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Author Topic: The Cognitive Dissonance of His Glibness  (Read 531882 times)
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #450 on: September 23, 2009, 01:38:50 PM »

Very perceptive.
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #451 on: September 23, 2009, 07:42:27 PM »

UN speech today could easily have come from Kofi Anan not a President of the US.
Or could it?

This must be a bad dream.  Tell me I am going to wake up.  I would be glad to have Bill Clinton back.

Notice the reference to "tyranny" on a couple of occasions on the ONe's megalomaniac speech to the world.  The One takes Mark Levin's use of the word to describe him and tries to turn it around.  No accident.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #452 on: September 23, 2009, 08:24:37 PM »

I'm afraid to see what His Kittiness came up with today.

Anyway, here's this:

Does He Lie?

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 18, 2009

You lie? No. Barack Obama doesn't lie. He's too subtle for that. He . . . well, you judge.


Herewith three examples within a single speech -- the now-famous Obama-Wilson "you lie" address to Congress on health care -- of Obama's relationship with truth.
(1) "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future," he solemnly pledged. "I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future. Period."

Wonderful. The president seems serious, veto-ready, determined to hold the line. Until, notes Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, you get to Obama's very next sentence: "And to prove that I'm serious, there will be a provision in this plan that requires us to come forward with more spending cuts if the savings we promised don't materialize."

This apparent strengthening of the pledge brilliantly and deceptively undermines it. What Obama suggests is that his plan will require mandatory spending cuts if the current rosy projections prove false. But there's absolutely nothing automatic about such cuts. Every Congress is sovereign. Nothing enacted today will force a future Congress or a future president to make any cuts in any spending, mandatory or not.

Just look at the supposedly automatic Medicare cuts contained in the Sustainable Growth Rate formula enacted to constrain out-of-control Medicare spending. Every year since 2003, Congress has waived the cuts.

Mankiw puts the Obama bait-and-switch in plain language. "Translation: I promise to fix the problem. And if I do not fix the problem now, I will fix it later, or some future president will, after I am long gone. I promise he will. Absolutely, positively, I am committed to that future president fixing the problem. You can count on it. Would I lie to you?"

(2) And then there's the famous contretemps about health insurance for illegal immigrants. Obama said they would not be insured. Well, all four committee-passed bills in Congress allow illegal immigrants to take part in the proposed Health Insurance Exchange.

But more important, the problem is that laws are not self-enforcing. If they were, we'd have no illegal immigrants because, as I understand it, it's illegal to enter the United States illegally. We have laws against burglary, too. But we also provide for cops and jails on the assumption that most burglars don't voluntarily turn themselves in.

When Republicans proposed requiring proof of citizenship, the Democrats twice voted that down in committee. Indeed, after Rep. Joe Wilson's "You lie!" shout-out, the Senate Finance Committee revisited the language of its bill to prevent illegal immigrants from getting any federal benefits. Why would the Finance Committee fix a nonexistent problem?

(3) Obama said he would largely solve the insoluble cost problem of Obamacare by eliminating "hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and fraud" from Medicare.

That's not a lie. That's not even deception. That's just an insult to our intelligence. Waste, fraud and abuse -- Meg Greenfield once called this phrase "the dread big three" -- as the all-purpose piggy bank for budget savings has been a joke since Jimmy Carter first used it in 1977.

Moreover, if half a trillion is waiting to be squeezed painlessly out of Medicare, why wait for health-care reform? If, as Obama repeatedly insists, Medicare overspending is breaking the budget, why hasn't he gotten started on the painless billions in "waste and fraud" savings?

Obama doesn't lie. He merely elides, gliding from one dubious assertion to another. This has been the story throughout his whole health-care crusade. Its original premise was that our current financial crisis was rooted in neglect of three things -- energy, education and health care. That transparent attempt to exploit Emanuel's Law -- a crisis is a terrible thing to waste -- failed for health care because no one is stupid enough to believe that the 2008 financial collapse was caused by a lack of universal health care.
So on to the next gambit: selling health-care reform as a cure for the deficit. When that was exploded by the Congressional Budget Office's demonstration of staggering Obamacare deficits, Obama tried a new tack: selling his plan as revenue-neutral insurance reform -- until the revenue neutrality is exposed as phony future cuts and chimerical waste and fraud.

Obama doesn't lie. He implies, he misdirects, he misleads -- so fluidly and incessantly that he risks transmuting eloquence into mere slickness.

Slickness wasn't fatal to "Slick Willie" Clinton because he possessed a winning, nearly irresistible charm. Obama's persona is more cool, distant, imperial. The charming scoundrel can get away with endless deception; the righteous redeemer cannot.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #453 on: October 01, 2009, 10:21:21 AM »

So our top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has told CBS's "60 Minutes" that he has spoken with President Barack Obama only once since June.

This is a troubling revelation. Right now, our commander in chief is preparing to make one of the most important decisions of his presidency—whether to commit additional troops to win the war in Afghanistan. Being detached or incurious about what our commanders are experiencing makes it hard to craft a winning strategy.

Mr. Obama's predecessor faced a similar situation: a war that was grinding on, pressure to withdraw troops, and conflicting advice—including from some who saw the war as unwinnable. But George W. Bush talked to generals on the ground every week or two, which gave him a window into what was happening and insights into how his commanders thought. That helped him judge their recommendations on strategy.

Mr. Obama's hands-off approach to the war seems to fit his governing style. Over the past year, he outsourced writing the stimulus package to House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, washed his hands of Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to reinvestigate CIA interrogators, and hasn't offered a detailed health-care plan.

Mr. Obama's aloofness on the war will be a problem if the recent airing of Joe Biden's views on Afghanistan is a tipoff that Mr. Obama will rely on his vice president's guidance. According to reports in the New York Times and other publications, Mr. Biden supports reducing troop levels in favor of surgical attacks—mostly launched from offshore—and missile strikes against al Qaeda, especially in Pakistan.

Such an approach would almost certainly lose the war. Actionable intelligence—key to defeating an insurgency—would dry up. Tribal chieftains would cut deals with the Taliban and al Qaeda. The Afghan government would probably collapse, and the Afghan people would have little choice but to swing their support to the Taliban. Pakistan would likely come to see us as a fair-weather friend and increasingly resist U.S. attacks against al Qaeda on its soil. American credibility would be shattered. And militant Islamists would gain a victory.

Mr. Biden has a record rare in its consistency and duration of being wrong about big national security questions.

In his first U.S. Senate campaign in 1972, he called for cutting and running from Vietnam. He later voted to cut off funding for South Vietnam and spoke out against the war. After we did withdraw, communist forces conquered South Vietnam as well as Cambodia, where Pol Pot carried out a campaign of genocide.

In the 1980s, Mr. Biden opposed President Ronald Reagan's national security approach on almost every front, including funding for the Contras in Nicaragua, building missile defenses, and increasing military spending. In the 1990s, apparently willing to cede Kuwait to Saddam Hussein, he voted against the first Gulf War. Over the past decade, Mr. Biden opposed the surge that put us on the path to victory in Iraq. Instead called for a "soft partition" that would have divided Iraq into three countries.

Mr. Biden has been right about Afghanistan at least once. In 2002, he said, "Security is the basic issue in Afghanistan. Whatever it takes, we should do it. History will judge us harshly if we allow the hope of a liberated Afghanistan to evaporate because we failed to stay the course."

The responsibility for the outcome of the war in Afghanistan rests squarely with Mr. Obama. Until now, he seems to have treated the conflict as a distraction from his efforts to nationalize our health-care system. But the war is now front and center. He has been told by Gen. McChrystal that America needs more boots on the ground to win.

About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is now writing a book to be published by Simon Schuster. Email the author at or visit him on the web at

Or, you can send him a Tweet@karlrove.
.In the past, when Mr. Obama has moved left, he moved fast and far to the left—witness his willingness to push health-care legislation even if it only has Democratic support. But when he has played to the center—as on Afghanistan, when he decided in last year's campaign that he needed to be tough on at least one of the wars America was engaged in—he has looked for appealing half-measures that ultimately prove unworkable.

It was easy in 2008 to criticize Mr. Bush's war leadership. But winning a shooting war requires a commander in chief's constant, direct and deep involvement. Mr. Obama could show he understands this if he uses his trip to Denmark this week (where he will serve as pitchman for Chicago to get the 2016 Olympics) to make a surprise visit to Afghanistan.

Refusing to provide all the troops and strategic support that his commanders are requesting will be to concede defeat. We'll soon know whether Mr. Obama has the judgment and the courage to win this war.

Mr. Rove is the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush.
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #454 on: October 01, 2009, 12:52:43 PM »

"our top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has told CBS's "60 Minutes" that he has spoken with President Barack Obama only once"

Obama economic advisers get the same treatment according to CNBC Editor in the NY Post: 

"Obama economic counselor Paul Volcker, the former Fed chairman, is barely consulted at all on just about anything -- not even issues involving the banking system, of which he is among the world's leading authorities."   
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #455 on: October 01, 2009, 02:20:45 PM »

Don't you just love this stuff from liberal academia.
Like the one that came out recently from Boston (of course) that 44K people die every year because they don't have insurance.

LIke this one  that holds our standing in the World has had a sharp increase since Obama is President.  Though it may be too late to turn the downward trend.

Of course we are popular - he wants to give all away.

"The findings are based on analyses of public opinion surveys, votes in the U.N. General Assembly and the expert judgment of specialists in the field of comparative geopolitics, said Peter J. Katzenstein of Cornell University, a former president of the association."

Why does this above statement not make me feel fuzzy all over like apparently it does the author?

***Political scientists report drop in US standing
By BARRY SCHWEID (AP) – 6 hours ago

WASHINGTON — The United States' standing in the world declined in the past decade to below Cold War levels, according to a leading group of political scientists.

Favorable attitudes have risen sharply under President Barack Obama with his commitment to "restore American standing," but confidence in him appears to be in conflict with unfavorable attitudes about U.S. foreign policy, the American Political Science Association said in a report released Thursday.

"Many American leaders and citizens worry that this decline, despite a recent upturn, may be part of a long-term trend, one that will be hard to reverse," the report said.

While Obama has raised American esteem, he has not produced more European troops for Afghanistan, secured concessions from North Korea nor made any headway with Iran, the academics said.

Twenty political scientists worked on the report for more than a year. Two of them dissented from the conclusions, saying that "political bias affects perceptions" and that "the academic community, unbalanced as it is between self-identified Republicans and Democrats, is not immune to such bias."

The dissenters, Stephen D. Krasner of Stanford University and Henry R. Nau of The George Washington University, said U.S. standing is heavily influenced by political bias in the United States and political attitudes in foreign countries. Krasner was director of policy planning at the State Department under President George W. Bush.

The findings are based on analyses of public opinion surveys, votes in the U.N. General Assembly and the expert judgment of specialists in the field of comparative geopolitics, said Peter J. Katzenstein of Cornell University, a former president of the association.

American standing plunged most sharply in the Middle East and Europe, although authoritarian regimes in the Middle East are more supportive of U.S. policy than they can say publicly, the report said.

In Europe, there is a growing European identity and "a conscious political attempt to delink Europe from American policies," according to the report.

At the United Nations, support for U.S. positions has declined since the 1960s, and the decline was especially pronounced during the George W. Bush administration, the academics said. After some initial success, such as toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the United States grew mired in Iraq and Osama bin Laden remained at large. The success of the troop surge in Iraq may have helped improve attitudes toward the United States, the report said.

Helping raise U.S. esteem now are Obama's rhetorical skills and "what his election signifies about the openness of America," the report said.

"In policy terms, however, most (foreigners) believe that there has been little change in the U.S. disregard for the interests of their country, and that U.S. influence in the world is still mostly bad," the report said.

The American Political Science Association has more than 15,000 members.***

« Reply #456 on: October 02, 2009, 02:24:24 PM »

9.8% unemployment in September

Unemployment in the United States hit 9.8% in September, despite the $787 billion stimulus that a Democratic Congress passed without a single Republican vote in the House and only 2 in the Senate.

That is roughly 2 points higher than the 7.8% that the White House had promised for September if the stimulus package became law.

There has been a net loss of 3 million jobs since the stimulus was passed.

Glenn Reynolds: “Not living up to the promises they made, is it? But don’t worry, health care will be totally different.“

Ah yes.
« Reply #457 on: October 03, 2009, 09:33:42 AM »

The Obsolescence of a Slur
Criticisms of Obama are increasingly met by cries of “Racist!” Are his critics racists?

By Victor Davis Hanson

The charge of racism has been leveled against critics of President Obama’s health-care reform by everyone from New York Times columnists, racial activists, and Democratic legislators to senior statesmen like Jimmy Carter (“It’s a racist attitude”), Bill Clinton (“some . . . are racially prejudiced”), and Walter Mondale (“I don’t want to pick a person [and] say, ‘He’s a racist,’ but I do think the way they’re piling on Obama . . . I think I see an edge in them that’s a little bit different”).
But are Obama’s critics really racists?
It is a serious charge. If true, it means the hope of a color-blind society is essentially over after a half-century of civil-rights progress. If false, it means that we have institutionalized vicious smears as legitimate political tactics — and, in the process, discredited the entire dialogue that surrounds racial prejudice.
How do we determine the accuracy of the “racism” charges?

1) Is the criticism of Barack Obama unusual by recent presidential standards?
No. Bush hatred was even more intense. Furthermore, it very soon went from fierce partisanship into a deviant desire for the president’s injury or death. Such derangement was tolerated or indeed enhanced by mainstream liberal establishment figures.

Alfred A. Knopf published a novel speculating about killing the president. The Toronto Film Festival gave a prize to a docudrama about an envisioned assassination of George W. Bush. His death became the stuff of a New York play, the dream of a Guardian columnist, and a common theme in the left-wing blogosphere.

A certain amount of this kind of venom was evident in the opposition to Bill Clinton, who was accused of everything from covering up murders to being a serial rapist. By any fair standard, nothing so far in the health-care pushback has approached the smears and dirt directed at Presidents Bush and Clinton.

2) Is there a systematic racialist attack on other black politicians and leaders?

No. Gov. David Paterson of New York, for example, alleges a new racism as the chief cause of his own decline. But it is President Obama himself, not white racists, who is pressuring Paterson not to run for reelection.

Charles Rangel cited racism for much of the public outrage over his behavior. But clearly his problems were caused by his own tax fraud, inability to tell the truth, and violations of ethical standards — which would have destroyed most other politicians long ago. There may well be some racially motivated criticism of prominent at-risk black politicians, but so far there is no evidence that anything other than their own actions accounts for their political troubles.

3) Is President Obama’s agenda, or Obama himself, the problem?

Barack Obama could not have been elected without millions of white voters, coupled with a near-monolithic black base. To believe that innate racism has caused many of the millions who voted for him spontaneously to withdraw their support makes no sense.

Take moderates and independents who were once strong Obama supporters. Why would someone vote for a black man, then eight months later decide that he could not support a black man? Clearly, Obama’s problems derive not from his race, but from his radical agenda for out-of-sight government spending, high taxes, mega-deficits, nationalized health care, cap-and-trade, and an apologetic foreign policy.
In this regard, imagine two counterfactuals:
a) Had Obama delayed his liberal initiatives and first devoted his attention to controlling federal spending, winning in Afghanistan, and balancing the budget, would his polls have dropped to near 50 percent? (President Clinton’s own up-and-down experience between 1993 and 1996 is instructive here.)
b) Should Obama now escalate in Afghanistan, delay his liberal agenda, and balance the federal budget, would not more of his criticism come from the Left — and if so, would it then be considered racist? If a protester at an anti-war march carried a sign that read, “I love Afghanistan — Bomb Chicago!” would that be racist?

Indeed, Obama’s adherence to the Patriot Act, renditions, wiretaps, intercepts, tribunals, Predator attacks, and the Petraeus plan in Iraq — and his inability to close Guantanamo on his promised one-year date — have already incurred furor from the hard Left. But again, will that growing anger be termed racially motivated?

4) Has the Right recently been more racially conscious in its attacks than has the Left?
Not really. We forget that the left-wing blogosphere savaged Michael Steele in racialist terms when he was running for the Senate from Maryland. Harry Belafonte — to the silence of the Left — called Secretary of State Colin Powell a house slave. No one on the Left objected to the racist cartoons, both here in the United States and abroad in the Arab world, caricaturing Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Much of the liberal hostility against Clarence Thomas suggested in thinly disguised terms that he was an unqualified beneficiary of affirmative action. The assumption is that the heartless Right is guilty of racism unless proven innocent, while the utopian, humanitarian Left could not possibly resort to racist attacks for partisan advantage. So far Barack Obama has seen less virulent opposition than what Alberto Gonzales, Condoleezza Rice, or Michael Steele faced.

5) Is racial polarization more pronounced among whites or among blacks?
Here there seems no general trend of racial animosity by any particular group. The occasional over-the-top sign at a tea party, or right-wing minor official who crosses the line, seems balanced by prominent blacks who talk in racially oriented terms. Obama himself has stereotyped whites in Pennsylvania in quasi-racist terms, and has employed banalities like “typical white person.” The most prominent racist in the United States currently may well be the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the president’s own former pastor, who has insulted in racist fashion whites in general, Jews, Italians, and just about everyone other than African-Americans.
When Eric Holder called his fellow citizens “cowards,” his comments were understood to have been directed at white America’s unwillingness to discuss race on his terms. Green-jobs czar Van Jones promiscuously threw around the terms “whites” and “white people,” associating them with polluters and high-school mass murderers. Again, there seems no greater white propensity for using stereotypes. Bill Clinton, husband of the current Secretary of State, now points to a white propensity to play a racial card against President Obama; last year, Bill Clinton, husband of Obama rival Hillary Clinton, charged that candidate Obama  himself had “played the race card” on him.
6) Are there trends in the general society that suggest a new racial polarization?
Again, not really. Recently a number of high-profile controversies may have had racial overtones, but they did not suggest a pre-existing climate of white racism. Had a white counterpart of Professor Gates insulted a black arresting police officer, made a pejorative reference to “your mama,” and then counted on his friendship with a white president for support, there might have followed charges of racism. Had a white country-and-western singer grabbed the microphone from a diminutive 18-old-year black gospel singer to announce to a national television audience that another white country-and-western singer was more deserving of the award, there could well have been charges of racism leveled. And had a marquee white tennis player lost her cool, charged a small Asian line judge, and threatened her person, there might well have been charges of racism. In all these and other lurid news stories splashed about on YouTube (cf. the bus attack by several black youths against a white passenger), there has not been much of a larger reaction along racial lines that suggests either that whites or blacks in general are racist, or that either group thinks the other is.
In short, there is little, if any, evidence that the millions of voters who are losing confidence in the president are doing so for racist reasons. But there is a great deal of evidence that his own extremist positions on spending, government, taxes, foreign policy, and health care, along with a few high-profile, out-of-the-mainstream appointments, have convinced many Americans that Obama, like the Bill Clinton of 1993, is not the moderate voice he appeared to be during the campaign, but a partisan ideologue racing to expand the government before his popular support collapses.

So why is the faux charge of “racist” so freely bandied about — given that polls suggest it is a losing tactic for liberals?
The most obvious reason is that a popular president believed he could enact an unpopular agenda on the basis of his own magnetic personality. When he discovered that he could not — and in the process revealed a pattern of partisanship and intolerance — some of his diehard supporters were flabbergasted by the turn of events and resorted in desperation to the “racist” charge to regain sympathy for both their cause and their president.
Second, liberals never envisioned that they would so quickly regain the House and Senate, as well as the presidency — partly through tough invective and a demonization of both George W. Bush and a Republican “culture of corruption.” Their noble ends were felt to justify their often over-the-top rhetoric. Now they most surely do not wish the same level of street invective legitimized and used against themselves. “Racist!” then serves as a preemptive firewall against possible conflagrations to come.
Third, there is an almost hysterical fear that “Racist!” has lost all currency as an effective political tool. Indeed, the charge has been rendered almost meaningless by the frequency of its use and the rarity of its accuracy. Counterintuitively, some believe the more the discredited charge is repeated, the more likely it might be to regain its prior effectiveness.
Thousands on the left, both black and white, have for decades invested in the notion of ubiquitous racism that must be addressed by either material or psychic reparations. At risk now with the discrediting of the charge are government-mandated quotas and affirmative action, and indeed the postmodern gospel that oppressed people of color could not, de facto, ever be racist themselves. If charges of racism no longer end the discussion, by sidetracking the accused into first proving his long record of racial tolerance, then the political atmospherics may well be altered.
Polls show that the public does not believe criticism of Obama to be racially motivated, and further that the majority has become exasperated at the tired charge. What we are seeing, then, in the latest hysterical resort to “Racist!” is a growing realization not only that this once-effective scapegoating has become obsolete, but that it has become a boomeranging liability for all who employ it.
— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal. © 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

National Review Online -
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #458 on: October 03, 2009, 11:08:30 AM »

Obama's speech.

"Nearly one year ago, on a clear November night, people from every corner of the world gathered in the city of Chicago or in front of their televisions to watch the results of the U.S. Presidential election. Their interest wasn’t about me as an individual."


Transcript: President Obama’s October 2nd Speech to the Olympic Committee in Copenhagen

President & 1st Lady Obama
In what some critics are calling a rookie mistake on the world’s political stage and others an over extension of personal arrogance, President Obama traveled to Copenhagen in a failed attempt to help win Chicago’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The following is a complete transcript of his speech to the Olympic Committee:

President Obama: President Rogge, ladies and gentlemen of the International Olympic Committee. I come here today as a passionate supporter of the Olympic and Paralympic Games; as a strong believer in the movement they represent; and as a proud Chicagoan. But above all, I come as a faithful representative of the American people, and we look forward to welcoming the world to the shores of Lake Michigan and the heartland of our nation in 2016.

To host athletes and visitors from every corner of the globe is a high honor and a great responsibility. And America is ready and eager to assume that sacred trust. We’re a nation that has always opened its arms to the citizens of the world including my own father from the African continent people who have sought something better; who have dreamed of something bigger.

I know you face a difficult choice among several great cities and nations with impressive bids of their own. So I’ve come here today to urge you to choose Chicago for the same reason I chose Chicago nearly 25 years ago the reason I fell in love with the city I still call home. And it’s not just because it’s where I met the woman you just heard from although after getting to know her this week, I know you’ll all agree that she’s a pretty big selling point for the city.

You see, growing up, my family moved around a lot. I was born in Hawaii. I lived in Indonesia for a time. I never really had roots in any one place or culture or ethnic group. And then I came to Chicago. And on those Chicago streets, I worked alongside men and women who were black and white; Latino and Asian; people of every class and nationality and religion. I came to discover that Chicago is that most American of American cities, but one where citizens from more than 130 nations inhabit a rich tapestry of distinctive neighborhoods.

Each one of those neighborhoods from Greektown to the Ukrainian Village; from Devon to Pilsen to Washington Park…has its own unique character, its own unique history, its songs, its language. But each is also part of our city, one city, a city where I finally found a home.

Chicago is a place where we strive to celebrate what makes us different just as we celebrate what we have in common. It’s a place where our unity is on colorful display at so many festivals and parades, and especially sporting events, where perfect strangers become fast friends just because they’re wearing the same jersey. It’s a city that works…from its first World’s Fair more than a century ago to the World Cup we hosted in the nineties, we know how to put on big events. And scores of visitors and spectators will tell you that we do it well.

Chicago is a city where the practical and the inspirational exist in harmony; where visionaries who made no small plans rebuilt after a great fire and taught the world to reach new heights. It’s a bustling metropolis with the warmth of a small town; where the world already comes together every day to live and work and reach for a dream…a dream that no matter who we are, where we come from; no matter what we look like or what hand life has dealt us; with hard work, and discipline, and dedication, we can make it if we try.

That’s not just the American Dream. That is the Olympic spirit. It’s the essence of the Olympic spirit. That’s why we see so much of ourselves in these Games. That’s why we want them in Chicago. That’s why we want them in America.

We stand at a moment in history when the fate of each nation is inextricably linked to the fate of all nations a time of common challenges that require common effort. And I ran for President because I believed deeply that at this defining moment, the United States of America has a responsibility to help in that effort, to forge new partnerships with the nations and the peoples of the world.

No one expects the Games to solve all our collective challenges. But what we do believe what each and every one of you believe and what all of the Chicago delegation believes is that in a world where we’ve all too often witnessed the darker aspects of our humanity, peaceful competition between nations represents what’s best about our humanity. It brings us together, if only for a few weeks, face to face. It helps us understand one another just a little bit better. It reminds us that no matter how or where we differ, we all seek our own measure of happiness, and fulfillment, and pride in what we do. That’s a very powerful starting point for progress.

Nearly one year ago, on a clear November night, people from every corner of the world gathered in the city of Chicago or in front of their televisions to watch the results of the U.S. Presidential election. Their interest wasn’t about me as an individual. Rather, it was rooted in the belief that America’s experiment in democracy still speaks to a set of universal aspirations and ideals. Their interest sprung from the hope that in this ever-shrinking world, our diversity could be a source of strength, a cause for celebration; and that with sustained work and determination, we could learn to live and prosper together during the fleeting moment we share on this Earth.

Now, that work is far from over, but it has begun in earnest. And while we do not know what the next few years will bring, there is nothing I would like more than to step just a few blocks from my family’s home, with Michelle and our two girls, and welcome the world back into our neighborhood.

At the beginning of this new century, the nation that has been shaped by people from around the world wants a chance to inspire it once more; to ignite the spirit of possibility at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic movement in a new generation; to offer a stage worthy of the extraordinary talent and dynamism offered by nations joined together to host games that unite us in noble competition and shared celebration of our limitless potential as a people.

And so I urge you to choose Chicago. I urge you to choose America. And if you do, if we walk this path together, then I promise you this: The city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud. Thank you so much. (Applause)****
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #459 on: October 03, 2009, 01:19:51 PM »

The Ego has landed , , ,
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #460 on: October 03, 2009, 02:01:54 PM »

Narcissistic IMO for Obama to make America's bid about him.  If we won and especially if Obama was in a second term it would be all become a tribute to him.  Meanwhile Chicagoans were apathetic about it.  Recall that Colorado won the 1976 Winter Olympics and then the voters of Colorado voted it down.  They already had enough tourists and didn't want access to the ski resorts interrupted.

Also strange was to see Obama take a sudden stab at proclaiming American exceptionalism, in direct contradiction to all his other overseas speeches and to exactly the wrong audience for that message -  that we are the greatest nation on the planet and that Chicago is the second or now third greatest city in the greatest nation.  The reality is that core areas of Chicago more closely resemble a third world country, lacking what makes the rest of America great.  And the governance of Chicago has no semblance to consent of the governed, limited government or any other principle espoused by the founders.

Maybe the humiliated, "Harry, I have a gift" Glibness can go back to Chicago between world tours, take a page out of the Bill Cosby responsibility book and be the real leader these people so desperately need.
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« Reply #461 on: October 03, 2009, 02:44:33 PM »

Getting back to you CCP: "Doug, Don't you just love this stuff from liberal academia.
Like the one that came out recently from Boston (of course) that 44K people die every year because they don't have insurance.

Like this one  that holds our standing in the World has had a sharp increase since Obama is President.  Though it may be too late to turn the downward trend.

Of course we are popular - he wants to give all away."

I would like to see 44k signed death certificates saying that the cause of death was 12 years of neglect by frugal Republican congresses, lol.

US popularity when we were a great nation would be like asking other cities about the popularity of the Yankees when they were winning all the World Series.  How high were their approval numbers among Cubs and Cardinals fans?  Not so good I would suspect.  I would measure it differently - by actions, not polls.  Where do they send their kids for higher ed.  Who do they call when Saddam invades their country, for missile defense, life saving meds, information  technology, etc? 

These questions may be moot as we unilaterally give up all of our advantages in pursuit of fairness and mediocrity.
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« Reply #462 on: October 04, 2009, 12:05:55 PM »

Going back a week or so I agree with how perceptive the BBG/VDH post is about this President thinking he is running a University.  Jay Cost at Real Clear Politics has a slightly different take on Obama's problem with the presidency:

RealClearPolitics HorseRaceBlog
By Jay Cost

Does Obama Have a republican Problem?

We all know that President Obama has a Republican problem, namely the 200 or so Republican members of Congress who refuse to go along with his health care reform plans. However, I think he might also be developing a republican problem. Namely, I think he is having trouble keeping his ego within the boundaries of an office that fundamentally reflects the republican quality of this country.

It is difficult to nail down precisely what "republicanism" means. It has had different meanings in different places at different times. In the United States, it conjures up the notion of self-government: the people are capable of ruling themselves, and the authority of the leaders derives from the consent of the governed, rather than some aristocratic pedigree or superior position in life.

The evidence of American republicanism is all around us. Consider, for instance, the title of address for the President of the United States. Originally, Federalists like John Adams desired a grand title, something like "His Highness." However, the simple phrase "Mr. President" was ultimately adopted.

Anybody who walks down the 1600 Block of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. will notice that the house of the most powerful person on the planet lacks the grandiosity that one might otherwise expect.

Compare this residence to the head of the House of Windsor.

Or how about the old home of the French House of Bourbon.

The first home is the residence of a republican leader. It is formal and respectable, but not grandiose. In square footage terms, your place might be larger than the President's. You might also make more money than the President. Lots of people do, seeing as how we do not pay him that much. George Washington wanted to turn down the princely sum that the First Congress was prepared to pay him for his tenure. Generally, Washington's modesty and self-restraint helped establish the republican quality the office retains to this day.

Ironically, the sense that the President is no better than any of us is a major reason why the office is so powerful, or at least why it can be. A President who appears to be of the people, rather than above them, can more easily rally them to his cause, thereby forcing the Congress to do as he likes. It is not coincidental that the first stirrings of the modern, powerful presidency can be seen in the administration of Andrew Jackson, who was thought by his opponents to be the leader of a mob.

Since he emerged on the national stage, Barack Obama has not been the model of American republicanism. This was the case during the campaign, and it continues today. Juxtapose the simple respectability of the White House with these images taken from the Obama-Biden campaign website.

This is why I was not surprised to see that video of schoolchildren being taught to praise President Obama like he is a deity. Ultimately, the campaign that President Obama waged hinted at such ideas. Is it a shock that a few, overly enthusiastic supporters thought it appropriate to proselytize in such a fashion?

That "Progress" picture is easily the most non-republican of the bunch. The image suggests that Obama's campaign is somehow a source of goodness for the people. From a republican standpoint, the imagery in the picture should be reversed, with the people being the source of goodness from which the candidate benefits.

I had hoped that the President would find his inner republican upon ascension to the office. I have been disappointed. His speeches are too full of references to himself. His omnipresence suggests a disregard for the people's tolerance levels, as well as for the idea that ours is a limited government and we are entitled to enjoy our lives without these constant executive impositions. Additionally, I share Michael Gerson's sentiments regarding his address to the U.N., which was typical of other speeches he has given to the international community:

    Obama's rhetorical method in international contexts -- given supreme expression at the United Nations this week -- is a moral dialectic. The thesis: pre-Obama America is a nation of many flaws and failures. The antithesis: The world responds with understandable but misguided prejudice. The synthesis: Me. Me, at all costs; me, in spite of all terrors; me, however long and hard the road may be. How great a world we all should see, if only all were more

    On several occasions, Obama attacked American conduct in simplistic caricatures a European diplomat might employ or applaud. He accused America of acing "unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others" -- a slander against every American ally who has made sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan. He argued that, "America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy" -- which is hardly a challenge for the Obama administration, which has yet to make a priority of promoting democracy or human rights anywhere in the world.

There are two problems with the attitude that Gerson has correctly identified. First, it's fair to criticize the actions of the previous administration to a point, but speeches like his U.N. address often move beyond that to suggest a broader failure, one that implicates the mass public. For instance, the best rejoinder he has to those who question the "character" of his country is: "look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months," which he suggests are "just a beginning." This rhetoric does not befit the leader of a democratic republic, especially one as great as the United States of America. The President should be willing and able to defend the "character" of his country beyond his own, inconsequential-to-date actions.

Second, the implication here is that his administration has sanctified our character. No administration can do that in a republic because no administration possesses the moral standing to offer such a blessing. He is the equal of the people in every measure. He temporarily holds an office whose magnificence is dependent upon the goodness of the people he represents. Yet this President implies a claim to such moral superiority - in the above quoted sentence, then later on when he says: "The test of our leadership will not be the degree to which we feed the fears and old hatreds of our people." No President should suggest that his people would fall prey to fear and hatred were it not for his leadership - even if he thought this were true. And he surely should not air such "dirty laundry" to an international audience that does not understand how this country actually functions. Instead, he should claim that he leads a great people who have the wisdom and equanimity not to fall prey to such fears, and it is his hope that he can emulate them.

Ultimately, this President stands a better chance of success if he embraces the republican character of the people who imbue his temporary position with its power and majesty. The fact is that we are a republican people who tend not to think that anybody is better than we. If we begin to intuit that the President thinks he is better, it could impede his efforts to rally us to his side.

It is also a fact that staunch republicans created the presidency, and the office reflects their preferences even after 220 years of intervening history. By explicit design, the President is not a leader-for-life. Instead, he must face the judgment of his peers just 48 months after he wins the office. The Constitution endorses the view of the supremacy of the people because it delineates a timeline for when the executive power leaves the President and returns to the people (originally, as represented by the state governments). As if that were not enough, the 22nd Amendment forbids a President from seeking a third term, meaning that the people of this democratic republic will be around long after the Obama Administration has come to an end.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2009, 12:07:51 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #463 on: October 09, 2009, 02:31:17 PM »

International Media Reactions to Obama Prize

Editorials and news stories from around the world on President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize
Friday, October 09, 2009

Financial Times: What Did Obama Do to Win the Nobel Peace Prize?
I am a genuine admirer of Obama. And I am very pleased that George W Bush is no longer president. But I doubt that I am alone in wondering whether this award is slightly premature. It is hard to point to a single place where Obama's efforts have actually brought about peace - Gaza, Iran, Sri Lanka? The peace prize committee say that he is being rewarded for his "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy." But while it is OK to give school children prizes for "effort" - my kids get them all the time - I think international statesmen should probably be held to a higher standard.

London Times: Absurd Decision on Obama Makes a Mockery of the Nobel Peace Prize

Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent. It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush Administration, approval for the election of America's first black president and hope that Washington will honour its promise to re-engage with the world.

Instead, the prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronising in its intentions and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun his period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.

The Guardian: Barack Obama's Nobel Prize: Why Now?
Indeed, the reasoning behind the awarding of the prize to previous American presidents has been easier to discern. Teddy Roosevelt opened the court of arbitration in the Hague and helped mediate a peace treaty between Russia and Japan; Woodrow Wilson was the founder of the League of Nations. Jimmy Carter won his prize for his "untiring efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts".
Which is what makes the awarding of this year's prize to a president who has been in office for a mere nine months an odd departure. It is as if the prize committee had been persuaded to give the award on the future delivery of promises.

The Guardian: Should Obama Accept the Nobel Peace Prize
If I were in the boiler room over there, I would begin by suggesting to the president that he demur altogether. That he tell the committee that while he's deeply touched, he does not in fact feel that he has yet done the work to earn this award. He should then recommend to the committee that it give the prize to Hu Jia, the Chinese dissident who was considered a frontrunner, or someone else whose life's cause could actually benefit from winning the prize (and the hefty cash award that comes with it, which Obama also doesn't need).

Telegraph: Obama's Won the Nobel Peace Prize -- WTF?!
Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace prize and I'm still reeling at the shock. Most of us are, I should think. Here are my theories as to how it might have come about:
1. Unlike in most of the rest of the world Obama Kool Aid (TM) remains Oslo's most popular beverage.
2. The Norwegian prize committee's sense of irony is growing ever more sophisticated, as it hinted when it gave the prize in 2002 to comedy ex-president Jimmy Carter, and hinted more strongly when it gave the prize in 2007 to climate-fear-promoting comedy failed-president Al Gore.
3. The other candidates on the shortlist were Robert Mugabe; Osama Bin Laden; Ahmed Jibril; and the late Pol Pot.

Sydney Morning Herald: They Think He Can: Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
YES, surprisingly, he could. Barack Obama, is the shock choice for the Nobel Peace Prize, less than a year after his election as U.S. President.

Il Giornale: A Preposterous Choice
Let me be clear: the discourse on Islam in Cairo was beautiful, tall, and it opens up new horizons, but did not lead to anything. And on the other matter, as pointed out repeatedly in this blog, Obama has been evasive or inconclusive, starting with Iran and Afghanistan. Nor can he boast the merits of rapprochement with North Korea, which was brought about by Bill Clinton. He kept only one real promise: the gradual withdrawal from Iraq. Enough to deserve the Nobel Prize?

Der Spiegel: Obama's Nobel Prize Is More of a Burden Than an Honor
The Nobel Peace Prize has come too early for Barack Obama. The US president cannot point to any real diplomatic successes to date and there are few prospects of any to come.

Bild: "Wow!" Barack Obama Receives Nobel Peace Prize
It is the most important award in the world. And she goes to U.S. President Barack Obama (48) - he gets this year's Nobel Peace Prize. What a sensation!

Krakow Post: "Too Fast" for Obama Nobel, Says Walesa
The former president, himself a Peace Prize winner in 1983, told the press in Warsaw "Who, Obama? So fast? Too fast - he hasn't had the time to do anything yet." This sentiment was reflected by current Prime Minister Donald Tusk: "Shock - absolutely. It's interesting, but shocking."

The Globe and Mail: Obama's Premature Prize
The simple explanation for the Committee's decision to cite Mr. Obama at this stage of his presidency is that he is not George W. Bush.
The more generous interpretation is that the decision is hortatory; that is, it is designed to encourage the President to follow a path in U.S. foreign policy that is preferred by Committee members.

Toronto Star: Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Once you catch your breath - Obama has been on the world stage for less than a year “ the decision makes perfect sense. More than other Nobel categories, the Nobel for peace goes to a cause, and only ostensibly to an individual or group.
With Lester Pearson, the award was for diplomatic resolutions of conflict. With Martin Luther King, it was for non-violent pursuit of justice. Two relatively obscure Irish women were honoured for spearheading a non-violent resolution to the Troubles. Jimmy Carter, in 1992, was honoured for diplomatic outside interventions in regions of escalating or potential violence.

National Post: Shiny Prize Went to the Nice Man Who Gave the Best Speech
Obama is being given his award for mere words -- for striking fashionable poses in favour of multilateralism, for making a nice speech in Cairo, for offering "hope." Months after Americans learned to dismiss Obama's 2008 presidential campaign slogans as the meaningless bromides they were, Scandinavians are still drinking his Kool-aid.

China Daily: Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize to Mixed Reviews
US President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for giving the world "hope for a better future" and striving for nuclear disarmament, in a surprise award that drew criticism as well as praise.

Middle East:
Al-Jazeera: Doubts Voiced Over Obama Peace Win
A surprised world has greeted the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama, the US president, with a mixture of praise and skepticism.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban mocked the award, saying it was absurd to give it to Obama when he had ordered 21,000 extra troops to Afghanistan this year.
"The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel prize for escalating violence and killing civilians'," Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told the Reuters news agency.

Jerusalem Post: Peres, Barak Congratulate Barack Obama
President Shimon Peres on Friday sent a letter of congratulations to US President Barack Obama for winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for Peace, telling the American leader that under his leadership, peace became a "real and original agenda."
"Very few leaders if at all were able to change the mood of the entire world in such a short while with such profound impact. You provided the entire humanity with fresh hope, with intellectual determination, and a feeling that there is a Lord in heaven and believers on earth," Peres, himself a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, wrote to Obama.

Haaretz: Obama Administration Official: President "Humbled" by Award
While the decision won praise from statesmen like Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev, both former Nobel laureates, it was also attacked in some quarters as hasty and undeserved.
The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and opposes a peace treaty with Israel, said the award was premature at best.
"Obama has a long way to go still and lots of work to do before he can deserve a reward," said Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri. "Obama only made promises and did not contribute any substance to world peace. And he has not done anything to ensure justice for the sake of Arab and Muslim causes."

The International News: Iranians Call Obama Nobel Award a Mistake
Iranians joined criticism of the surprise award of the Nobel Peace Prize to U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday.
One Tehran resident regarded the award as inappropriate, given U.S. policy in the Middle East.
"In my opinion, when a person cooperates with and supports the Israeli regime, he does not deserve to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a mistake," said Massoud Savoji.
Another resident of the Iranian capital, Maryam Afrouz, praised the U.S. president as a man "who loves to have peace and calm prevail all over the whole world.

Dawn: Wartime President Wins Nobel Peace Prize
Obama's name had been mentioned in speculation before the award but many Nobel watchers believed it was too early to award the president.
The committee said it attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.
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« Reply #464 on: October 09, 2009, 03:23:28 PM »

Just How "Surprised and Deeply Humbled" Is Mr. Obama?
By Robert P. Kirchhoefer on 10.9.09 @ 1:30PM

According to the rules of the Nobel Prize nomination, a candidate receives an invitation for submission as a Nobel Peace candidate in September of the previous year, and must respond by the 1st of the subsequent February. That's right, in September of 2008, when nobody had even voted for the current President, Mr. Obama was under the illusion that he was qualified for a Nobel Peace Prize based on a few years as a community organizer, a little time in the Illinois legislature, an incomplete term in the United States' Senate, and a couple of books about his favorite topic -- himself.

By the February 1, 2009 deadline for submissions, before Mr. Obama had even stepped into office, he was no more surprised or humbled then than he is on this ignoble day.

This display is truly the antithesis of humility.

Now we know why he's been waiting so long to determine how to protect our troops in Afghanistan. Or is it too audacious to suggest such a thought?
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« Reply #465 on: October 09, 2009, 03:47:45 PM »

Who actually fills in the application?  Must if be made with the knowledge of the nominee?
« Reply #466 on: October 09, 2009, 09:39:59 PM »

Meet the People Who Were Passed Over for Obama

Sima Samar, women's rights activist in Afghanistan: "With dogged persistence and at great personal risk, she kept her schools and clinics open in Afghanistan even during the most repressive days of the Taliban regime, whose laws prohibited the education of girls past the age of eight. When the Taliban fell, Samar returned to Kabul and accepted the post of Minister for Women's Affairs."

Ingrid Betancourt: French-Colombian ex-hostage held for six years.

"Dr. Denis Mukwege: Doctor, founder and head of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. He has dedicated his life to helping Congolese women and girls who are victims of gang rape and brutal sexual violence."

Handicap International and Cluster Munition Coalition: "These organizations are recognized for their consistently serious efforts to clean up cluster bombs, also known as land mines. Innocent civilians are regularly killed worldwide because the unseen bombs explode when stepped upon."

"Hu Jia, a human rights activist and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, who was sentenced last year to a three-and-a-half-year prison term for 'inciting subversion of state power.'"

"Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China's communist system. He now lives in the United States."

Posted by Mary Katharine Ham on October 9, 2009 10:05 AM | Permalink
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« Reply #467 on: October 09, 2009, 09:42:19 PM »

Fox reported this evening that the name of whomever made the application is held secret for 50 years  rolleyes

Here's a few more worthy candidates:

General Petraeus
Greg Mortenson (opening schools, especially for girls, in Afg and Pak)
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« Reply #468 on: October 10, 2009, 09:45:57 AM »

Well the conservative radio shows have it right.
We have a President who travelled around the world apologizing for evilness of the US and wants to give away first class status
and so for that he wins a peace prize.
H who liberated Kuwait and stopped a butcher, W who liberated Iraqis from a butcher, Clinton who got rid of a killer Milosevitch,
Reagan who helped free hundreds of millions of Eastern Europeans of course are snubbed.
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« Reply #469 on: October 10, 2009, 03:41:40 PM »

The Peace Of The Grave
posted at 11:50 am on October 10, 2009 by Doctor Zero

I’m not really surprised by the Nobel committee’s decision to grant the Peace Price to Barack Obama. I assumed they would give it to him at the earliest opportunity. I forgot the award had not been given for this year. It would have been slightly better for their credibility if the Nobel committee had waited until next year, but perhaps they didn’t want to take the chance that current events would make that impossible by the end of 2010. The kind of “peacemaking” favored by the Nobel committee is the kind that usually gets innocent people killed, and frequently ends in the kind of war that comes as an even bigger surprise than Obama’s award.
Obama had been in office for less than two weeks before the Nobel nominations were finalized, so his nomination was not based on anything he had done as President. The Nobel Price long ago became a joke, and an insult to the people who suffer under terror and tyranny around the world, but I don’t think the committee just threw Obama the award because he’s so wonderfully special, and not even because he won the election to succeed the only man who has truly deserved the award since 2001. Maybe Obama won the Nobel because of his courageous youthful defiance of murderous evil, when he was brutally tortured for months but refused to submit to totalitarian brutes? Oh, no, wait, that was the guy he defeated in the election.
The Associated Press says the Nobel committee “praised Obama’s creation of a new climate in international politics, and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.” Of course, he hasn’t actually changed any of the hated Bush’s foreign policies, until this week, when he began talking about embracing the Taliban savages as partners in peace, who might just deserve to control a big chunk of Afghanistan after all. A while ago, I suggested you could ask the women of Afghanistan for a testimonial to Bush’s achievements in the realm of women’s rights, now that the upholstery has been removed from their faces. You’d better ask quickly. The new Nobel Peace Prize winner doesn’t seem all that disturbed by the thought of seeing them muffled again.
Obama was given the Nobel Prize, not because of anything he has done as President, but because of what the committee thinks he will do. His achievements are as non-existent now as they were on the day he was nominated. His agenda, however, is clear. He spelled it out in that insipid speech he gave to the United Nations a few weeks ago. Speaking as the leader of the indentured world, he made it clear that he plans to dim the lights on an America in decline, and humbly step aside as the post-American century begins. That’s why he won the Peace Prize. The Nobel committee has long seen the United States as the greatest threat to world peace, and the man who plans to bankrupt and disarm it has earned their admiration.
There are only two responses to tyranny: submission and resistance. Submission is easy. It can be negotiated. It is filled with nuance, and requires a large staff of diplomats and state functionaries to administer in style. Organizations like the United Nations make the first concessions to dictatorship by their very nature, as they allow thug states like Iran and Libya to take seats next to peaceful democracies. Obama’s dismal eulogy for America at the U.N. was followed by lunatic rants from the blood-splattered clowns who will be the new masters of the global future. Entertaining such creatures is easy, if you can just ignore the piles of faceless victims buried behind them. You may rest assured that the name Neda Agha-Soltan was not spoken during Obama’s Peace Prize deliberations, and it will not be spoken when the prize is placed into his hands.
Resistance is hard. It requires the courage to call evil by its name, and sacrifice universal adoration in the process. The Left likes to rail against intolerance. The defense of peace and freedom requires the absolute intolerance of evil. It requires leaders who don’t need a few days to decide whether to cancel the Fourth of July picnic invitations of a dictatorship that guns down peacefully protesting citizens. It relies upon a nation with the strength and resolve to project both humanitarian assistance and military power around the world.
Barack Obama’s America, mortgaged to the hilt and several trillion dollars beyond broke, with a stagnant economy trapped in government amber, will no longer be such a nation. The Nobel committee is pleased to reward him for that, because a muscular United States rocks a lot of boats. The “international community” has never forgiven George W. Bush for backing it into a corner over Iraq, and forcing the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions. “Resolution” is harmless and exciting when it’s a word spoken by important diplomats, and scribbled into strongly-worded letters. It’s scary when backed up by forceful leaders who take it seriously.
The cultural and political elite of Europe is delighted to give Obama an award for his bold work in turning America into the same kind of dilettante basket case they are. The people who sat helplessly and watched the slaughter in Bosnia may come to regret sacrificing their last shred of credibility to shore up a weak President, so he can finish the task of hobbling the only nation on Earth that can do a damned thing to prevent a slaughter. Europe thinks it can do business with the Islamic fascism creeping through its streets, but it will find any deals it makes with them have expiration dates, as surely as all of Barack Obama’s promises do. When they once again turn to America to save them, they had better hope we’ve had the wisdom to replace the confused and helpless man clutching his shiny Nobel Peace Prize with someone who can saddle up and ride to the rescue. Negotiation without principle is submission, and the only peace brought by submission is the peace of the grave.
« Reply #470 on: October 10, 2009, 06:55:25 PM »

Saturday, October 10, 2009
More Stonewalling from the Most Transparent Administration in History   [Andy McCarthy]
So much for the "unprecedented level of openness in Government" promised by our Nobel Laureate in Chief. While Attorney General Eric Holder continues stonewalling the Civil Rights Commission on the Justice Department's stunning dismissal of the civil rights case against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia, we now learn the State Department is stonewalling Congress on the legal reasoning behind the administration's support for Chavez-wannabe, Manuel Zelaya.

Senator Jim Demint writes in the Wall Street Journal about his factfinding visit to Honduras, where Zelaya — a thuggish would-be dictator who was trying to destroy the rule of law in his country — was ousted as president in a manner consistent with the Honduran constitution. The Obama administration — which couldn't roll over fast enough when Ahmadinejad had to steal the already-rigged Iranian "election" and the regime brutally jailed, tortured and killed dissenters — is playing hardball with Honduras (at least when it's not slapping Israel and the Dalai Lama around), demanding that the thug be restored to power. But, as Sen. Demint notes, "the only thorough examination of the facts to date—conducted by a senior analyst at the Law Library of Congress—confirms the legality and constitutionality of Mr. Zelaya's ouster. (It's on the Internet here .)"

So why is the administration bullying a poor, tiny, Western democracy?  Demint continues:

In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya's ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens. When I asked Ambassador Llorens why the U.S. government insists on labeling what appears to the entire country to be the constitutional removal of Mr. Zelaya a "coup," he urged me to read the legal opinion drafted by the State Department's top lawyer, Harold Koh. As it happens, I have asked to see Mr. Koh's report before and since my trip, but all requests to publicly disclose it have been denied. [Emphasis added.]

As Ed Whelan and I pointed out when Koh was up for confirmation, the former Yale Law School dean is the nation's leading transnationalist. He has zero respect for national constitutions (including ours), preferring a post-sovereign order in which international law profs, transnational organizations, and free-lancing judges will be our overlords. What is happening with Honduras is exactly what anyone who familiarized himself with Koh's record would have predicted. Yet, he was confirmed by a 62-35 margin, with support from the usual GOP suspects:  Lugar, Voinovich, Snowe, Collins, and Martinez.

Will these Republicans who helped foist Koh on us now join others demanding that President Transparency release Koh's legal opinion on Honduras? (I won't ask about the 19 Republican Senators who thought Holder would be a fabulous, non-political Attorney General ...)
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« Reply #471 on: October 13, 2009, 12:45:06 PM »

Here is the top 10 list of most glaring examples of Mr Obama falling short in key areas he trumpeted during his campaign.

1.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama said he would "not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days". But the "sunlight before signing" promise has already fallen by the wayside with Mr Obama signing three major bills without public scrutiny.

2.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama repeatedly said he would negotiate health care reform in televised sessions broadcast on C-SPAN, the public service network. Instead, he his approach has been no different from his predecessors, holding talks behind closed doors at the White House and Congress.

3.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama solemnly pledged that "no political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years". In practice, Mr Obama has granted several waivers to this rule, allowing lobbyists to serve in the top reaches of his administration.

4.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama said he would end income tax for the elderly making less than $50,000 per year, thereby eliminating taxes for seven million of them. This has not been part of his economic stimulus bill, his first budget outline or any legislation proposed by the White House.

5.PROMISE STALLED. On taking office, Mr Obama announced with great fanfare that the Guantanamo Bay prison camp would be closed within a year of his inauguration on January 20th. Defence officials now concede that this self-imposed deadline will not be met.

6.PROMISE SIDELINED. Mr Obama promised to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that prohibits openly gay personnel from serving in the United States armed forces. Despite reiterating the pledge this weekend, Mr Obama shows no signs of taking concrete action on the issue.

7.PROMISE BROKEN. Mr Obama said that in 2009 and 2010 "existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired". Democrats on Capitol Hill opposed this and Mr Obama has quietly abandoned the proposal, omitting it from his list of requirements for draft legislation.

8.PROMISE BROKEN. During the campaign, Mr Obama promised that "as President I will recognise the Armenian genocide" carried out by the Ottoman Empire after 1915. Once in office, he traveled to Turkey and made no mention of genocide. In a statement in April on the memorial day for the genocide he spoke of the "heavy weight" of history and the "terrible events " of the period but failed the use the g-word.

9.PROMISE SIDELINED. As a candidate, Mr Obama highlighted his support for abortion rights, stating he would back this up "by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president". At a press conference marking his first 100 days, Mr Obama said this was "not my highest legislative priority" and that it was important to "focus on those areas that we can agree on".

10. PROMISE SIDELINED. Mr Obama promised to end warrantless wiretaps on the domestic communications of Americans and to "update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to provide greater oversight and accountability". So far, he has taken no action.
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« Reply #472 on: October 13, 2009, 12:47:33 PM »

Despite countless speeches and news conferences, did you ever hear President Obama express the following ideas?

        1. Not everything is a federal issue; some things are for the states to decide.

        2. I hear what you're saying and you have a good point.

        3. One of the beautiful things about our constitution is the liberty given to individuals to pursue their dreams.  There is great opportunity in our country to succeed.

        4. In an effort to stimulate job growth and despite the objections from my party, I am working with Congress to reduce taxes for small businesses.

        5. I am saddened by the cycle of poverty that exists in our major cities, and here is a way we can empower the next generation to break the cycle and fulfill their God-given potential....

        6. The folks at the town hall meetings and those who came to Washington on 9/12 were exercising one of the greatest rights we have as Americans, freedom of speech.

        7. Stop already with all forms of ‘cult of personality' behavior.  I am a public servant, just like all those who have served before and all who will come after my term is complete.  It's not about me, it's about the country.

        8. I heard a great message Sunday morning at church.

        9. History teaches us that evil exists in the world; for this reason the United States must remain strong, ready to defend itself and its allies.

        10. I didn't realize a communist was part of my administration.  It won't happen again.

        11. The billions siphoned out of health care into lawyers' pockets never healed a single person.

        12. No other country on earth offers its citizens the opportunity to pursue life, liberty, and happiness as does the United States of America.

        13. The experts have looked at the proposed (fill-in-the-blank) program, and when it is extrapolated out beyond just the initial offering there is clear evidence it will cost too much money and will eventually fail.

        14. I disagree 100% with the Cloward-Piven strategy of increasing the welfare rolls and overwhelming the financial system, and I am not affiliated in any way with the implementation of such an idea.

        15. I don't know the answer to your question but I will give it some thought.

        16. The goal of my presidency is not to implement a political ideology, but to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

        17. Every person has value regardless of age, gender, color, physical characteristics, or any other factor.

        18. Any healthcare bill I sign must include a provision to exclude the rationing of care, keep the door open for competition among insurers, and promote the opportunity for our young people to pursue an education in the medical fields to ensure future supply meets future demand.

        19. It is important for legislators to remember that what helps someone in the short-term may actually hurt them in the long-term, and we must avoid this kind of scenario.

        20. It has become clear to me after meeting with military experts that their recommendations should be implemented in our current situation; this is not an area in which politics can be allowed to interfere.
« Reply #473 on: October 14, 2009, 11:32:09 AM »

The Obama Fiasco
Failure all around.

By Conrad Black

The whole Obama era to date has been wasted in a historic, amateurish botch of the health-care issue. This began as a crusade for social justice — to cover the uninsured, whose numbers were suitably exaggerated, as most of them are people changing jobs from one health-insuring employer to another, or foreigners resident in this country, legally or otherwise, or the indigent, who are eligible for Medicaid.

It wasn’t clear from this rationale, however, why Obama was also trying to take over the insurance of those already covered. He therefore pressed on to the need to take over health care to save money (by nationalizing it). The Congressional Budget Office blew that up, so the president moved crisply on to revenue-neutral health-care reform for its own sake. The corresponding promises of cost reductions proved to be shortchanging elderly Medicare recipients of hundreds of billions of dollars and chasing Washington’s oldest and most elusive will-o’-the-wisp, the last refuge of 220 years of desperate public officials, the ever-popular “waste and fraud.” And the “reforms” themselves are just aggravations of long-established mistaken practices.

The president’s reform plan has been seen by almost everyone to be bunk, and hackneyed bunk at that. His political capital is evaporating and, while it was disgraceful for a congressman to scream at him “You lie!” (which he was, about health care for illegal immigrants), this is more understandable and likely to be more habit-forming than an Iraqi journalist’s throwing shoes at his predecessor.

Instead of following the Roosevelt 1933 formula of squarely acknowledging a crisis and pledging an immediate plan of action with inspiriting calls for solidarity and national effort, he magnified the problems in order to try to create an appetite for a more radical turn to higher taxes and social benefits than the country wanted. Instead of sending precise bills to Congress and generating public support for them as Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, and Ronald Reagan did, Obama left it to the Democratic congressional leadership, which festooned every bill with pendulous payoffs to key votes and interests.

The $787 billion stimulus plan was a monstrosity of patronage and logrolling. The money that was borrowed (to stimulate, in reality, Democratic reelection prospects) has been taken from purposes that would have stimulated the economy just as efficiently. Larry Summers could not have believed his promises of instant results that would confine unemployment to 8 percent. Two-thirds of the stimulus is for dispersal closer to elections, and meanwhile unemployment is knocking at the door of 10 percent. The whole misconceived idea should be scrapped and replaced with tax cuts, but it won’t be.

The cap-and-trade bill is so loaded with rebates and exemptions that the administration’s own spokesmen acknowledge that while it would sharply raise heating and air-conditioning costs in tens of millions of American homes, it would neither raise federal-government revenues nor reduce carbon emissions. It was based on the unproved Al Gore science-fiction vision of the environment, and it won’t pass.

It looks like a patchy health-care measure almost certainly adding substantially to the deficit may limp through via the politically hazardous reconciliation process. The president’s proposed tax increases, which have been the subject of an indecent amount of dissembling for over a year, will not pass either (and would be insane anyway).

And the forecast trillion-dollar annual deficits for a decade are allowed to fester in the thoughts of the financial world, unaddressed, pushing gold over $1,000 per ounce and dragging the dollar inexorably downward. This administration shows no will to pay down the debt accumulated by 15 years of borrowing trillions of dollars from China and Japan to buy trillions of dollars of non-essential goods from China and Japan, while outsourcing millions of jobs to China and Japan to produce these imports and admitting millions of unauthorized entrants who could have filled the vacated American mills and factories whose production was outsourced. Instead, it will just devalue the currency in which the debt is denominated and end America’s long reign as the world’s wealthiest per capita large country, an honor it already shares with six other advanced nations.

The political class of both parties legislated and ordered the issuance of trillions of dollars of worthless real-estate debt, eliminated savings, penalized those in rented accommodation, and promoted wild residential-real-estate speculation. It has now locked arms to over-empower the failed regulators who sat, mute as suet puddings, while this crisis developed, to save the Franks, Waxmans, Dodds, Rubins, and Greenspans from their just deserts. They have agreed to blame everything on private-sector greed: Attorney General Eric Holder will prosecute avaricious businessmen, as he will Republican-appointed intelligence officials. The criminalization of policy differences, a corrosive and self-destructive process that began with the Watergate crucifixion of one of the country’s most effective presidents, and continued through the Iran-Contra nonsense and the absurd effort to remove President Clinton for undignified but hardly unprecedented peccadilloes, has resumed. It will beget nothing good or just, and will be revisited on its perpetrators.

The administration that was elected on the promise of change has been neutered by the trial lawyers, who donated $47 million to the Democrats last year and have prevented the measures necessary to cut health-care costs. It has been suborned by the dead hand of organized labor, which has been rewarded for decades of overpayment and shoddy work habits in automobile-making with entrenchment of the UAW’s unfeasible health-care benefits, continued protectionism, and outright ownership of most of what is left of the U.S. auto industry.

Nothing is being done to defuse the Social Security or other benefit time bombs, or to reform a corrupt political system in which most of the legislators are bound hand and foot to different special interests, and are locked almost permanently into gerrymandered districts. Nothing is forecast to turn America back from a consumption to a production economy, apart from the president’s own fable about huge numbers of people building windmills: a new, enhanced version of quixotry.

Nothing is being done to fix a failed education system in which teachers’ unions fight tooth and nail against any connection between pay and performance and the dropout rate is 42 percent, or to reform a prosecution service that wins over 90 percent of its cases, enjoys a procedural stacked deck, terrorizes everyone it looks at, and has gutted the individual-liberties and due-process sections of the Bill of Rights with the plea-bargain system’s wholesale exchange of perjury for immunity or reduced charges. Nothing has been suggested for improving the conduct of the failed drug war, which has reduced parts of Mexico to civil war without reducing access to unprescribed drugs in the U.S.; nor has the administration moved to reduce sentences for the more than 40 percent of Americans who at some point experiment with marijuana (the greatest cash crop in the Golden, bankrupt State of California).

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama unfortunately confirms the world’s love for weak or at least misguidedly diffident American leaders, in the mould of previous Nobel laureates Jimmy Carter and Al Gore. Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, and Bush Sr. all made immense contributions to peace and probably earned that prize but did not receive it. This president has engaged in wholesale, equal-opportunity apologies for much past U.S. foreign- and military-policy success. He has appeased almost all of the world’s most odious and hostile regimes, including those of Putin, Ahmadinejad, Chávez, and the Myanmar colonels. It’s possible that the emoting about nuclear disarmament will assist the efforts to discourage Iran and North Korea from developing a nuclear-arms capability, and that preemptive concessions to Russia will promote sanctions that, when they don’t succeed (as they never do), will help create a consensus for decisive action against Iran — but it is unlikely. The “War of Necessity” in Afghanistan has become a waffle. Joe Biden, who wanted to divide Iraq into three countries and should be constitutionally barred from publicly discussing foreign policy, wants to fight the cave-dwelling terrorists of Waziristan from off-shore. The president has mercilessly bullied Honduras to violate its own constitution and subvert its own fragile democracy, and has reneged on European missile defense and on the Bush-Sharon agreement on West Bank settlements (the implementation of which caused Sharon to buck fierce opposition and found a new political party). His foreign policy is a high-risk pursuit of appeasement that has few successful precedents, at a time when the U.S. is not strong in the world and has its economic and strategic credibility to rebuild. The first U.S. president to win a Nobel Peace Prize in office, Theodore Roosevelt, knew to carry a big stick while speaking softly.

The Obama Kool-Aid drinkers — led, by right and tradition, by the political scientists of Hollywood — have, like Demi Moore, pledged to “fight for the president” to the bitter end (which is nigh). The less energetic, such as the inevitable Jimmy Carter, have charged the president’s critics with racism, a tawdry and almost always false claim. Worthy commentators like Tom Friedman have decried the coarsening of the American public debate, doubtless sincerely. More to the point, Peggy Noonan, whose kindly, sentimental Irish nature was briefly pixilated by Obamamania, now sees the president as “cool” (i.e., cold), “faux eloquent,” and even a Narcissus.

Barack Obama is obviously a very intelligent man, and should be a popular and successful president. But his mandate for profound reform and a steam-cleaning of the Augean Stable of Washington is being squandered. So far the change is more of the same, only worse. This president has achieved less in his first nine months than any incoming president since Warren Harding. It is not too late, but it looks now like the people will vote again for change, with increasing desperation, next year and in 2012. If the country does not get leadership equal to the scale of its problems, as it did in 1860 and 1932, the decline of America will move from a slope to a fall. This emperor still has no clothes, and it is not racism to notice it.
— Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom and Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full. He can be reached at

National Review Online -
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« Reply #474 on: October 21, 2009, 10:16:42 AM »

"The United States cannot wait for problems surrounding the legitimacy of the Afghan government to be resolved before making a decision on troops, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said," Reuters reports from aboard a U.S. military aircraft:

Gates did not say when he expected U.S. President Barack Obama to decide on whether to increase troops, a decision complicated by rising casualties and fading public support for the stalled, eight-year-old war.
But he pointed out that further high-level deliberations would need to wait for the return of cabinet members from foreign travels through part of next week.
"It's just a matter now of getting the time with the president when we can sort through these options and then tee them up for him to make a decision," Gates said.
But Agence France-Presse reports the president hasn't yet chosen whether to choose not to decide:

President Barack Obama has not yet determined whether he will make a decision on sending more troops to Afghanistan before the November 7 election runoff, a US official said Tuesday.
"The UN, NATO, the US stand ready to assist the Afghans in conducting the second round," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters.
"Whether or not the president makes a decision before that I don't think has been determined.
"I have continued to say a decision will be made in the coming weeks as the president goes through an examination of our policy," he added.
It really bolsters your confidence in the president's ability to achieve victory in what he used to call a war of necessity, doesn't it?

James Taranto on Obama's Afghan dither.
.But we suppose it's easy to sit on the sidelines and snark. Barack Obama is president of the United States, and he is juggling all kinds of urgent responsibilities. Such as this one, reported by the New York Times:

Mr. Obama will fly to New York on Tuesday for a lavish Democratic Party fund-raising dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for about 200 big donors. Each donor is paying the legal maximum of $30,400 and is allowed to take a date.
And hey, if you don't like it, grab a damn mop! As Obama said just last week at . . . uh, another lavish Democratic Party fund-raiser.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports from Washington that "frustrations and anxiety are on the rise within the military" as the president dithers over Afghanistan:

A retired general who served in Iraq said that the military had listened, "perhaps naïvely," to Mr. Obama's campaign promises that the Afghan war was critical. "What's changed, and are we having the rug pulled out from under us?" he asked. Like many of those interviewed for this article, he spoke on the condition of anonymity because of fear of reprisals from the military's civilian leadership and the White House.
Shouldn't it be the enemy that fears reprisals?

During the presidential campaign, Obama's opponents mocked him for frequently voting "present" on difficult questions that came before the Illinois Senate. This is even worse. The commander in chief is absent without leave.
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« Reply #475 on: October 21, 2009, 11:48:00 PM »

Afghanistan - Obama did not use the word 'victory' to describe the criteria for his delayed and awaited decision on troop levels.

His brief background in the Illinois legislature and even more brief background as one of 100 senators did not put him in a position to face small executive decisions before being faced with serious Commander in Chief choices.  Nor did his experience as community organizer or ACORN defense council help. 

Obama logged 143 days of experience in the Senate before announcing his run for President. That's how many days the Senate was actually in session and working.

Chief executive of his campaign was his executive experience before being sworn into office.

Gibbs:"... a decision will be made in the coming weeks as the president goes through an examination of our policy"

Perhaps that is the amount of time the focus groups require to do their work.  We know Obama isn't pulling all-nighters with Gen. McChrystal.  Maybe he will also soon come to a decision on the vote he missed to condemn the General Betray Us ad:
"In the latest round of maneuvers over last week's ad attacking Gen. David Petraeus, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton today voted against a Senate resolution that condemned the ad and supported Petraeus. Sens. Barack Obama and Joe Biden did not vote on the measure."
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« Reply #476 on: October 22, 2009, 10:27:58 AM »

"There is also the heavy whiff of politics in the (Obama) administration's war deliberations. The president's senior political adviser, David Axelrod, apparently attends war cabinet meetings—something I did not do as President Bush's senior political adviser."  - Karl Rove
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« Reply #477 on: October 22, 2009, 01:26:18 PM »

One problem with these wars is we engage half assed.  We don't annihilate the enemy because we are too afraid of harming "innocents".  And of course we don't know who are the innocents, who are our enemy, it sounds like these can change from day to day depending on who pays who off, politics, who we piss off or please.

So there is no end in sight.

So because we are a gentle nation and hold back we keep getting screwed.  Ironically no one around the owrld loves us any more for the efforts and the sacrifice of our own troops and money to avoid hurting innocents.

There seems to me no good answer to this especially if we really don't engage our enemy with full force.
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« Reply #478 on: October 27, 2009, 10:37:25 PM »

Pres. George W. Bush had Katrina.  It really had very little to do with him, but he had been weakened enough before it happened to be vulnerable for the blame - in all the confusion.

Bush senior had the breaking of his 'no new taxes' pledge moment.  His opponents pressured and pressured and pressured him to raise taxes.  He did, and they turned on him and ripped his credibility away forever.  They actually wanted far more new taxes but this was his very famous promise he was discarding.  For Carter it was telling the American people our best days were behind us.  Reagan was well into his second term but I think Iran-Contra took quite a toll on the end of his Presidency.

Cheney shot the attorney and never made it back to center stage.  Of course it had more to do with the Iraq war going badly.

Dukakis - it was the driving the tank photo.  Gary Hart - it was called 'monkey business'.  Hillary didn't really have the moment - there was just a general feeling that people wanted anyone but Hillary.  For Edwards, he fizzled politically before his own bombshell hit.  Some have that specific moment, some don't.

Back to Obama.  Does anyone else sense the weakening of his mystique, the armor falling, that the perfect campaign in a perfect storm has not turned into perfect leadership or perfect governance?  That people are starting to see that and he is becoming more and more vulnerable to being defined and boxed in by his next big screw up?  And it may not even have to be a big one. 
The latest curve ball coming by is the "Opt Out" clause.  Liberals want 'the public option' in the bill, moderates want it out, conservatives - well, don't really matter.  So they take the public option out to get it through committee, lose some support  and put it back in, lose some other key votes and take it back out, and then suddenly they think of something almost too clever to be true:  Put it in and give states the ability to "opt out".

What could be better?  Harry Reid can tell Nevada there is no public option but tell his leftmost colleagues there still is.  Nancy Pelosi can tell the San Francisco electorate their sex change operations are covered.  Byron Dorgan and Kent Conrad from North Dakota can tell their ranchers no mandate.  Opt Out might even muddy the constitutional question because the individual mandate would then come from the state - well sort of.

It all seems a little too slick.  Do we also get to opt out of paying for it?  Or just opt out of receiving our share of each new trillion spent?  The federal tax rate would then be lower in Nebraska than Massachusetts?  If so, what else is negotiable?  What else involves federal taxing and spending not authorized by the constitution can states opt out of and not pay for?  I could learn to like this approach.  Slick and clever but not fully thought out by the coercive government people.  Maybe this is one of President Obama's deep thoughts (even if it came from congressional staffers) that could backfire on him quite badly.  If this played out to its logical conclusion, wouldn't the two systems and red and blue state program mixes look a lot like the split we had in the country coming into the civil war?  Just curious.
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« Reply #479 on: October 28, 2009, 12:16:59 AM »

Here in SoCal, a major Dem bastion, I am getting more and more thumbs up to my "Nobama: Keep the change" t-shirt.  I had two cops high five me.
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« Reply #480 on: October 30, 2009, 10:43:04 PM »

If the average cost to the taxpayer for the credit was 24k and the average cost of the car was 24k, one would think they could have just given away the cars they want us to drive.

Of course they couldn't.  It would have cost the government over 96k to give away 24k.  It isn't as easy as it looks.  These are professionals; don't even think of trying it at home.
« Reply #481 on: November 04, 2009, 12:06:39 PM »
Reason Magazine

Obama’s Hidden Fees

When the president does it, it’s not a tax.

Jacob Sullum | November 4, 2009

President Obama’s promise to raise taxes only on the wealthy was easy to make and easy to break. He broke it barely two weeks after taking office, and he will break it again if Congress passes the health care legislation he wants. But Obama has come up with a strategy to avoid the fate of George H.W. Bush: Although he will raise your taxes, he will never admit he is raising your taxes.

Campaigning in Dover, New Hampshire, in September 2008, Obama declared: “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”                   

Five months later, Obama signed a bill that more than doubled the federal cigarette tax, which falls especially heavily on the poor. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs argued that it didn’t really count, because “people make a decision to smoke.” Similarly, White House spokeswoman Linda Douglass says financial penalties for failing to obtain medical coverage are not taxes because “a fee would only be imposed on those few who could afford to purchase insurance but refuse to do so.”

Yet the fact that you can avoid a tax by changing your behavior does not mean it isn’t a tax. You don’t pay gasoline taxes if you don’t drive, you don’t pay property taxes if you don’t own real estate, and you don’t pay income taxes if you don’t earn income. In this case, people are subject to the “fee” simply by virtue of living in the United States and choosing not to buy something the government thinks they should.

Douglass likens the individual health insurance mandate to state requirements that drivers have liability insurance and that parents educate their children. But people who violate such laws are subject to criminal penalties. Neither the House nor the Senate health care bill would establish criminal penalties for refusing to buy health insurance, presumably because due process requirements would make it hard to impose them.

Instead the bills would establish a “tax on individuals without acceptable health care coverage” and an “individual responsibility excise tax,” respectively. “If you put something in the Internal Revenue Code and you tell the IRS to collect it,” a tax expert told the Associated Press in September, “I think that’s a tax.”

The president disagrees. “For us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase,” he insisted during a squirm-inducing September 20 exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “You can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.” Stephanopoulos responded by literally getting out the dictionary to demonstrate that “a charge…imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes” is commonly considered a tax.

If Obama can deny that a charge is a tax even when it’s collected by the IRS and identified as a “tax” in the legislation creating it, he surely sees nothing tax-like in the money people are required to spend if they want to avoid that charge. Yet forcing people to buy insurance they do not want so their premiums can subsidize other people’s health care looks a lot like a tax-funded welfare program, even if the money does not flow through the public treasury.

Furthermore, when businesses buy government-required health insurance or pay a penalty for failing to do so, that money comes at the expense of employee compensation. “An employer mandate should therefore be labeled an employee mandate,” says the Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon. 

“What we are saying,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) explained last week, “is everybody will contribute…to making sure that health care options are available to all of our citizens.” So we're talking about a legally required contribution that will be used to provide a government-arranged benefit. If only there were a shorter way of expressing that concept.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.
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« Reply #482 on: November 07, 2009, 10:50:42 AM »

Too soon to say for sure but I hope Charles is right in this call:
***By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, November 6, 2009

Sure, Election Day 2009 will scare moderate Democrats and make passage of Obamacare more difficult. Sure, it makes it easier for resurgent Republicans to raise money and recruit candidates for 2010. But the most important effect of Tuesday's elections is historical. It demolishes the great realignment myth of 2008.

This Story
The myth of '08, demolished
Lessons from Virginia for the GOP
Trouble ahead for Democrats
In the aftermath of last year's Obama sweep, we heard endlessly about its fundamental, revolutionary, transformational nature. How it was ushering in an FDR-like realignment for the 21st century in which new demographics -- most prominently, rising minorities and the young -- would bury the GOP far into the future. One book proclaimed "The Death of Conservatism," while the more modest merely predicted the terminal decline of the Republican Party into a regional party of the Deep South or a rump party of marginalized angry white men.

This was all ridiculous from the beginning. The '08 election was a historical anomaly. A uniquely charismatic candidate was running at a time of deep war weariness, with an intensely unpopular Republican president, against a politically incompetent opponent, amid the greatest financial collapse since the Great Depression. And still he won by only seven points.

Exactly a year later comes the empirical validation of that skepticism. Virginia -- presumed harbinger of the new realignment, having gone Democratic in '08 for the first time in 44 years -- went red again. With a vengeance. Barack Obama had carried it by six points. The Republican gubernatorial candidate won by 17 -- a 23-point swing. New Jersey went from plus-15 Democratic in 2008 to minus-four in 2009. A 19-point swing.

What happened? The vaunted Obama realignment vanished. In 2009 in Virginia, the black vote was down by 20 percent; the under-30 vote by 50 percent. And as for independents, the ultimate prize of any realignment, they bolted. In both Virginia and New Jersey they'd gone narrowly for Obama in '08. This year they went Republican by a staggering 33 points in Virginia and by an equally shocking 30 points in New Jersey.

White House apologists will say the Virginia Democrat was weak. If the difference between Bob McDonnell and Creigh Deeds was so great, how come when the same two men ran against each other statewide for attorney general four years ago the race was a virtual dead heat? Which made the '09 McDonnell-Deeds rematch the closest you get in politics to a laboratory experiment for measuring the change in external conditions. Run them against each other again when it's Obamaism in action and see what happens. What happened was a Republican landslide.

The Obama coattails of 2008 are gone. The expansion of the electorate, the excitement of the young, came in uniquely propitious Democratic circumstances and amid unparalleled enthusiasm for electing the first African American president.

November '08 was one shot, one time, never to be replicated. Nor was November '09 a realignment. It was a return to the norm -- and definitive confirmation that 2008 was one of the great flukes in American political history.

The irony of 2009 is that the anti-Democratic tide overshot the norm -- deeply blue New Jersey, for example, elected a Republican governor for the first time in 12 years -- because Democrats so thoroughly misread 2008 and the mandate they assumed it bestowed. Obama saw himself as anointed by a watershed victory to remake American life. Not letting the cup pass from his lips, he declared to Congress only five weeks after his swearing-in his "New Foundation" for America -- from remaking the one-sixth of the American economy that is health care to massive government regulation of the economic lifeblood that is energy.

Moreover, the same conventional wisdom that proclaimed the dawning of a new age last November dismissed the inevitable popular reaction to Obama's hubristic expansion of government, taxation, spending and debt -- the tea party demonstrators, the town hall protesters -- as a raging rabble of resentful reactionaries, AstroTurf-phony and Fox News-deranged.

Some rump. Just last month Gallup found that conservatives outnumber liberals by 2 to 1 (40 percent to 20 percent) and even outnumber moderates (at 36 percent). So on Tuesday, the "rump" rebelled. It's the natural reaction of a center-right country to a governing party seeking to rush through a left-wing agenda using temporary majorities created by the one-shot election of 2008. The misreading of that election -- and of the mandate it allegedly bestowed -- is the fundamental cause of the Democratic debacle of 2009.****

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« Reply #483 on: November 08, 2009, 10:10:20 AM »

"black vote was down by 20 percent; the under-30 vote by 50 percent"

Converting the vote of independents is impressive, but the no-show on an off-year of the don't-know/don't-care crowd only presents an opportunity, not a victory or even a reliable indicator IMO.
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« Reply #484 on: November 08, 2009, 03:42:46 PM »

Lets continue this in the Politics thread.
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« Reply #485 on: December 09, 2009, 05:50:41 AM »

Tina Brown at The Daily Beast, Dec. 3:

It's a strange paradox for a great wordsmith, but whenever Obama makes an important policy speech these days he leaves everyone totally confused. His first health-care press conference back in July triggered a season of raucous political Rorschach and left his hopeful followers utterly baffled about what they were being asked to support.

Now White House envoys are being dispatched all over the globe to explain what the president really meant about the date when troops will or won't be pulled out of Afghanistan. . . .

Does Obama create confusion on purpose? Is this his "process" based on his confession that he's a screen onto which people project things? Is it a strategy so that whatever bill trickles out of Congress or however many soldiers linger in Afghanistan, he can claim that the outcome is what he meant it all along? . . .

Or is it that there is so much subtext to every part of this message that the simple heads of the electorate are just not pointy enough to comprehend it?

I have come to the conclusion that the real reason this gifted communicator has become so bad at communicating is that he doesn't really believe a word that he is saying. He couldn't convey that health-care reform would be somehow cost-free because he knows it won't be. And he can't adequately convey either the imperatives or the military strategy of the war in Afghanistan because he doesn't really believe in it either.
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« Reply #486 on: December 11, 2009, 11:34:48 PM »

I'm sure it's just me but watching a few promos for the Oprah at the White House Sunday special - it looks a little creepy to me.  I know this is a payback for Oprah's campaign endorsement along with Obama's understanding of the endless campaign and his need to be in the spotlight, but this level of lightness seems a little weird in the context of ... 2 wars, a surge starting, a surge ending, OBL still frolicking at Tora Bora, Copenhagen, Oslo, the EPA ruling, health care takeover, proposed new record energy taxation, record deficits and piling debt, income and estate tax cut expirations, collapsing auto makers, foreclosure increases, a jobless double-dip recession, 'the earth has a fever' and if we don't act within 10 days it will be unreversible, not to mention a religious holiday and still no new reverend.  In context, the Oprah special looks to be reminiscent of when MTV asked Clinton about boxers or briefs.
« Reply #487 on: December 15, 2009, 07:45:20 AM »

Gitmo by the Lake
By the Editors

The Obama administration’s plan to move terrorist detainees from the security of Guantanamo Bay to a little-used state prison in Illinois is being hailed by supportive Democrats as a boon for local economic development. Even if the development were truly a boon — and it’s more a boondoggle — that would not come close to justifying it. National security is not a shovel-ready jobs program. It is the first duty of government, and it would be senselessly imperiled by transferring trained jihadists into the United States.

Like much unpopular or embarrassing news, the transfer plan leaked late on a Friday. It appeared in the form of presidential memorandum drafted by Eric Holder’s Justice Department. Once approved by the president, the memo would direct Holder to “acquire” (as in purchase) the Thomson Correctional Center, about 150 miles west of Chicago. Defense Secretary Robert Gates would then, “as expeditiously as possible,” relocate the remaining 200-plus Gitmo detainees to the TCC.

The prison is a $145 million white elephant. When Illinois was comparatively flush with capital, it built the 1,600-bed penitentiary to stimulate the depressed Mississippi Valley town. But the state is now a basket case. Budgetary woes have squeezed law-enforcement funding, and local politicians — including former state senator Barack Obama — have insisted that alternatives to incarceration be found, even for violent offenders; as a consequence less than 10 percent of the TCC’s space is currently being used. Naturally, Obama’s home-state Democrats are thrilled by the prospect of having Uncle Sam take the TCC off the state’s hands. Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn issued a statement rapt at the prospect of “generating up to 3,800 jobs” and “injecting more than $1 billion into the regional economy.”

This exorbitant “injection” of funds would be necessary because TCC is not ready to accommodate international jihadists, who are prone to riot, savagely attack their custodians, attempt escape, and plot terror attacks while in U.S. prisons. The jail would have to be hardened before it could become the new Gitmo. So even if financial considerations were the first-order priority here — and they should not be — the administration’s plan would be inexcusably wasteful. Gitmo has already been hardened, at a cost of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. It is now a state-of-the-art, Geneva Conventions-compliant detention center. It makes no sense to sink those expenditures down a black hole, spending another fortune on a project that won’t generate sustainable growth. Illinois found that out when it built TCC in the first place.

But the money isn’t the worst of it. Moving the detainees into the United States would greatly increase the likelihood that federal judges will order some of them released here.

Though the nation’s attention has been focused on the administration’s absurd decision to grant the 9/11 plotters a trial in the civilian justice system, the fact is that many, if not most, of the remaining Gitmo detainees will not face a trial of any kind. They are being held under the laws of war, which permit the detention of enemy operatives until the conclusion of hostilities. The threat they pose is terrible, but it is known to us mostly through foreign intelligence that may not be used in trial proceedings.

This was not a problem in America’s prior wars. Handling enemy prisoners was properly considered a military matter. In this war, activist judges urged on by left-wing lawyers have taken on an oversight role: the power, codified by Congress in the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, to review the legitimacy of military detention. Many civilian judges are fundamentally hostile to the concept of indefinite detention under wartime protocols that do not require proof of a crime. With no political accountability to the voters whose lives are at stake, and no guidance from Congress regarding the rules for these detention proceedings, judges have made abominable rulings, vacating the combatant designations of detainees who were trained in terror camps and clearly connected to the jihadist network.

So far, these rulings have not resulted in detainees’ being released in the United States. But that is only because, at present, the detainees are physically kept outside of the country. In the 2005 Real ID Act, Congress barred aliens who either have been members of terrorist organizations or have received paramilitary training in terrorist camps from entering our nation. Though one judge has tried to order detainees released here regardless, his order was reversed on appeal. Other judges have been hesitant to hold that their power to review detention rulings implies a power to order detainees released, much less released in the United States, in defiance of statutory proscription.

Once the terrorists are already in the country, though, that hesitancy will vanish. Anyone who doubts that has not been watching the courts’ pro-terrorist decisions over the last eight years, to say nothing of such rulings as the 9th Circuit’s recent directive that California release over 40,000 convicted inmates in order to relieve the supposed overcrowding in the state’s prisons. Indeed, the Obama administration has already floated the idea of releasing Gitmo detainees in the U.S. — and providing public welfare payments to support them — as an example for other countries to follow. And Jennifer Daskal, now advising Holder on detainee issues, spent years as a Human Rights Watch activist campaigning for Gitmo to be shuttered, and detainees released in the United States, if other countries are unwilling to take them. Human Rights Watch also maintains that U.S. “supermax” prisons, where terrorists convicted in civilian courts are incarcerated, are inhumane.

Even if they are not released, the presence of terrorists in American prisons creates enormous security problems. In 2000, while purportedly preparing for his trial on charges of bombing U.S. embassies in Africa, an al-Qaeda inmate maimed a prison guard in an attempt to break himself and his confederates out of jail. Sayyid Nosair helped plot the 1993 World Trade Center bombing from Attica prison in New York, even as he recruited new terrorists and conspired to escape. Despite maximum-security confinement conditions, other WTC bombers were permitted to communicate by mail with overseas terror cells. And from the federal prison where he is serving a life sentence for terrorism, the notorious “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, issued the fatwa approving the 9/11 attacks. With the help of his now-convicted lawyer, he continued guiding his Egyptian terrorist organization.

Despite this record, the Obama administration says it can securely detain additional hundreds of terrorists. This claim would be hard to swallow even if Holder’s Justice Department were not now caving in to jihadists’ complaints that confinement conditions in civilian prisons are too onerous. DOJ has just moved the “shoe bomber,” Richard Reid, into the general prison population after he contended that heightened security measures designed to hinder terrorists violated the First Amendment by denying his alleged right to communal prayer with other jihadists.

The detainees should be kept at Gitmo. Situated on a U.S. naval base outside the country, it optimizes security and minimizes the threat imprisoned terrorists pose to the public. It is a fastidiously humane facility. With the trumped-up critiques of Gitmo muted by the embarrassing reluctance of its severest European critics to accept custody of the prisoners, none but the most inflexible leftists are bothering about its continued operation. Gitmo is money well spent. The TCC would be money poorly spent — and a dangerous blunder.

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« Reply #488 on: December 15, 2009, 12:19:29 PM »

I am not quite clear what Newt thought was so wonderful about this speech.  Except that some of the thoughts are less delusionary than usual for the ONE.  Any idealistic college history major could easily have written this.

It does in fact, IMO, signal that the ONE is painfully aware of his falling poll numbers and is thus shifting his projection of America as a dirty no good nation out for itself to one that is the leader of peace in the world.

Fortunately for Republicans this guy is far more of an idealogue than Clinton and appears not willing to completely change his tune to whatever the polls tell him to do and thus stay popular despite being one of the world's biggest con artists.  Clinton was able to with completely straight face say one day the complete opposite of what he said one day earlier and the media seemed to think that was so adorable.  Obama is just as capable as Clinton at saying total fabrications and falsehoods with a straight face but he appears not willing to cave to polls as Clinton did.  Unfortunately, Clinton proved that following the messages in the polls will keep a President popular even if not necessarily good for the nation.

-Text of Obama's speech after winning Nobel Prize
Assotiated Press, Friday October 9, 2009, Washington 
Text of President Barack Obama's remarks at the White House Friday on winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, as provided by the White House:

"Good morning.

Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, "Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday!" And then Sasha added, "Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up." So it's good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.

These challenges can't be met by any one leader or any one nation. And that's why my administration has worked to establish a new era of engagement in which all nations must take responsibility for the world we seek. We cannot tolerate a world in which nuclear weapons spread to more nations and in which the terror of a nuclear holocaust endangers more people. And that's why we've begun to take concrete steps to pursue a world without nuclear weapons, because all nations have the right to pursue peaceful nuclear power, but all nations have the responsibility to demonstrate their peaceful intentions.

We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children -- sowing conflict and famine; destroying coastlines and emptying cities. And that's why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy.

We can't allow the differences between peoples to define the way that we see one another, and that's why we must pursue a new beginning among people of different faiths and races and religions; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect.

And we must all do our part to resolve those conflicts that have caused so much pain and hardship over so many years, and that effort must include an unwavering commitment that finally realizes that the rights of all Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace and security in nations of their own.

We can't accept a world in which more people are denied opportunity and dignity that all people yearn for -- the ability to get an education and make a decent living; the security that you won't have to live in fear of disease or violence without hope for the future.

And even as we strive to seek a world in which conflicts are resolved peacefully and prosperity is widely shared, we have to confront the world as we know it today. I am the commander in chief of a country that's responsible for ending a war and working in another theater to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies.

I'm also aware that we are dealing with the impact of a global economic crisis that has left millions of Americans looking for work. These are concerns that I confront every day on behalf of the American people.
Some of the work confronting us will not be completed during my presidency. Some, like the elimination of nuclear weapons, may not be completed in my lifetime. But I know these challenges can be met so long as it's recognized that they will not be met by one person or one nation alone. This award is not simply about the efforts of my administration -- it's about the courageous efforts of people around the world.

And that's why this award must be shared with everyone who strives for justice and dignity -- for the young woman who marches silently in the streets on behalf of her right to be heard even in the face of beatings and bullets; for the leader imprisoned in her own home because she refuses to abandon her commitment to democracy; for the soldier who sacrificed through tour after tour of duty on behalf of someone half a world away; and for all those men and women across the world who sacrifice their safety and their freedom and sometimes their lives for the cause of peace.

That has always been the cause of America. That's why the world has always looked to America. And that's why I believe America will continue to lead.

Thank you very much."     
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« Reply #489 on: December 17, 2009, 10:02:22 AM »

Barack Obama has won a place in history with the worst ratings of any president at the end of his first year: 49% approve and 46% disapprove of his job performance in the latest USA Today/Gallup Poll.

There are many factors that explain it, including weakness abroad, an unprecedented spending binge at home, and making a perfectly awful health-care plan his signature domestic initiative. But something else is happening.

Mr. Obama has not governed as the centrist, deficit-fighting, bipartisan consensus builder he promised to be. And his promise to embody a new kind of politics—free of finger-pointing, pettiness and spin—was a mirage. He has cheapened his office with needless attacks on his predecessor.

Consider Mr. Obama's comment in his interview this past Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes" that the Bush administration made a mistake in speaking in "a triumphant sense about war."

This was a slap at every president who rallied the nation in dark moments, including Franklin D. Roosevelt ("With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph"); Woodrow Wilson ("Right is more precious than peace and we shall fight for the things which we have always carried nearest our hearts"); and John F. Kennedy ("Any hostile move anywhere in the world against the safety and freedom of peoples to whom we are committed . . . will be met by whatever action is needed").

This kind of attack gives Mr. Obama's words a slippery quality. For example, he voted for the bank rescue plan in September 2008 and praised it during the campaign. Yet on Dec. 8 at the Brookings Institution, Mr. Obama called it "flawed" and blamed "the last administration" for launching it "hastily."

Really? Bush Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and New York Fed President Timothy Geithner designed it. If it was "flawed," why did Mr. Obama later nominate Mr. Bernanke to a second term as Fed chairman and make Mr. Geithner his Treasury secretary?

Mr. Obama also claimed at Brookings that he prevented "a second Great Depression" by confronting the financial crisis "largely without the help" of Republicans. Yet his own Treasury secretary suggests otherwise. In a Dec. 9 letter, Mr. Geithner admitted that since taking office, the Obama administration had "committed about $7 billion to banks, much of which went to small institutions." That compares to $240 billion the Bush administration lent banks. Does Mr. Obama really believe his additional $7 billion forestalled "the potential collapse of our financial system"?

About Karl Rove
Karl Rove served as Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000–2007 and Deputy Chief of Staff from 2004–2007. At the White House he oversaw the Offices of Strategic Initiatives, Political Affairs, Public Liaison, and Intergovernmental Affairs and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, coordinating the White House policy-making process.

Before Karl became known as "The Architect" of President Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns, he was president of Karl Rove + Company, an Austin-based public affairs firm that worked for Republican candidates, nonpartisan causes, and nonprofit groups. His clients included over 75 Republican U.S. Senate, Congressional and gubernatorial candidates in 24 states, as well as the Moderate Party of Sweden.

Karl writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, is a Newsweek columnist and is the author of the forthcoming book "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions).

Email the author atKarl@Rove.comor visit him on the web Or, you can send a Tweet to @karlrove.

Mr. Obama continued distorting the record in his "60 Minutes" interview Sunday when he blamed bankers for the financial crisis. They "caused the problem," he insisted before complaining, "I haven't seen a lot of shame on their part" and pledging to put "a regulatory system in place that prevents them from putting us in this kind of pickle again."

But as a freshman senator, Mr. Obama supported a threatened 2005 filibuster of a bill regulating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He doesn't show "a lot of shame" that he and other Fannie and Freddie defenders blocked "a regulatory system" that might have kept America from getting in such a bad pickle in the first place.

The president's rhetorical tricks don't end there. Mr. Obama also claimed his $787 billion stimulus package "helped us [stem] the panic and get the economy growing again." But 1.5 million more people are unemployed than he said there would be if nothing were done.

And as of yesterday, only $244 billion of the stimulus had been spent. Why was $787 billion needed when less than a third of that figure supposedly got the job done?

Mr. Obama also alleged on "60 Minutes" that health-care reform "will actually bring down the deficit" (which people clearly know it will not). He said his reform reduces "costs and premiums for American families and businesses" (though they will be higher than they would otherwise be). And he claimed 30 million more people will get coverage through "an exchange that allows individuals and small businesses" to purchase insurance (though 15 million of them are covered by being dumped into Medicaid and don't get private insurance).

Mr. Obama may actually believe it when he says, "I think that's a pretty darned good outcome" and congratulates himself that he could succeed where "seven presidents have tried . . . [and] seven presidents have failed."

But voters seem to have a different definition of success. And they are tiring of the president's blame shifting and distortions.

Mr. Obama may believe, as he told Oprah Winfrey in a recent interview, that he deserves a "solid B+" for his first year in office, but the American people beg to differ. A presidency that started with so much promise is receiving unprecedentedly low grades from the country that elected him. He's earned them.

Mr. Rove, the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, is the author of the forthcoming book "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions).
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« Reply #490 on: December 17, 2009, 07:44:44 PM »

Noonan seems to be thinking the same as me about BO's apparent attempt at sounding more mainstream.
I suppose many voters could fall for it.  I don't know, but I hope not.

The political headline this week is that President Obama appears to be attempting to move toward the center, or what he believes is the center. We saw the big pivot in two major speeches, one on the economy and the other, in Oslo, on peace.

If it is real—if the pivot signals a true, partial or coming shift, if it is not limited to rhetorical flurries—it is welcome news in terms of public policy. It also tells us some things. It tells us White House internal polling is probably worse than the public polls telling us the president has been losing support among independents. It tells us the mounting criticism from Republicans, conservatives and others has had a real effect. It tells us White House officials have concluded they were out on a cliff. It tells us they are calculating that after a first year of governing from the left, and winning whatever they win on health care, they believe they can persuasively shift to the center, that it will work.

Which is the great political question: Will it work? With congressional elections a year away, will it help make Democrats safe and keep Congress?

The disadvantage of a pivot is that it will further agitate the president's base, which feels he's already been too moderate. (This actually carries some benefits: When the left rails at Mr. Obama, he looks more moderate.) The upside is clear. In a time of extended crisis, voters are inclined to reject the radical. And a shift will represent a challenge to the president's competitors. It is one thing to meet a president's policies with effective wholesale denunciations when they are wholesale liberal. It's harder when those policies are more of a mix; it's harder to rally and rouse, harder to make criticism stick. Bill Clinton knew this. Maybe the White House is learning it, and the same way he learned it: after a bruising.

The economic speech took place Tuesday at the Brookings Institute, the generally left-leaning think tank in Washington. The president put unusual emphasis on—and showed unusual sympathy for—Americans in business, specifically small businesses. "Over the past 15 years, small businesses have created roughly 65% of all new jobs in America," he said. "These are companies formed around kitchen tables in family meetings, formed when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, formed when a worker decides it's time she became her own boss." This is how Republicans, moderates and centrists think, and talk.

The president claimed success in reducing taxes—"This fall, I signed into law more than $30 billion in tax cuts for struggling businesses"—and announced a new cut: "We're proposing a complete elimination of capital gains taxes on small business investment along with an extension of write-offs to encourage small businesses to expand in the coming year." He called it "worthwhile" to create a new "tax incentive to encourage small businesses to add and keep employees."

All this was striking, and seemed an implicit concession that tax levels affect economic activity. It was as if he were waving his arms and saying, "Hey taxpayer, I'm not your enemy!" The only reason a president would find it necessary to deliver such a message is if he just found out taxpayers do think he's the enemy. The emphasis on what it takes to start and build a business, seemed if nothing else, a bowing to reality. And if you're going to bow to something, it might as well be reality.

Thursday, at his Nobel laureate speech in Oslo, the president used an audience of European leftists to place himself smack-dab in the American center. He said, essentially: War is bad but sometimes justified, America is good, and I am an American. He spoke of Afghanistan as "a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 43 other countries—including Norway—in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks." Adroit, that "including Norway." He said he had "an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict" and suggested America's efforts in Afghanistan fit the criterion of the concept of a "just war." It continues to be of great value that a modern, left-leaning American president speaks in this way to the world. "The world" didn't seem to enjoy it, and burst into applause a resounding once.

He quoted Martin Luther King, when he received the Peace Prize: "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely creates new and more complicated ones." But Mr. Obama added that "as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation," he could not be guided only by Dr. King's example. "I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people." Evil exists: "A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms."

He acknowledged Europe's "ambivalence" about military action, and "a reflexive suspicion of America, the world's sole military superpower." But the world should remember what America did during and after World War II. "It is hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the Third Reich and the Axis powers," he said—and he pointedly noted America's creation of the Marshall Plan and contribution to the United Nations, "a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud. . . . Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms."

All of this, as William Safire used to say, was good stuff. There were wiggy moments—his references to John Paul II in Poland and Richard Nixon in China were historically unknowing to the point of being utterly inapt—but they did no particular harm.

There continues to be a particular challenge for the president, and it is an affection gap. It is not hard to respect this president, not hard to want to listen to his views and weigh his arguments. It is a challenge, however, to feel warmly toward him. This matters politically because Americans like to feel affection for their presidents, and are more likely to forgive them for policy differences when they do. There's the stony, cool temperament, and also something new. The White House lately seems very fancy. When you think of them now, it's all tuxedoes, gowns and Hollywood. There's a certain metallic glamour. But metal is cold.

White House image masters will think the answer is to show pictures of the president smiling at children and walking newly plowed fields. Actually this is part of the mystery of politics—what to do with the clay of your candidate, how to make your guy likable.

I remember when everyone was turning against Bill Clinton after the financial scandals and the smallness of his first term. I thought for a while that Bob Dole would beat him. What I didn't take into account was a small thing that wasn't small. When people slammed Clinton in interviews they were often smiling as they spoke. "The rogue." "Ol' Bubba." Those smiles said something. They liked him. When they like you they forgive you a lot. Mr. Obama needs to make them smile. He doesn't. He leaves them cool as he is.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A19
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« Reply #491 on: January 01, 2010, 10:10:31 AM »

War? What War?
The Obama administration refuses to admit that we are at war.

By Charles Krauthammer

Janet Napolitano — former Arizona governor, now overmatched secretary of homeland security — will forever be remembered for having said of the attempt to bring down an airliner over Detroit: “The system worked.” The attacker’s concerned father had warned U.S. authorities about his son’s jihadist tendencies. The would-be bomber paid cash and checked no luggage on a transoceanic flight. He was nonetheless allowed to fly, and would have killed 288 people in the air alone, save for a faulty detonator and quick actions by a few passengers.

Heck of a job, Brownie.

The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration’s response to this attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence but incomprehension. From the very beginning, President Obama has relentlessly tried to downplay and deny the nature of the terrorist threat we continue to face. Napolitano renames terrorism “man-caused disasters.” Obama goes abroad and pledges to cleanse America of its post-9/11 counterterrorist sins. Hence, Guantanamo will close, CIA interrogators will face a special prosecutor, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will bask in a civilian trial in New York — a trifecta of political correctness and image management.

And just to make sure even the dimmest understand, Obama banishes the term “war on terror.” It’s over — that is, if it ever existed.

Obama may have declared the war over. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has not. Which gives new meaning to the term “asymmetric warfare.”

And produces linguistic — and logical — oddities that littered Obama’s public pronouncements following the Christmas Day attack. In his first statement, Obama referred to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as “an isolated extremist.” This is the same president who, after the Ford Hood shooting, warned us “against jumping to conclusions” — code for daring to associate Nidal Hasan’s mass murder with his Islamist ideology. Yet, with Abdulmutallab, Obama jumped immediately to the conclusion, against all existing evidence, that the bomber acted alone.

More jarring still were Obama’s references to the terrorist as a “suspect” who “allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device.” You can hear the echo of FDR: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — Japanese naval and air force suspects allegedly bombed Pearl Harbor.”

Obama reassured the nation that this “suspect” had been charged. Reassurance? The president should be saying: We have captured an enemy combatant — an illegal combatant under the laws of war: no uniform, direct attack on civilians — and now to prevent future attacks, he is being interrogated regarding information he may have about al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Instead, Abdulmutallab is dispatched to some Detroit-area jail and immediately lawyered up. At which point — surprise! — he stops talking.

This absurdity renders hollow Obama’s declaration that “we will not rest until we find all who were involved.” Once we’ve given Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, we have gratuitously forfeited our right to find out from him precisely who else was involved, namely those who trained, instructed, armed, and sent him.

This is all quite mad even in Obama’s terms. He sends 30,000 troops to fight terror overseas, yet if any terrorists come to attack us here, they are magically transformed from enemy into defendant.

The logic is perverse. If we find Abdulmutallab in an al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, where he is merely preparing for a terror attack, we snuff him out with a Predator — no judge, no jury, no qualms. But if we catch him in the United States in the very act of mass murder, he instantly acquires protection not just from execution by drone but even from interrogation.

The president said that this incident highlights “the nature of those who threaten our homeland.” But the president is constantly denying the nature of those who threaten our homeland. On Tuesday, he referred five times to Abdulmutallab (and his terrorist ilk) as “extremist(s).”

A man who shoots abortion doctors is an extremist. An eco-fanatic who torches logging sites is an extremist. Abdulmutallab is not one of these. He is a jihadist. And unlike the guys who shoot abortion doctors, jihadists have cells all over the world; they blow up trains in London, nightclubs in Bali, and airplanes over Detroit (if they can); and they are openly pledged to wage war on America.

Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy — jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon — turns laxity into a governing philosophy.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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« Reply #492 on: January 01, 2010, 11:13:17 AM »

Something seems amiss if you are trying to get at all the information necessary to protect our country in a time of war but when you capture a foreign terrorist suicide mass murderer in the act, the first things you say are that you have the right to remain silent and make a phone call - while thousands of other airliners are still in the air.  That is what you might say to a shoplifter or a pickpocket in an airport.  Waterboarding and being told you don't have the right to remain silent or comfortable would seem a little more appropriate for trying to recreate the terror of 9/11/01.
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« Reply #493 on: January 01, 2010, 02:54:19 PM »

Excerpts from a VDH piece 12/23/09:

...Obama administrationincapable of effective governance.  Here is a random selection, no chronology or theme. Nor do I judge the relative importance of any one incident. The point is only that each was a fissure, some small, some major...

Constant apologies abroad for everything from slavery to Hiroshima

Bows to Saudi royalty, the Japanese emperor, and Chinese autocrats

The on-again/off-again Guantanamo shut-down mess

The fight with the former CIA directors

The public show trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed

The reach out to Ahmadinejad Castro, Chavez, and assorted thugs

The Honduras fiasco

Czars everywhere

The serial “Bush did it”/reset whine abroad

The Queen of England/I-pod fiasco

Gordon Brown gets snookered in his gift-giving

Unceremoniously shipping back the Churchill bust

The end of the special relationship with the UK

The New York on-the-town presidential splurge

Anita Dunn and her Mao worship

Timothy Geithner/Tom Daschle/Hilda Solis and their taxes

What ever happened to Gov. Richardson?

“No lobbyists” = gads of them

The Podestas’ insider influence-peddling empire

Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” chauvinism

The Special Olympics silly quip

Trashing Nancy Reagan

The Skip Gates/police acting “stupidly” mess

The get-Chicago-the-Olympics jaunt to Copenhagen

Cap-and-trade boondoggle

“Millions of green jobs”

Ignore gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power production


The Joe Biden gaffe machine

Jobs “saved” or “created” rather than references to the actual unemployment rates

Van Jones, the racist and truther

Desiree Rogers won’t testify

The blowback from, and silence about, the Rangel/Dodd corruption

The White House party crashers plan to take the 5th Amendment

The ‘bipartisanship’ con

The pork-barrel stimulus spoils

The demonization of the Town-Hallers

The Acorn Mess

The Kevin Jennings/Safe School Czar embarrassment

The SEIU direct access to the White House

The Asian Tour comedown

The politicization of the take-over of GM and Chrysler

The Obama readjustment in the order of paying back car creditors

Car dealerships closed on shaky criteria

Obama as “Caesar”

The Emanuel “never let a serious crisis go to waste” boast

The Black Caucus/Rangel/Waters bid to bail out the inner-city radio stations

Yosi Sergant and the NEA

$1.7 trillion deficit

The planned $9 trillion added to the national debt

New income tax rates; health care surcharge talk; and payroll tax caps to be lifted

Rahm Emanuel’s promised payback to those states that trash the stimulus

The supposed C-span aired health care debate

The promised website posts of pending legislation

Czechs and Poles sold out on missile defense

Sermons to and finger pointing at the Israelis

The failed ‘Putin helps to stop a nuclear Iran’ gambit

Voting present on the Iranian reformers in the street

Serial but empty deadlines to Ahmadinejad

The good war/bad war twisting and turning on Iraq/Afghanistan

The months-long dithering over Afghanistan

Renditions, tribunals, Patriot Act, etc. once trashed, now OK

Healthcare take-over

The 2,000 page proposed new health code

The embarrassing Nobel Peace Prize nomination

The attacks on surgeons, Chamber of Commerce, Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, etc.

The Islam mythologies in the Cairo Speech

The al Arabiya “Bush did it” interview

Obama’s TV “my Muslim faith” gaffe
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #494 on: January 01, 2010, 05:36:23 PM »

Healthcare take-over

A doctor today told me heard that NJ has a new law that doctors must do some free charity care.
I don't know if it is true.

If I didn't have my problems with Katherine I would definitely leave the state if that were true.

Can anyone imagine a government edict to a single group of citizens telling them they either work for free or what?

Go to jail?  Lose your license to work in your profession?

Yet bankers are being given billions and obviously pilliging God knows how much of it. 
And I have to now pay for the cadillac care of union auto workers while I may be forced to work for free.

No one will feel sorry for doctors so I am not kidding myself thinking I would get any sympathy.

My point is let this be a warning for the rest of this country as to what Obama and Pelosi and the liberals have in store for them as well as us physicians.

I guess the only ones safe are lawyers, union members and Federal government employees.

Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #495 on: January 08, 2010, 10:28:46 PM »

The recovery is not 100% within his control.  The economic policies of his administration are what is within his control. 

The path to pro-growth economic policies, policies that would encourage employers to invest, take on risk, hire, earn and keep more - policies that would lead us toward recovery and away from a double-dip or a jobless recovery - that path could easily be described as a straight line..... and we aren't on it.  They aren't even looking for it.  He's working on something else and stagnation, debt and high unemployment are some of the costs of economic dithering.
Power User
Posts: 9482

« Reply #496 on: January 11, 2010, 11:01:21 AM »

I'm very excited about my first time quoting and agreeing with the Huffington Post.  Even liberals find this government behavior over the line.  I would add to list of complaints a video of his answers posted previously when asked where in the constitution he found the right to bail out non-financial institutions.  With 3 tries he just honestly could not comprehend the question.

Tim Geithner Must Go

The latest revelations about the New York Fed's actions in the AIG bailout make one thing clear: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner must go.

Geithner must go not just because of the emails showing that his New York Fed ordered AIG to keep details of the bailout secret, but because of many other decisions and policies he has championed in the past two years.

These decisions and policies have consistently put the interests of Wall Street ahead of the interests of the taxpayer, and they have undermined the public's confidence in the government at a time when the country needs it the most.

Tim Geithner's defense of his actions continues to be, in effect, "We had to do it or the world would have ended." This isn't good enough. It is also, at the very least, debatable.

It is true that Tim Geithner made many of his decisions in the midst of a crisis, and I do not doubt that his intentions were good and that he was doing the best he could. But this does not rinse his hands of responsibility for his decisions or their ongoing ramifications.

For five reasons, Geithner must go:

    * Geithner was directly responsible for the most appalling corporate bailout in U.S. history, in which tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were secretly funneled to some of the richest corporations in the world. The terms of this bailout, and the associated cloak of secrecy under which it was conducted (the details of which continue to leak out) have hurt the public's confidence in the government.

    * Geithner's ongoing decision to save banks at any cost was predicated on the theory that this would keep the banks lending. This policy has failed: The banks have not continued to lend. What the banks HAVE done is coin billions of dollars of profits risk-free at taxpayer expense, fueling even more public outrage.

    * Geithner's policy of "too big to fail" has created a banking system whose bets are guaranteed by the US taxpayer, and it has distorted lending and market forces across the entire economy. This policy, which has now been all but written into the Constitution, is grossly unfair. Big banks can do whatever they want with no concern about the consequences; small banks have to hunker down or they'll get taken over and shut down.

    * Geithner's role in the AIG bailout, which the current administration bears no responsibility for, continues to destroy confidence in his current boss, President Barack Obama. If AIG stays in the headlines, and Geithner does not accept responsibility for what happened. Obama's agenda and influence will continue to suffer.

    * Geithner's consistent decision to put Wall Street first has helped fuel a populist rage that will make it very difficult for the government to do anything more to help the financial system. If the recovery continues, such help might never become necessary. If it falters, however, Geithner's policies will have severely curtailed the government's ability to do anything about it.

Those who know him say that Tim Geithner is a very good guy. He made the decisions above in the midst of a panic, and I have no doubt that he was trying to do the right thing.

But contrary to the revisionist history now being promulgated, these actions were not the only way out. They were grossly unfair to taxpayers, and they have undermined public confidence in the government -- and our current President -- at a time when the country needs it most.
Power User
Posts: 42527

« Reply #497 on: January 11, 2010, 12:06:25 PM »

This could just as easily be posted in the Liberal Fascism thread, the Government Programs thread, the Corruption thread, etc. cheesy
Power User
Posts: 7838

« Reply #498 on: January 11, 2010, 02:34:13 PM »

Dylan Ratigan from MSNBC has been railing against Geitner like crazy.  Calling for his head on a platter.
I heard him on the radio yesterday.
Go to this site and click on AIG spot and listen:
« Reply #499 on: January 18, 2010, 11:53:25 AM »

“Let Me Be Perfectly Not Clear” and “Make Lots of Mistakes About It”
Posted By Victor Davis Hanson On January 17, 2010 @ 3:03 pm In Uncategorized | 70 Comments

It’s the lying, Stupid?

“Lie” is a rather harsh word; the noun and its verb form leave little to context or extenuating circumstances. So I use it sparingly.

But I know no other word for President Obama’s long string of “misstatements,” especially the blatant ones about closing Guantanamo within a year of his inauguration or serially declaring that he would insist on health care debate airing live on C-SPAN.

How odd that the liberal block is quiet that once coined “Bush lied, thousands died” (even when the CIA  and Defense intelligence was accepted by both parties and in sync with what the Arab world and Europe were insisting upon [recall the charge of a supposed naïve Bush taking us to war against a  nut who would gas our troops marshalling in Kuwait.]). In any case, not telling the truth has a lot to do with sinking polls

So I don’t quite buy the liberal lament that the people will support Obama when the economy improves.

It was roaring in 2005-6, and still Bush was unpopular — given the violence in Iraq and the administration’s inability to articulate our objectives there. And even when Iraq was winding down in 2008, polls still showed persistent American anger at the media narrative of a botched Katrina, the insurgency in Iraq, and a “jobless recovery.”

No, the American people are losing confidence in Team Obama because quite simply they are tiring of being lied to, and treated like children in need of Ivy-League Platonic guardians.

Yes, they intrinsically liked Obama and put away for a time their suspicions that he had not come clean on his real ideological intentions, his radical leftist past, his intimate association with the creepy Rev. Wright, and his partisanship that had made him the most liberal senator in the Congress.

Let us count the ways

But almost immediately, Obama, again, in Platonic fashion, began to say things that could not be possibly true. Remember the categories.

1)   The bait and switch lies. Here, we, the eager voters, were told that there are no more bad blue/red state dichotomies. We are a purple America. Instead, we immediately witnessed the demonization of the supposed “rich” (I say supposed, because the Buffet/Gates/Turner plutocrat is exempt), who are not “patriotic,” do not wish to “spread the wealth,” and must “pay their fair share.” Almost immediately Obama’s Bush became America’s Emanuel Goldstein — an Orwellian figure constructed to unify the people around an evil predecessor incapable of a single positive act — whether keeping us safe for over seven years from another 9/11-like attack, freeing 50 million from the Taliban and Saddam, or generating enormous national wealth from 2002-08.

Some deluded voters in November, 2011, went for Obama on promises of a new kinder, gentler politics. They got instead the most partisan, nasty Chicago politicking in memory.

2)   The “noble” lies. These are untruths aimed at the common good. In Cairo, we were told Muslims did all sorts of wonderful things in the past like invented printing and sparked the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Why not fabricate and exaggerate when the intentions are global ecumenicalism?

Remember the new tactic of assessing job losses by “jobs saved”? And why not, since we wish to bolster our spirits and believe that our borrowing was not wasted on pork-barrel insanities, rather than “investments” that created “millions of green jobs” that otherwise would not have existed?

And we must believe that health care reform as envisioned by the Obama massive state assumption of private insured care will save “trillions in waste and fraud.” Believe that, and at last the dream of “universal health care” is obtainable.

Remember the phrase “using all our resources” during the high energy prices of the 2008 campaign? Obama then was a centrist who would drill, develop nuclear, look for more gas, burn coal — all to tide us over as we waited for the dream of Van Jones. That too was a noble lie, necessary for we fools to cling to, while the anointed fashioned a “green” cap and trade future for us, whose efficacy  we could not quite yet fathom.

3)   Tactical lies. Then there are the tactical lies to achieve the desired ends in “that was then/this is now” fashion. Turn to Orwell’s Animal Farm for the right landscape. Health-care debate on C-SPAN/health care debate behind congressional doors. Taxes on Cadillac health plans were an inane McCain idea/taxes on Cadillac health plans are a way to eliminate waste and fraud; stupid, clueless Bush was pushing unpopular social security reform that 65% of the people didn’t want/wise, hip Obama is pushing noble health care reform that 65% of the people don’t want. The list is endless and started in 2007 with public campaign financing as good for dark horse candidates/public campaign financing as bad for front-runner cash cows.

Apparently two or three “let me be perfectly clear”s and 3-4 “make no mistake about it”s — when prefaced to something like “no more lobbyists in government” or “posting legislation well in advance on the internet” — make it all so.

4)   The Deadline Lies. Remember those? You’ve seen that sort of “if you don’t, then you….” in the supermarket when the poor harried mom has the three-year-old kid screaming and kicking on the aisle floor, and screams back as she blocks shoppers, “If you yell one more time, I’m going to spank you!” — as he screams and kicks all the louder.

Guantanamo shut by January 21, 2010? Iran in non-proliferation compliance by the UN summit or the G-20 meetings or the October face-to-face negotiations or the first of the new year? Remember health care done by the summer break? By Thanksgiving? By Christmas or else? By the first of the year?

I used to have a relative of sorts who came around the ranch and wanted $500. I gave it to him once and he’d return sheepishly every three months, and promise, “This spring I am going to pay you back.” “This summer I’ll paint your barn.” “Before the first rain, I’ll fix that tin roof on the shed.” Finally, I forgot I ever gave him the money, and now only vaguely recall how silly I was. So too, we forget the promises, so frequent and impossible they now  seem.

The list could be expanded exponentially and already, reader, you are screaming even as you read this, “But Victor, you didn’t list the worst of all, the lie about (fill in the blanks)…”

What are the catalysts for such prevarications?

1)   Habit. Obama could more or less say anything in mellifluous tones, and the media would become enraptured. This ability to charm by sounding honey-tongued while saying nothing started perhaps in the Ivy-League and has never ceased. Some habitual liars persist since they are never caught or even admonished. Obama is never called to account (cf. Robert Gibbs’s angry reaction to the blasphemy when asked about the C-SPAN fantasies). The most transparent administration in history hasn’t had a news conference since mid-summer, even amid the toadies (Note to media: photo-ops and interviews are not press conferences). The media and Obama have an unspoken pact that goes something like the following: “We both are educated elites who know best for the Neanderthals. So from time to time I will have to lie to you to get our shared aspirations realized; and I accept from time to time, you will have to play act as critics to cling to some sort of legitimacy that is likewise necessary for our joint aspirations.” (And then we’ll both have a beer together afterwords.)

2)   Morality. All philosopher-kings believe that the ends justify the means. To make us loving, caring equals — with no rich, no poor — we must sometimes adopt the Chicago politics that we insist we abhor. A Tony Rezko is bad, but a Tony Rezko is temporarily necessary to get the sort of hope and change we’ve been waiting for.

3)   Squaring circles. You can reconcile thinking that he U.S. is culpable for its race/class/gender felonious past, and globe-trotting the world on a presidential luxury jet with the red, white , and blue plastered all over it — the logical manifestation of a uniquely meritocratic, capitalist, and free-enterprise economy. One cannot damn insider, influence-peddling, private-jet flying Wall Street bankers, corrupt insurers, and “the rich,” and then hire the same, frequent the same, and aspire to be the same. Class warfare is hard when your own profile is the logical target. And so one is bound to change the story as hypocrisy begins to cramp.

4)   Personal confusion. Read both Obama memoirs (is that the right word for these auto-hagiographies?), and it becomes clear that he is still confused who he is. Barry Soetoro? Barry Dunham? Barack Dunham? Barack Obama? Barry Obama? Prep school upper-middle class in Hawaii or impoverished minority in need of affirmative action? African or African-American or plain old American suburbanite?  Harvard Law Review and Chicago Law lecturer or unpublished wannabe legal professor? Harry Reid’s unaccented “Negro” dialect or Harry Reid’s ability to turn it on only as needed? Racial healer who wows the suburbanite and NY-DC insider clique, or angry racialist who throws out “stupidly,” the clingers speech, “typical white person” and brags about not missing a Rev. Wright sermon to the Chicago Sun-Times? When one is confused about who one is, one creates alternate narratives and personas — and, yes, often they will clash.

The economy might just be in what we heard once (wrongly, in fact, in 2004) categorized as a “jobless recovery.” And, yes, the people have roared that they don’t want the remedies of statist health care, mega-deficits, higher taxes, more government, green boondoggles, apologetics abroad, blanket amnesty, and more lunatic appointments like Van Jones and Anita Dunn.

But what is taking Obama down below 50% approval is mostly  a public awareness that they elected a deeply cynical man, who either cannot or will not speak the truth or keep his promises (note the Nixonian resonance in “perfectly clear about…”). In fact, it is worse than that — in the postmodern world of Barack Obama there is no truth per se, just competing narratives privileged by the relative degree of power behind them and the relative perceived moral intent involved.

So when the advocates of hope and change, of non-traditional America, of the poor and the needy and the more noble, say something, it must be true because, you see, it should be true.

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