Views on the News – 3/9/2013
By: David Coughlin
What if Barack Obama is not the revival of Stalinism, or the messiah, but is simply mediocrity? It actually makes a lot of sense. Everything under Obama’s Presidency has been mediocre. The economy refuses to recover, yet also doesn’t completely collapse into the black hole of a Great Depression. The One’s speeches were never the rhetorical Rosetta Stones that the media made them out to be; lines like “hope and change” and “this was never about me, it was about you” are not Olympian inspirations, but lukewarm pabulum. Even Obama’s totalitarianism is half-baked. If Obama truly is nothing more than a mediocrity, it leaves liberals in a box. The left has invested a lot in the idea that Obama is more than a bland human being, that he possesses a kind of divinity and can inculcate approved others with his grace and virtue. Chris Matthews treats Obama like a god; the fact that Obama may go down in history not as JFK but as James Buchanan, Gerald Ford or Herbert Hoover would mean that the President is just a human being. As the Obama years stumble along, not quite a depression and not quite a recovery, and Jay Leno doing his semi-funny material, and Obama’s policies only half-understood and uninspiring, it gets harder and harder to avoid: this is a mediocre era, with a mediocre President with a mediocre mind and a mediocre plan. If anything Obama may resemble Gerald Ford more than any other President. Like Ford, Obama follows a fiscally disastrous and controversial President, yet largely continues that President’s military and spending policies. Like Ford, Obama seems like a placeholder between the liberalism of the past and the financial reckoning to come, when a President with genuine courage and charisma (like Reagan) will have right the ship.
(“Obama the mediocre messiah” by Mark Judge dated March 3, 2013 published by The Daily Caller at http://dailycaller.com/2013/03/03/meh-obama-the-mediocre-messiah/ )
1935 cartoon… still relevant today
Sixty-three months ago Barack Obama officially declared his candidacy for President, and only now are some among the so-called media and ruling elites in America slowly awakening from their self-induced infatuation and beginning to understand who he is. It has become difficult to ignore the overt intimidation, demagoguery and deliberate falsehoods spewed forth by Obama relative to sequestration. However, any cursory examination of his past reveals that these tactics are second nature to the man who currently occupies the Oval Office. Yet there remains a stubborn unwillingness on the part of many on the left to recognize the essential Barack Obama. Perhaps it is unfathomable to them that they could be wrong about someone who was the epitome of their superficial ideal candidate. They are blinded to the danger by their belief that this country, the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of mankind, could never be brought to its knees by anyone. Barack Obama is a product of 1960′s radicalism. His parents, grandparents, mentors, professors and, by his own admission, circle of friends were all disciples of Marxist thought and the tactics of societal revolution. Not only his formative years but virtually his entire life has been an immersion in this mindset, a mindset which includes a deep seated animosity toward capitalism and individual freedom. What makes this belief system so popular among those who harbor megalomaniacal tendencies is the core tenet that the end justifies the means. Thus no lie is too egregious to tell, no strategy to destroy one’s political enemies is out of bounds, and the creation of false crises and faux enemies is not only legitimate but essential. Any leader within government or the national community at large who is captive to this thinking, as Barack Obama has repeatedly revealed throughout his life and political career, must by necessity is devoid of ethics, integrity or morals. Nearly all the tyrants of the recent past had a unique capacity to mesmerize a large swath of the populace through ability to deliver a speech and create a cult of personality, aided and abetted by a media, if not state sponsored, then one willingly intimidated into doing the bidding of the exalted leader. Another personality trait common to despots is a disregard for life and an unrelenting willingness to use and discard people. Throughout his life he has used and manipulated the gullible into being the foot soldiers for his personal ambitions, whether an entire race of people (African-Americans) by playing on his skin color or the elite ruling establishment wallowing in “white guilt.” The most overused phrase describing Obama’s actions since he entered the national stage is: “thrown under the bus” as he abandons them as they out-live their usefulness. A well worn tactic by those desirous of becoming autocrats and seizing an ever increasing amount of political power is to keep the populace in a constant state of agitation. As a community organizer and in elected office Obama has a history of using these tactics. Since becoming President he has promoted the escalation of vitriol aimed at inciting retaliation against the TEA Party movement and conservatives. The incendiary charge of racism has become the default accusation directed at anyone disagreeing with Barack Obama. Barack Obama is someone who would willingly inflict pain and suffering on the American people in order to permanently destroy his political enemies and accumulate near dictatorial power for the government he controls. His megalomania does not allow him to care a whit for the citizenry or the long-term future of the country he is pushing into bankruptcy or the nation’s ability to survive in a hostile world. If those currently in power in the United States succeed in eliminating any opposition and continue to inexorably increase their control of the government through their tyrannical tactics, aided and abetted by the media, the sycophants in the ruling class and the entertainment complex, there will inevitably be uncontrolled violence and upheaval within America’s borders. The nation’s standard of living will drop precipitously; there will be an irrevocable loss of freedom and ultimately the imposition of foreign influence over a once proud nation.
(“The Man Behind the Mask” by Steve McCann dated March 4, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/03/barack_obama_the_man_behind_the_mask.html )
There are two major parties in the United States: the Republican Party that wishes to govern and the Democrat party that wants only to campaign. It’s to their credit that Republicans are obsessed with getting the government to address its unconscionable and unmanageable debt, freeing up the productive private sector to create economic growth and maintaining the nation’s military preeminence. The President isn’t interested in governing, at least not with Republicans, because all he is interested in is to campaign from now until November 2014. Democrats are so focused on blaming any misfortune on Republicans that they’ve become almost cartoonishly predictable. Obama devoted the first two years of his term, after his policies failed to deliver the economic results his administration had promised, to blaming his predecessor. Following the 2010 elections, the President continued to shake the George W. Bush mask with one hand and pointed the finger at the Republicans in Congress with the other. The sequester is just the latest opportunity to blame the Republicans, and Obama lost no time in anticipatory blame-shifting. While the Democrat-controlled Senate could not manage to pass a budget for four years, it did find time to pass a revised version of the Violence Against Women Act, one of those fat federal excesses that supplants local responsibilities, shovels money to dubious “violence prevention” programs, has perverse incentives, and wastes money. Republicans in the House are also free to pass legislation and challenge the Democrats in the Senate to oppose it. They could pass an Affordable Energy for America bill encouraging the President to approve the XL pipeline (which his own State Department has just certified would not harm the environment), opening up more federal land for drilling and defunding expensive flops like solar power investment. They could pass a Reduce Government Waste bill mandating that every department find and eliminate 10% of wasteful spending per year. Most importantly, they could pass a health reform proposal that would replace ObamaCare. Ideally, such a law would replace the employer-centric model of health insurance by giving individuals, rather than employers, a $5,000 (refundable) tax credit for the purchase of health insurance. They could call it the Genuinely Affordable and Universal Care Act, because unlike ObamaCare, it really would be. None of these good ideas would pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, but they would acknowledge a reality, that the permanent campaign must be engaged or it will be lost.
(“Governing Versus Campaigning Party” by Mona Charen dated March 5, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://townhall.com/columnists/monacharen/2013/03/05/governing-versus-campaigning-party-n1525691 )
The adage that if one’s only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail is most apt here, and since Obama’s skill set was developed as a community organizer in pursuit of social justice, his first response to any problem is to first drum up support and then hammer home a big government solution. Community organizing is the practice of identifying a specific aggrieved population, say unemployed steelworkers, or itinerant fruit-pickers, or residents of a particularly bad neighborhood, and agitating them until they become so upset about their condition that they take collective action to put pressure on local, state, or federal officials to fix the problem, often by giving the affected group money. Obama worked as a community organizer from 1985 to 1988, after graduating from Columbia (’83), and then eventually went on to Harvard (’89). After Harvard, Obama spent four plus years (1995-1999) as founding chairman of the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. The challenge was to “remake” the public schools of Chicago. The President now has the ultimate grant machine to play with as champion of social justice and community organizer of the United States: the U.S. Treasury. He still identifies the problems facing the economic and social life of U.S. citizens through the fair-shot-fair-share-social-justice lens of the community organizer. Let me then summarize the community organizer modus operandi (CO-MO): identify a cohort of citizenry which is undergoing economic hardship and faces a future with bleak prospects; cast the problem as a raw deal problem in which the system was rigged against the cohort (by villains if possible); and hustle conscience money from private foundations (Annenberg Foundation) and especially government agencies to redress the situation by providing (key word) better housing, better education and greater opportunity. Looking in the last SOTU address we find there are listed three principle problems facing the nation which he would address: (1) to provide high-quality early education for all children; (2) to ensure hard work leads to a decent living; and (3) to revitalize American manufacturing. Notice that there is no mention of the national debt or cutting back on government spending. Since nothing that he has tried so far has worked, and the community organizer class-warfare approach has failed, he chooses not to address his most important issues! Obama’s skill set is that of the community organizer and confronted with the issues facing the nation from economic to educational and even military, Obama will always construe those problems as at root social justice problems. Unfortunately, reviving economic growth and redressing the problems of the nation’s balance sheet is not a function of rooting out the evil gremlins that are mucking up the system. Wisdom and stupidity are no more derivative of good and evil than double-entry bookkeeping is at the root of the nations’ debt problem. Meanwhile, we can expect the President to mount his social justice steed and slay the evil dragons of injustice while economic realities close in on the flanks and choke of the economic health of the nation.
(“Robin From the Hood” by Richard Butrick dated March 4, 2013 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/03/robin_from_the_hood.html )
The coalition that elected and re-elected Barack Obama represents a long-term shift in the electorate that will determine elections and public policies for generations and some of commentators think conservatives have lost their relevance, and the Republicans are about to go the way of the Whigs, but of course their analysis is completely wrong. Politics, like much in life, tends to move like a pendulum, shifting back and forth around equilibrium. While the liberal Democrat coalition is ascendant now, a few decades ago people were speaking about the decline of the Democrats. More recently, leftists took to calling themselves “progressives” to avoid what was seen as the pejorative term “liberal.” Just over two years ago, the Democrats took a drubbing in the midterm elections. Today, with the real-time flow of unfiltered information via blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and more Americans self-identifying as independents and able to shift their support rapidly to either party, lasting coalitions will be difficult to maintain. The primary reason today’s liberal Democrat coalition will fade is because the very policies it pushes sow the seeds of its own destruction. The coalition can survive over time only by allocating slices of our nation’s economic pie in a way that favors and placates its constituent members. People will continually want larger slices of our economic resources, so continued success in placating those members, while at the same time adding the necessary new members, requires a continuing and ever-growing economy. A flat or shrinking economy will never generate the resources needed to feed the coalition. From their views on taxes and redistribution, to their policies on energy and regulation, liberal Democrats are standing in the way of the strong economy their coalition needs.
· Instead of pushing policies that spur innovation and risk-taking, the left advances policies that discourage them.
· Instead of lower marginal tax rates and less complication in the federal tax code, we see higher rates and more complication.
· Instead of policies that lead to the available and affordable energy supplies required for a growing economy, we see onerous new regulations on coal-fired electricity plants, foot-dragging in the permitting for oil and gas drilling, and a surprising lack of interest in the hydro-fracturing process that has revolutionized the extraction of natural gas and worked to lower energy costs.
· Instead of thinking of the government’s role in the economy as one of providing the minimum rules for fairness, ensuring those rules are enforced, and then getting out of way, we see efforts to push federal bureaucrats, and their ever-expanding government programs, regulations and mandates, into more and more facets of the world in which we live and work.
Without economic growth, other means are needed to mollify the coalition. So we see warnings of disaster if the left’s policies are not pursued. We see attempts to gin up phony wars against women and minorities. We see efforts to come up with even more groups that are labeled as “victims” in need of the federal government’s help. The coalition is fueled by a growing sense of entitlement, but without robust economic growth, this very same sense of entitlement will drive the coalition’s decline. Ultimately, the coalition will collapse under its own weight. Conservatives and Republicans should do what they can to hasten the collapse by advocating a more effectively a set of policies that will reverse America’s decline, and do a better job of explaining the benefits for individuals, families and businesses that come when we have lowered tax rates instead of increased them; the benefit of the independence that comes from a smaller federal government instead of a larger one; and the overall well-being and safety our nation enjoys when our economy is strong.
(“The Democratic Majority Is Doomed” by Pete Du Pont dated February 28, 2013 published by The Wall Street Journal at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324338604578329071895628296.html?KEYWORDS=democratic+majority+is+doomed )
ObamaCare was an unpopular issue before it was passed, was unpopular when it passed, and has become less popular as time goes on and more details are revealed. It was a limited win, at best, since it wasn’t won with the public. When ObamaCare was first revealed 85% of Americans were happy with their healthcare. The public remains divided and skeptical about the law and its effects after it was passed. ObamaCare has always struggled in the court of popular opinion, and two new polls highlight the public’s continued lack of support for the law. Indeed, after a brief post-election rise in support, public opposition to ObamaCare is on the rise again. February’s Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll puts opposition to the law at 42% and support at 36%; in Kaiser’s November poll, 43% said they supported the law and 39% opposed it. A newly released Reason-Rupe poll offers some confirmation that more Americans hold negative views of the law. Asked an open-ended question about what comes to mind when they hear the term “ObamaCare,” 48% gave a negative response of some sort. At 22%, the largest single response was a generalized comment that the law is a bad thing. Overall, the poll shows pessimism about the law. Asked about the law’s impact on the country, meanwhile, 37% responded that ObamaCare made the nation worse off, compared to 31% who said it made the country better off. Since the law passed, Democrats have (not surprisingly) tended to be much more supportive of the law than Republicans. That’s still true, but Kaiser’s poll finds that Democrat support has dropped substantially since last year’s Presidential election, from 72% in November to 57% in the February month’s poll. That’s the second weakest level of support Kaiser has found amongst Democrats since it began the monthly tracking poll in April 2010. The parade of news stories about rising health premiums have had an impact. The Reason poll reports that 26% of respondents believe the law will make it harder to afford coverage, compared with just 13% who think it will be easier. In general, the news about ObamaCare has not been particularly encouraging this year. Yes, ObamaCare has successfully enticed several Republican governors into participating in its Medicaid expansion, but a majority of states won’t participate in what is arguably the law’s biggest innovation, the health insurance exchanges. Meanwhile the Government Accountability Office released a report highlighting the uncertainty about the law’s budget projections, ObamaCare-friendly states have warned about the potential for health premium “rate shock,” and the Congressional Budget Office has expressed skepticism about the law’s implementation prospects. This sounds less like a law that is winning and more like a law is barely surviving.
(“Polls Show Opposition to ObamaCare Rise Again” by Peter Suderman dated March 1, 2013 published by Reason at http://reason.com/blog/2013/03/01/poll-public-negative-obama-health-care )
Americans historically have been the can-do people, even in the darkest of times, but sentiment is changing indicating a degradation of the American spirit. Americans manage to see their glass as more than half full. Seemingly woven into our DNA is an expectation that the lights will forever burn brightly within the “shining city on the hill.” Even from colonial days, every generation somehow managed to hand off an even greater life filled with opportunity to their children. Our national belief of an always better tomorrow developed a name: “The American Dream.” By a margin of 2:1 Americans believe the U.S. is weaker and less respected than she was four years ago. The snail’s pace of the economic recovery that supposedly began more than three and a half years ago has beaten people down. Regardless of President Obama’s assertions that the economy is headed in the right direction, a majority of Americans (52%) recently polled believe the worst is still yet to come. Rutgers University found that 60% of Americans believe “that the nation’s economy has undergone a permanent change.” More than half of those surveyed think it will take “at least six years” to fully recover with 29% don’t believe we ever will. American workers, historically the most productive and optimistic in the world, are deeply pessimistic. For the first time ever, Pew Research reports that a majority of Americans (53%) believe “the federal government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.” Public trust in government as documented by Pew since 1958, reached a historic low in 2012, with more that 4-in-5 Americans expressing varying degrees of distrust. Even with Obama in the White House, 59% of Democrats currently express distrust of government; 78% of Independents. Winston Churchill observed that, “The Americans will always do the right thing, after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives,” and we’ve dug ourselves a very deep hole, and made most all of the possible mistakes, but there are still options and what is still lacking is leadership.
(“A Pessimistic Nation – and Six Principles to Help Get Over It” by Bob Beauprez dated March 3, 2013 published by Town Hall at http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/bobbeauprez/2013/03/03/a-pessimistic-nation–and-six-principles-to-help-get-over-it-n1524748 )
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).