U.S. Influence: The Great Vanishing Act

When writing on domestic policy and the Obama administration, I continually point out the overreach: Obamacare, IRS, ruling by executive fiat. If one were to concentrate wholly on the domestic side, it would seem as if everything Obama does lends itself to an incipient tyranny. Shifting to foreign policy, however, sheds a different light—not an admirable one, mind you, but different. Benghazi was/is an exercise in utter incompetence and cluelessness (coupled with a determined coverup, of course). Responses to nations that don’t have our best interests at heart reveal weakness and lack of seriousness, as if we don’t really grasp the threats.

Let’s take Russia, for instance. Putin continues to push the international envelope in many ways, the latest being in Ukraine. What decisive American policy has gone into effect in this crisis? What will it take to get the leader of the free world on board with real action?

More Warnings

Then there’s Iran, busily pursuing nuclear weapons while we think we can talk them into being a nice government that will put trade above ideology. They simply take advantage of our foolishness:

Negotiate

Meanwhile, our president seems more intent on proving his opponents as wrongheaded and portraying himself as focused on the “real” threats:

Doing Nothing

And our influence in the world?

Poof

As if by magic, it has vanished.

The Sebelius Rollout

The resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as HHS secretary was more than overdue. Don’t get me wrong; she wasn’t the whole problem, merely the public face of the problem. The disaster that is Obamacare still rests at the feet of the president; it’s a failed policy erected on a false philosophy of government and economics. But she was tasked with the rollout of this monstrosity. We all know how that went. Her resignation was kind of a rollout also:

Rollout

Even though she botched the job terribly, President Obama knew he couldn’t get rid of her right away because that would have been an admission of failure. First, he had to concoct phony numbers of Obamacare registrants to clear the way for her departure. There had to be some sort of closure to her tenure, a way for her to say she had completed her job so she could walk away with some sense of dignity. Well, she certainly completed what she started:

Work Is Done

As part of her grand exit, there was a ceremony at which both Obama and Sebelius spoke. Almost on cue, another glitch occurred: a page of her speech was missing. Somehow, that just seems appropriate as a testimony to her competence. And of course, the president had nothing but praise for her efforts. Perhaps he should have saved his biggest “thank you” for how she was used as the target for the botched system. Her greatest achievement, in his view, was probably how well she shielded him from more direct criticism:

Got Covered

She served her purpose and then suffered the same fate as all Obama associates when they have outlived their usefulness:

Under the Bus

I don’t think we’ll ever hear her name mentioned again at the White House.

Return of the Phony “War on Women”

Politicians from all countries throughout all ages have lied. That’s nothing new. Neither is it unexpected. The power that comes with political position brings all latent arrogance/pride to the surface more easily perhaps than other professions. While lying is pandemic (one of the Ten Commandments forbids giving false witness), some politicians have taken the practice to a higher level.

Take the Obama administration and the Democrats as a whole, for example (you knew I was going there, right?). To what lengths are these people willing to go to maintain power? Harry Reid, on the Senate floor in the last election cycle, flatly stated that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid taxes in ten years. It was patently false, but that didn’t stop him from declaring it. President Obama refuses to acknowledge one smidgen of corruption in the IRS affair. Everyone, including the president himself, knows that’s a whopper.

One of the biggest lies promoted in the previous presidential election was that the Republicans were waging a war on women. The proof? Why, they didn’t want to pay for contraception for everyone. A “poor” Georgetown law student who would soon be a lawyer raking in more money than most people ever see, was being discriminated against.

They now have decided that’s still a winner. The phony “War on Women” has been resurrected:

Falsely Claim

Also in circulation is the discredited statistic that women only make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. That has been debunked on both the Right and the Left; it doesn’t take into account many other factors. Yet that hasn’t stopped Obama from making it the basis of his latest accusations:

Not a Myth

It’s rather embarrassing to trumpet a war on women using this approach when one’s own White House pays women less than men. Well, change that—this administration isn’t embarrassed by anything, not even loss of credibility:

Credibility Gap

Remember when Romney made a remark about having binders full of women? Although everyone knew what he really meant by that comment, the Democrats made a joke out of it, and used it as further evidence that women were on the periphery of Republicans’ interests. Perhaps there’s a better application of that phrase now:

Binders

The hypocrisy and outright lying on this issue is so blatant, I’m sure the mainstream media will pick up on it very soon. Sure. The same media that avoided reporting Obama’s remark about having visited all 57 states is not about to start being honest now. The rest of us are the ones who have to disseminate the truth. We need to be faithful in that task.

Fooling Fewer of the People All the Time

I think it’s appropriate to end this work week with another look at the “victory” of Obamacare touted from the White House earlier. As I noted a couple days ago, that victory is loaded with unanswered questions. I’m happy to see that others are doubting its validity as well, particularly as the problems with the law continue to mount.

Here are two cartoonists that “get it”:

Bulls-Eye

What Success Looks Like

The administration wants us to trust its statements about Obamacare. On what basis should we trust anything coming from that source? How credible is it? Let’s review the history:

Trust Me

Abraham Lincoln didn’t really make the following statement (although it is widely attributed to him), but whoever may have made it would certainly approve of its application in our current circumstance: You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Notice to the Obama administration: you are fooling fewer of the people all the time.

Grand Political Theater at the White House

The administration took a victory lap in the Rose Garden yesterday, celebrating the claim that more than 7 million people have now signed up for health insurance through Obamacare. President Obama himself showed up to beam and chastise Republicans for opposing his legislation. It was grand political theater with all his loyal Democrat legislators in attendance.

But know this—it was no more than political theater. Why?

There are many things we don’t know about that 7 million number. Let me count the ways we are in the dark:

  • First, we have no idea how many of those they claim to have signed up are really signed up. Have they paid anything? Simply signing up is not the same thing as paying. I think we can reasonably subtract a significant number just on that question alone.
  • Second, we don’t know how many registered for Medicaid. Early estimates showed approximately a 4:1 advantage for Medicaid recipients. Those are not exactly paying customers; their costs are incurred by the government, both federal and state.
  • Third, it is obvious that perhaps a majority of the paying consumers were forced into the system because the law caused them to lose the health insurance they already had. That’s not an increase in the total of people covered by insurance; it’s simply a replacement.
  • Fourth, we aren’t being told the percentage of signees who are younger, and therefore healthier, which is essential for the system to be financially feasible. Until now, that percentage was estimated to be far too low to create a workable program.
  • Fifth, the other factor that is unknown is how many of those registered were actually uninsured in the first place. Again, all indications have been that the figure is extremely low. Wasn’t this supposed to be aimed primarily at those who didn’t have insurance? If they aren’t the ones benefiting, how can anyone call this a success?

Beyond the questions, there are the certainties: higher premiums and deductibles, unneeded coverages pushing those costs higher, and loss of doctors and medical facilities in the program. Again, how does this spell success? Yet our president will continue to say it’s working just as he intended:

Working Perfectly

That’s what’s even scarier. I don’t think this temporary victory lap is going to make Democrats running for reelection really feel any better. They will still be faced with voters who have lost their insurance and doctors, some of whom have even lost the treatments they were receiving for serious diseases. They also will have to answer to those who are now paying more for less. Those voters will not be happy.

Dems 14

So yesterday’s news didn’t change anything of substance with this unpopular law. Failure is still failure, no matter how you try to dress it up as a success.

It’s almost as if yesterday was April Fool’s Day or something. Oh . . .

Deadlines, Red Lines, & Politics

Today is the former deadline for signing up for Obamacare. Those who think, though, that President Obama is doing something new by changing this deadline have forgotten that this has become pretty much a standard operating procedure for him, as it’s slightly reminiscent of how he conducts foreign policy as well. He gets pretty much the same result in both realms:

Now What

Ostensibly, this alteration in the deadline is to help all those who don’t have insurance and just haven’t had the time to sign up during the past six months. Keep in mind that probably only about 1/30 of the uninsured have decided to go with this “rescue mission” designed especially for them. Why haven’t they jumped at the offer? Could it be that it’s too expensive? Or is Harry Reid right when he says they’re just not smart enough to navigate the Internet and need more time? The words “Harry Reid” and “right” don’t really belong in the same sentence.

Here’s the bottom line: this deadline was moved purely for political reasons. Obamacare is political poison for Democrats this November. If President Obama could get his way on everything, I think I know what he would do at this juncture:

Delay Midterm

Meanwhile, there is a gleam in Republicans’ eyes:

Senate-Man

If the elections were held today, I believe that would be the result. Now, will Republicans be smart with this advantage or find a way to ruin themselves? For the sake of the country, pray that they stand firm on principles and find the proper way to communicate them.

Adventures in Obamacareland

What might be a better name for Obamacare? Adventures in Wonderland? Theater of the Absurd? The New Twilight Zone?

If you are paying attention at all, you ought to be stunned by the ludicrous nature of this legislation: from its false philosophical basis, to its awful rollout, to the many changes made to it by executive fiat, Obamacare is pretty much a laughingstock. Or at least it would be if not for the dismal fact that millions have been forced off their previous healthcare plans and now experience higher deductibles and premiums, along with loss of doctors and hospitals to treat them. Oh, and all those uninsured this was supposed to help? Of the estimated 30 million, only about 1 million now have insurance. And soon the tentacles of this vast government overreach will begin to hit hard on those who have employer-based plans. The millions currently affected will mushroom into the many millions.

The deadline for signing up in this first round always has been March 31. Well, not anymore. We now have Unilateral Change #29. There no longer is a deadline; anyone can get an extension simply by clicking on a box on the website. How much of an extension? Who knows? Probably an indefinite one. Why? Because the administration can’t get enough people to register to make it financially stable.

Countdown

Those who are staying away in droves are the younger people, without whom this law falls flat on its face. Obama and his people have practically been begging them to join, without success:

More Millennials

Maybe the younger generation isn’t quite as clueless as I feared. The measures to pressure them, though, may become extreme over time:

Halt

Remember all those promises about how great the new healthcare law would be for everyone? We have been told incessantly that once we saw it in action, we would be overwhelmed with gratitude. Apparently, that hasn’t been the case:

Grow on You

Democrats in Congress who are running for reelection are practically living in a state of panic, especially since they were complicit in selling Obamacare all along. Senators like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana are particularly vulnerable, no matter how often and how loudly people like Nancy Pelosi tell them it’s a winning strategy to run on Obamacare:

Lovely Necklace

Throughout this ordeal, President Obama can at least be gratified that he’s made one former president quite happy:

Thank You

I have to admit I’m looking forward to November.