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Items on this page are archived in order of discovery.  Previous years in left column . . .

A Footnote In Presidential History

Rusty Weiss says Barack Obama has set a course that will leave his legacy as no more than a footnote in American presidential history.  For all of the bluster and glory, for all of the pomp and circumstance, and yes, for all of the anticipated hope and the promised change, the whirlwind of hype and expectation surrounding Obama a mere two years earlier has virtually dissolved.

He was the man destined to save this country from his predecessor's failures.  He was the man who would end the war in Iraq, finish the war in Afghanistan, and shut down the prison at Guantánamo Bay.  He was the man charged with rescuing the faltering American economy.  He was the man who would usher in a post-racial era in an allegedly inherently racist American society.  And he was the man who had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize based not on tangible accomplishment, but simply upon these very expectations.

On all of these accounts, Obama has been a striking failure.

He has not saved this country from the Bush-era failures; rather, he has done the impossible in making Americans pine for the days that Bush was in office, with Obama's job approval rating recently falling below that of the former president.

Obama did not end the war in Iraq; he merely claimed credit for a deal negotiated under the Bush administration.  The Status of Forces Agreement, signed by U.S. and Iraqi officials on November 16, 2008, already laid the groundwork for an end to combat missions in Iraq.

He has not brought an end to the war in Afghanistan, instead emulating a military strategy that was a basis for success in Iraq, the surge.  What was once heavily criticized by Obama as a failed strategy has since been hailed as a path to victory in a war that recently sparked Bush-like protests from the antiwar crowd.

Obama has failed to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, an alleged symbol of American tyranny and torture, and a top priority of Obama during his campaign.  Shortly after his inauguration, executive orders were issued for the closure of the prison within a year.  The thinking was that such a facility was not "consistent with our values and our ideals."  Gitmo remains open nearly two years later, an apparent admission that Obama is not consistent with his own values and ideals.

He has failed in every manner to resuscitate the stumbling economy.  The unemployment rate has continued its upward trend under Obama, going from 7.7% in January of 2009 to the current rate of 9.8%.  Meanwhile, attempts to convince the American people of the success of the stimulus bill were manufactured in deceitful ways despite clear signs of turbulence in the economy.  Personal incomes continue to trend downward, as does private-sector job creation, and the national deficit is projected to balloon to a staggering $1.5 trillion in 2011.

Obama's election has been anything but post-racial, with heightened racial rhetoric and actions coming from the administration itself.  Setbacks for the post-racial presidency include the firing and subsequent apology to a black official, Shirley Sherrod, at the Agriculture Department; Obama himself, without knowing the facts of the case, labeling police as having "acted stupidly" following the arrest of a black Harvard professor; and the Justice Department's dismissal of voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party during the 2008 elections.

Worse, Obama has been governing by putting policy over process, inviting unprecedented backroom deals for health care reform...and now, apparently, tax compromise solutions.

With both sides of the aisle enraged by the process, the recent tax compromise is simply the nail in the coffin.  Obama himself once declared that "[a] good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence or a good piece of music.  Everybody can recognize it."  Complaints from both sides of the aisle indeed indicate that everyone recognizes this -- as a bad compromise.

And unlike Bill Clinton's shift to the center during his tenure, Obama's backroom successes and polarizing failures will only result in a perpetual downturn in his approval rating.  His recent ceding of the podium to Clinton seems to indicate an acceptance of this fate.

Obama has gone from being "a big f'n deal" to eliciting utter contempt and disrespect for the highest office in the land.  His liberal colleagues angrily mutter, "F the president."

Like a good compromise, a good president, too, is something that everybody can recognize.  Years from now, recognition of Obama as a transcendent president will long be forgotten, and the era of the man who was to save America will be nothing more than a footnote in history.
His Own Worst Enemy
Michael Walsh says the year ended with the media pushing the notion that Barack Obama -- having had one of the worst years in presidential history -- has salvaged both his presidency and his re-election chances with his stunning "comeback" in the dwindling hours of the lame-duck session.

Don't believe a word of it.

If generals are always fighting the last war, then the pundits are always reaching for the last cliché.  Did Bill Clinton face a similar dilemma back in 1994, after Newt Gingrich and the Republicans ate his lunch?  Did he not come back to marginalize Gingrich and -- that little impeachment trifle aside -- depart office still popular?

Very well then, all Obama has to do is "triangulate" -- i.e., pretend to agree with both sides -- and the great unwashed "centrist" electorate will flock back to his banner.  After all, it worked for the original "Comeback Kid."

For starters, this ignores several major distinctions between Clinton and Obama.  Slick Willie learned his skills growing up in the crime-syndicate town of Hot Springs, Ark.  Say what you will about those old gangsters, they knew how to run an effective political operation, by turns tough and solicitous, happy to raise money for the widows and orphans their trigger men had just created.  By contrast, Obama is a displaced person adopted by the far cruder Chicago machine, which turned his superficial charm and his palpable animus against the American ideal into a winning combination in the perfect storm 2008 election.

More important, it's unclear that Obama has it in him to compromise and pretend to like it.  No one could fake sincerity like Clinton, but Obama is a far different sort of political animal.  His tax-deal press conference was a remarkable glimpse behind the Wizard of Oz curtain at a scowling man who believes his political opponents are "hostage-takers" and enemies -- not just of the people, but of him personally.

So try as the media might, there's simply no way that a few lesser legislative victories translate into a refreshed political potency.  When you've been humbled on taxes by the minority Republicans and failed to pass an omnibus budget, you've been beaten soundly on matters of domestic policy -- a clear signal that the incoming Tea Party-infused Republican majority in the House is already having an effect.  And when one of your great victories is the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell," a Bill Clinton initiative . . .

None of this stops the left or its media cheerleaders from spinning a horrible year for both Obama and the country into a triumph of the human spirit.  Obama's "victories" in the "productive" lame-duck session may not be the end of "High Noon," but for now they'll have to do.

What's next?  Look for the media to start laying the groundwork for the 2012 campaign.  The new House GOP majority will be tagged as "extremists."  Reporters will circle the incoming freshmen, hoping to pick off enough of them to dilute the ferocity of their mission.  Speaker John Boehner will be implored to find "common ground" and, if he doesn't, will get the full brunt of the Gingrich treatment as the primaries heat up.  Of course, the slightest uptick in the economy will be hailed as the proof of the rightness of Obama's policies.

Finally, every move Obama makes as he confronts the reality of the 112th Congress will be hailed as a Machiavellian masterpiece.  It won't matter whether it's good for the country: To the media as well as to the Democrats, the only thing that really counts is electoral success.

Still, unless Obama undergoes a vast personal metamorphosis, it probably won't work.  He's too inexperienced a politician and too starchy a man.  He himself has said he'd rather be a good one-term president than a failed two-term president, but the way things are going, he may end up having it both ways, minus the "good."

Obama's worst enemy is not Boehner, or Sarah Palin, or any Republican; it's himself.
Forget The Liberal Hype
Nile Gardiner says forget the liberal hype about a comeback: 2010 was a stunningly bad year for Barack Obama, and 2011 could be even worse.  It was a year Obama will want to forget:

1. The midterm elections were a defeat of epic proportions for Obama

When Barack Obama spoke of a "shellacking" at the midterms, it was a huge understatement.  The Republicans scored a significantly bigger win than they did in 1994, with their biggest gain in the House of Representatives in 62 years -- since 1948.  Fortunately for the Democrats, just 37 Senate seats were up for election, preventing what would have been an almost certain handover of power in the Senate, as well.  Republicans also made huge gains at the gubernatorial level, with the GOP now holding 29 governorships to the Democrats’ 20.  Republicans also picked up 680 seats in state legislatures, the highest figure in the modern era.

2. Conservatism grew increasingly dominant in America

The midterms were certainly no flash in the pan, but part of a broader conservative revolution that swept America in 2010.  As a recent Gallup survey showed, 48 percent of Americans now describe themselves as "conservative", compared to 32 percent who call themselves "moderate," and just 20 percent who call themselves "liberal."  Conservatives now outnumber liberals by nearly 2.5 to 1, a ratio that is likely to increase in 2011.  The percentage of Americans who are conservative has risen six points since 2006 and eight points since 1994.  Barack Obama, the most liberal US president of the modern era, has a natural liberal constituency comprised of just one in five Americans, which certainly does not bode well for 2012.

3. The Left lost ground and engaged in a brutal civil war

2010 was a monumentally bad year for the liberal establishment in the United States, not only in electoral terms but in terms of increasing divisions within its ranks, as well as the continuing decline of the "mainstream" liberal media.  Conservative media, from Fox News to The Wall Street Journal, have had a tremendous year, increasing market share while establishment giants from CNN to network news outlets continue to decline.  The White House unwisely took on Fox in a major offensive, and spectacularly lost.  Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and a constellation of conservative talk show hosts have had a bumper 2010.  In the meantime, America’s disillusioned liberal elites are increasingly aiming their fire at each other, in scenes reminiscent of the bloodthirsty finale of Reservoir Dogs.  New York Times columnist Paul Krugman perfectly captured the brutal post-midterm atmosphere on the Left in a fiery broadside against Obama: "Whatever is going on inside the White House, from the outside it looks like moral collapse -- a complete failure of purpose and loss of direction."

4. The TEA Party became more powerful than Obama at the ballot box

The TEA Party was the big victor of 2010, and spectacularly humiliated the White House by running rings around it.  A small grassroots movement with barely any resources evolved into the most successful US political movement of this generation, sparking a national protest against the Big Government policies of the Obama administration, and a powerful call for a return to America’s founding principles.  The TEA Party was initially mocked and jeered by its political opponents, including Obama, but later came to be feared by the Left as it flexed tremendous political muscle.  As I noted in September, a CNN poll showed that "while just 37 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for a candidate if backed by Barack Obama, a far larger 50 percent will vote for a TEA-Party endorsed candidate."  The TEA Party continues to gain momentum following the midterms, where it scored significant successes, and a late November USA Today/Gallup poll showed the TEA Party virtually neck and neck with Obama in terms of voter opinion on who should influence government policy.
Reps Object To Obama's Rewrite Of History
Tony Rollo says this should make you cheer.

This is a copy of the letter that was sent to me in relation to my position as Editor-In-Chief of American Liberty Magazine, and I have to admit I applaud these members of Congress for what they did !

Join me in sending a short, heartfelt thanks to each of them.

Below are images that link to a high resolution copies all all three pages, that are really, really worth reading.
    
         
Click for large images, then click those for actual size
    
Hope, Change, And Helplessness
Thomas Lifson says the anniversary Barack Obama most dreads is approaching, providing stark evidence, even to his base, that he is way over his head when it comes to the responsibilities of governing.

That anniversary, of course, is, as Toby Harnden of the UK Telegraph reminds us:
    

...the same day he took the presidential oath a second time.  It came in the form of a gravely worded executive order.

In it, Obama solemnly proclaimed: "The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order."

The order was signed in the presence of a gaggle of retired senior military officers who had backed Obama's candidacy.  One of them, Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, declared January 22 a "blockbuster day"

    
It turns out that the presidency is a lot more complicated than Obama realized from his perspective as a mere talker.  The devil is in the details, and in the case of Gitmo, little details like finding alternative places to keep dangerous terrorists are devilish indeed.  Outright bribery secured a few slots overseas, most famously the 4 Uyghurs housed in perpetual vacation in Bermuda at US Taxpayer expense.  No state in the United States was willing to risk housing these dangerous terrorists on its own soil, and the Democrat-dominated Congress refused to allocate funds for the purpose of transferring the prisoners to the mainland.

So Obama's first executive order, regarded by his base as a solemn commitment, is now a colossal joke, evidence that he can't accomplish even that over which he has executive powers.  No doubt he would prefer that January 22nd come and go unremarked.  But that isn't in the cards, because there are actually lots of left wing Democrats who care passionately over the perceived injustices of holding enemy combatants until the war they launched is over.

Obama's incompetence is what both left and right will memorialize in three weeks.
It's Good To Have A 747
Andrew Malcolm says Obama will spend Monday night flying across the Pacific and United States after his latest vacation, 11 days in Hawaii.  It will be his first trip of 2011 aboard Air Force One.

Last year Obama flew in Air Force One 172 times, almost every other day.

White House officials have been telling reporters in recent days that the Democrat doesn't intend to hang around the White House quite so much in 2011.  They explain he wants to get out more around the country because, as everyone knows, that midterm election shellacking on Nov. 2 had nothing to do with his healthcare bill, over-spending or other policies, and everything to do with Obama's not adequately explaining himself to his countrymen and women.

And with only 673 days remaining in Obama's neverending presidential campaign, the incumbent's travel pace will not likely slacken.

At an Air Force-estimated cost of $181,757 per flight hour (not to mention the additional travel costs of Marine One, Secret Service, logistics and local police overtime), that's a lot of frequent flier dollars going into Obama's carbon footprint.

We are privy to some of these numbers thanks to CBS' Mark Knoller, a bearded national treasure trove of presidential stats.  According to Knoller's copious notes, during the last year, Obama made 65 domestic trips over 104 days, and six trips to eight countries over 22 days.  Not counting six vacation trips over 32 days.

He took 196 helicopter trips, signed 203 pieces of legislation and squeezed in 29 rounds of left-handed golf.

Obama last year gave 491 speeches, remarks or statements.  That's more talking than goes on in some entire families, at least from fatherly mouths.

In fact, even including the 24 days of 2010 that we never saw Obama in public, his speaking works out to about one official utterance every 11 waking hours.  Aides indicate the "Real Good Talker" believes we need more.

As Obama so often says, "Please be seated."

Related:  Obama spends nearly half his presidency outside Washington, plans to travel more

Related:  Vacationer-in-Chief Spends $1.75 Million to Visit Hawaiian Chums


Obama has spent over $100 million taxpayer dollars flying around in Air Force One, and probably another $100 million on his entourage.  Obama is just another tin-pot dictator living lavishly at the expense of his subjects.
Is Obama Intentionally Damaging Our Economy And Security?
Peter Schweizer says that may seem like an absurd question, but it’s hard to come to any other conclusion when you consider what is happening to our energy industry on the Gulf Coast.  As the Wall Street Journal reports today, the Obama Administration may have lifted its ban on drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, but there are still long delays in getting other permits approved to drill for oil.  Why?  No one seems to know.  We assume that politicians do what is in their own self-interest, but in this case Obama seems to be damaging himself because he is dragging down the economy.  As the Journal puts it, "The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity."  And Obama doesn’t seem particularly eager to change that fact.

There are only a handful of possible explanations of why he is doing this:
    

(1)  He doesn’t care, and his radical environmental agenda comes first.
(2)  He hates oil companies so much that he’s willing to have his political fortunes damaged further by dragging down the economy.
(3)  He hates capitalism so much that he’s determined to "gut" a leading industry such as energy.
(4)  There is raging incompetence in Washington.

    
In his recently released book Leadership and Crisis, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recounts an exchange with Obama during the Gulf oil drilling moratorium.  (Full disclosure: I co-wrote the book with Jindal.)  After telling Obama that the moratorium would potentially cost tens of thousands of jobs, "The president went on to assure me that anyone who lost their job would get a check from BP.  When I explained that BP might not write them checks because it was the federal government that imposed the moratorium the president said, 'Well, if BP won’t pay the claim, they can file for unemployment.'  I was amazed by the level of disconnect.  The people of Louisiana want to work, not collect unemployment or BP checks."

For Obama, getting an unemployment check is about the same as getting paycheck.

So why is Obama doing this?  Take your pick.  None of the possible explanations offer much hope for the future.  Bottom line:
    

Obama is knowingly damaging our economy, and assuring that more money goes to energy producers like Venezuela, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

    
Related:  Drilling Is Stalled Even After Ban Is Lifted
Follow The Rule Of Law
Douglas Smith says the 2010 midterm elections represent a resounding referendum on the Obama Administration.  Voters turned out to repudiate policies with which they disagreed.  At the forefront of voter displeasure were the new administration's massive spending and the ever-burgeoning national debt.  However, many voters also expressed concern that the Obama Administration was taking actions that were at odds with fundamental principles of law.  The coming year represents an opportunity for the administration to reverse course and adhere more closely to the rule of law.

The rule of law is a key component of the success of any society.  In order to plan their affairs, people need to know that they can count on the government and other individuals to follow established and known legal rules and principles.  Absent such certainty, the ability to plan for the future breaks down.  Corruption and naked power replace law as the rule of decision, with those with the most power shaping the playing field to benefit themselves, even if it upsets settled expectations.  As a result, economic investment is discouraged, faith in the government is eroded, and the ability of a society to move forward and grow is impeded.

This important value has not always received full respect from this administration.  In its zeal to further its progressive (socialist) agenda, it has often sought to circumvent important legal barriers that stood in its way.  Thus, for example, Obama effectively nationalized certain corporations in the automotive and financial industries, exercising powers that arguably have no basis in our laws or Constitution.  Having done so, the government sought to rewrite parties' contracts, limit the pay or other compensation of individuals in the private sector, and upset expectations grounded in settled law or the parties' written agreements.

It then pushed through Congress a massive new healthcare law that, by all accounts, was the result of unprecedented procedural maneuvers, with certain Senators obtaining special deals for their States in exchange for their votes, spurring Attorney Generals from other States to question the constitutionality of the legislation.  Likewise, the proposed legislation seeks to compel private individuals to purchase health insurance from private companies -- an unprecedented government action -- and even purports to block Congress from subsequently repealing certain provisions absent a vote by a supermajority of the Senate.  One court has already struck down aspects of the legislation as unconstitutional, observing that the provision requiring individuals to purchase health insurance represents an "unchecked expansion" of government power that is at odds with the Constitution.

Such government actions have already had negative consequences.  Private parties are unable to plan, worried about future ramifications of the government's actions.  Public sentiment regarding the direction of the country has turned decidedly negative, focusing on the litany of special deals and bailouts for those who have political power or connections.  Finally, when the government has sought to restrict private individuals' compensation, they have simply quit, unwilling to work for less than what the market is willing to pay them.

Obama has an opportunity to reverse this erosion of the rule of law.  However, it is questionable whether he will do so.  Already, it has attempted to do by regulation what it could not achieve through legislation, seeking to implement regulations under the new health care law financing end-of-life advisory services even though such measures failed during the legislative process.  Government agencies have no authority to regulate where Congress has not authorized them to do so.  As with its past actions, the debate over the administration's most recent proposals is likely to play out in the courts.
That Was Then.  This Is Now
Fred Lucas says the Obama administration is warning of catastrophic consequences if Congress does not increase the debt ceiling, the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow, but Barack Obama held a different view on the issue as a senator in 2006.

On March 16, 2006, then-Sen. Obama (D-Ill.) voted against raising the debt ceiling and even spoke about it on the Senate floor before the Republican-controlled Senate voted 52-48 to increase it.
    

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.'  Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.  Americans deserve better.  I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America's debt limit."

    
Fast-forward to January 2011: The White House is now stressing the need to increase the debt ceiling, currently $14.3 trillion, while Republicans in Congress believe a vote to raise the debt limit should be offset by significant debt-reduction spending cuts.  The national debt stands at just under $13.9 trillion, as Obama racked up more debt -- $3.22 trillion -- than all the previous presidents combines

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, said Sunday on ABC’s "This Week" that not raising the debt limit would mean the United States is "essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in American history.  The impact on the economy would be catastrophic."

Naturally, soon to be gone, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked about Obama’s 2006 speech, blamed former President George W. Bush’s policies for the fiscal problems facing the country.
    

"Based on the outcome of that vote, the country’s full faith and credit was not in doubt.  The president used it to make a point about needing to get serious about fiscal discipline."

    

"We are dealing with the legacy of decisions that have been made over the past several years, not paying for a prescription drug benefit, not paying for wars, not paying for tax cuts that changed out fiscal situation much more markedly than anything ever has," Gibbs said.

"It is important for Congress not to play politics, not to play games, to find a way to raise that debt limit, understand that we are going to have to take some serious steps to get our fiscal house in order."

            
Before Obama Breaks The United States
Jerry McConnell says we have all heard how narcissistic Barack Obama really is and how he does not like to take orders from anybody but, presumably, Allah his Muslim deity.  (Christian? Don’t make me laugh.)  Well for two years while he had control over the United States Congress he was at least pictured to be compliant with the whims of Pelosi and Reid, but secretly they also had to be in concert with whomever it is that runs his complicated mind.  (George Soros perhaps?)

But at times he goes completely astray and obeys only those "middle-of-the-night" voices that compel him to be arbitrary and do it "his way."

Just today, David Limbaugh, writing for NewsMax in a column titled "Obama’s Administrative Abuse Rages On," advised that such a moment of acting "outside its constitutional authority" by "affirmatively thwarting the express will of the Congress" occurred when he issued "an executive order promising to give (the International Monetary Fund) $140 billion for redistribution to Third World countries."

How can that man just DO something like that of his own volition?  Can he raid the United States Treasury at his will and give billions of our tax dollars away to poor people in other countries without any approval or at least, concurrence of some other justified authority?  There is no record of his having large sums of income from employment as a not too busy law school teacher, so how did he accumulate all the millions of dollars to have his net worth now stand at around 10 million dollars at the end of 2009 according to mangoboss.com?

Where in our Constitution does it give him permission to steal the money we provide through our taxes for his own personal pleasures?  For that matter, is there any LIMIT to the amount of our tax dollars that he can steal for his whims and wishes, or does he have carte blanche?

Even David Limbaugh, a normally very staunch conservative, does not call him to task in the column advising of this chicanery, other than to casually refer to it as a mockery of bipartisanship while referring to yet another departure from normalcy with SIX recess appointments of shady characters that seem to swarm in this Administration.

This guy must have had so little money while growing up that he intends now to go on a spending spree that will not only bring the United States to its knees, but the rest of us along with the States.  He seems intent on spending at least a billion dollars for every day he was without mega-wealth as a child.  What the hell; it’s not his, the money he acquires for himself only goes one way; from the Treasury to his bank account(s) non-stop.  They’re probably secreted away with his non-existent birth certificate.

He has been doing things like this for two whole years now; when is someone going to question or challenge him?  Is there ANYONE who has the "standing" and the temerity or cajones to call him on his spending habits?

Throwing money around like an eccentric trillionaire with no visible signs of authority except those ultra dangerous Executive Orders is setting a dangerous and costly precedent particularly with no one offering a challenge to his actions.

Recess appointments are a bad enough thwart to the people’s will and his apparent latest brainstorm, where instead of trying to get the catastrophic Cap and Trade global (hoax) warming fiasco through Congress, he will again issue (here we go again) Executive Orders through the abominable Environmental Protection Agency to do the damage that the failed legislation would have done; AGAIN thwarting the people’s will.

When those new Cap and Trade Executive Orders meet with opposition as such is proposed in Texas, then it is expected that the incompetency of this Administration will once again rear its ugly Hurricane Katrina head and try to take command of the requirements.  That’s where the hammer will hit the nail.  If I know Texans, and I have known quite a few over the years, we’ll witness a rebellion that might even get some heretofore direct answers from Obama and company.

We the people had better pray that perhaps some one of the new conservatives elected last November will step forward and demand an accounting of Obama’s dangerous maneuvers towards extinction of the United States.
Obama Chooses Chicago’s William Daley As Chief Of Staff
Two administration officials tell The Associated Press that William Daley will be the next White House chief of staff.

Barack Obama has chosen Daley, a former commerce secretary, to replace interim chief of staff Pete Rouse.

Rouse, who did not want to stay in the job and recommended Daley for it, will remain at the White House in a senior position as counselor to Obama.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet made the announcement.  Obama is expected to do so later Thursday.

The chief of staff is considered one of the most important and influential jobs in American government.

Daley comes from a dynastic corrupt Chicago family of politics.  He is now a banking executive for JPMorgan Chase.

Zip says "Next stop, replacing Congress with the Chicago City Council."
How Did Obama React To The Tucson Tragedy
Why he watched the NFL playoffs, of course.  As everybody knows, sports top his agenda and are the only thing he has any passion about.

Politico is reporting that Obama and his wife left Valerie Jarrett's house at 11:11 p.m., after spending five hours at his senior adviser's residence, the pool reports.

The Obamas left the White House for Jarrett's shortly after Obama read his teleprompter script about the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The pool adds: "The two stayed for nearly five hours tonight, coincidentally leaving minutes after the conclusion of two incredibly close NFL playoff games.  The Seattle Seahawks upset the New Orleans Saints 41-36, and the New York Jets just eliminated the Indianapolis Colts 17-16 with a late field goal.  No news on what POTUS was actually doing."
Obama At Halftime
  
    
Bill Whittle looks at how far short the rhetoric and promises of 2009 have fallen in 2011.
Obama Does Best When He Says Nothing
Jack Cashill says we saw Barack Obama in his full Chauncey Gardiner mode. After the drubbing of November 2010, Obama's handlers have come to understand that Obama does best when, like Chauncey, he says nothing at all.

Chauncey Gardiner, the reader may recall, is the protagonist of Jerzy Kosinski's 1971 prescient satire, Being There, which was later made into a movie of the same name, co-scripted by Kosinski.

As the plot goes, Chance the Gardener, a sheltered simpleton, finds himself thrust into the world upon the death oh his wealthy protector, his name now misinterpreted as "Chauncey Gardiner."

Forced to interact with society, the supremely bland Chauncey so impresses politicos and the media with banal gardening clichés -- "It is the responsibility of the gardener to adjust to the bad seasons as well as enjoy the good ones" -- that they assume Chauncey means much more than he actually does.

Gardiner's amiable emptiness impresses the president and quickly thrusts him onto the national stage.  As he becomes a valued economic advisor -- "In a garden, growth has its season" -- the president decides to review Chance's history.  To his horror, he finds that history, much like Obama's, is entirely elusive.

"What do you mean, no background?" says the president.  "That's impossible, he's a very well known man!"  No matter.  As book and movie end, Chance is being considered for the presidency of the United States.

In Being There, it was businessman Ben Rand who took Chauncey under his wing and molded him into a national figure.  In Illinois it was David Axelrod who molded Barack Obama.  Although Obama had a history, he reached the national stage because Axelrod suppressed it and the media chose not to know it or share it.

What wowed the masses on the campaign trail was Obama's ability to say next to nothing and make it sound as pleasantly ambivalent as Chance did.  Indeed, at the start of his Senate career in 2005, Newsweek made Obama its cover boy under the heading "The Color Purple."

Continue reading here . . .
Meet Barack Hussein Obama 2.0
Nick Chagouris says we now know exactly what the theme and theater of Tuesday’s State of the Union (SOTU) address will be.  This video is a  preview of coming attractions.  Without further ado-do, meet your new Ronald Reagan.  (You will recall that Obama took a Ronald Reagan book with him on his Christmas vacation in Hawaii.)

Translation: Obama’s speech will have nothing to do with addressing the state of our union.  Ray Charles can see that the state of our union has not been so "divided" since the Civil War.  The only people who are satisfied are those who feed from the government trough, the bounty of which comes directly from the pockets of those who actually work and produce.  Unemployment remains steadily at one hair’s breadth of panic level.  Borders, illegal immigration, terrorism, corruption, foreign affairs, debt and deficit, recession -- all these are matters of grave concern and worsening.  Enter Barack 2.0, the Healing Centrist.

Obama’s SOTU will be NOTHING but Obama campaigning for his 2012 bid by hoodwinking the gullible citizenry who were duped into voting this dictator into power in 2008.  Do you like what you got so far?

Advice: Don’t buy one grain of the silo of donkey dust this liar will be pouring through your TV screen on Tuesday.

The Danger: He will promise to be a good boy for the next two years, and because of the Republican majority House of Representatives, he’ll have no choice anyway because the 112th Congress won’t fund his insane spending binges.  Outward appearances will be that he has, in fact, changed his ways and has now become a patriotic fighter for the American Dream.  Inwardly, he will bide his time until he is reelected in 2012 for four more years when he’ll have nothing to lose as far as the democratic election process is concerned.

But don’t believe for one second that this will stop his lust for continued power and control.  He will unload a series of Socialistic legislation and usurpation that will make his first two years look like tryouts.  Watch closely for Obama to bypass our constitutional process and operate off the radar through federal regulation agencies such as EPA, FCC, IRS, etc.  Do not expect to get this information through the ObamaMedia.  If you are not aware, learn quickly how snakes function.

Conclusion: Change you will be shamefully foolish to believe in.

Fool me once…
Obama Uses Soviet Space Program To Rally Americans
Jim Hoft says that last night Obama used the former Soviet space program to challenge Americans in his State of the Union address.
    

"Half a century ago the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik.  We had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon.  The science wasn’t there yet.  NASA didn’t exist.  But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.  This is our generation’s Sputnik moment."

    
Did you notice he didn’t call it a NASA moment?  He couldn’t.  Last year Obama cut NASA's funding.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke out at the time against the devastating cuts.
    

The world’s best-known astronaut, who has traditionally avoided controversy and rarely seeks the limelight despite his feat 41 years ago, warned that Obama risks blasting American space superiority on a "long downhill slide to mediocrity".

The decision to cancel Constellation, the project to send astronauts to the Moon again by 2020 and Mars by 2030, was "devastating", Armstrong said in a powerful open letter to Obama.

"America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz -- at a price of over $50 million [£32 million] per seat with significant increases expected in the near future -- until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves," he said in the letter, which was also signed by Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon, and Jim Lovell, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission in 1970.

    
Instead of focusing on space, Obama's NASA plan is to reach out to the Muslim world to, "to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

But his speechwriters still thought it would be a good idea to use NASA in his State of the Union Address.

Dumb!  Helping Muslims feel good about themselves, reparations, regulations, and tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend.  That's our boy!
State Of The Usual
Rich Trzupek says early in during his State of the Union address last night, Barack Obama acknowledged the results of last November’s election.  He called for unity and compromise, themes that have dominated his political career because they appeal to the American character.  Americans of every political stripe want to believe that we’re all basically the same sort of good-hearted people at our cores and that we all aspire to the same sort of end results.  A middle road that leads to worthy ends, in other words, can always be found if we work hard enough to discover it.  Obama understands that portion of the American character better than perhaps anyone else who has occupied the Oval Office, and -- as he did during the 2008 presidential campaign -- he warmed to the familiar theme once again last night:
   

"What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.  I believe we can.  I believe we must.  That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us.  With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties.  New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  We will move forward together, or not at all -- for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics."

    
And then, having declared the need for America to pursue a bipartisan, middle-of-the-road future going forward, Obama proceeded to outline his vision of that future -- a course in which "compromise" consists almost entirely of conservatives and libertarians abandoning their ideas and ideals in order to support the progressive agenda.  Obama’s version of "compromise" involves even more increases in government spending -- although such expenditures will hereafter be rebranded as "investments" -- along with the nation continuing to ignore the 800 pound gorillas that are America’s entitlement programs and continuing to pretend that ObamaCare is both affordable and desirable.

Obama declared that America needs to reinvent itself, but then proceeded to say that the only conduit for such a rebirth is the federal government.  The only way to kick start our economy, Obama declared, was to take taxpayer dollars and use them to seed a "green economy" and to hire more teachers who will train future generations.  It was a rather remarkable message, given the mood of the nation.  It’s as if Barack Obama is congenitally unable to comprehend the basic argument that is at the heart of economic discussions in the United States today: is the government better equipped to create prosperity than the free enterprise system?  This is, of course, a more subtle argument than a simple declaration or "choosing of sides."  There is an ideal balance between governmental authorities ensuring that a level playing field actually exists, and the environment of freedom of thought and innovation in which entrepreneurs make the most of such autonomy.

Obama is perfectly willing to tip his hat in the direction of American entrepreneurs, so long as those businessmen and businesswomen aren’t too successful. Obama praised small businesses and acknowledged their role as job creators.  But, at the same time, Obama stuck to the progressive playbook, declaring that "big oil companies" and insurance companies were the enemy and deserved to be punished.  In Obama’s world, there is nothing wrong with a ma and pa enterprise making a twenty per cent return on a one million dollar investment.  But, if a large oil company realizes a five per cent return on a one hundred billion dollar investment, there’s something terribly wrong in the world.  The term "economy of scale" -- which is so prevalent in the business world -- seems to be a matter of mystery in the public sector.

Far from being a message of the kind of "hope" that Obama trademarked in 2008, this state of the union address was little more than an exercise in mouthing tired, discredited platitudes.  The economy isn’t going to rebound as a result of how many unneeded solar panels some guy in Pennsylvania is able to produce.  Meaningful deficit reduction cannot happen until the imbalances that define the Medicare and Social Security are addressed.  If the nation in going to move forward together, much less as one, we’ve got some tough policy decisions to make.

Barack Obama didn’t address any of those tough decisions during his second State of the Union address.  Instead, he pretty much stuck to the party line.  We should expect nothing more from a classically-trained Marxist-Chicago politician.  The wheels are coming off of the train, but the politicians at that wheel always seem to be the last to notice.

America has a clear choice to make: does the nation invest in government (though its support of higher tax rates) or does it invest in the notion of free enterprise, though a refusal to accept more government?  That answer to that question will define where we have been and where we are going.
Obama’s State Of The Soviet Union
Daniel Greenfield says when the applause had died down and the softly glowing screen of the teleprompter faded to black, the echoes of the Leninist cadences of Obama’s State of the Union address, "We must out-educate, out-compete, and out-innovate the rest of the world," "We have broken the back of the recession" and "We can’t win the future with a government of the past" suggest that we are now living in a land without history.

How else could Obama get up and deliver an address whose rhetoric represents a 180 degree turn, while the substance continues down the same track.  The meat of the address was stolen from Clinton’s 1992 campaign stump speeches on the economy.  There is the same invocation of personal stories of unemployment combined with promises of replacing the old bad manufacturing jobs with free educations for everyone.  But Clinton was better at pretending to be one of the boys, a working class man who only got out thanks to a good education.  Obama’s people must have known that dog wouldn’t hunt.

As usual, the slogan du jour comes from the dictionary of the left.  "Winning the future" was a common slogan on the left.  While it was belatedly used by Newt Gingrich, it was most commonly employed in the 20th century by Communists and the far left.  Two time Lenin prize winner, Danilo Dolci used it as the theme of one of his addresses.  Jesse Jackson made use of it during his presidential campaign.  Max Lerner gave a number of talks on "Winning the Future".  Mandella threw it in there.  Most notably it was used by Lenin, "Our hopes must be placed on the young.  We must win the youth if we are to win the future."

The thrust of Obama’s agenda follows Lenin’s.  The old jobs are gone.  We must prepare for the future by educating our youth.  The sturm und drang of the "We Musts" quickly becomes an argument for pandering to the teacher’s unions.  Only by empowering the teacher’s union will we be able to compete with China.  But China isn’t strong because of its teachers, but because it has no independent unions, no minimum wage, no pollution laws and nothing to get in the way of the terrible machine of its industry.  The People’s Republic of China is not beating us in science or math, but in manufacturing cheap products with an undervalued national currency.

Handing out free educations to beat China is like going to college to fight a bear.  Not only will it not improve your bear fighting skills, it actually gives the bear the upper hand.  American math and science degrees are used to do research whose practical applications take the form of products manufactured in China.  Even if all 300 million Americans all go to work as researchers, we are not going to "out-compete" and "out-innovate" by "out-educating" Americans.  Russia has the highest percentage of college degrees by population in the world.  China has the lowest.  These figures have little to do with their economic success.

America already has a college degree program percentage rate on par with Sweden and Finland, countries that almost wholly subsidize higher educations.  Greece subsidizes 99.7 percent of higher education, and yet has a lower degree rate than America and is in a state of complete economic meltdown.  America has higher rates of graduates than many of the European countries which heavily subsidize their education systems.  The takeaway is that state subsidized education does not ensure more graduates.  And more graduates does not mean more jobs.

One of the more surreal moments in the address came when Obama mentioned Kathy Proctor, a 55 year old woman who after losing a job in the future industry is now a second year student at a community college working toward a biotechnology degree.  Her plan is to become a biofuels analyst.

I can’t imagine a worse model for American workers than a 55 year old woman amassing unknown amounts of student debt for a job in an industry that doesn’t exist except as a government subsidized program.

Even if Obama succeeds in obtaining more ethanol subsidies and some biofuels company decides to hire Kathy to be their biofuels analyst, her job will only exist because of the billions poured into subsidizing the educations and industry that make it possible.  A job and an industry that would not exist without those subsidies.  This is not how a genuinely productive country is run.  It’s not how we’re going to beat China.

What’s worse is that the odds are very good that Kathy Proctor will join the ranks of other struggling Americans whom Obama singled out as examples, only for them to lose their jobs and homes.

This isn’t innovation, it’s central planning.

Continue reading here . . .
An Insult To Our Intelligence
Roger Pilon, the Vice President for Legal Affairs of the Cato Institute, says with uncontrolled deficits well into the future and a debt exceeding $14 trillion, for Obama to propose saving only $40 billion per year in discretionary spending over the next five years, while "investing" in pie-in-the-sky things like high-speed rail, wind farms, environmentally destructive ethanol, and the like is worse than unserious -- it's an insult to our intelligence.  Like Obama, many Republicans too treat military spending, among other things, as sacrosanct, but at least they're proposing more serious budget cuts.

The deeper problem, of course, is systemic.  Socialism, a large dose of which we have in America today, brings out the very worst in people.  In the name of collective responsibility, it saps and then destroys individual responsibility, leading to a war of all against all.  No one wants "his" entitlement cut for fear that his neighbor might profit at his expense -- because, after all, "we're all in this together."  Suspicion and envy are the order of the day.

Meanwhile, dreamers like Obama (at least that's his pose), who promote our collective drift, either can't or won't grasp the hard reality until it crashes down upon them, and us, as it is doing now in several of our states and in Europe.  For the "hard-hearted" realists among us, November 2012 can't come soon enough.
Promises, Promises
Ben Stein submits a few humble notes for Obama about where we are today….

During the run up to the recent Congressional elections, I was on Larry King Live with a super smart man whose name I have forgotten.  Larry asked a smart question.  The question was, "Is Barack Obama a better campaigner than a president?"  One of the men on the panel said, "Of course he is.  When he is campaigning, all he has to do is promise things.  When he's president, he actually has to do things."

The same is true for all politicians, but the problem is acute for Obama because he has promised things he simply cannot do.

He cannot make the U.S. more competitive with the Far East and with Germany unless and until he gets U.S. education up to a far better level than it is at now.  He cannot do this without revolutionizing the lives of young Americans, turning them from sex, drugs, rap, and rock 'n' roll to studying.  This is far beyond his poor power to do.  He cannot make an American worker who demands $30 an hour competitive with a Taiwanese worker who will work for $2 an hour with just as good equipment.  He cannot make American college students who want to study film production into competitors with Chinese engineers.  (Although I should say that America leads the world in making money off mass culture because we have by far the most imaginative and creative people on this planet in this arena living within a small radius in Southern California.  Studying film production is not studying engineering but for the nation's future, it might be better than studying engineering.)

My old dad used to tell me that the reason U.S. workers could get paid so much more than Far Eastern workers was that our workers had so much better equipment to work with.  This is not necessarily true any longer, and so our wages must very slowly move towards parity with Chinese wages.  This will be a slow, but painful process.

Obama seems to simply not "get it" about solar power and wind.  When we taxpayers spend money to design better solar and wind power systems, those systems wind up getting made in the Far East.  How this helps our workers is a mystery to me.

I also love Obama endlessly referring to "clean coal."  There is no such thing as "clean coal."  Coal is coal.  They can use all kinds of technology to immensely reduce pollution from coal.  But there is no such magical thing as "clean coal."  This is not a problem for me at all.  I am happy with whatever kind of coal anyone wants to burn to keep the lights on.  But this idea that there is some magic thing called "clean coal" that is as non-polluting as wind is just nonsense.  It is a bit worrisome to keep hearing Obama talking about something that is just a fantasy.
Obama's Foreign Policy:  Peace Through A Weakened America
Jed Babbin says every president's foreign policy is labeled his "doctrine."  President Monroe's was that no European power would be permitted to dominate part of the Western Hemisphere.  President Reagan's was "peace through strength," accelerating the demise of the Soviets.

What is the Obama Doctrine?  After two years in the Oval Office, Obama has defined a doctrine aimed at reducing America from "superpower" to "also-ran."

By shunning allies and empowering enemies, by reducing military strength, Obama is reducing our ability to protect allies and pursue interests abroad.  Given his record, it's no longer possible to accuse Obama of naiveté.  He is at work pursuing his goal.

Obama revealed this goal in the context of Middle Eastern conflicts, saying, "It is a vital national security interest of the United States to reduce these conflicts because whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower, and when conflicts break out, one way or another we get pulled into them, and that ends up costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure."

Not that America is justly proud of its ability to protect ourselves and allies, to protect freedom and pursue our interests globally.  Not that we are a force for good.

"Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower."  That dominance has kept much of the world free since World War II.  Obama aims to end it.

Obama began implementing his doctrine within days of inauguration.  He symbolically ended the "special relationship" between Britain and America by inexplicably returning their gift of a bust of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which for years had watched over the Oval Office.

Soon after, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the White House, Obama treated him as an enemy, not as our only ally in the Middle East, creating a distrust we cannot afford.

Obama's defining moment occurred in June 2009 when the Honduran supreme court ordered the removal of President Jose Manuel Zelaya for violating the Honduran constitution by trying to stay in power past his term.

Obama didn't stand with freedom-loving Hondurans and for American principle.  Instead, he sided with Cuban President Raul Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, condemning the "coup."

Continue reading here . . .
Obama Monitoring Egypt Via Al-Jazeera
Zip says there's something seriously wrong with Barack Obama getting his information from the Islamist propaganda channel Al-Jazeera.

The Daily Beast just posted an "exclusive" look inside the White House’s "scramble" to find the right response to the unfolding crisis in Egypt this week.

The short version is that the crisis caught U.S. intelligence off guard and they were slow to react.  But here’s the line that jumped out at me.
    

That’s right, even the President of the United States is watching Al Jazeera.  Needless to say this is a far cry from the time (just two years ago!) that Colin Powell declared on Meet the Press that "those kind of images going out on Al Jazeera are killing us."

    
Now, huddled in the big office of their boss -- one of the administration policy-makers trying to calibrate the U.S. response to the unfolding drama -- the advisers watched Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s first statement.  Two television sets were running, one showing CNN and the other a satellite feed from Al Jazeera.
Obama Well Knows What Chaos He Has Unleashed
Victor Sharpe says Obama is not just content with creating havoc in the U.S. economy, setting Americans against each other, and forcing through a health reform act which has nothing to do with health but everything to do with the redistribution of wealth and an immense increase in governmental interference, he has now opened a Pandora's Box in the Middle East.  It may well usher in a catastrophe not seen since World War II.

From his notorious Cairo speech to the present, Obama speaks, and disaster follows.  Some commentators believe that Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are so utterly naïve as to make themselves unable to understand what will happen in Egypt as a result of their undermining of the Mubarak regime.

The question is justifiably asked: Do they truly believe that the next regime that comes to power will have the interests of the U.S. and the West at heart?

My fear is that Obama is not naïve at all, but he instead knows only too well what he is doing, for he is eagerly promoting Islamic power in the world while diminishing the West and Israel, however much innocent blood will flow as a result.

Inevitably, sooner or later, the Muslim Brotherhood will take power, usher in a barbaric Islamist power in Egypt that will control the Suez Canal, and show no mercy to its own people or its perceived foes.

So now we see what the present incumbent in the White House has wrought, and so can our few remaining allies.  They must now wonder what confidence they can ever have in any future alliance with the United States.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama Is Clueless -- Totally Clueless
Ulsterman says a surprise message from our D.C. Insider reveals an Obama White House completely unprepared for the events in Egypt, and increasingly fearful of Obama’s chances for re-election in 2012.
    

Had to send you this quick message.  Feel free to publish all of it if you wish.  First, I am so disappointed in the response by Obama White House to the crisis in Egypt.  White House was caught completely off guard on this one despite indications they were informed of just such a scenario a number of times over the past year or so.  They ignored the warnings.  When the protests started did you notice the confused messaging from the administration?  Hillary says one thing.  Biden says another thing.  Obama says basically nothing.  These are the situations where an American president can either rise to the occasion and show strength and wisdom or where they appear weak and uncertain.  I don’t need to explain to you what our current president did.  If this goes badly, and it appears it very well could, American interests in the region will be placed in very grave danger.  The parallels to Carter are stunning.  Oh how I miss the days when the party was led by the likes of Scoop.  I fear the mishandling of the Egypt situation is going to result in a total chaos in that country soon.

Obama is clueless.  Totally clueless.  I am not talking a little out of step here. I am talking the man has no idea what is going on around him.  This is not coming from me.  I am relaying it from some still around him on a regular basis.  These people are getting increasingly concerned over just how "out of it," that is the phrase repeated to me, Obama has become.  His primary focus is now getting elected in '12.  Everything else has been given over to Jarrett and her group.  Everything.  The president has no interest in policy.  None.  No interest in working legislation.  None.  No interest in forging a specific agenda.  None.  He is being told what he needs to say and that is it.  That is the extent of his interest.  "Just make it look good."  Exact words right there.  President Obama is obsessed 24/7 with just "looking good."  If something goes well, he gets happy and outgoing.  If something makes him look badly, he lashes out and pouts.  The man is bouncing off both of those extremes even more now than he used to and it appears to be getting worse and worse.  The word "manic" is being used more and more regarding his moods these days.

FYI there was a closed door meeting recently under the guise of discussions on Egypt.  That meeting did not involve Egypt much if at all.  This information is relayed second hand but I believe it to be completely reliable.  Source told that meeting was run by Jarrett from start to end.  Obama said very little.  Asked no questions.  The primary focus was how to protect ObamaCare so it was not a "liability" in 2012 campaign.  White House already spending significant time/resources preparing legal argument for the Supreme Court case that is coming.  Second focus was apparently "Birther" related.  Jarrett expressed concern over possible newly passed eligibility requirements in states.  If only one or two states clarify eligibility in order to run for office, White House will simply use those states as examples of "anti-Obama racism."  They would likely not win the electorals in those states regardless, but could use the scenario to gain sympathy and support over the challenge from other moderate states.  This is the tactic Jarrett and crew have prepared.  She is worried though that if more than one or two states challenge the president’s eligibility, the issue would turn against them.  Measures are being taken to make certain that does not happen.  What those measures are, I don’t know at this point.  Oh, and while discussion over eligibility was underway, Obama sat motionless.  He said nothing.  That strikes me as pretty damn odd don’t you think?  People are discussing whether or not you are actually eligible to run for re-election in 2012 and you don’t say a word on the subject?  "He just sat there with a weird little smile and didn’t say anything."  Go ahead and print that quote word for word.  Others are now willing to let their observations be more known.  Concern for the country is now winning over concern for their own political interests.  Finally.

As stated before, Geithner is leaving.  That was repeated to me again this past week.

More to come soon.

      

 
Jim Hoft has a video in which an Iowa Republican focus group ripped Obama over his handling of the Egyptian crisis.  Nearly half of the focus group members believed that Obama was acting against the interests of the United States because he was a Muslim.  The other half believed he was a committed liberal.
    
    
They all agreed his presidency was a disaster.
President Stupid
Alan Caruba asks us to remember when everyone was calling George W. Bush stupid? I do. Since then, his published memoir of his years in the White House has been on the bestseller lists following two years of Barack Obama unrelenting blunders and lies.

From the beginning of the Obama administration, there were all manner of evidence that a group of hapless, moronic ideologues had been handed the reins of power.  Early nominees for key posts were jettisoned or withdrew from consideration for a variety of reasons.  This was followed by a huge overlay of "czars" for everything, with undefined power over and above the Cabinet Secretaries in charge of various departments.

Two years later, the candidate who campaigned against the Iraq war decisions and implementation, against Guantanamo, and deemed Afghanistan to be the "real war" is pursuing the same Bush programs.  The general credited with victory in Iraq has been put in charge of Afghanistan and not been heard from since.

When the Iranians protested in the streets of Tehran last year, Obama missed a major opportunity to throw U.S. support behind them.  Instead he said he did not want to "meddle" in Iran’s internal affairs.  Fast forward to Egypt and President Stupid was declaring on worldwide television that President Mubarak had to go "now."  Well, he’s gone and, thank God, the military is still in charge.

Surrounded by imbeciles and ideologues, President Stupid’s national security director declared that the MUSLIM Brotherhood was a "secular" organization.  His science advisor thinks all the ice at the North Pole is melting.  His EPA Director thinks that carbon dioxide, a gas vital to all life on earth, is a "pollutant" and is asserting the authority to regulate it.

In both the first and second State of the Union speeches, President Stupid rambled on about green jobs, solar and wind energy, and now the need to spend billions on a "high speed" rail system in a nation where Amtrak has been losing money from the day it opened for business.  In a time of severe deficits and national debt, how dumb do you have to be to want to throw billions at an unneeded new rail system?

President Stupid’s decisions have frequently left people gasping in disbelief.  He appointed "a wise Latina", Sonia Sotomayor, to the Supreme Court even though she had never been a judge.

ObamaCare is the pinnacle of President Stupid’s "achievements" thus far.  It has been declared unconstitutional by two lower courts and is likely to be declared null and void by the Supreme Court before he leaves office.  The House Budget Committee just released a report that estimates the loss of 800,000 jobs if it becomes law.  You have to be stupid to keep handing out "waivers" to ObamaCare in all directions as an admission of its failure to apply only to those who do not have friends in the White House.

You have to be stupid to keep defending "global warming" or "climate change" when this huge, global hoax was exposed in 2009 as a fraud.  Meanwhile, a natural cooling cycle is caused freezing weather that just wiped out 80-100% of Mexico’s crops.

You have to be stupid to openly declare that you want to drive the coal industry out of business when it provides half of all the electricity the nation uses every day, but that is precisely what President Stupid’s administration is doing.

You have to be stupid to declare a moratorium on drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico after courts have twice told you to remove it.

You have to be stupid to lecture the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on how to create jobs when your economic policies have been killing them for two years.  And then tell them they have to redistribute their profits to their workers.  They already do that.  It’s called wages!

You have to be stupid to have spent the first two years of Sundays playing golf and then expect people to believe you are deeply religious.

You have to be stupid to keep bowing to foreign leaders of nations from Saudi Arabia to Japan to China when the President of the United States must never bow to anyone.  We don’t even lower our flag in the presence of foreign leaders.

You have to be stupid to believe you can get away with telling lies when even an adoring press is finding it increasingly difficult to cover up or defend this behavior.

Watch now as the press begins the run-up to the 2012 elections by emphasizing how brilliant President Stupid really is.

Already the talk is about a surefire reelection if the unemployment rates gets down to eight percent when its average over the pre-Obama years has usually been around five percent and actual unemployment is twice the official figure of 9.6 percent.

You have to be stupid to think Americans will be fooled again.
Geithner Admits:  Obama's Obligations Are Unsustainable
From Thursday’s Senate Budget Committee’s hearings on Obama’s ten year budget, via YouTube:
    
    
From Sweetness & Light
    

Sessions:  Let’s talk, briefly, as my time is winding down, about our interest situation under your budget.  The interest increases each year.  It was $187 billion in 2009.  Under your proposal it increases to $844 billion -- I don’t know if we have a chart here -- and would you not agree that that is a stunning figure, perhaps the fastest growing item in it?  And all of that is a direct result of the debt we’re running up and only a modest expectation of interest rate increases.

Geithner:  Senator, absolutely. It is a excessively high interest burden.  It’s unsustainable.

Sessions:  Well it’s your plan, for the ten years.  I mean, that’s the one the President has submitted.  That’s what he’s asked us to vote on.  It will result -- and that is your numbers of your budget.

Geithner:  Senator, you’re absolutely right.  With the President’s plan, even if Congress were to enact it, and even if Congress were to hold to it, and reduce those deficits to 3% percent of GDP over the next five years, we would still be left with a very large interest burden and unsustainable obligations over time.  That’s why we’re having the debate, I completely agree with you.  But the question though is, just to be direct about it, what’s the alternative plan.  And again, the way our system works, this is a good thing.  You’re going to see, we’ll be able to see from this body, we’ll be able to see from the House, whether people can find the political will here to go deeper, and if you can find --

Sessions:  But what your plan is, is that plan.  It’s the one you’re required by law to submit, and that’s what you call for, and it’s not acceptable.  I’m sorry.  It’s not a plan for winning the future, but for losing the future…

    
There it is.  The Secretary of the US Treasury and the de facto head of administration’s economic team admits that the budget Obama has just submitted is completely unsustainable.

So why even submit it?  Isn’t submitting an unsustainable budget tantamount to dereliction of duty?

As Senator Sessions notes, so much for "winning the future."

In this video, in search of a straight answer on the Obama's budget, Rep. Woodall finally put the question as plainly as he could:
    

"This budget never, ever, ever reduces the debt, is that right?"

    
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner replied:
    

"Uh... that is correct."

         
Related:  David Stockman Says Obama’s Budget Is "Fiscal Cowardice"
   
What is unsaid, is that Obama is lying to America about his budget.  He has no respect for the office, and he has he no respect for the American People.
The Many Paradoxes Of Barack Obama
Victor Davis Hanson says that when Obama called for a new civility, I was somewhat confused.  In 2004–7, the uncivil demagoguery of the Left damaged Bush; immediately after Obama’s call for civility, someone wrote an "I hate Joe Lieberman" column; now, Governor Walker–Nazi signs have appeared in Madison.  Given that the country polls center-right, the hysterical style is something that the modern Left uses to counteract public opinion; Obama has condemned a methodology that is predominately embraced by his own hard-core base.  (Indeed, swarming someone’s private home, or using terms like "enemy" and "punish," are not unknown to either the younger or older Obama.)  The result is the hypocrisy of condemning the incivility that will only become more useful to the Left as the election nears

In the Middle East, Obama seems not to grasp the central paradox, analogous to Jeane Kirkpatrick’s in the Cold War: The relatively pro-American authoritarians (in Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, and the Gulf) are more vulnerable than the anti-American and far more savage totalitarian regimes (Iran, Syria, Libya, etc.), at least for now, because the latter are more willing to blockade the international media and to use brutal force to crack down on popular protests.  Not only has the administration not appreciated how this paradox may change the strategic map of the Middle East to the detriment of U.S. interests, but it almost seems to consider the more anti-American regimes more sustainable, untouchable, and authentic, and their protesters tainted with Westernization.  I don’t know how else to explain the administration’s otherwise inexplicable failure to support Iranian dissidents in 2009, or its harsh attitude toward Mubarak versus its mild treatment of Ahmadinejad, or its efforts to reach out to a rogue Syria while pulling back from a democratic Israel.

At some point, Obama will have to see what Gov. Jerry Brown here in California has already realized: Out-of-whack public-employee compensation and pensions drain the treasury and preclude grandiose green projects and other dubious liberal programs.  To put it rather crassly, the liberal calculus often works out as mostly older white guys wanting their unsustainable pension and benefit payouts while the "other" and the more needy are shorted from receiving proper public attention.  Since the states cannot print money and often lose population to other states when they raise taxes, the reality is that the well-off are enjoying perks that younger and private-sector workers lack while social services and the green visions of an Al Gore or a 2008 Obama are defunded.

Finally, what distinguishes Obama’s homespun platitudes about public-sector jobs from state governors’ more honest worries is just that ability to print cash -- together with the fact that Americans cannot migrate to a kindred but lower-tax nation, in the fashion overtaxed Californians flee to Texas or Utah.  But pass a law that the U.S. must balance its books like the states must, or have something like a workable, low-tax Singapore off our shores, and Obama would start sounding like a Governor Brown, Christie, or Walker.
Telling It Like It Is

 

"Our Peace Prize-winning president is very busy bowing these days to kings.  He is bending down to dictators, and he is brown-nosing the elites that are in Europe, and he’s babying the jihadists who are following Sharia-compliant terrorism.  He is callow and confused and inconsistent in his response to the Egyptian crisis, and to the uprisings in Iran, and to the terrorist threats.  And he’s accomplishing something nobody thought even possible: He’s making Jimmy Carter look like a Rambo tough-guy."

   
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), quoted by the Spartanburg Herald Journal during a visit to South Carolina.
Obama's Agenda Faces Governors' Revolt
Noemie Emery says to picture a hand on the wheel of the great ship of state, pushing it hard in a certain direction, say, to the left.  It belongs to Obama.  Picture 29 smaller ones on the other side of the wheel, trying as hard as they can to wrench it back in the other direction.  Those hands belong to Govs. Chris Christie, R-N.J., Mitch Daniels, R-Ind., Scott Walker, R-Wis., and 26 other Republican governors, 12 of them elected in the 2009 and 2010 cycles.

Two years and four months ago, Obama was elected to enact his agenda; and four months ago, the Republicans were put in to dismantle it.  In the interim, the public had a big change of mind, which created the impasse.  Each side has a mandate, and is hell-bent upon it, creating a situation unique in our history.  For the first time since the Civil War ended, the federal government and a large number of the states and their governors are at open and few-holds-barred war.

States and their governors defying the White House, is, of course, nothing new.  In the 19th century, the United States survived three different secessionist movements, the first two involving Aaron Burr (in 1804 and 1807), and the Southern secession 60 years later, that gave us a long, bloody war.

In the 1950s and '60s, some Southern governors stood "in the door of the schoolhouse," but those acts of defiance were regional, racist, and doomed.  None of these instances serves as a guide to this new breed of battlers.

Despite thinking in terms of nullification and interposition (made famous by John C. Calhoun in an earlier fracas), this new states' rights movement has no plans whatever for leaving the Union.

Unlike prior movements, it is based on neither region nor race: It runs from Alaska through the upper Midwest, down to the two southernmost bastions of Texas and Florida; it is strong in the red states, and in purple and blue ones: It is home to the male and the female, the pale and the brown, the WASP and the ethnic, the urban and rural, the fat and the lean: to Gov. Susana Martinez, R-N.M., and to Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va.; to New Jersey's Christie, and to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, R-Minn.; to Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., and to Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss.; to good old boys and to children of darker-hued immigrants.

If its composition is different, so is its operational strategy.  Instead of raising armies, it is raising objections.  It fires off lawsuits, not guns.

Twenty-six states have filed 24 law suits, aimed at declaring ObmaCare unconstitutional, which one court in Florida has already done.  Scarcely a day goes by without one governor or another tossing sand in the gears of Obama's agenda.

South Carolina's Haley is in Obama's face constantly. Gov. Sean Parnell, R-Alaska, says he won't start enforcing ObamaCare, as the court in Florida has labeled it unconstitutional.

Gov. Rick Scott, R-Fla., says "no, thank you," to Obama's plans for light rail.  And Wisconsin's Walker has started a war with Obama, confronting his unionized friends.

The GOP gains in the House were as stunning as those in the state houses, but the House is one-half of one branch of the federal government, and can only stop things, not start.  This is why the lead in confronting Obama has passed to the governors, who, on the day they take office, have the power they need to make policy.  This is why the war has moved to, and outside of, the state capitols.

"States' rights" may be saving the party of Lincoln.  And what could be stranger than that?
Alfred E. President
Bruce Walker says Barack Obama resembles, more and more, the hapless, clueless, sappily cheerful mascot of MAD Magazine, Alfred E.. Newman.  Given the intellectual vacuity of his life so far, attending schools and working in "jobs" that did not require a single original thought or even more exercise in critical thinking, it is increasingly hard to determine whether our illustrious leader actually grasps the profound seriousness of civilized life today.

Our national debt is exploding.  Right now it is only a measly $45,000 per person, but it is growing fast.  This does not just mean the federal government faces political problems with gigantic deficit "investment" appropriations, but it also means that no one wants to buy our government debt instruments any longer.  Simply paying the interest on that federal debt is becoming harder.  The value of the dollar and the credit of the government are both dropping precipitously.  States cannot pay their "bills" (i.e. lawful obligations.)  When high unemployment rates are the way to control our porous borders and illegal immigration problem, then the long term prognosis for our nation is much grimmer than the calm demeanor of Alfred E. President would suggest.

Europe, the other half of our bastion of Western Civilization, faces comparable unraveling.  Public pensions in nations like Greece are simply unsustainable.  Ireland, the once thriving Celtic Tiger, not only needs a Euro bailout, but the Bank of Ireland, on its own, simply began printing Euros.  Belgium has lesser but serious economic problems, but the longest European nation unable to form a government must deal also with the ethnic schisms in an artificial nation half Walloon and half Flemish.  What does one call a bank which essentially begins counterfeiting money and a democracy which cannot form a government?  Well, to everyone outside the world of Alfred E. President, one calls that "a clue."

Angry young Moslem men continue their thuggish conquest of the European street.  The docile, graying population of homegrown Europeans no longer cares to defend its Judeo-Christian heritage or its continental culture.  The economic disintegration, which seems so near the edge in much of Europe, will not inspire these Moslems to pick up the heavy burden of pensions caused by a declining indigenous European population.  The bitter young men of Islam will, instead, compete with white haired Frenchmen for the shrinking pie of social welfare benefits.  Does Alfred E.. President seem concerned?  He is concerned only in the vague, rhetorical sense that concern can be traded in for modest bumps in personal approval ratings.

Egypt, a friendly government on peaceful terms with Israel, will soon be run by those less friendly to us and more threatening to Israel.  China builds more modern weapons which have only one possible use.  Russia cozies up to anyone who does not like us.  NATO resembles a vestigial organ which does not protect our nation and which "talks" with Russia about a missile defense system which will not threaten Russia’s national security -- how a missile defense shield or a bulletproof vest threatens anyone remains a grand mystery of life.  Iran, meanwhile, moves closer to the day that it can turn Tel Aviv into radioactive dust.  What will regional terrorism mean to us?  The semi-official attitude over the last decade has been that our nation faces another massive terrorist attack not "if," but "when."  But it has not happened yet, so Alfred E.. President smiles at the television monitor and likes what he sees.

All over the simmering mess we call our world, the persecution of Christians continues.  Every "victory" -- Christian massacres in Egypt or Pakistan or Nigeria, bigoted federal court rulings against crosses at military cemeteries or smug, mendacious defamations of Christianity -- kicks the can farther down the road to perdition.  Anti-Semitism, the other canary in the mineshaft, surrounds Israel, inspires militant Moslems everywhere, and encourages an increasingly miserable world to blame its oldest official scapegoat.  Those two nations lovingly called the "Great Satan" and the "Little Satan" needs no defense from Alfred E. President, even though a spirited argument supporting America and Israel might defang the lust for their destruction.  The plight of Jews and Christians is not helped in these lands by skyrocketing food costs produced, at least in part, by undue interest in the Iowa caucus.

What could Alfred E.. President do?  He could ask for a repeal of ObamaCare so that a truly bipartisan healthcare reform could be adopted.  He could propose entitlement reforms, rather than waiting to counter-punch any Republican proposals.  He could insist that missile defense be the heart of our defense budget.  He could ask for a comprehensive reduction of all federal requirements on states and all existing federal roadblocks to growth, so that drilling for oil and construction of nuclear power plants could start oh, say, yesterday.  He could call Ethanol a joke no longer so funny.  He could issue a spirited re-affirmation of the faith of Christians and Jews and express the opinion that holding fast to that heritage is the only true hope of world peace.

Or Alfred E. President can watch the world unravel on his watch.  He can fiddle while Rome burns.  He can say nothing risky, do nothing real, and wait to be re-elected.  What are our prospects for having a real president when we need him?  So far, so bad.
The Manchurian President
Dr. John says events in the world are spinning Barack Obama around like a top.  Barack Obama is ill-suited to be the President of the United States.  His worldly sense is really only that of a Chicago mayor, but what Obama really should have been was the Secretary General of the UN.  There he could pontificate, bluster, moralize and agonize all without meaning or intent.  He could carry on the UN legacy of uselessness and failure and likely scoop up another Nobel Peace Prize for achieving nothing, to bookend his first Nobel Peace Prize for achieving nothing.

I have been to Israel five times and each visit remains a fond memory.  Today I spoke with a friend from Israel.  He is totally disgusted with Obama.  He noted that one day Obama supported Mubarak and the next day told Mubarak to leave.  I said that I was quite concerned about Israel’s safety but my friend is confident in Israel’s ability to defend itself.  However, he knows as well as many of us that sooner or later someone is going to have to decapitate the nuclear monster in Iran.  We all know that Barack Obama will neither come to the defense of Israel nor act on Iran.  Barack Obama is a political eunuch.  World events cry for leadership and Barack Obama wails about collective bargaining, all the while interfering in a state issue in which he has no business.  Obama’s response to the crisis in Libya is to fire up a Motown party in White House.

When the protests for democracy arose in Iran, Barack Obama dithered.  He uttered some nonsense about standing with those seeking democracy, saying:  "And we stand behind those who are seeking justice in a peaceful way."

The problem is that Barack Obama gives disingenuous a bad name.  He is an execrable liar.  When he could have done the most good for those seeking change in Iran, he voted present.  Amid allegations of fraud in the recent Iranian elections, Republicans are criticizing Obama for not personally addressing violence against the protesters demonstrating on behalf of opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi.

When uprisings took place in Egypt, he voted present.

When bloodshed takes place in Libya, Obama voted present.

Energy prices are skyrocketing and Barack Obama has diminished our domestic energy supply and made us even more dependent on foreign oil.  He has shut off new searches for oil in the Gulf of Mexico and has curtailed several functional rigs.  The Obama administration has been ordered to resume the granting of oil drilling permits but has not done so and has even been found in contempt, not that that matters.  As noted here, Barack Obama picks and choose what laws he wants to uphold and screw the rest.

Meanwhile, pretty much everyone in the world is drilling in the Gulf except for the United States and at the same time the United States is financing drilling in the Gulf by Petrobas of Brazil.

Obama submitted a budget he knows fully well will put this country on a course to oblivion.

It seems that union leaders are the shadow Presidents of the US and Obama has taken to meeting with lobbyists in secret places so we cannot know who owns Obama at the moment.

I listen to people tell me how much Obama cares and how he really wants what’s best for the US, but I'm not buying it.  He is either a blithering idiot or he is trying to destroy this country.

One thing is sure: his messianic hubris is killing us.  If he was proven to be the Manchurian President I doubt he could visit more damage on us.  One wonders whether Obama would support a peaceful change of leadership here in the United States.  I am ready for change.

Now.
The 51% President
Andrew Mellon says that when Americans voted in Barack Obama in 2008, they thought they were getting a "post-racial," "post-partisan" president.  For Barack Obama himself had declared that having merely won the Democratic nomination, "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal."  What Americans didn’t realize however was that Barack Obama was only to represent certain subsets of the population; this new era of good feeling was only to be for those of a select few classes, races and ethnicities.  This was to be a world in which all of the old injustices would be righted not by tolerance for all, but with intolerance for the presumed intolerant, with the vengeful Barack Obama correcting past wrongs with his redistributive justice.

And so in America today if you are black, a union member, Muslim, Hispanic, gay and/or profligate you can expect preferential treatment from this administration.  For most everyone else, tough luck.  I know of no other way to interpret the pattern of the words and actions of Obama and his cronies.  We need not judge Obama on the Bill Ayers, Edward Said/Rashid Khalidi and Jeremiah Wright influences.  The true instincts of this administration show quite clearly in its deafening silence on so many true injustices, only to be outdone by its knee-jerk reactions to issues either not germane to it, or on which it consistently sides against the majority of Americans.

Witness the fact that Obama cannot help but interject when it comes to the actions of a white cop in Cambridge, a mosque being built by Islamic supremacists near Ground Zero, a Governor trying to return his state to fiscal sanity by taking on an obfuscatory union or the evil fat cats trying to make their undeserved profits, nor can Eric Holder admit that perhaps even the word "jihad" exists, let alone that the nightstick-wielding Black Panthers in Philadelphia were anything more than "inappropriate," though they threatened the citizenry in the very way that his "people" were threatened decades ago.  The notion of the keeper of justice defending above all his "people" poses a challenge to Justice Sotomayor’s wise Latina women quip in the volumes it speaks with regard to the "soft" bigotry of this administration.

This administration does not represent the people, but only the narrow majority which elected it, save for a handful of Independents they have thrown under the bus along the way.  But as Lenin said, "if you want to make an omelet, you have to be willing to break a few eggs."

Equal justice for all and special privileges for none is a credo as foreign as a Tea Partier to this White House.  Every policy is biased towards one group at the expense of others, created with the intent to rectify some grievance often imperceptible to any free-thinking, right-minded individual.  The public is viewed solely in terms of groups to be molded, conditioned and manipulated, as opposed to individuals free to choose their own destiny.

Whoever is to challenge Obama must be constantly cognizant of and able to articulate that a president’s proper role is to serve as a representative of all of the people, not just the 51% or so of voters necessary to win; he or she must understand that the policies that leave our people happiest, healthiest and most prosperous are those which serve to benefit all, equally (generally policies that restrain government).  The challenger must create an undeniable contrast to Obama, whose whole term has served as an Ivy League seminar in class warfare, race-baiting, suicidal multiculturalism and moral relativism, victimhood and submission.

How ironic it is that the man supposed to embody a world devoid of discrimination, a man supposed to be beyond our petty differences fashions policies and asserts himself in ways that universally prove discriminatory.  Forget the other 49%, this is the 51% president.  Let’s make sure that that number is reduced come 2012.
Let's Make Obama King
John Hinderaker says Last night Col. Ralph Peters was on Bill O'Reilly's show, talking about Libya.  Peters thinks we should act on behalf of the rebels there, but he expressed skepticism that Obama will ever do anything.  "Obama loves the idea of being President," Peters said, "but he can't make a decision."

I think there is a lot of truth to that, even in domestic policy, where Obama has passively deferred to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi on all legislative matters.  One can debate whether action is appropriate in Libya or not, but Peters is certainly right when it comes to foreign policy -- it is a safe bet that Obama will do nothing, because doing something would require a decision.

That got me thinking: Obama enjoys being president, and he especially treasures the symbolic significance of being the first African-American president.  That's how his supporters feel, too. I haven't heard anyone defend his actual performance in a long time, but there is still widespread satisfaction with the symbolic value of his presidency.  So why don't we make him king?  If being the first African-American president has symbolic value, just think what it would mean for the first King of the United States to be African-American! Plus, Michelle would be a queen and Malia and Sasha would be princesses.  How cool would that be?

I realize that there are constitutional issues with establishing a new office of kingship, but they are nothing that couldn't be cured with a hastily-called constitutional convention.  The king would have no duties beyond golf, so Obama would be perfect for the job.  Our king would need a place to live, of course -- we need to coax Obama out of the White House -- so I'm thinking one of those big houses in Newport, Rhode Island would be ideal.  Safely out of the way.

Then we could hold a special election and choose a real president.  Probably, given the temper of the times, he or she would be a Republican.  On no account would our new constitutional arrangement allow Joe Biden to succeed Obama.  He would make a terrific viceroy, or possibly court jester.

Sure, it seems like a radical solution.  But consider the alternative.  The more I think about it, the better I like it: Obama for King!
An Absence Of Leadership In A Dangerous World
The Region Rat says as a follow-up to my post on "followership," a bit of no-nonsense commentary is in order.  No sarcasm or jabs at Obama; just bottom-line analysis.  As is always the case, opposing views are welcome and encouraged.

Democratic Strategist Doug Schoen, who is respected on both sides of the political spectrum recently commented on the workings of Barrack Obama’s mind:

Obama’s strategy is to "keep your distance, avoid direct engagement, say most of the right things most of the time, and hope for resolution through sources other than your own."

We saw this with the events in Wisconsin. Initially, conservatives were angered; not as much by Obama’s refusal to call for an end to the impasse as with his cheerleading of the unionists from the sidelines while chastising the opposition.  Ultimately, it was those on the left who felt betrayed; he had said "all the right things," they reasoned; where was he when it mattered?

We now see it with the crisis in Libya; innocent people have died and are continuing to do so while an ever-cautious Obama seeks consensus and "one (world) voice."  Community organizers seek consensus.  Community organizers seek compromise.  Presidents of the United States lead when leadership is required.

In Obama’s world view, strong American leadership demonstrates arrogance and an imposition of our will.  He views the ability to form consensus and delegate decisions as more desirable traits.  America did not become America by building world consensus and delegating difficult decisions, particularly during calamitous times or events that cried out for decisive leadership.

Throughout history, countries and peoples in distress have looked to the United States for leadership; there was a belief that we would be bold; that we would go where others would not go and do what others would not do.

This is not Barack Obama.  His inability to lead is both regrettable and dangerous.  If history has taught us anything, it is this: When extraordinary men step forward during extraordinary times, they do extraordinary things.

Obama’s lack of leadership increases the potential for danger in a very dangerous world as he seeks to diminish the role of America.  Sadly, he knows exactly what he’s doing.
Obama, Get Off The Bench
A.B. Stoddard says that even before a member of his own party scolded him on the floor of the U.S. Senate for failing to lead, it was already past time for Obama to get into the game on budget reform that tackles entitlements and the tax code.  He ignored the recommendations of his own debt commission, gave lip service to the burden of mandatory spending in his State of the Union address, and then introduced a budget that confirmed he would indeed dodge the hard stuff.  Yet while Obama willfully completed his third strike in another round of politics-as-usual, the unthinkable has happened.  All around him, Republicans and Democrats are gripping the third rail, delving openly into a discussion of entitlement reform.  Will Obama show the same guts?

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who has approved the inclusion of entitlement reform in the budget House that Republicans will release in April, has offered an unusual olive branch to Obama.  He will refrain from attacking any proposal he offers to curb entitlement spending.  Boehner told The Wall Street Journal that Obama "knows the numbers as well as we do," but that most Americans "don’t have a clue" that entitlement spending consumes more than half our budget and is the primary driver of our debt.  Boehner and House Republicans will seek to educate voters in hopes that "people will be more receptive to what the possible solutions are."

A similar effort is under way in the Senate, where a bipartisan "Gang of Six" is advocating entitlement and tax reform and possibly tax increases to address our fiscal crisis.  And Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), a Democratic leader, declared in a speech Wednesday that discretionary cuts alone won’t reduce the deficit, calling for an "all of the above" approach in budget reform negotiations he said the White House should lead.

The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that even though only 18 percent of respondents thought cuts to Medicare were necessary to "significantly reduce" the deficit, 62 percent of them thought means-testing Medicare and Social Security was "totally acceptable" and 56 percent supported raising the retirement age for Social Security to 69 by 2075.  That is an opening Obama must take advantage of, because Republicans will do so with or without him.  Republicans are currently winning the optics campaign in the budget battle -- producing yet another temporary plan this week to keep the government open before the Democrats have even produced one.

Obama’s refusal to join the growing chorus on curbing mandatory spending opens him up to a steady barrage of criticism from Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), who castigated Obama in his floor speech, as well as Republicans.  When asked this weekend by Bob Schieffer of CBS News if he thought Obama was serious about entitlement reform, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said, despite several conversations with the president, "No, I don’t."

There is nothing partisan about Republicans insisting that entitlement reform can only pass with the support of both parties and presidential leadership.  And so it is time for Obama to come to the table, no matter what the left and the labor unions are threatening.  When Obama campaigned for his job, he said solving the nation’s worst problems "will take a president who is honest about the challenges we face -- who doesn’t just tell everyone what they want to hear, but what they need to hear."

Republicans and Democrats are now eager to tell Americans about the fiscal challenges we face.  Obama must join in soon so he can lead.  If he waits too long, voters will remember that he followed.
Obama The Invisible
John Podhoretz asks, where is Barack Obama?  The world is beset.  Moammar Khadafy is moving relentlessly to crush the Libyan revolt that once promised the overthrow of one of the world's most despicable regimes.  So where is Obama?

Japan may be on the verge of a disaster that dwarfs any we have yet seen.  A self-governing nation like the United States needs its leader to take full measure of his position at times of crises when the path forward is no longer clear.  This is not a time for leadership; this is the time for leadership.  So where is Barack Obama?

The moment demands that he rise to the challenge of showing America and the world that he is taking the reins.  How leaders act in times of unanticipated crisis, in which they do not have a formulated game plan and must instead navigate in treacherous waters, defines them.

Obama is defining himself in a way that will destroy him.

It is not merely that he isn't rising to the challenge.  He is avoiding the challenge.  He is Bartleby the President.  He would prefer not to.

He has access to a microphone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  If he tells the broadcast networks in the middle of the day that he has a major address to deliver on an unprecedented world situation, they will cancel their programming for him.  And yet, since Friday and a press conference in which he managed to leave the American position on Libya more muddled than it was before, we have not heard his voice.  Except in a radio address -- he talked about education legislation.

And he appeared at a fund-raiser in DC.  And sat down with ESPN to reveal his NCAA picks.

He cannot go on like this.  Niall Ferguson, the very pessimistic economic historian, wrote the other day that the best we can now hope for is that Obama leaves the country in the same kind of shape that Jimmy Carter left it in.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama’s Trivial Pursuits
Keith Koffler says the Middle East is afire with rebellion, Japan is imploding from an earthquake, and the battle of the budget is on in the United States, but none of this seems to be deterring Barack Obama from a heavy schedule of childish distractions.

The newly installed tandem of White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Senior Adviser David Plouffe were supposed to impart a new sense of discipline and purpose to the White House.  Instead, they are permitting him to showcase himself as a poorly focused leader who has his priorities backward.

This morning, as Japan’s nuclear crisis enters a potentially catastrophic phase, we are told that Obama is videotaping his NCAA tournament picks and that we’ll be able to tune into ESPN Wednesday to find out who he likes.

Saturday, he made his 61st outing to the golf course, and got back to the White House with just enough time for a quick shower before heading out to party with Washington’s elite journalists at the annual Gridiron Dinner.

With various urgencies swirling about him, Saturday’s weekly videotaped presidential address focusing on "Women’s History Month" seemed bizarrely out of touch.

Obama Friday took time out to honor the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.  Thursday was a White House conference on bullying -- not a bad idea perhaps, but not quite Leader of the Free World stuff either.

Obama appeared a little sleepy as he weighed in against the bullies, perhaps because he’d spent the night before partying with lawmakers as they took in a Chicago Bulls vs. Charlotte Bobcats game.

Meanwhile, Obama has been studying for weeks whether to establish a No Fly Zone over Libya, delaying action while the point becomes increasingly moot as Qaddafi begins to defeat and slaughter his opponents.  And lawmakers from both Parties are wondering why he seems to be AWOL in the deficit reduction debate.

The Libya indecision follows an inconsistent response to the protests that ousted former Egyptian President Mubarak and seemed to catch the White House off guard.  The perfunctory response from the White House Monday to Saudi Arabia’s dispatch of troops to Bahrain suggested the administration wasn’t prepared for that one either.

But the fun stuff won’t end anytime soon.  On Thursday, the Taoiseach of Ireland will be in town to help Obama celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  And then Friday it’s off to Brazil for the start of a three-country Latin American tour.

Oddly, he’ll be missing Carnival, which went down last week.
Obama Faces Political Storm Over Libya When Congress Returns
Fox News says Obama can't hold off Congress much longer.

In the form of hearings, media appearances and possibly a vote, Congress is determined to have its say on the Libyan conflict when lawmakers return to Washington next week.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been grumbling ever since the president ordered U.S. missile strikes on Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime in support of a U.N.-authorized no-fly zone Saturday. But the unrest is reaching a boiling point and from the top down, elected officials are pressing for questions about the U.S. role in the assault to get a full airing on Capitol Hill next week. The coalition's involvement deepened after French fighter jets shot down a Libyan plane amid allegations Qaddafi's forces violated the no-fly zone.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, sent a letter to Obama Thursday announcing his intention to offer an amendment stripping the Libya operation of funding. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, also wrote a letter asking Obama for a full accounting of the mission's costs.

"We must know how much a third military conflict will cost us," he wrote.
Obama Gets Transparency Award Behind Closed Doors
Simon Neville is reporting that Barack Obama accepted an award for making the government more open and transparent in a secret ceremony.

The White House even left the event off Obama’s public schedule, so no one knew about it, and requests for journalists to cover the meeting by those attending were turned down.

"To have such a meeting not be transparent is the height of irony.  How absurd can that be?" said one participant, Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, which keeps tabs on the White House Office of Management and Budget.

He added: "It’s almost a theater of the absurd to have an award on transparency that isn’t transparent. I hope that this blunder falls into what I call the 'klutz' category of governing."

Continue reading here . . .
A Clueless Presidency Adrift In A Sea Of Confusion
Nile Gardiner says this week’s Quinnipiac University national poll should be devastating reading for the White House, against a background of mounting confusion over Libya, paralysis in the face of a massive national debt and deep-seated economic problems, and a possible shutdown of Congress.  Liberal hopes of an Obama recovery in the first half of 2012 following disastrous midterm elections in November are proving short-lived.  According to the Quinnipiac survey, Obama is now at the lowest approval level of his presidency, with his weakest reelect score ever:

According to a Quinnipiac University poll, American voters disapprove, 48 to 42 percent, of the job Barack Obama is doing, and say, 50 to 41 percent, he does not deserve to be re-elected in 2012.  Both are all-time lows.  This compares to a 46 to 46 percent job approval rating and a 45 to 47 percent split on Obama’s re-election in a March 3 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University.  In a hypothetical 2012 matchup, Obama gets 36 percent of the vote to 37 percent for an unnamed Republican challenger.

Obama receives strong negativity ratings for his handling of virtually all key issues, including the economy, budget deficit, health care, foreign policy and energy policy.  According to Quinnipiac, on the economy 60 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance, including more than a quarter of Democrats.  That figure rises to 64 percent on the budget deficit.  On health care, less than 40 percent of Americans back Obama, with 55 percent opposing.  On foreign policy, 47 percent disapprove of his handling, compared to just 41 percent in favor, with only two in five Americans approving of his leadership of the Libya issue.

The Quinnipiac poll chimes with Rasmussen’s latest Daily Presidential Tracking Poll, which gives Obama an approval index rating of minus 18 points, with 42 percent of Americans strongly disapproving of his performance (against 24 percent strongly approving).  On the Libyan issue, which is dominating much of the news coverage at the moment in the United States, Rasmussen finds that only 21 percent of likely voters think the United States "has a clearly defined mission in Libya", with 56 percent disagreeing.

Significantly, the RealClearPolitics polling average shows nearly two thirds of Americans (63 percent) believing the country is on "the wrong track," a staggering 34 percent higher than the number that believe it is heading in "the right direction."  This is not exactly the kind of hope and change that Americans were promised when Barack Obama was elected 29 months ago.

At the core of Obama’s declining fortunes is his lack of leadership, both at home and abroad.  Obama’s widely criticized dithering over Libya has reinforced the impression of a White House adrift in a sea of confusion, as the world’s only superpower seems incapable of projecting decisiveness on the world stage, while failing at the same time to confront the nation’s biggest economic crisis in decades in the shape of towering debts and European-levels of unemployment.  The Quinnipiac poll should be a wake-up call for a politician deeply out of touch with an increasingly disillusioned electorate.  But unfortunately there is little sign he is listening.
The "Obama Factor"
John Hannah says that inside the whirlwind of the Middle East's current turmoil, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that Obama's original strategy for the region has crashed and burned.  Recall its key elements.  Extending a hand to Iran's mullahs so as to demonstrate America's benign intentions and charm Khomeini's heirs into abandoning their nuclear ambitions.  "Engaging" Syria's tyranny in hopes of luring it away from a decades-long embrace of Iran, terrorism, and anti-Americanism.  Indulging the canard that the Palestinian conflict lies at the root of all that ails the Middle East; that Israeli settlements pose the most pressing obstacle to peace; and that demonstrating American even-handedness by muscling our Israeli ally would win us goodwill across the Arab/Muslim world.  Refuting the "freedom agenda" by slashing democratization programs and letting it be known that a hard-nosed realism had returned to U.S. foreign policy that would concern itself little with the way Middle Eastern regimes treat, or mistreat, their own peoples.  And, of course, putting in America's rearview mirror as quickly as possible an Iraq project that had been midwifed by an allegedly illegal and immoral war.

All of it now lies largely in tatters.  Obama's outreach to Iran and Syria was greeted with predictable contempt.  His quixotic fixation on the holy grail of a settlements freeze left peace talks dead in the water.  The explosion of popular unrest that first shook Iran in 2009, and which is now sweeping Arab lands, exposed the intellectual vacuity of Obama's studied disregard of the region's freedom deficit.  Similarly, Obama's seeming inability to grasp America's vital interest in Iraq's success, and his headlong rush for the exits by the end of 2011, has rendered that country's democratic experiment increasingly untethered and at the mercy of Iran's Islamic Republic.

An instinct for reassuring hardened enemies, disregarding longtime friends, and distrusting the exercise of American power.  These were, unfortunately, the dominant notes that a troubled region heard emanating from Obama's uncertain trumpet for much of the last two years.  "Where is U.S. leadership?"  What is U.S. policy?"  Who's in charge?"  The most fundamental questions about American purpose, which anxious Middle Eastern leaders struggled in vain to divine answers to from visiting U.S. friends.  The unhappy results?  A pervasive -- and corrosive -- sense of waning American power.  Adversaries emboldened to continue pressing every challenge.  Disheartened friends resorting both at home and abroad to short-sighted measures of self-help and self-preservation.  And a vital region of the world increasingly brought near the boiling point, poised between revolution, chaos, and civil war; teetering between the malignant ambitions of an aspiring Persian hegemon and the withering resolve of a traditional patron grown uncertain in the rightness of its cause and weary of shouldering the burdens of leadership.

Multiple muses seemed responsible for the badly misguided framework that Obama brought to office.  A worldview heavily shaped by the leftist, anti-Western claptrap that pervades much of what passes for Middle East studies in the American academy.  An obsession with distinguishing himself from everything Bush.  And a remarkably naive conviction that simply by showing up on the world stage, Obama -- by virtue of biography, personality, and charisma -- could somehow transcend the immutable laws of an international system dominated by self-interested nation states, several of which happen to be ruled by tyrannical regimes that perceive their very survival as inextricably linked to the humbling of American power, influence, and prestige.  The "Obama Factor," like so much else in Obama's Middle East policy, did not survive first contact with the enemy.

So what next?  Will there be an Obama Middle East policy 2.0?  To some extent, the administration has no option.  It's been mugged by reality. I ran's unyielding hostility in the face of Obama's repeated entreaties for dialogue laid waste Obama's engagement strategy, leaving him little choice but to resort, albeit belatedly, to the stick of sanctions.  Likewise, the eruption of mass protests across the Middle East, threatening both pro- and anti-U.S. regimes, has forced issues of democratization and reform to the very top of the administration's agenda, whether it wished them there or not.

But much, much more needs to be done to advance American interests.  Having committed U.S. forces to battle, the war in Libya must be hastened to a rapid conclusion that sees Qaddafi ousted and replaced by a more decent, non-terrorist regime.  Egypt's revolution needs help achieving a soft landing that contains the Muslim Brothers, bolsters liberal democratic forces, and preserves the country's role as a bulwark of regional moderation.  Iraq policy must be taken off auto-pilot, and Obama must at long last engage himself personally in the urgent task of defining a post-2011 U.S.-Iraqi security relationship that maximizes the chances of safeguarding the significant gains won by American blood and treasure.

Perhaps most importantly, everything possible must be done to bring home to Iran and Syria the full force of the revolt of 2011.  Syria -- Iran's land bridge to Hezbollah; tormenter of Lebanese independence; safe haven for Palestinian terror groups; and facilitator of jihadists who killed American soldiers in Iraq -- has been badly shaken already by several weeks of protests.  At a minimum, the Obama administration must now avoid doing anything that throws the Assad regime a political lifeline.  In Iran, a systematic strategy must be quickly developed aimed at strengthening the Green Movement which, while badly battered, is alive and well, looking for the right opportunity to again challenge the very foundations of the Islamic Republic.

It was, of course, in Iran in 2009 that the true folly of Obama's Middle East policy reached its most tragic denouement.  At the Green Movement's height, with the Islamic Republic at real risk of fracture and collapse -- when protesters cried out "Obama, are you with us or are you with the regime?" -- Obama was largely paralyzed, mute and detached, worried that an embrace of Iranian freedom might put at risk his delusion of brokering a meaningful diplomatic breakthrough with the murderers of Neda Soltan.  An historic opportunity to end the mullahs' 30-year war on America, erase the darkening shadow of a nuclear Iran, and drive a stake through the heart of radical Islamic extremism was lost.  Figuring out how to help resurrect it, and atone for that monumental strategic error, would be a fitting place for Obama to start the process of rebuilding a viable Middle East strategy for the final two years of his term.
Obama's Permanent Campaign
Jim Geraghty says Jeff Dobbs reminds me that back in July 2008, I examined how much time Obama had spent as a candidate for higher office:
    

2008:  Barring some nefarious plot by Hillary Clinton, Obama will be running for president until November.  For purposes of this exercise, we'll count this as 11 months of campaigning.

2007:  Announced exploratory committee on January 16.  Formally announced presidential campaign on February 10.  I'm counting all 12 months.

2006:  Serving in U.S. Senate.  While some would argue Obama was unofficially campaigning already, including appearing at events in Iowa, for the purposes of this calculation we will count his campaigning as starting from the announcement of the exploratory committee.  0 months.

2005:  Serving in U.S. Senate.  0 months.

2004:  Running for U.S. Senate; elected in November.  11 months.

2003:  Running for U.S. Senate.  12 months.

2002:  Spent half the year preparing the groundwork for his U.S. Senate campaign; he launched his campaign committee in late June.  His campaign often cites the 2002 antiwar rally as a key moment in his campaign. 6 months.

2001:  Serving in Illinois State Legislature.  0 months.

2000:  Lost the March 21 House primary against Rep. Bobby Rush.  3 months.

1999:  Announces bid to challenge Rep. Bobby Rush in September.  4 months.

    
If you begin counting from September 1999, there are 112 months between then and November 2008, and Obama campaigned for higher office in 52.6 percent of those months.  (This does not count any campaigning to retain his seat in the state legislature.)

Now, with yesterday's announcement, Obama is a formally-declared candidate again.  Updating the list:
    

2009:  Serving as president.  0 months.

2010:  Serving as president.  0 months.

2011:  Running for reelection, April 4.  Barring some sudden interruption, Obama will spend 9 months as a declared candidate.

2012:  Again, barring some sudden interruption, Obama will campaign until November, spending 11 months as a declared candidate.

    
This means in the 10 years between November 2002 and November 2012, Obama will have been a declared candidate for higher office or presidential reelection for 67 of those 120 months, almost 56 percent.

It's what Obama does.  He doesn't know how to govern, and he certainly doesn't know how to lead.
"You Might Want To Think About A Trade-In"
John Hinderaker says we have yet to comment on one of the most outrageous moments of Barack Obama's presidency: his ridiculing of a citizen who expressed concern about rising energy costs:

Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle.

"If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know," Obama said laughingly.  "You might want to think about a trade-in."

Could Obama possibly be more tone-deaf or more arrogant?  He had no reason to think that the questioner is driving a "gas guzzler."  (Is there a single 8 mpg vehicle on the road these days?)  In fact, it is not unusual for Americans who drive normal vehicles to spend ten percent of their disposable income on gasoline.  When the price of gas doubles, as it has during the Obama administration, those families are badly hurt.

As many have pointed out, Obama's suggestion that the questioner buy a new car demonstrated his lack of understanding of those who are not wealthy.  If the man has a hard time filling up his tank, does Obama really think he can afford a new car?

Obama's flippant answer comes ill from a man who proudly owned this pimped-out, tinted-windows, gas guzzling V-8, Hemi powered Chrysler 300C (13/15 mpg city):
    

And every time Obama put his foot down on the accelerator, he cried, "Burn Whitey, burn!"
    
But that is typical Obama: worries about mundane matters like the price of gasoline are for the little people.

There is one other aspect of Obama's foolish response that I have not seen commented upon.  Rising energy costs do not just affect the price of gasoline at the pump.  Every product and every service that the man who asked the question buys, requires energy.  When the cost of energy rises, the price of every commodity and service rises with it -- which is to say that we all become poorer.  Obama says the man should trade in his car -- even though, for all he knows, the man is driving a Prius -- but what is he supposed to do about, for example, rising grocery prices?  Stop eating?  Or trade in his bread for...

You know, pointing out the absurdities in Barack Obama's logic has gotten to be way too easy.
ACLU Accuses Obama Of Murder
David Edwards says disclosure of government secrets often has little to do with the public's right to know and has everything to do an official's need to tell, according to ACLU deputy director Jameel Jaffer.

And that's especially true when it comes to assassinations, which have not traditionally been an openly admitted component of U.S. foreign policy -- but the American Civil Liberties Union is cautioning that the Obama administration is changing all of that.

In an exclusive interview with Raw Story, Jaffer, a key attorney with the rights group, even warned that the Democrat in office [Obama] has taken a position on unilateral murder so extreme as to be "profoundly troubling" in its legal reach and potential for future use.

Continue reading here . . .
Obama's Conflict Avoidance
Rosslyn Smith says an interesting Bloomberg article about the last minute budget negotiations: "President Barack Obama had finally reached his breaking point."

Obama doesn't seem to be very good at this.  As I read it I recalled a 2009 incident.  Francis Cardinal George, then chairman of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke about meeting Obama. George reported it was an odd meeting.  Obama kept insisting that he and the Cardinal were in agreement on abortion.  The Cardinal kept saying No, we are not.  There was no need for any resolution at that meeting, but it was telling that Obama couldn't acknowledge a fundamental philosophical difference.

Here is what Cardinal George had to say after his meeting:
    

"It's hard to disagree with him because he'll always tell you he agrees with you," he said.  "Maybe that's political.  I think he sincerely wants to agree with you.  You have to say, again and again, 'No, Mr. President, we don't agree (on abortion).'  But we can agree on a lot, and we do, and that's why there is so much hope.  I think we have to pray for him every day."

Cardinal George said he told the president he was concerned about his decision to rescind the Mexico City policy, which resulted in providing taxpayer money to fund abortion overseas.

"He said we weren't exporting abortion," the cardinal said.  "I said, 'Yes we are.'  He would say, 'I know I have to do certain things here. ... But be patient and you'll see the pattern will change.'  I said, 'Mr. President, you've given us nothing but the wrong signals on this issue.'

    
A discomfort with conflict may also be a reason Obama avoided faculty lunches at the University of Chicago Law School.  I had a boss who didn't like conflict and he would get visibly uncomfortable at some of the lunch meetings at the Chicago Bar Association at which the experts would go hammer and tongs over their opinions about this issue and that pending case.  I suspect the table talk at the faculty lunches takes much the same tone.

The ebullient Obama taking a victory lap at the Lincoln Memorial in the aftermath of the budget deal is a case of making lemonade from the lemons, or even more so Obama's need to take credit for everything.  I think he was genuinely relieved to have one source of conflict resolved, at least for a while.

Not being able to deal with conflict has to be the ultimate bummer of a personality trait for a POTUS.  No wonder he's made a political career of never meeting with Republicans -- and always voting, "present."
Obama Sinks To The Occasion
Fred Barnes says, no hope, no change.

Obama always lets you down.  Just when you think he's ready to deliver a lofty speech chocked with specifics on handling the spending and debt emergency, he offers up a hyper-partisan attack on the leading Republican proposal, gives practically no details of his own plan, and then sanctimoniously puts himself on the side of preserving "the American dream for future generations."

Obama didn't rise to the occasion.  He actually sank, as he did two months ago when he released a 2012 budget that would increase spending by $40 billion and double the national debt over the next decade.

Let me list the lowlights of Obama's speech this afternoon at George Washington University:
    

 The problem is George W. Bush's fault.  This is a hardy perennial of Obama's.  "America's finances were in great shape by the year 2000," he said.  Then spending skyrocketed due to two wars and a prescription drug program and "we didn't pay for any of this new spending."  The fiscal problem was made worse "with trillions of dollars in unpaid for tax cuts."  He didn't mention that discretionary spending soared on his watch by 11 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2010, up from 6 percent in 2008, the last Bush year.  Nor did he concede that Democrats wanted a bigger, more expensive Medicare drug program.

 Obama distorted the Republican budget for 2012 drafted by Representative Paul Ryan and approved by the House Budget Committee.  Ryan's vision "says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can't afford to fix them…[and] says America can't afford to keep the promise we've made to care for our seniors," Obama declared.  And, oh, yes, there are the kids with disabilities or autism or Down syndrome who would have to "fend for themselves" if the Ryan budget passes.

 Obama resorts to class warfare -- again.  Ryan would "reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires."  Please, tax cuts aren't the same as spending.  They lead to private investment, which creates jobs.  In fact, Obama said, the rich would be happy to pay higher taxes.  "Washington just hasn't asked them to."  That's the root of the deficit?

 Obama takes credit for already having cut $1 trillion in health care as a result of ObamaCare.  He uses this figure frequently, but does anyone really believe it?  Not many.  In a supposedly serious speech, it's out of place.  And guess who would make sure cuts in medical care actually occur?  One of the most controversial and feared aspects of ObamaCare: the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was purposely put out of the reach of congressional supervision.  It may not be a death panel, but it's headed in that direction.

 For all his vagueness, Obama did set a goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years.  He offered no specifics, only broad categories.  But it's specifics that matter.  Goals for cutting spending are easy to set.  They're a Washington specialty.  They're just never met.

    
Obama ended on a (false) high note.  His plan embraces "a sense of responsibility" that Americans have for each other.  "It's patriotism."  Imagine the reaction if President Bush had said that.  It wouldn't have been pretty.  But Obama will probably get away with it.
America Needs A Genuine Leader.  Instead, We've Got Obama
James Crum says sometimes we do things and days or years later we look back and ask ourselves, "What was I thinking?", or "why did I do that?"  Often we simply cannot answer as we do not know why we acted in a certain way.  This is true for everyone.

Yes, we need to be careful about casting judgment.  Do not try to judge motivation, you really cannot.  To do so would require something that no man has: perfect knowledge.  Yet, we can judge behavior, and in some instances not only can we judge it, principle and genuine responsibility require us to do so.  As some of us watched and listened to Wednesday's budget stunt by Obama there is an obligation to respond.

It was really a low point for the office -- insulting, confrontational, acidic in contempt for those who produce wealth, grossly ignorant of how commerce and business works, larded with dangerous distortions, extremely divisive, perhaps even willfully dishonest and misleading.

That leads to a real conundrum: being forced to ask why someone is doing something.  We ought to try to avoid the why and just focus on the what.  In this instance, any person of genuine conscience cannot do so.

Many stable and intelligent Americans are now convinced Obama wants everything to blow up.  He will pretend to move to the center.  He will pretend to care.  He will pretend to give serious thought about our situation.  He will play pretend by setting up commissions and blue ribbon panels to study a matter and then totally ignore the advice and counsel presented to him.

Wednesday he proposed another fact finding rope-a-dope skull session with so called experts.

Earth to Obama: we don't have time to do this, and even if we did, one has to suspect that you would do the same as you did with the last debt commission: ignore it completely.

Yes ultimately, it looks like he wants it all to go up in smoke, because to confront the problem would also mean to destroy the liberal worldview and wipe out the Democratic Party and its redistributive entitlement machine.

In the choice between country and party, Obama has chosen party.  There is to be found no other rational explanation.  Perhaps he is just totally incompetent.  That is likely true, but I cannot fathom incompetence shoveling down to his level of imbecility.  No one is this stupid.

Most level headed, productive Americans cannot believe that any rational, thinking person cannot see the maelstrom that is headed our way.

What can be said for certain is this: Obama's actions, behavior, and policies will certainly lead to economic hardship, and perhaps even fiscal ruin and destruction of the nation.
The Incredible Shrinking Obama
Peter Wehner says Barack Obama's budget address last week ranks among the most dishonest and dishonorable presidential speeches in generations.  It contained an avalanche of false and misleading statements.  It was shallow and bitterly partisan.  Yet the speech served a useful purpose: It provided the American people in general, and Republicans in particular, with the basic line of attack that Obama will use between now and the 2012 election.

The White House strategy is clear: argue that Obama wants to restore fiscal balance by raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" while those who don't favor higher taxes on the wealthy are fundamentally unserious.  As a political matter, of course, class warfare does not have a particularly successful track record.  But, to keep it that way, Republicans need to provide a compelling response to the Obama strategy.  Fortunately such a response exists.

Obama's argument is built on sand.  A tax increase on the wealthy would fall far short of the revenues needed to reverse our fiscal trajectory.  Our budget problems are significantly worse today than they were in the 1990s.  There are not nearly enough wealthy people in the nation to tax in order to tame our debt.  If Obama wants higher taxes to improve our fiscal imbalance, he will need to embrace a massive middle-class tax increase and/or a value added tax (VAT).  But Obama hasn't shown the slightest preference for that option.  It's pure fiction to pretend that higher taxes on those making more than $200,000 will make much of a dent in our debt, given the size of our long-term spending problem.  Obama's argument isn't with Republicans.  It's with basic arithmetic.

Republicans need to unmask the philosophy guiding modern liberalism when it comes to taxes.  What liberals are interested in isn't growth so much as egalitarianism and redistribution for its own sake.  For many on the left, increasing taxes isn't about economics as much as morality.  They believe taxing the wealthy is a virtue, to the point that they would penalize "the rich" even if that has harmful economic consequences.  Recall that during a campaign debate, when asked by Charles Gibson about his support for raising capital gains taxes even if that caused a net revenue loss to the Treasury, Obama sided with tax increases "for purposes of fairness."

Higher taxes would keep our current welfare state in place for only a little while longer.  The entitlement apparatus would remain unsustainable.  Tax increases might slightly delay, but could not forestall, a fiscal crack-up.  The only thing that can is reconfiguring and restructuring our entitlement programs, most especially Medicare.  That is what Paul Ryan's plan does -- and what Obama's budget avoids doing.

The point cannot be made often enough: Modern liberalism, as embodied in the Obama agenda, is the defender of the status quo.  And the status quo is a road to economic ruin.

It is important for Republicans to put this debate in the right frame.  Left unaddressed, our crushing burden of debt will cripple the American economy.  Yet the aim of conservatism isn't simply lower deficits and debt.  It's also limited government and a thriving society.  A leviathan state is injurious because of its effect on civic character, because it undermines self-reliance and creates dependency.  And this, in turn, results in an enervation of the entrepreneurial spirit that is necessary for innovation and prosperity.

Barack Obama has amassed a dismal economic record.  (Former senator Phil Gramm points out that if Barack Obama had matched Ronald Reagan's post-recession recovery rate, 15.7 million more Americans would have jobs.)  Obama can't campaign on his record -- so he's betting his reelection chances on stoking embers of anger and resentment.  That's about all that's left of hope and change.
Obama Hits Rock Bottom
Nile Gardiner is reporting that the latest Gallup Daily tracking three-day average represents a new low for Barack Obama, with just 41 percent of Americans approving his job performance.  This matches his previous lows in August 2010 and October 2010, just before the mid-term elections, and it is significantly down from his 2011 average of 48 percent.  Obama's disapproval rating now stands at 50 percent, the highest point since August last year.  In contrast, George W. Bush's approval rating at this stage of his presidency stood at 70 percent (April 2003), and the average for US presidents in the ninth quarter stands at 57 percent.

Disconcertingly for the White House, his ratings have plummeted among independents, from an average of 44 percent in 2011 to just 35 percent this week, devastating figures if translated at the ballot box in 2012, where securing the independent vote will be vital.  Even among Democrats, support for the president is now running at just 77 percent, down four points from the 2011 average, and down seven points from the average for 2009-11.

As Gallup points out, Obama is now as unpopular as he has ever been:
    

Obama is now as unpopular as he has been at any time since the inauguration.  He faces difficult challenges ahead in trying to improve the economy and get the federal budget deficit under control, and must do so with Republicans in control of the House.  His ability to navigate these challenges will help determine whether he will be elected to a second term as president.  Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton all were similarly unpopular at this stage of their presidencies, but the last two were able to turn things around in time to win a second term in office.

    
The latest Gallup figures are even worse than the most recent Quinnipiac University national poll released at the end of March, which tracked Obama at just 42 percent approval.  As I noted in a previous piece, Obama receives strong negativity ratings for his handling of virtually all key issues, including the economy, budget deficit, health care, foreign policy and energy policy:
    

According to Quinnipiac, on the economy 60 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance, including more than a quarter of Democrats. That figure rises to 64 percent on the budget deficit. On health care, less than 40 percent of Americans back the president, with 55 percent opposing. On foreign policy, 47 percent disapprove of his handling, compared to just 41 percent in favour, with only two in five Americans approving of his leadership of the Libya issue.

    
And if his heavily panned performance this week on the budget deficit is anything to go by, it is unlikely that Obama's ratings will be significantly improving anytime soon.  Barack Obama faces an increasingly disillusioned electorate which, as the latest RealClear Politics average of polls shows, overwhelmingly believes the country is heading down the wrong track.  With deep-seated fears over the economy, including towering levels of federal debt, dominating voter concerns, Obama seems destined for another fall, perhaps on an even bigger scale than the setback the Left suffered last November.

In sharp contrast to his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton, who did survive low ratings in his third year to ultimately win a second term, Obama is drifting further to the left rather than the political centre, a move which will only further alienate independents who moved decisively against him in the mid-terms.  And as for comparisons with Ronald Reagan, who also recovered from low approval ratings to bounce back in 1984, the Gipper was simply in a different league to Barack Obama, displaying the kind of decisive, principled leadership that is sorely lacking in the White House today.
Obama's Third World America
The Washington Times says Obama is warning that Republican policies will turn America into a Third World country.  Look who's talking.

On a campaign fundraising trip to Chicago, Obama quipped that under the proposed Republican budget plan, "we would be a nation of potholes, and our airports would be worse than places that we thought -- that we used to call the Third World, but who are now investing in infrastructure."  He failed to elaborate on which developing countries he thinks should be models for the United States, but his policies have secured America's status as part of the declining world.

Obama has approached the presidency less as a traditional American chief executive and more as a developing world populist.  The 2009 stimulus program was taken directly from this playbook, using deficit spending to distribute favors to his union supporters and cronies in the form of public-works projects and other handouts.  It was a spectacular failure at creating the promised number of jobs but succeeded in Obama's core mission to "spread the wealth around."

Obama has accepted what he sees as the inevitability of American economic decline.  During the 2008 presidential campaign, he declared, "we can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK."  He has yet to explain why he thinks the American people need to ask permission from other countries to maintain a high standard of living

During his trip to India in November 2010, he said that for most of his lifetime, "the U.S. was such an enormously dominant economic power … that we always met the rest of the world economically on our terms."  In his view, however, Obama is overseeing the end times for U.S. economic dominance.  Rising economies in China, India, Russia, Brazil and elsewhere will, he says, "keep America on its toes."  Meanwhile, these same countries just finished a conference in China exploring new ways to put America flat on its back.

Obama is making our enemies' job easier.  He has increased economic regulation, pursued energy policies that stifle exploration and production at home while promoting it abroad, and has shown a general contempt for free-market principles that made the U.S. economy great.  Plus, given Obama's astonishingly lax immigration policies, America won't have to wait long to become a Third World country because the Third World is coming here.

The debt accrued on Obama's watch is the centerpiece of the forces that are driving the United States to global pauperhood.  In 2008, gross public debt was 69 percent of the gross domestic product.  This year it will pass 100 percent.  Obama's debt has stifled economic productivity and has driven the country to the point where only 66 percent of men had jobs last year, the lowest figure on record.

Were it not for Obama's drunken-sailor-style spending, facilitated by Democratic supermajorities in both houses of Congress during his first two years, the United States wouldn't be in this fix.  Still, Obama's answer to economic crisis is to heap on more debt.  It's this crippling tax-and-spend Obama creed that's bringing America to the brink of Third World inferiority.
Losing The Legitimacy To Govern
Tony Gallardo reminds that a few weeks ago, we were awash with the Obama administration and his acolytes in the media bleating about the legitimacy to govern, as in "Mubarak/Gaddafi has lost his legitimacy to govern," or "He has lost legitimacy with the people."  We were then told that these men had to step down or be forced out of power.  Lefties lectured us that this loss of legitimacy was justification for bombing the smithereens out of Libya

"He has lost his legitimacy to govern."  That's a catchy phrase, don't you think?  It has a nice ring to it.

Suppose someone closer to home has lost his legitimacy; I am thinking of you-know-who, the current occupant of the White House.  It's true that he hasn't bombed or strafed us or anything, but isn't there another standard we could use to determine this legitimacy thing?

Consider that he has broken not a few, nor even most of his campaign promises, but every single one.  Employment and underemployment, health insurance premiums, and gasoline prices are higher, more people are uninsured, the debt and deficits are higher, we are now in three, not two, or zero wars, Guantanamo Bay is open, not closed, we are trying terrorists in military tribunals, not Manhattan, Americans are more, not less divided, there is less, not more transparency in ObamaLand, and on and on it goes.

Listening to his speeches...er...teleprompter readings as I did on Wednesday causes my brain to ache.  He is for and against everything simultaneously.  He says the government should live within its means and proposes more spending, he lauds the Republicans for putting forth a budget which he himself has repeatedly failed to do and then says the Republican plan will cause people to die and 50 million to be without insurance.  He wants a strong economy and proposes tax increases.

There is a word that comes to mind with this kind of thinking, if indeed we can call it thinking; loopy.

Even the oceans have dissed him by refusing to lower their levels as he commanded.  The Japanese can attest to that.

Now, about this legitimacy thing; I am not proposing that we sic the U.N. or NATO or the French on him or anything.  But can we not now at least admit that as president, he is an abject failure and has lost all legitimacy?
A National Gloom Descends Over Obama’s America
Nile Gardner says you know things are really going badly for the White House when even The New York Times, the most powerful bastion of liberalism in America, is warning Obama he is in serious trouble.  Today’s New York Times/CBS News poll makes devastating reading for Barack Obama’s advisers, showing the nation’s mood at its lowest level for two years:
    

Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office, when the country was still officially ensnared in the Great Recession, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

Amid rising gas prices, stubborn unemployment and a cacophonous debate in Washington over the federal government’s ability to meet its future obligations, the poll presents stark evidence that the slow, if unsteady, gains in public confidence earlier this year that a recovery was under way are now all but gone…  Disapproval of Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy has never been broader -- at 57 percent of Americans -- a warning sign as he begins to set his sights on re-election in 2012.

    
According to the poll, a staggering 70 percent of Americans believe the country is moving down the "wrong track," nearly three times more than the number who believe it is heading in the "right direction" (26 percent).  39 Percent believe the economy is getting worse, 16 points higher than the number who think it is getting better, and 59 percent disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the federal budget deficit.

There is no room for complacency on the Right however, according to the poll, with 75 percent unhappy with the way the Republican-controlled Congress is doing its job, and strong disillusionment with leadership on both sides of the political aisle:
   

The displeasure with officeholders of both parties is reminiscent of the mood that prevailed in November, when anti-incumbent sentiment swept Democrats out of power in the House and diminished their edge in the Senate.

   
But the poll also shows strong support for conservative principles, including opposition to big government and a raise in the debt limit, as well as strong support for cuts in spending for federal programs:
    

In what Republicans can take as a positive sign as they seek a more limited government, 55 percent of poll respondents said they would rather have fewer services from a smaller government than more services from a bigger one, as opposed to 33 percent who said the opposite, a continuation of a trend in Times/CBS polls…  Twice as many respondents said they would prefer cuts in spending on federal programs that benefit people like them as said they would favor a rise in taxes to pay for such programs.

    
Coming on the heels of two other major polls which show declining support for Obama and mounting unhappiness with his handling of the economy, this latest New York Times poll will make the White House exceptionally nervous.  There are renewed fears across America that economic growth is once again stalling, dragging down job creation and consumer confidence, and resulting in a 13 percent jump this month in the number of Americans who feel the economy is worsening.  A national gloom has descended over Obama’s America, with potentially far reaching consequences for the 2012 elections, a contest that will largely be decided by debates over the economy.  Hope and change is in the air, but not quite of the kind the Obama presidency envisioned.
Obama Thinks It's Silly
Grace Harley says Obama holds the highest office in the land and promotes himself as a constitutional lawyer yet views the eligibility of his elected position as "silly."  What else does he view as silly and simply not worthy of his time to consider as serious?  Perhaps the Constitution itself?  Perhaps even his oath of office?

When Obama came before the cameras (yet again) to make a momentous announcement, it was not that he had made headway into solving the horrific problem of our national debt.  It was not to give honor to our nine citizens fallen in battle in Afghanistan or to offer condolences to the victims of multiple tornadoes.  It was not even to promote his already launched second term campaign.  Obama stood before the camera and the gathered press to inform them that he views the requirements of a presidential candidate as a thing not to be taken solemnly.

Webster defines "silly" in two ways: 1) as happy, guileless or inoffensive or 2) as foolish, intellectually weak, witless, simple, showing folly, unwise and stupid.

There is no doubt in which way our nation's elected leader regards the requirements of office that were set forth by our Founding Fathers.  Or does he consider them silly as well?  As an educator of both children and non-English speaking adults, whenever such a phrasing style is used, it is natural for me to break it down into various perspectives as would come from my students.  The remark "we do not have time for this kind of silliness..." (ie: confirming the existence and status of a president's birth certificate) leads me to contemplate "for just what kind of silliness do we have time, Mr. Obama?"

Is there time for the foolish and intellectually weak actions of cross-country campaign jaunts or the witless and simple lecturing to world famous FaceBook employees and their young billionaire founder on how to be successful and work as a team?  Really, should we make time for showing folly with regards to our national debt and its path to ruination?  Why not take true quality time for unwise and stupid embracing of confirmed terrorists and threats to our very Homeland?

For many other kinds of silliness, it seems we do indeed have much time.  In fact, all the time in the world to kill as the calendar turns into another month and then another.  If enough time passes in our current daily mode of "moving forward" and "going forward" vocabulary, then it will be too late to attend to our "complaints" of birth location or even citizenship.  Pesky problems will often settle themselves or simply go away of their own exhaustion if worn down by time.  So, for other kinds of silliness there is plenty of time.

But we now must get serious to deal with the many problems of our country.  No one was really serious before because they dared to be silly about such silly things...like the law of the land.  At least that is the opinion of the lawyer-in-chief.  So, let's all work together and move forward and keep on moving real fast so no one notices that the clock is ticking, the calendar pages are turning, and the law no longer matters in the oval office.

Oh, and those pesky problem folks called Tax-Paying Citizens, they will have to find something else to be silly about now.  I suggest the "silliness" of the 2012 presidential campaign.  But let's follow Webster's #1 definition for a campaign that is silly with happy, guileless, inoffensive candidates and management in order to avoid a #2 silliness this time around.

Silly Mr. Obama, tricks are for kids...not Patriots.

Related:  Cocky Obama Mocks America, Tells Oprah: "I Remember Being Born in Hawaii"  (Video)
Obama:  Deniability Man
James Lewis says the liberal mafia was in full-blown ass-kissing suck-up mode last week, knocking their foreheads on the bare earth over and over, to pay homage to His Imperial Highness Barack H. Obama -- again.

They were practically exchanging bodily fluids right there in public.  Last week was pure liberal porn.  The world hasn't seen this kind of abject idol-worshipping adulation from the American left since Uncle Joe Stalin ran the Soviet Empire.  Even the Euroleft looked embarrassed, and it takes a lot to embarrass them -- and all because a team of US Navy SEALs risked their lives to finally bust bin Laden.  Never mind those Navy SEALs and their helicopter crews, or the CIA guys and gals on the ground.

Barack Obama is so heroic!  Gutsy!  Whaddaguy!

Now here's what I think really happened.  I can't prove it, just call me suspicious -- about two weeks before Obama's Famous Victory, Barry says to Leon Panetta:
    

Barry:  Just remember, I don't know nuthin' about this SEAL operation -- unless it works and they kill that dude.  Then you come over here lickety-split and we'll take the Situation Room photos.  I want complete deniability.  If the SEALs crash or get killed, this never happened.  If they get UBL I want all the credit.  Or...maybe you don't want to be SecDef?

Leon:  OK, Mr. President.

    
So they shielded the White House from the Navy SEALs and the CIA, probably with high-level coordination with the Pakistan military, because Musharraf wants to be president again, and he needs to spread around a few billion US dollars to get there.

It's just like Chicago -- Standard Operating Procedure.

Nobody, not even SEAL stealth copters fly into a hostile division headquarter of a fairly modern army, because that would be suicide, which is why bin Laden was kept there.  As long as the Pakis wanted to protect him, to trade him for US favors, or maybe to please Saudi royals who are fellow Wahhabis like bin Laden, UBL was safe.

This operation was a setup.  The Pak Army knew enough to clear the ground and the air.  Otherwise, all it takes is one guy with an RPG to blow up a helicopter that's flying low enough and slow enough to land and take off again.  It might take 15 minutes on the ground to do the job, and you're a sitting duck for UBL's bodyguards and random soldiers.  So this had to be coordinated with all the big players on the ground.

It's like a Chicago mob hit.  Everybody knows except the target.

Taking out bin Laden was a win-win-win.  Bin Laden dies a martyr, and the Moo Bro mobs have a new reason to burn American flags.  Obama gets to play Patton to launch his reelection campaign.  Zardari and the Pak military get more US dollars.

The only thing the administration got wrong was the story.  The White House didn't know what was going down until Panetta told them.  They didn't want to know.  This is the "Vote Present" president, remember?  He only wants to own up if he knows he can take a victory lap for what the SEALs did.

Continue reading here . . .
Not One!
In what would be a major news story if the times we live in were not so bizarre, the Senate voted 97-0 against Obama's FY 2012 budget.  Obama's budget was such a joke that not a single Democrat was willing to support it.

John Hinderaker asks: do the Democrats have something better to propose?  The answer is: No.  The Democratic Senate has not come up with a budget in two years, thereby violating federal law.  Obama has not proposed a replacement for his laughable FY 2012 budget, which not a single member of Congress is willing to support.  The Democrats have no budget; no plan; no path out of the fiscal disaster into which they have led the United States.  They are bystanders and political opportunists, utterly unfit to govern.

Related:  Ryan Budget Gets 40 Votes in Senate
A Record To Run On?
Victor Davis Hanson says that so far the Obama record is found in three areas:

   1)  Economic.  We were promised a post-September 2008 recovery.  We got an economic plan of massive federal borrowing and spending ("stimulus"), massive new federal hiring, a federalized absorption of health care, and radically new regulation and intrusion into the private sector (from the GM bailout to attempting to stop Boeing from opening an additional factory in a right-to-work state).  The result is largely hundreds of exemptions from ObamaCare granted to corporations, businesses, and unions, 9+ percent unemployment, record numbers on food stamps and unemployment insurance, sky-high gasoline prices, record annual budget deficits, $5 trillion added in aggregate debt, low economic growth, a dismal housing market, and soaring food prices.

   2)  Reset Foreign Policy.  We were promised a multilateral reset diplomacy.  We got a national-security policy that has either rejected everything that legislator, senator, and presidential candidate Obama once professed to believe in or ran on (the closing of Guantanamo, curbing the Patriot Act, ending renditions, tribunals, preventative detention, and wiretaps, intercepts, accelerating the Petraeus-Bush plan of withdrawal from Iraq) or hit a dead end with new reset initiatives: the reach-out to Iran, the initial olive branch to the Assad thugocracy, the isolation of Israel, "lead from behind" strategy in the Middle East, trying KSM in New York, and the frostiness to old European allies.  Our national approval ratings abroad are little higher than during the Bush administration, and the attitude of a China, India, or Russia to the U.S. is unchanged or worse.

   3)  The New Civility and Morality.  We were promised a new ethos of civility and no-more-red/blue-state divisiveness.  In fact, U.S. society has never been more polarized.  The beer summit, "punish your enemies," sit in the backseat, limb-lopping and tonsil-ripping-out doctors, "my people," cowards, wise Latina, the Van Jones silliness, arresting kids on the way to ice cream, suing Arizona, tea-"baggers" -- all that demagoguery and more is trivial in isolation, but in the 28-month aggregate has created an image of a petulant Obama administration as us/them, highlighted by press restrictions on and punishments of any journalists found less than obsequious.  And when we factor in the tax problems of Obama cabinet officials and nominees -- Geithner, Solis, Holder, Daschle -- the record number of golf outings, the revolving-door careers of those like a Peter Orszag, and the quietly dropped ban on lobbyists, there is at best mostly the same old, same old D.C. insider game, or at worst a new petulance and intolerance for dissent.

What is left then of the Obama legacy so far?  Killing bin Laden, planned ending of "don’t ask, don’t tell" (whose consequences we have not yet experienced), abandonment of enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act, quintupling Bush’s Predator-drone targeted assassination program, and not much else.
Fiddling While Rome Burns
Hugh de Payns says that "Unserious" and "Lacking basic leadership" are the candid descriptions of Barack Obama provided to listeners this morning on WLS AM 890 radio by US Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

On May 25th, Senator Johnson had sent Obama a letter callong on him to prepare a contingency plan, in case Congress rejects a debt ceiling increase.  Johnson and 22 other Senators signed the letter (copy here).

Johnson and several of those Senators then had a face to face follow up meeting with Obama regarding that letter, the debt ceiling, and our nation's budget difficulties.  According to the senator, while the meeting was cordial, Obama had a rather dismissive and unserious posture on the entire situation.

How unserious?

How about going over two years without passing a budget?  Obama should be out in front of this but he is not -- he doesn't care.  The media should be hounding the White House over this lack of leadership.  Instead they are focused on pictures of some politician's underwear posted on Facebook.

How dismissive?

How about the blunt fact that the one budget created by Obama was unanimously voted down 97-0 by the Democratically controlled Senate just two weeks ago.  Obama did not collect a single vote for his budget -- not even from within his own political party.  How often in the history of Congress has that ever happened?  It is safe to say that the budget sent by Obama was a signal of his intent to do nothing but play games and politics.  This is not leadership.

Once again, our nation has reached yet another debt ceiling, and the Treasury Secretary, the Democrats in Congress, and the media are pushing to pass yet another extension without any attempt to correct the source of the problem: out of control spending.

Keep in mind that Obama and the Democrats have, quite literally, no alternative.  Yes, the Ryan plan has problems.  True, it is imperfect and it makes some assumptions that might not be correct.  Yes, it glosses over some issues with our entitlements.  Yet, the Democratic Party has nothing to offer, we have to begin somewhere -- and soon.  Yet we have no leadership.

When it comes to our nation's finances and spending our money, Barack Obama is both irresponsible and rudderless.  His actions say that he does not seem to care, and he does not want to lead.

Call it irresponsible.  Call it a total lack of leadership.  Call it incompetent.

Better than that: call your elected representatives and get them to apply pressure to the administration and the Democratic Party.  They need to grow up and start doing the job they were elected to do.

Why?

Because we need a genuine leader, but we've got Obama instead.
The Repackaging Of Failure
Carole says the national unemployment rate is over 9 percent and over 45 percent of the unemployed (that's 6.2 million Americans) have been out of work for more than 6 months -- a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.  But Obama barely acknowledged these painful economic facts dismissing them with a single line in his latest campaign speech:
    

"There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery."

    
After two and a half years of a job killing agenda, Obama & Company can no longer blame their predecessors for their own failures.

Seemingly incapable of honest self-evaluation, the seriously wounded administration is minimizing the pain American families are enduring and lashing out at phantom targets.  Obama's top economic advisor Austan Goolsbee appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit to say that "stiff headwinds" caused by the disaster in Japan and higher gas prices are responsible for the dismal employment reports for May.

But even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) didn't try to blame outside forces for the situation.  Instead Obama's former go-to-gal acknowledged that the new unemployment figures were "disturbing" and could only offer the unsubstantiated defense that "If the president hadn't done what he did, the situation would have been worse."

So how will the Obama 2012 Campaign attempt to repackage Obama's economic failures in its quest for a second term?  Will they pretend the increased regulations, threatened tax increases and out of control spending did not create an environment in which businesses of all sizes have had to eliminate jobs and been unable to create new ones?  Or will they drag out the tired old line that these policies "saved or created" jobs while the numbers continue to prove otherwise?

It may not matter what package the campaign chooses as the American people have seen and felt the effects of buying into Obama's empty platitudes and broken promises.  As House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) recently observed, "This president continues to give speeches as if he is there for the middle class and the small businesses.  But somehow the rhetoric falls short, because the actions have seemed to hinder job growth and entrepreneurial activity."
Students Don't Think He's Cool Anymore
Paul Bentley says Barack Obama famously won the 2008 election on a wave of support from America's youth, but any hopes the 49-year-old had of keeping down with the kids appear to have faded -- his support from young people is rapidly waning, a poll has found.

And for a man known for his "jacket off" casual style the reason for this slump may be particularly hurtful -- students are abandoning Obama because they do not think he is cool anymore.

According to the National Journal's Ronald Brownstein report, Obama has dramatically lost support from young people -- and particularly young white people -- in America since 2008.  His approval rating among those aged 18 to 29 is currently at 56 per cent -- a huge fall of ten points since the 2008 exit polls.

The reason for this sudden drop is because students, who rushed behind the Obama campaign in 2008, no longer think he is cool, according to those at Oberlin College, known for its hipster left-wing activism.

Four undergraduate editors at the college newspaper signed an essay bemoaning how apolitical their peers had become.  Their argument in their piece, "Oberlin-based Perspectives on the Obama Presidency," was that students had become disenfranchised because they no longer think Obama is cool.

Related:  Obama loses 20 points in WaPo/ABC poll
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