The Year 2008 was not what I would call a banner year. In an effort to put a little bow upon this steaming pile of a year, I offer the following summary.
1. The Surge. The success of the war effort in Iraq is indisputable, and the President's resolve to win will go down in history as one of his administration's brightest points. My hat is off to the brave men and women who executed the strategy, and of course to General Petreaus who devised it.
2. The Rise of the Young Guns. Republicans in the hinterlands are positioning themselves to lead the party out of the wilderness. Bobby Jindal, Mitch Daniels, Mark Sanford, Tim Pawlenty, and maybe even Sarah Palin--are out there leading and succeeding, awaiting the time when our Devil's dance with big government proves too much for our wallets to take.
3. The Election of Barack Obama. A nation that fifty years ago segregated schools, bathrooms, hotels and drinking fountains elected a self-identified black man to the Presidency. Although I disagree with many of the stated policies Mr. Obama talked about in the campaign, it is my fervent hope that he wildly succeed in office, causing me to fundamentally question everything I believe about government and politics. I wouldn't bet on that, but I keep the possibility open. Additionally, given the nearly unanimous support Mr. Obama received in the African-American community, I would hope that his election would stand as a message to young people in our cities (well, young people everywhere!) that being smart is cool, studying hard is worthwhile, and hard work pays off.
4. The Creation of This Blog. I am grateful to all who read it and in the debt of those who comment on its content. This little corner of Al Gore's Internet serves as Political Therapy for a guy who is in love with a liberal who happens to be much smarter than he.
1. It's the Economy, Stupid. No question about this. We're in a hurt locker and it won't start getting better for nearly a year. Hunker down, change your habits, love your country and things will get better.
2. NATO's Shameful Performance in Afghanistan. Our European "allies" are not holding up their end of the bargain in Afghanistan, the place of the "good war" where their liberal sensitivities are less offended. Once again, this conflict shows what a sham NATO is, and how Europe remains a bunch of free-riding libertines who cower behind our skirts when the going gets tough.
3. The Vapidity and Hubris of the Washington Based Republican Party. Power corrupted the Republican Party in Washington, and the elections of 2006 and 2008 showed the extent to which the American public wished to punish them.
1. The Continuing Addiction to Middle Class Entitlements. The middle class is the new welfare queen, with tuition tax credits, tax credits for simply having children, and tax credits for buying houses all beginning to fall into the category of human rights.
2. The Continuing Inattention to Infrastructure Investment in the United States. Roads, high-speed rail, rail/air connections, mega-ports....all are necessary to keep us competitive and very little is being done in a coherent manner to address them. The federal government governs best when it governs least--but these are areas right in its wheelhouse.
3. The Auto Bailout. No good answers here; sort of how Jefferson talked about slavery as a "wolf you've got by the ears...you don't like where you are but you don't dare let go." I think it might be time to let go.
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