Views on the News

Views on the News*

January 18, 2014


For Obama, being president is all about having the job, not doing the job.  Members of the President’s own team have made it clear that the president does not like to be in a challenging environment and that he is generally bored.   David Axelrod labeled the President “no-drama Obama during the 2008 campaign, and Valerie Jarrett infamously said that Barack Obama has been bored to death his whole life.”   Former defense secretary Robert Gates tells us that he saw in the president an absence of passion… absence of a conviction of the importance of success.”  A blasé, no-drama attitude, boredom, a lack of conviction and an absence of passion can all be seen as factors contributing to ObamaCare’s failure, a bewilderingly weak foreign policy, and a piecemeal, eleventh-hour approach to dealing with Congress on domestic issues, including the budget and our national debt.  Obama is a “bystander President” who shrugs as events unfold and yawns as our problems get worse.  However, the administration has a lot of good people who are firmly committed to taking action, engaging Congress and the bureaucracy and leading the country, but the problem is that the President is not one of those people.  It is obvious that when Obama is not campaigning, he lacks purpose and energy.  All we get from him are occasional speeches and perfunctory meetings that look and sound okay but are not connected to robust, spirited organizational efforts by the White House or other executive agencies.  It is said that the White House, and ultimately the entire Presidency, reflects the personality of the President.  As Obama’s second term drags on, we’ll see if the indifference from the top, coupled with a string of failures - on foreign policy, ObamaCare, a stagnant economy and other domestic issues – will weigh on the Democrats in 2014.

(“The Problem with ‘no-drama’ Obama” by Ed Rogers dated January 13, 2013 published by The Washington Post at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/01/13/the-insiders-the-problem-with-no-drama-obama/ )

The mainstream media can't figure out why Americans won't get on the "global warming" train or why the whole nation isn't obsessed with Chris Christie and "Bridgegate" or even come to grips with why consumers didn't spend themselves silly during the Christmas season.  What they don't get is that most Americans apply common sense and their real life experiences when evaluating issues or ideas, and often they are confused by much of the "official" news they read or hear.  One example can be found in the endless chorus of news reports heralding our nation's great economic recovery.  They are hearing it, but they are not feeling it.  Added to that question is another "official fact" that most Americans who are not in the D.C. bubble or who don't live in a few out-of-touch affluent areas in our nation don't understand.  They are told that unemployment is dropping and that this is a big sign of an economic recovery. But recent numbers don't suggest a rosy employment picture, and even when we see numbers improving, they don't reflect the millions of Americans who no longer count in the reports. They are workers who have dropped off the rolls and who have given up trying to find work.  Everyone in the real world knows plenty of folks who used to have full-time jobs, but now seem to be doing a little of this and a little of that to make ends meet.  While many are not scrambling with the same look of fear and desperation we saw at the height of the Great Recession, they are still trying to sustain themselves and their families by making do with less and working in less-conventional ways.  They aren't convinced that unemployment in America has been solved.  Then there's the issue of global warming.  The fact that the nation has been shivering in the past month confuses most Americans who can't figure out if things are melting or freezing.  The "average Joe" has wondered how we solve global warming if the United States continues to place increased burdens on its energy suppliers and consumers, but huge nations in other parts of the world don't.  Will we save just our little corner of the world or is it that we think we are more important than these other nations, and thereby our efforts will count more with Mother Nature?  The list goes on and on. The pundits think we all follow politics and government every day.  Anyone with a real life does not.  No one cares about their press conferences and proclamations.  Then there are flair-ups like the one facing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.  Most voters don't live in New Jersey and don't care what happens there. If they find out he knew a bridge was closed for political purposes, they won't be shocked or overly upset.  To the average American trying to stay warm, feed his or her family, these politicians and the media will say or do anything, and that's the one thing that makes common sense.

(“Things That Just Don’t Make Common Sense to the Public” by Mat Towery dated January 16, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/matttowery/2014/01/16/things-that-just-dont-make-common-sense-to-the-public-n1779568 )

According to a December survey of millennials published by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, young Americans are turning on the President, his health-care law, the NSA’s domestic surveillance, and the political system in general.  Only 41% of millennials approve of the job President Obama is doing, while 54% disapprove.  A meager 38% approve of ObamaCare, and 57% disapprove.  In many ways, the Obama administration has brought this upon itself, through its policies and its juvenile and patronizing outreach to millennials.  Much has been written on Pajama Boy, the pseudo-sophisticated twenty-something poster boy in red plaid pajamas, caressing a mug of hot chocolate while advising us to talk about ObamaCare over the holidays, hardly represents reality for millennials.  The real Pajama Boy has a 50% chance of being unemployed or underemployed, on average is laden with thousands of dollars of student-loan debt, and is increasingly likely to still live at home with his parents.  For this “young invincible,” hot chocolate and health care are probably the last things on his mind.  Yet, in the modern liberal paradigm, Pajama Boy is less concerned with finding a job, getting married, or buying a house than he is with extracting benefits from the government.  Pajama Boy is the natural counterpart to Julia, the character from Obama’s 2012 campaign advertisement “The Life of Julia.”  Julia is a single woman whose life is defined by her interactions with the government and its services.  The campaign wanted to paint her as an “independent” woman, but it only revealed her extreme dependency on all things government.  For many millennials, the scales have fallen as they realize that the future of ObamaCare depends on their signing up to pay higher insurance premiums and deductibles.  Given the bleak reality for many millennials today, it’s obvious that the Democratic party can’t talk straight to them. Instead, it manufactures witty, tongue-in-cheek social-media campaigns and faux controversies like the “war on women.”  These tricks worked in 2008; they worked again, albeit to a far lesser degree, in 2012; but in 2014, it appears the magic has finally worn off.  Many millennials see through the catchy rhetoric to the empty promises.  Here is the opening for conservatives to win back millennials. Rather than pander or talk down to them, conservatives must offer positive, uplifting solutions that emphasize upward mobility, opportunity, and personal liberty through education, job creation, and reforming the over-intrusive federal government. 

(“Millennials Are Tiring of Liberal Failures” by Chris Beach and Alison Howard dated January 13, 2014 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/368236/millennials-are-tiring-liberal-failures-chris-beach-alison-howard )


Americans historically have been the can-do people, and even in the darkest of times, Americans manage to see their glass as more than half full.  Seemingly woven into our DNA is an expectation that the lights will forever burn brightly within the "shining city on the hill."  Our national belief of an always better tomorrow developed a name: "The American Dream."  But, something is happening in America.  Something unusual, foreign to whom we are as a people.  Pessimism is creeping in; a sense of doubt.  By a margin of 2:1 Americans believe the U.S. is weaker and less respected than she was four years ago.  The snail's pace of the economic recovery that supposedly began more than three and a half years ago has beaten people down.  Regardless of President Obama's assertions that the economy is headed in the right direction, a majority of Americans (52:40) recently polled believe the worst is still yet to come.  Unsurprisingly, with pessimism running so strongly, Americans are less than confident in their leaders and government dissatisfaction is on the rise.  For the first time ever, the Pew Research Center reports that a majority of Americans (53%) believe "the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms."  Public trust in government as documented by Pew since 1958, reached a historic low in 2012, with more that 4-in-5 Americans expressing varying degrees of distrust.  Even with Obama in the White House, 59% of Democrats currently express distrust of government; 78% of Independents.  The recent "fiscal cliff" debacle culminating without any long-term solution exacerbated an already anxious and frustrated people.  Congress must take the lead to fix the fiscal problems by adopting key consensus principles including:

·    Don't raise taxes - The problem is not that we are under taxed.  Under current law, revenues will remain at roughly 19% of GDP from 2015 through 2023."  Revenue is not the problem; it's the spending!

·    Reform Entitlements - Without reform Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not only become insolvent, they will take the rest of the country along with them. ObamaCare also needs to be repealed, too – but, good luck with that any time before January 2017.

·    Adopt strict Spending Limits - A Constitutional Amendment would be best, but in the meantime, Congress must be willing to tie their own hands.

·    Systemic Reform of the Tax Code - Everyone agrees it is incomprehensible and discourages economic expansion.  The answer is to ultimately replace the current mess with something that encourages investment, invention and growth, breathes confidence back in the market, is seriously fairer, flatter, and understandable.

·    Put the Brakes on Regulations - Compliance with federal regulation already costs the economy $1.75 trillion per year according to analysis by the Small Business Administration.  The cost of regulatory compliance is like a hidden tax burden on the economy.

·    Preserve our national security - America is safer, and the world is more peaceful when we are strong.  The Pentagon should participate in efforts to control spending, but our security and obligation to those who serve our nation can never be compromised.

This list is by no means meant to be all encompassing; more of a good point of beginning that politicians should be able to embrace that would have immediate as well as long term positive economic benefit. All six principles might seem obvious to most, but every single one has been maliciously violated over the last five years, and in too many cased, for longer than that.  This is a good place to start if Congress and the President were only serious about trying to restore confidence and belief in the permanence of this great Republic.

(“A Pessimistic Nation – and Six Principles to Help Get Over It” by Bob Beauprez dated March 3, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/bobbeauprez/2013/03/03/a-pessimistic-nation--and-six-principles-to-help-get-over-it-n1524748/page/full )

The Obama administration is engaged in over a dozen failed operations in the Middle East, and reason shows why they’re failing: the Islamist philosophy is entirely different from theirs since the Islamists are indifferent to the cost of victory, and this makes them not give up.  The Obama administration does not understand the Middle East and terrorist organizations, and since it doesn’t, it will meet miserable defeats.  The terrorist does not begin to calculate a winning strategy just because he believes in an ordained victory from Allah.  The Obama administration’s goals have not been consistent.  If you can’t depend on someone for consistency in times of trouble, you can’t depend on them at all.  The U.S. has become an untrustworthy ally, as many Middle Eastern regimes can attest to.  They understand us more than we understand them.  If they never despair, they spend all the blood and treasure that is required, and Allah, in addition to other measures, will give them victory.  In the Middle East, he who wins is he who will compromise less, not he who is willing to compromise more.  The West simply cannot understand that these people are fighting for different stakes. They think that materialistic consideration and pragmatism will determine their decision-making.  Everybody who knows the Middle East knows you need to think the Middle Eastern way, not the Western way.  Western policy is deemed to flourish in compromise; Middle Eastern politics in victory.  No compromise is going to cause radical nationalists and Islamists to make real peace, but Islamists can be and are often pragmatic, particularly to obtain millions of dollars of trade and nuclear weapons; but only if not required to give much in return.

(“The Hopelessness of Victory” by Barry Rubin dated January 12, 2014 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2014/01/12/the-hopelessness-of-victory/ )


* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following issue sections:

· Education at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/education.php

· Welfare at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/welfare.php

· Agriculture at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/agriculture.php

· Budget at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/budget.php

· Employment at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/employment.php

· Energy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/energy.php

· Homeland Security at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/homelandsecurity.php

· Foreign Policy at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/policy.php

· Foreign Trade at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/trade.php

· United Nations at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/unitednations.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY