Views on the News – 3/2/2013
By: David Coughlin
President Obama is a failed President: his economy is bleak, his foreign policy bleaker, his vision for American even bleaker still, but he wins because he wins by losing. President Obama has only had two major policy victories during his tenure: the stimulus package and ObamaCare, and both are massively unpopular. The stimulus package launched the TEA Party movement. ObamaCare led to the Republican wipeout of 2010. Then Obama began to lose. He wasn’t able to push forward climate change legislation or immigration reform or gun control or increased taxes before the election of 2012. Amazingly he won a sweeping electoral victory. The strategy is simple. Obama pursues policies that are widely popular and then purposefully sinks them by casting Republicans as obstructionists. He is not truly interested in immigration reform; Republicans are fools to think that he is. Obama wants to raise the issue of immigration reform so that he can demonize Republicans as anti-Hispanic. He puts himself in a no-lose situation: If immigration reform passes, he takes credit; if not, he blames Republicans as racists who simply don’t like Hispanics. The media will abet this little game. Suddenly a failed proposal from Obama becomes a political winner for him. He really doesn’t care about the sequester; even though he originated the original idea: an automatic cut in the rate of spending increase; and it was his idea to focus those cuts on the defense industry. If sequestration is averted, Obama takes the credit. If not, he gets to cast Republicans as hard-hearted Scrooges who want Tiny Tim to starve to death. Another failed proposal becomes another victory for Obama. What this achieves is electoral victory. Once Democrats have enough votes in the House and Senate to ram through their agenda, the game is over: Obama forces through his policies. America moves further to the left. Obama understands what Republicans do not: Politics is a waiting game. If nothing gets done with a split government, Obama is happy as can be because he’ll demagogue each and every issue until he gets the votes he needs to truly transform America.
(“How Obama Wins” by Ben Shapiro dated February 27, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/benshapiro/2013/02/27/how-obama-wins-n1521145 )
Here we go again, and again, and again with another dreaded: Fiscal Cliff, Catastrophe, Chaos, Collapse, Stalemate, Train Wreck, or Dysfunction or whatever your favorite cliché may be, with each side blaming the Coming and Constant Crisis on the other. Haven’t we seen this movie before: in 2011, 2012 and now 2013? To quote that noted philosopher Yogi Berra, “it’s deja vu all over again.” Again we’re all expected to panic, on cue, almost as a patriotic duty. The more Pavlovian pundits stand by to explain in their terribly serious way how terribly serious all this is. They need only dust off their old comments and they’ve got their lines ready for the news shows and op-ed pages. Doomsday scenarios are rolled out like the latest horror movie, and with almost as much fanfare. The End of the Fiscal World no longer seems a Grave Emergency, but a re-run. Despite all this vintage sound and fury, Americans aren’t fainting dead away. When crisis becomes customary; it’s not crisis anymore; it’s ritual. It’s just how we do things now; or rather don’t do much of anything; except maybe drift. Each side is lining up its trained economists to give interviews. They’re all over the news shows as viewers change channels in search of something new. The suspense builds, but maybe only inside the Beltway, because the rest of us stifle a yawn; nothing may be more boring than the same old national crisis.
(“The Customary Crisis” by Paul Greenburg dated March 1, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/paulgreenberg/2013/03/01/the-customary-crisis-n1522891 )
As most real conservatives know, Obama, by his own admissions, appointments, associates, and actions, is a hard-core, 21st century, Marxist revolutionary. This means that while he has no real plan for what his utopian, pie-in-the-sky collectivist state would look like, or how it would survive as an economic entity, he is dedicated to destroying our existing free, constitutional, capitalist republic to start the process. It also means that like all Marxists, archaic and modern, his primary enemy is what Marx called the bourgeoisie – the Middle Class. It was the rise of a Middle Class that made capitalism possible in the first place. It was the possibility of bettering one’s situation in life, economically, socially, and politically that motivated people to invent new products and the devices to make them, to create systems for the distribution of the products, to constantly improve on all these things to make them more and more available to more and more people. The ability to own property, create personal wealth, and maintain the individual’s power to control how both were used, motivated the colonists in America to become independent and to create a nation, as Abraham Lincoln put it, “…conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The Founders original statement was, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The equality was of opportunity, not, as the Marxists claim, outcome. Under Obama, we have seen the Constitution violated on an almost daily basis. Laws that the public overwhelmingly disapproves of are passed regularly by a renegade Congress that consistently violates its own rules in the process. Huge bills are amassed, so big and introduced and voted on so quickly, that no one has time to read them, to know what they will require from us, and what the consequences of these radical rules will be. By now most people, even the “low-information voters,” know that Obama is a habitual, unabashed liar. What they need to grasp, however, is that his biggest and most dangerous lie is that he is out to help the Middle Class. As noted above, the Middle Class, aka “We, the People,” is his greatest, most hated enemy, and everything he has done since he usurped the office he occupies has been aimed at our destruction as a viable economic, social, and political entity. The reality was always that a large proportion of the people saw no point in working hard to benefit others who did not want to work at all. Participation had to be forced, in every single instance, there is not now, nor has there ever been, a Marxist country in the entire world that is / was not kept in place entirely by the threat of the use of arms. A totalitarian police state is the “fundamental change” that Obama dreams of for America.
(“Obama: Marxist Revolutionary” by Michael Oberndorf dated February 23, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/53321 )
It’s taken since 2008 and two elections, but as Obama moves into his second term he is beginning to lose traction with Americans, including those who have supported him and who give him approval ratings in the fifty percent bracket. Previous second term presidents have enjoyed comparable ratings, but they tend to plummet as events and policies overtake reality. Obama’s biggest problem these days is sequestration which takes effect on March 1. It is not so much the across-the-board reductions as the scare tactics the President and his surrogates have been using to get Congress to put the kibosh on it. Closing down government services as a tactic will backfire. Americans rightfully expect the meat to be inspected, the borders protected, passports to be provided, and all the other functions of government to continue. There is no reason why they should not, even with sequestration. It is a miniscule reduction stretched out over a decade’s time. It’s always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama – it is always government by freakout. After a while, even his supporters grow weary of that and, more importantly, it creates an image in their minds that he is incompetent and either unable or unwilling to govern. Government by freakout carries a price. It wears people down. It doesn’t inject a sense of energy, purpose or confidence in those who do business in America, it does the opposite. Obama “owns” sequestration despite all the lies that poured out of the White House. It is the direct result of his failure of leadership when the special 2011 congressional, bipartisan committee offered recommendations on how to reduce the debt and deficit. The Keystone XL pipeline has been under “review” for five years and all the obstacles except the President’s refusal to allow its construction have been cleared. It is a dramatic example of his administration’s opposition to any energy development except for solar and wind. In the end, all Presidents rise and fall on the basis of events in which they have been a participant or over which they are seen to have exercised an inadequate effort to shape. People are growing tired of Obama’s continuous “campaigning” because they have heard all his standard rhetoric about rich people, fairness, and the need for more taxes, and as his second term begins, it is already very stale – it is too much Obama.
(“Too Much Obama” by Alan Caruba dated February 28, 2013 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/53449 )
The sense is growing around Washington, and this increasingly includes Democrats, that Obama is living in an alternative universe. We are in the fifth year of the Obama Presidency, and Washington is still dead in the water. Four straight years in which the government of the United States of America fails to enact a budget is amazing. Obama likes to convey the impression that he doesn’t think or do business like other Presidents. If Washington is starting to look like an alternative universe, that’s because the President is creating an alternative universe, the Obamaian Universe. (Obamaian is pronounced Oh-buh-mayan, as in the recently famous calendar.) The Obama administration is trying to pull us back into what astronomers would call the pre-Copernican world. Copernicus’ heliocentric system overthrew what was known as geo-centrism, the belief that everything in the universe revolved around the earth. In the Obamaian universe, the life force is a fairly weird contraption known as the Keynesian Multiplier. As explained by its adherents, for every $1 of public spending, the whole economy will rise by $1.50 or even $2. As with geo-centrism, the President’s pre-Copernican political economy is based in religious belief. This is why House Speaker John Boehner and so many others have never been able to get on the same page with the President about the upward slope of federal spending. He doesn’t want to cut spending; he wants more of it. Public spending is beyond ideology for Barack Obama; it’s the oxygen in his universe. In Washington’s standard model, it’s all just politics. Obama is running an established strategy of driving public opinion to marginalize and ultimately defeat Republicans. Maybe it’s time to come to grips with the fact that Obama sees the public economy of federal spending as the life force of the nation as no President ever has, not even Franklin Roosevelt. No one has been able to cut a deal with Obama on spending, taxes and economic growth, maybe it’s because he is in his own alternative universe!
(“The Obamaian Universe” by Daniel Henninger dated February 27, 2013 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323478304578330462496290652.html )
The President doesn’t believe that the government has a role within society because he believes government IS society. What stood out in the State of the Union speech was not Obama’s assessment of the problems the nation faces, with the exception of his notable dismissal of the most critical of those problems, namely the various rogue nuclear threats and mounting debt. What was most apparent in the speech was the underlying assumption that the government not only was A solution, but THE solution. The President is the prototypical statist, in that that he believes that the instrumentality of the state is indispensable to curing society’s ills, and is the principal mechanism by which reforms need to be made. There is arrogance in all of this; at the heart of the liberal fetish for government is the notion that society would be better by following the liberal’s program. It seemed not to matter to the President what the issue was; government was offered as the solution to every nit and wiggle in the human condition:
· Education? Good education is so important, yet many of the most urgent problems in American education today can be traced to its federalization.
· Energy production? Requires government programs to get the mix just right.
· Housing? Bring in the national government to manage lending, since it did such a stellar job last time.
· Jobs? Well, how will anyone open a store, produce anything, or provide a service without Uncle Sam’s help?
To Obama, and others of his political persuasion, government is not simply a mechanism for establishing order in society, it IS society, which is why their programs fail, time after time, generation after generation. Society is far too complex to be managed according to utopic design whether by a central elite, or by the ultra-democratic masses. It requires instead direction framed by cultural inheritance, the wisdom accumulated over the centuries, shaped by balancing innovation and permanence. The realization that this country is a great deal more than the sum of its government, certainly a great deal more than the Presidency, is a preposition that more than anything defines America, and should serve as the reference against which any program to solve the nation’s problems ought to be based.
(“State of the Government Speech ‘13” by Kelly Sloan dated February 22, 2013 published by Intellectual Conservative at http://intellectualconservative.com/index.php/state-of-the-government-speech )
President Obama is a proud liberal, but liberalism has lost its coherence so it has morphed into a “progressive sociology.” The conventional view is that liberalism is an ideology, but in fact it is a sociology. An ideology is a set of ideas that cohere. Socialism is an ideology and so is libertarianism. A sociology is different, since they represent a set of ideas that are often incoherent, and may even be contradictory. These ideas are likely to come together not because of reason, but because of history or happenstance. Here are some examples:
· Preschool education - the issue is really about allowing poor children to escape from the anti-education atmosphere of their homes to a place that will at least give them a chance to learn. Yet so many of those who favor preschool education (a new and expensive entitlement) are reliable opponents of vouchers, charter schools, firing bad teachers, closing bad schools or any other remedy that offends the teacher’s unions.
· Minimum wage - The minimum wage does almost nothing to relieve poverty, because almost no one who is a head of household is earning the minimum wage. It is well-established that a higher minimum wage gives teenagers in above-average income households more money, as it closes off job opportunities for poor, minority teenagers.
· Public policy toward unions - It is an attempt to monopolize the supply of labor to employers. In most all cases, unions confer special (monopoly) status on workers who are solidly middle class, allowing them to seek above-market wages by closing off competition from those who earn less and have less.
· Federal deficit - It is almost totally caused by entitlement spending on the elderly. The zip codes in America where people cash the largest Social Security checks are the very same zip codes where Medicare spends the most dollars on the average enrollee. Yet these are the programs that President Obama resists reforming.
Some readers will be quick to point out that the Democrat Party, dating back to the days of Franklin Roosevelt, consists of a coalition of interests and that winning elections requires satisfying each of those interests. Politicians will invariably search for some intellectual justification for what they do. Since their policies are incoherent, no ideology will serve their purpose, so what they need is a sociology, a way of thinking about the world that defends the indefensible. They also need intellectuals who will apologize for the mixed economy welfare state without any obvious sense of embarrassment. Within the Democrats, their sociology is known as liberalism and its adherents were once known as “liberals,” but Today, they prefer to hide behind the new term of “progressives.”
(“What is Liberalism?” by John C. Goodman dated February 23, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/johncgoodman/2013/02/23/what-is-liberalism-n1518389 )
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).