Noemie Emery | The right states of mind

People like the idea that Obama is president. As a politician and president, he has only one failing — he is the wrong man at the wrong time to be leading this country. He is out of sync with his age and its crises. There is more proof every day — here and abroad, in nation-states, states and even some cities — that his political theories will lead to disaster, and do so every time they are tried.

Some arguments are based on theory, as when politicians say they think their ideas will work well in practice, whereas their opponents’ will work out poorly. Then there are arguments based on proven and practical facts. The fact today is that what Walter Russell Mead calls the "blue social model" — high taxes, much regulation, strong unions and a fairly high level of government services — is in deep trouble wherever tested. The red model — low taxes, low spending, more business-friendly policies — is still thriving.

Take Western Europe, which has found that its pensions are no longer affordable. Take Greece, wholly unable to function; take the United States, where The One is opposed by 30 Republican governors, engaged in a more peaceful War of the Roses, where the conflicting ideas are thrashed out.

Take California, whose government is careening to bankruptcy, even as it splurges on light rail and gorges itself on higher taxes. Take Illinois, which is in much the same pickle. Take the basket case called Detroit ("Look," said George Will, "if you can without wincing"), where the state government has passed a right-to-work measure in an effort to remain alive.


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