo… Soros is the commander of both the socialists and the neo-cons? Hilary and Cheney both bow to kiss his toe? I’m liking where this is heading, Susan. Do go on.

          1. Soros is the ringleader of the progressives, or Marxists, or Trotskyites, or communists, or whatever they are calling themselves now. You know…the evildoers who want to fundamentally transform the United States of America.

            Bush is a good man, he just didn’t have a lot of testicular fortitude when it came to standing up against the above described individuals. Bush is a big government Republican, aka RINO, so he created another Medicare program, burrowed the federal government further into education with his No Child Left Behind policy, and let Pelosi and company run roughshod over him when they took control of Congress in 2007 and started their big spending spree.

            By the way, I can guarantee Dick Cheney doesn’t kiss anybody’s toe.

          2. It’s interesting that you call Bush a “good man” and then list a string of sins that would have you hammering nails into Obama’s hands if they were attributed to him. Your reinvention of Bush as a pushover who didn’t have Congress on his side for the majority of his two terms is par for the course for Republicans,I find.

            Hey. didja hear that Obama shot down SEAL Team Six?

          3. Since I know you always have to have the last word, I will take Boo’s advise and ignore any further discussion with you. Like most arrogant ideologues you always think you are the smartest person in the room.

            Bush’s programs weren’t sins, just more big government Republican policies. That is why we need to vote in a lot of common sense conservatives to dismantle most of his and Obama’s social engineering programs.

            The Obama administration provides funds to countries who supply weapons to terrorists, so it is not too far outside the realm of possibility that his people leaked some information. I mainly blame the liberal press. They were so anxious to prop up this failed puppet that they pursued every detail on the brave men who killed Osama and blathered all those details for the world to see. They made SEAL Team 6 the target for terrorism. Obama’s Hollywood pals are coming out with an ORambo movie about the killing of Osama right before election time. Obama cares nothing about how that might further endanger our troops because it is all about him. Hasta la vista DR.

          4. If “common sense” conservatism means more people like those who just took us down the rabbit hole of credit downgrades, then give me that old time religion,

            As for your riposte to my SEAL Team Six comment, let me only point out that it is, of course, complete confabulation based on not one particle of evidence or even the suggestion of legitimacy from any credible source. As a matter of fact, except for the coincidence that the people on the helicopter are from the same unit as some other people who were in the news recently, we would not even be having this conversation.

            In other words, by following your logic, there is no reason to believe that ANY of the soldiers killed in Afghanistan during Obama’s tenure weren’t ALSO the victims of a conspiracy.

            But I don’t think you are a crackpot. I think like so many partisans, you simply enjoy flirting with crackpottery.

          5. Susan – good for you. Should have said “Hasta la vista, BABY. BTW, wasn’t it Biden (foot in mouth disease-this is a big fuck–g deal) who blabbed that it was Seal Team 6? I could not believe all the insider talking points (even Robert Gates who was soon to retire) that this was a “gutsy call.” Granny Jan had a video which mysteriously disappeared. Panetta and Hillary made the final call and had to get the -resident in from the golf course for the photo op.

          6. Good grief over here! Some people said the idea of Seal Team 6 getting “decimated” as the NYT put it made them think of the Osama mission and wonder. No one donned the foil headware, no one invented a secret handshake. If I may say something nominally personal, I never learn anything new drom Death Ray–I may be guilty of not contributing anything new, either. I don’t know–but I do find him predictable.

  23. Great piece Keith – you’ve been saying what many have been thinking but are afraid to say (for one reason or another). This President is anything but a leader. A leader is out in front of every crisis. This one hides behind yes men and a willing media that has completely betrayed its Constitutional responsibility to be the citizenry’s “free press”. Does anyone need any further examples as to how much of a disgrace this fraud is? David Axelrod – one of the above aforementioned yes men – was on the Sunday talk shows putting out the latest talking point – that the Tea party is somehow to blame for the credit downgrade. Of course, they totally glossed over how similar the position of the current Tea Party Republicans to then Senator Obama’s position back in 2006, when he said ““The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign
    that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stopshere. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” Axelrod is one of many cancer cells that has invaded our government, and it is time to excise (run them out of office) them for the good of us all.

  24. Please get used to the idea that this man is a MARXIST, he is doing exactly what he intends to do. We have it in our power to remove him from Office since he is not qualified to be in that revered Office, but we don’t we bury our heads in the sand and whine.
    You are right, Sir, but you are missing the whole point.
    Welcome to MARXISM!

    1. You may be right, Neil, but those old labels don’t resonate with me anymore. One of his former aides cheerfully said over the weekend that he, the aide, was a Trotskyite–meaning someone would get him with an ax? What does that mean these days? Marxism as translated into economics and politics in the USSR flopped. Basically, gangstas took over, then the former police types… We can’t take from the rich acc to their means and give to the poor acc to their needs–there is nothing to transfer–or at least not enough. Maybe I am being dense…but those labels sort of rush past me. And what would the president get out of it–you know he personally wants something out of everything!

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