POTUS: Big job. Small man.
A chronicle maintained from January 20, 2009 to January 20, 2017. Can’t guarantee all links still work. Occasional mop-up entries added as circumstances warrant.
“One seriously hesitates to draw the conclusion that Barack Obama is a fool, no matter how strongly the evidence may point in that direction. But what are we to make of a man who is ignorant of history; who is ignorant of economics; who despises his own country; and who appears to believe that awareness of his own wonderfulness is enough to guide him? To put it charitably, he has a great deal to learn, and not much time to learn it.” — John Hinderaker, Powerline, November 15, 2009
“The [Recovery] plan was divided into three parts. One-third of the money has gone to tax relief for families and small businesses. … Another third of the money in the Recovery Act has been for emergency relief that is helping folks who’ve borne the brunt of this recession. … So that’s the second half. First half, tax relief. Second half, support for individuals, small businesses, and states that had fallen on hard times. The last third of the Recovery Act—and that’s what we’re going to talk about here today—is for investments.” — Obama, August 5, 2009, Elkhart, IN
“This isn’t the politics of the moment. This has to do with what can we get done right now.” — Obama, news conference, Dec. 7, 2010
“A weightless cipher whose oratorical panache consists of looking from one teleprompter screen to the other with the enthusiasm of a man watching someone else’s kids play tennis.”
— James Lileks, August 29, 2011
“But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency.” — Obama, NY Times interview, July 28, 2013
“Next week, I will be joining President Hollande and world leaders in Paris for the Global Climate Conference. What a powerful rebuke to the terrorists it will be, when the world stands as one and shows that we will not be deterred from building a better future for our children.” — Obama, Nov. 23, 2015
“Obama didn’t kill journalism, but he took advantage of it in its weakness, because he knew the press would do anything to feel relevant again. All those 27-year-olds at the Times, the Washington Post and others hired as bloggers—’who literally know nothing,’ as Ben Rhodes told the Times Magazine—when the foreign and national bureaus were closed, they didn’t know it wasn’t OK to be a journalist and a political operative at the same time. They thought it made them more valuable, even patriotic, to put themselves in the service of a historic presidency. And they’d replaced for pennies on the dollar all the adults who could have taught them otherwise.
“That’s the raw material out of which the Obama administration built its echo chamber, the purpose of which was to drown out the few remaining vestiges of journalism in order to sell the president’s policies. And there really were real journalists still putting in the hours, still doing the work, but the echo chamber, a relentless, frenzied chorus of incoherent and nearly illiterate prose, shouted them down.
“Yes, it would have been nice if the American public had a chance to discuss a policy of vital importance to our national security, like the Iran nuclear deal, but the press congratulated itself for silencing those who dissented from Obama’s signature foreign-policy initiative. These weren’t simply critics or opponents of the White House, they weren’t just wrong; no, they were warmongers, beholden to donors and moneyed interests and lobbies, they were dual loyalists.”
“The last major decision of President Barack Obama was to commute the sentence of a traitor whose most recent accomplishment since giving battlefield secrets to Osama bin Laden was undergoing a taxpayer-funded sex change transition. It was a fitting end to a failed presidency. […] Manning helped our enemies by leaking sensitive information to a foreign organization. Period. He was arrested, confessed, and subsequently sentenced to 35 years in a military prison. His actions put America at risk and endangered the lives of ‘foreigners in dangerous countries who were identified as having helped American troops or diplomats,’ according to The New York Times.”
To reiterate, Obamacare is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car. Single-payer would be giving that guy your house. And what if you don’t have a house? Under single-payer housing everyone would be issued a large cardboard box.
“A good way to look at the Obama era is as a giant experiment in misdirection — the Age of Missing the Point. When a huge majority of Americans told pollsters that they were happy with their health care, the administration decided to remake the entire system of delivering health care. When vast, undreamed-of reserves of natural gas were discovered, the administration set about creating an entire industry of wind and solar power through government subsidy. As the hardware that supports the country’s military was falling into a scandalous state of disrepair, the administration turned its attention to making sure the Marines sent women into combat.”
And yet, Obama’s two terms have not been without accomplishment: he singlehandedly brought back the “Me Generation,” on a deeply personal level.
“Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. After all, not only was he heralded as the ‘smartest’ president in history within months of assuming the White House, but he also secured the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office. […] The greatest accomplishment of the Obama presidency turned out to be his election as the first African-American president. This should always be seen as a great step forward. Yet, the Obama presidency failed to accomplish the great things promised by his election: racial healing, a stronger economy, greater global influence and, perhaps most critically, the fundamental progressive ‘transformation’ of American politics.”
What was your first clue, halfwit?
“The world knows this resolution was approved because a U.S. president with just a few weeks left in office chose to abandon Israel. They know this president’s positions — especially his hostility to Israel — are not shared by a majority of Americans and will be quickly reversed by President Trump. Israelis and the American people know what a cowardly act this Security Council vote was by President Obama since it was deliberately delayed until after the presidential election to ensure Hillary Clinton and congressional Democrats would not pay a political price. The vote also took place on Friday afternoon two days before Christmas to limit negative press coverage. […] With one of the worst relationships with Israel of any U.S. president in history, and after ramming through a disastrous nuclear agreement with Iran over Israel’s strong objections, President Obama dealt a final insult to Israel today.”
“Adding a final shameful chapter to a foreign-policy record that already runneth over with them, Barack Obama on Friday abandoned America’s commitment to Israel’s security, and to the vindication of democracy over sharia-supremacist aggression. In an act of cowardly venom, the president had the United States abstain from — and thereby effectively enact — a United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlement activity. At least, that’s what the resolution ostensibly does. The reality is much more than that. The resolution undertakes to render our ally indefensible.”
“[Obama’s] decision to abstain on a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements reverses decades of practice by both Democratic and Republican presidents. The United States vetoed past resolutions on the grounds that they unreasonably singled out Jewish communities in occupied territories as an obstacle to Middle East peace, and that U.N. action was more likely to impede than advance negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. [This] measure is subject to the same criticism: It will encourage Palestinians to pursue more international sanctions against Israel rather than seriously consider the concessions necessary for statehood, and it will give a boost to the international boycott and divestment movement against the Jewish state, which has become a rallying cause for anti-Zionists. At the same time, it will almost certainly not stop Israeli construction in the West Bank, much less in East Jerusalem, where Jewish housing was also deemed by the resolution to be ‘a flagrant violation under international law.’ [ … ] Whatever the motivation, Mr. Obama’s gesture is likely to do more harm than good.”
“The decision by the United States to abstain from a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Israel over its settlements on the West Bank is one of the most significant, defining moments of the Obama Presidency. [ …] The resolution will live on as Barack Obama’s cat’s paw, offering support in every European capital, international institution and U.S. university campus to bully Israel with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”
“Obama is truly the great uniter. First he united the Arabs and Israelis in a repudiation of his Middle East policies, now he’s united Republicans and Democrats in a repudiation of his policies at home. Almost everywhere you look, the gap between Obama’s stirring rhetoric and his underwhelming accomplishments is immense. One of the biggest failures was his inability to make the Democrats competitive in every state. [ … ] President Obama will no doubt have a lucrative and high-profile retirement. He’s younger than most Presidents, and he will be staying in Washington for the time being. But his immediate legacy is clearly a disaster for Democrats: in early 2017, the Party will control a minority of state houses and no branch of Federal government. With so little, it’s very difficult to regenerate and develop a farm system. The Democrats’ bench is already extremely shallow; it probably won’t get much more crowded over the next few years.”
“Ultimately Obama suffers from the Nixon comparison. Nixon was sought out post-retirement for his counsel; Obama will be asked for his presence, not his wisdom. Nixon’s electoral success was a general one, regionally and culturally, and very much set the scene for the Age of Reagan; Obama’s politics of division manifestly fail for anyone not named Obama. Nixon´s policies, domestic (e.g., creation of OSHA and the EPA, ending gold-backing of Dollars, the Endangered Species Act) and foreign (e.g., SALT treaty, rapprochement with China, backing Israel) are still with us forty years later. Obama´s will be gone forty weeks later.”
“The Democrats were supposed to sit atop the national power pyramid for decades, a new paradigm of liberals, progressives, the young, the old, the unions and blacks, Latinos, Muslims and Asians. The torch would be passed from Obama to Clinton, a liberal Supreme Court would vastly expand executive power and the regulatory state would enforce climate-change orthodoxy on all industry and elitist dictates on every American. Globalism would be the new patriotism. But a funny thing happened on the way to one-party dominance. Thoroughly beaten, the Dems are at their lowest point in nearly a century. From the White House to Congress to statehouses, they are on the outside looking in.”
“If Trump intends to follow through on his threat to bring back torture for captured terrorists, he might forget about waterboarding or Guantanamo and instead just assign the al-Qaida or ISIS fighters to try navigating the online health insurance marketplace created by the president and congressional Democrats.”
But his bracket picks were awesome!
“‘A changing climate is increasing competition for food and water,’ Obama declared, basically likening violent zealots to a couple of lions fighting over a watering hole. Really, it’s not their fault.”
Probably the only time I will link to MoDo. But this one’s a must.
Obama’s foreign policy has been a failure, most obviously in the Middle East, where the smoldering ruin that is Syria—not to mention Iraq and Libya—attests to the fundamental naivety of his approach, dating all the way back to the 2009 Cairo speech. The President came to believe he had an ingenious strategy to establish geopolitical balance between Sunni and Shi’a. But by treating America’s Arab friends with open disdain, while cutting a nuclear deal with Iran that has left Tehran free to wage proxy wars across the region, Obama has achieved not peace but a fractal geometry of conflict and a frightening, possibly nuclear, arms race. At the same time, he has allowed Russia to become a major player in the Middle East for the first time since Kissinger squeezed the Soviets out of Egypt in the 1972-79 period. The death toll in the Syrian war now approaches half a million; who knows how much higher it will rise between now and Inauguration Day?
Meanwhile, global terrorism has surged under Obama. Of the past 16 years, the worst year for terrorism was 2014, with 93 countries experiencing an attack and 32,765 people killed. 2015 was the second worst, with 29,376 deaths. Last year, four radical Islamic groups were responsible for 74 per cent of all deaths from terrorism: ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda. In this context, the President’s claims to be succeeding against what he euphemistically calls “violent extremism” are absurd. […]
The “Obama Doctrine” has failed in Europe, too, where English voters opted to leave the EU in defiance of the President’s threats, and where the German leadership he recently praised has delivered, first, an unnecessarily protracted financial crisis in the European periphery and, second, a disastrous influx to the core of migrants, some but not all of them refugees from a region that Europe had intervened in just enough to exacerbate its instability. The President has also failed in eastern Europe, where not only has Ukraine been invaded and Crimea annexed, but also Hungary and now Poland have opted to deviate sharply from the President’s liberal “arc of history.” Finally, his foreign policy has failed in Asia, where little remains of the much-vaunted pivot. “If you look at how we’ve operated in the South China Sea,” the President boasted in an interview published in March, “we have been able to mobilize most of Asia to isolate China in ways that have surprised China, frankly, and have very much served our interest in strengthening our alliances.” The new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, apparently did not receive this memorandum. In October he went to Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to announce his “separation from the United States.”
“The decision not to intervene in Syria’s civil war, and then to facilitate Assad’s murder of his own people through political and military coordination with Iran and Russia, was Obama’s, and Obama’s alone: Those who opposed that decision in any meaningful way are long gone from his administration. The list of the people who did the president’s dirty work, and gave him cover for this shameful policy, will be clear to anyone who looks at the historical record, which will provide a damning indictment of the characters and judgments of administration officials who abetted the bloodshed.”
“Obama, who has done less for Europe than any American President since Calvin Coolidge, cannot stop telling Europeans what to do. As Obama sets out on his final European tour as President, with his political party back home in a state of near collapse, and with Putin inflicting yet another painful humiliation on the least successful American President in the history of the modern Middle East, nothing seems able to shake his serene confidence that he knows more than other people, sees farther than they do, and that other people are eager to gather up his pearls of insight. … Many world leaders like Obama; some pity him; few respect him as a leader (rather than as a man); none fear him. Most are too busy coping with the consequences of his failures to spend a lot of time thinking about him at this point in his presidency. Even Germany, whose cheering crowds once greeted Obama as an enlightened internationalist in the mold of John F. Kennedy, has gradually lost faith in the President.”
“In 1723, Christopher Wren was buried in St. Paul’s, the magnificent cathedral he had rebuilt following a devastating fire in London. His epitaph concludes with the Latin phrase Si monumentum requiris, circumspice—‘If his monument you seek, look around.’ In 2017, Barack Obama will leave the White House after eight years during which he presided over the Democratic Party.
“If you wish to see his monument, look around.
“Look to your right and you will see that his designated successor lost her bid for the presidency to a man Obama himself had not only campaigned against ferociously but declared unfit to hold the nuclear codes. Look to your left and you will see the news stories detailing the possible strategies for the repeal and the replacement of the president’s signature piece of legislation, Obamacare. Then look up and down at the partisan cathedral he helped to rebuild. Its benches are, as Shakespeare said of tree branches in winter, ‘bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.’ While he was the one with the nuclear codes, the Democratic Party has been hit with a neutron bomb. And on the bomb’s nose, written like the ‘Dear John’ message on the nuke in Dr. Strangelove, were the words: ‘Barack Obama was here’.”
In response to July 2015 email from pollster John Anzalone quoting Sen. Mark Kirk, who said “[Obama’s agreement with Iran] condemns the next generation to cleaning up a nuclear war in the Persian Gulf… This is the greatest appeasement since Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to Hitler.”
“What could have promoted a faster recovery by enhancing productivity growth? Variables that encourage economic growth include strong rule of law and property rights, free trade, rolling back inefficient regulations and other constraints on market activity, public infrastructure such as highways and airports, strong institutions for education and health, fiscal discipline, efficient taxation, and sound monetary policy as reflected in low and stable inflation. … The main U.S. policy used to counter the Great [2008-09] Recession was increased government transfer payments. .. The main increases applied to Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security (including disability) and food stamps, whereas unemployment insurance first rose then fell. Unfortunately, increased transfer payments do not promote productivity growth.”
“No American president has ever done more damage to American national security or America’s standing in the world than Barack Obama. We’ve never had a president quite like him before. I think the damage is attributable to his rabid belief in the myths of the left-wing critique of the United States. We will be living with the damage he has done for a long time to come (if we are lucky, I guess). Let us count (a few) of the ways.”
“A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Obama’s dangerous doctrine, which fears American power more than it fears our enemies. As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton contributed enormously to lowering the barriers to aggression everywhere — with much worse to come unless we reverse course. The internationalist conservatives who oppose Mr. Trump on foreign-policy grounds have a point. But they shouldn’t fool themselves that they will get something better with Mrs. Clinton.”
“Obamacare failed because it flunked Economics 101 and Human Nature 101 … because the penalties for going uncovered are too low when stacked against its skyrocketing premium costs … because its rules hamstring insurers … because it allowed Americans to sign up after they got sick and needed help paying all those medical bills … because it hasn’t tamed U.S. medical costs … because too many carriers simply can’t cover expenses, let alone turn a profit, in this rigidly controlled system … [etc. etc. etc.].”
The historical summation of Obama’s legacy starts early.
“Obama deliberately fomented racial conflict for the purpose of political gain. [He] appointed Attorneys General who imposed a racial agenda on the Department of Justice, refusing, among other things, to redress civil rights grievances if they were asserted by whites. [He] began a pattern of stirring up hate against police officers by intervening in a trivial incident in Cambridge, deriding policemen as ‘stupid.’ Obama and others in his administration stirred up hate against whites on the part of African-Americans, as when Joe Biden outrageously told a black crowd that ‘[Republicans are] going to put y’all back in chains.’ [NOTE: Wasn’t it Democrats who originally applied the chains?] Obama incited hatred against police officers in particular, and whites in general, as, for example, when he sent a White House delegation to the funeral of a black thug who had been killed in self-defense by a white police officer, as his own Justice Department later found.
“The climate of hate that Barack Obama and his minions have fomented has contributed to the first significant increase in violent crime and homicide in 20 years, including a wave of murderous attacks against police officers.
“Make American hate again? Hate has been spreading in America for years, but the culprit isn’t Donald Trump, it is Barack Obama. Obama did more to make America hate again than any politician of modern times.”
Hey, Barack — Neville Chamberlain called. He wants his foreign policy back.
“What is President Obama’s response [to the slaughter and destruction in Aleppo]? The Washington Post describes it as ‘Deplore. Wring hands. Repeat.’ This is a far cry from Obama’s soaring rhetoric of 2012, in which he proclaimed that preventing mass atrocities ‘is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.’ At that time, he promised to ‘increas[e] the pressure, with a diplomatic effort to further isolate Assad and his regime, so that those who stick with Assad know that they are making a losing bet.’
“Today, we know that Syrians who took Obama seriously are the ones who made the losing bet.
“At this point, there is probably nothing the U.S. can do. Throwing in with the Russians (and by extension Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran), a ‘solution’ the Russians are talking up, should be a non-starter. That’s one from the Donald Trump playbook. Obama missed his chance to redeem his 2012 fancy talk when he refused to implement a no-fly zone in Syria. With a no-fly zone, there would be no mass devastation in Aleppo, Assad would not have been able to rally so successfully, and non-jihadist rebels would be more of a force. When Obama first rejected the idea, Russian air power was not a factor in Syria. The Russians filled the void Obama left, just as ISIS did in Iraq. This void-filling, and the terrorism and devastation it has produced, is the most important legacy of the Obama presidency on the world stage.”
“The possibility that president Obama may not be as great as they thought has gradually dawned on the New York Times. … [examples listed] … Barack Obama bids fair to be remembered as the Florence Foster Jenkins of politics. Like that socialite he can’t perform his job for beans. Like that socialite his friends are covering up for him. According to a Twitter whistleblower the social media giant’s CEO ordered the employees to protect Obama from hurtful Tweets. ‘According to a former senior Twitter employee, Costolo ordered employees to deploy an algorithm (which was built in-house) that would filter out abusive language directed at Obama. Another source said the media partnerships team also manually censored tweets, noting that Twitter’s public quality-filtering algorithms were inconsistent. Two sources told BuzzFeed News that this decision was kept from senior company employees for fear they would object to the decision.'” [Story goes on to catalog the “insufferable smugness” and willful blindness of “Jon Stewart’s ‘Culture of Ridicule,’ (which) kept the best and the brightest from seeing the train wreck coming.”]
“Perhaps it will turn out that the latest assassination of police officers is unrelated to the hatred fomented by the Black Lives Matter movement. But the overwhelming odds are that this most recent assault on law and order is the direct outcome of the political and media frenzy that followed the police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in Minnesota less than two weeks ago. That frenzy further amplified the dangerously false narrative that racist police officers are the greatest threat facing young black men today. President Barack Obama bears direct responsibility for the lethal spread of that narrative.”
“With the exception of the unemployment rate, black Americans are worse off in many categories under President Obama, including: labor force participation, the percentage of people below the poverty line, real median income, the number of black people on food stamps, the percentage of black people who own homes, and the black-white test score gap in education. Thus, far from unifying the nation, and far from ending the social ills he believes are caused by discrimination, President Obama has — perhaps unwittingly — caused America to become more polarized and divided, and brought us no closer to solving the key problems stunting black achievement.”
“The list of President Obama’s foreign policy failures is long. Thanks in large part to Obama, Iran is rich (and still able to go nuclear at the time of its choosing); Libya is a failed state and significant base for ISIS; the butcher Assad remains in power, while ISIS controls wide swaths of territory in Syria; Russia’s influence in the Middle East and Eastern Europe hasn’t been stronger in decades; and so forth. … Obama is doubling-down on two of his most significant areas of failure: Russia and Syria. The administration … is proposing increased military cooperation with Russia in Syria, in exchange for Russian agreement to abide by the cease-fire it already agreed to. This move is perverse at so many levels that only Obama could make it. (Okay, Hillary Clinton could too; after all, she’s the author of the ‘Russian reset.’)”
“The week after the Fourth of July is a good time to take stock of the presidency of Barack Obama. It is highly unlikely that he will change course in his six remaining months in office, so he will be judged by history on his current record. That record reveals an enormous gap between his grandiose promises and his pitiful performance over the past eight years.”
“Rarely has a presidency seen so many things go so badly for the U.S. in foreign policy. Obama’s track record is not looking good: at the end of his watch, the Middle East, Europe, and East Asia are all in worse shape than when he entered office, relations with Russia and China are both worse, there are more refugees, more terrorists and more dangerous terrorist organizations. Obama has been focusing on issues he thinks are important and he’s had some successes with these issues (climate treaty signed, Iran nuclear deal, reduced number of inmates in Guantanamo, killed Bin Laden and many other terrorists), but the results don’t amount to an enhanced American position in a safer world. Ultimately policy has to be judged by results rather than by intentions. George W. Bush had good intentions in Iraq and elsewhere, but the results won’t make historians think he was a great or even a good foreign policy president. Ditto for Obama.”
“Obama has given us Violent Extremism in lieu of Islamist terrorism. He has given us Building Community Resilience to Counter Violent Extremism. It’s hard to take the Islam out of the Islamic State, or ISIS, or ISIL. It’s hard to take the Islam out of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Yet that is what Obama would have us do.”
“On a trip to the Middle East this spring, we heard a constant refrain in capitals from the Persian Gulf to Israel, ‘Can you please explain what your president is doing?’ ‘Why is he walking away?’ ‘Why is he so blithely sacrificing the hard fought gains you secured in Iraq?’ ‘Why is he abandoning your friends?’ ‘Why is he doing deals with your enemies?’ In one Arab capital, a senior official pulled out a map of Syria and Iraq. Drawing an arc with his finger from Raqqa province in northern Syria to Anbar province in western Iraq, he said, ‘They will control this territory. Al Qaeda is building safe havens and training camps here. Don’t the Americans care?’
“Our president doesn’t seem to. Iraq is at risk of falling to a radical Islamic terror group and Mr. Obama is talking climate change. Terrorists take control of more territory and resources than ever before in history, and he goes golfing. He seems blithely unaware, or indifferent to the fact, that a resurgent al Qaeda presents a clear and present danger to the United States of America.”
“A while back I advanced the notion that Barack Obama is a hapless schmuck. The theory was greeted with derision from both sides. Leftists, of course, were furious because it’s clear to them that even their president’s failures are a product of his genius. He’s just too smart for the rest of us to comprehend what he’s doing. Rightists were upset because I offended their certainty that Obama is evil. Clearly every disaster of his administration was the result of his careful planning. He hated America so much that he had schemed and connived to lose her wars and damage her economy, and what a brilliant job he’d done.
They were wrong. I was right. The man’s a nincompoop.”
“In our current system, the biggest check on presidential power is public criticism, and despite the rise of niche media such as Fox News and talk radio, the kind of public criticism that actually has an impact mostly comes from the left-controlled ‘mainstream media.’ With a black Democrat in the White House, those organs have often been loath to criticize the president themselves, and swift to assume that anyone who does offer criticism is partisan, and probably a racist to boot. But with a white male Republican in the White House, all criticisms will be presumed valid.”
“Those dynamics continue to this day, despite promises that the ACA markets would stabilize after the first two or three years and would eventually ‘bend the cost curve downward.’ Consumers have their plans cut out from underneath them each year as insurers have either pared back plans or exited exchanges altogether as Obamacare’s economic model continues to fail. At the same time, premiums and deductibles have continued to skyrocket, and tax subsidies cannot hide the impact on families. What was promised as more ‘choice’ is becoming fewer choices.” Because government-run healthcare is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car.
“The United States has significantly more military capability in the Middle East today than Russia — America has 35,000 troops and hundreds of aircraft; the Russians roughly 2,000 troops and, perhaps, 50 aircraft — and yet Middle Eastern leaders are making pilgrimages to Moscow to see Vladimir Putin these days, not rushing to Washington. Two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to see the Russian president, his second trip to Russia since last fall, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia is planning a trip soon. Egypt’s president and other Middle Eastern leaders have also made the trek to see Putin. Why is this happening, and why on my trips to the region am I hearing that Arabs and Israelis have pretty much given up on President Barack Obama?”
POTUS: Big job. Small man. Two small men.
“By relentlessly pursuing an agenda that was outside the political mainstream, Mr. Obama became the most polarizing president of the past century. Had he compromised with his own party and a handful of Republicans, much of his vision might have been firmly cemented into law on a bipartisan basis. But by doing it his way, Mr. Obama built an imposing sand castle that is now imperiled by the changing tides of voter sentiment. All the American electorate must do now is choose a president totally committed to overturning the Obama program—and Obama’s sand castle will be washed away.”
“A lengthy [John] Kerry profile by New Yorker editor David Remnick … opens with a discussion of Kerry’s bitterness over losing the 2004 presidential election to, as Remnick puts it using the passive-aggressive voice, ‘George W. Bush, who is widely considered the worst President of the modern era.’ (Let us point out here that Barack Obama also ‘is widely considered the worst president of the modern era,’ albeit mostly by people David Remnick doesn’t know.)”
“President Obama’s overall strategy appears to be one of leaving the ISIS mess to the next occupant of the Oval Office. It is no coincidence that under his watch the Islamists have seized control of vast swathes of Iraq and Syria, have spread their tentacles through Libya, and are now making major inroads in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of most US forces there. At the same time, Moscow is flexing its muscle in Europe and in the Middle East, as the Obama presidency has dramatically reduced America’s footprint in both continents. Barack Obama’s foreign and national security policy has been an unmitigated disaster at a time when the enemies of freedom have become increasingly emboldened.”
“The man has done enormous damage. We will be living with the consequences for a long time. … Obama threw our hard-won victory in Iraq to prove a point. … Obama has empowered the mad mullahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. … Obama has empowered [and] turned over America’s Middle East policy to Vladimir Putin. … The estimable Walter Russell Mead lays responsibility for the Syrian refugee crisis at Obama’s door. … All the while, China has been conducting offensive operations against the United States in cyberspace and extending its reach through the creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea. … Obama’s actions and inactions portend an enormous human toll with adverse environmental consequences thrown in for good measure. … I say: Save the planet — from Barack Obama!”
“A foreign policy debacle in which the measure of Obama has been taken. He’s been bullied off the playground.”
Only three percent of Americans consider global warming important. Why this continued campaign by the administration? Krauthammer: “Because this president lives in a world of his idealistic and deluded, undergraduate imagination. … He lives in a world where people get together — reasonable, educated, Harvard law school educated people from all over the world, and agree on futuristic designs that mean nothing, like the League of Nations, like the U.N. … Global warming is the same thing. Nothing will come of it because it’s not a treaty, it would never get through the Senate, it’s not going to be binding on anybody. How about a serious air campaign over Syria? How about destroying their oil infrastructure for a start? But that doesn’t occur to him.”
“The two presidents stood in the East Room on Tuesday afternoon, united in their goal of defeating the Islamic State but separated by a stylistic gulf as vast as the Atlantic. On the left, facing the cameras, was François Hollande, war president. He spoke of ‘cowardly murderers’ who ‘dishonor humanity,’ of a ‘relentless determination to fight terrorism everywhere and anywhere,’ of ‘an implacable joint response,’ of ‘hunting down their leaders’ and ‘taking back the land.’ ….
On the right stood Barack Obama, President Oh-bummer. There was little difference in their strategies for fighting the Islamic State, but Hollande was upbeat and can-do, while Obama was discouraging and lawyerly. It was as if the smoke-’em-out spirit of George W. Bush had been transplanted into the body of a short, pudgy, bespectacled French socialist with wrinkled suit-pants.”
“Last year at a NATO summit, Obama explicitly disavowed the idea of containing ISIS. ‘You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women,’ he said. Instead he argued, ‘The goal has to be to dismantle them.’ Just before the Paris massacre, Obama shifted back to containment. ‘From the start, our goal has been first to contain them, and we have contained them,’ he said. Pay no attention to what he said last year. There’s a new message now. Last year Obama was vowing to destroy ISIS. Now he had settled for containing them. And he couldn’t even manage that.”
“To see the full cynicism of the Obama approach to the refugee issue, one has only to ask President Obama’s least favorite question: Why is there a Syrian refugee crisis in the first place?
“Obama’s own policy decisions … were instrumental in creating the Syrian refugee crisis. This crisis is in large part the direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to stand aside and watch Syria burn. For him to try and use a derisory and symbolic program to allow 10,000 refugees into the United States in order to posture as more caring than those evil Jacksonian rednecks out in the benighted sticks is [a] cynical, cold-blooded, and nastily divisive move … Moreover, many of those “benighted” people were willing to sign up for the U.S. military and go to fight ISIS in Syria to protect the refugees. Many Americans who now oppose the President’s ill-considered refugee program have long supported the use of American power to create ‘safe zones’ in Syria so the refugees could be sheltered and fed in their own country. If President Obama seriously cared about the fate of Syria’s millions of displaced people, he would have started to organize those safe havens years ago. And if he understood the nature of America’s role in Europe, he would have known that working with the Europeans to prevent a mass refugee and humanitarian disaster was something that had to be done.
“Not even President Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq has been as destructive for Europe or as damaging to the Transatlantic alliance as President Obama’s hard-hearted and short-sighted Syria policy. The flood of refugees is shaking the European Union to its core, and Obama’s policy has cemented perceptions among many around the world that the United States is no longer the kind of useful ally that it once was. France didn’t even bother to invoke NATO’s Article 5 after the Paris attacks; nobody really thinks of President Obama as the man you want at your side when the chips are down.”
John Kerry [same speech]: “What’s the platform? What’s the grievance? That we’re not who they are? They kill people because of who they are and they kill people because of what they believe. And it’s indiscriminate. They kill Shia. They kill Yezidis. They kill Christians. They kill Druze. They kill Ismaili. They kill anybody who isn’t them and doesn’t pledge to be that.”
Who is “they” who we’re not, Mr. Kerry? Define “them” that the victims aren’t. What is “that” which the victims don’t pledge to be?
Flashback [27 JAN 15]: Obama refers to ISIS as a “jayvee team.”
“Obamacare’s partisans were confronted with the economic facts long before the law was even passed, and their answer was: ‘Never mind the economics, we’re the good guys, and you want poor people to die.’ Democrats argued that Republicans literally wanted to kill poor people, that their plan was for the poor to ‘die quickly.’ This is a habitual mode of discourse among progressives: Reality doesn’t matter; only the purity of Democrats’ motives matters. Obamacare is what it is: Another damned five-year plan based on wishful thinking and very little else.”
[P.S. IMHO, Obamacare is not “dead.” In an oxygen tent, perhaps, but still sucking air.]
“If recent years in upper Mesopotamia are any indicator (as I believe), then the instability which allowed ISIS to thrive is likely to metastasize to the wider Arab world — pushing my envisioned ‘steady-city-state’ endgame even further into the future. Getting there, no matter how long it takes, requires a complete rethinking of our approach to the region. We need to shift our focus away from bogus capitals which pretend to govern bogus countries. Instead we must try working with (or against) the Arab equivalent of big-city ward heelers. And we’ll need a White House, a State Department, and a Pentagon able to effectively and quickly apply our statecraft with flexibility, ingenuity, cynicism, and sometimes force to an ever-shifting landscape.” [Which won’t happen before Jan. 20, 2017 — at the earliest.]
“American folklore as well as our classic literature — from Herman Melville through Hammett and down to David Mamet — makes plain a simple fact: No one is ever conned against their will. Rather, the victim’s vanity is the central ingredient in the confidence scheme. And that’s why it was so easy to play the president.”
“If Romney had been elected in 2012 and in the year before his reelection campaign had bombed a hospital, decided to keep troops in Afghanistan, and had details of his robot assassin program leaked, things would look a little different today. The White House would be surrounded by protesters and candlelight peace vigils. Some would wave American flags, some would wave signs calling for impeachment, some would have pictures caricaturing the president as Hitler. They would chant Not in our name! Nightly news reports on CBS, NBC, and ABC would have regular features on war crimes, quagmires, and collateral damage. CNN would be wall-to-wall with team coverage of protests, interviews of bombing witnesses, and Anderson Cooper walking through rubble in full body armor. Political analysts would be fretting over the war-weary public turning the upcoming election into a referendum against the president and his party. Vox and FiveThirtyEight would have maps showing how many Senate seats Republicans would lose because of the president’s sure-to-plummet approval rating.
“MSNBC would be holding mock war crimes tribunals, explaining the process with expert guests. Lena Dunham would be on Maddow every night aghast (but giggling!) at this warmonger-in-chief. Chris Matthews would be yelling at Michael Moore, trying to find out when charges would be filed at the Hague. Democrats in Congress would be calling for hearings and investigations for each transgression: the bombing, troop levels, and drone policy. Chuck Schumer would hold daily press briefings scolding the wreckless president from behind the glasses perched precariously down his nose.
“But Mitt Romney isn’t president, Barack Obama is, so no one cares.”
“A ‘fighting chance for a better future’ in the Middle East? Make that a better chance for a fighting future. … It is clear that the president’s [global] strategy is failing disastrously. Since 2010, total fatalities from armed conflict in the world have increased by a factor of close to four, according to data from the International Institute of Strategic Studies. Total fatalities due to terrorism have risen nearly sixfold, based on the University of Maryland’s Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism database. Nearly all this violence is concentrated in a swath of territory stretching from North Africa through the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan. And there is every reason to expect the violence to escalate as the Sunni powers of the region seek to prevent Iran from establishing itself as the post-American hegemon. Today the U.S. faces three strategic challenges: the maelstrom in the Muslim world, the machinations of a weak but ruthless Russia, and the ambition of a still-growing China. The president’s responses to all three look woefully inadequate.”
“That the Obama administration is foundering from an economic-policy point of view is not news. Barack Obama & Co. represent the very freshest and most imaginative thinking of the 1930s — stimulus, public works, monkeying with the minimum wage, political favoritism for union constituencies, the ancient superstition that simply putting money in somebody’s pocket makes the nation richer through the miraculous power of the economic multiplier, etc.”
Amazingly, here we are, with Russia poised to steamroll the Middle East, while our president spouts Fukuyama-inspired platitudes before the U.N. Mr. President, don’t look now, but the 1990s are calling. They want their copy of The End of History and the Last Man back. There are some corrections to be made.”
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake. . .What if that nightmare gave you a back kick?”
“This passage from Ulysses captures the Obama presidency in the realm of foreign policy. History, the nightmare from which the president is trying to escape, has given him a “back kick” — in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine, and Yemen for example — and he risks becoming a laughingstock as a result.”
“It’s easy to accept this view of life if you owe your accelerated good fortune to a superficial charm and understanding of the way the world works. It’s also easier to lecture than to learn, to preach than to act. History will remember Barack Obama as the president who conducted foreign policy less as a principled exercise in the application of American power than as an extended attempt to justify the evasion of it.”
“I think many things about Obama are now obvious—and should have been obvious even during the 2008 campaign. I’m happy to be able to look back at my posts from then and see that, although I certainly didn’t perceive everything about him, I perceived plenty. That’s not because I’m such a psychic or a genius, it’s because I think it was obvious to any intelligent person who was paying attention. And yet, plenty of seemingly intelligent people don’t see it, even today. Is that a failure of courage? Information? Judgment? Imagination? Is it in many cases a reluctance to admit one was wrong (I wouldn’t underestimate that motivation)? Or party loyalty? Or a fear of being accused of racism, even at this late date? I think it must be different for different people. But at this point, people do know or should know that something is very, very wrong.”
One hardly knows where to begin quoting from this article, it’s so full of astute observations. Isolationism is impractical, imprudent, and impossible in the modern world. Everything is global. As Trotsky once opined, “You might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” Stephens underscores Obama’s puny stature on the world stage. POTUS: Big job. Small man.
“After two presidential victories, Mr. Obama presides over a Democratic Party that has lost 13 seats in the U.S. Senate and 69 in the House during his tenure, a net loss unmatched by any modern U.S. president. Democrats have also lost 11 governorships, four state attorneys general, 910 legislative seats, as well as the majorities in 30 state legislative chambers. In 23 states, Republicans control the governor’s office and the legislature; Democrats, only seven.Such losses help shape the future: An ousted state lawmaker doesn’t run for Congress; a failed attorney general candidate loses a shot at the governor’s office. As a result, the flow of fresh political talent rising to statewide and national prominence in the years ahead won’t be as robust as Democrats hope.”
“Obama says: ‘Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds. With this week’s summit, we’ll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.’ Obama may be the most clueless politician in modern history. There isn’t any doubt about the fact that free Western societies ‘offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.’ It’s the end of history, remember? But here’s the thing: Islamic radicals (ISIS et al.) don’t want opportunity, justice or dignity. They want to chop people’s heads off, just for fun. They delight in parading enemies in cages and burning them alive. They like to buy and sell women as slaves. They oppress all those who do not share their ideology. The last things they want are opportunity, justice and dignity. They know all about the West, and they hate it.”
“If you, a family member or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job — if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks — the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed. That’s right. While you are as unemployed as one can possibly be, and tragically may never find work again, you are not counted in the figure we see relentlessly in the news — currently 5.6%. Right now, as many as 30 million Americans are either out of work or severely underemployed. The vast majority of them aren’t throwing parties to toast ‘falling’ unemployment.
“There’s another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you’re an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you’re not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.”
Obama gave a speech in New Delhi. In 33 minutes, he made 118 references to his favorite topic.
[This never occurred to me:] “No doubt Obama will issue another generic statement on the Belgian jihadists, probably without any mention of Islam. But no one expects anything more from him. There are leaders in the Western world, but he is not one of them. But why? Some think the reason is ideological: he really doesn’t want to oppose Islamic terror—not strenuously, anyway—and besides, he still hopes for an alliance with Iran. Some think he is too lazy, too busy golfing or watching ESPN, to bother. My own suspicion—pure speculation, supported only by observation and circumstantial evidence, like Obama’s refusal to release his medical records—is that he suffers from depression and may be nearly disabled by that condition. But that is a topic for another time.”
Because Americans are spending more on … [drum roll] … Obamacare!
Someone tell the Koch brothers they’re chronically outspent.
“The transformation of America, just as he said. He wants to transform it by weakening it and its allies, and strengthening its enemies (particularly those on the left), and he wants to do it so thoroughly that there’s no turning back. It’s easier to wreck than to build. A president whose attitude towards this country and its power is malignant, who has the support of the press (as Obama has most of the time), and who is immune from worrying about any election consequences (which he is now), can do a lot of damage in the two years he has remaining.”
“Senator Barack Obama, 2008: ‘The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States of America.’
“Some foolish voters thought that Obama meant that the big problem was that George Bush was bringing more and more power into the executive branch and not go[ing] through Congress. In fact, Obama obviously meant that the big problem was George Bush bringing more and more power into the executive branch and not go[ing] through Congress. So Obama kept his promise. George Bush is no longer bringing more and more power into the executive branch and ignoring Congress. President Obama is.”
“[Jonathan Gruber] called you stupid. He admitted that the White House lied to you. Its officials lied to all of us—Republicans, Democrats, and independents; rich and poor; white and brown; men and women.
“Liberals should be the angriest. Not only were they personally deceived, but the administration’s dishonest approach to health care reform has helped make Obamacare unpopular while undermining the public’s faith in an activist government. A double blow to progressives.”
Fournier is correct, but the difference between “progressives” and the rest of us is that we recognized the lie. Progressives chose to believe it.
“A headline on the Cut announces that the midterm election results were ‘Bad News for Women.’ Under it, Ann Friedman argues that even though there were several ‘prominent victories’ for Republican women this week — including combat veteran and hog castrator Joni Ernst in Iowa, black Mormon Mia Love in Utah, and youngest woman to ever be elected to Congress Elise Stefanik in New York — because they do not support abortion rights and are pro-gun, that means their wins are not a boon for women.
“I’m not sure I agree. If you are against everything Joni Ernst or Mia Love stand for, then this election was bad for you, and the policies you care about, not bad for women. It should be obvious, but ‘women’ — half the population—are not a uniform voting bloc with uniform ideas about what is best for them.”
“It’s a little late in the president’s career to learn the fine art of making deals with people who fundamentally disagree with you, but might be willing to work on whatever small goals you might share. I suspect it feels more comfortable to go along with the strategy that has worked decently well over the last four years: hold your ground, complain about Republican intransigence, and hope that Republican legislators give you another opportunity to play long-suffering adult in the room.”
A wave election post-mortem.
“In the make-believe world of Barack Obama, the American financial system melted down hours before he took office due to the crimes of others. He then quickly saved it, and devised an economic plan that has made Americans far better off than when he entered office. Obama next went on to revolutionize the energy sector to lower gas and electricity prices, brought stability to Iraq only to see it destroyed by others, and crafted a unique outreach to the Islamic world that has lessened the threat of violence and cooled passions in the Middle East. The net result, as the president reminds us, is a more secure, quieter world than anytime in history and unprecedented good economic times at home. Whether such constructions are proof of delusions or mendacity—or both—the reader can decide.”
Dennis Miller: “That wasn’t a styrofoam cup, that was his spine.”
Or as John Hinderaker puts it: Return of the Bush Doctrine
“Why doesn’t Obama commit himself to decisive actions with ground troops? … A strong military presence is the only way to counter the territorial expansion of ISIS. The Obama personal hesitation stems, unfortunately, from reasons unrelated to the military and political issues. Part of his problem is that he cannot bring himself to acknowledge that he was wrong to oppose the Iraqi surge in 2006, and wrong to pull out American troops from Iraq as President. A strong president learns from his past mistakes, but Obama does not.”
“ISIL has claimed responsibility for bombing attacks in Iraq going back to 2010. The group has played a major role in the Syrian civil war since April 2013. In early June 2014, ISIL captured Mosul, Fallujah and Tikrit in northern Iraq, and threatened Baghdad. ISIL obtained large quantities of American weaponry and a great deal of money, making it the richest terrorist group in history. It murdered hundreds of Christians and rendered many more refugees. In late June, ISIL announced the founding of a new caliphate. In July, ISIL carried out a series of mass executions. In early August, ISIL slaughtered large numbers of Yazidis and kidnapped 400 Yazidi women to sell as sex slaves. On August 8, the U.S. government labeled ISIL’s massacre of the Yazidi as genocide. On August 16, ISIL murdered 80 more Yazidis. On August 19, ISIL beheaded American journalist James Foley on video. The following day, President Obama took a brief break from golfing to denounce Foley’s murder. On August 21, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that ISIL represents an ‘imminent’ threat to American security.
“And yet, by Obama’s own account [today], he has barely begun the process of developing a strategy to combat ISIL.”
“America is suddenly angry at the laxity, incompetence, and polarizing politics of the Obama administration, the bad optics of the president putting about in his bright golf clothes while the world burns. Certainly, no recent president has failed on so many fronts — honesty, transparency, truthfulness, the economy, foreign policy, the duties of the commander-in-chief, executive responsibilities, and spiritual leadership. … The antidote to the great madness of 2008 would have been, instead of focusing on what Obama claimed or hedged, simply to recall what he had done before he ran for president and to notice what he did during the campaign. Had America done that, there would never have been a President Obama to surprise us now.”
Note: Many of us are not surprised.
“In [the 1957 film] A Face in the Crowd, the charismatic Andy Griffith character [Lonesome Rhodes] could more or less get anything he wished by saying anything he wanted, largely because he said it mellifluously and in cracker-barrel fashion of an us-versus-them populism. His admirers knew that they were being lied to, but also knew that Lonesome knew that they did not mind. Lonesome had contempt for hoi polloi, largely because of his own easy ability to manipulate them for whatever particular careerist cause he embraced.
“So Obama has disdain for those who passed out at his lectures, who put up the Greek columns at his speeches, who came up with his Latin mottoes, and who gushed at his teleprompted eloquence. He knows that we know he is not telling the truth, but likewise he knows that we don’t care all that much — at least until now. The secret to Lonesome’s success was to hide his contempt for those he lied to. When he is caught ridiculing his clueless listeners, he finally crashes and burns — sort of like Barack Obama serially vacationing with the 1% whom he so publicly scorns, or golfing in the aristocratic fashion of those who, he assures us, did not build their businesses.
“Lonesome did not end up well, and neither will the presidency of Barack Obama.”
“So, liberal friends and neighbors, how’s everybody liking their one-size-fits-all, federally dominated model of health care this week? A wee bit less than you were liking it Monday morning, I’d wager. … You’re naturally inclined to want to put government in charge of everything because you forget — wishful thinking, maybe? — that there are a whole lot of us knuckle-dragging right-wingers in the world, and, every now and then, we’re going to win one. I’m trying to be charitable, here, but I really can’t see how you keep failing to learn that lesson. … You guys had your shot at this, and you passed the law — but you still managed to blow it. But there are more intelligent, market-based, consumer-driven alternatives, and they are ultimately what’s going to end up getting enacted. We’re here to help — whether you like it or not.”
“A country-by-country survey of the Obama administration’s actions in the Northern Triangle shows how the administration has sown instability in Central America by siding with former guerrillas who have ties to drug trafficking.”
On the eve of the ’08 election, Levin foresaw the inevitable: “Beyond the elites and the media, my greatest concern is whether this election will show a majority of the voters susceptible to the appeal of a charismatic demagogue. This may seem a harsh term to some, and no doubt will to Obama supporters, but it is a perfectly appropriate characterization. Obama’s entire campaign is built on class warfare and human envy. The “change” he peddles is not new. We’ve seen it before. It is change that diminishes individual liberty for the soft authoritarianism of socialism. It is a populist appeal that disguises government mandated wealth redistribution as tax cuts for the middle class, falsely blames capitalism for the social policies and government corruption (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) that led to the current turmoil in our financial markets, fuels contempt for commerce and trade by stigmatizing those who run successful small and large businesses, and exploits human imperfection as a justification for a massive expansion of centralized government.”
I publicly expressed my disdain for Obama in 2008 here, here, here, and here. At the time I came out (in the comments) as an “undecided voter,” admitting: “I can’t decide whether to hit the gym first & then go vote for Mac-Palin, or cast my ballot early & then head over for a workout. It’s a dilemma. I’m on the fence.”
“Add in the Eastern European crisis and the growing expansion of China to the Middle Eastern collapse, it is not hard to see the obvious. Unless a miracle saves Obama, the nation will be facing a global and existential security crisis within a short time. America will face a supercharged Islamic terrorism with thousands of recruits in the West available as a 5th Column, supplied with vast amounts of money and in potential possession of most of the world’s oil.
“Like a child throwing a tantrum, president Obama has deemed it clever to throw open the southern border, ascribing what any sane person would regard as territorial suicide to high-minded humanitarianism. It has somehow become cool to encourage the invasion of America and racist to even consider that might be bad idea. But through that portal, what might come? Well, Bienvenido y Allah Akbar. And that’s just part of his legacy. Obama has presided over the destruction of American influence in the Middle East, the hollowing out of the US economy, the perversion of American intelligence assets and the maltreatment of American veterans.”
“The emerging narrative of Barack Obama, the one that actually comports to reality, is that he is a rare political talent but a disaster when it comes to governing. The list of his failures is staggering, from shovel-ready jobs that weren’t so shovel ready to the failures of healthcare.gov to the VA debacle. But it also includes the president’s failure to tame the debt, lower poverty, decrease income inequality, and increase job creation. He promised to close Guantanamo Bay and didn’t. His administration promised to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed before a civilian jury in New York but they were forced to retreat because of outrage in his own party. Early on in his administration Mr. Obama put his prestige on the line to secure the Olympics for Chicago in 2016 and he failed.
“Overseas the range of Obama’s failures include the Russian ‘reset’ and Syrian ‘red lines’ to Iran’s Green Revolution, the Egyptian overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, and Libya post-Gaddafi. The first American ambassador since the 1970s was murdered after requests for greater security for the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi were denied. The president has strained relations with nations extending from Canada to Germany, from Israel to Afghanistan to Poland and the Czech Republic to many others. All from a man who promised to heal the planet and slow the rise of the oceans.
“But that’s not all.”
“The NY Times has a dilemma. It cannot help but notice that the expected and predicted fruits of Obama’s foreign policy (or of his mere presence in the White House) seem to be rotting on the ground. Even more importantly, the Times figures that its readers are noticing too. The situation is just too fetid to successfully deny any more, and if the newspaper continues to do so, those of its regular readers who retain some integrity might consider the paper to be the completely owned propaganda organ that it is, and take offense. So, what to do? The answer is to write editorials [that offer] a delicate balancing act that acknowledges just enough reality to sound credible to those readers but not enough to really risk any of their strongly-held beliefs that Obama is pretty decent and has America’s best interests at heart. It’s a bit tricky to successfully pull off, but the Times proves it’s up to the task in an effort yesterday that is a tour de force of the genre.”
“Will these geniuses in the White House say global warming reached back through time to 1881 to cause this? How about 1977 — was that ‘global warming’ too? But let’s indulge them, let’s say it is ALL caused by ‘global warming.’ What will they do about it? Tax it? Issue a presidential order? Make emitting CO2 a crime? Like Nature cares what they think or do. Idiots.”
“Obama’s surprisability about history, which is why he is always (as almost everyone now recognizes) ‘playing catch-up,’ is owed to certain sanguine and unknowledgeable expectations that he brought with him to the presidency. There was no reason to expect that the Ayatollah Khamenei would take Obama’s ‘extended hand,’ but every reason to expect that he would crack down barbarically on stirrings of democracy in his society. There was no reason to expect that Assad would go because he ‘must go,’ but every reason to expect him to savage his country and thereby create an ethnic-religious war and a headquarters for jihadist anti-Western terrorists. There was no reason to expect Putin to surrender his profound historical bitterness at the reduced post-Soviet realities of Russia and leave its ‘near abroad’ alone. There was no reason to expect that the Taliban in Afghanistan would behave as anything but a murderous theocratic conspiracy aspiring to a return to power. And so on. Who, really, has been the realist here? And what sort of idealism is it that speaks of justice and democracy but denies consequential assistance (which the White House outrageously conflates with ground troops) to individuals and movements who courageously work to achieve those ideals?”
“Obamacare isn’t bad because it didn’t hit 9 million in Obamacare-compliant exchange purchases, nor because it didn’t include 39 percent young adults among its purchasers. It’s bad — horrible, actually — because …” [catalog of reasons at the link].
“It seems clear that military troops and veterans have good reason to wish that America had a different commander-in chief.”
“The lack of preparedness at the White House was not merely a weakness of policy but also a weakness of worldview. The president is too often caught off guard by enmity, and by the nastiness of things. There really is no excuse for being surprised by evil. There is also no excuse for projecting one’s good intentions, one’s commitment to reason, one’s optimism about history, upon other individuals and other societies and other countries: narcissism is the enemy of empiricism.” But Wieseltier’s takeaway is that hopefully Obama will finally acknowledge the error of his ways — which is wishful thinking.
Most Americans signing up for Obamacare were previously insured, but lost their personal or employer insurance because of the ACA. A small percentage of new enrollees were previously uninsured, and a significant portion of those haven’t yet paid a premium. And this doesn’t even address the question of the age and health demographics of previously uninsured enrollees, on which the survival of Obamacare depends. As Hinderaker observes, “For now, let’s just note that to date, Obamacare is a far worse flop than has generally been reported.”
So which candidate did WaPo endorse in ’08 and ’12? Every policy — domestic and foreign — put forth by this administration is based on fantasy. Let me state the obvious corollary: the WaPo’s endorsements were based on fantasy. They helped put a mystical man-child in charge of America’s security. I can’t say FUCK YOU loud enough to these asshats.
“Messiah fatigue.” Accepters, deniers, deflectors, and self-identifying rubes.
“This is no abstract issue anymore. People are losing their insurance. They are losing their doctors. They are losing their hospitals. Some of them are losing jobs or losing hours as a result over the law, and it isn’t as if people are waiting for another disaster on the website. … When you decide to revolutionize a sixth of the U.S. economy and to issue tens of thousands of regulations on as delicate an ecosystem as American medicine, you deserve the blame for everything that goes wrong.”
Another rube self-identifies: “It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.”
“It’s the bogus statistic that won’t die — and Obama deployed it during the State of the Union — but women do not make 77 cents to every dollar a man earns.”
Related: Hinderaker: Obama: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
“Remember when Obama was trying to plug ‘green’ energy and suppress the production of fossil fuels? Obama repeated, over and over, the claim that the U.S. can’t drill itself to energy sufficiency because we use 25% of the world’s energy and have only 2% of the world’s petroleum reserves. … But Obama no longer uses the line about the 2% and the 25% — not since it became apparent that his administration is being saved by fracking.”
“What is it, exactly, that Christie is accused of? Creating a traffic jam? No, not quite. Ordering a traffic jam? No, that’s not quite right either. Being irritated with the mayor of Fort Lee, who declined to endorse his reelection bid, and wishing to get back at him somehow and then not minding when he was embarrassed with some really bad traffic over the George Washington Bridge? … So here we have it: a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge vs. a rogue president who selectively enforces the law, who governs by fiat, and who ruthlessly employs the engines of state coercion against those who get in his way.”
Depends which corner you mean.
“Obama’s apologists will say that every president plays politics with policy in elections years. Two problems with that. First, Obama promised to be better than the status quo. Second, he’s worse.”
“For Obama to complain about wage stagnation and lack of upward mobility when economic growth has been essentially zero throughout his administration betrays either a lack of understanding of how the world works, or a cynicism so deep as to defy comprehension.”
“The reason this furor will continue even if the website is fixed is that the public is learning that ObamaCare’s insurance costs more in return for worse coverage.”
The foundational lies of Obamacare, whose namesake even lied about his cancer-stricken mother’s dealings with an insurance company. If this sales job were done in the private sector, Obama would be under indictment for fraud.
“When Obamacare was just a gleam in its advocates’ eyes, there was already a system of health insurance in place that had been cobbled together over the years. It was admittedly imperfect, although it had been tweaked repeatedly to try to improve it. It was set by the states and overseen and regulated by state insurance departments and commissioners. Obama and liberal Democrats, and even some conservatives, have consistently pointed out what they perceive as unfair discrimination and/or inequities on the part of insurance companies under that system, although there were all sorts of laws in many states to help remedy the situation: limits on what restrictions could be placed on covering pre-existing conditions, laws forbidding the cancellation of policies when someone became sick unless fraud had been involved on the part of the patient, the establishment of high-risk pools, the provision of Medicaid for the poor, and prohibiting hospitals from turning away indigent patients.
“Did those rules make the system completely fair? Of course not. But the inequities that remained in health insurance were a subset of the more general inequities of life — such as the reality that some people are wealthier than others, and the wealthier can afford more — combined with the fact that insurance is a profit-making business. For example, allowing people to sign up with pre-existing conditions without charging them significantly more would tend to reduce profits and could even make that business go out of business rather rapidly. In sum, the unfairness was mostly understandable and not arbitrary, whether people thought it needed remediation or not.
“Obamacare was promoted as a program that would not only right those wrongs, but that would create no losers at all. This was always an absurdity, as anyone with a modicum of math knowledge would know. But those were the promises explicitly made by Obama and the Democrats: everyone would save money, no one would lose doctors or hospitals or health plans, the sick and unemployed would be covered, and it would save us all money — except for the very, very, very rich, whose taxes would be raised.
“Well, it hasn’t quite turned out that way. The old system had winners and losers, and so does the new one. But they are a very different set of winners and losers. You might say that Obamacare turns the old system on its head, and it’s not just the very rich who are penalized, it’s the solidly middle class and upper middle class. Not only did those groups not bargain for this, they were explicitly promised it would not happen.”
As GR says: Read The Whole Thing.
“Millennials may be young, but they’re not stupid. As bad as Obama’s time in office has been for older Americans, nobody has taken it on the chin quite as bad as kids under 30, who are more likely to be unemployed, broke, and facing decades of sub-par wages if and when they do finally get a job.”
“The real problems with Obamacare have little or nothing to do with the web site; they have everything to do with the substance of the law.”
More schadenfreude as the Feel-Good Story of the Year continues to unfold: “My wife’s plan will be canceled next year because it doesn’t meet the standards set in the ACA.” Fear not, schmuck: soon healthcare will be FREE!!
Mark Steyn translates: “So, if I follow correctly, the smartest president ever is not smart enough to ensure that his website works; he’s not smart enough to inquire of others as to whether his website works; he’s not smart enough to check that his website works before he goes out and tells people what a great website experience they’re in for. But he is smart enough to know that he’s not stupid enough to go around bragging about how well it works if he’d already been informed that it doesn’t work. So he’s smart enough to know that if he’d known what he didn’t know he’d know enough not to let it be known that he knew nothing.”
“In private, even many critics of the law are at least a bit surprised by how poorly the rollout has gone. The question that many are asking is: How bad can this really get? The answer is … worse. A lot worse.” As my friend Tony D. observed: “The last time a president dropped a bomb this big, 70,000 Japanese died.”
Not the one you recited in school — before 2009.
Reading about Obama voters whose health insurance plans were canceled or their rates jacked up is the feel-good story of the year. (HT: Iowahawk)
“Often in error but never in doubt, Obama could walk into the Rose Garden and step on a half-dozen rakes like Foghorn Leghorn in an old Looney Tunes cartoon, and the official line would be, ‘He meant to do that.’ The amazing thing is that so many people believe it. ‘Mr. Obama is like a championship chess player, always several moves ahead of friend and foe alike. He’s smart, deft, elegant and subtle,’ proclaimed then–New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in 2009. It’s an image of the president that his biggest fans, in and out of the press, have been terribly reluctant to relinquish — because it confirms the faith they invested in him. Nobody ever likes to admit they were suckered.”
PW: “What exactly are the impressive achievements of President Obama? The revival of the American economy? Surging job growth? The success of the stimulus package and the number of ‘shovel ready jobs’? Moving us toward energy independence? Reducing the debt? Reducing poverty and the number of Americans on food stamps? His oversight of agencies like the IRS? The Fast and Furious program? Ending America’s political divisions and unifying his countrymen? Perhaps his skillful handling before, during, and after the terrorist assault on the American diplomatic outpost in Benghazi? His successes in Syria? Egypt? Iraq? Iran? Peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis? And don’t forget his signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act, which may rank among the worst major government programs in modern American history, a failure in both conception and implementation.”
“The president didn’t know the NSA was spying on world leaders, but he’s found time for at least 146 rounds of golf.”
“The real problems are with the back end of the software. When you try to get a quote for health insurance, the system has to connect to computers at the IRS, the VA, Medicaid/CHIP, various state agencies, Treasury, and HHS. They also have to connect to all the health plan carriers to get pre-subsidy pricing. All of these queries receive data that is then fed into the online calculator to give you a price. If any of these queries fails, the whole transaction fails. Most of these systems are old legacy systems with their own unique data formats. Some have been around since the 1960′s, and the people who wrote the code that runs on them are long gone. If one of these old crappy systems takes too long to respond, the transaction times out. Amazingly, none of this was tested until a week or two before the rollout, and the tests failed. They released the web site to the public anyway – an act which would border on criminal negligence if it was done in the private sector and someone was harmed. Their load tests crashed the system with only 200 simultaneous transactions – a load that even the worst-written front-end software could easily handle.”
CGI, the Canadian company who snared the US contract to design the (disastrous) Obamacare website, had previously designed a series of dysfunctional sites for various Canadian agencies—and had been fired by the governments of Canada, Ontario, and New Brunswick. “But there’s always America! ‘We continue to view U.S. federal government as a significant growth opportunity,’ declared CGI’s chief exec, in what would also make a fine epitaph for the republic.”
“If these problems persist longer — weeks, months, a whole year — the entire Obamacare project falls apart, [a health care consultant] said, ‘It’s a holy shit moment’.” For you, dumbass. To repeat: Government health care is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car.
In August 2008, during the presidential campaign that resulted in Obama’s election, Rasmussen asked American voters whether the nation’s best days were behind or in the future. The result: 45% thought America’s best days were ahead, while 37% thought they had come and gone. After five years of Obama, that optimistic 45% has declined to 31%, while 52% express pessimism. But who cares about polls now that we’ve got “affordable” healthcare for everyone!
“Healthcare.gov is a colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace.”
[16 OCT 13] WSJ: Obamacare’s Black Box: Why the exchanges are worse than even the critics imagined
“This isn’t some coding error, or even the Health and Human Service Department’s usual incompetence. The failures that have all but disabled ObamaCare are the result of deliberate political choices, which HHS and the White House are compounding with secrecy and stonewalling.”
[14 OCT 13] Avik Roy: Obamacare’s Website Is Crashing Because It Doesn’t Want You To Know How Costly Its Plans Are
“It’s quite possible that much of this disaster could have been avoided if the Obama administration had been willing to be open with the public about the degree to which Obamacare escalates the cost of health insurance. If they had, then a number of the problems with the exchange’s software architecture would never have arisen. But that would require admitting that the ‘Affordable Care Act’ was not accurately named.”
[14 OCT 13] Shikha Dalmia/Reason.com: Is Obamacare imploding?
“… a fiasco of epic proportions.”
[15 OCT 13] Krazy Kos Kidz discover the glories of Obamacare!
Ah! Here she is.
“The problem with this plan is that it hoses young, relatively poor people like me right when we least need high bills for services they’re not using. And it helps older, relatively rich people who should be able to afford the care they need. If America’s downtrodden and struggling young people are smart, they’ll opt out. Then it’ll be up to the federal government to fine them enough to make up for the shortfall.”
• “If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is the amount of money you will spend on premiums. That will be less.”
• “I will sign a universal health-care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”
• “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
• “For people with insurance, the only impact of the health-care law is that their insurance is stronger, better, and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. They don’t have to worry about anything else.”
Obama media lackey breaks ranks (temporarily, no doubt), thinks ACA should be delayed.
How much did U.S. taxpayers shell out for a fucked-up website? $634,320,919.
To repeat: Government health care is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car.
“When the president derides the idea of shutting down the government over the debt ceiling, he himself tried to do just that when as a senator he voted against the Bush administration request in 2006. When the president blasts the Republicans for trying to subvert the ‘settled law’ of Obamacare, Obama himself had earlier done precisely that when he unilaterally subverted his own legislation — by quite illegally discarding the employer mandate provision of Obamacare. At least the Republicans tried to revise elements of Obamacare through existing legislative protocols; the president preferred executive fiat to nullify a settled law.
“When the president deplores the lack of bipartisanship and the lockstep Republican effort to defund Obamacare, we remember that the president steamrolled the legislation through the Congress without a single Republican vote. When the president laments the loss of civility and reminds the public that he uses ‘calm’ rhetoric during the impasse, we know he has accused his opponents of being hostage takers and blackmailers who have ‘a gun held to the head of the American people,’ while his top media adviser Dan Pfeiffer has said that they had ‘a bomb strapped to their chest.’ When the president insists that the Republican effort to hold up the budget is unprecedented, we automatically deduce that, in fact, the action has many precedents, and on frequent prior occasions was a favored ploy of Democrats to gain leverage over Republican administrations.”
“Whatever the perceived shortcomings of Ted Cruz and his hardy band of stalwarts, they’ve performed a remarkable public service by highlighting the fate that awaits all who rub wrongly the translucently thin skin of King Barack the Petulant. The Spartans may have had their shields, Native Americans their tomahawks and arrows, the Samurai may have wielded his sword with all the deadly grace of a tiger in mid-attack, but pound for pound, nothing comes close to the audacious stupidity of ‘Barrycades’ and people in pointy little Smokey the Bear hats, poised to protect America’s monuments from law-abiding citizens. Welcome to liberal utopia, where barriers are not erected against terrorists or illegal aliens on our nation’s borders, but rather against citizens, and where wheelchair-bound veterans enroute to honor their comrades face tighter security than terrorists enroute to murder a US Ambassador. This is where up is down, wrong is right, illegality is celebrated as progress, and where Constitutionalism is derided as racist.”
Stephen Green: “I think he was stoned when he said those words, or stoned when he wrote them.”
Not with Syria, not with al Qaeda, not with Iran — with Republicans.
“After nearly five years of watching him in the White House, many are tired of Obama.”
Related: Jumping Off the O-Bandwagon
“First Maureen Down. Then Joe Klein. Then Roger Cohen. And now Ruth Marcus, the Washington Post’s answer to Maureen Dowd, has figured out that Obama is an empty suit.”
Four TIME magazine covers: One of these things is not like the others.
“Of course, Krugman thinks the problem with Obama’s policies is that the stimulus was too small, the United States isn’t far enough in debt, and we don’t have a big enough public sector. More cowbell!”
“From Russia to Mali to Detroit, Romney’s biggest fans say they’ve been vindicated. Ten months after Romney shuffled off the national stage in defeat — consigned, many predicted, to a fate of instant irrelevance and permanent obscurity — Republicans are suddenly celebrating the presidential also-ran as a political prophet. From his widely mocked warnings about a hostile Russia to his adamant opposition to the increasingly unpopular implementation of Obamacare, the ex-candidate’s canon of campaign rhetoric now offers cause for vindication”
See also: Is Mitt Romney the new Nostradamus? (originally linked Jan 20)
“After nearly five years, it is hard to see how anyone could defend Obama’s record in office. And yet, in the Rasmussen Survey, over the month of August an average of 47% of voters–there’s that number again!–said they approve of Obama’s job performance. So one asks: who are these people? Are they dependent on various forms of welfare, and therefore don’t care about anything except ever-expanding federal largesse? Are they die-hard partisans who think that even the most incompetent Democrat is better than the alternative? Are they low-information voters who are so insulated from the news that they don’t understand how bad Obama’s record is? Or are they so enamored of the idea of our First Black President that they will tell pollsters that they like what he is doing, even if they can’t think of a single positive accomplishment?”
“President Obama’s election brought hope that he would bring Americans of all colors together. The opposite has occurred.”
“Obama should not be ‘taking credit’ for anything when it comes to the economy. In fact, he should be deeply apologizing to the American people.”
“The picture gets even grimmer the deeper you dive into the data. The most vulnerable groups — blacks, Hispanics, female-headed families and the young — have fared far worse under Obama than everyone else.”
Disconnect 1: Between what Obama says he’s doing and what he’s been doing. And four more.
“It is possible that [long after he leaves office] Obama will become better known for what he did before he became president. Nothing, you might say, and you’d be right, but I submit that his pre-presidential nothing looks a lot better than the something he’s done in office.”
“The problem with the story that Obama and his press sycophants tell is that it is so boring and stupid. It reduces the president and his supporters to stick-figure caricatures of good and evil. We could fill a column with examples every day, but here are a few that have come across our desk just in the past 24 hours.”
“Russia and China care nothing for what Obama says, and they know that when he makes a threat, it carries no weight behind it. He’s talked a hundred times about holding x or y or z accountable. Nobody’s held accountable and everyone knows that.”
“Simply stated, the remarkable charisma of Barack Obama has fled. Fled, mainly because it was in large measure artificial from the beginning, embedded in external circumstances and fuelled in large measure by the media hyperdrive that attended his campaign.”
The highlight of Obama’s Berlin speech was informing the crowd that he’s black and Merkel is a woman. From there, downhill.
“Miss Utah is a 21-year-old beauty contestant. Yet her answer to the question about female-headed homes was subjected to more criticism, and more searching scrutiny, than anything that has been said by Barack Obama or Jay Carney in press conferences over the last four years.”
“Americans tend to be complacent about our economy. Many, especially Democrats, seem to believe that it produces a bottomless well of wealth from which they can borrow or steal. The truth is quite different. Economic leadership depends on economic intelligence; intelligence which is sorely lacking in the Obama administration. Under this administration, the U.S. economy’s performance has been poor, by any measure. We have consistently fallen behind better-run countries like Germany and Australia, and even basket cases like Mexico. Incompetence has a price, and every American is paying it. If high levels of poverty, unemployment and dependence on welfare are your goals, then the Obama administration is on the right track. But when it comes to economic growth — the creation of wealth which generates the jobs on which our children’s futures depend – the administration has been a disaster.”
Recovery summer 5!
“Journalists used to know that presidents are in part a product of their past: where their careers were nurtured and where their politics were shaped. They understood this when it came to Ronald Reagan and California; they basically grasped it about Bill Clinton’s Arkansas, and certainly nailed it on George W. Bush and Texas. But with Barack Obama, all that went out the window. “
“Liberals in the press have been enablers of this president. Now that Mr. Obama has turned out to be a rather minacious chief executive, overseeing an out-of-control executive branch, I wonder if the president’s press courtiers are having second thoughts. I doubt it.”
“Much of the Fourth Estate shrugged when the Obama administration attacked Fox News. But now it’s coming for them, too.”
“As these screenshots show, learn for yourself how a breaking news story containing REAL new information gets ‘massaged’ by a media professional to ensure that readers come away with the ‘correct’ impression.”
“No one can deny that Lance Armstrong and Mark McGwire were highly skilled athletes. But their accomplishments are forever tainted by their use of banned performance-enhancing drugs. The use of the IRS’s coercive power to suppress dissent against Obama is the political equivalent of steroids. The history books should record Obama’s re-election with an asterisk to indicate that it was achieved with the help of illicit means.”
“In a way that he never anticipated, Barack Obama finally may become what he promised to be: a uniter not a divider.”
Not really. Just an attempt by some insiders to salvage what’s left of their credibility in advance of the mid-terms.
“Obama promises terrorists he’ll try hard to meet their demands.”
“With Obamacare on the books and headed for [what retiring Democrat Senator Max Baucus called a] ‘train wreck,’ Democrats may finally have created a situation for themselves in which they learn once and for all that they cannot repeal the laws of cause and effect or supply and demand.”
Government health care for thee, but not for me
“It would be ironic indeed if many of the private sector unions who supported Obamacare had actually signed their own death warrant.” I don’t call it “irony”; it’s comic relief. But I repeat myself: Government health care is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car.
Gun control fail, NoKo’s nukes, WH tour shutdown, dissing Maggie’s funeral, the continued deadweight of ObamaCare, and an ongoing failure to lead that the WaPo says is “a good thing.”
“As usual, Obama’s telepromptered remarks contained the usual mantra about jobs being his top priority. Maybe you’ve heard that 150 times before.”
“To the President, the right question to ask is: Which form of government intervention can do most to improve the economy? The one answer that he will not accept is deregulation, which, both in the long and short run, is the only solution to the current woes.”
More: Even liberals can’t ignore Obama’s ineptitude: “This administration has grand ambitions to grow government but little interest in running it.”
“As the central tenets of anthropogenic global warming become shakier and the economics of green energy are seen to be a lie, what happens? The record of this president indicates that he will double down.”
“The U.S is now less popular in the region than at the end of the George W. Bush administration.”
“Is there any company in America where for a mere few billion, you could become CEO and that company’s shareholders would be forced to sit back and watch for four years while you run up trillion dollar deficits and parcel out billions to your friends? Without going to jail or being marched out in handcuffs. A company that will allow you to indulge yourself, travel anywhere at company expense, live the good life, and only work when you feel like it. That will legally indemnify you against all shareholder lawsuits, while allowing you to dispose not only of their investments, but of their personal property in any way you see fit. There is only one such company. It’s called the United States Government.”
“The auto bailout and sequester fight reveal a White House that will stretch the truth to gain political advantage—and kneecap those who would expose them.”
In Obama’s 2013 State of the Union address, he said, talking about global warming: “Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods—all are now more frequent and intense.” The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP): “The claim is so factually challenged that it is a wonder it got by the White House staff.”
“The Republican leadership, regarding its natural constituency as embarrassing to its pursuit of a larger role in government, limited its appeal to it. Thus it gradually cut itself off from the only root of the power by which it might gain that role. Thus the Republicans proved to be ‘the stupid party’.”
Bryan Preston: “Barack Obama has no economics background. Upon what basis does he make his claims about creating jobs or growing the economy? It’s all entirely political, not based on any sound reality. He is addicted to spending other people’s money. For the sake of our country, he needs an intervention.”
Scott Johnson: “Here’s a question for conservatives: How come we didn’t realize during the Clinton administration how good we had it? President Obama really is giving us a new perspective on the state of the nation, isn’t he?”
“One of [the Examiner’s Richard] Pollock’s most interesting discoveries was a Chicago court case in which the young Obama defended a despicable slumlord who turned off the heat and water without prior notice to a low-income apartment complex during a record-cold winter. The residents were put on the street, yet Obama got the slumlord off with a $50 fine. A court clerk Pollock was working with said he was the first reporter ever to ask about the case.”
Predictions he made about Obama—for which Romney was scorned, ridiculed and called a liar—come to pass.
“The lure of free stuff is irresistible. Almost half of the population has no skin in the game — they don’t care about high taxes, promoting business, or creating jobs, nor do they care that the money for their free stuff is being borrowed from their children and from the Chinese. They just want the free stuff that comes their way at someone else’s expense. In the end, that 47% leaves very little margin for error for any Republican, and does not bode well for the future.”
Mal Reynolds in Firefly: “May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.”
Jim Treacher: “If there’s a downside here, I’m having trouble seeing it.”
“New York Times political writer Matt Bai’s choice for the person who steered the president wrong this year is none other than former President Bill Clinton.”
“Our Commander in Chief is Phony in Chief. A classic example was his speech to a predominantly black audience at Hampton University on June 5, 2007. That date is important, as we shall see.”
And insults aren’t necessary; just the facts — a litany of Obama’s incompetence and failure.
“The annotated Obama: How 90% of the deficit becomes somebody else’s fault.”
“The American media may not be sure when Romney lost exactly, but a consensus has been reached. The only question is by how much he will lose.”
A concise litany of recent global turmoil, presidential indifference, and Romney scapegoating.
“We’re living through the worst presidential exercise of economic stewardship since FDR’s rabid progressivism locked the Federal Reserve-created, Hoover-enhanced Great Depression into place for eight additional years.”
10. So that dissent will once again be the highest form of patriotism.
22. Because he listened to the Reverend Wright’s crackpot racist diatribes for years and then gave us a lecture on racism.
50. Because he spent all of 2007 and 2008 imploring us to send him to Washington and, now that he has the job, he can’t stop whining about how much he hates it there.
28. Because “jobs created or saved” is Enron accounting.
63. So you’ll be able to criticize the president again without being called a racist.
71. Recovery Summer.
72. Recovery Summer II.
73. Recovery Summer III.
And 681 more …
“To those with eyes to see, he is an act. A vacuous promise. An illusion. It’s time to give the seat to someone else.”
“Wisconsin, long considered one of the wackier leftist places in America, is now the cradle of creative conservatives. The Progressive mission known as the ‘Wisconsin Idea’ is politically and intellectually dead and buried. Wisconsin now votes for Paul Ryan and Scott Walker (and probably Tommy Thompson in a couple of months).”
“I have been saying for some weeks now that I think Mitt Romney will not only win but will win by a significant margin. Here’s why.”
“There are two ways to run against Obama: stewardship or ideology. Run against his record or run against his ideas.”
“Obama has a new catch-phrase that he’s used five times in recent speeches, ‘trickle-down fairy dust.’ We’ve heard this duked out before.”
“Obama’s support is a mile wide and a quarter of an inch deep.”
To which Glenn Reynolds would usually say: “Don’t get cocky, kid.”
“Everything you need to know about President Obama’s job creation record—except the truth.”
“Could it be that in selecting Mr. Romney, Republicans picked exactly the candidate best suited to bring out the worst in our president?”
“Obama openly stokes bitter resentment against Americans who work hard, take risks, and create jobs. But at least he’s ‘likable’!”
Each month the Obama Administration tells Americans “not to read too much into” monthly jobs reports.
“That we even have ‘Crying Man’ to smirk at or that the Occupy movement collapsed so quickly are markers illustrating how different things are compared to just a couple decades ago.”
“I have been contemplating a post on the Obama administration’s scandals. “Scandals?” you may ask. “What scandals?” If you are a New York Times reader you may not be aware of them. And normally an administration doesn’t get knee-deep in scandal until its second term, which Barack Obama isn’t likely to enjoy. But if you step back from the daily spin of the news cycle for a moment–sort of like watching a boxing match with the sound turned off–you might conclude that the Obama administration has been more scandal-ridden than most people realize. Let’s just itemize a few.”
“At a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
One sentence containing four first-person references. Move over, Josh Hamilton.
“In 2007, he was the post-partisan unifier, a persona that could capitalize on the widespread frustration with the Bush years. Hence, The Audacity of Hope. Five years later, with the country as frustrated as ever, he has become a hyper-partisan hack who will blame anybody or anything to distract from his own shortcomings.”
“#ILikeObamacare and unicorns. Eff Griffons.” “#ILikeObamaCare because I like going to the DMV.” “#Ilikeobamacare cause when it affects quality here I can just go to Cuba. It’s better. Michael Moore said so.”
Give Obama credit for one world-historical achievement: He makes Jimmy Carter look good.
“What do you do if you can’t run on your record—on 9 percent unemployment, stagnant growth and ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see? How to run when you are asked whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago and you are compelled to answer no?
“Play the outsider. Declare yourself the underdog. Denounce Washington as if the electorate hasn’t noticed that you’ve been in charge of it for nearly three years. But above all: Find villains.”
“In reading about Democratic and liberal uneasiness with Obama, one theme seems constant. There is a sort of repressed anger that Obama has somehow embarrassed many of his supporters, as if their ecstasy of 2008 now seems almost adolescent.”
“He went to Massachusetts to campaign against Scott Brown; Brown is now a senator. He went to New Jersey to campaign against Chris Christie, who’s now governor. He went to Virginia to campaign against Bob McDonnell, who’s now governor. He campaigned for the health-care plan extensively, it became less popular. He campaigned in 2010 for the Democrats, they were shellacked. He began, in a sense, his presidency flying to Copenhagen to get Chicago the Olympics; Chicago was the first city eliminated. There is no evidence that the man has the rhetorical powers that he is relying on.”
“Much of the Obama [2008 campaign] coverage was orchestrated sychophancy. They glided past his pretensions. … The media walked right past the decades-long association of Obama with the weird and racist pastor Jeremiah Wright. … Every doubt they hid from themselves about Obama, every potential embarrassment they tucked under the blanket of their superior sensibilities. … As a result, the press gave the great American republic an untried, unknown and, it is becoming more and more frighteningly clear, incompetent figure as President.”
“The pace of commercial and technological innovation is not news. It is a daily reality we take for granted. But the story underneath it is what politicians like Barack Obama refuse to acknowledge, and it is what makes all of their fake jobs programs and ‘infrastructure banks’ so futile and destructive. When geniuses like Barack Obama decide to use the power of government to impose their ideas and grow only the kinds of enterprises they favor, the result is not brisk innovation but the dead hand of static ideas. That is the lesson of the government’s failed experiment with solar panel maker Solyndra, which President Obama touted last year as the wave of the future, and whose technology was rendered obsolete before they even finished building their gleaming new factory backed by $600 million in federal loan guarantees. And it’s not just Solyndra. The whole solar and ‘alternative’ energy sector is crashing. These companies were not profitable and have not become profitable. The moment government subsidies and loan guarantees evaporate, so do they. So much for Obama’s career as a high-tech venture capitalist. Too bad the money he’s risking is ours.”
“After 29 months of the most left-wing presidency in US history, profligate spending, massive bailouts and useless stimulus measures have made America poorer, not richer, and threaten the long-term economic foundations of this great country. President Obama’s big government experiment has been a dangerous failure, only further proof that the deadening hand of federal intervention is the last thing America needs at this time. The United States needs more economic freedom, less government regulation and spending, and lower taxes if it is to create jobs, wealth and prosperity, a message that seems to have been lost on the Obama presidency as it drives the United States towards the financial abyss.”
“Any comparison of economic coverage in the Bush years and the coverage now would show far fewer variants of the word ‘unexpectedly’ in stories suggesting economic doldrums.”
“President Obama has a problem. No, not the economy, although that surely isn’t doing his popularity any favors right now. When a President loses control of Congress midstream, typically he turns to foreign policy—where the President’s import can’t be understated—to gin up his numbers. Let’s take a look around the world and see how that’s going for Obama, shall we?”
David Brooks: “[Obama] is multiple animals. You know, I would say we’re all – we all have multiple personalities. My psychobabble description of him is he’s a very complicated person who has many different selves, all of them authentic, but they come out in different contexts. And he is — has always has the ability to look at other parts of himself from a distance, and so it means he has great power to self-correct and I think it gives him power to see himself. It means that he rarely is all in.
“You know, President Bush didn’t have as much – many multiple selves, so when he made a decision he was all in, he was just going to be there. But as I think President Obama is much more cautious, because he’s a man of many pieces and many parts and not all of which I understand or I think anybody understands. But it may — it leads to that caution that we see time and time again and almost a self-distancing I see.”
“The list of people I feel sorry for is long. It includes not just the people I know personally who are suffering from misfortune, but the billions around the world having a rough time: Japanese earthquake victims, targets of ethnic cleansing, etc. Then there’s the supplemental list, such as the guy in the middle seat on a long flight. But one guy who doesn’t make the list is Barack Obama. And yet the president seems eager for people to know he feels aggrieved.”
“Obama’s historical ignorance could be a full time beat for somebody who does this work for a living, and it tells us something truly important about Barack Obama. His ignorance is as broad as it is deep.”
“Bush was a stupid frat boy and a baby-killer. Obama is awsum! His bracket picks were outstanding, too.”
“In the Arab Middle East constitutional government works mostly 1) in Israel; or 2) when the U.S. (e.g., in Germany, Italy, Japan) removes a tyrant, destroys his government, occupies the country, writes the Constitution, and puts tens of thousands of troops on the ground to rebuild the society and shoot those who would hijack the reform–as in Iraq. Oddly, these are the two countries Obama has most criticized.”
“By the time you read this, President Obama will be taking a well-deserved break from the 54th hole of today’s scheduled golf game and the grueling responsibility of picking out his Final Four priority high-speed-rail projects on ESPN by relaxing on a beach in . . . Libya? Japan? No, Brazil.”
“Now that revolutions are sweeping the Middle East and everyone is a convert to George W. Bush’s freedom agenda, it’s not just Iraq that has slid into the memory hole. Also forgotten is the once proudly proclaimed ‘realism’ of Years One and Two of President Obama’s foreign policy – the ‘smart power’ antidote to Bush’s alleged misty-eyed idealism.”
“Now that Obama’s Clintonian triangulation has lasted for a nanosecond, the real adolescent Barack has once again emerged in full public view. Following a back-against-the-wall compromise on tax rates and a somewhat-presidential speech in Tucson, our out-of-control teen in the White House produced another dream-scheme budget and tried to pass it off as ‘investments’ for ‘winning the future.'”
“The public might have better believed the deficit nostrums of [Obama’s] former budget director Peter Orzag had he not retired after less than two years on the job to position himself for a multimillion-dollar billet at Citigroup—itself a recent recipient of some $25 billion in government bailout funds.”
“Tufnel was the fictitious heavy metal guitarist in This Is Spinal Tap. In a classic scene, he displays his guitar collection and a special amplifier that—unlike all other amplifiers in existence—has knobs that go all the way up to 11, instead of just 10. That’s what Obama has done: In his first two years as president, he’s taken us to 11 in so many ways.”
“If November 2010 represents the future in American politics, it is not the one progressives expected.”
“The problem is not that Obama has not been selling. He has never stopped selling. The problem is that the American people aren’t buying it– because they are not buying him. The American people are not foolish; the problem is not with the sales pitch. The problem is, in part, the product. As Obama himself once said, a pig with lipstick is still a pig. But the deeper problem is that so many American people no longer find the salesman credible.”
“There can’t be more than two or three breathing Americans who haven’t heard Obama’s economy storyline several times by now: You know, about the eight years of failed you-know-whats by you-know-who, about the huge hole Obama inherited after spending $750 million of other people’s money to buy responsibility for the presidency and how the national ship isn’t sinking as fast as it was 22 months ago. Never mind all those new 0’s on the national debt. And the still missing Recovery Summer. And Guantanamo. And DADT. And who crashed the national car into the ditch? And who wants the keys now?
And who has to get in the back seat? And something about a Slurpee, moving forward?”
“Americans voted for change in 2008 in record numbers. What they got was no different from the guy they voted against in 2004. Obama is no less out of touch than John Kerry, whom America watched windsurf before the 2004 election.”
“People are edging away from him. It’s buyer’s remorse with recrimination—self-recrimination. How did everybody get it so wrong is a question many people seem to be asking themselves—not least of all these people slinking out of the White House. It is not just that he has turned out to be something different. In fact, reasonably, he isn’t that different. The more powerful sense of remorse or at least sheepishness may come from people now asking themselves how and why they came to think of him as different than he was. More confounding, they may not really now be able to remember just who exactly they thought he was. Some mass misperception put Barack Obama in the White House and now nobody knows what to do with him.”
To repeat: Government health care is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car.
“Candidate Obama used to joke about rays of sunshine coming in when he started to speak. Now he brings the clouds. He’s spent a great deal of time talking about the Recovery Act and health care reform, but the political fortunes of those programs are dismal, which suggests his ability to persuade and change minds is seriously damaged.”
“We won’t see a Value Added Tax soon, but progressives have patience. Ideally, they would like America to be as much like Europe as possible before continental drift brings the continents together, but if there are still some details to clear up as the land masses come within hailing distance, fine.”
“In his ‘The Use of Knowledge In Society,’ Friedrich Hayek explained that information about supply and demand, scarcity and abundance, wants and needs exists in no single place in any economy. The economy is simply too large and complicated for such information to be gathered together. Any economic planner who attempts to do so will wind up hopelessly uninformed and behind the times, reacting to economicchanges in a clumsy, too-late fashion and then being forced to react again to fix the problems that the previous mistakes created, leading to new problems, and so on.”
We are angry not because we lost, but that we lost to losers. I’m not talking about Obama or the Dems. They’re winners, sadly. I’m talking about progressivism. The reason why I’m angry and my friends are angry is because the greatest, most winningest country in the history of the world just embraced the loser’s doctrine.
“There are those who say there is no evil in the world. There are others who argue that pink fluffy bunnies are the spawn of Satan and conspiring to overthrow civilization. Let me be clear: I believe people of goodwill on all sides can find common ground between the absurdly implausible caricatures I attribute to them on a daily basis. We must begin by finding the courage to acknowledge the hard truth that I am living testimony to the power of nuance to triumph over hard truth and come to the end of the sentence on a note of sonorous, polysyllabic if somewhat hollow uplift.”
A litany of mistakes and malapropisms; negligence, naivete, and narcissism; ignorance and idiocy
“The real reason this gifted communicator has become so bad at communicating is that he doesn’t really believe a word he is saying.”
A Saudi academic in Jeddah, previously “smitten with” POTUS44: “He talks too much.” Hope & Change!
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV): “Today we vote whether to even discuss one of the greatest issues of our generation – indeed, one of the greatest issues this body has ever face [sic]: whether this nation will finally guarantee its people the right to live free from the fear of illness and death, which can be prevented by decent health care for all.”
Government health care is like being offered a ride by the guy who stole your car.
moderator Peter Robinson: “a cheerless note on which to end”
“This president has ample time to do damage to [America], a country that, there is reason to suspect, he deeply hates.”
[10 Nov 09] Postscript 1. Postscript 2.
“Life is full of mysteries, but chief among them in this Marine wife’s mind at the moment is, ‘Just how stupid does this White House think we are?’ If the events of the past few months have shown us anything, it’s that Barack Obama has little enthusiasm for – nor interest in – one of the most important duties of an American President: his role as Commander in Chief of the nation’s armed forces.”
“Renunciation of primacy abroad provides the added resources for more social goods at home. To put it in the language of the 1990s, the [current] expanded domestic agenda is fed by a peace dividend—except that in the absence of peace, it is a retreat dividend. And there’s the rub. For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States. So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence—decline, in both comfort and relative safety—is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink, and be merry for America protects her. But for America it’s different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us?”
Comment: “Obama also owns a painting called Canines Playing Canasta”
[5 Nov 09] Update: Never mind. “It didn’t fit the space right.”
Paul Rahe: “At some point, if these [economic advisors] have any self-respect, they will have
to separate themselves from the current administration.”
John Hinderaker: “This was not, to put it kindly, a speech that was directed at thinking people.”
Whole Foods offers a tangy recipe for health care
Priorities: No American Should Have to Choose Between Health Insurance and Getting Drunk
Jonah Goldberg: “The world’s most famous community organizer is whining about community organizing”
Picky, picky: No Treats From Obama
Well-dressed! Desperate! Heartless! Health-hating! Plutocratic! Fishy!
bonus: NYT Nobel-winning economist proves the popularity of Canadian healthcare
Dan Quayle was derided as an “idiot” because he misspelled “potato.” Anything else? [update: site discontinued, link removed]
— President Obama, March 20, 2009
Videotaped remarks to the Islamic Republic of Iran in Celebration of Nowruz
Our economy as managed by Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Howard
The US is “prepared to use adverbs” if necessary
In which he makes fun of himself instead of taking thinly veiled shots at his detractors. [update: site expired, link removed]
Reflections from the Hard Drive of the Machine that Enables the Voice of the Leader of the Free World
NOTE: Proprietor periodically experiences bouts of remorse and takes site offline.
My guess is he really admires BHO, but resents that people who don’t continually link to his site.
[12 APR 09] President of the World: Adulation and admiration–then hell to pay
[14 May 09] Cracks in the Facade
President Girlyman’s strategy to remake US defense
Does anybody understand what this guy is talking about?
If so, what’s the punchline?