Obama Off the Back Burner

The political focus naturally has been on the Republican race, and as I noted yesterday, the “Santorum Surprise” has become the top story. It also has highlighted the clear Romney weakness in a Republican electorate:

All of this attention to the Republican primaries and caucuses should be putting Barack Obama on the back burner for now, but he has contrived to make himself the news as well, albeit not in a positive way. The octopus-like arms of Obamacare are revealing themselves more than ever now that his administration is trying to force religious organizations to provide birth control methods they disagree with. This has become a vital debate over religious liberty, and rightly so. Obamacare is a threat to genuine religious liberty. Obama is a threat to genuine religious liberty.

He’s attempted to play up the numbers on unemployment now that the “official” word is that it’s down to 8.3%. What he doesn’t want anyone to know is that the labor force itself has dropped precipitously. Fewer people are even looking for work because they’ve given up, and the real problem for those who want to know the truth is that the Obama Labor Department is always going to put things in the best possible light.

Yet the president himself conducts an interview before the Super Bowl in which he declares he deserves a second term.

I thought I would add that cartoon just in case anyone has forgotten that we’re now over $15 trillion in debt. Is that going to be his argument for a second term? I hope so.

Obamacare & the Court

With campaigns and the economic mess dominating the news, Obamacare has taken a back seat lately. It shouldn’t, because it is the harbinger of even greater economic calamity and government interference in the market. It did break through recently, though, with the announcement that the Supreme Court will hear the suit being brought by twenty-six states against the forced nature of the law. What kind of questions should the Court ask? One is obvious:

That kind of coercion is inherently inconsistent with constitutional liberty. How best to illustrate it? Cartoonist Michael Ramirez captures it perfectly:

Liberals are so upset over the possible overturning of this act that they are demanding Clarence Thomas recuse himself from the case. Why? His wife works with a group opposed to this takeover of the nation’s healthcare system. Now if Clarence Thomas himself were involved, I would understand the possibility of recusal, but it’s his wife, not him.

The real conflict of interest is with Elena Kagan, who served as solicitor general in the Obama administration and helped craft the law, or at least come up with ways to defend it. E-mails have surfaced showing her elation over the prospect of the law’s passage. If anyone should withdraw from this case, I think Kagan is the prime candidate, not Thomas. Her participation in the promotion of the law is undeniable, as is her enthusiasm for it:

Will she do the right thing and recuse herself? Don’t bet on it.

The Week in Review–Minus Presidential Politics

So what else has been happening this week besides presidential politics? Well, there were some other elections. In Ohio, Big Labor outspent the opposition and demagogued so successfully that the voters overturned the legislature’s law that attempted to control the collective bargaining power of government unions. They hail it as a victory. That’s because they think short-term and don’t stop to consider that this vote only worsens the financial situation. The result?

Those same Ohio voters, apparently confused by the concept of having a consistent philosophy of government, then rejected the individual mandate of Obamacare. Well, at least common sense prevailed on that one.

Back in Congress, Attorney General Eric Holder had to testify before a congressional committee about the Fast and Furious debacle. He refused to acknowledge that the plan to allow guns to migrate to the drug cartels led to the murder of a Border Patrol agent. He continues to act as if he’s not really responsible for those who operate under his authority. Does anyone see a pattern here?

Why bother?

Also hard at work was the so-called Super Committee trying to come up with a proposal for deficit reduction that both sides can agree on. Democrats walked out at one point. I can see the media spin on this one now:

 

Let’s not omit the president from this overview. In Europe for a G-20 summit, he and the French president found something to agree on—they both can’t stand Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The only problem is that the microphones picked up their comments; they didn’t know they could be overheard trashing the Israeli leader. Well, you know, he’s just such a pest!

Of course, he might have some legitimate concerns.

Friday’s Overlooked News

The Obama administration has become adept at something other administrations have done, but this administration has taken it from amateur status to expert: waiting until Friday evening, when few are paying attention, to dump all the bad news of the week—bad, that is, for the administration. Under Obama, this has evolved almost into an art form. What am I talking about? Well, here’s what transpired late last Friday:

  1. The long-term care insurance portion of Obamacare was quietly dropped. Forced to face reality about the financial unsustainability of the plan, HHS will now pretend it never existed. All along, we were told this plan would save money; it was an illusion from the start. The illusion finally was shattered.
  2. The Treasury Department reported the second-highest annual deficit in U.S. history. The budget year ended in September. The sad truth? We ran a $1.3 trillion-dollar deficit for the last year. That’s second only to 2009. Let’s see, who was president way back then? Oh, yeah. For the record, that makes three years in a row with a deficit more than $1 trillion.
  3. George Kaiser, a billionaire who was one of Obama’s staunchest contributors and a major Solyndra investor, paid practically zero taxes over the last decade. Now, tell me again about those evil Republican who make too much money and don’t pay enough taxes? Obama may talk class warfare for political gain, but he relies heavily on millionaires and billionaires like Kaiser and Warren Buffet to raise money for him personally. And all that anti-Wall Street talk going around through the Occupy “movement”? Are those protesters really aware of how dependent on Wall Street the Democrat party is, and how avidly Wall Streeters have contributed to the Democrat coffers?
  4. More on Solyndra. The House Oversight Committee seeking more information on the foolish loan to the bankrupt solar power company is being stonewalled by the White House. No information that can be gathered from the president’s e-mail will be sent to Congress. While I understand the separation of powers argument, Congress does have oversight responsibility for how money from that ill-advised stimulus bill was spent.

Some of this is politics as usual, but this administration said it would be the most transparent, most ethical administration in American history. When you try your best to hide bad news and refuse to cooperate with a legitimate congressional investigation, that doesn’t pass the laugh test.

And I haven’t even mentioned the continuing saga of Fast and Furious. I think I’ll say more about that one tomorrow.