Free Markets, Free People

Barack Obama

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Obama polls sinking along with Democrat chances in mid-terms

Congressional “mid-term” elections have, for years, been seen as a referrendum on the President.  When the nation is pleased with a President, his party gains seats in Congress and when not pleased, that party suffers by losing seats in Congress.  Well, Democrats, gird thy loins, because here it comes:

President Obama’s job approval rating hits a record low this week, as a majority of Americans say his administration has mostly failed at growing the economy, creating jobs, improving health care and the country’s image.

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.

For the first time in a Fox News poll, fewer than four voters in ten — 38 percent — approve of President Obama’s job performance. Fifty-four percent disapprove. Before now Obama’s worst job rating was 40-55 percent in November 2013. Last month 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved (February 2014).

Approval of Obama among Democrats stands at 71 percent, near its 69 percent record low (September 2013). For independents, 28 percent approve, which is also near the 25 percent all-time low among this group (July 2013). And approval of Obama among Republicans hits a new low of five percent.

Overall, a 59-percent majority thinks the White House has mostly failed at creating jobs, up from 52 percent who said the same in October 2012. Likewise, 56 percent feel it has failed on growing the economy. That’s also up from 52 percent.

Etc. Etc. Etc.  Even the Senate majority now is seen to be at risk and no one believes the Dems have a chance in the House.

And the only consistent thing in Obama poll numbers is the drop.  He’s near historic lows in approval among many groups to include Democrats. They’re not likely to get better anytime soon.

The empty suit is finally beginning to wear on the electorate.

But I have to ask, how can a country stay so willingly blind that it took until now to see this inept imposter for what he really is?

~McQ


The incredible shrinking presidency

Yes I know Peggy Noonan was one of “those” on the right to who thought Barack Obama would “deliver” (deliver what I’m not sure but she thought he’d be a welcome change to Bush).  And, in a weird and fascinating way it has been fun watching her discover how unbelievably wrong she was (not that it shouldn’t have been obvious from the beginning).  Frankly, it makes you a little skeptical concerning just about anything she might say that isn’t based in observable fact.

However, I think her opinion today is just about right:

Because when I imagine Barack Obama’s State of the Union, I see a handsome, dignified man standing at the podium and behind him Joe Biden, sleeping. And next to him John Boehner, snoring. And arrayed before the president the members, napping.

No one’s really listening to the president now. He has been for five years a nonstop wind-up talk machine. Most of it has been facile, bland, the same rounded words and rounded sentiments, the same soft accusations and excuses. I see him enjoying the sound of his voice as the network newsman leans forward eagerly, intently, nodding at the pearls, enacting interest, for this is the president and he is the anchorman and surely something important is being said with two such important men engaged.

But nothing interesting was being said! Looking back on this presidency, it has from the beginning been a 17,000 word New Yorker piece in which, calmly, sonorously, with his lovely intelligent voice, the president says nothing, or little that is helpful, insightful or believable. “I’m not a particularly ideological person.” “It’s hard to anticipate events over the next three years.” “I don’t really even need George Kennan right now.” “I am comfortable with complexity.” “Our capacity to do some good . . . is unsurpassed, even if nobody is paying attention.”

Nobody is!

Yeah, she hasn’t quite lost the “fan girl” crush she had on Obama, but the stark reality of what this man is … or perhaps isn’t … has finally begun to set in. Reality is a bitch and she doesn’t let you play pretend for long before she begins slapping you around the head and shoulders with what “is”. And what “is” with this presidency is “over”.

No one trusts this man. He’s been an incompetent buffoon. And the pity is, it was entirely predictable. In fact, we did predict it. We talked about the presidency not being an OJT position. That you needed experience having run a major organization before (you know, executive experience?). Or someone that had actually done something other than write his own autobigraphy at 40.  If not, you’re likely to be well above your competency level and it will show.

But some sort of ability to suspend disbelief infected the chattering classes and they began coughing, sneezing and throwing up a myth about this empty suit. At the end of the 2008 campaign he had somehow become magic.

In reality he was the Wizard and the Noonan’s of the world, 5 years late and trillions of dollars short have finally … FINALLY … begun to peek behind the curtain where the rest of us have been sending SOS’s for years. And they’re discovering he doesn’t even know what the levers are or do, much less how to pull them.

And this discovery has led to more discovery … such as that above. He’s mostly irrelevant and ignored. Someone we must suffer through to get back to business. And so when he speaks … well, no one listens. Oh, they may show up, and they may even feign paying attention, but when you’ve heard the same speech and all it’s variations for 5 years and nothing has happened that was promised (and a lot has happened that wasn’t promised and isn’t good), you tend to not pay attention any more.

For a speechifier who thinks words equal action, I can’t imagine a worse fate.

~McQ


The wages of mendacity

They’re finally “coming home to roost” as Mr. Obama’s favorite preacher might say:

According to a new CNN/ORC International survey, only four out of 10 Americans believe Mr. Obama can manage the federal government effectively. Fifty-three percent don’t view him as a strong and decisive leader. And 56 percent say he does not agree with them on important issues and he does not inspire confidence.

But the numbers on the president’s personal characteristics should alarm the White House most of all. More than half (53 percent) believe he’s not honest and trustworthy, while 56 percent say he’s not a person they admire.

Each of these figures are all-time records for Mr. Obama in CNN polling.

In their fascinating behind-the-scenes book on the 2012 election, Double Down, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann write that the campaign’s research showed “that there was a deep well of sympathy for Obama among voters.” In focus groups after the first debate, they write, “people offered excuse after excuse for his horrific presentation. In Florida, one woman said, almost protectively, ‘I just bet you he wasn’t feeling well.’”

That deep well of sympathy–that willingness to give the president the benefit of the doubt and the attachment and connection voters felt for Mr. Obama–has been crucial to his success for his entire political life. He has always been viewed as a likeable and decent man, even when his campaign employed fairly ruthless tactics. But the days of broad public faith and trust in this president appear to be over. And no wonder.

The fact that the president knowingly misled the public on such a crucial element of his health-care program so many times, over such a long period of time, with such apparent ease, has penetrated the public consciousness in a way nothing else ever has. Incompetence has now been twinned to mendacity. And not surprisingly, that deep well of sympathy is drying up.

The characteristics which have taken such a beating are the one’s that kill a reputation – honesty, trustworthiness and admiration.  You can forgive a goof.  You can even forgive a certain level of incompetence if you have a deep reservoir of admiration for someone based on your belief that they’re an honest and trustworthy person.

Obama’s killed that with this monstrosity he claims as his legacy.  The Democrats too suffer from that albatross.

The usual excuse makers are having trouble ginning up the enthusiasm for attempting to support this president.  Why?  Because their honesty and trustworthiness are at stake if they do.  Oh, sure, there are those that are so much a party hack that they’re going to sputter and spout the usual reality defying nonsense.  Debbie Wasserman Shultz, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the poster children of this breed.

But as mentioned many times before, reality is a bitch and she has shown up after 5 years of this nonsense with a vengeance.  She is taking no prisoners.  I can think of a million cliches that fit this situation and none of them are complementary to the President or Democrats.

By the very way they went about putting this law through the legislative process, they deserve each and every negative thing that happens to them.  It is so bad, that Obama and company are left with trying to hijack Thanksgiving in order to save this awful law.

Barack Obama is the lamest of lame ducks (and that pretty much includes internationally as well, for mostly the same reasons).   Because what he messed with went so badly and the fact that what he messed with was so important and personal to all Americans, you better believe any “well of sympathy” has dried up.  And according to some reports, the worst is yet to come (the possibility that up to 80 million Americans will be dropped from their employer plans).

It is difficult to survey the wreckage of his reputation and not realize that this was all brought on by his own incompetence, arrogance and narcism. What’s interesting is he is a product of his ideology. He is its crowning achievement.  And he demonstrates better than any tome, op-ed or television piece how bankrupt that ideology is.

Whether anyone will really pick up on that is probably arguable.  But there it is – he is indeed the prefect product of liberalism.  And, as anyone who has eyes and a will to actually see, the emperor has no clothes.

~McQ


Is the Obama presidency failing?

Edward Luce, writing in the Financial Times, certainly seems to think so:

Anyone wondering about the scale of the anti-Obama backlash should look at its impact on the 2016 US presidential race. Both major parties are looking for candidates with genuine executive experience. The Republican list of hopefuls is filling up with sitting governors. Among Democrats, hopes rest mainly with Hillary Clinton. Should Elizabeth Warren, the popular senator from Massachusetts, enter the fray Mrs Clinton’s riposte would trip off the tongue. Ms Warren has no governing experience, she could say. And we all know the risks of that.

Having authored an inspirational politics, President Barack Obama’s difficulties are spawning a new fashion for perspiration. Given its limited powers, the strength of the US presidency derives largely from its occupant’s credibility.

Faith in Mr Obama’s competence was already negative. Doubts now extend to his personal integrity. A majority of Americans tell pollsters that they no longer believe he is always telling the truth. Were Mr Obama in a different system, he would be fending off a leadership challenge or facing a snap election. Since the US constitution rules out those options, Mr Obama is in danger of becoming a permanent lame duck.

I’d say that was a pretty fair summary of the depth of Obama’s problems.  It reminds many of the George H. W. Bush “read my lips” moment, only on steroids. In both cases, personal credibility suffered.  It is also interesting to read the first paragraph.  Suddenly the experience of actually having run something or done something besides promote yourself all your life is in demand.

But Luce makes some important points – especially with the line, “Given its limited powers, the strength of the US presidency derives largely from its occupant’s credibility.”  Mr. Obama has trampled his.  And, unfortunately for Democrats, he continues to do so.  Luce gives a bit of insight for that as well:

But Mr Obama’s problems derive chiefly from his tendency to react politically to events, rather than from a lack of time. His fumbling response to the woes engulfing the Affordable Care Act show how hard it is for him to kick the habit – even if the remainder of his presidency depends on it.

Pinpoint accuracy in describing the major problem of this administration.  As I’ve said many times, it is all politics all the time with them.  And for such a politically astute group while on the campaign trail, they are incredibly inept in the use of politics while governing.  That’s mainly because the only experience they have is with politics – certainly not with governing.

Finally:

Mr Obama has continually promised more from his signature healthcare reform than it can deliver. In addition to telling Americans that they could keep their insurance if they liked it – a pledge that millions now know was untrue – Mr Obama said the law would extend coverage to the one in six uninsured Americans, reduce costs for the other five and improve delivery for all six.

There ought to have been more scepticism about whether he could make a thing universally available, higher quality and cheaper all at the same time. Only price controls and public provision could conceivably have done that. And Mr Obama had ruled those out early on.

There ought to have been?  There was plenty of skepticism at the time among those who actually took the time to think it through.  And so far the only promises that have been kept are those the skeptics said would happen.  The fact is this was panned by the entire right, but that argument against was virtually ignored by the main stream press who, on the whole, thought this was a dandy idea.  There was plenty of skepticism … just no one willing to listen to it.  Instead, they chose to listen to the snake-0il-salesman-in-chief.

So is Obama’s presidency failing?  Of course it is.  It is a presidency built on a cult of personality.  And once that which held it together and gave it its strength and resiliency is destroyed, the whole house of cards collapses.  Mr. Obama’s credibility is in tatters.  While there are those who will claim this is recoverable, it’s not.  Even if they finally get the website fixed, they then have to deal with the sticker shock so many are going to experience when they see higher premiums and higher deductions and feel lied too again.

Is the Obama presidency failing?  In a word, ‘yes’.  And if, as Luce claims, Obama is relegated to “permanent lame duck status”, so be it.  That may give the country an outside chance to survive this administration.

~McQ


Assessing the worst presidency in history

Okay, maybe I’m jumping the gun, but I lived through Jimmy Carter, and I’d take that mess again in a heartbeat over the one we’re currently living through.

It’s always interesting to read what is being said about Obama and the Democrats, especially by some of the usual cheerleaders for that bunch.  Here’s Michael O’Brien of NBC News:

“President Barack Obama’s seemingly hands-off management style is raising fresh questions and concerns that could upend his second-term legacy. Claims by the administration and other Democrats that Obama didn’t know about sensitive matters in his own administration — such as problems with the health care website and revelations of National Security Agency surveillance on foreign leaders — have many in Washington scratching their heads.”

More: “Even Democratic allies of the administration question why Obama didn’t know about the serious problems, and express concern about his personal response. ‘I think he might have been better off by standing up and saying this happened up on my watch and take responsibility for it. I think that’s better than saying he didn’t know,’ said veteran Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. ‘I think people expect the president, on his signature program, to be on top of it.’”

“Confronted with missteps in his own administration, President Barack Obama has frequently pleaded ignorance — suggesting he could not be at fault about things he did not know,” AP writes. “It’s an argument with clear benefits but also inherent risks for the White House. Used too often, the tactic emboldens critics who claim the president is incompetent, detached and not fully in control. Eager to protect Obama’s time and concentration, his aides deliberate intensively about what to tell the president, current and former White House officials said. His advisers act as a triage team for an endless flood of information coming into the White House, continually making decisions about which snippets of data Obama might need.”

“Upend his second-term legacy?”  Yeah, that’s what is important … his legacy.  And if I had to guess, his legacy is not going to be one any president would want to claim.

Secondly, his “hands-off management style” isn’t that at all – it’s a lack of leadership.  The man isn’t a leader in any sense of the word.  He hasn’t a clue how to lead.  He’s a petulant autocrat who fumes when he doesn’t get his way and blames everyone but himself when his programs fail.

Finally, he’s Richard Nixon II – out of touch and surrounded with advisors who are afraid to tell him the truth.  That’s what all that “triage” nonsense is about.  His advisors filter incoming information and then spin what they want him to see as positively as possible.  He’s in the bunker and thinks he has more divisions than he really does, if the analogy makes any sense to you.

Oh, and his approval ratings are at an all time low.  What we’re watching is the implosion of a presidency, such that it was.  If there’s anything positive about it, Barack Obama has finally proven the Peter Principle to be false.  He certainly rose well above his level of competency.  That would be funny if he was in any other job.  Instead, it’s just plain dangerous.

Meanwhile the Vice President’s clown car continues to roll: merrily on its way:

“Neither he and I are technology geeks, and we assumed that it was up and ready to run.”

Because, you know, leaders always assume and never check.  That’s how they become so successful.

~McQ


The usual lack of leadership from a petty partisan ideologue

Not that it should come as any surprise to those familiar with our president. Nile Gardiner hits the sore spot:

The American Left’s hatred for all things conservative has been on full display in Washington in recent days, with the White House and its allies in Congress heaving with anger and indignation over mounting opposition to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and growing calls to defund it. President Obama has blamed Tea Party Republicans for what he calls a right-wing “ideological crusade” prompting the federal government shutdown. As the president put it in his Rose Garden press conference, “they’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans. In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.” Obama allies have used similar inflammatory language over the past week, aimed at demonising anyone who disagrees with their approach. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has railed against Tea Party “anarchists,” and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has attacked what she calls “legislative arsonists.” Even former Vice President Al Gore has jumped in to the fray, accusing the GOP of “political terrorism.”

The harsh invective flowing from Washington’s liberal establishment has been nasty, juvenile and petty. This should be a moment for humility for the White House over its hugely unpopular Obamacare reforms, which are opposed by a significant majority of the American people. Ironically President Obama turns the other cheek on the world stage when it comes to challenges to US global power, and has made the appeasement of America’s enemies and strategic competitors into a form of art. But he acts in a truly imperial fashion at home, refusing to listen to the slightest hint of criticism domestically. This is a president who happily apologises for his country’s past when he travels abroad, in thoroughly humiliating fashion for the United States, but cannot bring himself to acknowledge that his own policies might be wrong.

That’s exactly right. And he makes it clear he’s not going to take a leadership role – like a petulant child, he’ll just refuse to deal with others. Fred Barnes points out the obvious:

Presidents have two roles. In the current impasse, Mr. Obama emphasizes his partisan role as leader of the Democratic Party. It’s a legitimate role. But as president, he’s the only national leader elected by the entire nation. He alone represents all the people. And this second, nonpartisan role takes precedence in times of trouble, division or dangerous stalemate. A president is expected to take command. Mr. Obama hasn’t done that.

The extent to which he has abdicated this role shows up in his speeches. On the eve of the shutdown, he warned that a government closure “will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away.” Defunding or delaying his health-care program—the goal of Republicans—would have even worse consequences, he suggested. “Tens of thousands of Americans die every single year because they don’t have access to affordable health care,” Mr. Obama said.

In an appearance in the White House pressroom, he said that “military personnel—including those risking their lives overseas for us right now—will not get paid on time” should Republicans force a shutdown. At an appearance in Largo, Md., the president accused Republicans of “threatening steps that would actually badly hurt our economy . . . Even if you believe that ObamaCare somehow was going to hurt the economy, it won’t hurt the economy as bad as a government shutdown.”

Yet as he was predicting widespread suffering, Mr. Obama steadfastly refused to negotiate with Republicans. He told House Speaker John Boehner in a phone call that he wouldn’t be talking to him anymore. With the shutdown hours away, he called Mr. Boehner again. He still didn’t negotiate and said he wouldn’t on the debt limit either.

Mr. Obama has made Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid his surrogate in the conflict with Republicans. Mr. Reid has also declined to negotiate. In fact, Politico reported that when the president considered meeting with Mr. Boehner and Mr. McConnell, along with the two Democratic congressional leaders, Mr. Reid said he wouldn’t attend and urged Mr. Obama to abandon the idea. The president did just that.

The man is a presidential bust – and I don’t mean the type that sits on a pedestal. He’s never had it, he will never have it and we’re going to continue to suffer because instead of any leadership qualities the only thing this man can boast is petty partisanship. He’s a master at that. He’s essentially said that he’ll not negotiate and he’ll use his bully pulpit to insult and degrade his opposition.

Some “leader”.

Until he steps up and assumes that role – this is his shutdown.

~McQ


I thought our President told us al Qaeda was all but defeated?!

Well this has to be embarrassing:

A State Department travel alert Friday said al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond, as the United States is closing 21 embassies and consulates Sunday as a precaution.

“Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” said the alert, which covers the entire month.

It warned that “terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests.”

A separate State Department list showed the 21 embassies and consulates that will close on Sunday, normally the start of the work week in the countries affected.

Recall, in 2012, our fearless “leader” told us this, numerous times (in fact, about 32 times):

On Sept. 13 in Golden, Colo., Obama said, “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq — and we did. I said we’d wind down the war in Afghanistan — and we are. And while a new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.” He repeated that line again on Sept. 17 in Cincinnati and again that day in Columbus, Ohio.

It is one of the reasons Benghazi is so “inconvenient” and they chose to invest in a lie.  Now this.

Party on.

~McQ


Sean Smith’s mother doesn’t think his death is phony … nor the scandal surrounding it

[Guest posting at Hot Air today:]

In its usual inept and ham-fisted way,  the Obama administration has chosen to address the scandals surrounding it by waving them away as “phony” – conspiracies dreamed up and pursued by political enemies.  The president recently did that in his long-winded, laborious and incredibly boring re-hash of his failed economic policies.   The “phony” conspiracies are “distractions” from the “real problem”, a problem he has yet to address satisfactorily during his term in office.

The “phony” scandals include Benghazi, the IRS targeting of political groups on the right and others.  All were initially acknowledged by the administration and the president as serious breaches of public trust.  They’ve since, however, transformed into conspiracies generated by their enemies.

But there’s one voice asking what was “phony” about her son’t death in Benghazi?

Patricia Smith, mother of Sean Smith, who was slain in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack, lashed out on “Your World” on the Fox News Channel about that terminology.

President Obama has never revealed what, if anything, he was doing while workers at the Benghazi embassy were urgently requesting support, nor has the administration explained why no forces were sent to protect the embassy. The administration also denied the attack was a terrorist incident, claiming it was a spontaneous protest against an obscure YouTube trailer for a film that may or may not exist.

To make matters worse, she was essentially lied to while standing on the ramp watching the body of her son being offloaded from an AirForce transport plane in Dover, DE.  Speaking of Obama, she said:

“I don’t believe him anymore,” Smith said. “He’s wrong. My son is dead. How could that be phony?”

According to Smith, she has been given no answers about what happened that night. She said the administration told her she “didn’t need to know.”

“When I was there at the ceremony of the welcoming of the caskets, both Obama and Hillary and Biden and all of the other ones, all promised me they would get back to me to tell me what happened,” Smith said. “I begged them. Please, I must know what happened with my son. How come this happened? They all promised me they would get back to me. You know, not one of them, not one of them ever got back to me in any way shape or form — not by a letter, not by anything other than I got a memo stating that I didn’t need to know because I was not part of the immediate family.”

No answers, no contact and no closure.  She’s lost all faith in the credibility of those who promised her answers, and rightfully so.  And then, as if to deliver a final slap to her face, an arrogant president waves away the death of 4 men, including her son, as a “phony scandal”.

She, however, has no intention of leaving the questions the administration is avoiding like the plague unanswered:

Smith made one last plea to the Obama administration explaining her desire for answers.

“How can I tell you?” Smith added. “I mean, it is wrong. It is not phony. It is not fake. My son is dead, and why is he dead? All I am waiting for even to this day is just someone to get back to me and tell me what happened. Why did Hillary do as she did? Why was there no security there when there was supposed to be? Who was the general that called back the troops when they were going to help?”

Is it really too much to ask the President of the United States to be forthcoming about why you son died in the service of his country?  Apparently so.

Meanwhile in Kabul, the administration is on track to see what happened in Benghazi happen there as again very lax security has been cited by an internal investigation that the Washington Times obtained under the Freedom of Information Act as a risk to the safety of embassy personnel.

U.S. diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan have serious security lapses that pose “unnecessary risk to staff,” including poor emergency preparedness and inadequate protections that might allow classified materials to fall into the hands of attacking enemies, according to an internal report that raises fresh questions about the State Department’s commitment to safety in the aftermath of the Benghazi tragedy.

Another “phony” scandal in the making.

~McQ


Obama’s second term: Thunder, lightning, but likely little rain

I think Philip Klein has the best read on Obama’s second inaugural speech. Oh, it had lots of things to make the left wet itself in joy, but, well, here’s what Klein thinks (he bases his conclusion on 2 lines in the speech):

This brings us to the two lines in Monday’s speech. He declared that, “We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.” This is Barack Obama, bold leader speaking (with an extra twist of irony given that the signature legislative accomplishment of his first term was supposedly aimed at containing the growth of health care costs). Then, he said, “But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” Translation: he isn’t going to do anything to seriously reform Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, and wants more economic stimulus spending, too. So, within a breath of calling for hard choices, he rejected the need for them. I can think of no more fitting summation of Obama’s presidency.

I pretty much agree. He’ll talk tough and then go to Hawaii. He’ll claim the desire to do all sorts of things and then hit the links.

Leadership takes another 4 year holiday.

In his case, it might be a good thing, although it means nothing with entitlement reform will happen – again. We’re instead going to play around the edges of immigration, gun control and global warming.

Phaa…

~McQ


The Senate filibuster fight gins up – hypocrites to the left of us, hypocrites to the right … (Update)

Another example of why you can’t ever take anything a politician says at face value or believe them when they say they stand on ‘principle’.

For instance, consider the looming Senate fight over the filibuster.

Once a cause championed by a few Democratic senators, changing the filibuster has become a top priority for Senate Democrats who’ve repeatedly complained about Republicans blocking legislation from even being debated on the Senate floor. Reid noted on Monday that in his nearly six years as majority leader, he has faced 386 Republican-led filibusters in the chamber.

“We can’t continue like this,” a visibly frustrated Reid Monday said in a response to McConnell.

Of course the “visibly frustrated” Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, was one of those huge champions of the filibuster when he was a minority leader and then the new Majority Leader because he’d used it many times in his long political career:

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV):“As majority leader, I intend to run the Senate with respect for the rules and for the minority rights the rules protect. The Senate was not established to be efficient. Sometimes the rules get in the way of efficiency. The Senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. Majorities can always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. That is what the Senate is all about.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.11591, 12/8/06)

REID: “For more than 200 years, the rules of the Senate have protected the American people, and rightfully so. The need to muster 60 votes in order to terminate Senate debate naturally frustrates the majority and oftentimes the minority. I am sure it will frustrate me when I assume the office of majority leader in a few weeks. But I recognize this requirement is a tool that serves the long-term interest of the Senate and the American people and our country.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.11591, 12/8/06)

REID: “I say on this floor that I love so much that I believe in the Golden Rule. I am going to treat my Republican colleagues the way that I expect to be treated. There is no ‘I’ve got you,’ no get even. I am going to do everything I can to preserve the traditions and rules of this institution that I love.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.11591, 12/8/06)

REID:“…one of the most sacred rules of the Senate – the filibuster… It is a unique privilege that serves to aid small states from being trampled by the desires of larger states. Indeed, I view the use of the filibuster as a shield, rather than a sword. Invoked to protect rights, not to suppress them.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.434, 1/5/95)

Yeah, well that was then and this is now. The “world has changed” as Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss said this week as he sought to duck out on his pledge of years past not to vote on raising taxes.

You have to love the Reid line about the Senate not being established to be efficient – see the budget.  Going on 4 years without one.  But you see, getting a budget passed would require Reid and the Democrats to compromise with the Republicans in order to achieve that 60 vote margin and, well, he’s just not willing to accomodate the minority despite his stirring words to the contrary about protecting the rights of the Senate minority, words, by the way, he’s likely to dismiss now.

And, as you hear the fight gin up, don’t forget the past words of other Democrats who will now call the GOP minority obstructionists and tell us all the filibuster is bad and has no place in the Senate.  For instance, if we hear the President opining, it’s alway nice to remember his words on the subject for the brief period he was a Senator and take his words, on both sides of the issue, with a grain of salt:

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): “The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this Chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate, then the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse.” (Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.3512, 4/13/05)

OBAMA: “[T]he American people sent us here to be their voice… What they do not expect is for one party, be it Republican or Democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet.” (Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S.3512, 4/13/05)

And, of course, that’s precisely what the Democrats and Obama want the Senate GOP to do – sit down and be quiet.

On any subject, you know little Chucky Schumer has an opinion:

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY) On Any Threat To The Filibuster: “The basic makeup of our Senate is at stake. The checks and balances that Americans prize are at stake. The idea of bipartisanship, where you have to come together and can’t just ram everything through because you have a narrow majority, is at stake. The very things we treasure and love about this grand republic are at stake.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.4801, 5/10/05)

SCHUMER: “We are on the precipice of a crisis, a constitutional crisis. The checks and balances which have been at the core of this republic are about to be evaporated by the nuclear option. The checks and balances which say that if you get 51% of the vote you don’t get your way 100% of the time. It is amazing it’s almost a temper tantrum… They want their way every single time, and they will change the rules, break the rules, misread the Constitution so they will get their way.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.5208, 5/16/05)

Yes, it was a “Constitutional crisis” in ’05. Now? Not so much.  Speaking of temper tantrums, funny how one’s words can come back to haunt them, not that they care.

Finally, we have dandy Dick Durbin who also thinks it is time to change the filibuster rules, although in ’05, he had a completely different take on the subject:

SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D-IL): “Those who would attack and destroy the institution of the filibuster are attacking the very force within the Senate that creates compromise and bipartisanship.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.3763, 4/15/05)

DURBIN: The filibuster is “[one] of the most treasured and cherished traditions of the United States Senate.” “Many of us in the Senate feel that this agreement tonight means that some of the most treasured and cherished traditions of the United States Senate will be preserved, will not be attacked and will not be destroyed.” (Sen. Durbin, “Statement Of Sen. Dick Durbin Regarding The Agreement On Judicial Nominations In The Senate,” Press Release, 5/23/05)

It’s not so treasured any more, is it?  At least not by Senate Democrats who were so enamored with it in ’05.

The point of course is obvious.  Don’t ever believe anything any politician of either side says on any subject – ever. They’ll bail on it in a New York minute if they see political advantage in doing so.  Pledges and “traditions” mean nothing to them.

If faith in government is built on trust, and trust is built on political leaders promising to do things and then keeping their word, trust in this government died quite a while ago.

And that’s sort of the crux of the problem isn’t it?  We are represented by an amoral political class who doesn’t hold their word to mean anything and reserve the right to change their “principles” on the fly in an attempt to gain temporary political advantage.

We’re served by the worst political class I can remember.

The problem is we can’t blame them – we elected them, and, like Harry Reid and Saxby Chambliss, we’ve kept them in office for decades.

Unfortunately, when you don’t pay attention and you just tune in when it is convenient for you, you get exactly what you deserve in DC.  This is just another in a long line of examples of that truth.

UPDATE: Apparently the WSJ and I are on the same wave-length today:

One of the more amazing post-election spectacles is the media celebration of Republicans who say they’re willing to repudiate their pledge against raising taxes. So the same folks who like to denounce politicians because they can’t be trusted are now praising politicians who openly admit they can’t be trusted.

[...]

If Republicans in Congress want to repudiate the pledge, they are free to do so at any time. They could even quote Edmund Burke’s line that a democratic representative owes his electors his best judgment, not a slavish fealty to majority opinion. But that would mean saying they didn’t mean it when they signed the pledge. So they are now busy pretending that Mr. Norquist is a modern Merlin who conned them into signing the pledge and must be eliminated before they can do the “right thing” and raise taxes.

[...]

Republican voters know that elections have consequences and that Mitt Romney’s defeat means there will be policy defeats too. But they will give the House and Senate GOP credit if it fights for its principles and drives a hard bargain.  The voters are also smart enough to know that Republicans who focus on Mr. Norquist are part of the problem.

But apparently, for some, it’s too much to ask our politicians to stand by their word.  Apparently, principles are only important when these people say they’re important.  At other times, they’re very malleable or can be thrown to the side and rationalized away.  And in this case, the rationalization apparently says that political necessity now requires that a crumb be thrown to “public opinion”.

With other people’s money, of course.

~McQ

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