THIS WEEK'S EDITORIAL COMMENT: The 18th century British
philosopher, Edmund Burke, called the "philosophical father of modern
political conservatism," wrote the oft quoted statement: "Those who don't
know history are destined to repeat it." It must have made a lot of sense,
because in 1905 George Santayana reissued it in slightly modified form
as: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
In whichever version you choose to accept it -- it still makes great sense,
some 250 years after its origin. Our analysis and commentary on current
events this week builds on the rationale of that statement.
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TWO WEEKS AGO OUR THEME WAS OUR "LEADERSHIP
VACUUM;" LAST WEEK IT WAS OUR "CONFIDENCE
CRISIS;" THIS WEEK OUR COMMENTARY IS ON
THE "SUMMER OF OUR DISCONTENT"
Those three themes follow each other in logical and believable order.
First, the leadership vacuum in which America is drifting aimlessly
downwards in public opinion, both nationally and internationally. Then
the confidence crisis where no one -- again nationally and internationally
-- believes or trusts the Obama administration. And then there arrives the
present day situation -- our "summer of discontent" -- a far cry from the
"summer of recovery" Mr. Obama and his Vice President, Joe Biden,
continue to brag about so enthusiatically..
(We can claim no credit for the creation of that term -- it morphed out of
Shakespeare's Richard III in 1594, where the opening line is, "Now is
the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun [or son]
of York ..." Given all that has happened during the past 20 months, the
transposition to "the summer of our discontent" seems entirely logical
But there is another term from not quite such ancient history which has a
valid application today. Some of us who can remember things which
happened as many as 18 years ago, well remember Jim Carville, the
gravel voiced, Georgia-born, Cajun-raised campaign manager who led a
little known Arkansas Governor into an election defeat of the incumbent
President, George H. W. Bush, in 1992. A prime factor in Carville's
operation was a slogan he wrote on the bulletin board in their war room:
"It's the economy, stupid." With the nation just trying to emerge from a
recession, Bill Clinton rode into office with an emphasis on restoring the
American economy. Bush was considered to be unbeatable by relying on
foreign policy developments, the end of the Cold War and the Persian
Gulf War. But Clinton focused on the needs and concerns of the American
people -- jobs and the economy.
The apparent failure to learn from history -- in this instance the defeat of
President Bush -- is what may lead the present Democrat administration
into reliving a similar experience as Burke and Santayana predicted.
Without resorting to the oratorical histrionics which characterize Obama's
communications with the American people, here is a straightforward
review of our current economic situation from the newswires of the
Associated Press; simple news, not editorial opinion, which appeared
in newspapers from coast-to-coast this past week: "Businesses are
ordering fewer goods. Home sales are the slowest in decades. Jobs are
scarce,and unemployment claims are rising. Perhaps most worrisome,
manufacturing activity, which had been one of the economy's few bright
spots, is faltering...Companies cut back last month on their investments
in equipment and machines." And that news story features this summary
comment from Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody's Analytics,
"Nothing else can go wrong. There is no cushion left."
The situation apparently appeared serious enough for the president to very
briefly interrupt his latest vacation at his luxurious Martha Vineyard
resort to engage in a conference telephone call with a few of his financial
advisors . . . possibly putting Mr. Carville's slogan to work . . . but it may
have aleady been too late. We have not yet been informed as to the results
of that conversation (this isn't the most transparent administration in history,
as we have already learned), but no Oval Office TV address to the nation
on the subject of the economy was offered; instead we were given a brief
Rose Garden talk, listing complaints about a partisan delay of one of his
ideas for helping small businesses, without really addressing the problem
of a failing economy. But rather than an address on the economy, we were
subjected to another teleprompted analysis of his views of the "war" in
Iraq, where concurrently with the highly pre-publicized removal of all but
50,000 American troops who remain to support a "diplomatic" mission,
renewed violence and intra-Muslim murders have exploded in a country
where to date, no form of centralized government has been agreed upon.
But the subject of the economy came up during the president's brief Sunday
visit to New Orleans when TV's Brian Williams interviewed him, and on
that subject, Mr. Obama said, "Given the fact that, you know, in none of
these situations are you gonna fix things overnight ... I have no doubt
that we are gonna rebound and rebound strong. But when you're in the
middle of it, and if you don't have a job right now, it's a tough, tough
situation." And over the weekend, the New York Times, usually a
mouthpiece for the Obama administration, commented editorially, "If
President Obama has a big economic initiative up his sleeve, as he
hinted recently, now would be a good time to let the rest of us in on
it... Mr. Obama and his economic team had clearly hoped for an
economic rebound in time for the midterm elections. They are not
going to get it... Standing back is not doing the country or his party
any good. We believe Americans are ready for hard truths and big
And this is where the learning from history comes in: everything
the Obama adminstration has attempted with respect to restoring the
American economy has not only failed -- their efforts have actually
worsened the economy and have deepened the recession. They failed
to follow the successful pattern that Jim Carville developed for Bill
Clinton: "It's the economy, stupid." They failed to learn from history.
But it isn't too late for the 70% of the American people who by every
recent poll seem to be at odds with the Obamites. The Republicans, the
Independents and the Tea Partiers have the opportunity to demonstrate
they have learned from history, even if that history is only 18 years old.
In the two months remaining before Election Day, Nov. 2, there is still
time to adopt the Carville slogan: "It's the economy, stupid." This is not
America's summer of recovery -- it is America's summer of discontent.
There is another issue much in the news: the uncertainty about Mr.
Obama's religious faith, accentuated by the release of the recent Pew
Survey on the public perception of the president's religious beliefs. But
even as so many other details of his personal life have been kept secret
-- for reasons known only to him -- like where he was born, his college
records, and his health reports, for example -- so his religious faith
remains a matter for speculation.
In the interview with Brian Williams, responding to the comment that
many Americans are still uncertain about his place of birth, the president
brushed off the question with, "I can't spend all of my time with my
birth certificate plastered on my forehead." (No one has ever asked that,
Mr. President -- just let your official "long form" birth certificate be
made available for the American public to read -- it is a simple request.)
According to the Pew survey, approximately one-fifth of the American
people think he is a Muslim, and only about one-third perceive him as
being a Christian. So much has been said in support of both of those
views. We have all seen, again and again, the videos of his speeches
where he quotes very reverently from "the holy Koran," and other videos
where he speaks of "my Muslim faith," and where he describes the
Muslim call to prayer - the Adhan - as "the prettiest sound on earth."
And in still other videos where he disparagingly criticizes quotations
from various sections of the Bible -- the book of Scriptures which
Christians consider to be the Word of God -- even going so far as to
sarcastically ridicule the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. In
his speeches to the Muslim world he asserted, "I consider it part of my
responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative
stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." (That is a presidential
responsibility none of his predecessors has ever acknowledged.)
David Limbaugh (not Rush Limbaugh -- David Limbaugh) in a lengthy
essay, "So is he a Christian?" cites Obama's statement in his now famous
Cairo speech to the Muslim world that Islam is a "revealed" religion.
Limbaugh comments, "If Obama believes that Islam was revealed, then
he most certainly believes it was revealed by God." But he points out
how inconsistent Islam is with Christian history and doctrine -- for
example, that Jesus Christ was not God, but merely a prophet -- and
concludes, "If Obama truly believes that Islam was revealed by God, I
can't fathom how he could be a believing Christian. I don't know that
Obama is not a Christian, but I am dubious."
Our Lord, as recorded in Matthew, chapter 7, warned us of false prophets,
and instructed us "By their fruits ye shall know them." (v. 20) Mr. Obama
has provided us with frequent examples of his "fruit" -- for example, his
refusal to make any White House recognition of the National Day of Prayer,
a Christian observance, but sponsored a White House dinner to celebrate
Ramadan, an Islamic observance. From a purely national or political point
of view, it must be remembered that some 80% of Americans profess to be
Christian, while 0.6% profess to be Muslim. (A note of speculation: one
week from today, at sunset, September 8, the Jewish High Holy Days begin
with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, continuing to Yom Kippur, the
Day of Atonement, on September 18. One wonders if any recognition of
these religious events will be accorded by the Obama White House?)
Without any further detail, we are in our "Summer of Discontent"
Just a few days ago first time unemployment claims hit a nine-month high.
The "official" national unemployment rate remains at 9.5% against the
confident prediction of the Obama Council of Economic Advisors that it
might reach 8% by the end of 2009, and decline to less than 7% by the end
of 2010. Sales of existing homes dropped 27% between June and July . . .
sales of new homes fell by 12.6% to the lowest figure since records were
first kept in 1963. And with the disastrous economic reports there has been
a deterioration in Mr. Obama's credibility. He and his staff continue to make
statements and predictions that the American people just don't believe. In
the area of international relations the standing of the United States is in
similar sharp decline, as the president continues to apologize for our nation.
He has now officially made public his contempt for America by releasing
to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations our first-ever report on
the condition of human rights in America. He has invited the criticism and
advice on how to improve our human rights actions from countries like Iran,
Cuba, China, Libya, Saudi Arabia, North Korea and others on the Council.
The report speaks of our violation of human rights because of hate crimes,
high unemployment, poverty, poor housing, lack of access to health care and
discrimination in hiring practices against Blacks, Latinos, Muslims, South
Asians, Native Americans and homosexuals. As Mat Staver of Liberty
Counsel comments, "The presidency of Barack Obama will be remembered
as one that sought to humiliate America by prostrating it before some of
the worst human rights violators in the world." Truly, we are in our
"Summer of Discontent."
As usual, the question occurs: "What can we do about it?" And, as usual,
we stress the fact that as Christians, our most powerful weapon is prayer.
We continue to suggest that our prayers include asking God to give wisdom
to our national leaders that they might make the right decisions. We have
often mentioned the nationwide effort undertaken by Dr. Michael
Youssef and his "Leading the Way" ministry. The theme of this program of
prayer is "God Save America." You can join the fellowship of other
And we must join our prayers with action, and vote on Election Day, Nov.
2, now just 62 days from today. That's just about two months -- still time
to pray for our nation, and then take action to put better people in our Congress.
And remember -- to vote, you must be registered. We have provided this link
before -- it is a simple way to take care of your registration. Simply go to:
As usual, there is much to be learned from "What Others Are Saying"
Kyle Smith (N.Y. Post): "Our military-political empire is crumbling, the
Union is falling apart, America's wealthy period is a fading memory, and
our political spatting is about to go all Gettysburg."
Lori Ziganto (Columnist): "Earlier this week, the media once again
displayed why no one can take them seriously. The Fourth Estate is totally
insolvent and is declaring bankruptcy, morally and otherwise."
Ben Quayle (Candidate for Congress): "Barack Obama is the worst
president in American history. Thanks to his failed leadership, my
generation will inherit a weakened country ... I'm running for
Congress because I love this country. But I'm not in this race to
fulfill a lifelong dream. I'm running because Barack Obama is
Jonah Goldberg (N.Y. Post): "This White House is rudderless, lost at
sea, and inadequate to the challenges it faces."
Nile Gardiner (Foreign Affairs Analyst): "There is a distinctly Titanic-
like feel to the Obama presidency, and it's not hard to see why. The most
left wing president in American history has tried to force a highly
interventionist, government-driven agenda that runs counter to the
principles of free enterprise, individual freedom, and limited
government that have made the United States the greatest power in
the world, and the freest nation on earth."
Michele Bachman (R, MN): "Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies are
completely out of touch with the American people. If they dedicated the
same time and energy spent mocking the Tea Party movement to creating
jobs and reducing the massive federal deficit, we wouldn't be in this
financial mess." (She is the first Republican woman to represent her state
Karl Rove: "Mr. Obama's credibility is crumbling and for good reason ...
At the start of his Summer of Recovery roadshow the president flatly
stated that last year's massive stimulus package had 'worked.' Vice
President Joe Biden, not to be outdone, promised monthly job gains of
up to 500,000 and insisted that the recovery's pace 'continues to increase,
not decease' as stimulus spending was 'moving into its highest gear.' ...
It's slightly surreal. 'Who are you going to believe,' as Groucho Marx once
said, 'me or your own eyes?'"
And a few Random Afterthoughts . . .
Even the bearded Castro is good for a laugh: An AP news story out of
Havana quotes Fidel Castro as saying that Osama bin Laden is a bought-and-
paid-for CIA agent who always popped up when former President George W.
Bush needed to scare the world, and arguing that documents recently posted
on the Internet prove it. "Bush never lacked for bin Laden's support. He was
a subordinate." Castro said that the WikiLeaks documents "effectively
proved he was a CIA agent."
And we get sort of a frightened laugh out of recalling when Newsweek
Editor Evan Thomas raised President Obama's Cairo speech to a new level,
when he declared on MSNBC, "I mean in a way Obama's standing above
the country, above -- above the world, he's sort of God."
And also on MSNBC, when Chris Matthews said, "I want to do everything
I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work ... This country
needs a successful presidency." And then Mr. Matthews expressed his
adulation for Obama in his memorable statement, "I have to tell you, its part
of reporting this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack
Obama's speech. Me, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean I don't have
that too often." (We're happy for you, Chris.)
Glenn Beck's monster rally needs no word from us; it was belitled by the
media and brushed off by the president, but half a million people, respectful,
patriotic and with some sincere religious overtones, made their statement for
all to see and hear: they want to see this nation return to the Judeo-Christian
principles upon which it was founded. On this 47th anniversary of Martin
Luther King's "I have a dream" speech, Day Gardner, President of the
National Black Pro-Life Union wrote this: "I find myself standing beside
his niece, Dr. Alveda King, as she delivered her amazing speech on the
steps of the Lincoln Memorial. My eyes welled -- a lump formed -- this is
what her uncle saw! Looking out over the mall into thousands and thousands
of faces, Alveda, my black brothers and sisters and I stood in solidarity --
in unity. From the Lincoln Memorial, past the Washington Monument,
as far as the eye could see in any direction, American people of all
colors stood shoulder to shoulder to honor the one true God -- to show
love for our great country, a country founded on the Solid Rock which
is the Word of God -- to fix the places where we are broken -- to help
the weathered masses -- to see the humanity of unborn children -- to
heal the terrible hurts -- to lift each other up and to never stand down
until the 'dream' is restored ... and I was there."
Ever wonder why we have the three branches in our government? At
the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan
to divide the central government into three branches: Judicial, Legislative
and Executive. He discovered this model of government from the One he
termed the "Perfect Governor" as he read Isaiah 33:22: "For the Lord is
our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king. He will save us."
We always quote from our nation's Founding Fathers because we
should never forget the kind of a nation they were establishing. Their
views were important then; they are important today.
"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it
is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Chrisian
nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
-- John Jay, 1816, First Supreme Court Justice
"It is apprehended that Jews, Mahometans (Muslims), pagans, etc.,
may be elected to high offices under the government of the United
States. Those who are Mahometans, or any others who are not
professors of the Christian religion, can never be elected to the office
of President or other high office, unless first the people of America
lay aside their Christian religion altogether."
-- Samuel Johnson, 1788
"Let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose
for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God (Exodus 18:21) ...
If the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office,
the government will soon be corrupted ... If our government fails to
secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens
neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and
administer the laws." -- Noah Webster, 1832