Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The President Who Cried "Wolf!"

As a boy, I first heard the tale of the little boy who cried "Wolf!" one too many times.  It's a familiar story, but it bears repeating in the current political climate in which we find ourselves.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, illustrated by Milo Winter in a 1919 Aesop anthology

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf," is also known as "The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf."  It's a fable, of course, and it is usually attributed to Aesop.  It's a little story about a bored shepherd boy who entertained himself by tricking nearby villagers into thinking a wolf was attacking his flock of sheep. 

When they came running instantly to his rescue, they found the alarms were false and they had wasted their time.  Finally, the day came when the little boy was actually confronted by a wolf, and the villagers did not believe his cries for help.  The wolf ate the flock (and in some versions the boy too). 

The moral is stated at the end of the fable as:  Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed.  The liar will lie once, twice, and then perish when he tells the truth.

To "cry wolf" has long been a common idiom in English.  The phrase "boy who cried wolf" has also become somewhat of a figure of speech, meaning that one is calling for help when he or she does not really need it. Also in common English there goes the saying: "Never cry wolf" to say that one never should lie, as in the above phrases.

So how alike is this old fable to today's headlines over the last nineteen months?  No analogy is perfect, but this one seems to me to strike close to the mark.

The White House Talker in Chief
Again and again we have heard the desperate cry from this President, "If we don't (fill in the blank with yet another big spending bill), the world as we know it will come to an end."  So with all the votes tucked neatly in his tailored suit pocket, this President has passed a prodigious package of legislative verbage the experts are still trying to unravel.  Nobody yet knows what it all means.  The uncertainty is palpable.  The economy is frozen in its tracks.

We have all observed what a good talker our President is.  The man is a gifted talker, maybe in the top tier of all-time talkers.  He once told Harry Reid, "Harry, I have a gift." 

Let's review the "Wolf!" cries we've heard, and see if you don't agree.

1.  We got a near-trillion dollar "stimulus" bill that was passed over the objections of a majority of the American public.  When polled, they said, "We don't believe it will help, and we don't want it."  But the President talked and talked and convinced his Democrat majority it was the only way to hold unemployment at 8 percent.  Now his economic team, one by one, is leaving, their credibility in shambles.  And it isn't just the economic team -- even his chief advisor and his chief of staff are heading for the exit doors.  Everyone knows the economy is still suffering despite all the passionate talking, and funny thing -- President Obama, in perma-campaign mode keeps talking and talking and talking about his failed policies to convince us we're on the right path.  He's all alone in a bad echo chamber right now.

2.  We got a health care bill with another trillion dollar price tag, and President Obama talked and talked and talked about how it would revolutionize health care, cut medical costs, bend the cost curve into the future without damaging Medicare by saving waste in the program and wouldn't add "one dime" to the federal deficit.  Remember that line from his State of the Union address?  Since the Congressional Budget Office has now had a chance to actually analyze it, not one of those statements has proven correct.  The American public, once again, when polled rebelled against getting something they didn't want, and the Tea Party (however you define it) was born.  By the way, here's a story from today's Wall Street Journal that defines the Tea Party very well.  But what does the President do?  He ignores those stupid common folk who don't really know what's best for them.  He talks and talks and talks about how marvelous it's going to be for all of us -- no pre-existing conditions will be denied, children will be insured on their parents' plan until age 26, and the talk, talk, talk continues.  None of it's true, but he loves to hear the sound of his own voice saying it, apparently.

3.  Under this President the Congress, when faced with extending the Bush-era tax cuts, has failed to act.  We're in a staggering economy that's stalled and stagnant.  Raising taxes in this environment is wrong-headed and idiodic, but what does this President and Congress do?  They adjourn to fan out across the country in over 400 campaign fund raisers to get re-elected without taking action on behalf of the American people, and the President continues to talk, talk, talk about the class warfare issues that are so passe they defy reason.  "We're going to tax the wealthy, rebuild the middle class and eradicate racial discrimination."  Blah, blah, blah.  It's all part of what Obama really believes -- that hiring decisions should and must be in the hands of the government, not private businesses and the high-income people who own them and actually create jobs.  Ask any American, "Do you want higher taxes right now?"  I'm no political genius -- I only play one on this page -- but even I can hear them screaming in my ears.  Their answer is a resounding "NO," but what does this President do?  He continues to talk, talk, talk about how wonderful his economic policies are.  He should have checked in with his crack economic team, who are dropping out of his administration one by one, apparently embarrassed by the havoc that has been wrought on the American free enterprise system.

And what does President Obama do?  He keeps talking and talking and talking, as though anyone is left who is listening to what he's saying.  He's lost all credibility in my view.  His policies are NOT working.  The American electorate is aroused as I've never seen it in my lifetime, and the Chief Talker in the White House has managed to turn an overwhelming approval rating nineteen months ago into dust. 

The Democrats are now disavowing any and all knowledge of how all those bills got passed, almost as if some phantoms did the deeds of which they are accused.  They, too, have lost all credibility in the eyes of their constitutents.  The political pendulum has swung wildly back to the right.  Generic Republicans are leading in virtually every poll in every Congressional contest.

Whenever Obama opens his mouth now, it seems, the American public is hearing, "I believe in deficit spending, I want bigger government, I want to spend money we borrow from the Chinese to stimulate our small businesses in America, and I want the government to make all the decisions."  It doesn't really matter anymore what he actually says when he talks and talks and talks, because that's all the American people are hearing at this point.

He's cried "Wolf!" one too many times.  Our ears are stopped up with political "weary wax."  Words, simple words like "Wolf!" have lost all meaning.  Up is down, down is up, white is black, black is white, right is wrong, wrong is right.

Believe me, when Russ Feingold (D-WI) skips out on the chance to appear with President Obama for fear of losing votes, you know Feingold is in full retreat and battling against all odds to retain his Senate seat.

In the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, 41% of respondents strongly disapprove of the job Obama is doing. Only 29% strongly approve.

Races all over America are tightening -- governorships, Senate races, and Congressional seats.  Despite the polling data, I hear people openly asking if Americans will care enough to even show up to the polls.  Historically, mid-term elections are ho-hum yawners.  This year, however, I predict a record turnout on November 2nd for a mid-term election. 

People are demanding "CHANGE" -- and not what they asked for and hoped for in 2008.  This time around they've got plenty of fire in the belly to get what they want -- repeal Obamacare for openers.

I actually heard a news report in which he said in Wisconsin, seeking to re-energize the demoralized Democrat faithful, "We can't let this country fall backwards because the rest of us didn't care enough to fight."

Uh, excuse me?  Fall backwards?  That's exactly what we've done for the last nineteen months, Mr. President.  The political atmosphere in which we now live is toxic beyond imagination.  He's adopted policies in direct opposition to the will of the majority of Americans, as I pointed out above.  His policies have not worked, we are not on the right course, and we have fallen backwards from where we were before he took office, hard as that is to admit.  The financial pit is deeper, wider and now more unfathomable than ever before. 

When we once recoiled at the mention of Billions in deficit spending we have now become numbed to Trillions. 

Okay, enough's enough, rant over.  Now I feel better for having unloaded.  Time to go to work and elect Mike Lee, Morgan Philpot and Gary Herbert, my top three 2010 picks for great first-time candidates in the great state of Utah!

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