Free Markets, Free People

failure

Vacuousness coupled with incompetence equals Obama’s “strategy” to deal with ISIS

I’ve watched in horrified wonder these last few weeks as a man way over his head tries to act like he knows what he’s doing.  But he’s not fooling anyone.  Not even his most rabid supporters.  The great, shrinking American President – Barack Obama.

Here are a couple of quotes he’s made which typify his vacuousness – something at which he is quite adept:

We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem.

A manageable problem.  Yeah, that’s kind of open to any definition you want to hang on it, isn’t it?  It’s business school talk. What defines a “manageable problem” when talking about religious fanatics killing American citizens (as well as middle easterners by the thousands) to taunt the US president?  Are we there if they only behead one American journalist next year?  If they only crucify half the number they did this year, are we “managing” the “problem”? Oh, and by the way, what ever happened to R2P?  Only applicable to Libya?  And boy, did we “manage” that “problem” well.  Our embassy is now a jihadi swim club.

[W]hat we’ve got to do is make sure that we are organizing the Arab world, the Middle East, the Muslim world, along with the international community to isolate this cancer.

Organize the Middle East?  I’d laugh out loud if what was going on wasn’t so dangerous.  This guy couldn’t organize a one man parade. He couldn’t lead a horse to water after a 10 mile run in the desert.  And coherence, as in a coherent policy?  Forget about that.  Ed Morrissey nails it:

The failure demonstrated by Obama and his administration over the last several weeks and months as the ISIS threat grew and metastasized is, at its core, a leadership crisis. Forget being the leader of the free world; this President can’t even lead his own team within one coherent message and strategy. As ABC’s State Department reporter Ali Weinberg remarked yesterday, this was the message just from one single day: “We’re going to destroy ISIS. Or manage them. Or shrink their sphere of influence. Or follow them to the gates of hell.”

With that failure to generate a united and coherent approach to ISIS among his own team, how could anyone expect the President to lead the world against this new terrorist army and the threat it poses to the region and the world?

They can’t, and he won’t.  Oh the “world” may do something, but it won’t be because of any leadership from Obama, et. al.  It will be because they’re awake to the threat that is ISIS and finally develop the intestinal fortitude to act.  And the US?  Like Libya, we’ll “lead from behind”.

What in the world could possibly go wrong with that?

~McQ

The “cash for clunkers” era of government failure

While perusing a Frank Bruni op-ed in the NYT, I ran across this:

Conventional wisdom says that better unemployment and job-creation numbers could save Democrats. But many Americans aren’t feeling those improvements. When asked in the Journal/NBC poll if the country was in a recession — which it’s not — 49 percent of respondents said yes, while 46 percent said no.

Got that, despite what 49% believe, the country is “not” in recession?  Why?  Because some obscure organization (NBER) that determines that has said so.

But here’s a little clue, if 49% believe that, no matter what is declared, how does one suppose they’ll act when it comes to their own little piece of the economic pie?  Yup, that’s right, like we’re in a recession.  In other words, it really doesn’t matter whether or not the recession is “official” or not, like Bruni says, but then seemingly ignores, “many Americans aren’t feeling those improvements”.  That’s because vastly more than the “official” unemployment number remain unemployed.  Then there are the underemployed.   They don’t give a rip what NBER says.  They know how they’re living, how their lives have changed and what they’re facing.  Which is why you see:

There’s a feeling of helplessness that makes the political horizon, including the coming midterm elections, especially unpredictable. Conventional wisdom has seldom been so useless, because pessimism in this country isn’t usually this durable or profound.

A feeling of helplessness has never been something, at least in my life time, that this country has ever had.  I’m sure during the Depression, there was certainly some of that, but then, I wasn’t living then.

The interesting point there though is the Depression is where the citizens of this country began to look more toward government as an institution of hope.  However misplaced that was, it is indeed what happened.  FDR.  The New Deal.  Yatta, yatta, yatta – for years it was credited with pulling us out of the economic pit we found ourselves in.  Popular myth had it that without government we’d still be mired in a substandard economy (nevermind the growing body of evidence which puts the onus of the Depression on government failure).  Of course, in reality it was WWII that pulled us out.  But that myth was popular and a certain segment of the political sphere nurtured and grew it.

Well, as I’ve always said, reality has a way of bitch slapping fantasy at some point in time and that’s pretty much what has finally happened in the last 6 years.  Reality has set in.  The myth of big government being able to handle such a crisis has been blown to hell.  Result?

In the most recent of Sosnik’s periodic assessments of the electorate, published in Politico last month, he wrote: “It is difficult to overstate the depth of the anger and alienation that a majority of all Americans feel toward the federal government.” He cited a Gallup poll in late June that showed that Americans’ faith in each of the three branches had dropped to what he called “near record lows,” with only 30 percent expressing confidence in the Supreme Court, 29 percent in the presidency and 7 percent in Congress.

There should be no surprise for anyone in those numbers.  None.  Big government has failed.  After all the promises, all the money, all the “policies”, all the assurances and all the faith put in its ability to handle any crisis, especially the economic crisis, the myth has exploded. The gullible, who have believed the myth all these years,  now feel angry with the institution into which they put so much faith.  It was literally a secular religion for some.

Well if there’s a silver lining in all of this mess is the fact that in the future, when this myth again tries to reemerge, we have an era to point to which demonstrates its bankruptcy.  We’ll call it “the cash for clunkers” era of government – when government came up a clunker.

~McQ

The failure of the Obama presidency

On the eve of D-Day, the allied invasion of Europe during WWII, a day in which America demonstrated not only its power and honor, but its competence and leadership, we sit in a shambles of an era which is directly the result of a failed presidency.  Ron Domenech gives voice to the point:

When Obama burst onto the national scene, he almost immediately became an inspirational figure. His promise spoke to our hearts as Americans and our desire for dramatic change in the wake of the fractious Bush years. His personal story and his optimism about the future sounded an affirming and uplifting note at a time when Americans were losing their hope for what tomorrow could bring. For a moment, it seemed like the promise of a uniter, not a divider, could provide leadership which – whatever Obama’s personal ideology – could lead to a healthier politics and a less fractured society.

Obama’s tenure in office has turned all these hopes into despair – despair in the corruption of our institutions, in the capability of our government, in our ability to manage large systems and more. Consider just the events of the past few days: the slow-rolling scandal of how we care for our Veterans, full of mismanagement, denials, and a growing awareness that this problem was shoved under the rug for years; the White House’s decision to embark on a top-down monopartisan environmental policy which will squeeze the working class and make energy more expensive; and of course, Obama’s decision to trade five high ranking terrorists for an apparent American deserter in Afghanistan, a decision which directly ignores the law of the land and will almost certainly lead to future deaths.

In these arenas, we see the Obama administration at its worst: willing to engage in irresponsible and occasionally illegal acts, bowling their way through mismanagement and cronyism and the rule of law to achieve their aims, no matter the cost. It is the same approach they used in his single domestic policy achievement – Obamacare – and they have not stopped using it since.

As an aside, many of us didn’t buy into much of what Domenech outlines in the first paragraph although it is clear that’s what sold the empty suit that is Obama.  Not once, but twice.  And for that, the American population can be blamed.  It was clear from the beginning that this man didn’t have a clue how to govern or run a large organization.  If there’s a silver lining to all of this, one of Obama’s goals was to demonstrate that large government was a good thing and could run social programs well.  In that, as with everything else he’s touched, he’s been a dismal failure.  In fact, with ObamaCare and the VA scandal he’s proven the opposite to be true.

So the inevitable question:

Why did this happen? Why did Obama fail? The typical answer from the left is one of racism or bigotry or Republican extremism. More even-handed analysts seem to believe that Obama tried to do too much, that he was a poor technocrat or struggled with mismanagement, or that the job of the presidency is just too big.

The real source of the problem Cook identifies isn’t universal intolerance for other points of view, but intolerance on one side of the debate for any legitimate reasoning to legislate according to their points of view. Where in the absence of national consensus conservatives reject federal law imposing something, typically favoring state level legislation instead, liberals in the Obama era cry racism or bigotry or worse. One side of the American body politic is willing to accept principled disagreement as a signal that an issue is either unsuited to or unripe for a federal response; while the other sees it as authorization to bypass the democratic process and impose their will by any means available.

In these arenas, we see the Obama administration at its worst: willing to engage in irresponsible and occasionally illegal acts, bowling their way through mismanagement and cronyism and the rule of law to achieve their aims, no matter the cost. It is the same approach they used in his single domestic policy achievement – Obamacare – and they have not stopped using it since.

But I would suggest it’s Obama’s inability to actually live up to his promise as a unifier of people which proved his undoing. Maybe it’s not his fault. Coming up in a Democratic state and a Democratic city, he lacked the ability to work across lines of ideology from the get-go, and if he failed to initially convince people to agree with him on something, he had no desire to keep working at it to convince them otherwise or the personal diplomacy to meet them halfway. Charlie Cook’s latest piece nods in the direction of this idea, but this line strikes me as off the mark: “The notion that “where you stand depends on where you sit” seems to cut little ice in our increasingly rigid society, when tolerance for different points of view is becoming increasingly rare.”

Obama’s tenure in office has turned all these hopes into despair – despair in the corruption of our institutions, in the capability of our government, in our ability to manage large systems and more. Consider just the events of the past few days: the slow-rolling scandal of how we care for our Veterans, full of mismanagement, denials, and a growing awareness that this problem was shoved under the rug for years; the White House’s decision to embark on a top-down monopartisan environmental policy which will squeeze the working class and make energy more expensive; and of course, Obama’s decision to trade five high ranking terrorists for an apparent American deserter in Afghanistan, a decision which directly ignores the law of the land and will almost certainly lead to future deaths.

The why is pretty easy … and extraordinarily frustrating. And at the risk of boring the 2 regular readers we have, a big part of it was because he had no accomplishments.  None.  Zip.  How do you explain to Americans that the job of the presidency is to important to make it OJT?  All the man had done his entire adult life is play at work and run for office.

Now roll that in with a majority of Americans being tired of the old regime and a huge dollop of “we want to prove to the world we’re not a racist country” (aka, cashing in on “white guilt”), not to mention being at the right place at the right time against a horrible opposition candidate and you can get a sense of how he managed to pull it off.  Once.

But not twice.  Unless you believed the nonsense about how it was Bush’s fault and that the “evil Rethuglicans” were the reason for his poor showing first term … not to mention the not so subtle undertones of racism if you didn’t “believe”, then I find it difficult to understand why he got a second term.

And, of course the proof of the pudding – the proof that it has nothing to do with Republicans and Bush – is his consistent and constant failure at foreign policy.  In fact, I don’t really think he has a foreign policy – well, except for apologizing for America.  But for 6 years now he has staggered from foreign policy disaster to foreign policy disaster.    It is also hard to pin the corruption on Bush or the Republicans.  Or the incompetence as demonstrated in the rollout of ObamaCare and administration of the VA.

But I think that there is more to it than just that – the Obama administration epitomizes the degeneracy of the left.   As he points out, they don’t consider it an argument of principle, like climate change, they consider the “science to be settled”.  Consequently, for them, it’s about winning.  And they sincerely believe that “whatever it takes makes ‘right'”.  Fudged numbers, lies, reality bending narratives, half-truths, intimidation and if necessary, violence.  They are the equivalent of religious fanatics -zealots.  Argument, no matter how well reasoned, is lost on them (and it is the primary reason attempts to “debate” them are a lost cause).  They believe in power and its use.  They march to an emotional “feel good” agenda that has been proven to be bankrupt time and time again by reality and they will destroy anything that gets in their way (from reputation to, well, you name it) of implementing it – forcing it upon us – again.

One thing the left doesn’t have, however, and doesn’t understand, is the concept of “honor”.  Frankly you can’t have honor and act like they do.  And so they are constantly tripped up by it.  The Bergdahl fiasco is a perfect example.  No you may say, what the hell does “honor” have to do with all of this?  Well, honor is based in principles and is defined as “honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions.”  There is very little of that among the rabid zealotry of the left.  There is no honesty.  “Fairness” is an excuse to control money, speech and anything else they can fit under that code-word umbrella.  And integrity is the last thing most of the zealous left are concerned with.  And that points out why “argument” from a point of honor (meaning what it says) is a waste of breath and time.

But back to the Bergdahl affair as the case in point. The inability to understand the concept of honor and what it means (especially as it concerns the military), is what has turned this into a fiasco.

The left’s blinkered view of military culture is perhaps best summarized by Elias Isquith, a young writer for Salon.com, who yesterday explained the backlash against the Bergdahl deal as follows: “When a member of the military fails to adhere to the far right’s rigid formula of what a soldier should be (nationalistic, religious, obedient; conservative) right-wingers . . . come down on them [sic] like a ton of bricks.” He cited one example in addition to Bergdahl: John Kerry.

Isquith seems to imply that servicemen are fungible, each entitled to equal respect regardless of conduct. But the bitter criticism of Kerry in 2004 and Bergdahl today would carry no force if it came from mere “right-wingers.” It comes, instead, from servicemen and veterans who see the two men as having behaved dishonorably. Once again the left is being undone by its failure to comprehend the centrality of honor to military culture.

It is one of the reasons Obama garners such little respect from the military as a whole.

That’s because the left (and Obama) have so little contact with an honor society and certainly find honor (much like the Constitution) a hinderance in pursuit of their agenda. So they were blindsided by the blowback.  It would be funny if it hadn’t been such a horrible deal.  They are stunned.  Just as Kerry was stunned in 2004.  They don’t get it, they don’t understand it and that’s because they don’t believe in it and certainly don’t live it.

Why has Barack Obama failed as a president?

Why has the left failed every time it has tried to implement its agenda?

For a bunch of self-described brilliant people, you’d think they’d have figured it out by now.

~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

Unemployment rate rises to 8.2%

As a follow up to the post below, another indication of how anemic our recovery is can be found in the “official” unemployment numbers.  This week it rose .1% to 8.2%.  I don’t have to belabor the fact that the number is a real lowball of the true unemployment rate.  Suffice it to say, regardless of the number, the trend this month has been to the negative:

The American jobs engine hit stall speed in May, with the economy adding just 69,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate climbed to 8.2 percent.

As another summertime swoon looms, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job creation missed economist estimates for 158,000 new positions and the jobless rate rose for the first time in nearly a year.

Labor force participation remains near 30-year lows though incrementally better than last month, rising to 63.8 percent.

The unemployment rate that counts discouraged workers rose as well, swelling to 14.8 percent form 14.5 percent in April.

To put it succinctly, the employment picture sucks and doesn’t at all appear to be getting better.  Last months 115,000 new jobs has been revised down to 77,000 .  Couple all of that with what we see happening in the rest of the world and it paints a pretty bleak economic picture for at least the near future.

James Pethokoukis lays out some of that picture for you:

– 1Q GDP was revised down to 1.9% from 2.2%. The previous four GDP quarters of Obama recovery: 0.4%, 1.3%, 1.8%, 3.0%. Keep in mind that research from the Federal Reserve finds that that since 1947, when two-quarter annualized real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 48 percent of the time. (And when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 70 percent of the time.)

– Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000. Claims have now risen in seven of the past eight weeks. The four-week moving average for new claims increased 3,750 to 374,500.

[…]

– Job cuts jumped by 53%  in May from April in the United States, according to a report by consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. CNBC also notes that “employers announced plans to cut 61,887 staff from their payrolls in May, 67 percent more than in the same month of last year. The figure represents the most job cuts since last September.”

– The  Rasmussen Consumer Index find that 59% think the U.S. is currently in a recession.

Politically, this isn’t at all good news for an incumbent President seeking another term.  With 14.8 percent of the workforce out of work or “discouraged”, the conventional wisdom says they’re unlikely to think signing on for another 4 years of this is worth it.  And the economy, at this moment, and under his leadership, is showing no indication the next 4 years will be any different than these past 4 years.

That’s just ground truth for all the wishful thinkers out there on the left.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

The law of unintended (but obviously expected if you know anything about human nature) consequences

Remember the “digital divide”.  The bloviating over the “right” of access to the internet and how the “poor” were being left out and that was hurting their chances of advancement?

Remember how government decided it would fix that and take your money and provide hardware and connectivity to the poor?

Well it did, with predictable results:

As access to devices has spread, children in poorer families are spending considerably more time than children from more well-off families using their television and gadgets to watch shows and videos, play games and connect on social networking sites, studies show.

This growing time-wasting gap, policy makers and researchers say, is more a reflection of the ability of parents to monitor and limit how children use technology than of access to it.

Is it?  So if it is a parent problem, what’s the solution?

Ha, ha, ha … you already know the answer, don’t you?

The new divide is such a cause of concern for the Federal Communications Commission that it is considering a proposal to spend $200 million to create a digital literacy corps. This group of hundreds, even thousands, of trainers would fan out to schools and libraries to teach productive uses of computers for parents, students and job seekers.

Yes, friends, the solution is just as predictable as the problem.

More government, of course.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Like other researchers and policy makers, Ms. Boyd said the initial push to close the digital divide did not anticipate how computers would be used for entertainment.

“We failed to account for this ahead of the curve,” she said.

Ya think?  Name another government policy or program that ever has accounted for consequences ahead of the curve.  Back to our most recent Quote of the Day.  How in the world do we continue to let this sort of inept, wasteful, ill-thought-out nonsense continue?

Who knew, when free access was provided to the internet, that most would use it to entertain themselves?  Nothing like free YouTube and porn, right?

Thanks, taxpayers.

Forward!

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Tina Brown: Obama just doesn’t like his job

Aw, Bunkie doesn’t like his job?  The smartest guy in the room? 

You know I think back to all the times in the past three years I’ve pointed out the man has little if any leadership skills and now, it seems, even liberals are having to admit it, even if obliquely and wrapped in spin.  Check out this transcript on Morning Joe with Tina Brown:

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Tina, what has happened to this president, the president from hope and change?  What has happened?

TINA BROWN: Well it’s so interesting. I think that Obama doesn’t like his job, actually. I think that he is genuinely of a professional disposition in the sense that I think that he’s interested in chewing over the pros and cons, and he doesn’t like, he doesn’t like power and he doesn’t know how to exercise power. And I think knowing how to exercise power is absolutely crucial.  He doesn’t understand how to underpin his ideas with the political gritty, granular business of getting it done. And that kind of gap has just widened and widened and widened. And so that every time there is a moment, a window where he can jump in, like something like a Simpson-Bowles as well, he just doesn’t do it. He hangs back at crucial moments when you have to dive through that window.

SCARBOROUGH: And regardless of your ideology, it is very safe to say, I think most people would agree: LBJ he is not, Bill Clinton, he is not, when it just comes to understanding how to make Washington work.

MIKE BARNICLE: It appears off of what Tina just said, you just said, it appears that you could make a case that Barack Obama doesn’t like politics. [emphasis mine]

He doesn’t like power?  Nonsense.  As Ace says, this is just a way of spinning failure.  It is an apologia.  He loves power.  He thought this was all about power.  All he had to do was win and have his way.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the Oval Office.  He found out he had to lead to wield his power and he hasn’t a clue about what that entails.  You see, he never thought he’d  have to actually do the “political gritty, granular business of getting it done” … i.e. lead.  He’d just wave his hand and demand it be done.

Just check his reliance on executive orders and executive branch agencies to see how he’d prefer to do business.   Dictate. 

And this claim just floored me:

He doesn’t understand how to underpin his ideas with the political gritty, granular business of getting it done.

State Senator and US Senator and he doesn’t understand the basic nature of politics today, the process  and what it requires?  And he’s the smartest guy in the room?  That’s just absurd.  He knows full well what it takes, he just doesn’t want to have to do it.

As the discussion continues, Tina Brown agrees with Mike Barnicle’s claim that Obama just doesn’t like politics:

BROWN: Right. I absolutely feel that.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Well who would today? I mean, I think it’s great that –

SCARBOROUGH: Oh come on. If you don’t like medicine, don’t be a doctor. If you don’t like politics, don’t put yourself out there to run the free world, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: You know what?  Politics today need to be changed.

SCARBOROUGH: Stop the apologizing!

BRZEZINSKI: I’m not apologizing.

SCARBOROUGH: You’re apologizing. [Sarcastically imitates Mika's voice] Who would like politics today?  You know what?

BRZEZINSKI: Who would?

SCARBOROUGH: He is running the free world. He better know a lot of people love politics.  Bill Clinton loves politics. FDR loved politics.  Ronald Reagan loved politics. Great leaders love what they do. So who would love politics?

BROWN: Isn’t it really also about, well the other word for politics is just doing what it takes to get it done. Like, one of the things that’s interesting about Obama is that he kind of, and I think he does believe in this, that his idea of being a transformative figure who can cross many persuasions and orientations and aisles. And yet when it is actually taken to reaching out and really bringing that in, and trying, I don’t think that it really –

SCARBOROUGH: He doesn’t do that.

If he doesn’t like politics, why did he run?  If the first word that springs to your mind is narcissism, I think you’re on to something.  As many have already noted, to include authors on this blog, he took over in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and what did he do?  He immediately began working on his legacy – healthcare.   He waved away what was important and concentrated on legislation and the politics it took by the way, to get it passed.  Meanwhile, the real crisis was ignored.  For two years he had a Democratic Congress and he did nothing to address jobs or anything else economic.

Brown would like to spin his narcissism as his belief that he’s a “transformative figure” who just can’t be bothered with doing the mundane stuff necessary to get things done.  Again, and once more for the slow among us, ObamaCare.  It gives lie to the premise.  His problem isn’t that he doesn’t like politics, it’s that other than jamming through his health care fiasco, he’s been a failure.

His withdrawal now, spun as “staying above it all”, is because he’s never been an obvious failure in his entire life.   Remember this is the guy who won the Nobel Peace Prize without ever doing a single thing but winning a presidential election.  And he took it as his due.

Obama’s biggest problem is he thinks he’s smarter than he is and he had a misconception, for whatever reason (for, you know, such a smart guy) of the role and demands of the presidency.  Apparently the unicorns and moon ponies deserted him, he found out it is damned hard work that demands a competent leader and for the first time in his life, everyone wasn’t praising every little thing he did.  In fact, instead his shortcomings were being headlined.  And he has plenty of them.  Additionally, he’s now forced to actually run on a record of accomplishment if he wants to be reelected.  Of course, that’s slim to nonexistent.

No, he and his apologists are beginning to understand that they’re going to have to spin everything – everything – to try to make him the attractive candidate he was in 2008.  He’s really not cooperating which is what prompts people like Tina Brown to begin spinning like she does.  Its fairly obvious that even the liberal elite are having problems dealing with his failure and are in full “explain it away” mode.

Unfortunately, Obama has finally bumped up against “hard America” after spending most of his life in “soft America”.  Soft America is where everything done is touted and worshiped as wonderful and performance really doesn’t matter as much as just showing up.

Hard America demands performance and accomplishment.   He has precious few to show for his time in office and plenty of failure.  Its not that he doesn’t like politics or power.  Its that he is inept at both and is just now discovering that for himself.   Reaction?  Pull back.  He’s never “failed” before and doesn’t really know how to handle it.

And thus we have our present situation … a president who refuses to lead, tries to stay aloof and is seen to be withdrawing from his duties.

Gee, sure wish I could have seen that coming.

Oh, wait …

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Supercommittee failure

Question: is anyone – and I mean anyone – somehow surprised that the Supercommittee failed?

Seriously?  Is there anyone who actually thought that this collection of ideologically loyal representatives handpicked by leaders on each side was ever going to compromise and try to work something out?

I’m not suggesting that compromise was the right or best thing to do – I’m simply asking a question about the make up of the committee and how anyone who knows anything about how Washington DC works could have or would have expected success.

And, as Michael said in the podcast, there was no incentive for them to succeed.  There was every incentive to do exactly what happened, fail to reach any sort of consensus.

So, as Jim Geraghty quips in today’s Morning Jolt, they now get back to what they do best:

After the Supercommittee, Congress returns to its core competency: finger-pointing

And we will certainly see much of that in the next few weeks.  Already some in the media are trying to spin it a certain way.

The imminent failure of the congressional deficit “supercommittee,” which had a chance to settle the nation’s tax policy for the next decade, would thrust the much-contested Bush tax cuts into the forefront of next year’s presidential campaign.

Why do I consider that “spin”?  Because the “much-contested Bush tax cuts” are simply the current tax rate, nothing more.   Tax rates have changed over the many years of income taxation and never has one rate, which has been in effect for years, been referred too as a “tax cut”.  They certainly didn’t refer to tax increases under Bill Clinton as the “much-contested Clinton tax increases” did they?

No, they were simply the new tax rates.

So as with many things, the media has bought into the description that one side has put out there to keep attention focused in a negative way on the so-called “rich”. Rarely do they point out the amount of the total taxes these “rich” pay when they parrot the politicians call for the rich to pay their “fair share”.  Nor do they bother to point out that even if the “rich” pay 100% of their earnings in taxes it won’t solve the deficit problem.

Presented as the unchallenged panacea to all that is wrong is this tax increase.

Note what isn’t mentioned.  Spending.  In fact, we’ve quietly slipped past $15 trillion cumulative national debt in the last week.  That means that in less than a year, another trillion in spending borrowed money has occurred.  We’ve now managed to run up a debt equal to 100% of our nation’s GDP.

That should be what we’re talking about in the 2012 presidential campaign.  How we managed in 3 short years to push the debt from $9 trillion to $15 trillion.  It certainly wasn’t the “rich” who did that, nor would increasing taxes on them have stopped it.

While at some point revenue increases may end up being something the Congress will discuss, the problem to this point remains the fact that Congress has done absolutely nothing to stem the red ink that keeps running our national debt through the roof.

And the sequestration cuts supposedly triggered by the failure of the Supercommittee take place when?  2013 of course.  After the election and when a new Congress, which can’t be held to the cuts made by a former Congress, comes into existence.

In reality, this is nothing more than a new fangled way for our politicians to kick the can down the road while they squabble about something which really has no bearing and would have little effect on the primary problem: out-of-control spending.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Top Kill fails

Well it looks like I was a little premature, and I should have known better than to believe an LA Times story.

Live and learn.

The bottom line is that everyone, to include the President and a whole host of politicians (and me) thought the deep water oil leak had been plugged.

In the most serious setback yet in the effort to stem the flow of oil gushing from a well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, BP engineers said Saturday that the “top kill” technique had failed and, after consultation with government officials, they had decided to move on to another strategy.

Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production, said at a news conference that the engineers would try once again to solve the problem with a containment valve and that it could take four to seven days for the device to be in place.

“After three full days of attempting top kill, we now believe it is time to move on to the next of our options,” Mr. Suttles said.

Apparently the pressure of the escaping oil and gas was just too powerful to overcome and the disaster in the Gulf continues. BP’s next option is apparently a variation on the containment dome option they tried previously.

The new strategy is to smoothly cut the riser that the oil is leaking from and then place a cap. Pipes attached to the cap would then take the oil to a storage boat waiting at the surface.An effort at a containment dome was tried earlier this month, but failed when gases escaping from the oil, froze and blocked the pipe. Mr. Suttles said, however, that BP had learned from that experience and now believed that this cap, which is custom fitted to the riser, will be more successful.

Let’s hope they’ve figured out a way to prevent the causes of the failure the last time they tried to use a dome.

Option 2 is to attach another blowout preventer to the non-functioning one already at the wellhead.

If that doesn’t work, we’re most likely looking at a relief well (which will definitely stop the leak) sometime in August.

August.

If that’s true it is fair to say that Obama and his daughter will be having a few more bathroom conversations and that “plug the hole” failed.

In all seriousness though, this presents a big problem for the administration. Thinking they were past the leak and faced only with the clean up (a daunting problem, but not as visible as the leak), most of the building criticism of the way the President and his administration had handled the leak was subsiding. And, the President made an late PR effort by visiting the LA coast to blunt further criticism before heading to Chicago for the Memorial Day weekend.

All for naught now. Per the NY Times:

The latest failure will undoubtedly put more pressure — both politically and from the public — on the Obama administration to take some sort of action, perhaps taking control of the repair effort completely from BP — and increase the public outcry.

And what do we get from the Prez?

“It is as enraging as it is heartbreaking,” Mr. Obama said in a statement, “and we will not relent until this leak is contained, until the waters and shores are cleaned up, and until the people unjustly victimized by this manmade disaster are made whole.”

Manmade disaster? Wait I thought that’s what we were calling terrorism now. It’s all so confusing. As for the statement from Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected – a little over-dramatic maybe? All a part of keeping their boot foot on the neck of BP one supposes. In the meantime, the rest of us hope and pray that the “next option” BP tries succeeds. And we also have to hope that the government won’t “push BP out of the way and take over” or we’ll be out of options.

~McQ

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