The Triple Threat President

There have been presidents in the past who were ideological [which can be a good term if the ideology is centered on limited government and constitutionalism], yet most were willing to work with those with whom they disagreed when necessary.

There have been presidents who were political bullies, using whatever means necessary to achieve their goals, not caring one bit for morality [LBJ comes to mind].

There have been presidents who were incompetent [Carter, anyone?].

What we have now is a like a perfect storm—a president who partakes of all three of these dubious qualities.

President Obama has been arguably the most ideological president in American history. His education, his community organizing days, the people with whom he surrounds himself all point in one direction—full-fledged progressivism with a vengeance.

When the healthcare bill faced such stiff and angry opposition throughout the country, most commentators figured Obama would pull a Clinton—triangulate and compromise. I didn’t believe he would because I had learned too much about him even before he won the 2008 election. He is an ideologue first and foremost, and his goal is government control of as much of the economy as he can get.

We are seeing that ideology get in the way again in the Gulf. He’s not a fan of oil. It really suits his long-term purposes to subvert the oil industry. If enough people are upset with BP, they may be more open to punitive measures against the industry as a whole. That opens the door for his “green” agenda, which, even as he said during the campaign, would lead to skyrocketing price increases on energy across the board.

Obama is also the product of the Democratic machine in Chicago, which has a history of corruption that goes back into the nineteenth century. He was schooled in this approach, and he uses it to wield a rhetorical club against all who oppose him. He pushes for his way without any regard for constitutional limitations on his authority. We’ll see more of this in the future.

Lately, though, the third component has come more to the forefront: his stark incompetence. The Gulf oil spill showcases it, although some of that may be linked to his ideology, as noted above. The latest outrage is that he refuses to send more skimmers to the Gulf. Why? He’s concerned that they may be needed where they are in case another oil spill occurs.

What about taking care of this one?

He dragged his feet on sending help to Louisiana. He has refused to accept help from foreign nations; he won’t suspend an old act of Congress that requires all ships working on the cleanup be American-made. Of course, there’s a political slant to this one.

Even the recent flap over Gen. McChrystal, which ended in his resignation from his post in Afghanistan, stems from Obama’s incompetence. McChrystal, to be sure, was out of line [as well as foolish for allowing a Rolling Stone writer to tag along with his staff], and should have been dismissed. However, the reason he and his staff got into trouble in the first place is because they were fed up with the Obama team’s lack of experience. Obama himself, according to McChrystal, was totally unprepared to talk about the military situation when he first met with the general. It was nothing more than a photo op.

The incompetence issue is only inflamed by the amount of time the president has spent on recreational activities during the oil spill crisis. The head of BP gets away one time for a yacht race and he is pilloried [he truly has one of the worst concepts of public relations ever witnessed], yet the president’s golf outings and other events are not criticized by the Obamamedia. Fortunately, we have some cartoonists who stay on top of these things.

Eventually, the problem will be capped. Hopefully, it won’t be too late.

The Incredible Shrinking President

Watching President Obama these past few weeks, I must say I’m surprised by how ineffective he has become. Not that I mind. I’m one of those people who doesn’t want his plans to succeed. You see, if he succeeds, the nation doesn’t.

He used to have star power. Every Democrat wanted to be connected to him. Now it’s completely the opposite. His endorsement in primaries has turned into poison for the candidates. His attempts to bribe candidates he doesn’t want in the races have all the earmarks of true Chicago politics. As the trail comes back directly to him, he adopts a “Who, me?” persona.

More voters seem to be wising up as they assess his character and capabilities. Some are beginning to see through the rhetoric and understand what he’s really saying.

His attempt to communicate with the American people with his first Oval Office address earlier this week appears to have fallen flat. That’s not just my evaluation. Commentators on both the left and the right were critical of it, albeit for different reasons. The overall effect, though, was to diminish him even further in the eyes of the electorate.

He is taking on Jimmy Carter proportions—not where any president wants to be. While not all problems can and should be laid at the feet of whoever happens to be president, people will judge whether any president is responding adequately to the problems he faces. How is Obama measuring up?

Well, it’s too early to make that judgment, but unless he changes course, reverses his policies, and begins to acknowledge the limits of the government, both constitutionally and practically, he may soon deserve the title.

The "Stupid" Strategy

Have you noticed the strategy employed by the Democrats over the past three decades? You might have to be as old as I am to see the pattern, but it’s now very obvious. I call it the “stupid” strategy, which is aimed at any Republican who is a threat to actually win the presidency or any other high office.

It all started with Ronald Reagan. When he ran against President Carter in 1980, the whispers began, then rose to a crescendo: he’s a dumb actor; he’s simplistic; he just reads everything from little cards; he needs a nap every afternoon; he’s not smart enough to be president. Democratic functionary Clark Clifford famously referred to Reagan as an “amiable dunce.”

Well, that amiable dunce won the Cold War.

They tried it, to a lesser degree, with George Bush in 1988 when he squared off against Michael Dukakis. How could he possibly match the policy wonkness of the former governor of Massachusetts?

It was his son, though, George W. Bush, who had to weather the stronger attack. He was just a cowboy, out of his league, merely a C student. He wasn’t smart enough to lead the country. What we needed was that super-smart challenger Al Gore. After all, he was on the cutting edge of understanding that we were all going to die unless we ceased emitting carbon. He was the champion of the intellectual elite.

In the Bush reelection year of 2004, John Kerry was the epitome of all that was cosmopolitan, cultured, and oh-so-French. Bush couldn’t even compete with Sen. Kerry’s brain power. Or so we were told.

In 2008, progressives nearly fainted when Sarah Palin was added to the Republican ticket. How could this Caribou Barbie be a serious vice presidential candidate? In fact, they realized she was a serious candidate, so the strategy was employed once again—ridicule her as a lightweight. Ignore her accomplishments as Alaska’s governor and paint her as a joke. The joke now appears to be on them as she is more influential than ever.

But of course she’s influential in circles of low-educated, backward folks who inhabit the great hinterland between the beautiful people who populate the coasts. You know, the area where no one of their social status should ever have to hang out.

That’s right, she’s the darling of those stupid Tea Partiers. Now the progressive elite have an entire class of people to denigrate. Unfortunately for them, a New York Times story recently carried the strange news that those despised Tea Partiers were actually better educated than the general population and they are financially better off than the national average.

That’s disturbing to the powers-that-be. President Obama made fun of them last week. He thinks their ideas are radical and foolish. Does he even know the source of those ideas?

If he finds their ideas ludicrous, he must really be in stitches over the Federalist Papers and the Constitution—because that’s where the ideas come from.

It’s time we wise up to the “stupid” strategy and see it for what it really is: a false portrayal of political opponents that is downright dishonest.

Party of Which People?

I’ve always found it somewhat comical that the Democratic party refers to itself as the party of the people. Historically, it has been the Democrats who have pushed the idea that the government, not individuals, knows best.

It started with Woodrow Wilson. He was devoted to the idea that the Constitution was a “living” document that politicians and judges could alter at will. During WWI, Wilson took almost complete control of the American economy, even to the point of nationalizing the railroads. He had little patience with anyone who disagreed with him, surrounding himself with “yes men” who would always do what he said. 

FDR, in the 1930s, had the golden opportunity to put progressive policies into action during the Great Depression. On the surface, they were carried out for the “common man,” but in reality, they stifled economic recovery, thereby hurting everyone, including all the “little people.”

LBJ, after the assassination of JFK, had a Congress that would do almost anything he asked. Again, in the name of the people, he embarked upon what he termed the “Great Society.” Its greatest accomplishment was the creation of a permanent dependent class. Of course, for some, that is the goal: if people depend on the government for their subsistence, they will continue to vote the party in power that promises to keep the goodies flowing.

FDR and JFK were independently wealthy. They never worked a day in their lives. Wilson was part of the intellectual elite, having served as president of Princeton. LBJ practically ran the state of Texas. All politics was subservient to him. These are hardly men who are part of any proletarian revolution. They were the privileged.

Nothing has changed. Democratic senators like Jay Rockefeller and Herb Kohl are the wealthiest of the wealthy. The media always connects the Republicans with Wall Street, but in fact, Wall Streeters donate more to the Democrats than Republicans.

Party of the people?

The Tea Party movement gains strength, and the so-called party of the people doesn’t know what to do with the people. As they sit in their seats of power, looking down on the rabble, what do they think?

In the space of a little more than 200 years, perceptions have changed tremendously.

If they are the party of the people, someone should ask just which people they mean.