Obama’s Governing Problem

FT.com / Comment / Analysis – America: A fearsome foursome

Just over a year into his tenure, America’s 44th president governs a bitterly divided nation, a world increasingly hard to manage and an America that seems more disillusioned than ever with Washington’s ways. What went wrong?

Pundits, Democratic lawmakers and opinion pollsters offer a smorgasbord of reasons – from Mr Obama’s decision to devote his first year in office to healthcare reform, to the president’s inability to convince voters he can “feel their [economic] pain”, to the apparent ungovernability of today’s Washington. All may indeed have contributed to the quandary in which Mr Obama finds himself. But those around him have a more specific diagnosis – and one that is striking in its uniformity. The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

In dozens of interviews with his closest allies and friends in Washington – most of them given unattributably in order to protect their access to the Oval Office – each observes that the president draws on the advice of a very tight circle. The inner core consists of just four people – Rahm Emanuel, the pugnacious chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, his communications chief.

Can you imagine what the headlines would be in the New York Times and Washington Post if President Bush had cut himself off from all but a handful of advisers?

But the problem with Obama’s White House is that his inner core are all accomplished politicians, they know how to have meetings and score points. But they have no idea and have no experience with actually governing. They went into the White House with the belief that Obama had been elected King instead of President. They thought that they could accomplish things simply by ordering them to be so.

Obama himself has had only one political race where he had a credible opponent, and he lost. His other races, for the State and U.S. Senate were won by behind the scenes maneuvering to eliminate the opposition. His Senate career was unremarkable. He has never had to persuade, cajole and compromise. He doesn’t know how, and that’s what you do in Washington DC.

He’s in a box. He can’t get anywhere if he doesn’t get some new advisers, and he is not going to get anywhere if he gets rid of them. I think that he has goals, but he doesn’t really have any idea of how to achieve them.

Do Journalists Speak English Anymore?

My Way News – Mudslides sweep away cars, assault homes near LA

A mudslide, a flood or a snowstorm is incapable of “assaulting” anyone. In the English language it refers to “a violent physical or verbal attack” according to the dictionary. A quaint tome that evidently has fallen in to disuse in the newsroom.

I would even take exception to the dictionary’s inclusion of a “verbal” attack being assault. As every school child knows “Stick and Stones….”. Know one has ever been physically injured by a cutting remark or crushed by heavy praise. Criticism may hurt your feelings, but so far, hurting someone’s feelings is not a crime. In a legal sense, assault is a physical attack, being yelled at is harassment, and then only if it puts you in fear of being physically harmed.

When The Nanny State Is Just Not Big Enough!

H.R. 4601: To amend the Public Health Service Act to establish the Office of the National Nurse (GovTrack.us)

Text is not available, but this just sounds like a pretty bad idea. I know there is a nurse shortage, but I doubt whether a Federal bureaucracy is going to take care of that.

It just seem to Nanny Stateish  to me.

Unless, of course, they’re going to be ‘naughty’ nurses. In that case I’m for it.

Control The Texts, Control The Learning.

What a great idea from David Wu (D-Authoritarian) Eliminate the jobs in the textbook publishing field; and insure government control of the information in the text. It’s a win-win for Democrats. Allow politically connected ‘non-profits’ to insure the right ideas are included; achieve absolute conformity of thought and eliminate jobs in the private sector. (I’m sure that some of the workers will make the transition to government bureaucrat.)

To authorize grants for the creation, update, or adaption of open textbooks, and for other purposes

(a) Grants Authorized- From the amounts appropriated under subsection (i), the Secretary is authorized to award grants, on a competitive basis, to eligible entities to carry out the activities described in this section, including creating, updating, or adapting open textbooks. The Secretary shall award grants in a manner that will result in the creation of a comprehensive slate of high quality course materials for introductory courses in a variety of subject areas.

(b) Eligible Entity- In this section, the term ‘eligible entity’ means–

(1) an institution of higher education;

(2) a professor or group of professors at an institution of higher education; or

(3) a nonprofit or for-profit organization that produces open textbooks.

Oh Boy!

Just what we need! Textbooks controlled by the government.

What will be included? What will be left out?

One thing is for sure; anything that support “Global Warming” will be in ‘inconvenient’ information will be out. Politically correct ‘information’ will be in.

And it will all be decided by those friendly bureaucrats in Washington DC; with the input from politically connected ‘non-profits’ like ACORN.

Control the texts, impose conformity and control is easy.

What He Said.

RealClearMarkets – A Federal Budget That Insults All Budgets

The government has no resources. Everything it spends was created by private individuals and still belongs to taxpayers. All government can do is take from the industrious, the inventive, the hard-working and the frugal to dispense on the inefficient, the lazy, or the irresponsible. Government spending bites the very hand that feeds it.And these resources no longer exist. We’re now over $12 trillion in debt. Including future unfunded liabilities and those Washington assumed as a result of assorted bailouts and other mischief, the average family owes $471K and counting courtesy of government. The resources are gone.

Democrats wasted them on silly, self-defeating welfare programs and Republicans wasted them on silly, self-defeating foreign policies. Sometimes in fits of bipartisanship, they combined to waste them on even greater concepts. Government has no remaining resources, but to our peril it does have a printing press.

No matter what grandiose terms our elected leaders couch it under, there are only three ways to pay for this largesse. Certainly they can deprive productive enterprise of the resources necessary to generate economic growth via confiscatory taxes. But the disincentives ensconced in progressive taxation render it self-defeating. Washington can borrow, thus diverting capital from those endeavors actually prospering society. Another economic retardant. Or, they can inflate their way out of the mess by debasing our currency.

But remember; “Things appear to be the darkest just before they go completely black.”

It’s going to be like the 2008 crash. No one will see it coming until it’s here. Then it will seem obvious.

Yeah, it’s Bush’s fault. As well as every President since Herbert Hoover. We heard the story of killing the golden goose but never understood it.

Quotas In The Name of “Diversity”?

Conyers wants Haiti relief official demoted over diversity deficit – TheHill.com

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) has called on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to demote the official coordinating Haiti relief efforts for not having enough minority staffers.

As if we needed any reminder that Conyers (and the rest of the CBC) are nothing but race pimps.

Let’s see what Hillary does.

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes

FOXNews.com – Justice Department Inspector General Stripped of Investigative Power

In response to a Republican lawmaker who requested a probe into dismissed complaints against the New Black Panther Party, the Justice Department’s Inspector General said he has been unable to investigate because he lacks the authority.

Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine wrote in a four-page letter to Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia that Congress stripped him of the power to investigate all alleged wrongdoings within his department.

So he has been kept in place so the Justice Department can say they have an Inspector General. But they have removed his investigative powers to keep him from actually doing anything?

Why would Congress do this? Who included this in a bill and at whose behest? And why have those who knew about this kept it so quiet?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” indeed.

The essential problem was posed by Plato in The Republic, his work on government and morality. The perfect society as described by Socrates, the main character in this Socratic dialogue, relies on laborers, slaves and tradesmen. The guardian class is to protect the city. The question is put to Socrates, “Who will guard the guardians?” or, “Who will protect us against the protectors?” Plato’s answer to this is that they will guard themselves against themselves. We must tell the guardians a “noble lie”.[1] The noble lie will assure them that they are better than those they serve and it is therefore their responsibility to guard and protect those lesser than themselves. We will instill in them a distaste for power or privilege; they will rule because they believe it right, not because they desire it.

But what if they just leave the watchmen in place, but remove their powers?

Cui bono?

Homeland Security Jobs At A Volunteer Fire Department?

More Executive Pork – Jamie Dupree on wsbradio.com

There is always a lot of talk about the Congress approving those dreaded ‘pork barrel’ items, which send taxpayer dollars to sometimes questionable projects in a certain state or city. But there isn’t much of a focus on pork doled out by the Executive Branch.For example, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Tuesday a series of grants for a dozen fire departments around the country, all funded by the economic stimulus law of last year.

“Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced more than $23 million in Fire Station Construction Grants (SCG) funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)–designed to support the nation’s first responders while creating jobs and stimulating local economies,” read the DHS release.

Included are: Klamath County Fire District 1 (OR) – $4,997,804 and Gates Rural Fire Protection (OR) – $1,582,821

Those twelve projects total $24.47 million. There are thousands and thousands of more items like that which are funded by various federal agencies each year.

But compared to “Legislative Pork” – these projects get little attention in the news.

I would like to give more publicity to these kinds of decisions, but the various government agencies don’t make it easy. It’s something that probably needs a little more sunlight.

I wonder what kind of “jobs” are supposed to be created at a Volunteer Fire Department? Gates consists of a small store, a Mexican restaurant and a trailer park. The population is in the 2 digit range and the locally employed population is in the single digits.

Boy, It’s A Good Thing That The Democrats “Saved Social Security” During The Bush Years.

next-in-line-for-a-bailout-social-security: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

Don’t look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.

Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation’s biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing — in other words, a taxpayer bailout.

You know, with the problems we are having in the economy due to government meddling in the mortgage area, with the billions poured into a “stimulus” that used political rather than economic conditions to decide who got the loot’ and the continuing support for “Sub Prime” lending, does not lead me to having any confidence that they are going to be able to deal with the SS problem.

The attempt was made during the Bush Administration but not only was it blocked by the Democrats, but they have bragged about it ever since.

Here’s excerpts from testimony by my Representative Peter DeFazio, before the House Subcommittee on Social Security in Feb and Mar 2002.

I am in the middle of a series of 15 town hall meetings I’ve been holding throughout Southwest Oregon to discuss Social Security with my constituents.

If there’s one thing I want those who attend my town hall meetings to take away from those gatherings it’s that Social Security is NOT in crisis. It is a fundamentally sound program that can remain so for the next 75 years and beyond with only minor changes.
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