My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Over/Under . . . (updating) 

on President Obama saying "my predecessor" or "that we inherited" or some variant of that at 4-1/2. Because the buck stopped at the last guy.

--seriously?!? How does he say this with a straight face?!? "Do our work openly?" "excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs?" I'm waiting for a "Yeah . . .that's the ticket!"

--"powerful interests?" "foreign entities?" like, oh, I don't know . . .the AARP, PHarMA, insurance companies?? and the last knkown foreign entity that contributed to a campaign was, um . . let's see . . .China! and the recipient of that was, um . . .let's see, a Democrat (Clinton).
I'm amazed at the audacity--not surprised, just amazed

--(8:12 pm) sorry--too much of this just doesn't pass the laugh test, so I fell asleep. And yet, he. is. still.talking. This guy just loves the view of his own teleprompter.

--not exactly sure where the reputation for eloquence comes from. After just about twenty minutes he just starts to fade to wooden, almost Borg-like. Resistance is futile . . .

Gonna go away now. I'll have more thoughts a little later.


Obama's Grade, addendum 

Oh, yeah. I forgot. What's the President's second highest domestic priority? Climate change.

And the bad week continues:

. . . when it comes to unsubstantiated research it's hard to beat the IPCC, whose 2007 report insisted that the glaciers--which feed the rivers that in turn feed most of South Asia--were very likely to nearly disappear by the year 2035. "The receding and thinning of Himalayan glaciers," it wrote in its supposedly definitive report, "can be attributed primarily to the [sic] global warming due to increase in anthropogenic emissionn of greenhouse gases."

It turns out that this widely publicized prediction was taken from a 2005 report from the World Wildlife Fund, which based it on a comment from by Indian glacier expert Syed Hasnein from 1999. Mr. Hasnain now said he was "misquoted." Even more interesting is that the IPCC was warned in 2006 by leading glaciologist Georg Kaser that the 2035 forecast was baseless. "This number is not just a little bit wrong, but far out of any order of magnitude," Mr. Kaser told the Agence France-Presse. "It is so wrong that it is not even worth discussing."

Huh. Guess that priority number isn't looking all that important. Maybe it's time to move on to something really important to Mr. Obama . . . like "Card check" or trying terrorists in New York City civilian courts a couple miles from Ground Zero. And, I don't know, maybe someday he can get around to doing something useful like trying to create jobs.


President Obama's Year One Grade 

Yes, I'm doing this one day later than the rest of the world because this was a day whose realities were but emanations of the rest of the week. All the same, you don't really need to look to me for a grade (though I'm going to give one at the end, anyway); all you have to do is look at how his week has gone.

All in one week, the President has:

:travelled to Massachusetts for an improbable emergency campaign stop
:seen his legislature fail to craft a compromise that would have brought a health care bill to his desk before the improbably important election
:seen his supermajority in the Senate evaporate in, of all places, Massachusetts, and by a rather resounding margin
:seen the Supreme Court eliminate the massive funding advantage the left has with one seismic ruling
:try to recraft his message to include populist railing against banks, only to watch the stock market drop about 470 points in the 36 hours after that message
:been warned by some top economists that the recovery will likely be slower than first thought
:ticked off China, who owns about 4 gazillion dollars of our debt
:and is tonight watching our erstwhile closest allies in England scramble their resources to prevent a credible and present terrorist threat

So, let's see, what are the four things a President must manage: foreign policy, the economy, national security, and politics. On foreign policy, he's angered the one country that has the ability to collapse our economy with one phone call. On the economy, he continues to see his policies fail while actually doing stupid things that make the situation worse. On national security, it turns out the rest of the world doesn't suddenly love us just because of his effervescent brilliance, and they continue to plot to do us and our friends great harm. And he's now squandered both a legislative and a structural advantage, while facing the very real prospect that he's led his party down the road to massive electoral losses in nine months.

Being an educator, I like grading based on clearly defined understandings of what the expectations were going in to the assignment. I would say he has accomplished NONE of what he assigned himself to do, or of what the expectations of a President are. Based solely on that, he would have to get a grade of "F." But of course, being the politically mamby-pamby institutions schools are, we have to take into account his troubled childhood and the difficulty of the assignment for someone with as little experience as he has, and up that grade to a "D+."

But then, being me, I also take into account the insufferable arrogance of the Man and factor in the unprecedented degree of media support that he's received, and slap his grade firmly back down to an "F."

Here's the thing about a man like President Obama. Shortly after the Columbine Massacre, we teachers were treated to a series of inservices on student disaffection and spotting the potential loose cannon in our classes. And the one thing I still remember from that time was to look for the student who has an undeservedly elevated opinion of their own abilities, who, for whatever reason, is suddenly confronted with their own shortcomings.

Have you heard the clip of the President from his campaign stop in Ohio today? He seems . . . well, . . .angry. I wonder if he's had a few, well, pressure valve releases with his staff in the last few days. If a few of those happen at the wrong time in the wrong places, his whole persona could crumble right before our eyes. These could be dangerous times, my friends.

Oh, yeah. Did I mention that the State of the Union is next week? I'll bet the speechwriting staff is going to have a very LONG weekend. Talk about "in the line of fire."



The Obama Learning Curve and W 

I have written before that the beginning of the end for George W. Bush's presidency was Hurricane Katrina. This is nothing earth-shattering--I'm one of only about 40 million pundits who shared that opinion. But I thought it was about more than just failure to protect Americans, which was the dominant opinion. I thought there was a lot of it that could be attributed to the overall sense of incompetence that attached itself to the administration in both the actual handling of that disaster and the public relations effort that followed.

It took the Bush administration about 6 years to get to that point; Obama must be a lot smarter than Bush because he's already reached that point.

I think, in general, there are four different sentiments that the general public reaches about politicians: competent but wrong, competent and right, incompetent but right, and incompetent and wrong. The President is very close to falling towards that last category.

Look at how he's handled the last three major events that he's been dealt. Fort Hood, the Christmas bomber, and the Haiti earthquake have all landed in his lap through absolutely no choosing of his own. And in each case he has completely missed the oopportunity to serve a function that Americans look to the President for: comforter in chief. His response to Ft. Hood was wooden and highlit a pathological unwillingness to call a spade a spade; the Christmas bomber led to a comedy of errors from a team that seems like it's in WAY over its head; and now Haiti has found a ridiculously slow response (if the airport is down, why can't we airlift a few battalions of Marines in and follow that with C-130 after C-130 of supply drops?) that does nothing to inspire confidence.

At the beginning of his term, 40% of the electorate thought he was wrong but were scared about how competent he seemed to be; 45% of the electorate thought he was right and didn't care if he was competent or not; 15% of the electorate were simply relieved that the old was out and hoped that Obama could just manage competence. Now, I would say, there are still the diehard 25% who think he's right and don't care about competence; he's got his hard left 10% who think he's right but don't think he's competent; he's got now 45%-50% of the country who think he's wrong and are troubled that "competence", esp. vis-a-vis health care, rally means "arrogance;" and that leaves about 15% who are not particularly ideological but concerned that the President and his team are hyper-ideological and/or completely out of their depth. That makes for a very difficult political situation.

But worse for the country, every hard-bought victory for the Democrats leads to a heightened distrust of government. And, sadly, since the Republicans have so far proven ineffective, the country won't turn to them but will, instead, simply turn away from everybody.

A somewhat dangerous place for the country to be. Anybody who doesn't think its possible for this country to disintigrate is just naive.


Time to Move On 

The Republicans in power tend to make the same mistakes over and over again. I'm really afraid that they're in the midst of that at this moment with the whole Harry Reid/negro thing.

The main point has been made: there is a double standard that applies to issues of race and political party. Time to leave it alone. The longer GOPers try to dwell on the issue, the more it's going to (rightly) look like partisan gamesmanship.

In reality, the real issue is one of condescension: what is true of Harry Reid has also been true of Joe Biden and countless other liberals before. A black man is surprising when he comes across well, and to have succeeded on his own without the blessing or intervention of a liberal savior is astonishing. Which, of course, means said black man must be a very attractive candidate. But don't expect us to change our perception of blacks in this country; Obama must be the exception that proves the rule.

By the way, as to the Trent Lott analogy, it is, at best, an unimportant one. Really, the only thing the two have in common is their title and the nature of the comments that they made. But Lott's was awkward and incorrect, while Reid's was simply awkward. But to assess where they're going in their careers you have to look at where they are at the time of the controversy: Reid is just coming off of a major legislative victory which he is largely responsible for bribing int . . . er, I mean bringing to fruition, while Trent Lott was at the end of a long losing streak when he got ridden out of town. There were Republicans, this author included, who were calling for Lott's resignation before the Thurmond comments--those just pushed it through the pipeline.

Besides, any continued dwelling on this topic means less time and energy spent on the really important things, like this report predicting another spike in gas prices thanks to the EXTREME COLD WEATHER. Isn't it about time for the Dems to start trying to push Cap 'n Trade through? So that it won't get any warmer?


Don't Start Celebrating Yet 

The big news of the day is the run for the exits of the Democratic Party. Dorgan, Dodd, and Bill Ritter all announcing in one day that they will not seek re-election.

Should be a day to celebrate, right?

I wouldn't go there just yet. Something Denis Miller said this morning struck me as wise, as Miller often does. He was drawing a comparison between this year's Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots of a couple years ago, and his basic premise was that the Patriots sent for their shot at immortality and the Colts did not; the Patriots were thinking long-term in playing their best team all the way towards an undefeated year, and the Colts are thinking short-term by resting their starters and thinking they'll be better positioned to win this one Super Bowl. And then he spun it to Barack Obama.

The analogy is this: Obama is willing to trade in his next election, and the next election of every other Democrat, to achieve immortality in passing Health Care Reform, Cap 'n Trade, an ambitious Labor agenda, and by making the U.S. subject to international institutions. He KNOWS he can force all of these through this year and likely will never have the opportunity to do it again. So that's what he wants to do.

So what does that have to do with all the sudden retirements? It means that all of these people can sign on to the President's agenda without any fear of voter repercussion. They can be part of the immortality and retire to nice, cushy teaching jobs and laugh the whole way there. Ritter, of course, is in a little bit different place, but the idea is the same: he can now push full-force for a hard left agenda (eliminate TABOR, "green" state, more Labor perks, etc . . . ) with a sympathetic legislature and no fear of voter repercussion.

Don't look for the Democrats to be chastened by their shrinking numbers--look for the gang that has nothing to lose to play like they have nothing to lose. Which, by the way, means you have A LOT to lose!


What I Look For in 2010, pt. III 

A bumper sticker:

"How the Democratic Party has changed:
Truman: The Buck Stops Here
Obama: The Buck Stops at the last guy

. . . until, I suppose, the massive federal debts and deficits I'm running up devalue the "buck" so much that it collapses completely.

But seriously, I keep wondering when the people who support this President are going to get fed up with him continually referencing President Bush as his explanation for everything that has or has not happened. To wit:

--Obama "surged" the troops in Afghanistan--it's now HIS
--Obama followed the exact same timetable in Iraq as President Bush--it's now HIS
--Obama bought the economy for $787 billion, and unemployment jumped a full 1.2% higher than his worst predictions--it's now HIS
--Obama has reviewed and altered every counterterrorism measure the Pres. Bush put in place--it's now HIS (and we got VERY lucky on Christmas Day that our failures did not end up in 300+ deaths)

This country is now Pres. Obama's--he should start taking responsibility for the office he holds.

Just for grins, I'm going to issue a challenge to the President's team: make it through the entire State of the Union speech without once referencing President Bush, the previous administration, or the mess you inherited. They're all yours now--show some leadership and claim them.

By the way, that would make for a great drinking game: everybody does a shot whenever Pres. Obama refers to Pres Bush during the SOTU.


What I Look For in 2010, pt. II 

That the deep pockets on the conservative side of the aisle dig deep and create institutions and organizations to rival MoveOn.org, the Bighorn Center, and other groups like ACORN.

I believe that there is a growing tide that the Democrats are going to underestimate at their peril, but I have no faith that it will end up carrying the day. How many races in the last 3 years have we seen bounce between shady to corrupt, and every one of them a Democratic win? Let's see, there's the WA gubenatorial race in 06, Norm Coleman's race in '08, and that's just what jumps to mind easily. Now that the Democrats are firmly in power, I expect that . . .

If it's close they'll cheat!

So we have to make sure that these races are not close, and that the financial backing of candidates is substantial enough early in the race that good conservative candidates are not hesitant to step up to the plate.

And, as we've seen from the Health Care debate, the President and his minions have NO qualms about twisting arms to get money into the pipeline. Our side needs to be OVER-prepared for election abuses, and we need to be certain that good candidates have a chance.

By the way, notice I keep saying "conservative," not "Republican." Given John McCain's role in Colorado's losses over the last six years, and Olympia Snowe's role in allowing health care to become a reality, let's just say that I'm less excited by Republicans than I am conservatives. Maybe it's just me . . . .


What I Look For In 2010 

Not that I'm expecting it, but the next few posts will be about what I think is needed by this country in 2010.

First and foremost is a choice: the "Professional Journalists" can either remember their duty and the their craft and honesly cover the debates in this country, OR the country can finally and totally reject them and bring about the end of many daily newspapers and the major broadcast news outlets.

If this does not happen, the reign of tyranny will be started without any hope for recourse. The powers that be have to be accountable, and when those who are charged with that fail--no, CHOOSE not--to live their charge, then the country should slough them off like so much unnecessary clothing. If we can't, we will never know what is real and what is not, and a responsible body politic cannot survive like that.

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