David Axelrod has admitted that the size of government is so big that it is beyond the power of its top leadership to control it: “Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.” The question which Axelrod should now answer is whether that mean the liberals’ entire approach to big government is fundamentally unsound. The logical conclusion to draw is that if government is so big that it cannot be controlled, then it should be structured along a smaller scale. Of course, Axlerod is unlikely to support such a notion He simply wants to excuse the failures of those running the government. It is ironic that he has chosen to do so by, in effect, arguing that their entire approach is wrong, but cognitive dissonance is a hallmark of the Left these days.
The Washington Post has an editorial today titled “Mohamed Morsi’s betrayal of democracy.” The subject of the editorial is a young Egyptian named Ahmed Maher, one of the “leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution” and part of the April 6 Youth Movement. According to Mr. Maher, ““They lied, they broke promises, they killed members of April 6,” Mr. Maher said. Mr. Morsi’s government, he said, increasingly resembled that of former strongman Hosni Mubarak: “They only seek power.””
While the Egyptian leadership is clearly an authoritarian regime bent on dominating and suppressing those who oppose it, the choice of headline for the editorial is strange, as is Mr. Maher’s complaint. They are also, perversely, unfair to Mr. Morsi. You cannot betray what you don’t believe. It was clear from the outset (and should have been so to both Mr. Maher and the Washington Post) that Morsi was never a democrat and had no interest in anything but power and promoting an Islamist state consistent with the tenants of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both the Post and Maher express a stunning amount of Naivete in asserting that it could ever have been otherwise. Mr. Maher can be forgiven for picking what he may have seen as the lesser of two evils (Morsi vs. former regime members), but to have backed Morsi on the premise that he was a man who believed in democracy was simply foolish.
Bloomberg has an editorial today entitled “Strongman Putin Is No Match for Corruption.” I’m not sure what to make of it. The editors acknowledge corruption is “an integral part of the state-based economic system Putin has built since he took power in 2000.” Yet they also refer to Putin as “the anti-corruption campaigner-in-chief” and act as if he is serious about tamping down on corruption. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is not only an enabler of the corruption which the editors decry, but is one of its chief beneficiaries.
The New York Times has an article discussing the bind that Obama is in due to his red line comment regarding Syrian use of nuclear weapons. According to sources, the comment was made off-the-cuff by Obama in response to a question and never discussed previously. This is what one source had to say:
“The idea was to put a chill into the Assad regime without actually trapping the president into any predetermined action,” said one senior official, who, like others, discussed the internal debate on the condition of anonymity. But “what the president said in August was unscripted,” another official said. Mr. Obama was thinking of a chemical attack that would cause mass fatalities, not relatively small-scale episodes like those now being investigated, except the “nuance got completely dropped.”
What I find interesting about this is just how much it reveals about Obama’s attitude towards foreign policy matters. In my opinion, he has never given them much thought or cared much about them. He came to office with very specific views about social policy and very undeveloped views about economic and foreign policy, many of which were ignorant. In the extant case, he made a remark about Syria because he didn’t understand the nature of the regime and he failed to comprehend the fact that merely spouting off words to a dictatorial regime 6,000 miles away without actually taking concrete steps to make sure the regime knew he was serious would result in his being ignored. Now, having been ignored, he has been backed into a corner by his own words.
The sad part about all of this is that there are still people out there who think that his has been a man who has done a good job of handling foreign policy decisions. It is clear he has been anything but, and this is just the latest example. International issues have always been a sideline or deviation for him from his main goal of social change. The result is that America is less respected as a force in the world than it was when he came into office.
Here is an interesting article about using data analysis to determine whether a movie will perform well. I remember first reading about using data analysis for analyzing movies in Super Crunchers, a book which I recommend that Ol Parker read, since he, like so many people in so many industries outlined in Super Crunchers, fears that his unique creativity/insights cannot be replaced:
“This is my worst nightmare” said Ol Parker, a writer whose film credits include “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” “It’s the enemy of creativity, nothing more than an attempt to mimic that which has worked before. It can only result in an increasingly bland homogenization, a pell-mell rush for the middle of the road.”
Mr. Parker drew a breath. “Look, I’d take a suggestion from my grandmother if I thought it would improve a film I was writing,” he said. “But this feels like the studio would listen to my grandmother before me, and that is terrifying.”