Psychologists, economists, criminologists and parents routinely tell us that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. Only in politics is that adage routinely ignored – and no more so that when liberals/progressives find past performance an inconvenient barrier to their goals. Let’s look at just the past week.
President Barack Obama, in pursuit of his legacy as the “peace president” and Secretary of State John Kerry, in pursuit of his legacy as a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, have conceded virtually every point of contention to reach an agreement with Iran regarding deferral of construction of nuclear weapons.
In order to achieve that Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have chosen to ignore the fact that Iran has lied, cheated, and dissembled with regard to every provision of every agreement that they have signed since the rise of the ayatollahs and the imposition of the murderous form of Islam imposed on the Persian people. Every element of the agreement relies on verification but Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have agreed that inspections will be carried out by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency which has consistently demonstrated that it lacks the resources, expertise and will power to enforce provisions with regard to both Iran and North Korea. It is not going to be inspectors from the United States that challenge Iran’s despotic regime; rather it is going to be the barely able IAEA. Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have also agreed with a wink and a nod to limited compliance inspections of military sites in Iran despite the fact that it is on these military bases that virtually all of the research and development for nuclear weapons and their delivery systems have occurred.
Yes, Mr. Obama will achieve his legacy as the “peace president” but he will stand beside other notable appeasers such as Neville Chamberlain, Jimmy Carter and Marshal Phillipe Petain and, in retirement, he will watch Iran acquire and multiply a nuclear arsenal. Mr. Kerry will achieve his legacy but in doing so he will share the blame with Mr. Obama and join other famous appeasers (e.g. Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Cordell Hull) and murderous villains such as Yassir Arafat as Nobel Peace Prize winners. And both leave the American public to confront a hostile and nuclear armed Iran.
But Mssrs. Obama and Kerry are not alone. The European Union has announced an agreement in which they will extend an additional $96 Billion in loans to Greece. Greece’s debt load prior to the ascension of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his socialist Syriza party was 180 percent of Greece’s 2014 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $237.6 Billion. That debt load increased by nearly $20 Billion as a result of the near collapse of the Greek economy because of Mr. Tspiras’ refusal to bargain in good faith with Greece’s creditors. Add now to that the $96 Billion in future loans from the European Union countries and the International Monetary Fund (funded in large part by the United States) and Greece’s debt will exceed a half a trillion dollars and double its GDP.
This agreement was reached in spite of the long, consistent and irresponsible history of Greece to spend in excess of its revenues. Virtually all of that spending is in support of its welfare state and its generous public employment (approximately 27% of its workforce). The leaders of the European Union have long known of Greece’s economic irresponsibility. They turned a blind eye on Greece’s “cooked books” showing that Greece’s annual deficits were less than three percent and that its total debt was less than sixty percent of GDP – the standards for admission to the European Union and the use of the Euro. Audits occurring shortly after Greece’s admission demonstrated that Greece has never been in compliance with the requirements for use of the Euro.
But instead of booting Greece from the European Union and forcing it out of the use of the Euro, European leaders began a series of loans to prop up Greece’s government and economy in exchange for promises of economic reform – including spending, government employment and welfare benefits. A succession of Greek governments have ignored these promises and continued to blow through every dime it has been lent and more. Rather the righting the Greek economy, the situation has grown materially worse.
A recent Wall Street Journal article by Simon Nixon noted:
“Even if a new program can be agreed, what are the chances it will be implement effectively? Previous Greek government signed up to ambitious programs only to resist measures demanded by creditors; instead they consistently opted to hit fiscal targets through growth sapping tax increases on an already narrow tax-base rather than cut spending, corruption or overhaul public administration.
“Mr. Tsipras’s record suggests he will make similar choices. His proposal to try to unlock bailout funding consistent almost entirely of tax rises. Nor has he shown any appetite for overhauling Greece’s dysfunctional public administration.”
So bad is the Greek economy most non-government economists believe that Greece cannot avoid an eventual default, albeit now at a greater amount and with a greater impact on its creditor nations. But in spite of this consistent and demonstrable record the European leaders have continued down the same path in order to avoid acknowledging their previous mistakes.
And finally, two new recent revelations regarding former Secretary of State and current candidate for president, Hillary Clinton remind us of three decades of Ms. Clinton’s deceit and dishonesty. First, Ms. Clinton denied that she had ever been subpoenaed by a congressional committee regarding her role in Benghazi whereupon Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) produced the subpoena demonstrating the Ms. Clinton has again lied. And second, recently released documents by the State Department demonstrated that, contrary to Ms. Clinton’s assertions, she was aware that the intelligence community had almost immediately determined the attack on Benghazi was undertaken by Islamic extremists – including elements of al-Qaida – and was unrelated to the bogus video claimed to be the source of the attack by Ms. Clinton and the White House. The documents not only demonstrate that Ms. Clinton’s claims were false but that she participated in creating the false narrative.
Ms. Clinton has a nearly three decade history of lying regarding nearly every aspect of her public life. She has served as the conduit of enrichment in pay for play scandals involving herself and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, stretching back to his days as attorney general and then governor of Arkansas and stretching through his presidency and her service as a senator and Secretary of State. The Clinton’s have accumulated a staggering amount of wealth in a very short period of time without producing a single usable product other than influence peddling. The endless parade of rich people, corporations and nations providing cash and benefits to the Clintons at times when critical government decisions rest in their hands puts the Clintons in the same league as Manuel Noriega, Daniel Ortega, Vladmir Putin and the Castro brothers who have used their positions in government to enrich themselves en extremis.
And despite this demonstrable history, Ms. Clinton is on track to become the Democrat nominee in 2016. She may well be elected President not because of her accomplishments but because she fits a narrative of the liberal/progressive agenda that it is “her turn” – emphasis on the gender.
No one should be surprised that deceit and corruption will become the hallmark of her administration should she be elected President. But, as usual in politics, particularly in politics on the left, the narrative is more important than the truth.