Ross Mackenzie

You seem -- you know -- glum, unhappy, depressed.

Why don't you lay off? I am not in denial over my vote for Obama. He's doing a great job.

Maybe you can offer some examples of his many successes.

Exhibit A is the responding economy. The recession may be bottoming -- that's what the stock market seems to be saying. What other reason could there be besides the stimulus and Obama's spending proposals -- along with his plans to tax the pudding out of those who can afford it?

Like you? Just because you can afford higher taxes, or could before the crash, doesn't mean they're necessary. And the stimulus package won't kick in until next year at the earliest -- that was one of the major arguments against it. To the extent economists matter, the average grade 53 of them recently awarded Messrs. Obama, Bernanke and Geithner was a "C".

The President gave a speech at Georgetown the other day, and eloquently compared our economy to "our house upon a rock." That's what it should be, a strong economic foundation, and I think he's really trying -- with his emphasis on alternative energy, on education, and his determination to revamp health care.

Every federal attempt to manage energy markets has proved a bust -- and driven up costs. As far as education goes, Obama has deployed as education secretary, sort of a national schools superintendent, a former superintendent of Chicago's public schools that are so bad Obama would not put his own children in them -- just as he doesn't enroll them in Washington's public schools now.

And do you really want people like him and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and Barney Frank and Chris Dodd -- the last two of whom gave us the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debacles -- creating a national health care system? When, ever, has the federal government overseen or operated anything more efficiently than the private sector?

But you have to admit that finally we have a president respected in Europe and the Middle East.

To the degree he is respected in Europe, statist, redistributionist leaders there regard him as an ideological soulmate. Still, on his recent European tour, he won little in the way of more stimulus spending or more troop commitments to Afghanistan.

Any deference Arab and Islamic Middle Easterners accord him derives from their hope he and Hillary Clinton will trash Israel -- or at least prove less resolute in backing it. By the way, the Iranians loved his concession, a switch from the Bush administration, letting them continue to enrich uranium during diplomatic talks.

And with Obama, at last we are confronting global warming.

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, so hammering companies that emit the stuff hardly is "confronting global warming" -- especially when the human role in the current warming trend is, at best, ambiguous. What's more, if carbon dioxide is so pernicious and Obama is so effective, how is it that he flat-out failed to get China -- the globe's pre-eminent producer of carbon dioxide -- to agree to curb its emissions?

Well, at least, after Bush, Obama is not divisive.

The leftist Pew Research Center, in a survey, found Obama "has the most polarized early job approval (rating) of any president" in its 40 years of polling -- with a 61-point difference between Democrats who approve his performance (88 percent of them) and Republicans who approve it (just 27 percent). So much for Obama as a bipartisan, post-partisan, non-polarizing unifier.

OK. OK. Yet Obama speaks movingly about a "new era of responsibility."

Yes indeed, he can talk a very good game. He's exceptional at paying lip service. Still, there's often a disconnect -- a chasm -- between what he says and what he does.

Maybe it only seems that way because he wasn't present at the creation of the mess Bush left him to clean up. Obama arrived in the middle of a recession and a public debt burden of 40 percent of GDP.

Not a good thing. But how is it commendable for him to double that debt burden -- to 80 percent of GDP -- in 10 years, even in the name of straightening things up? In fact, Obama's deficit spending proposals will amass in his first 20 months a deficit equaling the one Bush amassed in eight years.

Along the way, Obama will give us tax increases, defaults, devaluation and inflation. You know that. And he will create more government dependency, print more cash, reward incompetence and sloth, and beg forgiveness -- for what presumed sins? -- of both our enemies and our friends. You know that, too. Is this how he defines his "new era of responsibility"?

Give him time. And I repeat -- lay off. I am definitely not in denial.

Of course you're not. So get over the guilt you're feeling for whatever dubious reasons. And -- if you can summon the strength to do it -- put on a happy face.

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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