Obama in Trouble

August 14, 2010

Although it sounds like an understatement, President Obama is in trouble, and continues to go from bad to worse.  It’s like the old commercial “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.”

Nile Gardiner, a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator, calls it a “stunning decline” and has offered 10 reasons why President Obama is in trouble. I commend the article to you for the rationale behind each choice.  For now, here is the list:

1. The Obama presidency is out of touch with the American people

2. Most Americans don’t have confidence in the president’s leadership

3. Obama fails to inspire

4. The United States is drowning in debt

5. Obama’s Big Government message is falling flat

6. Obama’s support for socialised health care is a huge political mistake

7. Obama’s handling of the Gulf oil spill has been weak-kneed and indecisive

8. US foreign policy is an embarrassing mess under the Obama administration

9. President Obama is muddled and confused on national security

10. Obama doesn’t believe in American greatness

They sound like a Blinding Flash of the Obvious (BFO). In the Gulf and in foreign affairs, he makes Bush look proactive and skillful. He supports projects most Americans oppose – people may want a solution to the problem, just not his solution. He bows to third world leaders, blows off the boy scouts, and is on constant vacation at taxpayer expense.

Mr Gardiner sums it up calling it “a distinctly Titanic-like feel to the Obama presidency”.  I agree.


Iftar Endrun

August 14, 2010

The Hill blog noted today that President Obama will delay his next vacation – a weekend jaunt to the Florida Panhandle beaches – to host an Iftar dinner tonite.  (An Iftar is the evening social meal during Ramadan.)  This shows just how out of touch the man is from the bulk of the US population.

Ramadan is the holy month of remembrance of the Quran being given to Mohamed.  It’s highlighted with the Haj, the pilgrimage to Mecca, and the stoning of the devil ceremony.  Many in attendance become riled up against infidels, and it is a time for increased levels of violence.

I find the Iftar feast an interesting practice.  Ramadan is a lunar month of fasting.  However, the legalists in Islam have declared that while the faithful must fast all day, they are allowed to eat anything they want at night. “At the end of each day there is a feast where friends and family gather to celebrate the day.” (ref)

The practice has evolved into a month of gluttony and lethargy.  Not only are the meals often festive occasions with rich food and sweets, they often last well into the night – midnight or later – making getting up the next morning a chore.  And once the people are up, if they rise after sunup, they can’t have their morning cup of coffee.  Workers are sluggish and irritable.

In that Mr Obama was raised in a Muslim country, he likely sees Iftar as a festive meal, divorced from religious overtones (I doubt he’s fasting during the day).  Unfortunately, it seems to be clouding his judgment and sense of history from a Western point of view.  Then Pres Obama took it a step further outside mainstream by declaring

“Ramadan is a celebration of a faith … a reminder that Islam has always been part of America and that American Muslims have made extraordinary contributions to our country.”

Somebody get that man a teleprompter.  When he goes off on his own, he mangles facts worse than Mr Bush or Ms Palin.  Ramadan may be a celebration of faith, but it is one practiced by only 2% of Americans.  And while there may have been isolated cases of Muslims immigrating to America in the past (or brought here as slaves), there has not been any measurable presence until very recently.  It has NOT “always been part of America” nor have Muslims made “extraordinary contributions” to the country at large.

Perhaps he’s talking about another nation when he says “our country.”?  Or is he simply trying to justify his unpopular support for the Ground Zero Mosque?

Training Future Leaders

August 8, 2010

This week,  37,000 Boy Scouts, ages 12-17,  celebrated their 100th anniversary at the annual Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill near to Fredericksburg, Virginia, July 26-Aug 4.

Traditionally, the President makes a visit to encourage the assembled hundreds of future leaders. Sometime during the week-long event, the sitting President would take the quick visit to and from the White House.

This year, President Obama skipped the event. He found time to appear on The View television show, and then headed off to Chicago for a quiet birthday party with friends and then to “hang out” at the house while Michelle vacationed in Spain.

Instead, he sent a video prerecorded sitting in an office.

How was it received?

The Scouts apparently understand what leadership is.  (That’s what they’re trained for. )  They knew that what they were seeing wasn’t it.

Queen Michelle

August 5, 2010

The Obamas are on vacation again.  That’s what, 7? 8?  this summer. This time, however, they’ve gone on separate trips. Both at public expense.

Michelle’s trip is getting all the press.  It’s not because she only took Sasha, or that she was gone on Barack’s birthday.    It’s that she’s treating it as an official visit.  And I’m paying.  So are you.

When I take a vacation, I travel coach, or I drive.  I take overnight flights to avoid hotel bills.  I stay at Choice hotels because they have comfortable beds and a simple (free) breakfast without charging me for nice lobbies.  When I travel on business, I do the same, saving my employer at every turn.

Not so with Michelle.  She’s taking Air Force 2 to Spain, at a cost of almost $150k.  While she’s there, she, her friends and the secret service will occupy some 60 or 70 rooms, at $2500 each a night (around $70k total). Add food, incidentials and souveniers, that’s a lot of stimulus that didn’t stay in the country.

And Barack?  He took Bo the dog back to Chicago.  Birthday fundraiser dinner with “friends”.  Of course Oprah was there.

Makes me wonder.  It’s not proper.  Even when they’re together, they’re separate.  We saw that in the campaign, especially the convention.  If I didn’t know better, she’s punishing him, spending “his” money, and since she’s right, he doesn’t say anything, but simply slips off for a weekend with the buds (or the girlfriend?).

It’s not enough our country is going down the toilet and our emperor seems powerless to stop it, but his personal life is starting to look shaky, and we’re paying for that as well.

Kagan’s lack of experience

August 2, 2010

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama today called Supreme Court nominee Elaina Kagan’s lack of judicial experience a “dramatic deficit.”

Sessions, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is also worried she would try to mold the law to her liberal beliefs, instead of simply ruling on the evidence on constitutional grounds.  He believes Kagan has a dangerous political approach to the law that makes her unfit for the Supreme Court.

In short, he’s worried that she’s a liberal activist with no experience at being a judge, but only in writing politically-charged speeches for others to argue.

Sounds familiar.  I have often spoken about our President’s lack of experience to do the job he’s been elected to do.  Organizing others to take freebie handouts from the government is not the same as making hard managerial decisions.  He wants to compare himself to Reagan, but Reagan had been a Governor, as have 4 of the past 5 presidents. (Bush 42 had been a senior government civilian and gained governing experience that way.)

Mr Obama makes good speeches, but he lacks depth for the job.  I call him an empty suit.

Our Absent President

July 26, 2010

No president in recent memory has been on vacation as much as Mr Obama.  Mr Reagan spent quite a bit of time in California, working the ranch, but kept in touch.  GWBush did the same, only better.  He made many trips to his ranch in Texas, but tended to “vacation” by working the ranch half days, saving time for staff meetings and press conferences. Even Mr Clinton, who vacationed in expensive locations that made the rest of the working classes jealous, only took a couple of them a year.

This president seems to have trouble finding his way back to the White House.  7 vacations so far this year, not counting the “date night” to New York City, the command performances at the White House, and the extended summits and visits to visit the troops.

Today we hear that his wife, freshly back from a family trip to Maine, is jetting off to Spain.  Not a simple trip to visit an old friend.  She’s not flying coach.  She’s taking an official government plane, staying in 30 rooms at a 5-star resort.  (It takes that many for all the friends and bodyguards that are going with them.  She’s taking 9-year-old Sacha, but not her husband.  He will join them in the Florida panhandle for next week’s vacation.

Rather than buckling down to do the work of governing the country, President Obama is getting a reputation of King Barry, spending our money to help the already big and powerful, spending our money to give a pittance to out of work citizens, and spending our money for personal luxury.  It’s a good gig if you can get it.

Vietnam Revisited

July 8, 2010

Looking around the Rasmussen site today, I read  Tony Blankley ‘s commentary about the Obama Administration’s “conceptual confusion that is leading us to defeat in [the Afghan] war.”

The Afghan War may be the first one we lose primarily because our civilian leadership did not understand the effect of its public words on our government, our allies and our enemy.

The military had been talking about winning, but in December, the President and his key staff began declaring an exit strategy by a date certain, July 2011, and saying  ‘winning’ was not an objective.

Blankley suggested the Administration started criticizing Afghan President Karzai, calling him “irredeemably corrupt and incompetent,”   That didn’t work, even drove him to make nice with the Taliban.  The war went from bad to worse.  Obama tried to turn it around with rhetoric, but the military didn’t get the memo:  Gen McChristal’s staff got caught mimicking the old party line, and got their boss fired.

CBS says President Obama and his staff don’t know the difference between political spin and formal policy.  When you’re running for office nobody believes what you say, but when you’re in charge of the the most powerful country on the planet, people – especially professional politicians around the world – trust you mean what you say.

Which is why I worry when the President says, as he did in December at West Point, that he was going to send another 30,000 U.S. troops.  That phrase brought to mind an old Tom Paxton song from the mid60s:

Lyndon Johnson told the nation,
“Have no fear of escalation.
I am trying everyone to please.
Though it isn’t really war,
We’re sending fifty thousand more,
To help save Viet nam from Viet Namese.”

(hear it here)