Editorial by John Ziegler

The Decade in Review (Or, How The Florida Recount Ruined Everything)

12/21/2009

In no particular order, here are the ten most significant events of the past ten years.
 

9/11

Obviously the biggest news story of this decade was the terrorist attacks of 2001 and their aftermath. Everyone knows about the death and destruction, but what has been far less examined is what we actually gleaned from the tragedy and what the legacy of 9/11 really is.

In short, we have long ago forgotten (or perhaps never really learned) almost all of the lessons of that fateful day and blissfully ignored what this sad reality says about who were are as a country. Numerous facts (the failure to get bin Laden, giving full legal rights to terror suspects, the censorship of “The Path to 9/11,” the failure to rebuild TWC, and the election of Barack Obama, etc.) have proven beyond any shadow of doubt that the event we all pledged would “never be forgotten,” already has been.The remarkably laid-back reaction to the attempted Christmas bombing is just the latest proof of this scary reality.  

In the end, it only took about two or three years for us to collectively pretend that the attacks never even took place. Nothing could be a more damning indictment of what has seemingly become of this once great nation.

 
Iraq War
 
Though it happened in a way that most liberals are either incapable or simply unwilling to understand, 9/11 led directly to the Iraq War (no, Saddam had nothing to do with the attacks!). The significance of how this largely successful war has been spun into some sort of complete disaster simply can not be overestimated. In fact, for many reasons, it may be the most momentous development of our time.
 
Several incredibly dangerous precedents have been set with how the Iraq War is now perceived. First, we can remove a brutal dictator and install a stable democratic government where none has ever existed and do it with less than three deaths a day and that is considered to be no where near good enough. Under what conditions would any U.S. President ever dare to undertake a similar operation when the standards of "victory" are so totally unrealistic? Second, an entire political party (with the exception of Joe Lieberman) can actively work/root against the success of a major U.S. military operation and be richly rewarded for doing so. Third, the news media can turn an amazing accomplishment by our troops into a perceived catastrophe and then simply refuse to cover the story once it miraculously turns around. Why in the world would anybody ever volunteer to be part of our military after all of that?
 
Katrina
 
There is no doubt that as a natural disaster that Katrina was one of the biggest stories of the decade, but it was its political elements which clearly put it into the top ten.
 
Much like with the Iraq War, we learned that the Democratic Party and their many friends in the news media were easily able to completely change the rules after the game had already started (like altering the role of FEMA) as well as flat out lie about the circumstances on the ground as they happened.
 
Somehow, the public perception of Katrina is that the human suffering was mostly George Bush’s fault and that the hurricane was a result of global warming. The evidence is overwhelming that neither assertion is remotely accurate, but this reality has had seemingly zero impact on the media narrative or on what the masses seem to think.
 
 
Global Warming Hysteria
 
The reaction to Katrina was clearly part of, as well as a facilitator of, the larger issue of the economic and political issue that has become known as “Global Warming.”
 
A campaign led by a man, Al Gore, who was vice-president for eight years and barely ever even mentioned the topic, a confluence of political and economic self interest, combined with the inherent vulnerability of data to be manipulated, “convinced” almost the entire media establishment that we are on the verge of a man-made environmental calamity.
 
The proposed “solution” of course was a dramatic debilitation of our economy which had the convenient added benefit for the far left (as well as our more overt foreign enemies) of helping to bolster their arguments for further government control over the free enterprise system.
 
The most recent data (as well as the weather!) has shown Gore and his argument to be almost completely fraudulent. Interestingly, this is one area where the media’s ability to bamboozle the public appears to be rather limited as polls indicate the people just aren’t buying it. Perhaps this is because the government still allows most people to go outside.
 
Economic Highs and Lows
 
The most extraordinary thing about the economy over this decade is how the years 03-07 were considered to be lackluster or somehow even dreadful when statistically it was a time period of remarkable (though at least partially bogus) affluence. I am quite certain that if the Obama administration were to ever attain the employment, growth, and stock market numbers of these years that Brian Williams may literally hurt himself trumpeting The Messiah’s superhuman achievement.
 
Conversely, while 2008 was indeed horrible by any measure, calling it the “worst economy since the great depression” has turned out to be laughably false. Just ask anyone who was around in the late 70s, or who was smart enough to put their money in gold this time around.     
 
Republicans Overplay their Hand
 
As the decade ends with Republicans so impotent that they can’t even stop a health-care bill that most of America hates, it is difficult to remember that in 2003 the GOP implemented a now clearly foolhardy strategy to render the Democratic Party completely irrelevant.
 
With the nation still pretending that 9/11 “changed everything,” the Iraq War off to a outstanding start, and the economy out of recession, Republicans decided that if they spent money like Democrats that there would no longer be any need for anyone to vote for actual Democrats. This strategy was based on the naïve belief that Republicans can ever get the same “credit” for doing the identical things as Democrats. You see, when Republicans spend too much money on social programs they are wasteful spending hypocrites who are trying to buy votes. When Democrats act the same way they are portrayed as champions of the little guy.
 
Consequently, when the Iraq War was perceived as “lost,” the Republican attempt to install one-party rule backfired so badly that it is now the Democrats who have a stranglehold on all the levers of government. Thankfully, the Democratic Party is showing no signs of having learned any of the obvious lessons from these events.
 
 
 
The modern news media in this country has always been liberally biased, but in this decade the damn broke and the floodgates opened. No longer was there any hesitation whatsoever to transparently pursue a political and economic agenda, regardless of what the facts are.
 
Thanks to massive media fragmentation, the rise of the Internet, the feminization of our culture, advancements in ratings technology, and the shrinking of the average attention span, the notion that what is “news” is determined by what is important/true was just about totally replaced with the concept that the most important consideration is what will get/keep the largest audience. As a result, substantive information has been replaced with complete fluff and our national obsession with celebrity has completely overtaken even formerly serious news sources.

Along with fragmentation has also come political polarization. The emergence of Fox News, a development understandably hailed by conservatives, has in many ways has provided cover for every other network (including the “majors”) to be as overtly liberal as their consciences will allow, which, judging from the last election, is substantial.  

 

The Election of Barack Obama

The death of journalism became dramatically revealed during the Presidential campaign of Barack Obama. In a perfect storm situation, the media blatantly pursued their natural political and economic agenda which was spiked with a healthy dose white guilt. Never before in our modern history was a man who was so unqualified and so unknown elected President. Never before had anyone ever run for the office with such incredibly uncritical coverage.
 
Still, there is no doubting the historic nature of Obama’s election. His victory was not only a testament to the power of the media and white quilt, but also of the allure of socialism to ignorant average voter. His election has undoubtedly permanently altered the way campaigns are run and, judging from the current state of the healthcare debate, his presidency may very well (as he promised) fundamentally change the nature of our country.   
 
The Death of Heroes (The Fall of Tiger Woods)
 

The nature of celebrity changed significantly during this decade. The emergence of "Reality TV" helped evaporate the last differences between the value of fame and that of infamy in our culture.

The list of the famous who have fallen from grace seems much longer for this decade than those in the recent past (perhaps becasue far more people meet the watered down definition of "celebrity"). While we have seen many respected business and political leaders cut down by scandal, it has been in the realm of sports where this phenomenon has seemingly been the most dramatic.  

Most of these former heroes have been knocked off their pedestal by allegations of steroid use or legal issues, but by far the most dramatic collapse of a public figure came late in 2009 with revelations of marital infidelity about the decade’s most dominant athlete and prolific commercial endorser, Tiger Woods.
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In many ways Tiger’s life has been a grand experiment in the potential of humanity. For almost thirty three years it appeared that at least one of our species had figured it all out and had come as close to perfection as we ever thought was possible. Apparently, at least part of that image was a total fraud and all of us have lost something important in the process. America (and conservatism) may have also lost a future President as well.  
 
The Florida Recount
 
The decade began with the most amazing political story in the history of this country, if not the world. The Presidency of the United States was determined by a few hundred votes in Florida and a last second Supreme Court decision.
 
Now, the evidence (including the subsequent overwhelming victories in Florida of both Bush brothers) overwhelmingly suggests that Al Gore attempted to “steal” the election and that “infamous” Supreme Court ruling has been purposely bastardized to fool people into believing the opposite reality.   
 
But the real importance of the Florida recount may be best seen in the influence it had in setting the stage for nearly all the other major developments of the decade.
 
For instance…
 
The stunted transition caused by the Florida recount helped lead to 9/11, which led to the Iraq War. 9/11 led to the exposing of Tiger Woods (the first reported mistress lost her fiancée in the attacks and consequently transformed her look and persona) and the Iraq War helped cause the Republicans to overplay their political hand.
 
Because Al Gore lost a heartbreaker he was given the “consolation prize” of being the savior of the planet, which allowed him to create the Global Warming hysteria and caused Katrina to be spectacularly misperceived.
 
Bush’s close election created pent up resentment of him in the media which helped lead to the political polarization of news coverage. The relatively low ratings for the greatest political drama of our lifetime helped convince the networks that hard political news just doesn’t sell and help pave the way for "news' networks to consider missing attractive white women to be major "news.".
 
And of course antipathy for Bush in the media came poring out over the reporting of the economy and also directly led to the election of Obamahealth-care.   
 
heart-breakerSo, as it turns out, had Al Gore been allowed to steal the 2000 election we may be starting this new decade in a lot better shape than we are.   

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