Emmett Tyrrell
Jimmy Carter is redeemed! The grinning dunce of yesteryear, who grew into the anile doddering figure of today, lecturing the civilized on all manner of statecraft, has been replaced by the saturnine gaunt prophet, Barack Obama. His sorry performance these past four years he lays to the administration of George W. Bush. The next four years will be a replay of the last four years, and an even graver crisis will confront us then with the domestic economy in a funk and foreign potentates all laughing at us.

The Prophet Obama has demonstrated that you can preside over a wobbly economy and be re-elected. Apparently it is not "the economy, stupid," as James Carville told us. You can suffer a foreign policy disaster (even in the midst of a campaign) and it will be ignored. Jimmy could have been re-elected in 1980 if it were not for the miracle of Ronald Reagan. Had the Republicans nominated a perfectly nice man, say a successful businessman who earned a fortune as large as John F. Kennedy or Franklin D. Roosevelt inherited, Jimmy would have won re-election and the economy would have continued to founder in stagflation and he would have been sending helicopters out into the desert to be destroyed; possibly he would be sending the fleet to be destroyed.

Our president has offered us nothing during this election that is different from the past four years. That is amazing. He sees trillion-dollar debt for as far as the eye can see. The debt will be 20 trillion dollars -- and climbing -- when he leaves office. Then it will be someone else's problem. Yet, President Obama will not be inert. He will raise taxes and other costs on the rich. It will not affect the deficits much. It will slow growth. Yet, he will be delivering on his message to the embittered in his coalition that he has made the rich pay more, the same rich that already pay 59 percent of the income tax. Withal, he will institutionalize the portion of the GDP that the federal government accounts for at some 25 percent. The norm prior to his arrival at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. had been closer to 18 percent. He is bringing the efficiencies of the post office to mainstream American life.

Michael Barone, writing in the Washington Examiner, says America is now "two countries, not on speaking terms." He writes, "One America tends to be traditionally religious, personally charitable, appreciative of entrepreneurs and suspicious of government. The other tends to be secular or only mildly religious, less charitable on average, skeptical of business and supportive of government as an instrument to advance liberal causes." This was an election that pitted these two cultures against one another.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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