The Summer of Our Discontent


I don’t know how many people read Shakespeare these days or attend productions of his plays. But certainly — great spinner of memorable quotations as he was — old Bill’s words remain prominent in our common lexicon. The famous line from Richard III

“Now is the winter of our discontent…”Donkey & Elephant

…shows up all over the place. It’s eminently adaptable to our present circumstances. Now is indeed the summer of our discontent, as mid-term elections loom and opinion polls show deep public dissatisfaction with some of the most crucial institutions in our national life. For instance…

• “…just 41 percent of Americans now approve of Obama’s handling of his job, reversing an uptick this spring.” (NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll)

• “Americans’ approval of President Barack Obama’s handling of immigration has dropped to 31 percent….” (Gallup poll)

• “Seven percent of Americans say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in Congress as an American institution, down from the previous low of 10 percent in 2013.” (Gallup poll)

• “…the number of people who say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot of faith’ in newspapers sits at 22 percent…” (Gallup poll)

• “Just 18 percent of U.S. adults say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in TV news, down from 23 percent who gave those answers last year.” (Gallup poll)

Little wonder people are feeling down. Iraq is disintegrating before our eyes while we’re fast-tracking terrorists from Guantanamo back to active duty with al Qaida. Vladimir Putin is reassembling the Soviet Union. The entire federal bureaucracy seems awash in scandal. All expectations of personal privacy are fading. The so-called economic recovery proceeds in fits and starts with its odd mix of booming stock prices, a disappearing labor force, and rapidly accelerating inflation.

And now we find ourselves with tens of thousands of foreign children sweeping across our southern frontier, having (as we’re told) taken border authorities completely by surprise.

Well, about that particular claim — the conservative blog Last Refuge reports…

“On January 29th of this year, the federal government posted an advertisement seeking bids for a vendor contract to handle ‘Unaccompanied Alien Children.’

“Not just any contract mind you, but a very specific contract — for a very specific number of unaccompanied minors: 65,000.”

The call for bids by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is available for your perusal at the online archive, Scribd, specifies…

“The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year.”

My oh my, this demonstrates a truly amazing degree of foresight on the part of someone at a very high level of government. Imagine such thorough planning for a contingency nobody anticipated.

Pretty impressive.

That the media should be ranking low on the confidence scale isn’t surprising. As John Nolte observes in Breitbart News

“There is no questioning the fact that the fate of the news media is directly tied to the fate of President Obama. It was the news media that made Obama a rising star in 2004, made him a phenomenon in 2008, and assured Americans again in 2012 that he deserved a second term.

“The media invested all of its credibility and spent all of its trust to make Obama president and to ensure he kept that job after his reelection campaign.”

Which pretty much proves the truth of that old expression…

“Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas.”

Mainstream press moguls were willing to sacrifice their independence for the sake of advancing an ideological agenda. They’ve paid a heavy price, as I noted in my post of March 28. Fortunately, they’ve done it at a time when alternative sources of information have come into their own.

Somewhere the ghost of Andrew Breitbart wears a melancholy smile.

How will all this discontent play out at election time? There’s no way to be sure, since the Democrats are such excellent ward heelers. You’ll recall how in 2012 there were certain wards in certain Democrat-controlled cities that delivered more votes for Obama than there were voters in those districts.

Now that’s what you call a strong political ground game.

I have felt from the beginning of the Obama presidency that there would be a lot of disappointment at the end. It was, after all, rather over-sold. Recall Obama’s promise in his nomination victory speech that we would look back and tell our children…

“this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”


Sea levels aside, there’s disagreement on the right about this administration’s current condition. That split is illustrated by the contrast between the views of Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and the dean of conservative talkers, Rush Limbaugh.

As reported by Mediaite, Kelly opened her show recently by suggesting that Obama is “imploding.”…

“She cited the bewildering fact that the U.S. may ally with Iran to deal with the situation in Iraq, and ripped Obama in particular as ‘a president who has lost the trust of the American people by repeatedly misleading them.’

“She went down a list of scandal after scandal that the president has briefly acknowledged while ‘smiling, golfing,’ and attending fundraisers.”

Rush, on the other hand, is not convinced. In his view…

“the correct way to look at the Obama administration is that it’s just now getting started. It is in no way over. It is in no way crumbling. It may be in public opinion, but that doesn’t matter.”

Where Megyn sees scandal and wild flailing about, Rush sees intent and consistency…

“The people of this country have been governed against their will since the beginning. Obama has never had majority support for Obamacare. He never led on the issue. He’s not led on the issue of basically opening the border. He’s doing this in defiance of public opinion….”

Expectations are that 2014 is a Republican year, and poll numbers tend to support that assumption. Yet, the Grand Old Party remains spilt between its establishment leadership and its insurrection-minded Tea Party wing.

And of course, this election being focused on the House and Senate, it always comes down to how tight each incumbent is with his or her own constituency. Has good old what’s-it’s-name been bringing home the bacon?

In the words of the late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill…

“All politics is local.”

As campaigns gear up and both parties start rallying their troops, we may hear another familiar quotation with a summer reference — that famous passage from Thomas Paine’s 1776 essay, The Crisis

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

Now there’s a guy who knew how to spin a memorable line.



Last Refuge LogoCheck out ICE’s amazingly prescient January call for bids from contractors interested in escorting children who come across the border — accessible via the Last Refuge blog. Is there some kind of government crystal ball we don’t know about?…


Hot Air LogoHot Air reports on a National Public Radio poll that indicates bad news for Democrats this year. All you GOP folks — don’t get overconfident…


Mediaite LogoHere’s a link to that Megyn Kelly show where she dismisses Obama as “imploding”…


Rush LimbaughAnd one to a transcript of Rush Limbaugh saying Not so fast!


AP LogoJennifer Agiesta of Associated Press leavens the discussion of opinion polls with some Pew figures that show an overall increase in political polarization. Things must be getting pretty bad, since she reports that…

“one-quarter of consistent liberals say they’d be unhappy if an immediate family member married a Republican, 30 percent of consistent conservatives say the same about a union with a Democrat.”

Whow! it’s like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” only with politics…–polarized_america-02f824c011.html





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