July 2, 2011
The Evidence of a Bankrupt Populism
by Victor Davis Hanson
NRO’s The Corner
Editor’s Note: These passages are drawn from recent articles
on The Corner.
Barack Obama’s cries from the heart as a senator about the
possibility of a Bush intervention in Iran being a de facto violation
of the War Powers Act have been widely circulated — juxtaposed to his sophistic
gymnastics about bombs over Libya not really being much more than “kinetic
action” and thus exempt from the Act. Then we have another doublet with Hillary
Clinton, who said this month:
. . . the bottom line is, whose side are you on? Are you on Qaddafi’s side or
are you on the side of the aspirations of the Libyan people and the
international coalition that has been created to support them?
Yet said in May 2003 in the context of Iraq:
I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree
with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and
say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any
The point is not that the Obama administration is two-faced, hypocritical,
and shameless. Most administrations are; they act quite differently once they
are in the White House and governance requires adult responsibility quite
different from the cheap rhetoric of the campaign trail.
significance in Obama’s case is twofold: Obama suffers the wages of hypocrisy
far more keenly because he set himself up as a new-style politician, promising
to buck the “establishment” with his hope-and-change agenda, only to govern in
the worst style of a Chicago brass-knuckles machine-made pol, humiliating those
who actually believed the planet-cooling/seas-receding nonsense of 2008.