Tag: United States presidential election

Administration Expectations

I’m more interested in what happens after Inauguration Day than what happens on Election Day. As much as I want Obama out of office, I wonder how much it would really matter if he loses. My own sense is that his election is all about who is going to be holding the bag of shit when it finally breaks.

As I’ve said in another thread, I think Romney is going to win on Tuesday (assuming that the ballots are all counted and there aren’t any court challenges to deal with). I like Romney and even favored him in 2008. Not that I had any special love for anti-gun, big capitalist, Mormon governors from liberal states. I simply thought he was the best qualified because of his executive experience. His positions are a bit (to put it mildly) flexible and I can easily see him being a Bush-style disappointment on the domestic policy front. But I’m not here to give reasons to vote for or against him. Hal has done an utterly thorough job of it already. Obama could win too, sure. Sometimes my foresight is blinded when I confuse what is happening with what I hope will happen. It’s why I try to stay emotionally unattached. Maybe enough people believed Bill Clinton when he said at the DNC that nobody could have reversed the damage in four years and Obama will pull it together if we just give him another term.

One of these two assholes is going to win, that’s all we know. If Romney wins, he comes into office with a Democratic Senate Majority (or Minority, not sure what to expect here) Leader who has already vowed not to work with him. He will also have a hostile press that will suddenly start noticing again how jacked up our economy and foreign policy are. The potential for a quagmire is limitless. What can he do?

Obama will suffer with an uncooperative House and maybe a Senate. Reid has been, at best, unhelpful to Obama so I have to wonder how much good it would do for Democrats to hold the Senate with an Obama win. Worse, if he wins, it will because of the angry, fearmongering campaign he ran. The divisiveness is not going to fade away just because he squeaks by in a narrow win. Bush made this mistake in 2004 and paid for it dearly the minute he tried to accomplish anything. He was right that something needed to be done, but the other side found that it was better and safer to reject compromise. They turned out to be right–for their own political gain.

Traditionally, presidents in their second terms face scandals and don’t seem to accomplish much. Reagan had Iran/Contra, Clinton had his privates made public, and Bush was simply ground down by Iraq and Katrina. Obama already has Benghazi percolating, even though most of the news media is helpfully keeping the story quiet and not asking a lot of pesky questions until the election is safely over. Obama will do what what he has been doing for the past two years: throwing up executive orders with zero permanence beyond 2016. I suspect that if he wins, he’ll leave a hollow legacy and ultimately destroy the Democratic brand for at least 12 years (to the extent he hasn’t already; we’ll know soon enough).

That’s not a reason to want him to win, but it just highlights the impossibility for either one to accomplish anything with his bag of shit. That bag contains the long-awaited double-dip recession, more credit downgrades, the possibility of inflation, rising threats overseas, and on and on and on. Gridlock is great when we want to avoid the kind of populist overspending that drives us further into debt, but when the government is so dysfunctional that it refuses to pass a budget for four years even as credit agencies continue to warn it about its recklessness, we should worry.

The questions I have are:

1. Are Americans just too divided and partisan to work with those on the other side of the aisle to solve major policy problems? If so, we are well and truly fucked.

2. What sacrifices does each side need to make to effect a Great Compromise to seriously address the economic and debt crisis? I say that the GOP needs to allow some of the Bush tax cuts to expire since they’re clearly not having any stimulative effect at this point while the Democrats need to give up some of their sacred cows.

3. What the hell is it going to take to get away from this 47% vs 47% nonsense where both parties favor their base and win elections by lying to independents? Are we really that divided or is there common ground somewhere?

Recently, Matthew Dowd wrote a fantastic article about the need for a “peace accord” after the election between divided Americans and I like his thinking. We are way too obsessed with seeing points scored against the other side while ignoring the fact that nobody is driving the bus. This isn’t going to change just because Romney or Obama wins and will only get worse if the outcome is seen as questionable. Somebody needs to win BIG and it just isn’t in the cards.

But how do we do this peace accord thing? Are there any people in government/media/anywhere who have the credibility and know-how to even negotiate this? We can’t seem to quit looking past getting our team into office to realize that the people we elect aren’t governing.

I’ll do my part and turn out to vote, but I’m keeping my expectations safely low until I see evidence that the electorate even wants leadership. Right now, I’m not seeing it and that’s why we’re going to be stuck with nothing but the fool who wins.

Rahm Emanuel was right about not letting crises “go to waste” and it’s obvious that nothing is going to happen until disaster is staring us in the face. In the end, I guess I’m only voting for Romney because I’m less afraid of what he’ll do with it. Anyway, sorry to fill your weekend with darkness!

Post Debate Thoughts

It’s been two days; work and a nasty cold kept me from rolling out my thoughts on the debate. But I think it’s worth reviewing and discussing.

First, Obama got creamed. I think part of that is that he was caught off guard. Romney tacked sharply to the center, conceding policy ground on almost everything — regulation, Social Security, Medicare, Dodd-Frank. Obama was prepared to attack Primary Romney, the severe conservative. He was not prepared for the return of the moderate Massachusetts governor. And he was certainly not prepared for Romney to be so smooth and … well … presidential. Romney was on form, parrying all attacks, knowledgable about policy details and eschewing ideology. Obama simply was not ready for that, having convinced himself that Romney was an idiot that he would easily steamroll.

And he should have been prepared. Primaries are always played to the fringe; the election to the center. Obama, who shifted gears himself in 2008, should have known this. Romney won election in a heavily Democratic state; he knows how to play to the center. Romney was a consultant and an executive; he knows how to pitch.

Why wasn’t Obama prepared? There are a lot reasons for this but I think Megan McArdle’s breakdown is the best, particularly this point, which I also hashed out with Maggie McNeill on twitter:

The president lives in a bubble, and this president, in particular, has attracted a sort of worship that hasn’t followed any president since Kennedy, or maybe Reagan. (There’s a cult of Reagan now, but I don’t know whether that was true in 1984). You see it in things like the invitations to set up a wedding registry for donations to the Obama campaign, to send a Mother’s Day e-card celebrating the administration’s policy achievements, and of course, that infamous paragraph in the 2008 speech he gave after he locked up the Democratic nomination.

The fact that someone on his team wrote that line, and that no one else stopped him from delivering it, is remarkable. Even more remarkable is that four years later, many of his supporters do not grasp why so many people outside the Obama bubble–I’m tempted to say everyone who is not a die-hard supporter–find it hilariously narcissistic.

That is going to make it hard for the president to get good debate prep. With the time pressure he’s under, he needs to make every second of his debate prep count–which is to say, he needs an opponent who will absolutely pummel him. It seemed clear last night that they’ve been pitching him softballs, which is why he struck out on even completely obvious, predictible questions.

(I’ll speak to the Reagan thing: in Dinesh D’souza’s biography, he noted that Reagan was aware of the regard people had for him and, for that reason, rarely let his advisors know his opinion in advance of internal debates over policy. He feared that, once they knew where he stood, they would cant their arguments to support him.)

We’ve talked about the Cult of Personality before. You can see it the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in the Left Wing commentariat over the debate performance (and their blaming of the useless Jim Lehrer). On MSNBC, it was like someone had died. Andrew Sullivan was practically in hysterics.

I think Obama has, on occasion, had a vague sense of this. But he hasn’t really made the kind of changes you need to make to keep the bubble from affecting your thinking. He seemed completely unprepared for Romney shifting his positions to the center. He was unable to mount even the most basic defense of his record. He seemed to think that just laying out his case would carry the day. He seemed to think that Romney would be as deferential and the audience as worshipful as … well, everyone around him.

(This Cult of Personality is, ironically, one of the reasons I would not be terribly distressed if Obama won, as long as the Republicans can get both houses. Having one of the most worshipped Presidents in recent history rendered impotent in his own White House would do a lot to crack the Cult of the Presidency and shift power back to Congress, where it belongs.)

Probably Obama’s only wise decision was to avoid attacking Romney on the 47% thing. While it enraged the liberal base, Obama clearly knew that Romney would be ready to parry it. Indeed, Romney today brought out the response line he never got to use. And it was not a bad one. I also suspect that Obama held back on attacking Romney because he knows the media will do it for him.

As for the substance of the debate, Reason has a lot of great analysis of the debate and why it was a nightmare for believers in limited government. Here for example, is a breakdown of the promises to reign in spending. Romney, in particular, was ludicrous, saying he was going to balance the budget while increasing defense and Medicare spending and not touching Social Security or Education. That’s … unpossible. Here is Nick Gillespie, pounding both candidates on education, immigration and Social Security.

In the end, I expect the debate will shift some voters to Romney but I doubt it will shift enough to decide the election. We’ve been enduring this for … well, for four years really. Most of the people who haven’t made up their minds can’t figure out how to operate a television anyway. But for the rest, I suspect Romney scooped them up. So there’s a thin hope that Obama will get tossed to the curb. And that’s better than things were a week ago.

The Delusions of John Edwards

Every time Sarah Palin opens her mouth, the intelligentsia of this country tell us how lucky we were that she did not become Vice President. I’ve said enough about Palin herself. I’m a little dubious that the Vice Presidency is that critical a role — I mean we’ve survived three years with the Joe Biden Vice Presidential Comedy Hour. We survived four years with Walter Mondale. It’s not like there’s a long tradition of brilliant vice presidents.

But it seems to me that if you’re going to claim we dodged a bullet with Sarah Palin, you’re going to have to admit we dodged a bazooka shell with John Edwards:

A delusional, two-timing Sen. John Edwards dreamed of a Supreme Court appointment, even as his political career crumbled under the weight of a seedy sex scandal, according to testimony today.

Leo Hindery — Edwards’ economic policy adviser in his failed 2008 White House bid — was one of the government’s final witnesses before prosecutors rested, capping a sensational 14-day narrative of sex, money and deception.

Edwards had been Sen. John Kerry’s running mate in 2004. If not the White House, Edwards’ ultimate goal was to someday reach America’s highest court, according to Hindery.

If I’m reading this right, he was hoping that throwing his support behind Obama would get him a SCOTUS seat. It’s unclear whether he conveyed this information to the Obama campaign.

I’m with Gene Healey on the Edwards trial itself. I do think it is prosecutorial overreach, trying to use campaign finance laws to punish sleazy behavior.

However, the trial sure is a lot of fun in an appalling car wreck way. The John Edwards who is emerging from this is a sleazy, boorish, delusional scumbag. Rachel Mellon donated $6 million to his campaign, including the $900,000 thrown at his pregnant mistress. Her only request was that he attend her daughter’s funeral. Edwards couldn’t make it. Must have been out humiliating his wife or something.

Say what you want about Mitt Romney, but if some 100-year-old lady gave him $6 million to be at a funeral, you can bet that Mitt would fucking be there.

This jackass came within 35 electoral votes and 3 million popular votes of being Vice President. Had he done so, he would have, at best, exploded the Kerry Administration in a scandal that would make the Monica Lewinsky business look like a picnic of puritans. At worst, he might have become President and done God knows what damage to the nation.

And it was obvious at the time. Edwards’ career as a litigator was based at least partially on bogus science claiming caesareans could prevent cerebral palsy — the impact of which is still visible in the high number of Caesareans performed in this country. He ran vacuous campaigns based almost entirely on his looks and class warfare. He was a first class hypocrite on issues of wealth and climate. In Bob Shrum’s book, he noted that Kerry knew Edwards was a sleaze and was appalled when Edwards told him a story he’d “told very few people” about how, after his son died, he climbed onto the slab and hugged his body — a story he’d previously told Kerry with the same “told very few people” caveat.

So where are the, “Whew, did we dodge a bullet!” stories that circulate every time Sarah Palin says something stupid? I don’t want Palin anywhere near public office. But if it ever came down to her and John Edwards … well, I’d probably move to Australia to be honest. But at least she’s no John Edwards.

It’s Good When We Do It, Part 809

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

As a senator and presidential candidate, [Barack Obama] had criticized George W. Bush for flouting the role of Congress. And during his first two years in the White House, when Democrats controlled Congress, Mr. Obama largely worked through the legislative process to achieve his domestic policy goals.

But increasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress. Branding its unilateral efforts “We Can’t Wait,” a slogan that aides said Mr. Obama coined at that strategy meeting, the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.

Each time, Mr. Obama has emphasized the fact that he is bypassing lawmakers. When he announced a cut in refinancing fees for federally insured mortgages last month, for example, he said: “If Congress refuses to act, I’ve said that I’ll continue to do everything in my power to act without them.”

Aides say many more such moves are coming. Not just a short-term shift in governing style and a re-election strategy, Mr. Obama’s increasingly assertive use of executive action could foreshadow pitched battles over the separation of powers in his second term, should he win and Republicans consolidate their power in Congress.

Amazingly … or not so amazingly … the Lefties are defending this using the exact same rhetoric the GOP once used to defense Bush’s power grabs: Congress is obstructionist; Congress is partisan; Congress is determined to see the President fail; Congress left the toilet seat up. All that might be true. But it was just as true when George W. Bush did it. We heard the same rhetoric then about mindless obstructionism and bullshit partisanship. Anytime Bush reached across the aisles, his fingers got bitten. All that’s changed is the letter after the respective names.

But there are numerous reasons why this is still bad, apart from two wrongs not making a right. Obama ran as a manager, as someone who would be the adult in the room. This kind of ridiculous tit-for-tat is supposedly beneath him, right? What it really does — what a lot of what Obama has done — is cement in place the Bush-era abuses. Indefinite detention, executive orders, signing statements, etc. could all have been stopped. But by continuing these policies, Obama has exposed the previous opposition from himself and his party as partisanship. And he has set these policies in stone. By continuing Bush’s bypassing or ignoring the legislative process, Obama has made it the way things are done. We will not thank him for that.

Second, Barack Obama is not the first President to encounter this kind of opposition. Harry Truman, in fact, ran against a “do-nothing” Congress. Skilled Presidents are able to make their opponents’ mindless opposition an electoral weakness. But Obama has failed to do so, mostly because the general public isn’t too keen on his policies anyway.

Finally, there is one and only one situation where Republican opposition can bear the blame: the failed Grand Bargain that should have emerged from the debt showdown. Accounts differ, but I think it’s quite likely the GOP balked at even a modest tax increase in exchange for Medicare reform. That’s shameful. But it’s not like Obama has been proposing a raft of great policies since then. If you look at the We Can’t Wait site, most of this involves either stuff that is an executive concern (stopping payments to dead people) or stuff that really isn’t going to stimulate the economy (mortgage refinancing, subsidies, etc.).

It’s this kind of stuff that makes me enthusiastic about the “leave town” idea I linked below. If Obama and the Republicans are unwilling or unable to solve the country’s problems, they are only going to make things worse by hanging around in Washington, passing the occasional executive order or recognizing National Tampon Day. Obama’s use of executive orders is not some bold attempt to solve our nation’s problems. It’s a misguided attempt to make it look like he’s doing something. And in the process, he is throwing away the key that George Bush used to lock up our Constitutional process. You can’t possibly defend that. Inaction is better than this.

As I seem to keep saying, neither party has any respect for the Constitution, the Rule of Law or our basic liberties. Neither has any ideas of how to fix things or the political courage to enact them. All they care about is the next news cycle. And this is just Obama’s latest: make himself appear as the bold Superman bypassing a useless Congress.

Congress may be useless, but that does not make Obama Superman.

Hindsight is 20-20, and progressive stupid is forever

And I have no doubt that Barney’s claim that he told Obama to not push for the government takeover of healthcare seems a lot like this tool is again trying to dazzle people with his bullshit. Monday morning quarterbacking, and a piss poor attempt at it at best:

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said he advised President Obama against taking up health care reform following a special election in 2010 that changed Democrats’ fortunes in the Senate, saying that he should have instead turned his focus to financial reform.

Frank referenced former President Bill Clinton and his failed health care plan from the 1990s. “Obama made the same mistake Clinton made,” Frank said in a wide-ranging interview with New York magazine. “When you try to extend health care to people who don’t have it, people who have it and are on the whole satisfied with it get nervous.”

The outgoing representative from Massachusetts added that after Republican Scott Brown won former Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s seat, breaking Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority, Obama should have backed down: “I think we paid a terrible price for health care. I would not have pushed it as hard. As a matter of fact, after Scott Brown won, I suggested going back. I would have started with financial reform but certainly not health care,” Frank said.

Ya think? What a crock of shit. The problem wasn’t just with how democrats went about screwing all Americans by passing & straddling us this monstrosity. The LSM and the left have done a good job at covering up all the nasty and dirty bits. How often do we hear about all the bribes and back room deals, again at the tax payer’s expense, that where needed to buy off enough democrats to go along with this horrible piece of legislation? And don’t you dare remember how we were told we had to pass it to see what was in it too! Or about the fact that a bunch of leftist twits convinced themselves that it was constitutional for the government to force Americans to buy something they wanted and are now acting like a spoiled child that was told no dessert before they eat their broccoli.

Then there is the massive list of special interest with exclusions. No, I am not talking about either our political class or their union friends that automatically got exemptions so they could keep their plush coverage. I am talking about the people that had to bribe or pay off democrat politicians, I mean make their case for the exclusion, right, in order to avoid the consequences of this disastrous policy, which not only will damage quality and access to healthcare for most Americans, but is constructed in such a manner that it not only is dependant on unconstitutional mandates to force citizens to pay for it, but is assured to fail. And I think that failure isn’t seen as a bad thing by the left, but a feature – a way for them to guarantee that they get the single payer system they would otherwise never get people to go along with in this country. More too big too fail in action.

Now you have tools like Frank complaining about how the left should have focused on the economy. Finally an admission that from the top down this was never, ever a priority with these assholes, despite their claims to the contrary. The proof is in the legislation they passed. Things like Obamacare and the stimulus

That’s why we have a lost economic decade - if we are so lucky I should add, because if we do not end the crap that these leftists are doing it will be even longer - where most Americans that produce wealth, lost out, as massive quantities of wealth was simply destroyed. Yeah, blame Bush. But the fact is that it was neither our leaders during the Bush era acting like liberals when spending, nor the wars we were forced to fight, and certainly not the bullshit about how tax cuts deprived poor government of it’s money as the insane and stupid envy mongers push, but the culmination of insane leftists social engineering policies finally coming up on reality and crashing & burning, that started the economic problems. What followed, the insane government spending and the growth of the nanny state, is what exacerbated it, and all but guaranteed us a long period of pain.

The only people that made out in the age of Obamanomics are the free loaders and the politicians that gain power by buying their votes with tax payer money. And we remain constantly assailed with more ridiculous and divisive class envy politics, intended to distract people from the reality of how disastrous the massive deficit spending and policies of the last 3 years have been, as Obama and the democrats remains focused on meaningless policies like the Buffet rule, free contraceptives, and racialist nonsense to distract the average Joe. I have no doubt that neither Obama nor the democrats can run on their “accomplishments”, that’s in quotes because most of us sane people consider the things we got from Team Blue to be unmitigated disasters: hence the circus atmosphere the LSM is helping them get away with.

Barney, you are offering too little too late. Likely because you are pissed you had to give up your lucrative deal milking the tax payers for all it was worth. Obamacare wasn’t the only thing the left fucked up on, although it certainly is the biggest of them, when you all dropped the ball on the economy. Then again, I am not sure what you think that you leftists would have done to better the economy. Stimulus Part Deux wasn’t going to fix anything, and I can not think that people that believe all solutions and answers come from government, and only government, would have done anything that would have helped the economy, either in the short or long term, in any way or form. And that’s what people need to remain focused on.

It’s not my bad priorities, lack of understanding about economics, stupid beliefs, or incompetence: it’s bad luck!

That’s what Obama told people on the campaign trial when discussing the horrible economy we are straddled with under his presidency. So, if you will follow along here, and allow me to set this up with some facts, I will put some perspective on this claim. First off, according to Obama and the left’s reckoning, the economy went south because of evil Boosh. W’s his tax cuts for the rich and his wars to steal oil – do they still call it that these days? – being the main reasons, and not the growth of the entitlement nanny state, though. Those of us that know better know we had an implosion in the housing market because for 3 decades democrats pushed laws and guaranteed government backing to lenders to get them to go along with the insane practice of forking over huge sums of money to bad risks – because they believed that homeownership, like healthcare, was a right – then tried to hide the bad loans using Freddie & Fanny and a whole lot of trading schemes and scams, until the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

They will also tell you evil Boosh threw a whole bunch of money at Wall Street when this happened. The fact is Bush’s people wanted $350 billion, Pelosi’s congress jacked it up to $700 billion. We should have spent exactly $0 and let all these banks go belly up. It would have hurt for a year or so, but we would have been fine after that. And most of that money went to bail out friends of the democrats. That was followed, with Obama as president by then, by a stimuluspatronage bill that’s going to cost tax payers over a trillion dollars when said & done, that served primarily to help service the usual democrat constituencies – federal & state workers, lobbyists, big donors, and eventually campaign coffers – at the expense of over one million private sector jobs according to economic analysts that understand how dumb the Keynesian bull is.

But they did not stop there. While they where siphoning massive quantities of money from the private sector, pissing away tons of money we don’t have, tacking on about 2 trillion of new debt every year, and letting the very architects of the regulatory morass that led to the housing collapse rewrite the rules of the game, they also wanted to push a massive “Cap & Tax” bill – for the environment and to push green jobs! – created the most hostile anti-business environment ever, ratcheted up the class warfare, and passed what will likely become the final nail in the American coffin, Obamacare, on a purely party line vote, after throwing billions in bribe money at their own party members to get them to go along and setting up a scheme for their friends to get exclusions to the law.

The class warfare rhetoric & anti-business agenda has been so evident and thick, against the people most needed to invest and grow the economy that it is an insult to hear any democrat, and especially the president, pretend they give a rat’s ass about anything but government control of the markets, and certainly their track record proves that what they did was anathema to job creation of any kind in the private sector. Hence the tour to convince people that the problem isn’t them, but bad luck:

At a town hall meeting on his campaign-style tour of the Midwest, President Obama claimed that his economic program “reversed the recession” until recovery was frustrated by events overseas. And then, Obama said, with the economy in an increasingly precarious position, the recovery suffered another blow when Republicans pressed the White House for federal spending cuts in exchange for an increase in the national debt limit, resulting in a deal Obama called a “debacle.”

“We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again,” Obama told a crowd in Decorah, Iowa. “But over the last six months we’ve had a run of bad luck.” Obama listed three events overseas — the Arab Spring uprisings, the tsunami in Japan, and the European debt crises — which set the economy back. “All those things have been headwinds for our economy,” Obama said. “Now, those are things that we can’t completely control. The question is, how do we manage these challenging times and do the right things when it comes to those things that we can control?”

Let that sink in. After owning government for 2 years and focusing on anything but getting the private industry to create jobs, they blame the fact things have gotten worse not on their actions, policies, and beliefs, but on bad luck! Anyone that believes this nonsense deserves this economy. The problem isn’t bad luck: it’s the downright hostility towards the private sector, job creators, and anything not controlled and run by the academics in government, coupled with a heavy dose of incompetence, if not outright malicious forethought and action, all while pissing away trillions of dollars, that has basically pushed investors, job creators, and even the American people into playing tortoise, hoping this ill wind blows over sooner than later.

If Obama wants to blame things on bad luck, blame it on the bad luck that we had so many people fall for the propaganda that turned a community organizer/academic with a resume that’s thinner than that of the average college grad into the second coming. I guess the adage that history repeats itself is playing itself out. People forgot the Carter years. Obama is hell bent on making those of us that do remember those finally say someone did worse than Carter.

I am with Obama on this…

What do you ask? Well, he is about to disregard his generals advice and pull troops out of Afghanistan so he can say he did so before the next election regardless of the consequences.

Barack Obama is set to reject the ad vice of the Pentagon by announcing on Wednesday night the withdrawal of up to 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by November next year, in time for the US presidential election. The move comes despite warnings from his military commanders that recent security gains are fragile. They have been urging him to keep troop numbers high until 2013.

The accelerated drawdown will dismay American and British commanders in Kabul, who have privately expressed concern that the White House is now being driven by political rather than military imperatives. “This is not something we feel entirely comfortable with,” a Whitehall official told the Guardian.

Obama’s nationally televised address, the sixth he has given since becoming president, is intended to mark the beginning of the end of American military deployment in Afghanistan, from a present high of almost 100,000 troops.

And that’s because the man is desperate and his concern that he has to overcome stuff like this so he is not doomed in 2012, is now his most paramount and only concern.

Americans are growing more dissatisfied with President Barack Obama’s handling of the economy and say it will be hard to vote to re-elect him without seeing significant progress over the next year and a half.

By a margin of 61 percent to 37 percent, a Bloomberg National Poll conducted June 17-20 shows Americans say they believe that Obama will have had his chance to make the economy “substantially better” by the end of 2012.

Only 30 percent of respondents said they are certain to vote for the president and 36 percent said they definitely won’t. Among likely independent voters, only 23 percent said they will back his re-election, while 36 percent said they definitely will look for another candidate.

Anyway, I am with the generals that this is a disastrous decision that will only guarantee us more pain in the future, but I now am convinced that these democrats do not give a rats ass about the sacrifices made by the troops, unless they can claim the victories made possible by their betters or score political points, and if their concern is always their own political viability over our security, at least I would then prefer they pull our troops out of harms way. I also doubt this move will help him that much with anyone, because they will see it for what it is: political maneuvering. The insane base will still hate the fact that he hasn’t just pulled everyone out, disbanded the military, begged the UN for forgiveness, and disbanded evil America. Most of the rest of us will know that he just did that to bolster his reelection campaign chances because while he did escalate the fighting originally, his heart has never been in it. And then there will be the few that might fall for this, but they are going to be of no consequence.

If we are not going to fight to win against an enemy that has declared war on us, at least pull the troops out so they don’t have to die in vain. Hopefully someone that understands the consequences of not fighting to win will come along in time to save us from the impending disaster those that think running away is an option. I leave you with a couple of quotes by Mr. Churchill that pretty much sum up the problem we face.

“England has been offered a choice between war and shame. She has chosen shame and will get war.” –Winston Churchill

“Nothing is more dangerous in wartime than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup Poll, always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature.” –Winston Churchill

The E-mail Circus

Of all the media feeding frenzies we have enjoyed the last few years, there are few that compare to what happened when the Alaskan government finally released Sarah Palin’s e-mails. The media crowd-sourced relentlessly, begging readers to dig through the e-mails to find something, anything. But, as much as I love transparency, this exercise was pointless. Even Palin nemesis Joe McGinnis admitted as much, noting that 2500 of the e-mails were redacted — the choice of redaction being made by Palin’s lieutenant governor. Did anyone imagine anything remotely interesting would be in them? Assuming there was anything interesting to begin with? The worst thing there was that they did not redact the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who e-mailed criticisms to the governor.

I’m afraid my thinking is close to that of Matt Welch:

It seemed the former governor of the 47th-most populous state in the union, a woman who holds no elected office now and almost assuredly will not again anytime soon, had thousands of e-mails from her 21-month tenure data-dumped onto the public.

Transparency advocates doubtlessly breathed a sigh of satisfaction that sunlight-disinfectant was being applied to a government figure. And people with any sense of political proportion were left with an additional thought: When is this journalistic scrutiny going to be applied to politicians who wield actual power?

He specifically notes the lack of media attention paid to Obama’s factually challenged statement on the auto-maker bailout, a statement that blew out Factcheck’s bullshit-o-meter. He also contrasts the attention they’ve devoted to Palin’s death panel claims against the President’s bald-faced lies on keeping your healthcare plan if you liked it, standing up to healthcare interests and getting a good score from the CBO.

This is why I don’t blog about Sarah Palin (much). She is, to some extent, a distraction. All of the GOP candidates are. The first primary is eight months away. There are six hundred things that have to happen before we even know who the top candidates are (my money is still on Romney).

Even the Weiner thing wasn’t this irrelevant — he is at least a sitting member of Congress. But going through Sarah Palin’s selected e-mails hoping to find something juicy? Please. If Sarah Palin is closer to a reality TV star than a politician, as many claim, what does this make the e-mail feeding frenzy? Paparazzi crap.

There are things going on right fucking now that need to have their bullshit peeled away. We have a debt crisis and three wars and a Democratic establishment more interested in scaring the shit out of people than finding solutions. We have a President openly deceiving us about his economic policies. Doesn’t that warrant a little bit of a mention? I’m not saying ignore Palin, but maybe devote a tenth of the resources being used on her to cover the White House and the Senate?

Thank you.

The Rightness of Being Wrong

Last week, Politifact tackled the assertion of Mitt Romney (among others) that Barack Obama went on an “apology tour” criticizing America. I’ve already addressed the bullshit that Obama said he doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism. But the apology tour is nonsense as well.

Here, we’re checking Romney’s statement that Obama “has apologized for what he deems to be American arrogance, dismissiveness, and derision” and a host of other reasons. If you think American presidents should never admit to any sort of error at any time, you might find yourself in philosophical agreement with Romney’s criticisms. We set out to discover whether Obama really had apologized in his speeches, and what he was apologizing for. But in our review of his words, we came up short. Yes, there is criticism in some of his speeches, but it’s typically leavened by praise for the United States and its ideals, and often he mentions other countries and how they have erred as well. There’s not a full-throated, sincere apology in the bunch. And so we rate Romney’s statement False.

The thing about the apology tour is that, if you read Obama’s speeches, he hasn’t been apologizing for America. He’s been acknowledging what he sees as mis-steps in language far less apologetic than that used by Bush or Clinton or Reagan. What pisses off his critics is that he’s been publicly refuting the policies of last Administration. But rather than address this head on or acknowledge that the last Administration screwed the pooch, they simply say he’s “apologizing for America”. It’s this season’s “not supporting the troops”. And it’s nonsense. Every single speech has been built around a vigorous defense and laudation of America’s virtues. To be frank, the Republicans’ recent tendency to side with Israel against the Administration is more of an “apology tour” than anything Obama has done.

So why do I bring this up? Who give a shit? Well, something about the whole “apology tour” nonsense has bothered me since it slithered into talk radio and then GOP talking points. And I think the trivial events of the last week — Weiner’s wiener and Sarah Palin’s muffing of the Paul Revere story — have helped me finally put my finger on what bothers me so much about it. Easterbrook:

These are merely the last week’s examples of a troubling tendency among public figures — refusal to admit being wrong. Just as lying about what you did may be worse than what you did, refusing to admit an error may be worse than the error itself.

All human beings occasionally are wrong — trust me, I’ve had plenty of experience! Honest admission of error makes a person upright and sympathetic. Refusing to admit error, by contrast, suggests deviousness or even megalomania. The sort of person who huffs and puffs and refuses to admit a mistake does not belong in a leadership position.

In the era of YouTube and Twitter, it’s often easy to obtain the evidence of public error. That makes it all the more creepy when politicians stare into the camera and deny that they’ve made a mistake.

Yet we’re surrounded by politicians who deny their mistakes. In recent history, presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton denied significant personal errors: one lost the White House as a result, the other nearly did. (I will skip the many instances in which public leaders would not admit to mistakes because they believed, rightly or wrongly, that refusal was in the national interest.)

Anthony Weiner could have made most of his problems go away by simply admitting that he’d done something dumb. Sarah Palin could have just said she was tired and flustered by the media pestering her in a line instead of doubling down with more historical inaccuracy. And the same applies to every other politician — from Tony Blair to Chris Christie — who tries to pretend that he hasn’t fucked up.

And that’s what bothers me about the apology tour meme. It’s an encapsulation of our national refusal to acknowledge mistakes — personal, party or national. It’s so rare that a politician owns up to stupidity that it’s notable when it happens. In the first GOP debate, one of the more remarkable moments was Pawlenty’s mea culpa on cap and trade.

This Orwellian mentality — of never admitting mistakes, never acknowledging errors, always saying you were really right even when you were clearly wrong is not just annoying — it’s dangerous. One of the biggest obstacles to fixing our political system is the refusal to admit that a policy has failed. We make bad decisions and then we compound our mistakes with a ridiculous stubbornness — a belief that sticking to bad decisions somehow proves our manliness and stepping back from them is a sign of weakness.

During the early 90’s, when welfare reform was being debated, a huge obstacle to fixing the system was the absolute refusal of liberals to believe that giving people money can’t erase poverty. Welfare had to be underfunded or undermined by evil Republicans — they simply couldn’t admit that it had been a bad idea. The biggest problem with our public schools is a stubborn refusal to admit that a politically-run, union-controlled education system is fundamentally dysfunctional. Our War on Drugs continues because of the refusal of the drug warriors to admit that you can’t get people off the shit by tossing them in jail. The War in Iraq almost reeled out of control because of the Administration’s refusal — until they lost an election — to admit that we didn’t have enough boots on the ground. Our attempts to fix Medicare and Social Security are running aground on the ridiculous belief that we can’t change a system simply because we’ve had it around for 75 years.

This mentality has been enhanced by the “us against them” media cycle. Admitting to mistakes also means admitting that your evil evil opponents were right about something and then hearing them crow about it on MSNBC and the blogosphere for the next week. Anything but that!

Admitting errors is not a sign of weakness; it’s refusing to do so that’s a sign of weakness. Totalitarian regimes are constantly revising history, flushing old policies down the memory hole and editing pictures to show that they have always been right, they have never erred, they have always been at war with Oceania and Trotsky never existed. It is a fundamental strength of our Republic that we don’t flush failed policies away, we don’t pretend the past never happened, that we don’t pretend we’re perfect and always have been. We admit that slavery was mistake, that the massacre of Native Americans was terrible, that Jim Crowe was crime and that the welfare state was a failure.

One of the key moments that ended our disastrous experiment in prohibition was a letter from John Rockefeller acknowledging that the policy he had fought so hard for was a mistake. The turning point of the Civil War happened because Lincoln abandoned the generals who’d failed him. The Iraq War turned because Bush finally admitted we needed more troops. Reagan began tackling the deficit by admitting he’d lowered taxes too much. American history has been defined by people acknowledging mistakes and changing course.

I would have thought more of Weiner if he’d immediately copped to the pictures and admitted it was a stupid thing to do. I would have thought more of Palin if she’d just admitted she flubbed the Revere story and shrugged it off. This is what serious people do when confronted with their mistakes, especially mistakes so trivial. If they can’t acknowledge such trivial errors, what are they going to do when faced with massive multi-trillion dollar mistakes like Obamacare?

I disagreed with some of what Obama said on the “apology tour” but because I thought he was wrong, not because I thought it was unmanly to admit to failed policy. Had he apologized for dropping the atomic bomb, as was once rumored, I would have been furious, not because of the apology but because I think dropping the bomb was absolutely the right thing to do.

Apologies don’t hurt us. It’s bad policy that hurts us. And it’s bad policy compounded by a stubborn refusal to admit it that is ruining us. I’ll take all the apology tours Obama’s teleprompter can cope with if it means we start undoing some of the dumb idiotic policies we’ve been pursuing for decades.

Austin Bay on Libya and Obama

Austin Bay has one heck of nice piece over at StrategyPage about the Obama Administration’s handling of the whole Libya war which isn’t too flattering to either the Obama Administration or the ideological left, and mirrors exactly what I have been feeling about both the lack of seriousness by the MSM and the left on this whole thing. Basically Bay points out that instead of doing the right thing and challenging the need for the congressional approval as the War Power’s Act calls for, and thus strengthening the executive’s authority both morally and in regards to its relation with congress, Obama chose to vote “Present!”, play games basically, and all for a very shallow reason:

President Barack Obama has violated the 1973 War Powers Resolution.

That is a good thing. The War Powers Resolution was constitutionally dubious when it was passed — by a Democratic Party-controlled Congress intent on obstructing the powers of a Republican president. Instead of taking a principled stance against a questionable law, however, President Obama chose to mask his violation with cleverness — a corrosive, shallow cleverness smacking of the worst in partisan skullduggery.

Too bad. Tackling the War Powers Act would have strengthened the presidency as an institution and reinforced Obama’s moral authority. Democratic and Republican presidents have argued rigorous enforcement of the act leads to congressional micro-management of a war and erodes presidential prerogatives to the detriment of U.S. security.

The act forbids employing U.S. armed forces in combat for more than 60 days without congressional authorization or declaring war. The Libyan War’s 60 days ended May 20. Obama never sought congressional authorization. To do so would make him look, once again, like George W. Bush.

Get that? To actually make a stand against this resolution and actually fight the good fight, because of all the preceding BDS induced drama of the Bush years the left engaged in, Obama was forced to instead engage in slight of hand to hide what he was doing. How moronic. Where Bay and I differ however, is that I suspect this is done on purpose, and while they hope not enough people notice they are hypocrites, there is a little more to it. Democrats know their friends in the media will not call them to task like they would a republican, and hence, since this resolution proved a great political weapon they still feel might come in handy, they prefer to ignore it – like they do all other laws they straddle us with like paying taxes or only voting once, and then only when still alive too – so it’s around to beat another republican with in the future. It’s all about the rules for thee and not for me strategy that’s their MO.

Congress, where some democrats made a noise about Obama doing more Bush, might also end up having to slap him down. These democrats that were so preoccupied when it didn’t matter – where are they now, huh? – might have to take a stand to keep their credibility with the left. Added with the republicans tired of the double standards and wanting the rules to be enforced equally, this whole thing could spell disaster for him. Especially since as Bay points out when he says the right thing for Obama to have done was to challenge the law’s legality, but that Obama himself might then be in a catch 22:

Congress might also rebuff him since he has devoted so little public political effort to the war. A few legislators have raised the issue of Obama’s legal failure, but media outrage is missing, as are the usual arch-left moral seizures associated with American combat. No demonstrators, lathered in blood red paint, chant before television cameras. We hear no manic lectures from the ponytailed professoriate on the White House tyrant’s imperial arrogance.

For the good of American security, we should rescind the problematic law. Yet legislation to rescind might face a presidential veto, for Obama claims he isn’t violating the act.

So what’s the plan of action?

Which leads to the president’s corrupting cleverness. Rather than confront the resolution’s suspect demands, it seems Obama wants to keep the law for Democrats to wield as a political cudgel when Republican presidents wage war. Invoking it will prompt the profs to begin their lectures. Obama bases his claim the act does not apply to his Libya venture on word games that are as transparently silly as they are intellectually and morally dishonest.

Libya, according to Obama, is not even a war but a “kinetic military action.” If the stakes were not so serious — say, if the subject were basketball brackets rather than deadly war — we might chuckle at his buck-naked bravado. It recalls Lewis Carroll’s Humpty Dumpty. “When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.” The Big O echoes the big egg that Alice discovered sitting on a wall, before his fall.

Bullshit. And he is getting away with it because the usual suspects in the MSM will not call him on it. Now if he had an (R) by his name, you can be certain that this would be part of every news cycle, but to protect Bush the second, the MSM is pretending it’s not happening. I guess it’s no longer patriotic to dissent, huh? In the mean time there is nothing to look at here anymore. Even if Obama has more wars than Bush did and is out-Bushing Bush at this stuff.