Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ObamaCare at Ramming Speed

Well this should put to bed the debate about whether or not Osama would moderate, ala-Clinton, in the wake of his stunning electoral defeats, stunning losses in congressional legislation, an stunning drop in his and congressional democrat's poll numbers, voter enthusiasm, and re -elect numbers!

No, Osama is a dedicated socialist bent on the destruction of the American way of life as we have known it. If this legislation can be defeated or delayed until November, we will see the end, finally, of the progressive movement in American politics that has tried, over the last 100 years, to remodel society in it's collectivist hive-mentality views. If we cannot, and this abomination passes, there will be no recovery and America will have changed forever.

Impeach, convict, and jail Barack Insane Osama...T

A mere three days before President Obama's supposedly bipartisan health-care summit, the White House yesterday released a new blueprint that Democrats say they will ram through Congress with or without Republican support. So after election defeats in Virginia, New Jersey and even Massachusetts, and amid overwhelming public opposition, Democrats have decided to give the voters what they don't want anyway.

Ah, the glory of "progressive" governance and democratic consent.

"The President's Proposal," as the 11-page White House document is headlined, is in one sense a notable achievement: It manages to take the worst of both the House and Senate bills and combine them into something more destructive. It includes more taxes, more subsidies and even less cost control than the Senate bill. And it purports to fix the special-interest favors in the Senate bill not by eliminating them—but by expanding them to everyone.

The bill's one new inspiration is a powerful federal board that would regulate premiums in the individual insurance market. In all 50 states, insurers are already required to justify premium increases to insurance commissioners, who generally have the power to give a regulatory go-ahead, or not. But their primary concern is actuarial soundness and capital standards, making sure that companies have enough cash to pay claims.

The White House wants to create another layer of review that will be able to reject any rate increase that is "unreasonable or unjustified." Any insurer deemed guilty of such an infraction by this new bureaucracy "must lower premiums, provide rebates, or take other actions to make premiums affordable." In other words, de facto price controls.

Insurance premiums are rising too fast; therefore, premium increases should be illegal. Q.E.D. The result of this rate-setting board will be less competition in the individual market, as insurers flee expensive states or regions, or even a cascade of bankruptcies if premiums are frozen and the cost of the care they are expected to cover continues to rise. For all the Dickensian outrage about profiteering by WellPoint and other companies, insurance is a low-margin business even for health care, and at least 85 cents of the average premium dollar, usually more, is devoted to actual health services.

Price controls are always the first resort of national health care—i.e., Medicare's administered prices for doctors and hospitals. This new White House gambit is merely a preview of ObamaCare's inevitable planned medical economy, which will reduce choice and quality.

The coercive flavor that animates this exercise is best captured in the section that purports to accept the Senate's "grandfather clause" allowing people who like their current health plan to keep it. Except that "The President's Proposal adds certain consumer protections to these 'grandfathered' plans. Within months of legislation being enacted, it requires plans . . . prohibits . . . mandates . . . requires . . . the President's Proposal adds new protections that prohibit . . . ban . . . and prohibit . . . The President's Proposal requires . . ." After all of these dictates, no "grandfathered" plan will exist.

Meanwhile, the new White House plan further vitiates the remnants of cost-control that remained in the House and Senate bills. Now the highly vaunted excise tax on high-cost insurance plans won't kick in until 2018, whereas it would have started in 2013 in the Senate bill, and this tax will only apply to coverage that costs more than $27,500.

Very few plans ever reach that threshold, and sure enough, this is the same $60 billion deal the White House cut in December with union leaders who have negotiated very costly benefits. Now it is extended to all to avoid the taint of political favoritism.

While the White House claims to eliminate the "Cornhusker Kickback," the Medicaid bribe that bought Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson's vote, political appearances are deceiving. As with the union payoff, what the White House really does is broaden the same to all states, with all new Medicaid spending through 2017 and 90% after 2020 transferred to the federal balance sheet. Governors will love this ruse, but national taxpayers will pay more.

And more again, because the White House has adopted the House's firehose insurance subsidies. People earning up to 400% of the poverty line—or about $96,000 for a family of four in 2016—will qualify for government help, and, naturally, this new entitlement is designed to expand over time.

The Administration also claims to have discarded the House's 5.4-percentage-point surtax on joint-filers earning more than $1 million a year, but it sneaks it back in by expanding the Senate's expansion of the 2.9% Medicare payroll tax to joint income above $250,000. The White House would now apply that tax for the first time to income from "interest, dividends, annuities, royalties and rents," details to come.

The larger political message of this new proposal is that Mr. Obama and Democrats have no intention of compromising on an incremental reform, or of listening to Republican, or any other, ideas on health care. They want what they want, and they're going to play by Chicago Rules and try to dragoon it into law on a narrow partisan vote via Congressional rules that have never been used for such a major change in national policy. If you want to know why Democratic Washington is "ungovernable," this is it.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Failure of Liberal Governance - Another Liberal Crackup

Another Liberal Crackup, or the real reason Evan Bayh wants out of Washington. True progressivism has been resoundingly repudiated by the public every time it has held power. This time will be the recapitulation of the 20's and the 90's with one exception: The modern conservative media alternative has educated the people to the extent that the fascists will be banished, if not once and for all, at least for generations. God bless America!...T

The political retirement of Evan Bayh, at age 54, is being portrayed by various sages as a result of too much partisanship, or the Senate's dysfunction, or even the systemic breakdown of American governance. Most of this is rationalization. The real story, of which Mr. Bayh's frustration is merely the latest sign, is the failure once again of liberal governance.

For the fourth time since the 1960s, American voters in 2008 gave Democrats overwhelming control of both Congress and the White House. Republicans haven't had such large majorities since the 1920s. Yet once again, Democratic leaders have tried to govern the country from the left, only to find that their policies have hit a wall of practical and popular resistance.

Democrats failed in the latter half of the 1960s, as the twin burdens of the Great Society and Vietnam ended the Kennedy boom and split their party. They failed again after Watergate, as Congress dragged Jimmy Carter to the left and liberals had no answer for stagflation. They failed a third time in the first two Bill Clinton years, as tax increases and HillaryCare led to the Gingrich Congress before Mr. Clinton salvaged his Presidency by tacking to the center

A fourth crackup is already well underway and is even more remarkable considering how Democrats were set up for success. Inheriting a recession amid GOP failures, Democrats had the chance to restore economic confidence and fix the financial system with modest reforms that would let them take credit for the inevitable recovery. Yet only 13 months later, Democrats are down in the polls, their agenda is stymied by Democratic opposition, and their House and Senate majorities are in peril as moderates like Mr. Bayh flee the scene of this political accident.

Democrats have responded by blaming "obstructionist" Republicans, who lack the votes to block anything by themselves; or a failure to communicate the right message, though President Obama is a master communicator; or even Madison's framework of checks and balances, though this system has worked better than all others for some 225 years.

John Podesta, who ran Mr. Obama's transition and heads the Center for American Progess that has supplied the Administration's ideas, summed up the liberal-media mood last week when he told the Financial Times that American governance now "sucks." If you can't blame your own ideas, blame the system.

The real source of this mess is the agenda that Democrats have tried to ram through the political system. Far from offering new ideas to reform the welfare state or compete better against rising global powers, Democrats have with rare exception tried to impose the same spending, tax and regulatory agenda that failed in the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s. Mr. Obama was a new face promising new hope, but his ideas are as old as the average Congressional Chairman.

To fix the economy, Democrats sent federal spending to peacetime heights in the name of replacing private investment with "public demand." But instead of spurring recovery, this spending spree has retarded it by frightening the public and business about future tax increases and the rising burden of public debt. The new jobs Democrats promised still haven't arrived, and while the recovery should finally produce job growth this year, Americans know they have received little for their $862 billion in "stimulus."

The rest of Mr. Obama's liberal agenda has foundered on its own overreaching implausibility. To fight the speculative threat of global warming, Democrats have tried to impose vast new taxes to raise energy prices. To address rising health-care costs, they proposed huge new health subsidies and political control of medical decisions. Medicare is heading toward bankruptcy, yet Mr. Obama's response is to make the entire health-care system like Medicare. And to fix the financial system, they have declared war on bankers while proposing reforms that would do little to prevent future bank bailouts.

The central contradiction in modern liberal politics is that Otto von Bismarck's entitlement state for cradle to grave financial security is no longer affordable. The model has reached the limit of its ability to tax private income and still allow enough economic growth to finance its transfer payments.

You can see this in bankrupt Greece, where government spends 52% of GDP; or in California and New York, where the government-employee unions have pushed tax rates to punishing levels and the states still can't pay their bills. Americans can see that this is where Mr. Obama's agenda is also taking Washington, and this is why they are rejecting it.

Can Mr. Obama still make a mid-course correction, a la Bill Clinton after 1994? Of course he can. What we don't know is whether he has the political instincts and nerve to do so. As a creature of Chicago politics and the legal class, he has lived his entire life in precincts dominated by the political left. On the other hand, he says he is not "an ideologue."

Americans have already sent one rebuke to Democrats in the form of Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts. Now Mr. Bayh, a senior Member of their own party, has sent another by skipping town and putting another Senate seat in play. Our guess is that it will take one more repudiation in November before Democrats relearn that you can't govern America successfully from the political left.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Obama has ruined his presidency and his party

The worst president in US history with the possible exception of Woodrow Wilson. Osama has made Jimmy Carter look moderate and competent by comparison, and Bill Clinton look ethical...T

One of my favorite quotes about politics comes from Henry Kissinger in his book Years of Upheaval, his memoir of the Ford presidency: “A statesman’s duty is to bridge the gap between his vision and his nation’s experience. If his vision gets too far out ahead of his nation’s experience, he will lose his mandate. But if he hews too close to the conventional, he will lose control over events.”

Now, at once, we see both happening to President Barack Obama.

His healthcare proposals obviously ran afoul of the first of Kissinger’s warnings. By pushing for changes that conflicted with America’s values, common sense and experience, he lost his mandate. In that disastrous push for an elusive goal, he ruined his own presidency and his party. It may take decades for the Democratic Party to recover from his folly. Indeed, his push for health legislation, in the face of rapidly eroding public support, ranks with the Vietnam War, Watergate and, of course, Bill Clinton’s healthcare initiatives as the most costly to their respective political parties.

But now, as he faces threats from Iran, domestic terrorism, continually high unemployment and the swollen deficit, he is also violating the second half of the Kissinger warning — his politics are too passive and too conventional and, as a result, he is losing control over events.

In the phase of presidential dithering in the aftermath of the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts, there is no clear presidential message, no coherent strategy — not even an identifiable program. His budget cuts are far too tepid. His tax program is nothing new. Obama’s Stimulus 2 package seems like the same-old, same-old.

His short-lived bounce from the State of the Union speech is indicative of how limited a vision he has these days. It lasted a week and was never more than three points at its apogee.

And, as Kissinger would have predicted, he is losing control over events. Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-Ind.) retirement, with its implied blast at Obama’s policies; the increasing recklessness of Iran; and the seemingly intractable unemployment all provide evidence that President Obama is no longer dictating the national agenda.

As a result, the negatives he incurred by moving too far out ahead of the nation’s experience are combining with those he is getting for being too conventional. He is experiencing both ends of the Kissinger prediction. Republicans and independents are still in shock from his headlong rush into socialism, while Democrats are increasingly restive and disillusioned by his failure to lead. The entire country is worried at his passivity in the face of domestic terror threats and the rapidly growing Iranian momentum toward the acquisition of nuclear weapons.

While his job rating has remained relatively steady in recent months, hovering just below 50 percent of likely voters, his ratings in specific areas — like holding down spending, cutting the deficit, creating jobs and managing the economy — are all eroding, presaging further drops in his overall ratings.

Seemingly paralyzed by adversity, President Obama and his advisers are showing a lack of resilience in the face of reversals that is perhaps the inevitable outcome of his smooth rise to the top in 2008. Never tried by bad outcomes (as Hillary has doubtless been), he and they seem unable to regain momentum and appear to be flailing without strategic or even tactical direction.

All this might be what happens when you elect a state Senator whose U.S. Senate career was consumed with his presidential campaign as president.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

The Nature of Liberal Tyranny

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

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Climategate U-turn: Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995

- Data for vital 'hockey stick graph' has gone missing
- There has been no global warming since 1995
- Warming periods have happened before - but NOT due to man-made changes

That should seal the deal: Global warming has been nothing but a monstrous plot to impose global socialism on the world, a world that soundly defeated global communism in the 1980's and which now has defeated the "intellectual laxative" of "climate change"!...FLUSH!...T

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

The admissions will be seized on by sceptics as fresh evidence that there are serious flaws at the heart of the science of climate change and the orthodoxy that recent rises in temperature are largely man-made.

Professor Jones has been in the spotlight since he stepped down as director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit after the leaking of emails that sceptics claim show scientists were manipulating data.

The raw data, collected from hundreds of weather stations around the world and analysed by his unit, has been used for years to bolster efforts by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Following the leak of the emails, Professor Jones has been accused of ‘scientific fraud’ for allegedly deliberately suppressing information and refusing to share vital data with critics.

Discussing the interview, the BBC’s environmental analyst Roger Harrabin said he had spoken to colleagues of Professor Jones who had told him that his strengths included integrity and doggedness but not record-keeping and office tidying.

Mr Harrabin, who conducted the interview for the BBC’s website, said the professor had been collating tens of thousands of pieces of data from around the world to produce a coherent record of temperature change.
That material has been used to produce the ‘hockey stick graph’ which is relatively flat for centuries before rising steeply in recent decades.

According to Mr Harrabin, colleagues of Professor Jones said ‘his office is piled high with paper, fragments from over the years, tens of thousands of pieces of paper, and they suspect what happened was he took in the raw data to a central database and then let the pieces of paper go because he never realised that 20 years later he would be held to account over them’.

Asked by Mr Harrabin about these issues, Professor Jones admitted the lack of organisation in the system had contributed to his reluctance to share data with critics, which he regretted...

...He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.

He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.

And he said that the debate over whether the world could have been even warmer than now during the medieval period, when there is evidence of high temperatures in northern countries, was far from settled.
Sceptics believe there is strong evidence that the world was warmer between about 800 and 1300 AD than now because of evidence of high temperatures in northern countries.

But climate change advocates have dismissed this as false or only applying to the northern part of the world.
Professor Jones departed from this consensus when he said: ‘There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia.

‘For it to be global in extent, the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.
‘Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today, then obviously the late 20th Century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm than today, then the current warmth would be unprecedented.’

Sceptics said this was the first time a senior scientist working with the IPCC had admitted to the possibility that the Medieval Warming Period could have been global, and therefore the world could have been hotter then than now.

Professor Jones criticised those who complained he had not shared his data with them, saying they could always collate their own from publicly available material in the US. And he said the climate had not cooled ‘until recently – and then barely at all. The trend is a warming trend’.

Mr Harrabin told Radio 4’s Today programme that, despite the controversies, there still appeared to be no fundamental flaws in the majority scientific view that climate change was largely man-made.

But Dr Benny Pieser, director of the sceptical Global Warming Policy Foundation, said Professor Jones’s ‘excuses’ for his failure to share data were hollow as he had shared it with colleagues and ‘mates’.
He said that until all the data was released, sceptics could not test it to see if it supported the conclusions claimed by climate change advocates.

He added that the professor’s concessions over medieval warming were ‘significant’ because they were his first public admission that the science was not settled.
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Impeach judges - Crush and Replace the Left - 2012 "Victory or Death!"

This is the struggle that lays before us - but I believe at the right time and the right place. The progressives are facing their Waterloo, and constitutional, classical liberalism represents the army of victory...T

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Dick Morris:You Want a Prediction Now? We'll Win the House By 10 Seats and Win the Senate by 2

This fits nicely with Michael Barone's recent analysis that up to 155 house seats may be in play by November. Republicans take the house, the Senate, and Jimmy Carter becomes no longer the worst president in U.S. History (even including the now-not-taught-in-high-school years prior to 1877!)...T

Morris predicting the GOP picking up the House and the Senate...

Hannity: "Here's the last question, Micheal Barone pointed out that if we used Obama's numbers in 2008 and Scott Brown's numbers in the Senate election and we applied that to every district in the country, 155 Democratic seat would be up for grabs. You even figured out that the Republicans could even take back the Senate. If you had to make a prediction now, where are we in the House and Senate in November?"

Morris: "You want a prediction now? We'll win the House by 10 seats and win the Senate by 2"

From dickmorris.com,
Morris runs the numbers and tells us exactly what Obama inherited when he walked into the WH, (Obama claims a $1.3 Trillion dollar deficit)

Dick Morris:
In 2008, Bush ran a deficit of $485 billion. By the time the fiscal year started on October 1, 2008, it had gone up by another $100 billion due to increased recession-related spending and depressed revenues. So it was $600 billion. That was the real Bush deficit.

But when the fiscal crisis hit, Bush had to pass TARP in the final months of his presidency which cost $700 billion. The $700 billion was a short term loan. $500 billion of it has already been repaid.

So what was the real deficit Obama inherited? The $600 billion deficit Bush was running plus the $200 billion of TARP money that probably won’t be repaid (mainly AIG and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). That totals $800 billion. That was the real deficit Obama inherited.
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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

State Of The Union

It's all Bush's Fault ...

Monday, February 01, 2010

The Obama Spell Is Broken

So rewarding, just as it is so frustrating for all of us who saw this coming long down the pike. A progressive is a progressive is a progressive. They always want a collectivist society, as they always have. Jimmy Carter, at the height of progressivism in America was found out, and discredited. Bill Clinton ran as a conservative, lied, was discovered, and discredited.

The populace has a disturbingly short memory, it seems, after the successive disasters of Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ and Jimmy Carter.

Perhaps this time the lesson will sink in: There are only marginal differences between progressivism, socialism, fascism, Nazism, and communism. These differences mainly depend on the history of the respected peoples subjected to them.

Let us hope and pray that the Americans people's proud traditions of liberty and rule of law once again prevail, and this dark stench of tyranny is banished from our shores once and for all time...T

The curtain has come down on what can best be described as a brief un-American moment in our history. That moment began in the fall of 2008, with the great financial panic, and gave rise to the Barack Obama phenomenon.

The nation's faith in institutions and time-honored ways had cracked. In a little-known senator from Illinois millions of Americans came to see a savior who would deliver the nation out of its troubles. Gone was the empiricism in political life that had marked the American temper in politics. A charismatic leader had risen in a manner akin to the way politics plays out in distressed and Third World societies.

There is nothing surprising about where Mr. Obama finds himself today. He had been made by charisma, and political magic, and has been felled by it. If his rise had been spectacular, so, too, has been his fall. The speed with which some of his devotees have turned on him—and their unwillingness to own up to what their infatuation had wrought—is nothing short of astounding. But this is the bargain Mr. Obama had made with political fortune.

He was a blank slate, and devotees projected onto him what they wanted or wished. In the manner of political redeemers who have marked—and wrecked—the politics of the Arab world and Latin America, Mr. Obama left the crowd to its most precious and volatile asset—its imagination. There was no internal coherence to the coalition that swept him to power. There was cultural "cool" and racial absolution for the white professional classes who were the first to embrace him. There was understandable racial pride on the part of the African-American community that came around to his banners after it ditched the Clinton dynasty.

The white working class had been slow to be convinced. The technocracy and elitism of Mr. Obama's campaign—indeed of his whole persona—troubled that big constituency, much more, I believe, than did his race and name. The promise of economic help, of an interventionist state that would salvage ailing industries and provide a safety net for the working poor, reconciled these voters to a candidate they viewed with a healthy measure of suspicion. He had been caught denigrating them as people "clinging to their guns and religion," but they had forgiven him.

Mr. Obama himself authored the tale of his own political crisis. He had won an election, but he took it as a plebiscite granting him a writ to remake the basic political compact of this republic.

Mr. Obama's self-regard, and his reading of his mandate, overwhelmed all restraint. The age-old American balance between a relatively small government and a larger role for the agencies of civil society was suddenly turned on its head. Speed was of the essence to the Obama team and its allies, the powerful barons in Congress. Better ram down sweeping social programs—a big liberal agenda before the people stirred to life again.

Progressives pressed for a draconian attack on the workings of our health care, and on the broader balance between the state and the marketplace. The economic stimulus, ObamaCare, the large deficits, the bailout package for the automobile industry—these, and so much more, were nothing short of a fundamental assault on the givens of the American social compact.

And then there was the hubris of the man at the helm: He was everywhere, and pronounced on matters large and small. This was political death by the teleprompter.

Americans don't deify their leaders or hang on their utterances, but Mr. Obama succumbed to what the devotees said of him: He was the Awaited One. A measure of reticence could have served him. But the flight had been heady, and in the manner of Icarus, Mr. Obama flew too close to the sun.

We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama's self-regard comes without irony—he himself now owns up to the "remoteness and detachment" of his governing style. We don't have in this republic the technocratic model of the European states, where a bureaucratic elite disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will. Mr. Obama was smitten with his own specialness.

In this extraordinary tale of hubris undone, the Europeans—more even than the people in Islamic lands—can be assigned no small share of blame. They overdid the enthusiasm for the star who had risen in America.

It was the way in Paris and Berlin (not to forget Oslo of course) of rebuking all that played out in America since 9/11—the vigilance, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the sense that America's interests and ways were threatened by a vengeful Islamism. But while the Europeans and Muslim crowds hailed him, they damned his country all the same. For his part, Mr. Obama played along, and in Ankara, Cairo, Paris and Berlin he offered penance aplenty for American ways.

But no sooner had the country recovered its poise, it drew a line for Mr. Obama. The "bluest" of states, Massachusetts, sent to Washington a senator who had behind him three decades of service in the National Guard, who proclaimed his pride in his "army values" and was unapologetic in his assertion that it was more urgent to hunt down terrorists than to provide for their legal defense.

Then the close call on Christmas Day at the hands of the Nigerian jihadist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab demonstrated that the terrorist threat had not receded. The president did his best to recover: We are at war, he suddenly proclaimed. Nor were we in need of penance abroad. Rumors of our decline had been exaggerated. The generosity of the American response to Haiti, when compared to what India and China had provided, was a stark reminder that this remains an exceptional nation that needs no apologies in distant lands.

A historical hallmark of "isms" and charismatic movements is to dig deeper when they falter—to insist that the "thing" itself, whether it be Peronism, or socialism, etc., had not been tried but that the leader had been undone by forces that hemmed him in.

It is true to this history that countless voices on the left now want Obama to be Obama. The economic stimulus, the true believers say, had not gone astray, it only needed to be larger; the popular revolt against ObamaCare would subside if and when a new system was put in place.

There had been that magical moment—the campaign of 2008—and the true believers want to return to it. But reality is merciless. The spell is broken.

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