Victor Davis Hanson

More than 400 years ago, William Shakespeare wrote a riveting tragedy about a young, charismatic Danish prince who vowed to do the right thing in avenging his murdered father. That soon proved easier said than done. As a result, Hamlet couldn't quite ever act in time -- given all the ambiguities that such a sensitive prince first had to sort out. In the meantime, a lot of bodies piled up through his indecision and hesitancy.

President Obama wanted to give us all universal health care. But then he discovered that the country was broke and that most people did not like his massive federal takeover. So we got both his health care and so far more than 1,000 exemptions from his landmark plan for unions, corporations and entire states.

The president wished to please his liberal supporters with more government redistributive programs and higher taxes on the wealthy. But such entitlements cost lots of money -- more than $4 trillion in new borrowing in just three years -- and scare to death the job-creating private sector. So the president not only borrows at record levels, but also sets up a commission to warn us that his borrowing will soon bankrupt the country. He damns the "fat cat bankers" and the rich who "at some point" have made enough money, even as he courts them for campaign donations and begs their companies to start hiring new employees.

Obama warned us that we could not drill our way out of the ongoing gas crisis and needed instead to develop new green energy. As proof, he borrowed billions to promote wind and solar power, and stopped most new leases for fossil fuel exploration in Alaska, the West and offshore. But it turned out that we still need lots of oil as gas nears $4 a gallon. So the president brags that America is now pumping more oil under his green administration than ever before -- but neglects to mention that it true only because Presidents Clinton and Bush long ago approved the sort of oil leases that Obama had rejected.

President Obama wanted so much to discontinue George W. Bush's war on terror that he banned the phrase "war on terror" altogether. He apologized to the Muslim world, promised to "reset" our foreign policy, and vowed to close Guantanamo Bay and stop the other nasty Bush antiterrorism protocols. But our "to be or not to be" Hamlet also wanted to continue to keep the country safe from another 9/11-style terrorist attack, so he kept Guantanamo open, quadrupled the number of Predator drone attacks, and either preserved or expanded all the Bush protocols that he had once derided.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.