By Mark Steyn
January 30, 2010 7:00 A.M.
The world turns.
In Indonesia, the principal of a Muslim boarding school in Tangerang who is accused of impregnating a 15-year-old student says the DNA test will prove that a malevolent genie is the real father.
In New Zealand, a German tourist, Herr Hans Kurt Kubus, has been jailed for attempting to board a plane at Christchurch with 44 live lizards in his underpants.
In Britain, a research team at King’s College, London, has declared that the female “G-spot” does not, in fact, exist.
In France a group of top gynecologists led by M. Sylvain Mimoun has dismissed the findings, and said what do you expect if you ask a group of Englishmen to try to find a woman’s erogenous zone.
But in America Barack Obama is talking.
Talking, talking, talking. He talked for 70 minutes at the State of the Union. No matter how many geckos you shoveled down your briefs, you still lost all feeling in your legs. And still he talked. If you had an erogenous zone before he started, by the end it was undetectable even to Frenchmen. But on he talked. As respected poverty advocate Sen. John Edwards commented, “After the first hour, even my malevolent genie was back in the bottle.”
Like any gifted orator, the president knows how to vary the talk with a little light and shade. Sometimes he hectors, sometimes he whines, sometimes he demands. He hectored the Supreme Court. He whined about all the problems he inherited. He demanded Congress put a jobs bill on his desk. Or was it a desk job on his bill? No matter. He does Nixon impressions, too: “We do not quit,” he said.
Boy, you can say that again!
So he did: “We don’t quit. I don’t quit,” he said. Throughout the chamber, Democrats were quitting. “I quit,” says Rep. Marion Berry of Arkanas, declining to run this November. “I quit,” says Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, doing likewise. “I quit,” says Beau Biden of Delaware, son of Vice President Joe Biden, choosing not to succeed to his father’s seat in America’s House of Lords.
But not Barack Obama: “I don’t quit.” So on he went. As my colleague Rich Lowry put it after the Massachusetts vote, the public thinks Obama doesn’t get it, and Obama thinks the public doesn’t get it. And as he’s got the microphone, he’s gonna keep talking at you until you do get it.
The ever tinnier, more perfunctory sophomoric uplift at the start and finish can’t conceal the hope-killing, jobs-slaying, soul-sapping message in between, which is perfectly consistent, and has been for two years. As President Obama sees it, whatever the problem — from health care to education, banking to the environment — the solution is more Washington.
Simply as a matter of internal logic, this is somewhat perplexing. After all, when he isn’t blaming Bush, Obama blames “Washington” — a Washington mired in “partisanship” and “pettiness” and “the same tired battles” and “Washington gimmicks” that do nothing but ensure that our “problems have grown worse.” Washington, Obama tells us, is “unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems.”
So let’s have more Washington! In our schools, in our hospitals, in our cars, in everything!
Which raises the question: Does even Obama listen to Obama’s speeches? The public does — at least to this extent: They understand that, when he’s attacking the tired old Washington games, he’s just playing the tired old Washington games. But, when he’s proposing the tired old Washington solutions, he means it; that’s the real Obama, the only Obama on offer. And everything the president proposes means more debt, which at the level this guy’s spending means, at some point down the road, either higher taxes or total societal collapse.
Functioning societies depend on agreed rules. If you want to open a business, you do it in Singapore or Ireland, because the rules are known to all parties. You don’t go to Sudan or Zimbabwe, where the rules are whatever the state’s whims happen to be that morning.
That’s why Obama is such a job-killer. Why would a small business take on a new employee? The president’s proposing a soak-the-banks tax that could impact your access to credit. The House has passed a cap-and-trade bill that could impose potentially unlimited regulatory costs. The Senate is in favor of “health” “care” “reform” that will allow the IRS to seize your assets if you and your employees’ health arrangements do not meet the approval of the federal government. Some of these things will pass into law, some of them won’t. But all of them send a consistent, cumulative message: that there are no rules, that they’re being made up as they go along — and that some of them might even be retroactive, as happened this week with Oregon’s new corporate tax.
In such an environment, would you hire anyone? Or would you hunker down and sit things out? Obama can bury it in half a ton of leaden telepromptered sludge but the world has got the message: More Washington, more micro-regulation of every aspect of your life, more multi-trillion-dollar spending, and no agreed rules in a game ever more rigged against you.
Obama and the Democrats have decided, in the current cliché, to “double down.” That hardly does justice to what the president’s doing. In effect, he’s told embattled congressmen and senators to strap on the old suicide-bomber belt and self-detonate for the team this November.
That’s a lot of virgins to pass out, but with this administration, budget restraints aren’t exactly a problem: Untold pleasures will await every sacrificial incumbent in paradise, or at any rate the coming liberal utopia. What’s the end game here? President Obama gave it away in his student-loan “reform” proposals: If you choose to go into “public service,” any college-loan debts will be forgiven after ten years.
Because “public service” is more noble than the selfish, money-grubbing private sector. C’mon, everybody knows that. So we need to encourage more people to go into “public service.”
In the last 60 years, the size of America’s state and local workforce has increased five times faster than the general population. But the president says it’s still not enough: We have to incentivize even further the diversion of our human capital into the government machine. Like most lifelong politicians, Barack Obama has never created, manufactured, or marketed any product other than himself. So quite reasonably he sees government dependency as the natural order of things. And in his college-loan plan he’s explicitly telling you: If you start a business, invent something, provide a service, you’re a schmuck and a loser. In the America he’s building, you’ll be working 24/7 till you drop dead to fund an ever-swollen bureaucracy that takes six weeks off a year and retires at 53 on a pension you could never dream of. Obama’s proposals are bold only insofar as few men would offer such a transparent guarantee of disaster: It’s the audacity of hopelessness.
In Massachusetts, enough voters got the message. And the more speeches this one-note politician inflicts on the nation, the louder they’ll hear it.