You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
- President Abraham Lincoln
In Presidential elections, you don't have to fool all the people. You need only fool, convince, persuade, or otherwise charm a majority of the voters in states whose electoral votes total 270 or more - and if you're lucky enough to have a third-party candidate participating, as Bill Clinton did with Ross Perot, a mere plurality will do.
The need for charm doesn't end with the election. Having convinced enough people of his virtue to carry the electoral college, a newly-inaugurated President has the ongoing task of keeping voters convinced that he and his party deserve their support in the mid-term elections two years later and in the next Presidential election four years out.
We at Scragged noted early on that Mr. Obama was a talented orator and that his skills might take him all the way. Not being numbered among those who were persuaded that he would be an effective President, however, we believed that the voters and the news media would soon realize they'd been sold a bill of goods and start to criticize Mr. Obama.
We didn't count the expected far-left criticisms of the Obamacare bill as not going far enough, but having expected the people to catch on eventually, we watched with interest as the Taxed Enough Already! groups protested various aspects of the plan. The mainstream media ignored them when they weren't ridiculing them with crass sexually-charged innuendos.
When the Panty Bomber had to be restrained by alert passengers instead of being kept off the plane by the swarms of high-paid federal employees who're charged with that task, Mr. Obama stated that there had been foul-ups and that he was "very angry," but where were the criticisms of his basic competence? The silence on the left was deafening.
|Don't hold your breath.|
Finally, the Great Oil Spill has showed government ineptitude at its worst for all to see. The left blamed President Bush for what they called an inadequate federal response to Hurricane Katrina, disregarding numerous laws which assign responsibility for handling natural disasters to state and local governments.
Because, unlike Katrina, the oil spill is on the high seas, the law places the federal government firmly in charge; no ambiguities or excuses about jurisdiction this time! Unfortunately for Mr. Obama, the utter incompetence and impotence of a government funded and led by Democrats have been on display every night on prime-time TV for months on end.
As his approval ratings dropped yet further, Mr Obama chose to return to his past and make a Speech which was supposed to put everything right. This time, however, his inability to deal with legally-mandated government responsibilities took some of the magic away. The Wall Street Journal criticized his speech as one would expect, but quoted a high-level Democrat who wasn't happy with it either:
"Vapid," wrote Robert Reich, a former Democratic labor secretary, who had campaigned for Mr. Obama. A man who "electrified" the nation in prior speeches had, this time, "put it to sleep."
Mr. Reich wasn't alone. Time's Mark Halperin spoke of his "fierce, unforeseen disappointment." Dan Froomkin of the Huffington Post called Mr. Obama's message "profoundly underwhelming," a "feeble call to action."
In fact, it looks like the media has finally begun to notice the stunning similarities, observed by the right many months ago, between Mr. Obama and Mr. Carter, our previously-reigning "worst president ever." Whether they realized it or not, the media reaction to Mr. Obama's speech was eerily reminiscent of their reaction to Mr. Carter's "malise" speech on exactly the same issue back in 1979.
When Mr. Carter promised to do something about our energy needs roughly a half-trillion federal research dollars ago, we imported less oil than we do today. Mr. Carter described fighting our energy shortage as the Moral Equivalent Of War (MEOW) and Mr. Obama used similarly-artificial militaristic metaphors in calling for a "national mission" to reduce our "addiction to fossil fuels" as if he were the first President in history to have thought about our energy needs.
Our biggest use of oil is for powering cars and trucks. The most obvious way to reduce oil and gasoline use is to power cars with electricity. Due to unfortunate inadequacies in the start of the art of extension cords, electric cars need a better battery. The current 40-50 mile maximum range simply isn't enough.
Ever since laptops and cell phones became popular, users have been complaining about battery life. In fact, ever since the first telegraphs invented a century and a half ago, battery limitations have vexed corporations and government alike.
Every chemistry student, every student of materials science, everyone who's at all involved in anything connected with batteries knows the immense sums of money that would be made by whomever develops a better battery, to say nothing of the Nobel Prize, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the accolades of the world's great and good. We don't need the Department of Energy to tell us that or to spend taxpayer money on battery research; anyone who has the slightest chance of building a better battery is working on it without government encouragement.
Assuming that the laws of physics even permit a better means of energy storage, do you think it will come out of a government lab? Or will it most likely emerge from an unknown suburban garage in Southern California?
Mr. President, what do you think the Department of Energy, which we've funded so lavishly, has been doing since 1979? If they haven't been able to make so much as a dent in our need for foreign oil in the three decades they've been spending our money, what makes you think that letting them spend yet more of our money will work any better?
Polls are showing that increasing numbers of voters disapprove of Obamacare and want it repealed and even the left is realizing that Mr. Obama's deeds can't match his words. Even though he fooled them for a long time, it appears that even Mr. Obama's fans might be catching on. The fiasco in the Gulf has finally brought together the multifarious threads of government failure, Obama managerial incompetence, and a lifelong preference for words over action.
As Honest Abe said, "you can't fool all of the people all of the time," but you can fool enough of them to get elected. Live and learn, America!