Wednesday, April 27, 2011


At the helm of the Hindenburg
Donald Trump apparently has made himself enough of a pest that after years of controversy, President Obama finally authorized the release of the Hawaiian record of his birth, calling the issue a "distraction." Obama took time out of his serious presidential work to hold a press conference to make the announcement. AP's circulating photo of the event shows a beaming Obama.

I believe this indicates two things about the White House view of this: first, that they've come to the end of being able to milk this controversy to their advantage, and second, that this has been a triumph for them politically. 

Well, maybe it is, within their own Democratic party echo chamber.  This all reminds me of nothing less than the Clinton/Lewisnky affair.  I remember Bill Clinton making a televised national address where he pointed his finger at us and denied his extra-marital bj, and subsequently let the country be dragged through a year-long constitutional crisis rather than simply admit the truth. Exactly what his motive was in all that only he really knows, but being that he was Bill Clinton, I doubt it included defending Monica Lewinsky's honor, such as a European politician might claim in a scandal. Being that he was also a politician, I assume that political considerations were never far from his mind, if in fact they weren't the primary consideration.

So President Obama & crew were likewise willing to let this controversy fester for years because they saw it being to their political advantage.  After that advantage dissipated when Trump latched on to the issue like a gila monster, it probably took some White House staffer about 20 minutes to arrange for the release of the certificate.  I think we'll see the release of Obama's academic records in a quicker fashion, assuming the administration realizes that it's best to feed the Donald monster quickly and hope he'll go elsewhere for his next meal.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country is dealing with a few distracting problems like, um, rising food and gas prices, the falling dollar, high unemployment, the continuing collapse of the housing market, the approach of hyperinflation, terrorism, the developing Libyan quagmire, depression, suicide...

But rest easy, America, the President is happy today.  He thinks he scored some political points, and for a politician, that's what it's all about.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Palin & Otherwise

President Obama's administration has been such a juggernaut of disasters that it's difficult to for me to imagine that he will be reelected on merit. Public opinion polls have shown his approval ratings to be low compared to the numbers seen in many previous administrations, though I tend to think that given the liberal nature of some of the polling organizations, his actual approval among voters is lower than reported.  In polls where voters are asked to pick Obama against a generic Republican opponent, he generally runs even or slightly above, which can't be good news to the politicos in the White House.

Still, the problem in defeating the President is that he won't be running against a generic opponent--he'll be running against a living politician, who may or may not be skilled enough and lucky enough to beat him.  Whoever the Republicans nominate will have a tough campaign to run, given that the Democrats and the liberal media will spare no expense, and, if the last three years are any guide, do just about anything without shame to ensure that Obama is reelected.

We're beginning to see jockeying for advantage going on among possible candidates, including some very unlikely candidates. Charles Krauthammer and other journalists are beginning to seriously survey the field. I'm not going to go into that sort of thing here, but I think that what we're seeing shape up on the Republican side so far is a contest between establishment favorites and those who will be attempting to prevail without the aid of the Republican establishment, commonly called "outsiders."

In spite of being both a governor and vice presidential candidate as a Republican, Sarah Palin is clearly at odds with the Republican establishment and is probably the least likely of the top tier candidates to be supported by the likes of Karl Rove or the national GOP.  She also has been the most effective in throwing the White House off its stride and in general making the left nuts to the point where they engage in extreme and embarrassing behavior, whether they realize it looks that way or not.

In her "comeback" speech at the Wisconsin tea party rally on April 16, she clearly outlined her differences with not only the President, but the leaders of her own party in the Congress as well.  I found her raised voice in the speech a bit hard to listen to, but she was trying to be heard over hundreds of leftists in the crowd showing their civility and tolerance by screaming obscenities and making whatever other noise they could in hopes of silencing her, so she probably didn't have much choice in that.  Her speech was cheerfully combative, and she was clearly making a point in choosing to speak in Madison, site of the recent mob madness by union members and their leftist supporters.

Palin for some reason inspires strong opinions in many people.  No one really knows whether or not she intends to run for President, in spite of the tendency of some journalists and commenters to declare her unlikely to run, a case of wishful thinking if ever I've seen it.  I don't think the Republican primary campaign will really begin in earnest until she announces her decision.  It seems to me it will be difficult for the other candidates to map out an effective strategy without knowing her decision, and I think their efforts to raise money will also be stymied until her intentions are revealed.

I think that if Sarah Palin chooses to run, the other candidates and their allies in the party establishment will have a difficult time defeating her.  If she does manage to win the nomination, it will have been after a fierce fight, and she will come out of the nominating convention looking very strong indeed.  The White House will of course attempt to make her an object of ridicule, but I doubt they'll have much luck at that, and what they'll have on their hands instead is a serious battle in which Palin won't feel any of the reservations against attacking Obama that plagued the McCain campaign in 2008.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


To me, one of President Obama's most annoying mannerisms is his frequent use of the word "folks" in his speeches, usually when he is referring to a group of people who hold some belief that he intends to refute.  There often isn't any such group or belief, but our President never lets reality get in the way of making straw man arguments in the pursuit of his agenda.

Yesterday, the President made yet another of his eye-glazing speeches that was so dull it even knocked out the Vice President for a spell.  The thrust of the speech was that Paul Ryan's budget plan is mean and vicious and will keep us from winning the future, and that only by following Obama's economic plan for the future will we be able to remain the glorious country that he and the First Lady want to completely change.  Except he doesn't really have a plan in so many words.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- he wants to raise income taxes and close off all those pesky tax deductions that keep the government down in the mouth and scrapping for spending cash all the time.  He's even coined a new phrase for that last bit:  eliminating tax deductions is now called spending reductions in the tax code.  The man is a poet.

In Obamaworld, everyone else is to blame for all the problems we have, and it's never Obama's fault.  In his speech he claimed that his "plan" will eventually cut $4 trillion from the national debt, not once acknowledging that he is the same fellow who in only two years (along with Pelosi & Co.) has added trillions to that very same debt, all in a knuckleheaded Keynesian attempt at stimulating the economy and creating or saving millions of jobs.  In case you haven't been following closely--it hasn't worked.

Meanwhile, down here in Air Force One's no-fly zone things aren't going so well.  Folks are having problems just making ends meet, much less prospering and laying store for the future.  Obama's pursuit of delusional economic ideas is causing all kinds of misery for folks.  Many still are losing their houses. Unemployment remains high, especially among young folks and minorities. Depression and suicide are on the rise.  In general, the bad economy is putting the lives of millions on hold as they wait for a sign that they'll finally have an even chance of successfully pursuing their dreams and plans.

I'm not very familiar with theories of divine punishment, but I hope there is a special place in hell for utopian fools like our President, people willing to impose their vision on the rest of us, against all evidence that their plans ever cause anything but destruction and poverty in the long run. Short of that, I'd like to see one Barack Obama suffer my vision of his presidency ending before he wants it to, followed by a long term as ex-President trying to convince the world that, no, he really wasn't the worst President in the history of the republic, no matter what folks keep saying.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Boehner Expedition

For all the drama we've been witnessing in the past few weeks over the budget showdown, you might have thought there was a serious fight going on between the President & Republican leaders in the House. On hearing the news of the compromise that has been reached on the continuing resolution, it seems to me that what was most important to these negotiators was finding an agreement that would allow everyone involved to suffer the least amount of political damage possible.

Seriously, with all the momentum going against President Obama since the elections, and with monthly deficits running over $200 billion a month--all that Boehner & Co. can force the Democrats into agreeing to cut is an extra $6 billion dollars?  This is a victory, a triumph?

What has been shown here is that for Boehner there is a new third rail in politics--"shutting down" the government.  After seeing how Boehner has behaved in the past two budget fights, I have a lot of trouble imagining that he will be any tougher when the battle over the 2012 budget begins this summer.  I don't have any way of knowing what assurances Boehner has or hasn't given to Paul Ryan about how much support he can expect for his new budget plan, but for now it seems to me likely that Ryan is going to have to drag the Republican leadership kicking and screaming in pursuit of serious budget reform.

I think it's easy to predict that the Democrats are going to fight in every way they know how against Paul Ryan's proposal for next year.  Seeing the results of Boehner's past two budget negotiations has me worried he's already given the Democrats a winning strategy in that fight--all they need do in the end is threaten to shut down the government.  Faced with that threat, I'm afraid what we'll get from Boehner yet again is another "best deal we could get."

Maybe it will be the best deal he could get, but the way things look now, I doubt it will be the deal we need.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Off The Waterfront

Ah, 1980.  It was a time of shag haircuts and shag carpets, of disco on the wane, of unemployment and inflation, of gas lines and national humiliation.  It was also the final year of Jimmy Carter's presidency, a time when much of the country concluded that Jimmy Carter didn't know what the hell he was doing.

If a President is generally viewed as successful, he will probably be able to scare off serious challenges to his nomination for reelection. Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton are good examples of this. Not having a challenger in the primary gives a President more time to prepare for the general election, and to concentrate on that most important of all campaign functions, fundraising.

By the time 1980 rolled around, Jimmy Carter wasn't seen as having had a successful term as President.  He was presiding over an economy that is still the most vivid example of stagflation that the United States has so far experienced.  His foreign policy, after his success bringing Egypt and Israel to peace, had descended into disarray as it seemed aggressive foreign leaders had taken his measure and decided he was no obstacle to their plans.  The Soviets invaded Afghanistan, and in Iran the Shah was deposed, after which it was quickly taken over by religious radicals, who eventually seized the U.S. Embassy and held the staff as hostages, and with them President Carter's political fortunes.

With Carter's public approval ratings hovering below 30 percent, it naturally became clear to ambitious Democrats that Carter might not be able to survive a primary fight.  The man who stepped up to the challenge was Sen. Ted Kennedy, a flawed candidate for sure but one who represented the left wing of the party more solidly than Carter did.  Jerry Brown also launched his own campaign, with an ideological stance that reflected the state of the weather as much as any deep-seated convictions.

Carter did win the nomination, after a bitter fight that was only settled on the convention floor, and after the failure of various White House campaign strategies, including the daintily named Rose Garden strategy.  The difficult primary, added to Carter's other troubles, finally led to his loss in the general election to the republican Ronald Reagan, a prospect many Democrats up until a month before found simply laughable.  Since that time, Reagan has inspired in Democrats considerable anger and frustration, but certainly not much laughter.

So now our current President has officially launched his reelection campaign, though of course anyone with eyes to see knows that campaign really started about two heartbeats after Obama said to Chief Justice Roberts "so help me God."  Even with all the angry opposition Obama has generated in the last two years, his how-low-can-it-go approval numbers, gloomy economic prospects, and his bizarre foreign policy, he is regarded as a shoe-in for being renominated by his fellow Democrats, and I haven't even heard a whisper of rumors of any Democrats seriously considering challenging Obama for the nomination.

Still, there is time for Obama's long march of catastrophes to finally taint his prospects enough that he might begin to look unelectable against even a Republican.  If that happens, who would oppose him? Hillary Clinton is clearly tired and seems to have finally satisfied her need for public humiliation.  The pool of Democratic governors, the usual source of presidential candidates, has been depleted since so many statehouses went Republican in last year's elections.  Most of the leading Democratic senators are unpalatable nationally, such as Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer.

The Democratic party has become so left-wing that it seems to me they face a serious problem in the future, that problem being a growing inability to field candidates who will appeal to the larger base of voters who aren't leftists. The sort of closed political culture that the Democratic party has evolved into tends to stunt imaginations and, ironically, to prevent a healthy diversity of opinions.  Given the lockstep performance of Democrats in Congress in the past four years, I wonder if they haven't crossed the line and become a party of lemmings.

So my question of the moment is, has the Democratic party become so monolithic that no one will dare challenge their president, weak and ineffective though he might be?  The last week has shown us that Obama's support is even diminishing among blacks and hispanics, in addition to his perceived loss among "independents" and other voters without strong ideological commitments.  I find myself a bit amazed that so far there doesn't seem to be any fear among Democrats that Obama is driving them off a cliff into a canyon of electoral oblivion.

If our current Democrats had been writing the script, Brando's Terry Malloy would never have found the courage to get up after Johnny Friendly and his gang pounded him into the pavement.  To me, that just doesn't make much sense.