Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Interview With Der Spiegel

Der Spiegel recently interviewed Charles Krauthammer (ht to on a variety of Obama-related subjects. Krauthammer, in typical fashion, handled himself extremely well and the interview was a good read. I found myself, however, disappointed a little bit - just a little - with some of his answers. So I answered the questions myself; almost reposted from the Krauthammer interview almost 98% verbatim. Judge for yourself.


In a SPIEGEL interview, Jeff of Jeff’s Garage & Ale House discusses Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, the president's failures and the state of the United Nations and the international community.

SPIEGEL: Jeff, did the Nobel Commitee in Oslo honor or doom the Obama presidency by awarding him the Peace Prize?

Jeff: Depends on what your definition of success is. I’m thoroughly convinced the Nobel Committee did this to steer Obama’s decision making in the direction that is most palatable to the world wide Left. Since Obama has accomplished almost nothing – well, nothing, save a few dead pirates and the amassing of personal power, domestically speaking – it can hardly be for what he has actually accomplished. The Noble Committee is fully aware of the President’s obsession with personal accolades. The subtle message was: “You like this recognition? Keep neutering your nation.”

SPIEGEL: It hardly makes sense to blame him for losing the Olympic bid in one week, and then for winning the Nobel Prize the next.

Jeff: One of the theories that I have put forward on my website is that the prize may very well be an act of damage control by the Nobel Committee on the heels of the Olympic prize being denied the US. They know what a thuggish and unforgiving politician Obama is. They know that Obama craves adulation as I just mentioned. They know his ego is larger than the Brandenburg Gate, and that, if deflated, he may not be as inclined to continue down this neutering, international path; even if a little bit, out of spite. So they see this as a method of keeping his ego and trajectory on course.

SPIEGEL: Should he have turned down the prize?

Jeff: I would have.

SPIEGEL: Why do Europeans react so positively to him?

Jeff: Because I think most of what Donald Rumsfeld referred to as “Old Europe” has a very unrealistic and utopian view of human nature; most, not all, certainly. It would take an eternity of debate to figure out why, but my personal view is that the march of secular humanism throughout pampered Western Europe has created an idea that heaven on earth is achievable. I think the reality is that there will always be evil on earth – something congruent with the Judeo-Christian tradition – and many in Western European see this as an antiquated worldview. So, they gravitate toward Western Leaders – especially American Leaders – who confirm their biases and hint that its possible that misery exists in the world not because of tyranny and lack of freedom and capitalism, but because of the Hegemon’s (ie, the US’s) imperialism.

SPIEGEL: Maybe Europeans want to just see a different America, one they can admire again.

Jeff: Are these the same Europeans that throughout the last 100 years have continued to underestimate the power of unaccountable, unelected tyrannies to enslave and create war with them? Again, I continue to point to the naivity of Obama and his Old Europe groupies and their inability to recognize that unelected tyranny and its unlimited designs on power is the threat to the comfort they enjoy. Comfort, I’d add, they enjoy as a result of those of us in Western World who do see the world realistically and have continuously led the charge to protect and free them; to free them from the very tyranny they laugh at us for drawing attention to.

SPIEGEL: Is America's power not already diminished… as compared to emerging powers?

Jeff: Its hard to say. I’d like to think that, as a nation with a Free Press and virtually unlimited freedom of speech, that we have the ability to recognize when our nation’s future is being pissed away. Our inability to reign in the growth of domestic spending; our inability by some to realize when power hungry politicians are using their constituents’ personal envy; our politicians’ desire to catapult themselves to positions of perpetual power; our sometime seeming misunderstanding of the basics of our history, the basics of market economics, and a misunderstanding of the precariousness of our comfort in a world ruled by evil; all these things, I think, chip away at our ability to continue to be a world leader.

As a result of our profligate domestic spending, our debt is running out of control and the solvency of our nation and the value of our dollar is falling at an alarming rate. Our ability to be an influence in the world cannot continue if our economic house does not regain solvency. We are running the risk of eventually failing on the scale of the old Soviet Union if we do not realize that we cannot provide limitless goods to an unlimited number of people with limited means.

SPIEGEL: Do you really believe that Obama deliberately wants to weaken the US?

Jeff: He’ll never tell you that. He’ll claim that he is simply trying to make the “world a better place”, again, because he shares the view of many in the West that the US’s power is the cause of the angst and misery in the world.

SPIEGEL: Would you consider this a nightmare scenario?

Jeff: I think if you have a realistic worldview, a realistic view of history; a realization that such rogue, undeterrable nations as suicidal Iran want you dead at all costs; I think if you have a firm grasp on all these things, you can’t help but fear for the future of the world you’ve lived your life in. I had an epiphany a couple of summers ago when I was listening to the national anthem at the start of a Cubs game. It was a beautiful summer day. It hit me like a bolt of lightening: my ability to live this free and comfortably is a precarious privilege. My ability to enjoying such a fun thing as summer time baseball without fear of the future in this world is dependant on the fact that a handful of people are working to keep me safe from personal danger. Think Maslow’s hierarchy: all of my basic needs are provided for due to our prosperity as a Western Nation. Unlike people living in modern-day Sudan, I have the ability to relax and worry about minor things (self actualization) because my basic needs - food, comfort etc – are fairly easy to attain. This is all we have every known, those of us born after the Second World War. It can be lost almost overnight if we don’t have the sense to realize how precarious these things are in this nasty world. I think Leftists like Obama and those who wish to neuter the United States of America don’t think with this sense of urgency. And yes, that scares the hell out of me.

SPIEGEL: And there is not even 1 percent (of involvement in UN governance) that is constructive?

Jeff: If we lived in a world where 99% of it was governed by nations with constitutional governments: Enlightenment-type thinkers who were very distrustful of government, well aware that freedom is a precarious commodity that is, as Jefferson said, in so many words, dependent on the willingness of those who enjoy it to be willing to fight for it and preserve it. If we lived in a world like that, I’d be much less cynical and willing to concede that 1%. The reality, is, that much of the world is governed by tyrants with as much ambition as the worst we’ve seen throughout history. If that were not the case, I’d be much, much less jaded about the concept of a large, supranational body governing the world. Problem is, there are too many disaffected powers - governed by unstable, ignorant, manipulative people - who would love to use such a supranational government to either, a.) empower themselves, or b.) to destroy the West and its basic foundation of this freedom that we cherish, simply because they are ignorant enough to believe this will actually bring prosperity to their people. The people who fall into scenario “b” think this way because they have lived in closed, tyrannical societies their entire lives and have been conditioned to do so.

SPIEGEL: And Obama is, in your eyes, …

Jeff: A naïve, humanistic, narcissistic buffoon who doesn’t have the sense to comprehend what I just outlined above.

SPIEGEL: Every incoming president to the White House has to confront reality and disappoint voters.

Jeff: Correct. Except those who promoted Obama made it sound like the Second Coming of Christ could now be cancelled and its appropriations reallocated to more pressing needs upon his ascension to the most powerful position in the free world.

SPIEGEL: What moved you that day (his inauguration)?

Jeff: Nothing. One of the biggest (if not the biggest) myths about American Culture is that it needed to “prove” that it had moved past the legacy of Slavery and Jim Crow Laws. For my entire adult life – almost 40 years – I’ve been surrounded by a corporate and pop culture that has been obsessed with proving that it is no longer a racist one. I treat the term “nigger” as though it is profanity. I do not use it and respect the feelings of those black Americans who are offended by it. If I had children, I’d not tolerate its use or any other hurtful slur toward those created in the image of God whom have African ancestry. But we’ve gotten to the point in our culture where we are so afraid of being labeled racists, that we will not use the term “nigger” to even denigrate its use. We say “he said the ‘N’ word!” Its worse than child rape. Yet despite this social hysteria we are constantly being shamed as a nation for our “racist past”. That, to me is annoying as hell. To expect the United States of America to live up to this standard that no other nation in history has had to live up to is maddening to me. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: Any nation that has a free press, freedom of speech and a culture rich in a religion that extols its adherents toward service to God and fellow man is inherently progressive and self-correcting. To deny this is to be as naïve about history and human nature as the President and many of his sycophants are.

In short, we did not need to put this arrogant child into the most powerful elected office in the world to prove that we are no longer a nation of racists or segregationists. But on inauguration day, that’s all the Useful Idiots in the Western Media could talk about: How great this day was, we had elected a Black American President. It drove me nuts.

SPIEGEL: What major mistakes has Obama made?

Jeff: I think mostly typical over-reaching. It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll correct his path if his party gets rocked in the 2010 midterm elections. My suspicion is that he’ll continue to press forward on the major issues that he has his first two years in office if this happens.

SPIEGEL: Yet, he had promised these reforms during the campaign.

Jeff: Vaguely, if at all. I’ll roll with the latter, actually. I think that’s why so many people in recent days have expressed buyer’s remorse with their vote for him. I think a lot of the people you see at these tea parties – maybe not a large majority, but a fair amount – voted for him thinking he was something he was not. Remember, Obama was a shrewd campaigner in 07 and 08, as was Clinton in 92. He avoided controversial positions and had a “can’t we all just get along” persona for most of his campaign. People like myself became frustrated with the way that he was getting away with this. Its always important to remember: in politics, don’t get caught up with a person’s presentation. How have they voted before being obsessed with gaining your support? Barack Obama’s US Senate voting record would have made Trotsky look like Senator McCarthy. But he sounded so good, didn’t he? The same standard drove me nuts about how the Useful Idiots in the Media treated Sarah Palin. Say what you want about her marginal performance before hostile reporters: Look at her excellent track record as an executive in Alaska. Obama had zero executive experience or any kind of record of accomplishment in such a capacity, but Chris Matthews was ready to have his child.

Obama was the product of presentation. Palin was the product of real results in leadership. This was lost on many in the media during the last campaign.

My point in all of this is to say that Barack Obama was the product of good, yet vapid, packaging, who made very few real, noticeable promises during the campaign other than to “unite us.” And this, coupled with White Guilt, made many in the electorate gobble him up.

SPIEGEL: So he didn't see the massive resistance coming?

Jeff: I read a really good piece a few days back about the classic, narcissistic personality. In short, the narcissist creates in his own mind a world where they are the center of the universe. He has enablers who see him as he sees himself. This enabled self-view permeates every decision he makes. Then, suddenly, lo and behold, the reality that his defecation actually does stink becomes unavoidable. Then, he is left to deal with this reality with more arrogance and self-delusion. I think that’s what you are seeing now.

SPIEGEL: Part of the problem when it comes to health care is the lack of solidarity in the American way of thinking. Can a president change a country?

Jeff: I’m not sure. I certainly think that a President can do his or her part to educate the people. That’s what leaders do. In a very confident way, a President can make his case based on fact and research. I think a lot of Obama’s problem is that he didn’t count on having to do this. I think he expected the power of his vapid rhetoric to carry the day and get what he wanted. So when people start showing up at these town hall meetings and tea parties, challenging his position, he suddenly became the Offensive Coordinator with no time outs, realizing that the opposing defense read his fake field goal for what it is.

SPIEGEL: If Obama is so radical, why is the left wing of the Democratic Party so unhappy with him?

Jeff: If you read some of the radical Leftist blogs, they’ll tell you that they’re frustrated with his seeming inability to get things done. By party identity, the Democrats control the entire Federal Legislature and the Executive. Yet, its taking an act of God to get Health Care done, and Cap & Trade faces serious challenges in the US Senate. Couple that with Obama’s realization that much of what George W Bush was doing in the War on Terror needed to continue to prevent a holocaust on his own watch – it makes things difficult for the President. Its much easier to make your sycophants cry and faint on the campaign trail that it is to deal with the realities of being President. Dammit.

SPIEGEL: How could Obama still win Republican support for healthcare reform?

Jeff: He has a couple of options. First, he can pray that more Republicans morph into Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and John McCain. Or, he can realize that you can’t cram this Ostrich Egg down the throat of the American people and he can consider Republican alternatives.

However, unlike Bill Clinton, who’d triangulate and do the latter, pretending they’re his own, I think Obama is more of an ideologue than Clinton was. Clinton, I think, was more of a politician than Obama. Clinton’s number one priority was his personal success as a politician (ie, reelection). Obama, I think, is more of a committed radical. Unlike Clinton, I doubt he’ll settle for anything less than his version, as stated, which will eventually lead us to Single Payer Health Care.

SPIEGEL: What would be your solution?

Jeff: The first thing is to dispense with the notion put forth by some that Health Care is a right, and return the expectation that each individual will provide for his or her own health care. Then, address the real problems that keep health care unaffordable for some (certainly not the bandied about number of 47 million) Americans who do not have it.

Once health care becomes not a right but a product with the demand for which consumers will be willing to pay what the market will bear, it will become a function of the capitalist system. Nothing cures shortages in a market economy like capitalism. The cornerstone of capitalism is freedom of choice and competition among competitors with an equal playing field. Of all the market-centered solutions that I’ve heard put forth, nothing sounds as promising as the two pronged attack of interstate portability and tort reform.

SPIEGEL: But you also need to cut back on healthcare expenses.

Jeff: Correct. And if you understand Capitalism, you’ll understand that competition as I describe above will force providers, within the rule of law, to naturally drive down prices. By and large, to the average American, and by the President’s own admission, the current employer-driven system has served many Americans well. But in terms of keeping prices down its been a disappointment.

Back during my freshman year in college, I worked as a personal trainer and membership salesman at a small health club. The owner was, as are most businessmen, very attune to what could send the most money to his bottom line. In terms of getting walk-in one year memberships, $199 was the amount he was willing to charge. However, on occasion, someone fresh off a work or vehicle accident, looking for physical therapy, would walk in, proudly telling us that their insurance company was willing to foot the bill for their rehab. At this point, the owner would emphatically point out to me that the correct price for THAT consumer was the full $400. Such is the classic example of third party largesse in the eyes of the provider.

SPIEGEL: Jeff, can a Nobel Peace Prize winner send more troops to Afghanistan?

Jeff: I’m going to make an assumption – admittedly, an assumption, based on my understanding of the Leftist worldview – that this prize was, as I outlined above, a plea by the Nobel Committee for Barack Obama to keep being Barack Obama. Then, our president is stuck with a difficult choice: do I alienate my soulmates on the Left and continue pursuing a war that many of said soulmates are uncomfortable with; or do I avoid saddling myself with the legacy that Lyndon Johnson saddle himself with; of humiliation in a war in a land where people shit in holes and watch opposing armies march in and out like the Macy’s Parade in Manhattan every year. I think that’s why you find Barack Obama so reluctant to act on General McCrystal’s request for additional troops. All of a sudden he’s tasked with making a choice between being a hero to his vapid base or being written in history as this generation's Lyndon Johnson.

SPIEGEL: Some have called him a "young Hamlet" over his hesitation about making a decision on Afghanistan. However, he's just carefully considering the options after Bush shot so often from the hip.

Jeff: George W Bush never shot from the hip. He took to the floor of a Joint Session of Congress days after watching 3000 of the people he took an oath to defend, die horrific deaths. He laid out an ultimatum to the Taliban in Afghanistan that no one in their right mind could disagree with: “Turn over al Qaeda operatives you are hiding or face drastic consequences.”

The Taliban decided to “call Bush’s bluff” and did not turn over Bin Laden and his associates. Almost a month later, we took action, and Afghanistan is, on balance, a better place as a result. The world community, to my knowledge, has scarce led opposition to that decision.

Then came Iraq. In a post-911 world, Bush realized that continued tolerance of Iraqi malfeasance - to do as Western Europe had done when Hitler brainwashed you people - would result in more of what he’d just witnessed in 2001. George W Bush did nothing more than reiterate the comments that his predecessors and their contemporaries made: the world over was convinced that Saddam Hussein continued to amass Weapons of Mass Destruction since his defeat in Operation Desert Storm and had been defiant in that regard, and had not lived up to other obligations resulting from the treaty ending that conflict. In fact, you could make the case that the 2003 incursion into Iraq was not, in and of itself, about WMD but about Hussein’s unwillingness to live up to his obligations to the world community on the heels of his 1991 defeat. It continues to shock the hell out of me that any credible news source ignores these facts, or the fact that Bush pled his case to the world community for 13 months before acting. That pleading came on the heels of 17 UN resolutions, if my count is correct. What’s more, at zero-hour, Bush offered asylum to Hussein and his family. They refused.

In short, Bush did not “shoot from the hip” during his tenure as commander – in – chief. He acted as responsibly as Obama should be now.

SPIEGEL: Is Afghanistan still a war of necessity, still a strategic interest?

Jeff: We have to realize that the war we wage against militant Islam is a war against a religious facism that does not value the rule of law, justice and human rights as Western Nations do. To assume that they will read any signal from the West as “good intentions” - short of bowing to Mecca five times a day and surrendering control of our lives and treasure to them - is the height of dangerous stupidity. Everywhere militant Islam rears its despicable head, we, as those who value Western Civilization – and by that I mean this; the right to be free to elect our leaders; to see our children, friends, family members and neighbors live free of the fear of beheadings, raperooms, torture chambers, stonings and other tyrannies; the right to live a life of true peace – we who value this freedom have to understand that in a world governed by the law of the jungle and force must be prepared to defend our right to exist at all costs. Our enemy does not have an Xbox and a minivan. Our enemy will send as many of its people into harm’s way as it takes to bring us down. Unless we are willing to match their resolve, our way of life is eventually doomed.

So, in Afghanistan, as in any other theater, the time is now. We must send a clear signal that, anywhere in the world, at any – ANY – cost, we will meet and defeat them. We will not allow them to take our freedom from us. In that vane, yes, Afghanistan is a war of necessity.

SPIEGEL: General Stanley McCrystal is asking for more troops. Is that really the right strategy?

Jeff: I’m not sure. But I will tell you this. I am much more apt to take the advice of the General on the Battlefield about the necessity of winning a war against militant Islam, than I am the man that thinks the US is the cause of the angst that motivates our enemy there.

SPIEGEL: What is the "Obama Doctrine?"

Jeff: Go to and punch in “I’d Like To Buy The World a Coke” and see for yourself.

SPIEGEL: Are you saying that diplomacy always fails?

Jeff: No. But diplomacy can only be successful if the potential, unrestrained aggressor fears the power of his target. And by unrestrained, I mean, unrestrained by his own press or population at the ballot box. If you show weakness to an unrestrained tyrant and an aggressor, then your offers in diplomacy are, to him, things he can get from you without paying a price. Then you are bargaining with absolutely nothing.

SPIEGEL: That is the cynical approach.

Jeff: This is an approach based on the lessons of dealing with, among other things, the failings of your Weimer Republic to deal with Adolf Hitler and the rise of his Nazi party.

SPIEGEL: How do you solve problems like climate change if international institutions are failing?

Jeff: You ask that question making the assumption that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a significant concern. I’ve got serious doubts about that, as do multiple very credible climatologists.

SPIEGEL: You think it's a speculative theory?

Jeff: The Stalinist fashion with which its devotees try to silence debate certainly doesn’t lend respectability to their arguments. We’ve had environmental scares my entire life, and they change constantly. I certainly think we can do damage to this planet; pollution etc. But to say that we are destroying it is a Draconian statement that is not universally accepted. Except by those who wish to see the nations that create the wealth for the entire world (ie, the West) diminished. That instantly makes me suspicious.

SPIEGEL: Do you basically think Obama is going to be a one-term president?

Jeff: Jesus told his disciples “ask and it shall be given unto you.” I’ve certainly prayed for it.

I’ve never been a big proponent of polls. I think they have serious flaws for obvious reasons. However, you can’t overlook that fact that so many of them have his approval rating declining. My fear is that, ala Bill Clinton in 96, the economy will recover on its own and in spite of his “stimulus”, as it always does, and he’ll benefit with a reelection.

SPIEGEL: Is the conservative movement in the United States in decline?

Jeff: It may surprise you to hear me say that its possible that it is. American Conservatism is defined as defending the principles of the Declaration of Independence and its subsequent product, our Constitutional Government. I think when people are free to act in their own self-interests, again, within the rule of law, the entire society benefits. Most people raise their children to think and act on these principles, but our comfort and the natural sin of envy cause us to lose sight of this at times. That’s a danger all parents need to guard against. We can lose our identity as a nation within a generation or two if parents don’t continue to reinforce the concepts of our founding to their kids.

SPIEGEL: A Democrat is back in the White House, the party also controls Congress.

Jeff: Yes, and your wife slept with a Polish scarf salesman who doesn’t even watch football. Do I rub your misery in your face?

SPIEGEL: Your party lacks a strong, intelligent leader.

Jeff: I disagree. Again, think back to the Palin comments I made a while ago. Republicans depend on substance, Democrats on show and presentation. Exhibit A is the present nitwit in the White House. We have many strong, intelligent leaders, the problem is they don’t focus on communicating American Conservatism to the voters in an inspiring fashion. They try to be nice to Democrats.

SPIEGEL: Some people say you're that leader.

Jeff: I could be, but I wouldn’t last five minutes on the campaign trail. What you guys did to Newt Gingrich would look like a backyard BBQ compared to what you’d do to me.

SPIEGEL: So, who will be the next leader of the Republican Party?

Jeff: I continue to hear good things, politically speaking, about Sarah Palin. And to tell you the truth, I’d have a hell of a lot more faith in her ability to protect this nation than most of the idiots the other party would put forth. Now, full disclosure: I’ve heard her hint… hint, mind you, at economic populist stances – denouncing "golden parachutes" for CEOs, eg – that have made me nervous. But, with the drawing power she has and the real results she’s demonstrated she can deliver as an executive, I’m intrigued.

SPIEGEL: Many people, however, currently think the Republicans are the party of "no."

Jeff: No isn’t always a bad thing to say. If the government wants to swoop in and garnish your wages by 90%, no would be akin to saying “Merry Christmas”. The Democrats are pretending in this current health care debate that the Republicans refusal of the “public option” is the equivalent to saying no to your puppy getting a heartworm pill. That’s bullshit. And many of you on the Left are promulgating that Bs.

SPIEGEL: At the end of Bush's second term you wrote that history would judge Bush kindly. Why?

Jeff: I’ve studied history long enough to understand that it is far more accurately described by generations who study it removed from it, than those who lived it. A lot of the historians who write about Operation Iraqi Freedom now hate George W Bush’s guts for personal, political reasons. Those Civil War contemporaries who commented on Abraham Lincoln’s white-knuckled grip on the unity of the United States of America and the moral imperative of abolition called Lincoln all kinds of names, yet Lincoln saw the effort through. The result was the integrated nation we enjoy today, with its power and equality. One Hundred years from now when Iraq and other formerly Islamofascist nations are productive members of the international community, historians give him his due for seeing it through.

SPIEGEL: Is it too early to foresee what Obama will be remembered for?

Jeff: My hope is that he’ll be a poster child for what his worldview does to Western Civilization. My fear is that, despite him, we’ll prosper as we did under Clinton and things will, in the long run, deteriorate. But not before the Left makes him out be, to quote the Beatles, “Bigger than Jesus,” thus perpetuating an example of horrific decision making for decades to come.

SPIEGEL: Any parting comments?

Jeff: Yes. You'll notice at several points during this interview I ended my sentence with a preposition. This was an intentional dig at the NEA Represented English Teachers who will read this interview in horror.