Views on the News
September 24, 2011
Views on the News*
The Obama Presidency has entered the pathetic phase, which occurs when a President acts in a demeaning fashion while trying to rebuild his popularity and political strength which is a product of desperation. The President touted for his brainpower, idealism, and global esteem has been reduced to leading captive audiences in chants of “Pass this bill,” a measure that Republicans loathe, Democrats regard warily, and Congress is un-likely to approve even in truncated form. For Obama, the pathetic phase began over the summer when the economy weakened further and his job approval rating tanked. Obama suffers from what Maureen Dowd of the New York Times has identified as the “speech illusion,” where he thinks he can swoop down from on high, deliver a speech, persuade millions, and move the political needle in favor of his legislation, and naturally, make himself more popular. Quite the opposite has happened when he tried to sell his jobs plan. The speech wasn’t a bomb, but it was close. Poll numbers for both the President and his plan sank gradually after the speech, because Obama was simply not persuasive. Summoning a joint session was a problem in the first place. The content of Obama’s speech didn’t qualify, so he cheapened the idea of a joint-session address. Press, politicians, and the public were unenthused. Obama’s conceit is that he stands high above the crass politics of Congress and represents the needs of the entire country, while Congress, meaning Republicans, pursues narrow party interests. Pundits diagnose his speeches as confirmation he’s following the so-called Truman strategy. In 1948, an unpopular President Truman called a phony joint session and offered up legislation he knew Republicans would block. Then he campaigned against them as the “do-nothing Congress” and won. In 2012, Obama’s villain would be Congressional Republicans. The President disclosed he’d pay for his $447 billion bill entirely with tax increases, knowing that Republicans would never go along thus guaranteeing a “do-nothing Congress” of his very own. Obama’s back-to-the-future strategy from 63 years ago isn’t likely to work because politics have changed and the President’s devices and desires are transparent demonstrating his putting politics and his election ahead of actually creating jobs.
(“Whip Unemployment Now?” by Fred Barnes dated September 26, 2011 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/whip-unemployment-now_593654.html )
One of the enduring mysteries of the Obama Presidency is why he keeps leaning far left when independent voters make it clear they want a centrist in the White House. The reason Obama keeps tilting left is that so many independents have dumped him and he has almost no chance of getting them back, so energizing libs for a massive turnout is his next-best hope. In 2008 Obama got 52% of independent voters, but now:
· Only 29% of independents approve of his performance on the economy, while 66% disapprove.
· On reducing deficits, 25% like what he’s doing, while 67% don’t.
· Only 30% support his job-creation ideas and 34% his health-care plans.
· 46% of independents say they definitely won’t vote for him again, while 21% say they will.
Against the backdrop of high unemployment and sluggish growth, and with a large majority of Americans wanting smaller government and deficit reduction, the President keeps going in the opposite direction. He’s pushing more spending, big tax hikes and more regulation -- measures that would almost certainly make the economy worse just as voters are going to the polls. Without independents, he must turn out very high percentages of the party’s base -- young people, blacks, Latinos, unions and white liberals. He panders again and again on tax-and-spend because that’s what those voters worship. It’s a “me first” strategy that puts his job hopes over those of the 25 million Americans wanting full-time work. He will employ a scorched-earth negative campaign. He’ll fear-monger about “extreme” GOP agendas, especially toward the elderly and the poor. Surrogates will play the race card which has already started, with the claim that critics are not giving Obama the “respect” other presidents enjoyed. That could work -- if millions of Americans come down with amnesia and forget the brutal pounding President George W. Bush took. Bush made the mistake of expanding government spending which he expected to increase his approval, but instead he was criticized that his policies were un-American. Barack Obama said that in 2008 about George W. Bush, but three years later, the debt is $14 trillion and jobs are shrinking, so Barack Obama will drown in his own words.
(“Obama leans further left” by Michael Goodwin dated September 18, 2011 published by New York Post at http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/obama_leans_further_left_yog8W5dDYD3Fl1TPcY76YN )
Democrats are relearning the lesson that you must beware of what you wish for, because you may get it… and not be happy with the results. For generations, Democrats longed for a President who could enact national health care. Barack Obama did it. For years, Democrats longed for a President who could massively increase federal spending, impose broad new regulations and fight for higher taxes. Barack Obama did it. For much of the past decade, Democrats longed for a President who could pull American forces out of Iraq and redirect U.S. security policy toward al-Qaida. Barack Obama did it, and killed Osama bin Laden, to boot. Obama did all that, and more, and now many Democrats are afraid to be seen with him - some gratitude. Democrats who wanted to see their personal agendas enacted were inevitably disappointed. Democratic grumbling about the President has reached an all-time high. On a recent conference call of party strategists, disaffected Democrats reportedly threw around words like "betrayed," "disappointed," "furious" and "disgusted," with some blaming Obama for the stunning Democratic loss in New York's 9th Congressional District. Surveying the political landscape of Democratic disaffection with the President, longtime strategist James Carville could come up with just one word of advice: "Panic!" Meanwhile, the President's approval ratings are hitting new lows, with his job approval rating bouncing around the high 30s to the low 40s in recent Gallup polls. The numbers are even worse, with about 70% disapproval, for Obama's handling of the economy. Independent voters, the key to the President's election in 2008, have abandoned him right and left. Given all that, it's no surprise that many Democrats are running away from Obama. He did what Democrats wanted him to do: health care, stimulus, taxes, you name it. Obama did what his party wanted, but not what the public at large wanted, but what many Democrats wanted, and now, as the negative electoral consequences of their own priorities stare them in the face, those Democrats are blaming the President.
(“Obama Plagued by Democrats’ Ingratitude” by Byron York dated September 20, 2011 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/byronyork/2011/09/20/obama_plagued_by_democrats_ingratitude )
Every time Obama speaks, he shows himself as more out of touch with the country, its people, and their needs. He is an obvious embarrassment to many. He has alienated independents and even some liberals. He now appears to have adopted a strategy to appeal to the most radical in his party. Seasoned Democrats are dumbfounded by his performance, seeming to believe the delusional possibility. Radicals have already rejected him and threaten to run a candidate in the primaries. Despite everything, Obama intends to run in 2012. None of this fazes the Narcissist-In-Chief. He needs the spotlight like most of us need oxygen. The "messiah," or the self-proclaimed "One," does not see these problems. The reality is that Obama is spent. His false magic is no longer. He has become a cartoon figure to many Americans and more foreigners. Familiarity has produced contempt. He is a fraud, a man who never was anything other than a carefully scripted and wonderfully executed marketing campaign. The product, however, doesn't work. Marketing made the first sale, but success is repeated only if the product performs. Snake oil is never purchased a second time. Instead of the brilliant problem-solving uniter much of the nation believed they were buying, they got an incompetent, small, and not likeable mountebank. Obama lives in his own world, surrounded by sycophants. They undoubtedly know his run is over and that he no longer fools most of the people. Yet they are afraid to tell him. Obama sees none of this. It probably has never entered his mind that he is a failure or will not run. The political environment is horrible for Democrats. Obama's policies, ineptitude, and unpopularity are responsible for much of this. Many elected Democrats are afraid for their political careers. Obama is increasingly seen as an albatross in the coming election. The idea of Obama resigning for the good of the party has been raised. Barack Obama won the Democrat nomination because the mainstream media adopted him and went out of their way to ensure that he, rather than Hillary Clinton, won. The press gave the great American republic an untried, unknown, and, it is becoming more and more frighteningly clear, incompetent figure as President. Under Obama, America's foreign policies are a mixture of confusion and costly impotence. They are increasingly bypassed or derided; the great approach to the Muslim world, symbolized by the Cairo speech, is in tatters. America's debt and deficits are a weight on the entire global economy, and the office of Presidency is less and less a symbol of strength. To the degree the press neglected its function as watchdog and turned cupbearer to a styrofoam demigod, it is a partner in the flaws and failures of what is turning out to be one of the most miserable performances in the modern history of the American Presidency. Just as Democrats don't want a pariah at the top of the ticket, many in the media do not want to continue plugging what is obviously a failed candidate. The protective shield that existed is being dismantled. Obama understands Chicago-style politics, even when he is on the wrong end, but his psyche is such that he must be loved, if not worshiped, and that will never be again, at least not in this country.
(“Will Scandal Drive Obama Off the 2012 Ticket” by Monty Pelerin dated September 21, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/will_scandal_drive_obama_off_the_2012_ticket.html )
Barack Obama now faces perhaps his most politically crippling deficit of all: a credibility deficit as more than half of Americans (51%) do not believe the President's claim that this latest $447 billion spend-and-tax-or-borrow scheme will create new jobs. As the economy has gotten worse, people have stopped listening to Obama and his speeches are no longer an asset, they're a liability. The gulf between three years of rhetoric and reality is so gigantic. It is hard to make a persuasive case for a $447 billion economic stimulus plan that looks and sounds so much like the $830 billion plan that Americans were sold two-and-a-half years ago. That first plan didn't "create or save" the 3.5 million jobs the White House promised and most Americans don't agree with Vice President Biden that it worked beyond his "wildest dreams." Tell that to the 14 million Americans, two million more than when all the spending and borrowing began, who are still out of work, or the tens of millions who do have jobs but have seen their income drop in the last two years. What is even harder to believe is the President's assurance that the new American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. How can this plan be paid for when the first, $830 billion, plan has never been paid for? While running for President Obama promised "pay as you go budgeting," and in February 2009 during his "fiscal responsibility summit" he sounded like Ronald Reagan when he said that "this is the rule that families across this country follow every single day, and there's no reason why their government shouldn't do the same." Unfortunately the Obama government isn't doing the same; it is doing the opposite. In 2008 he pledged he would "go through our federal budget, page by page, line by line, eliminating those programs we don't need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." This too hasn't happened. In the wake of the lousy economic news, Obama, who promised a new era of "accountability," has blamed George W. Bush, the tsunami in Japan, disruptions in the oil supply from the Mideast, "a run of bad luck," and so many other job-killing events beyond the President's control. Obama says he has been one of the most constantly attacked Presidents in history and he is probably right about that, but his attackers in the conservative movement aren't likely to be his undoing since his most damning persecutors are his own words and promises.
(“The Obama Promise: Then and Now” by Stephen Moore dated September 16, 2011 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903927204576572782466492342.html )
One should not make the mistake of thinking that the pathetic floundering of the Obama administration and the imminent doom of Europe's spendthrift welfare states spells the end of global socialism. Socialism has rarely attempted to make any claim to being a more efficient or economically creative system. Instead, it has always touted "fairness" and "equality" as its primary virtues. Any and all failures of the system are being, and will be, attributed to its opponents: the "greedy" rich, the distastefully aspirational segment of the middle class, and a "working" class blind to its "interests" as hallucinated by Manhattan-based academics. Most of its supporters will never be able to confess the defects inherent in their creed, even if the alternative is to embrace extreme and previously unthinkable measures. The crisis of socialism is, like the crisis of communism that preceded the fall of the Berlin Wall over two decades ago, an hour of maximum danger for freedom. As things stand today, most of us live under systems which mix features of capitalism and socialism. For many decades now in the West, capitalist systems have sustained and nurtured socialist programs that have always been fundamentally unsustainable, because they were based upon demographic assumptions, such as an ever-growing population base and an increasing ratio of workers to dependents, that the programs themselves helped to undermine. Anyone with a modicum of common sense and the ability to perform basic arithmetic can see that a growing dependent class and a shrinking productive class equals an inevitable disaster. It has always been a question of when the crisis would arrive. Time and time again the tiresome truth has been pointed out: either the benefits that have been promised by generations of politicians will have to be radically restructured or taxes will have to rise to levels that outwardly appear absurd. This basic contradiction cannot stand. One cannot both be a free citizen and have more than half of the rewards of his labor appropriated by the state. One cannot be a free citizen while most of his income is a gift of the government. It is difficult to imagine any conditions under which the socialists will willingly concede defeat. It is easier to imagine that they will resort instead to increases in taxation even more massive than those that they now advocate, then to the use of something resembling conscription to acquire the necessary labor for their system, and then to the wholesale confiscation of wealth in the form of nationalizations. It appears to be indisputable that the funding of the socialist elements of our economy will require ever-increasing inflows of cash and the American people have rejected this unacceptable alternative.
(“The Crisis of Socialism” by Adam Yoshida dated September 16, 2011 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/the_crisis_of_socialism.html )
The TEA Party is not a “party” in the literal sense, but really a state of mind – a collection of principles and core beliefs and values that a great many Americans possess irrespective of actual party affiliation. It brings to mind the Billy Joel song, “New York State of Mind”. But, to an even greater degree, it represents a “TEA Party State of Mind”. The Democrats, from Maxine Waters and Andre Carson to Debbie Schultz and Chuck Schumer, along with union leader James Hoffa have spent months belittling and denigrating the TEA Party movement and those associated with it. TEA Partiers have been branded racist, evil hate-mongers; Waters asked the TEA Party to go to hell; Hoffa called those affiliated with the movement “sons of bitches”; and even Vice President Joe Biden jumped on the bandwagon when he likened the TEA Party to a group of terrorists. The TEA Party state of mind is a belief:
· in the individual rather than the government; that the individual knows how best to spend his or her money, not the government;
· in individual freedom and liberty devoid of interference by an over-reaching and meddling governmental bureaucracy; a belief fostered by a citizenry that has grown weary of a government telling it what kind of light bulbs to use;
· that the United States really IS the greatest nation on Earth and, it could be argued, the greatest nation ever in the history of mankind;
· not about Democrat versus Republican but rather about liberty versus totalitarianism;
· about runaway, rampant deficit spending versus fiscal restraint;
· about the belief in American exceptionalism versus the US kowtowing to nations that have demonstrated repeated, blatant unfriendliness toward our nation; and
· about an economy of prosperity as opposed to one encumbered by an ever-increasing degree of governmental interference and regulation.
The Tea Party state of mind lurks in the psyche of many millions of Americans and millions more, like those in the 9th Congressional district in New York, are coming to the realization that they, also, have a TEA Party State of Mind.
(“A Tea Party State of Mind” by James Sharp dated September 16, 2011 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/40412 )
ObamaCare’s individual mandate, requiring that all Americans purchase government-approved health insurance beginning in 2014, has always been the law’s most vulnerable provision and incredibly unpopular, and not just among conservatives. Polls consistently show that a large majority of the electorate opposes it, including a good portion of registered Democrats. Conservatives worry that the mandate, which compels all Americans to buy a particular product whether they want to or not, involves an unprecedented assertion of federal power. Many middle-of-the-road voters don’t trust the federal government to do anything well, much less decide for one and all the kind of health insurance everyone must purchase. And liberals can see that the provision creates a guaranteed marketplace for precisely the private health insurers that the President has spent so much time demonizing as greedy, profit-hungry, and patient-abusing miscreants. The mandate is not just politically vulnerable. In August, the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-to-1 decision that the individual mandate is an unconstitutional congressional power grab. That decision has made it all but certain that the Supreme Court will take up the case. Even if the Supreme Court were to strike down the mandate, much of the rest of the law would almost certainly remain in effect. ObamaCare without the mandate is nearly as bad as ObamaCare with it. In the end, the fate of ObamaCare will almost certainly be decided in the political and legislative arena, not the courts, and the 2012 election is likely to be the decisive battle in that regard. Republicans need to resurrect ObamaCare as an issue in the legislative process:
· Last January, as one of its first acts, the Republican House passed a full repeal bill, sending a strong signal to the voters who returned them to power, and not surprisingly, repeal failed in the Senate.
· House Republicans should begin by bringing up repeal provisions, beginning with the individual mandate, forcing an incredibly difficult vote for ObamaCare’s apologists.
· Republicans could also bring up a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the unelected and unaccountable group of 15 individuals charged with implementing deep cuts in Medicare: a technocratic, know-it-all body, handing down decisions that can’t be appealed by ordinary citizens.
· Similar tactics should be pursued with regard to the Medicare cuts and the dysfunctional long-term care entitlement program contained in ObamaCare.
Keeping ObamaCare in the news with repeated legislation to repeal will serve to remind the voting public of this hugely unpopular government takeover of the health care industry.
(“Don’t Forget ObamaCare” by James C. Capretta dated September 26, 2011 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/don-t-forget-obamacare_593644.html )
President Barack Obama destroyed western interests in the Middle East, helped destabilize the region, and put millions of lives at jeopardy. The tenth anniversary of September 11, almost three years after Obama’s election, is a suitable time to examine the Middle East policy honestly and fully. There are a number of issues that must be considered:
· Egypt: Obama supported a revolution overthrowing a U.S. ally, rather than a smooth transition replacing the dictator and instituting some reform without dropping the entire regime, disregarding State Department advice and not even consulting with Jordan, Israel, or Saudi Arabia! He also unilaterally announced his readiness to see the Muslim Brotherhood in power. His analysts denied that the Brotherhood is a radical, anti-American Islamist organization that supports terrorism. The resulting dangerous crisis, including Egypt becoming a new type of Iran, is now clear to all.
· Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: By distancing himself from Israel, removing all pressure from the Palestinians, unilaterally proposing a freeze of Israeli construction on settlements, and repeatedly messing up the effort to restart negotiations, Obama made the peace process situation worse. His failure to handle properly the Palestinian UN unilateral independence bid has put U.S. policy in a terrible mess, with an American veto leading to large-scale anti-Americanism and probable violence both by Palestinians against Israel and by Muslims against the United States.
· Israel: The damage the Obama administration did to Israel was not in bilateral relations or even in the “peace process,” but by its role in the deterioration of the regional situation to a dangerous extent. Egypt and Turkey turned around 180 degrees; Hamas’ rule was entrenched in the Gaza Strip; and Hezbollah’s rule was entrenched in Lebanon. That’s four of Israel’s “neighbors” that became effectively hostile while the Obama administration didn’t even notice. As the level of threat rose, U.S. political-diplomatic support for Israel declined.
· Turkey: As Turkey continued to move toward being a repressive Islamist state allied with revolutionary Islamism, the U.S. government didn’t notice. Farcically, it promoted the”Turkish model” and made Turkey its mediator over Syria’s future!
· Lebanon: As Lebanon fell under Syria-Iran-Hezbollah control, the Obama administration did nothing, failing to support the moderates, so they surrendered.
· Syria: The administration pursued the ridiculously doomed effort to pull Syria away from Iran and engaged it even as Damascus escalated its support for terrorism, aggression toward Lebanon, killing Americans in Iraq, and then repressing its own people.
· Gaza: The administration gave Hamas indirect aid, made no serious effort to overthrow a radical, anti-American, genocidal-oriented regime, and pressed Israel to reduce sanctions to a minimum. This ensured the survival and strengthening of a pro-terrorist revolutionary Islamist state on the Mediterranean.
· Saudi Arabia: Repeated slaps in the face and failure to confront advances by revolutionary Islamists, especially Iran and Syria, as well as abandonment of Mubarak, disgusted this ally. Seeing U.S. weakness, it concluded it has to take care of itself
· Iran: After wasting a long time in engagement, the administration finally (at the slowest possible speed) did push sanctions. Yet it still has no strategy for opposing Iran’s non-nuclear methods of subverting neighbors and expanding its influence.
· Danger: Obama failed to realize it or to define properly friends and enemies.
· Leadership: Despite being begged by different allies, the Obama administration failed to demonstrate leadership.
· Empowering Islamism: In his Cairo speech and thereafter, Obama emphasized the Muslim identity of Middle Easterners thus undermining Arab identity and nationalism.
· Endangering the lives of American soldiers and civilians: By refusing to allow a proper analysis of Islamism and terrorism. The Fort Hood attack in which Americans were killed because military officers feared to do their job lest it hurt their promotions.
· Libya: Obama entered a war without any strategy for what would happen after Gaddafi fell or any knowledge of who he was helping to promote as the new leadership.
· Rejection of basic diplomatic principles: Supporting friends and punishing enemies; credibility; deterrence; coherent strategy.
What’s important is the result, not whether you think this has been caused by incompetence, arrogance, a thirst for popularity over responsibility, ideology, a personal antipathy toward Israel, lack of experience, choosing advisors badly, or ignorance among them. No previous President or administration, even that of Jimmy Carter, comes close to having so many dangerous failures. The American people, Middle East allies, US. interests, and the world generally cannot afford another four years of misjudgment and reckless endangerment, and he has ignored chances to learn from experience, so American national interests require that Obama be defeated in the next election.
(“Obama’s Dangerous and Incompetent Middle East Policy” by Barry Rubin dated September 19, 2011 published by Pajamas Media at http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/2011/09/19/i-accuse-president-barack-obama-of-destroying-western-interests-in-the-middle-east-helping-destabilize-the-region-and-putting-millions-of-lives-in-jeopardy/)
* 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: