Sunday, January 31, 2010

Obama's Meeting with Republicans - pt. 2

It was this side of Obama that made him seem more appealing to me as a candidate in 2008 than the rest of the Democrats. He made an effort to come across as a new kind of politician that could be above party politics. Of course, although I was hopeful he might be that kind of president, I still had to support the candidate with whom I agreed on the issues, and that was John McCain. Obama's track record showed no history of working across the aisle, so I really did not believe it would happen.

He should have, though. Instead, he allowed the Democrats in the House and Senate to rule the roost while he agreeably acquiesced because he was fully sympathetic to their policies.

He was able to get some Republican support in 2009. Arlen Spector jumped to the Democratic Party and Olympia Snow did vote in committee in support of health care legislation. But Obama's main effort has been to push hard for legislation that can win the support of 218 House Democrats and 60 Democrats caucus Senators. He made little effort to integrate conservative policies into his legislation.

In the future, will Obama efforts to reach out be anything more than talk? That will be the big question.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The President Reaches Out To Republicans

Today, President Obama met with Republican members of Congress in a televised forum. On the plus side, it sounds like he took some tough questions from the Republicans. But on the downside, he already knows that he has no interest in conservative ideas. His response to a question about across the board tax cuts like JFK did in the 60's was to consider it but then essentially rule it out because it could more greatly benefit wealthy people like Warren Buffett. He wants bipartisanship that involves Republicans agreeing with him.

And he is still looking back at President Bush and blaming him for his troubles. I don't recall President Bush continually talking about the mistakes that Bill Clinton made while President. All I heard were highlights of the meeting, so I still need to read the transcript to get a better feel for the event.

One thing I have noted, even without seeing it, is how this open meeting contrasts with Sen. Harry Reid's closed door meetings that resulted in payoffs to Senators from Nebraska, Connecticut, and Lousiana.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

State of the Union speech

While I chose to watch Friday Night Lights instead of the State of the Union speech, I have of course heard highlights and read news accounts of the speech. What was unprecedented in the speech was a direct slam against the Supreme Court. They handed down a decision last week that said that it was unconstitutional to prevent a group from distributing a movie about Hillary Clinton in 2008. The left has been apoplectic at this decisions and President Obama has taken a stand with the Keith Olbermanns of the country and called out the Supreme Court. Presidents never do such things at these speeches. Legal Times did some research on the matter and found very few references to the Supreme Court at State of the Union speeches. Only a couple of times were court decisions referenced and the solution was always a proposed constitutional amendment. But that is entirely appropriate. It accepts the legitimacy of the Supreme Court's decisions and recognizes that the constitution needs to actually be amended to change the results of the decision.

What President Obama did last night was similar to what FDR said in his 1937 State of the Union: "The Judicial branch also is asked by the people to do its part in making democracy successful. We do not ask the Courts to call non-existent powers into being, but we have a right to expect that conceded powers or those legitimately implied shall be made effective instruments for the common good. The process of our democracy must not be imperiled by the denial of essential powers of free government." (from Legal Times) Legal Times then notes that soon thereafter, FDR unsuccessfully attempted to end run the existing Supreme Court by adding new justices, also know as "court-packing." For President Obama to be linked with such a blatant effort to intimidate the Judicial branch is appalling.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Tebow Super Bowl Ad Controversy

This over the top quote from the leader of a protesting group blew my mind: "An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year -- an event designed to bring Americans together."

Please -- It's a football game. Let's not make it into a religious event "designed to bring Americans together."

When I first heard the news about a woman's group protesting a Super Bowl ad, I assumed it was something like the GoDaddy ad which always pushes the boundaries of good taste. But no, they weren't protesting the sexism of women being treated as sex objects forced into taking multiple showers with various people. They were angry about a real woman talking about her choice of life in 1987 when she was faced with a difficult pregnancy. The result of that pregnancy was Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at the University of Florida.

Nothing makes these people so angry as to hear stories of abortions that did not take place. Sarah Palin's family in 2008 had two opportunities to choose abortion and both times the family chose life. The vitriol toward Palin has less to do with her policies or experience than it has to do with her Pro-Life actions. Keeping a Down Syndrome baby? A pregnant teenager? And Mrs. Tebow continuing with a risky pregnancy?

And these are the "easy choices." Most abortions are performed for the sake of convenience and rarely for the health of the mother or because of potential fetal abnormalities.

It kills these groups when the reality of abortion is revealed . They want there to be no guilt involved in this decision. Just have the "procedure" and move on to the next task in your life. No big deal. Why else would they be so fearful of one 30 second ad?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Most Trusted Name In News

For years now, CNN has been using the tag-line, "The Most Trusted Name In News." Well, that honor has just been bestowed on the Fox News Channel. So, what do you think about that my liberal friends who insist on calling it the "Faux News Channel?" Either the Republican party and conservatism is becoming so dominant that Fox News has taken over the "Most Trusted" throne or Fox News is really trusted.

No question, the poll showed a dramatic partisan slant in a network's trustworthiness. Republicans really trust FNC, Dems don't and the Independents are probably in the middle. But then that shows that conservatism is truly about to become dominant in this country. It is no wonder that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are racing through their far left legislation before the clock strikes midnight and they all become pumpkins again. November 2010.

You can see the actual poll questions and answers at this PDF file:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

TelePrompter President

How sad to see that our current president, Barack Obama, is so dependent on his TelePrompter that he used one last week in a five minute talk to a local Sixth Grade Class.

Of course, it has been my contention that it was Obama's off the cuff remarks about a Cambridge, Mass. police officer that were the beginning of the slide in public opinion about his presidency. So, perhaps he and his aides are fearful of more mistakes. In fact, he has not has a press conference since that one in July when he chose to get in the middle of his professor friend's police matter. While many are mesmerized by the cadence, delivery and prose of his prepared speeches, how much hope do you have in a man who needs a TelePrompter to speak to 12 year olds?

(1/29/10 Correction: According to none other than Rush Limbaugh on his radio show yesterday, Obama did NOT use the TelePrompter to speak to the school kids, but only relied on the device when speaking to the press at this event. So, I'll give him a pass on this occasion, but the fact remains that he is overly reliant on the TelePrompter.)

In contrast to President Obama was President Richard M. Nixon. While I was too young to really understand politics while he was in office, I was amazed in later years to see how brilliant he was in speaking to audiences. He rarely spoke with notes and was just an encyclopedia of knowledge. You could see him on C-SPAN in the early 90's talking about one of his books or answering questions in front of a public policy group.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Aftermath of Mass. Election

Great news that Massachusetts elected Scott Brown to replace the late Ted Kennedy in the U. S. Senate. I had been surprised that more prominent candidates did not run for the Republican nomination because I thought this seat was winnable. The experts thought otherwise. But Mitt Romney gave Ted Kennedy a great battle in 1994 and then he later was elected governor. So, I thought he would be a good candidate. Romney's sights are set higher and a loss in a Senate race would be crushing for his ambitions so he played it safe. Perhaps a new face like Scott Brown's was what was needed though.

Interestingly, the White House is saying that the American people are frustrated and upset about the economy. To which I say, well what did you guys do about it? Well, their plan was enacted in February 2009 and look at the results. FaIlure! Why? Because it was a nonsensical plan that was created more to please various constituencies and members of Congress than to get the economy moving again. While Ronald Reagan also faced a terrible economy in 1981, he enacted a plan that made sense and in time it paid off. Does anyone believe that throwing money at CASH FOR CLUNKERS or TAX CREDITS FOR BUYING HOUSES is going to solve the problems in the overall economy?

I was young and opposed Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s but as I watched the results of his presidency I saw that he was right, in both his understanding of the economy and in his understanding of defense policy. Now we have been given one year of Obama, and the results are coming in and they are not good. 10 % unemployment -- about double the rate during the presidency of George W. Bush who had to deal with both the aftermath of the 2000 NASDAQ crash and the 9/11 attacks.

"During the 8 years of the George W. Bush Presidency the lowest annual unemployment rate was 4.61% in 2007, the highest annual unemployment rate was 5.76% in 2008. During Bush’s 8 years as President the average unemployment rate was 5.27%, roughly 1/2 half of what the unemployment rate is today."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mass. Senate Election Today

Speculation is rampant today that a Republican may actually have a chance to win the U.S. Senate seat from Massachusetts that was held by Edward Kennedy since 1962 in a special election.

How did we get to this point? Barack Obama's descent into unpopularity began in July when he overstepped his bounds and went out of his way to attack a hard working police officer who was rigorously questioning a man who may have been breaking into a home. The man in question was Obama's friend, a black Harvard professor. Within days it became clear that Obama had gone too far in getting involved with this local matter, and injected race where it should not have been injected. He then tried to smooth things over with his "Beer Summit" but it was too little, too late by that time. Obama had lost his moral authority and his credibility was shattered. In August, the health care debate erupted in town halls across America and the intensity of opposition was fully revealed. And Obama was seen as a man who represented the elites against the common man.

It did not have to be this way. He seems to be simply following the lead of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi rather than leading them. In some ways, Obama cannot lose in this election, if he plays it smart. If the Democrat wins, then he maintains his 60 vote filibuster-proof majority. But if the Republican wins, then Obama would be smart to shift to the middle and thus may blunt the most fervent opposition to his policies.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

One Year

Almost one year into the Obama presidency now.

On the plus side: The stock market stopped its precipitous decline in March and recovered a lot of its losses. That's a relief to those of us who kept our investments in the broad market with our IRAs, College Savings Plans, and 401ks. It always seemed to me like a giant over reaction on Wall Street, so staying the course was wise.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration went on record early on as taking no blame (And thus they now get no credit) for the ups and downs of the stock market.

On the negatives side: Despite a massive spending bill passed 11 months ago supposedly designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs, we have 10 % unemployment. It really was a terrible bill.

Terrorism is rearing its ugly head again despite America's efforts to be nice to the world. For some reason, even though we elected Obama, the Islamic Extremists still hate us. My experience and studies show me that accommodation does not appease our enemies, so I am not surprised. I hope that the Christmas scare awakens this administration to the seriousness of this threat.