AP Photo

AP Photo

Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 1/15/16


I was in the car for the entirety of President Obama’s final State of the Union address the other night. I tried to listen. I really, really tried.

But I just couldn’t do it. I finally switched it off out of pure boredom. The speech was a tired, cliché-riddled litany of progressive bromides and factual errors. It was an attempt by the president to convince us that his presidency – entering its final days – has been a success.

That’s a hard sell even for a lot of Democrats.

So I turned the speech off and out of professional necessity, waited to read the text of the speech the next day. That’s when I found out that Vice President Joe Biden is about to be dispatched on a lunar landing-like mission to cure cancer.

I love it when politicians of either stripe invoke the (now receding) memory of the Apollo lunar landing missions in order to promote this or that grand idea that stands little chance of ever coming to pass. I’m a real student of the Apollo program – an enthusiastic consumer of books, academic material, anecdotes, photos, interviews and memorabilia from what I consider to be the last grand government program that actually delivered on its promises. I know – in much specific detail – why the Apollo program was such a success.

I can thus tell you that Joe Biden’s assault on cancer will bear exactly no resemblance to Apollo. While the moon is a tangible, known celestial body, there is, in fact, no such thing as “cancer.” Cancer is a catch-all generic term for a family of more than 100 diseases that more or less have in common abnormal and destructive cell growth. Breast cancer has little to do with leukemia which in turn has only a passing relationship to lung cancer.

In 1962 we knew where the moon was, where it would be at any moment in the future, what its general characteristics were and how much energy would be needed to carry men and their equipment to it. The only thing that stood in the way was overcoming the known and knowable engineering challenges.

No such clarity now – or will likely ever – exist regarding cancer. The truth about cancer is that we’ll probably never actually “cure” it.

My problem with the president’s dispatching of Joe Biden on that mission is the mindset that it reveals.

In the minds of liberals, all that is necessary to address any human problem is the spending of huge gobs of taxpayer money. The fact that huge gobs of such money have been spent in the past 50 years on everything from poverty to crowded freeways to school “head start” programs to “energy independence” – with no discernible good effect – never deters proponents of the next Apollo-like grand idea.

Thus we get a nation with a burgeoning debt problem, a stagnant private sector economy and a shrinking ability to believe in itself.

That the Donald Trump campaign is proving so resilient should therefore surprise no one.