Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back Door Man

As the Obama's continue their workingman's holiday at Martha's Vineyard, with Michelle doing her best to the raise the bar on budgets for future First Family vacations, I've been wondering exactly what Obama & Co. have in store for us in what seems more and more likely to be his last 16 months in office.

An easy answer would be "more of the same," but since Obama has given us so much in only three years, that seems to me too vague to be useful.  I think we need to focus on the paradox that the President who was once acclaimed as The Smartest Man Who Ever Lived has actually shown himself to be both incredibly stubborn and willfully ignorant.  These are not good characteristics to see for anyone hoping the President might finally wise up and relent from his failed policies.  I think what we are going to get instead is a President doubling down on his agenda, pushing through as many executive orders and regulatory changes as he can, legal or not, while the Congress is still divided and largely unable to block or reverse his actions.

The past few weeks have given us evidence that the Obama Administration has no intention of letting public opinion, legal authority, or Congressional opposition keep it from enacting its policy agenda by executive order.

The administration announced on the 18th that it intends to forge ahead with enacting part of the Dream Act, which has been roundly defeated in Congress, by announcing that it is suspending the deportations of several hundred thousand illegal immigrants and will be granting work permits to those who don't have criminal records.  Aside from this being a clear abdication of its responsibility to enforce the law of the land, this is obviously an attempt by the administration to gain electoral support for Obama from hispanic voters, whether they are citizens or not.  With Obama's support falling rapidly with just about every electoral group you can think of, this is one of the few ways Obama might be able to gain more support, given how ineffective and unpopular so many of his policies have proven to be.

Last month the EPA rolled out its new Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the main intent of which apparently is to shut down as many coal-fired power plants as possible. Obama early on declared his animus towards the coal industry and actually stated that if his policies about coal went into effect, electricity prices would necessarily go up significantly.  The President has said a lot of things that he hasn't followed up on, but he seems to be sticking to his guns here.

Given the massive unpopularity of the Dream Act and the clear harm he will be doing to his own electoral prospects in coal-mining states (e.g., Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia), I'm leaning towards concluding that the White House has decided that Obama has no chance at all of winning re-election based on his record and accomplishments.  I think that instead they're going to be campaigning on the low road, and hard.  In the meantime they'll be jamming down on enacting their agenda by fiat, on the theory that at least some of it will become entrenched enough that it will be too difficult to reverse, even if the White House and Congress do return to Republican hands after the election.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Attack of the Killer Orator

President Obama's current vacation on Martha's Vineyard is going to be not just R&R for our beleaguered Commander-In-Chief and his family, but also a working vacation during which he intends to bring his titanic talents to forging the very thing the citizens of our Republic hope and pray he will be able to produce:  a speech.

Seeking to jolt the economy, President Barack Obama will unveil new ideas to create jobs and help the struggling poor and middle class in a major speech after Labor Day. And then he will try to seize political advantage by spending the fall pressuring Congress to act on his plan.

Obama’s plan is likely to contain a mix of tax cuts, jobs-boosting construction projects and steps to help the long-term unemployed, a senior administration official told the Associated Press. The official emphasized that Obama’s proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, like his idea of an “infrastructure bank” to finance construction jobs.

I'm wondering exactly when the stock markets will have "priced in" the economic impact of the latest evidence of presidential incompetence this speech will no doubt present.  Maybe they already have?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Department of Flounder

The Obama Adminstration is in apparent freak-out mode over the President's diminishing prospects for re-election.  The debt-ceiling deal (and subsequent credit downgrade) is widely unpopular, and combined with the continuing stagnant economy, has quickly brought his approval ratings down below 40 percent in at least one major public opinion poll. A New York Times article over the weekend has detailed some of the debate going on within the White House over how to limit or reverse the political damage to the President over the economy.

The Administration's fears seem to be leading it down the path so many desperate people take:  looking for salvation in stupid ideas.  From the New York Times article:

On Aug. 5, in a move that went virtually unnoticed amid the clamor over a rating agency’s downgrading of United States debt, the administration announced a new jobs program for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Obama called it a “reverse boot camp,” intended to retrain veterans for civilian jobs. Part of the program would include a “returning hero tax credit” for companies that hire unemployed disabled veterans.
The administration may also merge the Department of Commerce, the Office of the United States Trade Representative and some economic divisions at the State Department into a new agency, administration officials said. Possible names include the Department of Jobs or the Department of Competitiveness.

As for the first paragraph:  if the economy wasn't dead in the water, there probably wouldn't be much of a problem with unemployment among recently released service members.  This is a typical liberal solution to a problem that doesn't really exist.

How anyone could think the idea floated in the second paragraph even approaches being sound thinking is puzzling, but we've come to expect this kind of frazzle-dazzle from the White House.  The fact that the Administration has let this idea escape to the wider world tells me they're lost in the woods on the issue of the economy, and it's going to be a long time before they find their way home, if ever.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Drumbeat

The President has had one hell of a week.  He signed the debt ceiling compromise bill after several weeks of battle between the White House and Republicans in Congress, to the approval of something like 20 percent of the country, if polls are to be believed.  Financial markets around the world also appear to be unhappy about it.  Today the Standard & Poor credit rating company may have downgraded the bond rating for the US Government (I'm hearing conflicting reports from the news media at this point).  This week has to count as one of the low points of the Obama Administration.

In the midst of all this, I've decided to add a new feature to this blog:  The Drumbeat.  You can find it just to the right of the top of the right side of the page. Here you'll find links to news stories and other items I come across that mention the possibility of Obama or others in his employ resigning, or other items regarding his future as President.  If you come across any such items please let me know & I'll post it if I think it fits.