Free Markets, Free People
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the kerfuffle involving the Mayor of Newark, NJ, Corey Booker, but it provides an interesting political point. Conn Carroll brings you up to date:
The fun started on Sunday when David Gregory asked Booker to defend the Obama campaign ads attacking Romney over his tenure at Bain Capital. Booker responded:
As far as that stuff, I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity. To me, it’s just this–we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know. I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, it ain’t–they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses, And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.
This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, about the issues that the American public cares about.
For that, Booker caught terrific heat from the usual suspects on the left and, has since, begun to walk back this apparent political heresy.
So … what does it all mean?
Booker’s Meet the Press bungle will probably be forgotten by election day, but it is a symptom of a much larger problem for Obama. He has no positive record to run on. His advisers know he can only win by tearing down Romney. But this strategy is the opposite of the brand he established in 2008. The “Hope and Change” are gone. This is not the last time we are going to see Obama surrogates fail to stay on Chicago’s reelection message. Unlike Obama, many of them will have to face voters again.
Carroll hits the nail on the head. Where politicians of all stripes on the left could and did enthusiastically and unconditionally endorse Obama last campaign, now that he has a record, and a poor one at that, such an endorsement could be a huge political liability for them. Pushing the talking points could mean electoral trouble. Keeping a distance from Obama could mean the difference between winning and losing an election.
So … that’s what it all means. Corey Booker is no fool. And what he said is surprisingly honest as well as a reflection of how most people feel. All of this is a “distraction from the real issues”. But then, that’s the strategy of a president with an abysmal record.
Booker is a political animal and most likely has aspirations for higher office. He’s begun the inevitable walk back. But his moment of honesty and clarity signal some potential trouble for the distraction strategy known as the Obama campaign. When your own party operatives are dissatisfied with how you are conducting your campaign, it isn’t particularly difficult to conclude that most voters feel that way as well.
Somewhere, sometime, Obama is going to have to actually face the political music about his record. The sooner, of course, the better. When the focus turns to that, the numbers he enjoys now, along with the slight lead in the polls, will most likely disappear. And as they do, more and more Democrats are likely to be busy with “previous commitments” on days he visits their states.
With much fanfare, President Obama announced an executive order which directs a regulatory review that ostensibly will remove conflicting, unnecessary and onerous regulations, streamline the reporting process by moving much of it online and further, get rid of regulations that aren’t needed and are impeding business from hiring.
That’s the official line, or should I say, ‘spin’. However, as Conn Carroll points out over at the Heritage Foundation, some context should be given this airy promise. And when put in perspective, it again points to an administration on the one hand saying one thing and on the other doing exactly the opposite.
In fiscal year 2010, the first full fiscal year under the Obama Administration, the federal government issued 43 major new regulations. According to the Administration’s own estimates, the total cost of these rules was $28 billion. Only two of the new rules reduced measured regulatory costs, and then by only $1.5 billion. On net, the Obama Administration inflicted $26.5 billion in new regulatory costs on the economy last year, an all-time record. This was on top of the $1.75 trillion in existing regulatory costs already inflicted on the U.S. economy by the federal government.
The 2,319-page financial regulation bill requires 243 new formal rule-makings by 11 different federal agencies. The 2,700-page Obamacare bill contains more than 1,000 instances where Congress instructed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to regulate the health care industry. And, in the ultimate example of power-hungry federal regulators providing “solutions” where no problem currently exists, for the first time in the history of the Internet, the federal government will begin to regulate service providers with “net neutrality” regulations.
Message? Take this Obama promise with a grain of salt. It’s more posturing than reality. Don’t believe me? Well the devil’s in the details isn’t it?
Analysis of the EO Obama signed says nothing real will be happening, and if it does, it won’t be soon. And then there are the exemptions:
First of all, the President’s executive order doesn’t actually require federal agencies to identify harmful regulations during the next 120 days. It merely requires that they submit a “preliminary plan” for reviewing regulations sometime in the future. This is not an order to reduce a single regulation. It is an order to plan to plan to maybe someday reduce regulations! Second, the order exempts “independent” agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Finally, even if an existing rule is found that stifles job creation, it will take years to actually repeal it. Kauffman Foundation Vice President Robert Litan tells The New York Times: “It’s more of a talking point than a policy. Even if you find a rule you don’t like, and they probably will, then they’re going to have to go through rule-making and then it’s going to take a year or two or longer.”
Triangulation has begun in earnest. The move to the center is on. This, like many of the administration’s programs, sounds great, but in reality it is all smoke and mirrors. There is no real plan to identify and kill harmful regulations, there is no plan to reduce them and some of the worst offenders of onerous and intrusive regulation are exempt.
All in a day’s work for the political propaganda machine that is the White House. We’re now in “whatever It takes to win in 2012” whether or not it is real or even desirable, it will be promised in some form or another (just words) to make the current occupant of said White House seem more centrist and appealing.
Fool me once, shame on you …
Discussing the START treaty that right now is being considered by the Senate, the Heritage Foundation’s Conn Carroll reminds us and the Senators considering the treaty of some objective reality:
Senators should keep in mind this Administration’s hostility toward missile defense to begin with. Within months of assuming office, the Obama Administration announced a $1.4 billion cut to missile defense. The successful Airborne Laser boost-phase program was cut, the Multiple Kill Vehicle and Kinetic Energy Interceptor was terminated, and the expansion of ground-based interceptors in Alaska and California were canceled. Adding insult to injury, President Obama then installed long-time anti-missile defense crusader Phillip Coyle as Associate Director for National Security in the White House Office of Science and Technology … by recess appointment. That’s right—this President not only appointed the “high priest” of missile defense denialism as his top adviser on missile defense, but he did so in a way to purposefully avoid Senate consultation on the matter. This is the President some Senate conservatives want to trust? On missile defense? Really?
One way to make nuclear weapons obsolete or less desirable is to make them undeliverable. That’s the purpose of the missile defense technology we’ve been developing over the years. Then, when you negotiate a treaty like START you negotiate from a position of strength.
Instead, we’ve seen a unilateral decision to throw missile defense under the bus, even while rogue nations like Iran and North Korea develop bigger and more powerful missiles every year. Not to mention the fact that both countries are supplying the technology to others and, according to news reports, providing missiles to proxies and planning on basing missiles in Venezuela.
The cuts to these programs is short-sighted and ignores a very real and growing problem. The Airborne Laser boost-phase program, for instance, has successfully intercepted ICBMs in the boost phase in tests and is able to quickly kill and engage multiple targets as they boost out toward their targets (a time when the missiles are at their most vulnerable). It is the first layer in a multilayered missile killing system which would provide this country and its allies a virtually impenetrable shield against rocket launched nuclear weapons.
Instead, we have an administration going around killing off the systems that will protect us all the while telling us that START will do the job and we should just trust the Russians (and Iranians and North Koreans one supposes).
The easiest way for a nuclear weapon to be delivered successfully is via an ICBM. Killing off our successful and front-line missile killers like the Airborne Laser boost-phase program is short sighted and dangerous. If President Obama wants START, make him negotiate. Reinstate the anti-missile programs. Then, the next time he or anyone else (hopefully) negotiates a like treaty, it will be from a position of strength that essentially renders rocket delivered nukes obsolete. That would be a nice change from the obvious unilateral disarmament we’ve seen in the anti- missile shield area and a subsequent negotiating position of weakness.
That’s what our president should be doing, instead of giving away the farm for a piece of paper. I wonder if the new START promises “peace in our time”?