Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Who is Barack Obama?
The comparison to Reagan may give Obama cheer, but it is not really apt. For even in Reagan's darkest days when, according to Gallup, six out of 10 Americans reported that they did not like the job he was doing, an astounding six in 10 nevertheless said they liked the man himself. He was, of course, phenomenally charming, authentic and schooled at countless soundstages in appearing that way. Just as important, the public had faith in the consistency of his principles, agree or not. This was the Reagan Paradox and it helped lift his presidency.
No one is accusing Obama of being likable. He is not unlikable, but he lacks Reagan's (or Bill Clinton's) warmth. What's more, his career has been brief. He led no movement, was spokesman for no ideology and campaigned like a Nike sneaker -- change instead of swoosh. He seems distant. No Irish jokes from him. For the average voter, he casts no shadow.
Reagan, by contrast, had been around forever. He was not defined solely by gauzy campaign ads but by countless speeches, two contentious and highly controversial terms as California governor and a previous race for the presidency. There was never a question about who Reagan was and what he stood for. Not so Obama. About all he shares with Reagan at this point are low ratings.
What has come to be called the Obama Paradox is not a paradox at all. Voters lack faith in him making the right economic decisions because, as far as they're concerned, he hasn't. He went for health care reform, not jobs. He supported the public option, then he didn't. He's been cold to Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu and then all over him like a cheap suit. Americans know Obama's smart. But we still don't know him. Before Americans can give him credit for what he's done they have to know who he is. We're waiting.
Dealergate: Destroying Jobs on the basis of unproven government theories
Everything you need to know about the nightmare of government-controlled businesses can be found in a damning new inspector general's report on Dealergate. The independent review of how and why the Obama administration forced Chrysler and General Motors to oversee mass closures of car dealerships across the country reveals grisly incompetence, fatal bureaucratic hubris and Big Labor cronyism. No wonder you won't hear much about the report's in-depth details in the so-called mainstream media.
But Neil Barofsky, the federal watchdog overseeing the bank-auto-insurance-all-purpose bailout fund, found that the White House auto industry task force and the Treasury Department "Auto Team" had no basis for ordering the expedited car dealership closure schedules. They relied on a single consulting firm's internal report recommending that the U.S. companies adopt foreign auto industry models to increase profits -- a recommendation hotly disputed by auto experts who questioned whether foreign practices could be applied to domestic American dealership networks.
Team Obama's government auto mechanics also ignored the economic impact of rushing those closures. According to Barofsky, they discounted counter-testimony from industry officials that "closing dealerships in an environment already disrupted by the recession could result in an even greater crisis in sales."
The inspector general also noted that "it is clear that tens of thousands of dealership jobs were immediately put in jeopardy as a result of the terminations by GM and Chrysler." After extensive investigation, the watchdog concluded that "the acceleration of dealership closings was not done with any explicit cost savings to the manufacturers in mind." Only after Capitol Hill critics -- both Republican and Democrat -- started questioning the Dealergate decisions did Obama's auto "experts" come up with market studies and estimated job loss data to assess the impact of their reckless, arbitrary orders.
In sum, the inspector general found: "(A)t a time when the country was experiencing the worst economic downturn in generations and the government was asking its taxpayers to support a $787 billion stimulus package designed primarily to preserve jobs, Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses and thereby potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls -- all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions' broader economic impact."
This is no surprise, of course, considering the amount of actual business expertise among Obama's auto czars and key staff. That is: zero.
If you can't create any jobs, pay people not to work
Presidents typically invite Americans to appear at Rose Garden press conferences to trumpet their policy successes, but yesterday we saw what may have been a first. President Obama introduced three Americans—an auto worker, a fitness center employee and a woman in real estate—who've been out of work so long they underscore the failure of his economic program. Where are his spinmeisters when he really needs them?
Sure, Mr. Obama's ostensible purpose was to lobby Congress for the eighth extension of jobless benefits since the recession began, to a record 99 weeks, or nearly two years. And he whacked Senate Republicans for blocking the extension, though Republicans are merely asking that the extension be offset by cuts in other federal spending.
But Mr. Obama was nonetheless obliged to concede that, 18 months after his $862 billion stimulus, there are still five job seekers for every job opening and that 2.5 million Americans will soon run out of unemployment benefits. What happens when the 99 weeks of benefits run out? Will the President demand that they be extended to three years, or four?
Only last week Vice President Joe Biden was hailing the stimulus for "saving or creating" three million jobs. This week the White House says we need even more stimulus, in the form of jobless checks, to make up for the jobs his original spending stimulus didn't create.
The one possibility the President and Congressional Democrats won't entertain is that their own spending and taxing and regulating and labor union favoritism have become the main hindrance to job creation. Since February 2009, the jobless rate has climbed to 9.5% from 8.1%, and private industry has shed two million jobs. The overall economy has been expanding for at least a year, but employers still don't seem confident enough to add new workers. The economists who sold us the stimulus say it's a mystery. But maybe employers are afraid to hire because they don't know what costs government will impose on them next....
Mr. Obama also claimed yesterday that he wants to cut taxes on small businesses. That's a good idea, but Mr. Obama's proposal to provide one-year temporary tax cuts, such as expensing of certain capital purchases, will be dwarfed by one of the largest tax increases on small- and medium-sized firms in history that is scheduled to hit on January 1. The increase in the capital gains tax will fall hardest on start ups and expanding businesses that need capital for growth. More than half of the "rich" who will pay higher income tax rates next year are small business owners and investors.
The President is right that "we've got a lot of work to do" to get Americans back to work and that the toll on families from high unemployment is considerable. There are few things in life more demoralizing than being unemployed for a lengthy period of time. But paying people not to work and adding $30 billion more to nearly $1.4 trillion of deficit spending is a dismal substitute for real economic growth and private job creation.
The destructive party
I just finished editing a book. It's called "Duped America," (dupedamerican.com is the website where it can be purchased) and it explains--in great detail--how Democrats and their media sycophants have deliberately misled the American public regarding some of the most important issues of our time.
What makes the book genuinely compelling is that its author, Richard Bernstein, is a former life-long, liberal Jewish Democrat who got his head snapped back by the atrocity of 9/11. As he watched the Twin Towers fall, he couldn't understand why Americans had never even heard of al Qaeda before that fateful day.
So he decided to do some research. Not with the original intent of writing a book, but simply to find out what's been going on in this country--without that information being filtered by Democrats and their usual mainstream media suspects. After eight years of exploration he discovered many things that both shocked and amazed him, but the most shocking was this: he realized the political party to whom he had given a lifetime of unquestioning allegiance no longer represented his interests. In fact, he discovered what a lot of Americans are discovering: not only do Democrats no longer represent the interests of the majority of Americans, they are working actively against them.
Mr. Bernstein has the facts, researched and footnoted.
Why did he write the book? For the same reason I write columns: American exceptionalism is far too valuable to be destroyed by a political party and a president who consider all countries "equally exceptional." And that's when Democrats aren't busy apologizing for our racism, imperialism, xenophobia and free enterprise. Or telling Americans wars are "lost" before they've even been fought, or "fixing" things for their cronies on Wall Street and in public sector unions. We write because we're sick of seeing our public schools turned into liberal indoctrination centers, or scientific thought being corrupted by political ideology. We write because we know appeasing terrorists and foes while we snub our allies is a fool's errand. We write to prevent an economic tsunami from engulfing us, not because one is inevitable, but because bankrupt ideologues are greasing the skids, instead of saving the country.
We write because America is a terrible thing to waste.
And yet here come Republicans, tooling along in third gear when it's clear as day it's pedal-to-the-metal time. When the country is "this" close to being turned into a socialist nightmare of big-government hacks doling out "social justice" to whomever they deem suitable. When Americans, up to their necks in fear for the future, need genuine inspiration--not tired election slogans they've heard a thousand times before.
Republicans, trust me when I tell you that your party's hour is at hand. A "strategy" of "vote for us because we suck less than Democrats" is an utter insult to the electorate. Refusing to make detailed policy statements because it might cut into your generic lead in the polls is too clever by half. If you can't defend freedom and limited government clearly and concisely, resign. If you can't forcefully attack the worst combination of a Congress and a White House in history, get the hell out of the way and make room for those of us who can.
Obama admin: Mandate is a tax after all: "Obama, in the Democratic primary, argued against the individual mandate. It was one of the key distinctions between himself and Clinton(It should be recalled that Obama, in the primary, ran ‘Harry and Louise’ ads against the Clinton Health Care plan). After he was elected, he immediately delegated the crafting of Health Care legislation to the congress, which immediately began fashioning something that resembled the Clinton plan, with mandates and all. When Obama was propagandizing the merits of the Health Care Reform Bill to the press, he bristled at suggestions that the mandate was a ‘tax.’ … Now that the individual mandate is being challenged in federal court by the attorney generals of various States, the Obama Admin has dispensed with the propaganda.”
Washington elites face reality gap on economy: "While private sector workers across the country are struggling with abnormally high unemployment rates, federal government employees in Washington are likely to be bewildered by the current economic downturn. In fact, a Politico article released today confirmed that about half of ‘Washington elites’ who live in the D.C. metro area and work in politics or policy fields claim that the country and the economy are headed in the right direction — compared to less than 25 percent of the general population.”
It’s time to shift spending to states: "Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, which currently equal about 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, will expand to more than 30 percent by 2085, according to recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. The national debt is estimated to jump from the current 60 percent of GDP to several times the GDP. The exact numbers depend on a range of assumptions. But under every plausible scenario, both debt and debt service explode under current policy. At some point, therefore, the economy is due to crash unless Washington reins in spending. One way to avoid this outcome would be to transfer entitlement programs to the states.”
Black racism embarrasses the White House -- for once: "The Obama administration quickly asked an African American official in the Agriculture Department to resign Monday after a conservative website showed an excerpt of a speech she had given in which she appeared to describe her unwillingness to help a white farmer. … the incident took place in 1986, when Ms. Sherrod was working for the farmer-aid organization’s Georgia field office. The organization was founded to help black farmers but ‘helped anyone who walked in the door,’ Mr. Paige said. Ms. Sherrod told CNN that ‘I know I didn’t do anything wrong’ and that the video excerpt did not represent the context of her remarks.”
Projection? Black racists accusing others of being racist: "The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People passed a resolution at its national convention Tuesday condemning the tea party movement for tolerating racism. Is that not the pot calling the kettle black? The NAACP has to be one of the most racist organizations on the planet and its attacks on the populist tea party movement make it a hypocritical one as well.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 11:26 PM