Just try to envision the scene: A newly elected Republican mayor of a large American city takes steps to close down some of the best schools serving an almost exclusively minority population. You know how it would go. We'd be hearing that Republicans "hate" the poor. The words "cruel," "vicious" and "racist" would circle the new mayor like sharks. News organizations would examine where the mayor sent his own children, and his hypocrisy would be fiercely denounced.
Though you wouldn't necessarily know it based on news coverage, the United States in the reign of President Barack Obama is enduring the most prolonged period of slow growth and high unemployment since World War II. The president asserts that he saved us from another Great Depression, which, like his claim that the stimulus would "create or save" millions of jobs, is about as provable as the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin.
Few have ever heard the name Debo Adegbile. He's President Barack Obama's nominee to head the civil rights division of the Justice Department.
Remember the IRS scandal? It's gone. Poof. So flaccid has press interest in the story become that President Barack Obama made bold in an interview with Fox News to say there was not a "smidgen of corruption" in the IRS's conduct.
From one point of view, President Barack Obama's invocation of the hoary "77 cents" myth regarding the relative earnings of women and men was a shallow and cheap political pander. Democrats, eager to maintain their advantage with women voters, stoke grievance. It's the same playbook they've used to solidify their standing with black voters -- suggest whenever and wherever possible that Republicans are racists. It's crude, offensive and libelous -- but effective.
An administration as image-conscious as this one should have been more careful in its choice of antagonists. The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Catholic charity providing care to the poorest elderly in a hospice-like setting. They serve 13,000 people in 31 countries, and operate 30 homes in the United States. Their faith calls them to treat every person, no matter how old, disabled or poor, as if he or she were "Jesus himself." There is no religious test for admission, only that you be poor and in need of care at the end of life. Think thousands of Mother Teresas. Today, they are facing harassment from the Obama administration.
John F. Kennedy broke some sort of record for stating the obvious when he noted that "life isn't fair." More evidence for the unfairness of the nation's evaluations of presidents emerged in a recent Washington Post poll showing that, five years after he returned to Texas, George W. Bush is still blamed by 50 percent of Americans for the current state of the economy. Only 38 percent hold President Barack Obama responsible. The lesson for future presidents appears to be: You may be one of the greatest humanitarians in the history of the world (as Herbert Hoover arguably was, and as was Bush in some ways), but if you're in office when a financial crisis hits, the public will blame you forever.
2013 will be remembered as the year President Barack Obama's halo went askew. It deserves to be remembered for some other things.
If President Barack Obama has entertained an economic insight that wasn't fashionable in 1933, I haven't heard about it. It's doubtless he's for recycling glass and plastic, but he's even more wedded to recycling ideas that were fresh and interesting during the New Deal era but have since been discredited.
We conservatives are always on about the "unintended consequences" of government programs, but we didn't expect the Obama administration and congressional Democrats to provide such a vivid object lesson. If the tipsy, teetering debut of Obamacare invites a new skepticism about the capacity of government to run things, it will be the most welcome unintended consequence since Alexander Fleming left his staphylococci samples on a workbench over summer vacation.