Views on the News – 2/4/2012


By: David Coughlin
The more one watches the 44th U.S. President, the more certain it becomes that he is not the person foisted on the public during the 2008 election campaign, like the Wizard of Oz, the little man behind the curtain, an empty suit, and not the image of a giant who bestrides the world, orders the oceans to recede, and heals the planet is a fruit of relentless propaganda and a figment of his sycophants’ imaginations.  There are certain personality traits a true revolutionary leader must possess, yet Obama exhibits none of them.  The revolutionary giant is a person of titanic energy and vigor, seething with implacable hatred for the status quo; a man obsessed with power to such an extent that everything else pales into insignificance.  Power for power’s sake, not its perks, is the real fuel they run on.  The revolutionary giant is typically a person of intellectual distinction and enormous capacity and taste for work.  He is also tough-minded, highly disciplined, and possessed of an indomitable will.  Finally, he must be charismatic and able to bend people to his will by force of his magnetic personality.  When you look at these qualities, Barack Obama fails on all counts.  His limp-wristed demeanor, more typical of a world-weary courtier than a king, bespeaks indolence rather than energy.  What we know about his schedule is certainly no evidence of a workaholic.  Endless hours spent on the links, a net of three months over the last three years, so that his caddy has far more face time with the President than any member of his cabinet.  Frequent, prolonged vacations in posh spots; regular, come-hell-or-high-water parties at the White House, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous; and lack of intellectual curiosity and fixation on middle-brow TV entertainment and sports are not encouraging.  Obama is sloth incarnate, known for a passionate abhorrence of steady, nose-to-the-grindstone work and an equally passionate love of leisure.  Whenever possible, the President shirks the duties of his office.  He detests being in the White House and never misses an opportunity to escape its confines.  Flying about the country with a set of teleprompters to deliver endless variations on the same tired, stock-in-trade campaign speech and that’s about it.  His grand projects, the Stimulus and ObamaCare, are not evidence of persistent effort.  He never presented the actual bills, allowing his allies, Harry Reid in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi in the House, to do all the heavy lifting.  He is just fine with the Senate refusing to pass a budget for almost three years.  On other big issues, like the appallingly burgeoning national debt, he would grandly appoint a bipartisan commission, creating a simulacrum of activity, only to blithely ignore its recommendations.  All true leaders rise through the ranks, honing their martial skills in incessant combat on all fronts, now smiting the enemies on the right or on the left, now bracing the timid among their supporters, now crushing dissent among their followers, all the while reaffirming their leadership positions.  True leaders are extremely combative and never miss a chance to mix it up with their enemies, but not Obama.  He always tries to avoid face-to-face confrontation, insulting his enemies from a safe distance.  All true leaders are passionate, full of piss and vinegar.  Obama, on the other hand, is clearly a cold fish, totally dispassionate about everything around him, including his own policies.  All true leaders are good actors, feigning whatever sentiment is warranted by the circumstances.  Whether or not Obama is endowed with acting ability, he disdains the need to pretend that he cares.  He relies on the complicit mainstream media to cover up for him.  So given his obvious unfitness for the job, how did Obama manage to climb to the very top?  My guess is that he was spotted early on, judged to be a promising prospect (good looks, great voice, gift of facile dissimulation, right ideological credentials) made particularly attractive by the notable paucity of competition, and then carried all the way to the White House with minimum effort on his part.  He is so patently bored by statecraft and so unaccustomed to any kind of exertion other than workouts that it is a stretch to suppose he would sacrifice his leisure on the altar of Presidential duties.  The underlying fact is that he came to the Presidency as a puppet, not a puppet master.  With not a single trait of a true leader in evidence, he is not the engine of the radical left juggernaut, but merely its hood ornament.  The image of a colossus that the elites have forged in their own minds has very little to do with reality and everything to do with their fashionable radicalism, racial guilt, and servile infatuation with power, but the Wizard’s curtain has been pulled aside for all to see in the 2012 election.
(“Project Obama: A Puppetmaster or a Puppet?” by Victor Volsky dated February 1, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/project_obama_a_puppetmaster_or_a_puppet.html )
Obama is completely detached from reality and the issues and the America Obama talks about incessantly have nothing to do with current issues and problems.  The ridiculous bit with Warren Buffett’s secretary, income tax and capital gains tax are two different things, the talk about “fairness” and “teamwork,” simply don’t address what’s going on: things like the economic recovery just not happening, costs of production being too high, investors’ confidence shaken, government spending wasted to an extent far beyond what’s been seen before, and the nation’s resources misapplied in a ruinous manner.  Obama’s populism is half in the past against the big monopolistic corporations running roughshod over a feeble government and defenseless workers, and half in the future, pushing a green utopia.  Having a President, the most powerful single man in the world, who isn’t engaged with reality is very scary.  First, Obama doesn’t have the experience, character, or personality to be President.  It isn’t just having a left-wing President but a very inept one.  A normal left-wing President with a hidden agenda would want to make himself and his agenda succeed as much as possible.  Second, Obama doesn’t have a very good understanding of America, its history, its systems, or its institutions.  We see this constantly in his attitude toward the basic governmental structures.  He simply doesn’t seem, for example, to comprehend the role of Congress.  Obama really thinks that Congress has no right to thwart him, and he isn’t quite sure that the Supreme Court, not him, determines what is constitutional.  He has no real idea how the economic system works, including the function of the bankruptcy laws or of the private enterprise system generally.  Third, Obama is fundamentally alien to the United States.  He didn’t even grow up in this country.  If Obama were an “African-American” who was intimately involved in growing up in this country there would be no such problem.  In real material terms, though, he doesn’t even care for this country, from which he is also fundamentally detached, ignoring the economic suffering there.  The issue is not where Obama was born.  It is how his mind developed after he was born, and it did so primarily outside the system: in other countries, in ivory tower academia, in radical circles fundamentally opposed to the historic liberal-conservative political spectrum.  Obama is a disaster not only because of his politics but because he is so totally unfit to hold the office that he does, and he holds it at a moment of supreme crisis and this is supremely dangerous.
(“As the State of the Union Speech Shows: The problem with Obama Isn’t Just Political or Ideological, It’s Ignorance, Inexperience, Character, and Incompetence, Too” by Barry Rubin dated January 27, 2012 published by PJ Media at http://pjmedia.com/barryrubin/2012/01/27/sotu-breakdown/ )
Obama was right at home giving his latest speech in Disneyland, since he lives in an alternative reality where right is wrong and bad is good.  The United States recently experienced the most severe recession since the end of World War II. The housing collapse, the resulting economic downturn, TARP, and various bailouts and economic stimuli resulted in a rapid buildup in federal debt held by American taxpayers, 36% of GDP at the end of 2007, 62% of GDP at the end of 2010, and 100% of GDP at the end of 2011.  Our national debt is $17 trillion, on par with gross domestic product.  Almost half of all Americans under the age of 30 do not have a job.  One in five men of working age is unemployed.  Twenty-five percent of college graduates are without a job with no prospects in sight.  There are 13.1 million unemployed Americans.  We have a “progressive” and broken education system, a dwindling military, constant threats of terrorism, nuclear Iran, exploding entitlements and health care costs, illegal immigration problems, endemic government corruption, the Democrat-controlled Congress has not passed a budget in 1,000 days, crushing new regulations, the collapse of the Euro, the violence in Iraq after the departure of U.S. troops, to name just a few.  Our President continues to misrepresent America as strong, concentrating his vacuous teleprompting on class warfare, fairness, and massive tax and spending increases, vilifying the rich who “do not pay their fair share.”  By guaranteeing equal outcomes for all Americans, regardless of one’s merit, and encouraging mediocrity and sloth, this administration continues to de-develop America.  He made scant mention of Obamacare, its challenge in the Supreme Court, its bankrupting costs, Social Security crisis, energy crisis, the Solyndra scandal, the denial of the Keystone XL pipeline, the expensive and bogus green initiatives, and illegal “recess appointments” while Congress was not in recess.  Curiously ignored was the fact that the U.S. is exporting gasoline for the first time in 62 years.  Recession, fuel-efficient vehicles, higher prices, use of ethanol as an ingredient in gasoline, decline in travel, decline in use of jet fuel and Diesel, caused the drop in demand for gas.  Yet he denied the Keystone pipeline XL, a pipeline that would have carried oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.  At the same time, he squanders money on ephemeral green energy such as the bankrupt Solyndra, the faulty electric Volt that nobody wants to purchase, and expensive renewable energy.  Instead, the President announced his latest “big idea” in front of Cinderella’s Castle to create jobs by increasing tourism to the United States!  Meanwhile 1,600 economic and political elites and 40 heads of states met in Davos, Switzerland, for the 42nd World Economic Forum to find ways to reform capitalism because they found it “outdated and crumbling,” perhaps to replace with global crony capitalism.  Our 236-year old monolithic sovereign rock called America had been chiseled away by domestic and international socialists/communists for the last hundred years with  leadership that can’t see reality and makes decisions based on failed policies of the past and an flawed view of the present to create a utopia that no one wants.
(“Alice in Wonderland – Further Down the Rabbit Hole” by Ileana Johnson Paugh” dated January 28, 2012 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/44258 )
These days one can sense a palpable fear among Republicans that the 2012 Presidential election is slipping through their fingers.  Their constellation of concerns includes the (perceived) weaknesses of the two frontrunners, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich; the increasing ferocity of their clash; the public’s antipathy toward Congress (including the GOP-controlled House); and a slight uptick in the economy (including a drop in the unemployment rate), which is redounding to the benefit of the incumbent.  Barack Obama may be a lousy President, the argument goes, but he’s a very good campaigner.  As for the mood of the nation, the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that: 68% say the country’s on the wrong track, 6 points higher than a year ago; fewer than half as many, 30%, say it’s headed in the right direction; on the President’s handling of the economy, Obama has a dangerously low 41% approval rating with only 9% of Americans see a strong economic recovery; twice as many say they are worse off financially since Obama became President than say their situations have improved, and more than half the respondents, 52%, say Obama has accomplished “not much” or “little or nothing” as President.  No historical comparison works perfectly, of course, but the situation we’re in resembles nothing so much as 1980, at least in this regard.  By the fourth year of his Presidency, the public had concluded that Jimmy Carter was a failed president.  The economy was in very bad shape, his policies were unpopular, and the nation was in a funk.  The public’s verdict on Carter wasn’t impulsive or easy to undo.  It was a perfectly reasonable assessment based on his almost four years at the helm that voters threw him out of office.  There certainly are similarities between the two President’s failed economic policies, with the current economy may at least be gradually getting better.  Unemployment is also creeping down, but still elevated.  Obama’s foreign policy is a slow motion disaster.  There are important differences between Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter, and the eventual Republican nominee, whoever he is, will be no Ronald Reagan, but where the 2012 race resembles the 1980 race is that the public, which still likes Obama personally for the most part, is very much inclined to vote him out of office.  The public believes Obama is overmatched by events, but this doesn’t mean the GOP nominee will win the Presidency in 2012; it only means he should.
(“Yes, We Can…” by Peter Wehner dated February 6, 2012 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/yes-we-can_618787.html
“…But It Won’t Be Easy” by William Kristol dated February 6, 2012 published by The Weekly Standard at )
The Republican Party has a tenuous hold on the conservative movement in America, because at present the only home for the 40% of the electorate that identify themselves as conservative is the Republican Party, but it appears that those who are nominally identified as the “Republican Establishment” are doing all they can to alienate the vast majority of the current base of the Party.  The overriding interest of this elite cabal has been and continues to be: the accumulation of power through the control of the income, borrowing and spending by the Federal Government.   Thus, with the exception of the Presidency of Ronald Reagan and the Republican controlled House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, the Republican members of the Ruling Class have been content since 1952 to merely slow down the big-government policies of the Democrats while publicly decrying their tax and spend policies.  This insider apparatus has been the primary determining factor in whom among those choosing to run for office will receive the financial, media and logistical support so vital for any political campaign, but particularly for national office be it the Presidency or either house of Congress.  It is this cabal that has given the nation Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain in the Presidential sweepstakes and innumerable go-along to get-along members of Congress.  The grassroots rebellion that is the TEA Party movement was the first manifestation of this awareness.  Despite the success of the TEA Party working within the Republican Party in the 2010 mid-term elections, most of the Republican elites downplayed their success and fell-in with the mainstream media and the Democrats in their well-worn and gratuitous aspersions against those in fly-over country.  The rank and file members of the TEA Party and conservatives throughout the country are now keenly aware of the opinion the Establishment has of them, as well as what has been going on behind the curtains in Washington.  The current Republican nominating process has further exposed the true nature of the Establishment and their self-centered concerns.  However a major problem has arisen.  The machinations utilized in the past to maneuver the primary voters into choosing the previously anointed Mitt Romney has now come out in the open as the awakened silent majority is no longer willing to be fooled or taken for granted.  Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters.  While it may be the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.  The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder because they may succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the long term damage to the Republican Party that they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible.
(“The Republican Establishment’s Strategic Blunder” by Steve McCann dated January 30, 2012 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/01/the_republican_establishments_strategic_blunder.html )
Obama has embraced a head-spinning debate over inequality as a key plank in his political re-election strategy.  The difference in incomes between rich and poor is neither the most important issue facing the country nor even a pressing one.  Recent surveys by Gallup and Pew show that the electorate’s top priorities are the economy and jobs.  Yet the press goes wild at the mere mention of the words “income inequality.”  They covered Occupy Wall Street as though it were the American version of the Arab Spring.  They slobbered and wagged their tails in December when President Obama did his best Teddy Roosevelt impersonation in a speech at Osawatomie, Kansas.  They thought the takeaway from Obama’s State of the Union was his call for a new alternative minimum tax for millionaires, even though the President buried that proposal under a mound of patriotic gauze and technocratic red tape.  The reason for the focus on inequality is that it deflects attention from Obama’s abysmal economic record.  The Obama years have given us 1.7 million lost jobs, a credit downgrade, falling median incomes, fewer people participating in the labor market, a hemorrhaging deficit and debt, a housing market that still hasn’t hit bottom, an unpopular and ineffective economic stimulus and health care overhaul, and no pipeline from Canada to bring jobs and energy to the Lower 48.  Every minute spent tickling Occupy Wall Street’s fancy is time not spent discussing the best ways to increase economic growth, make entitlement programs sustainable, and attack the roots of poverty, which lie in broken families, decrepit education for low-income youth, and teenage pregnancy.  The solution is to embrace the banner of fairness and hope no one looks at his record.  Start by asking which is more fair: a tax reform that encourages work and investment, closes loopholes while lowering rates, and ends penalties for marriage and childrearing; or a policy that narrows the base while increasing rates, creates opportunities for rent-seeking with loopholes and subsidies, and adds a new layer of complexity to the tax code?  Which is more fair: an energy plan that unlocks America’s oil, natural gas, and nuclear resources so that they might reach their fullest potential, or a policy that caters to the green lobby and shovels taxpayer dollars at pie-in-the-sky, bankrupt wind and solar companies?  And while we are on the subject of fairness, exactly how “fair” is it to the young and unborn to do nothing as America’s fiscal liabilities pile up higher and higher?  One could also point out that ensnaring working people in networks of dependence is the very opposite of fairness because safety nets can protect, but they can also capture, and important research shows an inverse relationship between means-tested welfare benefits and participation in the workforce.
(“The Inequality Trap” by Matthew Continetti dated February 6, 2012 published by The Weekly Standard at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/inequality-trap_618789.html )
President Obama’s new defense strategy champions the same arguments military downsizers have invoked since 1991: The United States must invest in technology and disinvest in active-duty military personnel, but this strategy is flawed and will undermine military readiness.  The defense plan is based on two such tenets: It must “protect key investments in the technologically advanced capabilities most needed for the future . . . [and] no longer size active forces to conduct large and protracted stability operations while retaining the expertise of a decade of war.”  The budget thus eliminates 125,000 soldiers and Marines on the premise that future wars will require new weapons systems but not large numbers of troops.  The assumption is that should America need more troops, it will be easy enough to find them, but new technology takes longer to develop and field.  These well-worn defense syllogisms are the reverse of reality.  Technology development can be accelerated in wartime.  The development of capable military leaders cannot.  Every major war of the past hundred years has prompted, in months, technological innovations that in peacetime would have required years.  There is no way to accelerate the fielding of good military leaders.  Certainly soldiers can be recruited rapidly and their training courses shortened.  Junior officers can be swiftly promoted, skipping the career steps and educational requirements of peacetime.  More senior officers can be drawn from reserves and staff positions.  The development of military leaders cannot be accelerated beyond a certain point without seriously degrading quality.  People can learn, adapt and assimilate experiences only so rapidly.  Military leadership is more than knowledge and technique.  It requires fundamental changes in personality, patterns of thought and perception, emotional control and interactions with others.  Inexperienced leaders panic when seasoned veterans would calmly carry on; unseasoned commanders leap to conclusions where salted warriors comprehend the entire situation.  Advanced technology generally exacerbates these problems by flooding hastily promoted officers and noncommissioned officers with information as they fight to retain or regain emotional balance and rational perception.  The President proposes to let some 92,000 of them go in favor of preserving investments in technology.  Those military personnel are a repository of knowledge about how to conduct complex, lethal operations across a wide area in distributed formations.  Over a decade of conflict, our troops have refined formations, doctrine, techniques and theory to the highest level ever.  Rapidly reducing the force will flush away much of that expertise before it can be institutionalized.  The question is not whether the United States will again send troops to fight in far-off lands, but the question that should weigh most heavily on Congress as it considers the defense budget is what kind of leaders those troops will have and how well prepared they will be.
(“Troops, Not Technology” by Frederick W. Kagan dated January 26, 2012 published by American Enterprise Institute at http://www.criticalthreats.org/other/kagan-troops-not-technology-january-26-2012 )
About The Author David Coughlin:
David Coughlin is a political pundit, editor of the policy action planning web site “Return to Common Sense,” and an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He retired from IBM after a short career in the U.S. Army. He currently resides with his wife of 40 years in Hawthorne, NY. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976).
Website:http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/

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