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Quote of the moment

"In some circles, I am openly reviled. In others, I am simply irrelevant."
-- John Adams

Barney Frank: “Public Option” Health Care is Back Door to Single Payer

July 31, 2009

The activist group who put up this video defines the “single payer” agenda as:

“Medicare for all.  In our lifetimes.”

So, unless I’m missing something, either:

(A) One of Obama’s leading congressional allies has a hidden, contrary agenda to that of his President (who assures us that he doesn’t want to kill private health insurance); OR 

(B) Congressman Frank is articulating the President’s actual agenda, which is contrary to his public one.

The Silence Continues, Unabated

July 21, 2009

In case anyone was wondering– and I know you were dear reader, I have not lost myself in blizzard of self-doubt or depression regarding the political events of the last several months. On the contrary, I have been beginning to look into things that I can actually do to counter the madness currently in play, and blogging does not seem to be part of the solution.

In true contrarian fashion, my life seems to be doing well right now. Very well. Where many, many others have lost their livelihoods and/or homes, I’ve actually managed to improve my lot- a miraculous blessing more than any machination of mine other than the long slog of hard work. So life is good. The country seems like its coming apart at the seems, but at least my life is doing great.

I must admit, some part of me still wants to debate and express in this forum, and I may continue more regularly, but I just can’t see my self dedicating my life to the criticism of the President.There is so much to criticize though, the tempting nature of the target may prove to be too irresistible.

On that note, let me offer two links to which I invite comments. The first is David Brooks’ column today: Liberal Suicide March. Brooks, a moderate conservative supporter of Obama, expresses his disappointment in the President quite forcefully:

It’s not that interesting to watch the Democrats lose touch with America. That’s because the plot line is exactly the same [as that of the Republicans]. The party is led by insular liberals from big cities and the coasts, who neither understand nor sympathize with moderates. They have their own cherry-picking pollsters, their own media and activist cocoon, their own plans to lavishly spend borrowed money to buy votes….

Most independents now disapprove of Obama’s health care strategy. In March, only 32 percent of Americans thought Obama was an old-style, tax-and-spend liberal. Now 43 percent do….

Every cliché Ann Coulter throws at the Democrats is gloriously fulfilled by the Democratic health care bills. The bills do almost nothing to control health care inflation. They are modeled on the Massachusetts health reform law that is currently coming apart at the seams precisely because it doesn’t control costs. They do little to reward efficient providers and reform inefficient ones.

That Barack Obama was nothing more than an eloquent tax-and-spend liberal of the most extreme variety was perfectly obvious to anyone who cared to see it. But even I am surprised at the degree to which Obama has completely abandoned and betrayed his campaign rhetoric on every level.

William McGurn clearly expresses and supports the view I have had since inauguration day: Let’s Face It:  Obama is No Post-Partisan. Clearly, for Obama, post-partisan does not mean getting beyond the right-left divide and finding common solutions. No, his aim is to completely discredit and defeat conservative ideas so that the one remaining ideology is left-wing in its entirety. Clever rhetorical ploys are the only way conservative ideas are “incorporated” into the other side of the aisle:

The redefinition started during the stimulus debate, but it really picked up steam late last month with David Axelrod’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week.” There the president’s chief strategist explained that a bill didn’t need Republican votes to be “bipartisan”; it was enough if Republican “ideas” were included. A few days earlier, Rahm Emanuel had offered reporters another redefinition, suggesting that a bill was bipartisan if people merely “saw the president trying” to get Republicans on board.

The president himself endorsed this redefinition during Rose Garden remarks delivered after a Senate committee passed a health-care bill on a strictly party-line vote. Perhaps only someone who truly embraces “the audacity of hope” could see healthy bipartisanship at work in the complete lack of GOP votes. Here’s how he put it: “It’s a plan that was debated for more than 50 hours and that, by the way, includes 160 Republican amendments—a hopeful sign of bipartisan support for the final product.”

Time and time again, this President has said one thing and done another.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus (D., Mont.), believes he would attract Republican votes if the bill helped pay for the expanded health care by subjecting employer-provided health benefits to the same taxes imposed on individual plans. He has also complained that the president is “making it difficult” to get a bill through. Surely it says something about Mr. Obama’s partisanship that this complaint issues from the one Democratic leader committed to producing a bipartisan health-care bill.

What’s that you say? The Democrats want to give the tax breaks to business and the Republicans want to give it to individuals? I thought the Dems were for the small guy.

So it’s fascinating to sit back and watch all this unfold into plummeting approval ratings (especially among independents) and unworkable schemes exposed as reality sets in: there is no easy way out. There never has and never will be. However, that won’t stop the President and the highly partisan leadership of  Congress trying to cram through a deeply transformative and disruptive change to our health care system, as Obama explained to Jonathan Singer at MyDD:

Jonathan Singer: Well thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Mr. President. Given the time-line and the fact that it seems like bills may not be through both the  House and Senate by the August recess, is there a point at which you would say to the Senate, “Sixty votes doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Use the reconciliation process. Lower the threshold so the Republicans cannot delay the process.” I know that’s not optimal. But is there a point at which you would say that to the Senate?

President Obama: Keep in mind that the way we had structured the reconciliation issue several months ago, we moved forward on the basis of the assumption that we can get a bill through the regular order and the regular process by October. If I think that that is not possible, then we are going to look at all of our options, including reconciliation.

It wasn’t so long ago we heard complaint after complaint about how Bush ruled with a 51 percent mandate in the most extreme way. Now the heavy-handed tactics of the Democrats, which dwarf anything Bush ever did, are encouraged and cheered by the very same people who complained the loudest. At least the insinserity of their rhetoric has been exposed. The pitiless crowbar of events prevails once again.

It’a about time…

June 19, 2009

Our Popular President

April 28, 2009

Barack’s in the basement – Washington Times:

According to Gallup’s April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969….  Ronald Reagan topped the charts in April 1981 with 67 percent approval. Following the Gipper, in order of popularity, were: Jimmy Carter with 63 percent in 1977; George W. Bush with 62 percent in 2001; Richard Nixon with 61 percent in 1969; and George H.W. Bush with 58 percent in 1989.

It’s probably more important where you finish that where you start. Bill Clinton had a rough start but ended high; GWB started high but ended low. So did Carter.

Overall though it seems that Americans are happy for the moment with President Obama. I’m torn as to whether this is a good thing. America certainly could use something to lift their spirits, and to the extent that the President has done that just by being elected, it’s a good thing.

The troubling part for me is that much of his popularity depends on an image that is in direct conflict with his behaviors and policies. In time the public will come to understand this, and then a more realistic assessment can be made.

I am not at all certain that knowing more will cause his popularity to fall. As Ross Douthat explains in today’s NYT, the idea that conservative ideas are popular and a more Cheneyesque approach would have saved us in the election is closer to fantasy than reality.

Obama Wants to Nationalize Banks (But It’s Not Socialism, Right?)

April 24, 2009

Dick Morris:

President Obama showed his hand this week when The New York Times wrote that he is considering converting the stock the government owns in our country’s banks from preferred stock, which it now holds, to common stock.

This seemingly insignificant change is momentous. It means that the federal government will control all of the major banks and financial institutions in the nation. It means socialism.

It’s not socialism though- he just wants the federal government to be able to control company management and policy of the banks. For their own good you know.

Laying Blame for the Past

April 23, 2009

When Barack Obama was elected President, I was obviously no fan. Yet a majority of Americans- not to mention nearly all my friends and co-workers- enthusiastically supported the man they thought would wisely lead us to a new era of politics beyond pointless political bickering. I thought they were wrong, but I hoped that I was instead wrong, and that my observations in the year preceding the 2008 election were perhaps nothing more than ungracious partisan swipes.

From my point of view then, the developments of the last week in particular come as no surprise, but I have to admit I have feelings of betrayal and outrage regarding the release of these torture memos and the threat to prosecute certain officials – Republican officials only- for their role in morally difficult circumstances.

The man promised to get the country beyond the disputes of the Bush era. And he has betrayed that promise, and put the security of this country irresponsibly, irrevocably at risk. It’s a disaster, all the more so because so many Americans- well meaning, good intentioned people- will be utterly unaware of it, praising this decision even, until it’s too late. Even then, with an American city smoking in ruins, they will still try to blame Bush and the Republicans for inflaming the anger of those who seek to do us harm. Peter Hoekstra puts it well:

Last week, Mr. Obama argued that those who implemented this program should not be prosecuted — even though the release of the memos still places many individuals at other forms of unfair legal risk. It appeared that Mr. Obama understood it would be unfair to prosecute U.S. government employees for carrying out a policy that had been fully vetted and approved by the executive branch and Congress. The president explained this decision with these gracious words: “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”

Then, in what is becoming a pattern for this administration, he changed his mind and decided that prosecuting Bush- era lawyers might be a good idea. I’m lucky that the rest of my life is busy and good because to contemplate the wrongness and hypocrisy of this approach could occupy me for months and months. It will no doubt occupy the attention of our media and nation no matter what my schedule, and I guarantee you that getting past politics is not going to be on anybody’s agenda. This is war, and as much as the Democrats might relish the idea of winning it, I wonder if they have really contemplated the results of what they have done.

George Tenet, who served as CIA director under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, believes the enhanced interrogations program saved lives. He told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in April 2007: “I know this program alone is worth more than the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.

To cast that aside at this time… words fail. It’s the triumph of the “weak, foolish and dangerously naive”.

Says this other WSJ editorial – study it carefully:

 

Mark down the date. Tuesday, April 21, 2009, is the moment that any chance of a new era of bipartisan respect in Washington ended. By inviting the prosecution of Bush officials for their antiterror legal advice, President Obama has injected a poison into our politics that he and the country will live to regret.

Policy disputes, often bitter, are the stuff of democratic politics. Elections settle those battles, at least for a time, and Mr. Obama’s victory in November has given him the right to change policies on interrogations, Guantanamo, or anything on which he can muster enough support. But at least until now, the U.S. political system has avoided the spectacle of a new Administration prosecuting its predecessor for policy disagreements. This is what happens in Argentina, Malaysia or Peru, countries where the law is treated merely as an extension of political power.

The criminalization of policy differences: the Democrats dream come true. It’s almost like decreasing our security is part of the plan. Even I am surprised by the depths of the irresponsibility on display.

UPDATE: That said, I’m not at all sure that actual trials will in fact take place, partially because of the logic outlined in this piece

The Left won sweeping control of the federal government in 1976, in the wake of Watergate, so a naive observer who believed in leftist sincerity would assume that they would move aggressively to root out the evil that had spread throughout the American military, intelligence services and government in general. It would be insane to leave lieutenants who started their careers committing war crimes on a “day-to-day basis” in the military so that 30 years later they could rise into the ranks of top generals. 

Instead, they dropped the war crimes allegations as quickly as they could and moved to protect people like John Kerry from prosecution from the many laws he’d broken. (Kerry was a naval reserve officer at the time he made his slanders. If he actually had evidence of crimes he had a legal duty to report the specifics to national and international authorities. If he didn’t actually have evidence then he was responsible for acts against the good order of the military. Either way, he was headed for prison.)  In the process they oh-so magnanimously included an open ended pardon for just about any war crime anyone may have committed in Indochina. How big of them!

Magnanimity had nothing to do with the pardons. The leftists knew that following through on prosecutions for war crimes would have revealed virtually all of the charges to be false. The American public would have seen the leftists as the cynical hypocrites they were, and people like John Kerry could have never become senators or run for the presidency. 

Obama was mentored by these same leftists. From the beginning, he cynically exploited slanders against the current generation of Americans fighting the War on Terror to whip up support for him on the far Left. Now that he has power and following through on his slanders would cost some or all of that power, he will betray the far Left just as his mentors did. 

On the Patriotic Paying of Taxes

April 16, 2009

Mercifully, this kind of rhetoric didn’t last long. But I know they’re still thinking it.

Watch the video. How can you not be outraged? Then again, in 10% of people pay 75% of the taxes- that means 90% are happy right! Welcome to Democracy in crisis! Democracy + Decadence = Disaster.

Here’s how: After years of borrowing too much money for houses and other things we can’t afford, we decide to demonstrate our “hope and change” as a nation by electing a man dedicated to “making hard choices”…. who promptly decides to borrow even more money- more money than has ever been borrowed in the history of this nation- to continue paying for all the houses AND the social programs we can’t afford on top of it, in perpetuity. We haven’t changed anything as a nation. We are on the same course as before, only this time we expect the government to bail us all out. God have mercy on us all.

We are as a nation, facing backwards towards the Clinton era, and back towards all the fantasies of the 1960’s that never really worked out, ignoring a great deal of the complexities of the world before us. All the liberal orthodoxies, all of the politically correct thinking that has been concocted in the Universities, propagated in the mass news media and entertainment industry and enforced in the Democratic party  in law where ever possible – all of this boiler plate liberal thinking is being trumpeted from every orifice of the Obama administration and being heralded as brave innovative thinking. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It’s just the same slogans and thought processes that have been in vogue since I was born, only now it’s running the entire country.

And there’s not a thing I can do about it. Luckily my life is great, or I’d really be having a hard time of it!