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Views on the News

August 20, 2011

Views on the News*

Years from now, historians may regard the 2008 election of Barack Obama as an inscrutable and disturbing phenomenon, a baffling breed of mass hysteria akin perhaps to the witch craze of the Middle Ages.  How, they will wonder, did a man so devoid of professional accomplishment beguile so many into thinking he could manage the world's largest economy, direct the world's most powerful military, execute the world's most consequential job? Imagine a future historian examining Obama's pre-presidential life: ushered into and through the Ivy League despite unremarkable grades and test scores along the way; a cushy non-job as a "community organizer"; a brief career as a state legislator devoid of legislative achievement (and in fact nearly devoid of his attention, so often did he vote "present"); and finally an unaccomplished single term in United States Senate, the entirety of which was devoted to his presidential ambitions.  He left no academic legacy in academia, authored no signature legislation as legislator.  Then there is the matter of his troubling associations: the white-hating, America-loathing preacher who for decades served as Obama's "spiritual mentor"; a real-life, actual terrorist who served as Obama's colleague and political sponsor.  It is easy to imagine a future historian looking at it all and asking: how on Earth was such a man elected president?  When you hold someone to a separate standard merely because of the color of his skin that's affirmative action in a nutshell and if that isn't racism then nothing is.  All his life, every step of the way, Obama was told he was good enough for the next step, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.  In 2008, many who agreed that he lacked executive qualifications nonetheless raved about Obama's oratory skills, intellect, and cool character.  Not one original idea has ever issued from his mouth - it's all warmed-over Marxism of the kind that has failed over and over again for 100 years. Meanwhile Obama constantly blames anything and everything else for his troubles.  The man has never been responsible for anything, so how do we expect him to act responsibly? In short: our President is a small and small-minded man, with neither the temperament nor the intellect to handle his job, which when you understand that, and only when you understand that, does the current erosion of liberty and prosperity make sense. 

(“Obama: The Affirmative Action President” by Matt Patterson dated August 18, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/obama_the_affirmative_action_president.html )

Every liberal President fails and the more "successful" he is, in the sense of actually putting his policies in place, the more clearly he reveals the emptiness of that bastard combination of socialism, Marxism, fascism, and Progressivism that goes under the name "liberalism."  Franklin Roosevelt triggered a second dip in the Great Depression in 1937, delivering America to the same wretchedness in which he found it upon taking office.  Lyndon Johnson threw the country into abject chaos for fifteen years with his "Great Society," essentially "New Deal, the Sequel."  Jimmy Carter... well, where do we start? Yet every liberal president leaves a "legacy," a vast and complicated myth that erases his failures, magnifies his successes (if any), and acts as a glowing mythological reframing of the triumph and promise of liberalism. These myths are as stereotyped as the plot of a Noh play, with the heroic figure of the president acting on behalf of the stock poor working family against a cast of enemies that includes reactionaries, businessmen, and uncaring bourgeoisie. The equivalent Obama myth is already taking shape.  There are plenty of signs that people are wising up. The phenomenon of the Tea Parties alone speaks volumes. The idea of a large fraction of the working middle class defying FDR or LBJ would have been simply unimaginable. So the legendary Obama must be destroyed, his halo shattered, his white robes besmirched, his book of prophecies rent and scattered to the winds.  Obama has been and continues to be a disaster for this country, one that will affect us for the next twenty years or more.  He has threatened our well-being and has destroyed lives, all under the cloak of a false mythology. We defeat the Obama by assuring that reality takes the place that it is designed to fill; by continually and repeatedly putting forward the facts about the man behind the myth. The liberal forces that held this country in a viselike grip for decades are losing their hold, while small, dispersed organizations grow in effectiveness and capability. We are seeing subtle changes in our politics that we do not yet fully understand. Consider Wisconsin, where the vast and powerful liberal superstructure consisting of the unions through the media through the judiciary all the way up to the shadowy and malefic Soros organizations was utterly humiliated, in a way for which it's difficult to find an equivalent in earlier epochs.  We need to ride that conservatism change through 2012 to move this country back to somewhere closer to where we'd rather be.

(“Burying Obama” by J.R. Dunn dated August 15, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/burying_obama.html )

Barack Obama would have you believe that, “The only thing preventing bills from being passed is the refusal of some folks in Congress to put the country ahead of party. There are some in Congress right now who would rather see their opponents lose than see America win.” but the real obstacle to agreement lies with the Incompetent-in-Chief. There is something highly unusual in watching a President call attention to his own impotence. The President is declaring to the world that he is simply too weak to govern and he wants all of America to know that he’s darn frustrated about it. You can even hear it in his voice:

·    The President is frustrated that on his watch, and for the first time in history, America’s credit rating has been downgraded.

·    He’s frustrated that the economy is getting worse rather than better.

·    He’s frustrated taxes aren’t higher.

·    He’s frustrated that his stewardship led to one of the worst mid-term election repudiations in history.

·    And he’s frustrated that he’s overseeing what many people worry is the decline of the American empire.

The President, who is essentially admitting that he is unable to do anything about this, wants to make sure the country is keenly aware of the state of his emotions, the depth of his frustrations, the deep pain caused by his ineptness. Unfortunately the public isn’t particularly interested in Obama’s emotional exhibitionism. They care about jobs and growth; they don’t want to hear excuses or complaints, especially since Obama’s chief selling point in 2008 was that he alone would bring an end to partisanship and gridlock. As for the President’s claim that some folks in Congress refuse to “put the country ahead of party” and that they would “rather see their opponents lose than see America win”: this repeats a nasty little Obama habit, which is not simply to disagree with his opponents but to impugn their character. If there’s anything we have learned about Obama during the last two-and-a-half years, it is his obsessive need to advertise his moral superiority. He wants us to believe that his motivations are pure, that he is the only adult in Washington, that he is a champion for the national interest while his critics are champions of special interests. It is not enough for Obama to be President; he wants us to believe he’s Sir Galahad. As Obama is increasingly overwhelmed by events, as he and his Presidency shrink before our eyes, his worst tendencies are being exacerbated, his narcissism further exposed, his anger at an unaccommodating world more pronounced; and a man of supreme self-regard is watching things crumble before his eyes.

(“Barack Obama’s Emotional State of Mind” by Peter Wehner dated August 12, 2011 published by Commentary Magazine at http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2011/08/12/obama-emotions-mind/#more-763670 )

In 2008 Obama received the support of two-thirds of those young voters who like to think of themselves as members of a creative class and the left thought his unwavering promotion of increased spending and higher taxes seems courageous and bold, but Obama is neither brilliant nor creative, and, as the recent budget crisis showed, he is incapable of bold leadership. The Framers of America's Constitution were divided on many issues, and they fought to defend the interests of their individual states. As a group, the Framers were mature, experienced men who had played a prominent role in colonial society before arriving in Philadelphia to write our Constitution. They were men of substance, both intellectually, morally, and financially. Having risked their lives and fortunes by, in many cases, signing the Declaration of Independence and participating in the Revolutionary War, they were men who truly had "skin in the game," to use one of President Obama's favorite expressions. By these standards, Obama is hardly a man of substance, nor does he have skin in the game. The Founding Fathers were men of character who knew that failure was not an option: if the American experiment failed, they and everyone they knew would face ruin. The Founders were bold and creative, but they were not radicals.  In fact, they were wealthy men by the standards of their day, and their vision of America's future was grounded in respect for private property rather than in redistributionist schemes designed to garner votes. They were cautious men who feared the tyranny of a strong centralized government and who were determined to establish safeguards against government intrusion. Their genius was to create a constitutional framework that would protect the rights of all citizens, but particularly of the middle class and of those who aspired to that class. Despite great differences of region, religion, and culture, the Framers worked together to compose the greatest document ever written in the service of liberty.  The constant negotiation and compromise involved resulted in extreme stress on the delegates.  It is hard to say just what Obama's vision of America is or whether he has a vision at all. More often than not, his is a negative vision. From his perspective, America is wrong in so many ways that it stands in need of radical change. Obama's guiding ambition, restated innumerable times in pleas for "fairness" and "social justice," is nothing more than the familiar goal of communism: "the equal division of unequal earnings." "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs," as Marx had it. There is nothing intellectually brilliant about this line of thinking. It is an appeal the most corrosive of vices, that of envy, and it is an incitement to theft, if not to thuggery and violence. Ultimately, communism is an appeal to the mob instinct to loot the wealth and possessions that others have worked to accumulate.   That primitive instinct of living at someone else's expense is at the heart of Obama's political calculus. Whether it is called "wealth envy," "class warfare," or, more properly, "communism," the intellectual basis of Obama's thought is alien to American traditions, and it is starkly opposed to the Founders' vision of the country. The American Constitution is an intricate and deeply philosophical document that bases its design of government on a profoundly original insight into the capacity of human beings for both good and evil. Obama's communist philosophy, by contrast, is merely a slavish mouthing of outworn fantasies of social equality that have been around for centuries. While the Founders appealed to their countrymen to lift their sights higher, Obama instructs them to ransack their neighbors' bank accounts. No, Obama is not creative, intelligent, or courageous and if anything, he is a talented political hack, one who sat at the feet of Bill Ayers, Rev. Wright, and David Axelrod, bided his time, won an open U.S. Senate seat against weak opposition, and entered the White House determined to reward his radical base, no matter what the cost to the country.

(“Obama’s Vision and the Constitution” by Jeffrey Folks dated August 13, 2011 published by American thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/obamas_vision_and_the_constitution.html )

 

The race for the Republican Presidential nomination is starting to pick up speed, and their positions on issues will take center stage. We can expect lots of Obama-bashing, promises to be the most conservative candidate in the race, and platitudes about American greatness. There are more fundamental questions to be answered that will establish their conservative orientation and their ability to attract the TEA Party voter:

·    What is the proper role of the federal government?  

·    What powers are delegated to the United States by the Constitution, and which ate reserved to the States respectively, or to the people?

·    What three specific federal programs (at least) would you cut or eliminate first?

·    How would you reform entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid)?

·    What is the role, and limitations, of the military and under what circumstances would military forces be committed?

The federal government has expanded dramatically over the last several decades. The question for any Presidential candidate is this the best direction for the United States, or how much of this growth must be rolled back? Governor Rick Perry was the first to attempt to differentiate himself by saying “I’ll work every day to try to make Washington, DC, as inconsequential in your life as I can! The TEA Party will not accept generalities and will demand specifics on what actions will the candidate undertake to correct wrongs from the past and to set the right direction for the future.

(“Now Answer Some Questions” by Michael Tanner dated August 17, 2011 published by National Review Online at http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/274801/now-answer-some-questions-michael-tanner )

 

Candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan boasted, “Yes we can;” then the new President promised a 2009 Egyptian audience “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims,” and in November 2009 he claimed, “We’ve restored America’s standing in the world;” but Obama’s boast, his promise and his claim have crumbled across the Muslim world, and so has America’s influence. Thirty-one months into Obama’s Presidency, relations with the Muslim world are the worst ever.  Both Muslim public opinion and the deteriorating situation in most Islamic countries evidence anti-Americanism that screams, “No he can’t.”  Obama obviously can’t transform our relationship with the Muslim world, as evidenced by the state of affairs in three bellwether countries.

·    First, Egypt is a longstanding ally, but its January uprising puts that relationship in jeopardy.  Egyptian public opinion is very anti-American, and the coming election plus current events threaten to turn our bilateral relations on their head.
A July 2011 Zogby International survey of Egyptians found only 5% have a favorable opinion of America, lower than during the George W. Bush administration.  And a Pew Research survey taken this spring found that Egyptians overwhelmingly (82%) disapprove of Obama’s handling of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, and a simple majority (52%) disapprove of the way Obama handled political change in the Middle East. Those negative marks reflect displeasure with Obama’s flip-floppinig Egypt policy last January.  Egypt also reversed past policy by improving relations with the Muslim Brotherhood’s ally and terror group Hamas, which rules the neighboring Gaza Strip. 

·    Second, Turkey is on a glide path to become an anti-American Islamist state.  Public opinion is already anti-American, but that neo-Ottoman government is purging its military, which until recently kept it on a secular path. The 2011 Pew Research survey found only one in 10 Turks has a favorable opinion of the U.S., and President Obama gets especially low approval marks (12%) from Turks, down from 23% last year.  About two-thirds in Turkey (68%) disapprove of Obama’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular. Turkey’s government is run by an Islamic party, the Justice and Development Party, that is Islamatizing the country.  Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rode to his third election victory this June with a 326-seat majority mandate vowing to rewrite that nation’s constitution to be pro-Islamic.

·    Third, Pakistan, an erstwhile ally armed with 100 nuclear weapons, plays host to our al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban enemies and proliferates weapons of mass destruction.  Even though America has given Pakistan $20 billion in aid since 2001, our influence is limited, which is reflected in public opinion polls and a lack of support for ongoing operations in Afghanistan. The 2011 Pew Research survey found that Pakistanis are very anti-American, perhaps in part because of actions such as our unannounced May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound inside that country.  Only 11% of Pakistanis have a positive view of the U.S. and 54% believe their government cooperates too much with the U.S., for example by allowing America to launch terrorist-hunting drones from Pakistani airfields. The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is one of mutual necessity. 

Unfortunately, America’s dwindling influence in Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan is replicated across the Muslim world, either because of our policies or in spite of them.  Our influence is tanking in Iraq after pouring years worth of blood and treasure into that country.  By mutual agreement we will leave Iraq this year, and then Iran will likely rush in to manipulate Baghdad and its oil.  Meanwhile, Iran continues its atomic arms program and hegemonic ways in spite of our tepid sanctions and meaningless rhetoric. Obama’s Muslim policies are in shambles, our influence is mostly shot, and while it is sometimes necessary to do business with countries that oppose America, Islamic countries are especially unreliable when the most radical elements grab power.  It is now time for Obama to drop the pretense of compatibility, stop the flow of aid money, and assume tougher political and military policies in the Middle East

(“Muslim World More Anti-American Than Ever” by Robert Maginnis dated August 18, 2011 published by Human Events at http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=45588 )

 

* 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:

·  Elections at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/elections.php

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

·  Immigration at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/dp/immigrationb.php

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

 

David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY

www.ReturnToCommonSensesite.com