Having read the rebuttal by Denny Geraghty to yet another one of Dick Gustafson’s rants, a rant in itself I must say, my takeaway is that we have been very poorly led for most of the time since the end of World War II.
It is patently unfair to blame the mess the nation is in today solely on Obama or “W,” as many of the seeds of the likely destruction of the republic were planted by every one of the men who have served as president since Japan threw in the towel.
The harsh reality is that the experiment in governance called the United States was so successful for so long was due to many factors, including but not limited to its relatively isolated (protected) position on the globe, the huge variety and abundance of easily accessible natural resources, slavery to provide the power, the freedom to be creative, the unifying power of the belief in a single deity and the dominance of the white male.
Being a white male, I would say that the experiment worked very well until the mid-1950s when a number of non-compatible ingredients were suddenly thrown into the pot including Civil Rights, the war on poverty, the irrational fear of the spread of communism, the folly of our attempts at nation-building and overall hubris to the max which caused the experiment to begin to fail under the weight of its own ingredients.
Added to poor decision-making at the very top (often the result of badly failed intelligence on the part of the CIA and other federal agencies) we must throw in fuzzy thinking in both houses of Congress (for example, both houses voted by a super majority to authorize Bush the Second to invade Iraq).
Citizen politicians served the emerging nation very well for several hundred years, however modern day politicians (homesteaders I call them) place far greater emphasis on getting re-elected to their exclusive clubs than addressing the pressing needs of the people they have been elected to serve.
Sadly, until there is an amendment to the Constitution limiting the term in office to two four-year terms for representatives and two six-year terms for senators, gridlock will continue to be the order of the day in Washington; and in the not too distant future the grand experiment called the United States will be but a single failed chapter in the evolution of humankind.