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.
When you get it wrong, what you normally should do is check your premise. Mine was that the polls couldn’t have it right running a D+ anything. That, based on 2010 and the resounding GOP victories then, the 2008 model wasn’t valid anymore. But it was, or at least D+ was. Not as much as 2008 but still a plus.
Part of my premise rested on the assumption that the conventional wisdom of “this is a center-right country” was correct. That particular bit of CW has been shaken to its foundations by this election. I’ll never again make that assumption.
So, a tip of the hat to the pollsters who I claimed had it wrong. They had it very right and tight. The only consolation I have with my prediction is that I didn’t say “landslide”. I knew it would be tight, but the other thing that let me down apparently, was my feeling I had read the “atmospherics” right.
Unlike 2008, I didn’t see the same level of enthusiasm on the left that I had seen then. And actually, the results bear that out, but not at all to the degree I thought it would. There was obviously just enough to see Obama through. Romney did better than McCain but not “better” enough.
I knew my prediction was in jeopardy fairly early when NC and FL lingered and lingered and lingered without a winner being declared. As I write this, FL is still lingering very near mandatory recount territory – not that it matters.
By any measure this was a close contest. But when the dust has settled, Obama has won.
It will be interesting, in the coming days, to dissect the exit polls and try to determine why. There are likely a myriad of reasons, some of which will be surprising and others which will likely surprise no one.
I’d like to say I’m not disappointed, but I am. I still think Obama is a disaster and I haven’t seen anything in his recent campaign to change my mind. In fact, it did nothing but reinforce that feeling and add “meanspirited”, “small”, “petty” and “vindictive” to discriptors of the man. Again, not that that matters in the big scheme of things because more Americans than not disagree with my assessment.
That brings me to the question of “why”? Why did he get a 2nd chance? And the answer lies somewhere in this shift to the left throughout the electorate I believe. Many Americans, apparently – and at least according to some of the exit polls I heard last night – are looking for someone to “take care of them”. That’s quite a change and sort of sounds a death knell to the now “myth” of American self-reliance. It also signals a profound change in how we view government. I find that unsettling.
Another thing that bothers me is accountability. I’ll make this a general statement. For the most part, we don’t hold our politicians responsible for what they do or don’t do. That very basic mistake is one of the reasons we’re in the shape we are now, in my opinion. It is my assertion that Obama should have been held accountable for his failure to do what he said he’d do in his 4 years. He hasn’t been. He failed miserably and he’s being given another chance. No accountability, just excuses for his failure. Ironically, about half the country still holds George Bush responsible while apparently not holding Obama accountable for much of anything.
I’ve been through this before with Bill Clinton and other Democrat presidents. However, even while I was not happy with them or their presidencies, we survived. The difference, however, was I at least felt that they had some level of competence. I have no confidence in Obama’s competence and, with nothing to lose now, expect to see the next 4 years devolve into something of a nightmare scenario.
But, in the end, we’ll survive it. I’m not sure what the country will look like in 4 years, but it’ll still be here.
I now concede the floor to the predictable commenters who will show up to crow. Go for it. And even to the drive-by trolls who will show up this once to do the same. It’s your day. Just remember, I’m going to hold your comments up to this man’s performance over the next 4 years and compare “results” with promise. I think, as we did in this 4 years, we’ll find the results to be sadly lacking.
The good news? We’ll have plenty to write about here at QandO. But we’d have had that had a Republican won as well.
John Podhoretz mentions something we’ve been talking about for a while:
If Mitt Romney wins tonight, it’ll likely be because of something revealed by a little-noticed statistic released yesterday by the polling firm Rasmussen — following a similar statistic last week from Gallup.
Rasmussen revealed that for the month of October, its data showed that among likely voters, the electorate is 39 percent Republican and 33 percent Democratic.
This comes from a survey of 15,000 people taken over the course of a month. Yes, 15,000 people —15 times the number in a statistically significant poll.
This number might be discounted, since Rasmussen has a reputation as leaning Republican. Except that last week, Gallup — the oldest and most reputable national pollster — released its party ID survey of 9,424 likely voters. And it came out 36 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat.
I’m not at all comfy with R+6 from Rasmussen. But what should be taken away from this is the fact that two major polling firms have surveyed likely voters extensively and come up with similar results about the mix of self-identified Republicans and Democrats. And what they’ve found is a profound shift from 2008.
Why does this matter? Check history:
Because never in the history of polling, dating back to 1936, have self-identified Republicans outnumbered Democrats on Election Day. Never. Ever.
Hmmm. So indies are breaking for Romney by 7 points, 13% of those who voted for Obama last time say they’re not going to vote for him this time and for the first time since 1936 we’re pretty sure that it is R+something, but Obama is going to win?
Excuse us for being skeptical again, but sometimes the “numbers” just don’t add up. And, then, as we’ve mentioned, there are the atmospherics, something polling companies really don’t plug into at all. Sometimes, as in 2010, the gut comes through because the brain has assimilated a lot more than the numbers provided and ends up with a conclusion that is contrary to the conventional wisdom.
I still believe this is one of those times.
This week, Bruce, Michael, and Dale make their final election calls.
The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
As a reminder, if you are an iTunes user, don’t forget to subscribe to the QandO podcast, Observations, through iTunes. For those of you who don’t have iTunes, you can subscribe at Podcast Alley. And, of course, for you newsreader subscriber types, our podcast RSS Feed is here. For podcasts from 2005 to 2010, they can be accessed through the RSS Archive Feed.
If you haven’t read Karl Rove’s analysis of the election, you ought too. Yeah, I know, Rove is partisan and all of that, but, like Michael Barone (who, by the way, has predicted a Romney win), he knows election demographics.
Rove makes a point that seems to be missed by a lot of people or, perhaps, ignored instead:
He maintains a small but persistent polling edge. As of yesterday afternoon, there had been 31 national surveys in the previous seven days. Mr. Romney led in 19, President Obama in seven, and five were tied. Mr. Romney averaged 48.4%; Mr. Obama, 47.2%. The GOP challenger was at or above 50% in 10 polls, Mr. Obama in none.
The number that may matter the most is Mr. Obama’s 47.2% share. As the incumbent, he’s likely to find that number going into Election Day is a percentage point or so below what he gets.
Why is that significant?
For example, in 2004 President George W. Bush had 49% in the final Gallup likely-voter track; he received 50.7% on Election Day. In 1996, President Clinton was at 48% in the last Gallup; he got 49.2% at the polls. And in 1992, President George H.W. Bush was at 37% in the closing Gallup; he collected 37.5% in the balloting.
If you can’t get above 47%, and your challenger is running above that number, chances are you aren’t going to win.
Then there are the polling demographics. Remember when I said that if a poll has D+ anything, it is likely wrong? I stand by that:
One potentially dispositive question is what mix of Republicans and Democrats will show up this election. On Friday last week, Gallup hinted at the partisan makeup of the 2012 electorate with a small chart buried at the end of its daily tracking report. Based on all its October polling, Gallup suggested that this year’s turnout might be 36% Republican to 35% Democratic, compared with 39% Democratic and 29% Republican in 2008, and 39% Republican and 37% Democratic in 2004. If accurate, this would be real trouble for Mr. Obama, since Mr. Romney has consistently led among independents in most October surveys.
So, assuming Gallup is right, and it is R+1 as we’ve been saying is likely here, what does that mean for the polling that’s going on?
Take a look at this handy little chart from RCP:
The chart makes the point about how important it is for the polling company to get the mix correct and the probability that many of them haven’t. If they’re not properly skewed, you aren’t going to get valid results. We know there are still polls being run out there with D+5 and up to D+8. Those were legitimate in 2008.
This ain’t 2008 (and you have to ignore 2010 to believe it is) by a long shot.
Then there’s this:
Gallup delivered some additional bad news to Mr. Obama on early voting. Through Sunday, 15% of those surveyed said they had already cast a ballot either in person or absentee. They broke for Mr. Romney, 52% to 46%. The 63% who said they planned to vote on Election Day similarly supported Mr. Romney, 51% to 45%.
So, what is happening is the Democrats are getting their most motivated voters to the polls early and they’re still running behind the GOP. If, in fact, that’s the case, then who will the Dems be trying to turn out on Tuesday and how successful will they be? It all comes down to enthusiasm, doesn’t it? And as measured, that too resides on the side of the GOP (well, except for the NYT poll, unsurprisingly):
Finally, while looking that that chart, remember that independents have been breaking large toward Romney. More than for any GOP candidate in recent history. Add all the other demographics that have shifted significant support from Obama in the last election to Romney in this one, not to mention the atmospherics that simply aren’t there for the incumbent and it is difficult to believe that Obama will win.
So, all that said, I’ll predict a Romney win with slightly over 50% and around 279 electoral votes. I’ll also predict that Nate Silver will be donating $1,000 to charity and David Axlerod’s mustache will be absent Wednesday of next week.
UPDATE: A reminder for all the doubters out there who want to dismiss Rove – In 2008 Karl Rove predicted an Obama win with 338 EVs (actual: 365)
Michael Barone is one of the few poll watchers I respect. I’ve watched him in any number of elections and he’s objectively called it the way he saw it, usually spot on, for whomever the facts indicated was in the lead. No spin, just good analysis.
Well, in this season of polling chaos, Barone is out with his look at some of the key indicators that help him analyze election trends and he seems to think we are seeing a preference cascade begin ala 1980 … just slower:
My other alternative scenario was based on the 1980 election, when vast numbers of voters switched from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan after their single debate one week before the election. In that debate, the challenger showed he had presidential stature and the incumbent president seemed petulant and small-minded.
We saw an even more vivid contrast between challenger and incumbent in the Oct. 3 debate. In the next two debates, Obama was definitely more focused and aggressive. But Romney held his own, and post-Oct. 16 polling showed him improving his standing even though many debate watchers thought Obama won on points.
What we may be seeing, as we drink from the firehose of multiple poll results pouring in, is a slow-motion 1980.
That reinforces my point about the first debate and something we’ve been saying since Oct. 3. That is the debate that mattered. And note also that in debates 2 and 3, Obama pulled a Carter. His stature was diminished by his actions. He, as Barone and many others have observed, came across as “petulant and small-minded”. Add arrogant and condescending, and you’ve captured it. Oh, and by the way, his record, like Carter’s, is dismal.
Romney, on the other hand, came across exactly as he had to come across – competent, presidential, confident and, believe it or not, likable. He did what Ronald Reagan did – unfiltered by the media, he was able to convince Americans who tuned in that he was Presidential material. That he was a more than acceptable alternative to Obama.
All of that said, Barone isn’t claiming that this is a done deal by any stretch (“don’t get cocky kid”):
The usual caveats are in order. Exogenous events could affect opinion (Libya seems to have hurt Obama). The Obama ground game is formidable. Voters who switched to Romney could switch back again.
And if there is a larger reservoir of potentially changeable voters than in 2004, there was an even larger reservoir back in 1980, when Carter attracted white Southerners who now are firmly in Romney’s column.
Mechanical analogies can be misleading. Just because Romney has gained ground since Oct. 3 does not guarantee that he will gain more.
But also keep in mind that Romney gained not just from style but from fundamentals. Most voters dislike Obama’s domestic policies and are dissatisfied with the sluggish economy. And now they seem to believe have an alternative with presidential stature.
So, while we apparently have a preference cascade beginning, is it enough? And will it peak at the right time. Will it be a slow steady climb to election day? Will it plateau? Will it stop short of the majority Romney needs? Obviously we won’t know that until election night (or, perhaps, the next day). But suffice it to say, the upward trend is obvious.
How it will play out, however, remains to be seen.
A little more on the abject ignorance Obama displayed concerning the Navy. Or was it, instead, the usual attempt to have it both ways? You know, talk about how everything is under control while in reality it is spinning out of control? Or, as we’ve warned many times, don’t believe a thing the man says, look at what he does.
The Obama administration’s neglect of the Navy can be typified by the early retirement of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and its plans to decommission other naval assets. In August of this year, I outlined on NRO why the Enterprise should remain in service, but the Big E is only the most prominent asset slated for premature retirement. The administration also plans to decommission and scrap six Ticonderoga-class cruisers, although the vessels have as many as 15 years of service life left (even without further overhauls). Maintaining freedom of the seas requires hulls in the water — and the Navy hasn’t even started building the replacements for these cruisers. At present, all we have is a design study called CGX, which may or may not enter production.
Got that? 6 Ticonderoga-class cruisers being decommissioned, all with at least 15 years service life left. These are the cruisers, as mentioned yesterday, which protect those things we have called aircraft carriers.
Here’s another report that makes it clear that the administration’s plan is, in fact, leaving the carrier strike groups even more vulnerable than they are now:
As noted at the Navy-oriented Information Dissemination blog, when the proposed cuts were first outlined in late 2011, the decommissioning plan will take out of service cruisers that can be upgraded with the ballistic missile defense (BMD) package – now a core capability for the Navy – while keeping five cruisers that cannot receive the BMD upgrade.
Emphasis mine. That borders on criminal. After bloviating about technology and capability, his plan is to reduce both.
Meanwhile, here’s the stark reality of the situation the Obama administration has created:
His administration, in an effort to cut costs, proposed the retirement of the USS Enterprise (which his allies in Congress passed in 2009) and the six cruisers. Numerous crises are heating up around the world, as recent events show, but there is no indication that Obama has reconsidered these retirement plans. Certainly, it would not be hard to halt the retirements, and extenuating circumstances clearly warrant a supplemental appropriations bill. None of our carriers or submarines — no matter how high-tech they are — are capable of covering the Persian Gulf and South China Sea at the same time, or the Mediterranean Sea and the Korean Peninsula simultaneously.
Or, said a much simpler way, and despite Obama’s ignorant claims, we don’t have enough ships to cover all the contingencies that his failed foreign policy has helped foment. Technology still can’t have you in two places at once.
Instead, we have a Commander-in-Chief who apparently thinks those things we call aircraft carriers are like magic unicorns. You kind of wave one toward a crisis and everything works out. He has no concept of force protection. He has no idea how a carrier strike group operates. He just knows we have these things called aircraft carriers and they’re apparently magic because, you know, we have this “technology” and we’re much more “capable” than when it was all about horses and bayonets. Or something.
Yet in 2010, the Navy could only fulfill 53% of the requirements for presence and missions levied by the combatant commanders (e.g., CENTCOM, PACOM). Cutting this Navy will reduce further its ability to fill warfighter requirements.
This guy is dangerous, folks. His ignorance is both appalling and frightening.
He needs to go.
Seriously. After spending 8 years holding Bush responsible for everything from 9/11 (it was an “inside job”) to a Pelosi’s hangnail, we now have the left settling on “it’s Hillary’s fault”?
Truman’s “buck” stops at the State Department now?
The point, of course, as any good commander in the military knows, is that everything that happens or doesn’t happen while you are in command is your responsibility.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton said during a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
Hillary, for political reasons, is trying to fall on Obama’s sword for him. Someone has to take the blame (and Bush is unavailable for this one) so Obama can once again seem faultless. He does no wrong, you know. And besides, he has a debate tonight and he wants someone to point his finger at when the subject is inevitably brought up. Now he has her.
Jumped? Or pushed?
This episode illustrates how spot on Eastwood’s empty chair metaphor really is. John McCain, the stopped clock that is right twice a day, actually gets this one right:
“The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the commander-in-chief. The buck stops there.”
Of course the left first tried to blame it on the GOP claiming they’d cut millions from State’s security budget.
Here’s the bottom line on that line of attack: If you have a security contingent of Marines in the Embassy at Barbados, but not Tripoli or Benghanzi, your problem isn’t “funding”. It’s resource allocation and politics.
Secondly, when something like this happens, you don’t act like a politician, you act like a leader. IF you’re a leader.
This past weekend we were treated to the spectacle of David Axlerod avoiding answering Chris Wallace’s direct question about whether or not Obama met with his national security advosors and State in the aftermath of the murder of the US ambassador in Libya.
We all knew the answer before Wallace finished the question. And Axlerod’s non-answer answer confirmed it.
Hell no, he was late for a political fund raiser in Las Vegas, and besides, these are just “bumps in the road”.
While Clinton’s attempt will seem courageous and loyal to some, it is pure, calculated politics. Hillary knows that by 2016 this will be well behind here and, actually, an advantage, since she’ll have stepped up into the leadership void and acted like a leader. Obama? Not so much.
And make no mistake, as the state of the world and our foreign policy have announced loudly this past month – we are indeed suffering from a leadership void.
The empty chair we now have must be filled. We, nor the world, can afford 4 more years of it remaining empty.
Pay attention because this is important.
A week or so ago, a video from a 2007 Obama speech surfaced in which he used race baiting tactics to exploit the Hurricane Katrina disaster as proof that Republicans didn’t care for Black Americans.
In his speech — delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn’t use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience — he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.
Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.
Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be “part of the American family.” But the people in New Orleans — predominantly black — “they don’t care about as much,” according to Barack Obama.
Got it? That was the crux of the speech. Now remember, when delivered, he was a US Senator. And remember too that the speech was delivered on the 5th of June, 2007.
Why is that significant?
Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.
So on the 5th of June, Senator Barack Obama got up and told a lie. A known falsehood. The Stafford Act had already been waived. In the United States Senate. You know, the body to which he was an elected member?
And if you can believe it, it gets worse:
The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against – repeat, AGAINST — the legislation which included the waiver.
Some people in the media have tried to dismiss this and other revelations of Barack Obama’s real character that have belatedly come to light as “old news.” But the truth is one thing that never wears out. The Pythagorean Theorem is 2,000 years old, but it can still tell you the distance from home plate to second base (127 ft.) without measuring it. And what happened five years ago can tell a lot about Barack Obama’s character — or lack of character.
I don’t use the word “liar” much. Politicians stretch facts, spin them to their own advantage, etc. But there are certain instances when the word is very appropriate.
This is one of them. And, as Sowell implies, that’s why this isn’t “old news”.
So next time you see the left deploy the word “liar”, refer them to this “old news” and remind them about “glass houses”.
Alana Goodman provides some validation to my assertion that Barack Obama likes the perks of being President, but really isn’t that crazy about the job itself.
First though, some interesting info on debates and Obama:
According to the Times, Obama also deeply dislikes debates. It might be understandable if this was because he found them challenging and outside of his comfort zone. But that’s not what the Times reports. Obama apparently dislikes debates because he views them as “media-driven gamesmanship… something to endure, rather than an opportunity.” In other words, debates are below him. It’s not that he’s a weak debater, it’s that the debate format is too trivial for the likes of Barack Obama.
And, of course, he holds Romney in “disdain”, which likely makes it even harder. What will be interesting is whether someone who dislikes debates and the person he has to debate can rally and do what is necessary in the next two debates. Ummm … probably not.
But on to the main point. Goodman talks about Obama as President failing at the very personal level, a level that requires an ability he just doesn’t seem to have the self-discipline to exercise. And it isn’t in just one sphere or area. It is an across the board inability to form relationship with critical demographics and people.
This isn’t the first major aspect of the presidency (and campaigns) that Obama reportedly disdains. George W. Bush wasn’t a fantastic debater, but he was considered a great communicator in person. Obama, in contrast, doesn’t appear to enjoy personal interaction in general. He knocks debates as “gamesmanship,” but he also doesn’t like socializing. And as the New Yorker reported, he’s alienated major donors because he hasn’t been able to build relationships with them.
Obama’s interpersonal struggles have also caused him problems in the policy realm. He dislikes working with members of congress, and his disengagement from the legislative side of the political process has been criticized routinely by both Republicans andDemocrats. The same goes for foreign policy. The New York Times reported that Obama’s difficulty dealing with the Arab Spring has stemmed from his “impatience with old-fashioned back-room diplomacy” and “failure to build close personal relationships with foreign leaders.”
According to Game Change author John Heilemann, Obama is one of those rare politicians who “don’t like people…[and] don’t like politics.”
Goodman asks, “so why is he running for re-election”. Here’s a politician who doesn’t like politics and doesn’t like people?
See title. It’s good to be the top dog and enjoy all the perks. Work?
Yeah, see, that’s for the little people. I mean he’s never had to work before, why would he want too now?
But give him 4 more years, will you? He hasn’t had all the Wagyu beef he wants at this point. And it’s cool having your own airplane at your beck and call if you want to jet off somewhere for dinner. How cool? $1.4 billion cool … the cost to taxpayers to keep the president in the style to which he’s become accustomed.
The more we learn about this guy, the less he seems right for the job. Of course the past 4 years have pretty much proven that, despite Andrew Sullivan’s claim that his record is just sterling, he’s been an abject, incompetent failure. He hasn’t grown in the job, he’s shrunk. The debate performance was just his version of a shoulder shrug. He doesn’t know his job. How can he debate it?
I got a laugh out of Sullivan’s melt down though (a few actually):
And we are told that when Obama left the stage that night, he was feeling good. That’s terrifying.
It should be. The guy (and Sullivan) actually thinks he’s done a good job. Yet, as Sullivan goes on to say, somehow in one night, Obama managed to lose the 18 point lead he had among women. Gee, you think they figured out that he’s still not ready for prime time, even after 4 years of OJT?
But Sullivan does manage to ask the pregnant question of the moment:
How do you erase that imprinted first image from public consciousness: a president incapable of making a single argument or even a halfway decent closing statement?
You don’t. Not if that image is indeed the first image of the political season like it likely was for many of the almost 70 million who tuned in.
What they saw was a guy on one side who was energized, engaging and articulate. On the other side they saw the guy who is President. My guess is they concluded he really didn’t want to be President after that performance.
I think they’re probably right.