Free Markets, Free People
If ever there was a classic case of self-love, I think it currently resides in the White House. This has been bubbling around the blogosphere for a few days and it is indeed an incredible (and laughable) bit of the Steve Kroft interview with Barack Obama in which Obama rate himself as a president by comparing him to past presidents:
“The issue here is not going be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
How modest … number four among the 44 presidents this country has seen. Jefferson? Washington? Bleh. Old dead white men and besides, hardly progressive. And Lincoln, well, for whatever reason Obama thinks he’s a safe enough Republican to compare himself too.
The Political Commentator did yeoman’s work to compile a list of statistics and stories that point to a completely different conclusion if you’re actually someone who requires facts rather than a self-absorbed narcissist’s opinion of himself:
Current National Debt ($15,073,380,701,589.57). (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 12/6/11)
Amount Obama’s FY2012 Budget Would Add To The Debt Through FY2021. (OMB, 9/1/11)
Total Interest Payments On The National Debt Due To Obama’s Proposed Budget, FY2012-2021. (OMB, 9/1/11)
Added To The National Debt Since Obama Took Office.(U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 12/6/11)
True Cost Of ObamaCare Once Fully Implemented. (Office Of The Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives,Report, 1/6/11)
Annual Cost Of Federal Regulations. (Small Business Administration, September 2010)
Tax Hikes In Obama’s Deficit Reduction Proposal. (OMB, 9/19/11)
Federal Budget Deficit For FY2009 – Highest In U.S. History.(CBO, 10/7/10)
Projected FY2012 Budget Deficit Under Obama’s “Deficit Reduction” Proposal. (OMB, 9/19/11)
Federal Budget Deficit For FY2011 – Second Highest In U.S. History. (CBO, 10/7/11)
Federal Budget Deficit For FY2010 – Third Highest In U.S. History. (CBO, 10/7/10)
American Debt Held By China. (U.S. Treasury Department, Accessed 12/6/11)
Price Tag Of Obama’s First Failed Stimulus. (CBO, 8/24/11)
Net Interest Payment On Our National Debt In 2021 Due To Obama’s Proposed Budget. (OMB, 9/1/11)
Amount Of Medicare Cuts In ObamaCare. (CMS Chief Actuary Richard S. Foster, Memo, 4/22/10)
Price Tag Of Obama’s Second Stimulus. (The White House, 9/8/11)
Debt Service Costs For Borrowing To Pay For Obama’s First Stimulus. (CBO, 1/27/09)
Increased Spending In Obama’s Second Stimulus. (CBO, 10/5/11)
Taxpayer Funds For Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac. (The Hill, 10/27/11)
Projected Cost Of New Regulations For 2011. (American Action Network, 9/30/11)
Cost Of New Regulations To Date For 2011. (American Action Network, 11/4/11)
Stimulus Funds Sent To Tax Cheats. (Government Accountability Office, April 2011)
Stimulus Loan To The Failed Solar Company Solyndra.(The Oakland Tribune, 11/4/10)
Annual Paperwork Burden Hours Imposed By Regulators In 2011. (American Action Network, 11/4/11)
Number Of Americans Living In Poverty (Supplemental Poverty Measure). (US Census Bureau, 11/7/11)
Record Number Of Americans Living In Poverty (Official Measure). (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/13/11)
Record Number Of Americans Receiving Food Stamps.(Department Of Agriculture, 11/31/11)
Cost Of The Stimulus Website Recovery.org. (ABC News’ “The Note“ Blog, 7/8/09)
Unemployed Americans. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Americans Working Part-Time For Economic Reasons.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Foreclosure Filings Since Obama Took Office. (RealtyTrac, Accessed 12/6/11)
Americans Unemployed 27 Weeks Or Longer. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Obama Campaign Cash Raised By Bundlers In The Lobbying Industry. (The New York Times, 10/27/11)
Mortgages Either 90 Days Late Or In Foreclosure During September. (Lender Processing Services, 12/1/11)
Workers Granted Waivers So That ObamaCare Would Not Outlaw Their Health Care Plan. (HHS.gov, Accessed 10/6/11)
Number Of Americans That Fell Into Poverty Between 2009 And 2010. (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/13/11)
Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 11/7/11)
Personal Bankruptcies In 2010. (United States Courts, 2/15/11)
Stimulus Funds Sent To Indonesia To Discourage Air Pollution In Jakarta. (The Daily Caller, 7/7/11)
Personal Bankruptcies In 2009. (United States Courts, 2/15/11)
Private Sector Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Jobs Lost Since Obama’s Stimulus Was Passed. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Americans That Have Given Up Looking For Work. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 11/7/11)
Construction Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Private Sector Jobs Lost Since Stimulus Was Passed.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Manufacturing Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Personal Bankruptcies During First Half Of 2011. (The Wall Street Journal, 7/5/11)
Workers That Dropped Out Of The Labor Force In November. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Cost Per A Stimulus Job. (The Weekly Standard, 7/6/11)
Number Of Local Government Education Jobs Lost Since Obama Signed A $10 Billion Teacher Union Bailout He Said Would Save 160,000 Teacher Jobs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11; The Washington Post, 8/10/10)
The Number Of Stimulus Checks Sent To Dead Or Incarcerated People. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/7/10)
Record Number Of Pages Added To The Federal Register In 2010. (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011)
Number Of Heavy And Civil Engineering Construction Jobs Lost Since The Stimulus Was Passed. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Pages Of New Rules Added To The Federal Register During Obama’s First Two Years In Office. (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011)
The Number Of Jobs Obama Knew His Drilling Moratorium Would Kill. (The Wall Street Journal, 8/21/10)
Annual Cost Per Household From Federal Regulations.(Small Business Administration, September 2010)
Negative Effect Of Debt On Gross National Product Per Person In 2035. (CBO, 6/22/11)
Cost Per Employee That Federal Regulations Place On Small Businesses. (Small Business Administration, September 2010)
Number Of Tax Delinquents Who Received Stimulus Funds.(Government Accountability Office, April 2011)
Year Federal Spending Will Reach 50 Percent Of GDP.(CBO, 6/22/11)
Year That Federal Debt Will Reach 200 Percent Of GDP.(CBO, 6/22/11)
Year That The Social Security Trust Fund Will Be Exhausted. (The Trustees Of Social Security & Medicare, 5/10/11)
Year That The CBO Predicts Medicare’s Trust Fund Will Be Exhausted. (CBO, 3/18/11)
Number Of Regulations That Would Impact Small Businesses Proposed By Obama Administration In First Two Years In Office. (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011)
Number Of Waivers Granted To Unions And Businesses So That ObamaCare Would Not Outlaw Their Health Care Plans. (HHS.gov, Accessed 10/6/11)
Number Of Jobs Obama’s NLRB Is Trying To Kill In South Carolina. (The Denver Post, 5/2/11)
Number Of Regulations Proposed By Obama During First Two Years That Have An Economic Impact Of Over $100 Million. (Competitive Enterprise Institute, 2011)
Number Of Bank Failures This Year. (FDIC, 12/6/11)
Americans That Are Dissatisfied With The Direction The Country Is Headed. (Gallup, 11/14/11)
Federal Debt Held By The Public As Share Of GDP In 2021.(CBO, 8/24/11)
Small Businesses That Could Be Forced To Change Health Care Plans As A Result Of ObamaCare. (The Washington Post, 6/15/10)
Stimulus Funds For Wind, Solar And Geothermal Energy Projects That Went To Foreign Firms. (Investigating Reporting Workshop/ABC’s World News Tonight/Watchdog Institute, 2/8/10)
Americans Who Say Things Are “Going Badly.” (CNN, 11/17/11)
Federal Debt Held By The Public As Share Of GDP By End Of The Year. (OMB, 9/19/11)
Americans Who Disapprove Of Obama’s Handling Of The Economy. (CNN/ORC Poll, 11/11-13/11)
Households That Receive Some Form Of Government Assistance. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/5/11)
Top Tax Rate By 2014 Under Obama’s FY2012 Budget. (The Washington Post, 5/16/11)
Obama’s Jobs Approval “Well Shy Of Where It Started In 2011 And Where It Likely Needs To Be In 2012 For Obama To Win Re-Election.” (Gallup, 11/14/11)
Americans That Believe Their Taxes Will Go Up If Obama Is Reelected. (Quinnipiac Poll, 2118 RV, MoE 2.1%, 9/27-10/3/11)
Increase In National Debt Since Obama Took Office. (U.S. Treasury Department Accessed 12/5/11)
Number Of Weeks That It Takes To Find A Job. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Households That Receive Either Food Stamps, Subsidized Housing, Cash Welfare Or Medicaid. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/5/11)
Record Number Of Straight Months With Unemployment Rate Above 8 Percent. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 10/7/11)
Unemployed Workers Out Of Work For Over A Year.(Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Share Of Existing Home Sales In October That Were Distressed Properties (Foreclosures And Short Sales).(National Association Of Realtors, 11/21/11)
Federal Spending As A Share Of GDP By 2021. (CBO, 6/22/11)
Home Loans Underwater (Negative Equity) In Third Quarter Of 2011. (Reuters, 11/29/11)
Amount GNP Would Be Lowered Due To Debt’s Effect On Economic Growth By 2035. (CBO, 6/22/11)
Cut To Medicare Benefits When Trust Fund Is Exhausted.(House Ways & Means Committee Hearing, 6/22/11)
Workers Unemployed, Underemployed Or Marginally Attached To The Labor Force. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/4/11)
Americans Living In Poverty. (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/13/11)
Unemployment Rate. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/3/11)
Percent Of Home Loans Delinquent In August. (Lender Processing Services, 12/1/11)
Decline In Median Home Sale Price In The Last Year.(National Association Of Realtors, 11/21/11)
Record +$1 Trillion Deficits On Obama’s Watch. (CBO, 10/7/11)
Decline In Median Household Income In 2010. (U.S. Census Bureau, 9/13/11)
Other People Obama Will Have Left To Blame For The Failures Of His Economic Policies In 2012. (The American People, 11/6/12)
4th? I’m sorry but that list is not the stuff of greatness.
His legislative agenda has been a disaster for the country and has contributed heavily to some of the numbers above. Additionally, he ignored the problem economy for two years as he worked to pass his legacy legislation, a law which the majority of the country wants to see repealed. And his foreign policy has been mostly one of weakness or carrying out the foreign policy of the previous administration. Hardly the stuff of greatness.
Frankly, I’d rate him as 45th out of 44 presidents (worse than one to be named later – hopefully in 2012).
He’s been a disaster, and even liberals have difficulty spinning that in a positive way. Time to show him the door next year. Chicago, you can have him back.
Marion Berry, Democratic Representative from Arkansas, has decided to retire from Congress voluntarily instead of chancing an involuntary retirement via the ballot box. Berry is considered a “blue dog” Democrat and is from a nominally conservative state whose voters have made it clear they don’t support the policies or agenda of this Congress or this president.
Berry relates an incident that struck me as the ultimate in hubris and arrogance:
Berry recounted meetings with White House officials, reminiscent of some during the Clinton days, where he and others urged them not to force Blue Dogs “off into that swamp” of supporting bills that would be unpopular with voters back home.
“I’ve been doing that with this White House, and they just don’t seem to give it any credibility at all,” Berry said. “They just kept telling us how good it was going to be. The president himself, when that was brought up in one group, said, ‘Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me.’ We’re going to see how much difference that makes now.” [snip]
What got me laughing was how badly that statement may come to haunt Obama. They certainly have him, but as the political stars are aligning right now, “me” may end up in worse shape than did Bill Clinton. He’s already seen a super-majority go by the boards in the Senate – something Clinton never had – and it isn’t at all impossible that what most people would consider prohibitive majorities in both houses of Congress could be significantly reduced or, possibly, flip – although the latter is unlikely.
The only reason it wouldn’t be like ’94 is because there are enough Democratic safe seats to prevent the flip. But then, after Massachusetts, one has to wonder how many really safe seats there are. And what if the GOP trots something like this out in the interim?
In a recent interview with Diane Sawyer, President Obama said:
“I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.”
There is a third option which he obviously avoided. He could end up being a very mediocre and Carteresque one-term president the way things are trending.
Frankly, that’s precisely what’s going on with the developing situation in Iran. Our President is both inexperienced and naive, and in the world of foreign relations, that can be a fatal mix.
As I pointed out about Gitmo below, the president hadn’t done his homework when he announced his pre-election decision to close the prison there. And, as mentioned, his decision has been a fiasco.
Iran is the same sort of problem for him. He announced a policy of engagement as though nothing of the sort had ever been put forward before. And, in so announcing his policy, he apparently didn’t understand or chose to overlook the fact that two of the regimes about which he spoke (Iran and NoKo) had absolutely no real desire to engage him.
Part of the problem is Obama believes the hubris about his abilities. Unfortunately, the Iranian regime doesn’t and has no real reason or necessity to actually engage him. Professor Faoud Ajami takes Obama to task over his performance so far:
Mr. Obama may believe that his offer to Iran is a break with a hard-line American policy. But nothing could be further from the truth. In 1989, in his inaugural, George H.W. Bush extended an offer to Iran: “Good will begets good will,” he said. A decade later, in a typically Clintonian spirit of penance and contrition, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright came forth with a full apology for America’s role in the 1953 coup that ousted nationalist Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh.
Iran’s rulers scoffed. They had inherited a world, and they were in no need of opening it to outsiders. They were able to fly under the radar. Selective, targeted deeds of terror, and oil income, enabled them to hold their regime intact. There is a Persian pride and a Persian solitude, and the impact of three decades of zeal and indoctrination. The drama of Barack Obama’s election was not an affair of Iran.
Obama obviously thinks more of his abilities to persuade than are proven on the world stage. Again hubris. The magic “Cairo speech” which is assumed to have done in a week or so what wasn’t possible for decades in the region:
That ambivalence at the heart of the Obama diplomacy about freedom has not served American policy well in this crisis. We had tried to “cheat” — an opening to the regime with an obligatory wink to those who took to the streets appalled by their rulers’ cynicism and utter disregard for their people’s intelligence and common sense — and we were caught at it. Mr. Obama’s statement that “the difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as had been advertised” put on cruel display the administration’s incoherence. For once, there was an acknowledgment by this young president of history’s burden: “Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons.” No Wilsonianism on offer here.
Mr. Obama will have to acknowledge the “foreignness” of foreign lands. His breezy self-assurance has been put on notice. The Obama administration believed its own rhetoric that the pro-Western March 14 coalition in Lebanon had ridden Mr. Obama’s coattails to an electoral victory. (It had given every indication that it expected similar vindication in Iran.)
But the claim about Lebanon was hollow and reflected little understanding of the forces at play in Lebanon’s politics. That contest was settled by Lebanese rules, and by the push and pull of Saudi and Syrian and Iranian interests in Lebanon.
Mr. Obama’s June 4 speech in Cairo did not reshape the Islamic landscape. I was in Saudi Arabia when Mr. Obama traveled to Riyadh and Cairo. The earth did not move, life went on as usual. There were countless people puzzled by the presumption of the entire exercise, an outsider walking into sacred matters of their faith.
As someone said, it’s 3am and Obama is continuing to hit the snooze button. He needs to learn very quickly, and especially when it comes to foreign affairs, that you can’t vote “present” when you’re the President of the United States.