Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gas Man

The Obama re-election campaign seems to be in a spaghetti-at-the-wall phase as they await a clear winner to emerge in the Republican primaries, at which point the campaign will be able tailor its attacks in a more directed way.  Each day seems to bring from the White House another proposal or proclamation in the apparent hope it will shore up Obama's faltering popularity, and then the next day it's off to another one, with the effectiveness of each day's work no doubt being closely watched and noted by White House strategists.

Well, as Obama and White House make their plans for the coming campaign, let me bestow my little gift to them.  I generally find slogans to be silly, but every presidential campaign does seem to need its own little phrase that can be bathed in red, white and blue and sent out to do whatever it is a slogan can do. So far the Obama 2012 campaign hasn't had much success with this. WTF (Winning The Future) was instantly ridiculous and sent packing with a nice bit of help from Sarah Palin, and as far as I know the campaign hasn't as yet let loose another one.  So here's my suggestion for a new slogan:  Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Last week we had Obama taking a pre-emptive strike against what could turn into a huge political problem for him, namely, rapidly rising gas prices with no good prospect that they will go down anytime soon.  Could much of the rise in price possibly be due to Democrats and the environmental left systematically hampering the ability of oil companies to drill for oil within the United States over the past 20 years, thereby decreasing the domestic and world supply of oil, and making the country more vulnerable to shocks in the oil market?  And could the fact that this policy has been accelerated under Obama make him responsible for a large part of this?

The answer from Obama is of course not, it's the fault of Republican obstructionists who have done everything in their power to prevent the coming of Future World, where the cars run on algae gas and everything else is wind or solar powered, and never again will anyone have to drill, drill, drill for oil or dig in the ground for coal.  The notion that it is probably a bad idea to cripple the nation's economy by massively increasing the price of energy as a way to hasten the development of yet unproven technology is apparently alien to the Obama mindset.  His insistence that opening up the oil fields for exploration and drilling won't bring the price of gas down also shows him to be clueless about the nature of markets, especially the highly speculative oil market.

In almost every area of his presidency, Obama seems to live in a bubble world where all glory is his, and nothing is his fault.  The economy is improving! More people are going to work!  America is back and the world respects us again!  Yeah, right.  In the city where I live businesses are still failing at a depressing rate, way too many people don't have as much money as they used to, the streets are in more disrepair than ever, and there's two more houses on my block that have gone empty in the past month or so.  As far as the international scene goes, Obama might as well make his motto: Making the world safe for sharia!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pope Obama I

President Obama's apparently personally directed HHS regulation mandating that religious organizations must pay for sterilization and contraception for their employees is turning into such a firestorm that it appears the White House may only be able to end the crisis by backing off on its position, if only temporarily.  If that were to happen, however, it would be an utterly humiliating defeat for the President, surely the last thing he wants to suffer in the run up to November's election. Assuming the President hasn't bullheadedly forbidden it, I would guess that behind the scenes the White House is frantically attempting to find a way out of this crisis that will allow the President to retreat without his campaign being seriously damaged, probably through proclaiming it has reached some sort of "compromise," real or not.

Of course, this incident is nothing more than the latest episode in the Obama Administration's endless quest to increase government power at the expense of individual liberty, always in the name of some greater good for society. That this comes right on the heels of a unanimous Supreme Court slapdown of the Administration (Hosanna-Tabor) in another case involving religious freedom makes it easy to speculate that there is something personal in this area for Obama, and that he intends to get his way on this, one way or another.

What's notable here is how badly the White House has miscalculated the level of opposition to this regulation.  It has received vocal support from that part of Obama's base who like to refer to the Tea Party as "teabaggers," but the President in this affair is receiving unusual criticism from some important Democratic leaders, who have supported him in nearly everything else.  That a good number of these Democrats represent states that will be crucial to Obama's reelection attempt must have the electoral vote counters in the Obama campaign drinking a little heavier than usual at the end of the day. And in spite of the liberal trope that American Catholics don't care about the Church's rules about sex and procreation, it's clear that the majority of Catholics are seeing this as a direct attempt to destroy the freedom of the Church and its members to practice their faith as they believe is right.  In this the Catholic Church isn't alone, and support is growing from leaders of other faiths and denominations in opposition to the regulation.

In the last three years, a vast amount of print and pixels have been devoted to attempting to figure out what exactly it is that President Obama means to do. Is he diabolical, or is he just an incompetent idealist?  Does he realize the deeper implications of his actions?  Does he care?

I'd say in this latest episode we have one answer to these questions.  This is what he means to do:  he wants to control how you and others of your faith practice your religion -- the faith so many of you believe in with all your heart. Could it be any more clear?