Views on the News
Views on the News*
March 22, 2014
Democrats are trying to make climate change a dominant issue in the 2014 midterm elections, but the American people are just not that interested in climate change. Meanwhile Mike Bloomberg’s self-funded his efforts to promote gun control as a key issue. Unfortunately voters view the world very differently from the liberal elites and their high-priced consultants. Given a list of 15 issues to prioritize, Gallup respondents listed the economy as #1 and federal spending and budget deficits as #2. Five months after the ObamaCare exchanges opened, 57% of both Republicans and Democrats rated the “availability and affordability of health care” as #3. Unemployment and the size and power of the federal government rounded out the top 5 issues. Race relations was rated the least important issue of the 15, with climate change rated #14. Drug use, immigration, and the “quality of the environment” rounded out the bottom five issues. The two major political parties are taking a diametrically opposite approach addressing these issues. The Republican Party seems to be focused on the top five voter issues, offering alternative approaches and plans as solutions to these problem areas. The question must be raised why the Democrat Party is exclusively focused on the bottom of the list – the least important issues while avoiding any discussion on actions to address the key voter issues in 2014? Perhaps this is the Democrat re-election strategy: distract the low information voters from the fact that they have no idea how to address the major issues, while filling the media with a constant drumbeat of hyperbole and obfuscation on the less important issues.
(“The Greens’ Malleable Principles” by Jim Geraghty dated March 19, 2014 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/article/373664/greens-malleable-principles-jim-geraghty )
Barack Obama’s Presidency will come to an end, but the legacy of pain he will leave behind will not, at least for years to come. He and his fellow Democrats plan to keep their grip on the levers of power-even if they lose control of Congress and the White House. Every first-term President has a single compelling desire: to win a second term, but for Obama and his liberal allies to accomplish a second major goal, to “fundamentally transform America,” requires more than two terms. Their agenda depends on fundamentally transforming our government and how its vast powers will be deployed. The trillion-dollar so called “stimulus” bill was the first major step to vastly increase our spending and deficits. It was a sign of things to come. Budget-breaking binges have followed with no serious efforts to control our massive federal debt. The entitlement crisis has been a crisis that has not been allowed to go to waste. Under Obama’s feeble economy and sputtering “recovery” (the weakest in modern history), spending on welfare, food stamps, and disability payments have soared. Hooking people onto the government IV line is an excellent way to increase dependency and the number of future dependable Democrats. It is also an excellent way to bankrupt America. The “sequester” was a mere Band-Aid that has recently been ripped off. The wound remains unhealed as interest payments on the debt will come to dwarf spending on other priorities. As interest rates rise from the abnormally low current levels, the problem will worsen. Obama and Congressional Democrats have handcuffed all future Presidents and endangered Americans yet to be born. They can move onto what they consider the most dire threat in the world, climate change, and commence ladling out taxpayer money to their cronies behind green schemes. Another step to control the future of America was the passing of the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”). While Obama brandishes executive power, waivers and enforcement discretion to keep the ACA on life support until after the mid-terms the insurance and medical industries are being damaged, perhaps beyond repair which was the intention all along. The result: worse medical care and higher premiums for many Americans. Medicare is being gutted to expand Medicaid, fewer medical advances as the economics dissuade companies from pursuing them courtesy of the medical device tax, and fewer doctors as the current ones leave the profession and potential ones decide government-run healthcare creates a hostile workplace environment. The ACA relies on the Independent Payment Advisory Board (“IPAB”) to take medical decision-making away from doctors and patients to curb Medicare spending. These “death panels” will be very hard to kill. As our great modern sage, Ronald Reagan, declared, “a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth,” and this is exactly what Obama and the Democrats in Congress planned all along. They will exert their power long after they have left office. It is a frightening prospect but America may be stuck with this “reform” for many years to come. To further control America’s future, the Democrats need to control the third branch of government: the judiciary. Decisions handed down have very long lifespans as the principle of stare decisis and the power of precedent limit the chance to overturn them. This is particularly true if other federal courts become stacked with Obama nominees. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was one of the craftiest if not most subversive action Democrats took when they controlled Congress. The CFPB is responsible for consumer protection in the financial sector. Usually Congress can use the power of the purse when an agency has “gone rogue,” but in an unprecedented way, the funding for the CFPB comes from the Federal Reserve, and its amount is determined by a fixed formula. There are myriad ways the Democrats have abused their power that will impact all of us in the decades ahead. The above examples are hardly exhaustive. One could expect the political equivalent of a fireworks show to commence after the midterm elections when Obama can indulge his wish to “go Bulworth” in his second term with a cavalcade of executive orders, waivers, delays, enforcement discretion, regulations (call it Obamageddon) and the worst is yet to come.
(“Obama and the Democrats Plot to Control America” by Ed Lasky dated March 17, 2014 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/03/obama_and_the_democrats_plot_to_control_america.html )
President Obama believes he has a solid record on the economy, as long as he only measures certain things in a certain way in a certain timeframe. Perhaps a better metric is Obama's own promises about what his economic plan would produce. Those are contained in his first budget, which was issued in early 2009. The results are startling, because the economy did far worse than Obama thought it would on every important measure. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and other economic forecasters all expected a normal recovery. The federal spending from 2010 to 2013 was almost exactly where Obama pegged it in his first budget, and it's much higher as a share of GDP. Deficits were also far higher than Obama expected. From a standard Keynesian perspective, these should have provided additional stimulus to the economy, above what Obama initially forecast. So the GOP's efforts to rein in spending can't be blamed for Obama's failure to meet his economic targets. The massive Dodd-Frank financial regulations, ObamaCare, the hugely expensive new EPA regulations and two enormous tax hikes on investment income all help explain the abject failure of Obama's economy to perform anywhere near as well as he promised.
(“Judging Obama’s Economy By His Own Promises” by John Merline dated March 19, 2014 published by Investor’s Business Daily at http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/031914-693892-judging-obamas-economy-by-his-own-promises.htm )
My humble advice to the GOP is “Don't look a gift horse in the mouth,” so make Democrats pay for their President and their failed agenda. Ignore those who can't tie this anchor onto Democrat candidates who either supported ObamaCare when it was being pushed or defiantly stand by it now. For people surely know by now that the primary flaws in this law are not merely in the dysfunctional rollout website. In every respect, the law has been an unmitigated disaster that was born of a fraudulent narrative by a fraudulent President. The Clintons planted the germinating seeds for ObamaCare, when Hillary and crew started pushing the 46 million uninsured meme. It was an outright lie from the beginning, because they knew that the numbers were grossly distorted, that this number included illegals, people who could afford health care insurance but chose not to buy it, people who were eligible for government benefits but didn't avail themselves of it and many who were reported as uninsured but were only in that status for a short period of time. Just as the stated reason for the law (uninsured) was a lie, so were Obama's promises concerning what the law would and would not do. Instead of decreasing the cost of care, it is increasing it; instead of allowing us to keep our plans and our doctors, it is forcing a severance of our relationships with both; instead of improving access to care, it is decreasing it; instead of helping people and providing them with care they weren't getting, it is robbing care for those who already had access to it, including cancer patients; and it is putting important health care decisions in the hands of heartless bureaucrats and out of the hands of loved ones and their doctors, which is horrifying when you contemplate it but utterly predictable. While some Democrats and their operatives are wising up and admitting what a political nightmare this law is for their party, others are stubbornly clinging to the fantasy that ObamaCare will be "a plus" eventually, possibly even by November, because perceptions of the law will change by then. In short, unlike their previous mode of operation, Republicans must be unafraid to hit this hard and capitalize on it in every future election, especially in November. Obama's entire agenda has been an unmitigated train wreck, and Republicans need to quit being afraid to call it that and make all Democrats pay for enabling this national destroyer.
(“Make Democrats Pay for Obamacare and Obamanomics” by David Limbaugh dated March 18, 2014 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2014/03/18/make-democrats-pay-for-obamacare-and-obamanomics-n1810363 )
President Obama is a gift to Republicans: his policies, his partisanship, his allegiance to liberal interest groups, his indecisiveness have served Republicans well, but without Obama’s self-destructive presidency, Republicans would probably be somber today. Instead they are bursting with optimism about the November midterm election. It didn’t have to be this way. Had the President shown more foresight and less insistence on getting whatever he wanted, pretty much in the form he wanted. Congressional Democrats had a hand in this, but the policies were his, Obama was in charge, so he’s responsible. For starters, the political impact of ObamaCare could have been different. It was never popular, but the president made it less so by violating a rule of thumb in enacting an entitlement: It must have popular support and pass with a bipartisan majority. ObamaCare had neither. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Medicare prescription drug benefit had both. With large Democratic majorities in Congress in his first two years in office, Obama made no serious effort to bring Republicans on board his health care bill. That would have meant negotiation and compromise, which he spurned. In 2010, Republicans in the House and Senate voted unanimously against it. The President and Democrats own ObamaCare, totally. In 2009, when the bill was drafted, Republicans were in a state of shock after losing badly in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Obama didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, because his partisanship prevailed. The same is true with the economic “stimulus.” The President wooed three GOP votes in the Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster. Every House Republican voted no. For this, Obama has paid a double price. The economic recovery is the weakest in decades, and a solid majority of Americans believe we’re still in a recession (it actually ended in June 2009). Obama could have adopted private sector incentives sought by Republicans. He wasn’t interested. His plan was government-only, with tens of billions for unionized public sector employees. White House claims that the stimulus created or saved 1.6 million jobs per year in its first two years are not credible. On the contrary, the percentage of Americans in the workforce has shrunk to the lowest level since the 1970s. And there are fewer jobs today than in 2007. For the President, approving the Keystone pipeline, stretching from the oil sands of Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast, should have been a snap. The State Department had studied it and concluded there was no significant environmental downside. Yet Obama dawdled because the interest group that he fears the most, the conglomerate of environmental groups, was against it. Another study was ordered, then another, with the same conclusion. Polls showed building the pipeline was enormously popular with the public. As Obama delayed a decision, opposition by environmentalists increased. It became their top issue, an emotional one. Keystone not only symbolized Obama’s energy policy, anti-oil and natural gas, pro-green power, it emerged as a major issue in its own right. Republicans criticized him and even some Democrats agreed. In 2014, Republicans are the lucky party, because Obama has given them powerful issues, and without them, they’d be talking about the deficit, the national debt, big government, entitlement reform, and Obama’s failure as a foreign policy President, legitimate issues but not the ingredients of a Republican landslide; the issues Obama fumbled, ObamaCare, the economy, and energy, are the issues to emphasize.
(“The Luck of the Republicans” by Fred Barnes dated March 24, 2014 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/luck-republicans_784911.html )
Much of the talk from Washington and Western European capitals about the Ukrainian crisis complained that Russia’s Vladimir Putin is some kind of throwback to the 20th or 19th century, as if he could be shamed into conforming to a 21st century norms of international conduct. The American left has been particularly enthralled with a new age, one world mythology since the election of President Barack Obama. Most of the globe’s problems stemmed from the disruptive, embarrassing cowboy antics of George W. Bush. Putin’s invasion of Crimea and the sham vote there to be annexed to Russia constituted the nail in the coffin in that wishful thinking. Gone is the notorious “reset” with Moscow, back is the Cold War-like reality of East-West confrontation. Critics of Obama charge the weakness he projects on the world stage made possible Putin’s bad behavior. What the Ukrainian crisis proves is that nothing has changed in human nature or the affairs of nations in the 21st century. Evil-minded individuals ruling great nations will still abuse neighboring states, even to the brink of war. Strategic interests, expansionist dreams, national pride, the pull of clan, and suspicion and fear of the other will always influence world events. There will be a Putin in the next century, and a Crimea-like crisis in the one after that. The recognition of the old realities of the world will require serious policy decisions and reconsiderations in Washington and Europe. The only good thing to be said for Putin is that he has shocked the West out of its new age daydream.
(“Putin ends the left’s daydream” by Steve Huntley dated March 17, 2014 published by Sun Times at http://www.suntimes.com/news/huntley/26266303-452/putin-ends-the-lefts-daydream.html )
* 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:
· National Culture at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/Culture/philosophy.php