Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: July 14, 2011

Obama and the debt ceiling

I was gobsmacked by this quote in a POLITICO story about Obama’s walkout from a debt ceiling negotiation:

On exiting the room, Obama said that “this confirms the totality of what the American people already believe” about Washington, according to a Democratic official familiar with the negotiations, and that officials are “too focused on positioning and political posturing” to make difficult choices.

That line could be the summary of the Obama presidency to this point.  Think Afghanistan for instance.  Remember this:

The withdrawal has created deep divisions in Washington. The defence secretary, Robert Gates, argued for a modest reduction – at one point as low as 2,000 – citing the advice of US commanders in Afghanistan that they need to protect gains made during the winter against the Taliban.

But senior White House staff, conscious that the president has an election to fight next year, argued in favour of a reduction that would send a signal to the US public that an end to the war is in sight.

The “difficult choice” would have been to keep the troops in place and reinforce the success they’ve been having.  Instead, we got the “positioning and political posturing” decision made to hopefully enhance Obama’s re-election chances.

Certainly, there is political posturing going on all over the place by both parties, but when the GOP actually sticks to its guns (no new tax increases) while playing hardball, how does that “confirms the totality of what the American people already believe?”  I don’t think he understands which side of that statement he’s actually on.

Ed Morrissey makes another point:

One of the easiest ways to identify an amateurish negotiator is the issuance of obviously empty threats.  Yesterday, Barack Obama issued one of the emptiest political threat in modern American history when he stomped out of the debt-ceiling negotiations yesterday in a fit of pique:

“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people with this.”

Really?  Then Obama will be in for a very rude awakening when he finally meets the American people:

Gallup: Americans paying attention oppose debt-ceiling increase almost 2-1

CBS poll shows 69% opposed to a debt-ceiling increase

Poll: Majority support a balanced budget amendment

Poll shows more people concerned about national debt than national default

Poll shows Americans getting more pessimistic on economy, want spending cuts

Americans oppose raising debt ceiling by more than 2-1 in Gallup survey

CBS poll shows Americans oppose debt-ceiling hike 2-1

Hill poll shows 62% opposed to raising the debt ceiling

The people have been taking it to Barack Obama since the midterm elections.  Maybe he should do less stomping and a lot more listening.

But listening isn’t one of his forte’s.  Instead he likes to play games like this.  I’m sure some sycophant will soon call what he did “gutsy”.  Bottom line, the GOP has to hope he actually follows thorough on his threat because he is obviously not at all tuned into the American people who, as the links point out, have been stating their opinion for quite some time.

Obviously Obama thinks he can pull his campaign trail wool over the American public’s eyes one more time.  But my reading is that public is in no mood for his oratorical mendacity.  The swooning crowds of yore are no more.   For 2 plus years Americans have been able to watch and assess this guy based on his actions, not his words.  And if the “generic Republican” poll is any indication, they’re wanting change as badly now as they did when Obama was swept into office.

So – hang tough GOP, the polls say the American people are with you.  Don’t fall for the political theater and cave to non-existent pressure.  He’s the one the with problem.  Make sure you remember that.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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The second term of Jimmy Carter?

Charles Hurt at the Washington Times seems to think so:

It has taken three decades, but Americans are finally living through Jimmy Carter’s second term.

Now we’ve got Jimmy Jr. barking at us from the White House about eating our peas and ripping off our Band-Aid. He might not even let us have our Social Security checks.

These are just the latest in a long line of nagging lectures. Already, we have been taught how we should sneeze into the crook of our arm. We need to drive less. And we need to caulk up those drafty houses of ours.

What ever happened to the soaring rhetoric and big bold ideas President Obama promised us in that historic election of his?

Billy Hollis hit this very well the other day.  This is how intrusive government has become.  And as we all know, this has been an incremental thing taking years and years.  Yes, it’s more prevalent under Democrats but Republicans have done their share as well.  

I lived through the Carter presidency and I can see many parallels to that time and that man.  I remember him as the incredible shrinking president.  It seemed he almost visibly shrunk in size as his term continued.   I’ve never been more happy to see a president shown the door  – until now.

Carter was pathetic and ineffective.  Obama is dangerous.  The good news, if there is any, is he’s also fairly incompetent and the Democrats couldn’t organize a circus if they had a monopoly on popcorn, hot dogs and cotton candy.   But that aside, there are some Carteresque things going on that certainly remind me of Jimmy:

One of the most unpleasant things about Mr. Carter was the condescending disdain he could barely disguise for struggling Americans and their irritating malaise.

Increasingly, Jimmy Jr. is having difficulty concealing that very same disdain for us as the political winds around him turn hostile and all of his bright ideas lie fallow as nothing more than socialist hocus-pocus.

But even Mr. Carter never laid bare so baldly and plainly as Mr. Obama did earlier this week his deep-seated contempt for this whole annoying process we call “democracy.”

I have to agree that Obama’s condescension is at least as bad as Carter’s.  I’m not sure what happens to some people when they achieve the Oval Office, but they seem to want to be the Daddy-in-Chief instead of the Commander-in-Chief.  There’s something within that makes them feel they have to meddle in the lives of others to the extent, as Hurt and Billy noted, of lecturing on eating their peas.  

And Hurt is right about Obama’s apparent disdain for democracy.  Other than a tool to get him elected, Obama has displayed little desire to accomplish his “change” legislatively.  Instead we have executive fiat the chosen path with the EPA getting ready to enact rules that appear to be regulator overreach and properly the  business of Congress.   We have the administration single-handedly shutting down oil and gas production.   The NLRB is on a vendetta against businesses and busily trying to enact a pro-union agenda.   Democracy?  Who needs it.

And then there’s the sanctimonious hypocrisy:

The problem with reaching a deal to raise the debt ceiling, he explained in a long sermon, is that there is this huge wave of Republicans who won control of the House in the last election by promising not to raise any more taxes and to cut the absurd overspending that has driven this town for decades.

He bemoaned – in public – that these Republicans are more concerned about the “next election” rather than doing “what’s right for the country.” In other words, he is saying the honorable thing would be for these Republicans to ignore the expressed wishes of voters, break their campaign promises and raise taxes. Wow.

Exactly.  This while he tries to frame the whole thing politically as well.  I mean what was the walk out but political theater – something of which Obama is a master?

Jimmy Jr., as Hurt calls him, has to go.  We’ve suffered through most of one term of the “Daddy-in-Chief” (one political sin among many). Among many things I’m most tired on the Chief Nanny.  I’d prefer we make him eat his political peas come November 2012 and go back to community organizing.  And among near future generations, I’d prefer Barack Obama be the example of a totally failed presidency and retire Jimmy to the political peanut farm.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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Poll: US more unpopular now in Middle East than during Bush administration

I wonder if this is “unexpected”:

The hope that the Arab world had not long ago put in the United States and President Obama has all but evaporated.

Two and a half years after Obama came to office, raising expectations for change among many in the Arab world, favorable ratings of the United States have plummeted in the Middle East, according to a new poll conducted by IBOPE Zogby International for the Arab American Institute Foundation.

In most countries surveyed, favorable attitudes toward the United States dropped to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration. The killing of Osama bin Laden also worsened attitudes toward the United States.

Apparently “hope” isn’t selling anywhere.  And this isn’t a one-off problem either:

The poll was conducted over the course of a month among 4,000 respondents in six countries: Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco. Pollsters began their work shortly after a major speech Obama gave on the Middle East, in which he spoke broadly of his vision in the Middle East and pressed Israel, in unusually frank terms, to reach a final peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The findings are largely in line with those of a poll conducted in the spring of 2010 by the Pew Research Center, which also found favorable views of the United States and Obama slipping. As with the new poll, Obama got his worst ratings for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So two plus years after the introduction of the Obama “unclenched fist”, we’re in worse shape than we were.

It’s also a repudiation of the claim that Obama was the driver of the “Arab Spring”.  Most people are unlikely to follow or find inspiration in someone of which they don’t think very highly.  And apparently,  according to this poll, that’s Barack Obama in the Middle East.

In five out of the six countries surveyed, the U.S. was viewed less favorably than Turkey, China, France — or Iran. Far from seeing the U.S. as a leader in the post-Arab Spring environment, the countries surveyed viewed "U.S. interference in the Arab world" as the greatest obstacle to peace and stability in the Middle East, second only to the continued Palestinian occupation. . . . President Obama’s favorable ratings across the Arab world are 10% or less.

Of course that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his apologists:

Zogby said that he was surprised that favorable attitudes toward the United States had actually dropped to levels below where they were in 2008. By the same token, he said, Obama has been burdened by the fact that “every one of the issues that he’s inherited has been more difficult than he or anyone else expected.”

Really? Yeah, this couldn’t be Obama’s fault.  The man has done nothing in the Israeli/Palestinian situation but beat up Israel and what has it gotten him?   Bupkiss.   No progress and this nation that is now less popular (and certainly less respected) than it was under the last president who was supposed to be the worst thing since Adolph Hitler if you listened to the left.

Wonder what they’ll say about this?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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