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Posts Tagged ‘obama’

America’s politics are more and more resembling those of the Soviet Union, where very little is at stake, 90% of the issues are off the table and decided by committees of connected elites, and the  theater of politics, including elections, are there mostly to cover up the reality. 

Last week we observed vitriolic denunciations and counter-denunciations of Republicans and Democrats in the run-up to the budget funding bill, but in the end only $60B (and possibly less) was ultimately cut.  These cuts only affected the small sliver of discretionary spending.  This is chump change when we have a $1T yearly deficit and tens of trillions(!) of unfunded liabilities in the decades ahead.

Obama this week in a highly partisan speech denounced the Republican proposals, in particular those of the fairly serious Paul Ryan, as mean-spirited and violative of the American “social compact.”  His liberal supporters swooned at his passionate defense of the welfare state, but in doing so he and they as well remind us that they are not serious people and are not taking seriously the unfunded liabilities that cannot be sustained in the decades ahead.  Something must give. 

Republicans may not be terribly serious or courageous on average, but a few of them are very serious and are saying what needs to be said about the budget problems.  Of course, sacred cows like our bloated defense budget, bailouts for banks, various forms of corporate welfare such as farm subsidies, and much else should be on the table.  But at least the topic of our fiscal problems is on the table among Republicans and not dealt with through magical thinking, as in the mind of Obama.  Much of the credit belongs to the Tea Party, the amorphous collection of grass roots conservative activists who were not terribly impressed with W’s spending spree and were jolted into action by Obama Care.  This movement, while containing many unserious people, has at its core a very serious point:  we are spending ourselves into oblivion and must get a handle on it or our country will destroy itself. 

Obama is no leader.  I believe he knows the fiscal crisis to be a reality, but he also knows that it would be very costly politically to do something about it.  He has been willing to expend this capital to grow the welfare state into a permanent institution that makes everyone a welfare case through Obamacare, but he has not done what is necessary to preserve (or sensibly reduce) the commitments already made in the form of Medicare, Social Security, and much else.  This reveals him as what I always thought he was:  a coward, a mouthpiece for conventional Democratic Party talking points, and someone indifferent about America’s strength and prosperity.

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Debt Delusion

The recent budget fight is simply a precursor of what must be done.  Both sides are still playing small ball, messing with discretionary spending, when the huge entitlement bomb is going to cause our demise.  While Democratis cry about “cruel” budgets, our debt will go up more this week (about $50B) than the $38B or so that Congress was able to agree to cut.  We’re using bandaids and aspirin when wholesale amputation and emergency surgery is required.  Columnist Robert Samuelson put the matter well in his column today:

We in America have created suicidal government; the threatened federal shutdown and stubborn budget deficits are but symptoms. By suicidal, I mean that government has promised more than it can realistically deliver and, as a result, repeatedly disappoints by providing less than people expect or jeopardizing what they already have. But government can’t easily correct its excesses, because Americans depend on it for so much that any effort to change the status arouses a firestorm of opposition that virtually ensures defeat. Government’s very expansion has brought it into disrepute, paralyzed politics and impeded it from acting in the national interest.

Few Americans realize the extent of their dependency. The Census Bureau reports that in 2009 almost half (46.2 percent) of the 300 million Americans received at least one federal benefit: 46.5 million, Social Security; 42.6 million, Medicare; 42.4 million, Medicaid; 36.1 million, food stamps; 3.2 million, veterans’ benefits; 12.4 million, housing subsidies.

While Paul Krugman cries that Obama is a wimp and Republicans are cruel, it is our continued, insane-level of deficit spending that is cruel.  It has real practical consequences today ($5 gas) and tomorrow (a shrinking, sclerotic, no jobs economy).  There are signs of seriousness and hope among both voters (the Tea Party) and politicians (Paul Ryan, for example),  but one wonders if the stars can align for the kind of serious courage needed to get this sorted out before we have a real Greek-style meltdown.

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In addition to the fact that our “allies” look like something from Mad Max–and some consist of al Qaeda--I am struck that we’ve not heard an Oval Office address.  I cannot recall a military action in my lifetime without some run up, a domestic debate, some sign off through resolution or otherwise by the Congress, and a solemn case made to the American people by the President.

Obama, instead, allowed himself to be persuaded this was a good idea–scared perhaps the Clintons would undermine him for inaction–and then he was off to Brazil.  Obama seems to think he could get into war as an afterthought, much like his appointment of strange leftist weirdos such as Van Jones.  He forgot forces on the right and left have an opinion about this.  And he really forgot that he was not elected to start “wars of choice” but rather to end them.

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Andrew Sullivan is nothing if not prone to revisiting his earlier enthusiasms.  I suppose there is a kind of authenticity in that . . . “often wrong, but never uncertain!”  He loved Bush for a while, but grew disenchanted on account of Iraq and the gay marriage issue. Then he liked Ron Paul for a spell until Paul’s old school conservative views from the early 90s were revealed.

Now he is down on Obama due to the Libyan campaign (and in particular the lack of any public relations campaign). I checked Sully’s website not sure if he’d be against the campaign or say that anyone opposed to it was the second coming of Neville Chamberlain. His strong enthusiasms are not matched by equal philosophical clarity.

But Sullivan does make a good point that every patriotic American should agree with:

My anger is not simply at what I regard as the folly of starting a long war with someone as insane as Qaddafi, but at the way this war was foisted on the public with absolutely no warning.

It shows contempt for the American people, and their views, and contempt for the Congress and its role in deliberating before going to war. As [James] Fallows notes, this entire debate was entirely about changing one man’s mind, not the country or the Congress or the people. Only the emperor counts, and if he happens to be wrong, tough luck. Who would have thought we’d elect Barack Obama to replicate the worst aspects of an unaccountable executive?

Sully is confusing his idealized image of Obama with Obama the reality.  Obama is not replicating anything.  He is taking the natural tendency of the American executive–to obtain and protect power in its operational sphere–and wedding that to un-American big government ideas.  He believes in government, his foreign policy views derive from his concern that his domestic big government programs may be harmed by foreign wars, and, more than the average politician, he really really believes in himself.  Obama doesn’t have much faith in America, however, so when he’s alienating the majority of Americans (as in healthcare) or thumbing his nose at historical American practice (as in the Libyan operation) he feels like he’s being faitful to his core mission.

Obama’s incoherent embrace in 2008 of the war in Afghanistan while poo-pooing Iraq should have been a clue.  By then, both were the same types of campaigns fought for the same reasons using the same strategy.  True, Afghanistan harbored the 9/11 attackers and began as a revenge operation, but by 2008 both wars were nation-building efforts to spread Muslim democracy and root out homegrown anti-government insurgents.  By 2008, neither campaign had much of anything to do with revenge or international terrorists, other than a prop in the propaganda that supported the campaigns.  That Obama could embrace this kind of incoherent nonsense bode ill of him, and I wrote as much at the time.

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Oh You Mean We Must Be Civil Too?

Remember after Rep. Giffords was shot by a psychopath last month? There was much talk about the tone of politics and the horrors of incivility, particularly on the right. But civility is a neutral value. It’s supposed to apply to everyone. And it has some value, so long as it is not code for stopping all harsh criticism rooted in facts. There is always a problem in application: the left thinks it’s goodness personified and that its opponents are not merely stupid or mistaken, but deeply evil and mentally ill. So for them civility is just a tactical position; the real goal is silence and disempowerment, as we’ve seen in university settings and other places where the left has dominance.

So isn’t it interesting that when thuggish mobs have taken over Wisconsin’s capital and derailed a democratic process, that Obama has said nothing of their tactics–which apparently involve intimidation and threats–but rather celebrates the power of unions and takes sides, in a matter wholly unusual for an American president and wholly at odds with his civility talk last month. Of course, unions have traded in violence and threats since day one. This has always been their modus operandi. Go watch Hoffa sometime. Or read about the Greyhound strike. It’s for real, but the left is so convinced of its rectitude that they don’t even realize the double standards that they are purveying in their calls for civility, while they celebrate the thuggish unions that are the bane of America, particularly when transported into the government sector.

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State of the Union

I didn’t even watch it.  From what I read, it sounds like more proposals to invent flying cars and perpetual motion machines to save the world.  The big drivers of our misfortune–unsustainable entitlements, financial trickery, mass third world immigration, and the off-shoring of our manufacturing base–will be untouched. 

Robert Samuelson says most of what needs to be said here.

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I’ve mostly avoided the birtherism issue.  It sounded fanciful, and I haven’t looked into it until recently.  But here’s a question: why hasn’t Obama released his long form birth certificate?  And why, after much fanfare,  has Gov. Abercrombie stated that it may not be there?

It seems to me that we need not go into full blown conspiracy mode to acknowledge that there are several possibilities of varying degrees of probability.  One possibility is that it never existed.  Obama was midwifed on Hawaii or elsewhere, and his mother or grandparents reported his birth directly to the Department of Health.   Perhaps, he figured it was better  not to show the shoddy records, which could not be verified other than believing either his deceased mother or grandparents.

Two, his birth certiciate indicates his parents weren’t married, which might be embarrassing.  After all, his father had multiple wives, his mother was only 17 when she was pregnant, and he quickly disappeared after Barack’s birth.

Three, his birth certificate indicates something else embarrassing, like a social disease, or perhaps something intended not to be embarrassing, but which has become so:  classification not as “Negro” but as Caucasian or Polynesian (at his mom’s direction), and this is also embarrassing considering his self-obsession with his black background.

Or, least likely but most politically damaging, he really was born in Kenya, and is now on a train he can’t get off.

While Obama has produced a “short form” Certificate of Live Birth from the Hawaii Department of Health,   Obama has not released his long form certificate.  It would look something like this.  No one has seen it.  The governor implied this week it may not be in the archives.  And these are objective facts.  Obama and the complicit media’s failure to sort this out with full disclosure (as too with his transcripts and much else) leads to understandable suspicion of his background and, it would seem, needless chatter and distraction.

Perhaps Obama wants its this way, a stalking horse to distract his opponents and make them appear nutty.  That said, if he really wanted to dispose of this mess–as he said he wants to and as his ally Gov. Abercrombie has attempted–that long form would be released, and it has not. This is not conspiracy talk; this is the situation Obama himself has created.  And it is reasonable to assume something is being hidden by his refusal to release all kinds of records from his recent and not-so-recent past.

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