Category Archives: obama

George Will, Commissar Barry, and Unicorns

George Will recently opened up his weekly column with this:

Barack Obama, the first president shaped by the celebratory culture in which every child who plays soccer gets a trophy and the first whose campaign speeches were his qualification for the office, perhaps should not be blamed for thinking that saying things is tantamount to accomplishing things, and that good intentions are good deeds. So, his presidency is useful after all, because it illustrates the perils of government run by believers in magic words and numbers.

This opening got me to thinking about Commissar Barry and his magic unicorns.

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Filed under barack hussein kardashian, barack obama, obama

Peggy Noonan: Not-So-Smooth Operator

The one highlight is my own…


Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.
By Peggy Noonan in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Something’s happening to President Obama’s relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, “Nothing new there,” but actually I think there is. I’m referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.

It’s not due to the election, and it’s not because the Republican candidates are so compelling and making such brilliant cases against him. That, actually, isn’t happening.

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault.

The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide birth-control services the church finds morally repugnant. The public reaction? “You’re kidding me. That’s not just bad judgment and a lack of civic tact, it’s not even constitutional!” Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious. Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest—not wrongheaded, dishonest—charges that those who defend the church’s religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.

What a sour taste this all left. How shocking it was, including for those in the church who’d been in touch with the administration and were murmuring about having been misled.

Events of just the past 10 days have contributed to the shift. There was the open-mic conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in which Mr. Obama pleaded for “space” and said he will have “more flexibility” in his negotiations once the election is over and those pesky voters have done their thing. On tape it looked so bush-league, so faux-sophisticated. When he knew he’d been caught, the president tried to laugh it off by comically covering a mic in a following meeting. It was all so . . . creepy.

Next, a boy of 17 is shot and killed under disputed and unclear circumstances. The whole issue is racially charged, emotions are high, and the only memorable words from the president’s response were, “If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.” At first it seemed OK—not great, but all right—but as the story continued and suddenly there were death threats and tweeted addresses and congressmen in hoodies, it seemed insufficient to the moment. At the end of the day, the public reaction seemed to be: “Hey buddy, we don’t need you to personalize what is already too dramatic, it’s not about you.”

Now this week the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration. The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn’t notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?

Maybe a stinging decision is coming, maybe not, but in a purely political sense this is how it looks: We were in crisis in 2009—we still are—and instead of doing something strong and pertinent about our economic woes, the president wasted history’s time. He wasted time that was precious—the debt clock is still ticking!—by following an imaginary bunny that disappeared down a rabbit hole.

The high court’s hearings gave off an overall air not of political misfeasance but malfeasance.

All these things have hardened lines of opposition, and left opponents with an aversion that will not go away.

I am not saying that the president has a terrible relationship with the American people. I’m only saying he’s made his relationship with those who oppose him worse.

In terms of the broad electorate, I’m not sure he really has a relationship. A president only gets a year or two to forge real bonds with the American people. In that time a crucial thing he must establish is that what is on his mind is what is on their mind. This is especially true during a crisis.

From the day Mr. Obama was sworn in, what was on the mind of the American people was financial calamity—unemployment, declining home values, foreclosures. These issues came within a context of some overarching questions: Can America survive its spending, its taxing, its regulating, is America over, can we turn it around?

That’s what the American people were thinking about.

But the new president wasn’t thinking about that. All the books written about the creation of economic policy within his administration make clear the president and his aides didn’t know it was so bad, didn’t understand the depth of the crisis, didn’t have a sense of how long it would last. They didn’t have their mind on what the American people had their mind on.

The president had his mind on health care. And, to be fair-minded, health care was part of the economic story. But only a part! And not the most urgent part. Not the most frightening, distressing, immediate part. Not the “Is America over?” part.

And so the relationship the president wanted never really knitted together. Health care was like the birth-control mandate: It came from his hermetically sealed inner circle, which operates with what seems an almost entirely abstract sense of America. They know Chicago, the machine, the ethnic realities. They know Democratic Party politics. They know the books they’ve read, largely written by people like them—bright, credentialed, intellectually cloistered. But there always seems a lack of lived experience among them, which is why they were so surprised by the town hall uprisings of August 2009 and the 2010 midterm elections.

If you jumped into a time machine to the day after the election, in November, 2012, and saw a headline saying “Obama Loses,” do you imagine that would be followed by widespread sadness, pain and a rending of garments? You do not. Even his own supporters will not be that sad. It’s hard to imagine people running around in 2014 saying, “If only Obama were president!” Including Mr. Obama, who is said by all who know him to be deeply competitive, but who doesn’t seem to like his job that much. As a former president he’d be quiet, detached, aloof. He’d make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness. It was the Republicans’ fault. They didn’t want to work with him.

He will likely not see even then that an American president has to make the other side work with him. You think Tip O’Neill liked Ronald Reagan? You think he wanted to give him the gift of compromise? He was a mean, tough partisan who went to work every day to defeat Ronald Reagan. But forced by facts and numbers to deal, he dealt. So did Reagan.

An American president has to make cooperation happen.

But we’ve strayed from the point. Mr. Obama has a largely nonexistent relationship with many, and a worsening relationship with some.

Really, he cannot win the coming election. But the Republicans, still, can lose it. At this point in the column we usually sigh.

A version of this article appeared Mar. 31, 2012, on page A13 in some U.S. editions of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Not-So-Smooth Operator.

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Filed under debt clock, obama, peggy noonan, republicans, wall street journal

Stimulus 2.0

This column originally appeared at US Daily Review.

As I mentioned here on US Daily Review last week in my column titled “Avoiding The “S” Word“, Stimulus II, the son of the first stimulus disaster was indeed presented Monday by the current President. The so-called American Jobs Act is more of the same. This is not surprising from a failed President, and a man who had never created a job or balanced a budget prior to or during his reign as President, unless it was with taxpayer dollars.

What the current President has done is created a plan that would take money from the people, and from the “big, bad evil” corporations, and put it toward government jobs. The current President has chosen to increase taxes on business and close so-called loopholes, rather that freeing up much needed capital so that American businesses can build bigger and hire more. I understand the President not wanting to go with the latter plan, that would not create enough votes for his re-election campaign. A plan where he creates government jobs and takes money from the business community, well that helps with his anti-capitalist base.

View this chart and see for yourself:

In Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had this to say about the current President’s plan, “Anything that is akin to a stimulus bill is not going to be acceptable,” he said. “Over half of the total dollar amount is so called stimulus spending. We have been there, done that. The country cannot afford more spending like a stimulus bill.”

As I have suggested before, if the current President were serious about job creation, the first two things he would do to address the high unemployment rate would be to reduce job-killing regulations and cut job-killing tax rates. Instead, the current President opts for more job-killing regulations, more job-killing tax increases and more government spending.

When the current President gave his campaign speech during a joint session of congress last week, he kept repeating, “pass this bill right away”. This was an obvious attempt to show leadership from a President who has not been able to do so in any other way after 32 leaderless months in office. His bill that he wanted passed right away, is more of the same, as Majority Leader Cantor said, it is more of the same, it is more of what has already failed.

The Wall Street Journal also pointed out today, “The White House says the tax changes would take effect in 2013 and estimates they would raise $467 billion in additional revenue over 10 years.”  So if you are one of the many unemployed Americans, don’t worry, Obama’s so-called jobs plan will be put into effect in just 15 short months, be sure to go to the current President’s website and signup for emails on progress of that “plan”.

It was amazing to watch and think during the Republican presidential debate last night, that any one of the people on that stage, will do more for America and job creation as President-Elect in November and December of 2012, than the current President has actually done while in office. We just have to hope that the Hopers and Changers who find themselves unemployed this go-round will be on the side of capitalism and free markets, and not on the side of government funded, government mandated attempts at job creation.

Hopefully Stimulus II is DOA.  It is worth noting that the bill itself is not designed to gain passage. It serves two purposes: It is something the current President can say he presented to congress; and hen congress does not pass the bill as is, the current President has a campaign weapon.

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Filed under employment, eric cantor, free market, job creation, jobs, obama

Avoiding The “S” Word

This column originally appeared at US Daily Review.

I saw this piece by The Hill a few days ago. With a headline and that would have made George Orwell giddy, “Pelosi Drops The Word “Stimulus”.

The Left, clearly losing their war on jobs and their war on our nation’s economy, is trying to repackage the same failed programs and legislation that did not work before.  They are not proposing their usual jobs killing tax increases, this time they are trying to pretend they are watching out for the taxpayers and actually wanting to reduce taxes.

As I witnessed the current President’s campaign speech on Thursday night, and as I heard one platitude after another, I realized he was talking about more stimulus, this time without actually calling it stimulus.  The current President was also desperate, his speech came across to me as if he was begging or pleading.  It was a campaign speech afterall, I guess he was pleading for four more years of malaise.

The Wall Street Journal had a staff editorial on Friday, well worth reading in its entirety.  But there was one big takeaway worth staying focused on:

“Mr. Obama spoke last night as if he is a converted tax-cutter, asking Republicans to expand and extend the payroll tax cut that expires in December for one more year. Along with tax credits for certain businesses that hire new employees, he says this will cut unemployment, and no doubt it will lead to some more hiring.

But what happens in 2013 when those tax rates expire and Mr. Obama pledges to hit thousands of those same small businesses with higher tax rates on income, capital gains and dividends? He seems to think businesses operate only in the present and will ignore the tax burdens coming at them down the road. This is the same reasoning that assumed that postponing ObamaCare’s tax and regulatory burdens until 2014 would have no effect on business hiring in the meantime.”

Shovel ready jobs for infrastructure was a big feature of the current President’s campaign speech.  Does the current President not understand that infrastructure jobs is money spent by the government, and where does that money come from?  Yes, the taxpayers. So once again, taxpayers get to foot this bill for infrastructure jobs.  This is a surreal cycle to look at.  The Left thinks this is real job growth.  I know the current President knows all of this, which is why this speech was really nothing; a non-starter.  If the Left really wants to create jobs, why not just have the government hire people to clean beaches, rivers and other waterways?  The government could hire people all day long, all year long to do meaningless jobs (some are called bureaucrats), and call it employment or a “jobs plan”.

But what about jobs that last for many years? What about jobs that people turn into careers?  Yes, someone has to dig the ditches. Not all jobs in America will be glorious and lead to riches. Not everyone is looking for those jobs.

One final comment from the Wall Street Journal editorial:

“The larger political subtext of Mr. Obama’s speech is that if Congress doesn’t pass his plan, he’ll then campaign against Republicans as obstructionist. Thus his speech mantra that Congress should “pass it right away.” This ignores that Mr. Obama has been the least obstructed President since LBJ in 1965 or FDR in 1933, which is how we got here.

He passed $830 billion in stimulus, $3 billion for cash for clunkers, $30 billion in small business loans, $30 billion for mortgage modification, the GM-Chrysler bailouts, ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, credit card price controls, Build America Bonds, jobless benefits for a record 99 weeks, and more.”

It continues to interest me that after 32 months in office, the current President still doesn’t have a plan and he still has not proposed something that reaches across the aisle, yet his speeches proclaim to do both.  I would have more confidence in this temporary President if he had managed a Domino’s Pizza or a White Castle at some point in his “career”.  I would at least imagine that he had experience hiring and firing, balancing budgets and at least looking at profit and loss statements.  For a guy that hasn’t done any of this, the words on the teleprompter being read by a guy with a great education really don’t establish confidence in my mind.

Stimulus by any other name is still stimulus; stimulus which doesn’t stimulate. The Left can keep avoiding the big bad “S” word; the rest of us can keep pointing to it.  Only in America.

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Filed under economy, employment, jobs, obama, obamanomics, spending, stimulus, unemployment

A Trivial Question About Presidential Candidates

I was talking with a friend a few days ago about the upcoming 2012 Presidential election. As we talked about candidates, my friends list of potential candidates was interesting to me, and one thing stuck out to me: none of the names on the list were people currently serving in Washington DC. As I pointed that out to my friend, the response was, “Exactly”.

We discussed this for a while. It was pointed out to me that those in Washington just serve as members of the “peanut gallery”. I realized that Obama came from the Senate, and while he was able to criticize President Bush from his then (and current) role as national Commentator-In-Chief, he was never a leader before and that has hindered him from being effective as Marxist-In-Chief.

So, does it help someone like Newt Gingrich who served in Congress, then left Congress to run for President later? What about Herman Cain, a man who has actually run businesses, created jobs, achieved profits and balanced a real budget? What about Governors like Time Pawlenty, Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie?

I’m interested in hearing what you think about this. Should our nominee be from outside of the Congress? What about names like Jim DeMint or Paul Ryan? I used the word “trivial” in the title of this post, I did that because I want a serious national discussion and dialogue about the real questions of our time. If the 2012 election turns into a non-sensical popularity contest, that gets us nowhere.

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Filed under 2012, 2012 election, chris christie, herman cain, mitch daniels, newt gingrich, obama, paul ryan, president

>Education secretary urged his employees to attend Sharpton’s rally

>Yet another reason that the Federal Department of Education needs to be eliminated and those powers returned back to the states. Like these people had nothing better to do with the innumerable problems with education in this country.

President Obama’s top education official urged government employees to attend a rally that the Rev. Al Sharpton organized to counter a larger conservative event on the Mall.

“ED staff are invited to join Secretary Arne Duncan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other leaders on Saturday, Aug. 28, for the ‘Reclaim the Dream’ rally and march,” began an internal e-mail sent to more than 4,000 employees of the Department of Education on Wednesday.

Read more at the Washington Examiner

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Filed under 8/28, big government, education, glenn beck, obama

>AP-GfK Poll: Most attuned voters tilt toward GOP

>Huh, no surprise here.

Congressional races often turn on local concerns and the candidates’ character, factors that may yet sway many races this year. But many analysts think the public’s widely sour mood — just 35 percent in the AP-GfK poll said the country is headed in the right direction — means this year’s campaigns could be widely influenced by national issues, especially the economy.

“The economy is poor, we’re muddling through in Afghanistan, we’re not making much progress in the war on terror,” said Paul Goren, a University of Minnesota political scientist who studies voting behavior. “Every once in a while national issues can intrude. It looks like there’s a good chance this will be one of those elections.”

The vast majority of this poll is no surprise. Educated Republicans were not the ones looking for television cameras on election day in 2008 talking about Obama paying their mortgages, car payments and filling up their cars with gas.

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Filed under 2010 election, 2012 election, bush, obama, poll, voters

>Little-known fact: Obama’s failed stimulus program cost more than the Iraq war

>I’m sure the Obama Regime wasn’t expecting this.

Expect to hear a lot about how much the Iraq war cost in the days ahead from Democrats worried about voter wrath against their unprecedented spending excesses.

The meme is simple: The economy is in a shambles because of Bush’s economic policies and his war in Iraq. As American Thinker’s Randall Hoven points out, that’s the message being peddled by lefties as diverse as former Clinton political strategist James Carville, economist Joseph Stiglitz, and The Nation’s Washington editor, Christopher Hayes.

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Filed under 2010, 2010 election, 2012, bush, iraq war, obama, stimulus

>Righting the Ship

>Recent headlines like these, do not inspire me:

Obama backers show signs of disappointment

Obama Gets No Health Care Bounce

Democrats’ Long-Held Seats Face G.O.P. Threat

I myself file these headlines under the “I’ll believe it when I see it” banner. The main reason for this: Do we really trust the media to tell us the truth? Isn’t it possible the media is playing us, trying to trick us into believing our own desires?

Even if you want to buy into the headlines, this is no time to get over confident.

We can’t go into November with the mindset that “all signs point in our direction”. We must be different and we must be bold. We must campaign on our ideas and solutions. Just saying “vote for us, we’re not Obama”, does not build our movement in the long term. While we could squeak through an election cycle victorious, if we elect candidates to go and feed the perception of the “party of no”, we will still be on our heels headed into 2012.

A lot can happen between now and November. There are national holidays (Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day), Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and a long summer when people will stop paying attention as they go on vacations. If Obama starts to show signs of recovery, let’s make sure we have a campaign plan that shows we have our own ideas for the direction of our country and that we have candidates willing and able to implement those ideas once elected.

Recently, I saw someone post these comments on Twitter, I was glad to see I am not alone. This person has a lot to say, obviously limited by Twitter’s 140 characters per post:

“Ask yourself this question: WHERE IN THE WORLD IS DAVID AXELROD AND WHY IS HE SO QUIET? He’s prepping for 2012, AWAY from social media #tcot”

“So get your bums off the chairs, sofas and Starbucks chairs, meet your neighbors, your colleagues and tell them the truth about today #tcot”

“FB, tweeting and blogging can only go this far .. while the Left is out there, canvassing OUR neighborhoods, we’re all… HERE… #tcot”

“So if on November 3, 2010 you ask yourselves “What happened?”, just look in the mirror and return to tweeting the same question! #tcot”

“So remember, you’re here or on FB or WordPress or blogger.. Organizing for America is on OUR streets .. WAKE THE HECK UP! #tcot”

I think there is some truth to what this person was saying. Before we start patting each other on the back for what should or could be a great 2010 election, there is work to do.

If we squeak by and win in 2010 on the “we’re not Obama” message, what have we really gained in the future? Think back to the great year of 1994. That year was sandwiched in between 1992 and 1996, years Clinton was elected and re-elected.

I agree with the Twitter poster, the Left is not sitting back waiting to take our best shot to see if they can survive. While they may not be confident going into November, they are still doing the work they need to do. They also had a much better head start in organizing on the heels of 2008 where they collected untold numbers of email addresses and cell numbers for texting. Even if the Left loses in 2010, they are building for 2012.

Let’s work so we don’t peak in April, when the election is in November.

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Filed under 2010, 2012, congress, conservatism, obama, republican party

>Congressman Paul Ryan Making Waves With Roadmap

>GOP Rep. Paul Ryan tackles Obama’s path to deficit disaster

By Michael Gerson
The Washington Post

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The new era of Democratic bipartisanship, like cut flowers in a vase, wilted in less than a week.

During his question time at the House Republican retreat, President Obama elevated congressman and budget expert Paul Ryan as a “sincere guy” whose budget blueprint — which, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), eventually achieves a balanced budget — has “some ideas in there that I would agree with.” Days later, Democratic legislators held a conference call to lambaste Ryan’s plan as a vicious, voucherizing, privatizing assault on Social Security, Medicare and every non-millionaire American. Progressive advocacy groups and liberal bloggers joined the jeering in practiced harmony.

The attack “came out of the Democratic National Committee, and that is the White House,” Ryan told me recently, sounding both disappointed and unsurprised. On the deficit, Obama’s outreach to Republicans has been a ploy, which is to say, a deception. Once again, a president so impressed by his own idealism has become the nation’s main manufacturer of public cynicism.

To Ryan, the motivations of Democratic leaders are transparent. “They had an ugly week of budget news. They are precipitating a debt crisis, with deficits that get up to 85 percent of GDP and never get to a sustainable level. They are flirting with economic disaster.” So they are attempting some “misdirection,” calling attention to Ryan’s recently updated budget road map (click here for Roadmap 2.0) — first unveiled two years ago (click here for the 2008 Roadmap) — which proposes difficult entitlement reforms. When all else fails, change the subject to Republican heartlessness.

From a political perspective, Democratic leaders are right to single out Ryan for unkind attention. He is among their greatest long-term threats. He possesses the appeal of a young Jack Kemp (for whom both Ryan and I once worked). Like Kemp, Ryan is aggressively likable, crackling with ideas and shockingly sincere.

But unlike Kemp — who didn’t give a rip for deficits, being focused exclusively on economic growth — Ryan is the cheerful prophet of deficit doom. “For the first generation of supply-siders,” he explains, “the fiscal balance sheet was not as bad. The second generation of supply-siders needs to be just as concerned about debt and deficits. They are the greatest threats to economic growth today.”

Fiscal Obamaism is not just a temporary, Keynesian, countercyclical spike in spending; it is deficits to infinity and beyond. “It is the interest that kills you,” Ryan says. In a few weeks, he expects the CBO to report that, in the 10th year of Obama’s budget, the federal government will “spend nearly a trillion dollars a year, just on interest! This traps us as a country. Inflation will wipe out savings and hurt people on fixed incomes. A plunging dollar will make goods more expensive. High tax rates will undermine economic growth. It is the path of national decline.”

But unlike other deficit hawks, Ryan courageously — some would say foolhardily — presents his own alternative. His budget road map offers many proposals, but one big vision. Over time, Ryan concentrates government spending on the poor through means-tested programs, patching holes in the safety net while making entitlements more sustainable. He saves money by providing the middle class with defined-contribution benefits — private retirement accounts and health vouchers — that are more portable but less generous in the long run. And he expects a growing economy, liberated from debt and inflation, to provide more real gains for middle-class citizens than they lose from lower government benefits. Ryanism is not only a technical solution to endless deficits; it represents an alternative political philosophy.

For decades, culminating in the Obama health reform proposal, Democrats have attempted to build a political constituency for the welfare state by expanding its provisions to larger and larger portions of the middle class. Ryan proposes a federal system that focuses on helping the poor, while encouraging the middle class to take more personal responsibility in a dynamic economy. It is the appeal of security vs. the appeal of independence and enterprise.

Both sides of this debate make serious arguments, rooted in differing visions of justice and freedom. But the advocates of security, including Obama, have a serious problem: They are on a path to economic ruin.

In his Kemp-like way, Ryan manages to find a bright side. “The way I look at it, we were sleepwalking down this path anyway. The Democratic overreach woke people up. It was a splash of cold water in the face of every voter. Now we have a new, more serious conversation. And I’m not going to back down.”

mgerson@globalengage.org

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Filed under conservatism, constitution, jack kemp, obama, paul ryan, vice president