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Archive for the ‘obama’ Category

Obama is strangely out of touch with reality, as noted by such differing observers as Dan Rather and Lawrence Auster, who was inspired by Dan Rather’s recent, strange comment on Obama:

The man is an incredible turn-off. Like a robot turned permanently to “Haranguing Dictator mode,” he keeps repeating, day after day, month after month, “Now is the time to act, “We must move forward now,” “We’ve waited long enough,” “The time to debate is over,” “It’s time to stop talking and starting acting,” “It’s time to make a decision.” Long after we, the American people, justifiably repelled and frightened by what he wants to do to us, have rejected his health care scheme by which we all become the slaves of a monstrous bureaucracy that will impoverish us individually and bankrupt the country, he keeps yammering into our ears that we must enact it, now. The more we reject him, the more he keeps going after us.

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To appear more human, Obama tried to be funny and folksy, but his wise cracks and “million dollar smile” came across more as creepy sarcasm.  This act also created a problem of tone.  People want to see that he cares about them and their problems , that he “feels their pain” the way Bill Clinton did so well. He failed in this regard.  He always does.  It’s not his strong suit.  It was more like a pep rally atmosphere.  And he was fully of excuses, on banks for instance, rather than careful explanations and defenses of his policies.  This made him look simultaneously cocky and weak.

The speech was screwy on many levels:  he failed to convey empathy effectively, the speech lacked a unifying theme, his “rah rah” engagement with the partisan Democrats will likely alienate independents, the facts hurt him on unemployment and the debt, and his response to the same was logically contradictory, i.e., freeze spending but spend new money on flying cars and solar and what-not.  I also think his doubling down on healthcare will scare seniors, even if Medicare reform long-term makes good policy sense.  Finally, his jobs bill sounds kind of unbelievable; if a $1T stimulus couldn’t sort things out, what will $30B do. It hurts these programs’ popularity that none of us really knows anyone helped by the stimulus.  He named a few random companies, but I literally have never seen a project or met anyone who was employed because of that boondoggle.

Like most state of the union speeches,  it won’t move the dial much, but since the dial is pointed so negative for him, that makes this speech a big failure.

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Recounting various failures of Obama’s rhetoric to accomplish anything–from Copenhagen on the Olympics to Iran–Bret Stephens’ timely editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal reminds us that Obama’s fatal weakness is his own and his supporters’ unshakeable faith in his powers of persuasion:

He seems to have come to office believing that America’s problems abroad could mainly be put down to the rough-edged persona of his predecessor. Change the president, change the tone, give magnificent speeches, tinker with the policy, and the world would revert to some default mode of liking America and wanting to work with it. It doesn’t work that way. Nor does it work in domestic policy, where personal salesmanship has failed to overcome the defects of legislation. Americans still generally like Mr. Obama, or at least they’d like to like him. It’s the $12 trillion deficit and Rube Goldberg health schemes that rub them wrong.

So what’s Copenhagen Syndrome? It is a belief in your own miracles. It is thinking that those who crowned you king actually knew what they were doing. It is buying into your own tulip bulb mania. It is the floating evanescent bubble of self. God help you when it bursts.

Incidentally, I wrote something on this earlier this year, and it’s notable that Obama’s experience with the presidency is much like the rest of his life:  a series of attainments but few achievements, exactly what one would expect from a smooth-talker who time and experience have repeatedly revealed is basically a sophist.

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A commenter on Larry Auster’s website put it best:

I couldn’t help thinking that this string of improbable election results—Christie in New Jersey, the Virginia clean sweep, Brown—in addition to the widespread Tea Party protests, have been powerful confirmation of what you said more than a year ago, and what I was thinking when I refused to vote for John McCain. Obama has galvanized and revived American conservatives in a way that no liberal Republican president ever could. I think it’s pretty well beyond serious dispute that if John McCain were president, we’d already have amnesty and none of those federal and local seats would have gone to a Republican. Moreover, people have coalesced around fierce opposition to a President whose leftist agenda and sheer, brazen contempt for the American people has awakened real panic and outrage.

I wrote too, around May 2008, that Obama would radicalize conservatives. So far so good.  But it’s not a costless thing; we are in a painful recession, and the “solution” of deficit-stimulus spending guarantees another bigger dip some time down the road, as whatever bubble is being inflated deflates unexpectedly.  Let’s just hope we’re not eating Soylent Green and taking our money in wheel barrows to the farmer’s market before it’s all over.  But hopefully we’ll come to our senses on the economy, fiscal profligacy, immigration, national security, and much else before this joker is through. But even that means a national decision to slowly, steadily climb out of this terrible hole and get our books in order.

Hopefully too “change” will become a bad word and we can, once again, remember John Randolph’s admonition that “change is not reform.”

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Tough Talk on Terrorism

This was unintentionally hillarious:

“Make no mistake. We will close Guantanamo prison.”  That’s what President Obama said during his recent remarks about national security in the aftermath of the attempt to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.

I feel better already.  It’s like George W.’s “dead or alive” remarks, but, you know, a little different.

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It’s been remarkable to see Obama progress from silence, to clinical discussion of the “alleged terror suspect,” to passing the blame for this incident onto nameless, faceless forces and procedures.  It’s true, there probably are many failures of procedure, imagination, and courage in the events that led up to the Christmas terror attack in which a Nigerian terrorist, revealed as such to the CIA by his own father, boarded a plane and was thwarted only by providence and a passenger that leaped across the middle row to subdue him.

Does this guy ever realize that he’s not on the outside looking in, “speaking truth to power?”  The people in charge of these procedures are his people and ultimately him.  The persistence of these policies is a consequence of his own lack of leadership.  And these failures are a product of the continued schizophrenic attempt to fight terrorism while assuaging the tender feelings of the prickly Muslim community–a high wire act that Obama himself performed by advising us all not to jump to conclusions in the case of Major Nidal Hasan’s mass murder last month.

This guy is a terrible leader, stumbling, weak, a bit lazy, alienated, confused, and devoid of any sense of personal responsibility for the most important job he has as president: protecting the lives of the American people from its enemies.

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Obama’s Deadlines

Interesting article on Obama’s penchant for issuing deadlines.  I think this is a mark of his lack of previous management experience; he has not lost face previously from setting deadlines that others and events outside of his control have rendered irrelevant.  He is a novice, and his leadership style shows it:  replete with abusive and over-heated rhetoric, unrealistic deadlines, contradictory directions to subordinates, paper threats, and increasingly ineffective strings of generalities he calls “speeches.”

It would be fun and funny if it all weren’t so deadly serious.  At least health care looks like it’s gone from very bad–socialism that destroys the independence and innovation of American medicine–to the merely bad, in this case a crony capitalist giveaway to insurance companies with toothless limitations on costs.  There will be some redistribution, mostly from the young to the old and, along the same lines, the healthy and insurable to those with chronic health problems.  But the government won’t (right away) be deciding who gets care and who doesn’t, private insurance will remain, and the Democrats will probably get wolloped in 2010.  And Obama will own this thing along with all the problems of American health care going forward.

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