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Media was all abuzz with the impending end of Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential bid leading up to his formal announcement at 11:00 AM on Thursday January 26, 2012. In his more than 20 minute announcement, Perry gave a speech that embodied his campaign style and platform.
Stating that “what’s broken in America is our politics,” Perry led up to his formal endorsement of Newt Gingrich calling him a “visionary who can transform this country” with the “heart of [a] conservative reformer” who has the “courage to tell Washington interests to ‘take a hike’.”
With full grace and a strong stance, Gov. Perry recalled former Texas Gov. Houston by saying, “I know when it’s time to take a strategic retreat.” Vowing to continue to support conservative values and principles, and reminding his supporters that “President Obama’s road is a very dangerous one,” Perry stated that he will be heading back to Texas with his wife Anita by his side knowing that “with a loving God, things gonna be good no matter what” he does.
And while the conservative portion of the GOP presidential field is now narrowed even further, and conservatives are now vying for a spot behind the remaining candidates, it is hopeful that Gov. Perry’s message resonates with the voters… “The mission is greater than the man.”
- Gingrich rising in SC, but in time to edge Romney? (mercurynews.com)
- Gingrich urges Santorum, Perry to drop out (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Gingrich suggests Santorum, Perry should exit race (thehill.com)
- Gingrich Faith Leaders’ Statement on Results from Texas (draftcain.wordpress.com)
James Jay Carafano, Ph.D., is Deputy Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies
Iran is rattling sabers. Iraq may be falling apart. In North Korea, one of the world’s most inexperienced and unpredictable leaders has his thumb on the country’s nuclear button. Talks with the Taliban look like an instant replay of the Paris peace negotiations with Hanoi. The Arab Spring has turned into a long winter of discontent. Now is not the time to be gutting defense.
Yet the Secretary of Defense is poised to announce a new strategy that will rubber stamp massive military cuts, pulling the safety net out from a global security architecture that has protected U.S. vital interests worldwide since 1945. The Obama Administration’s strategy by wishful thinking will not be sufficient to keep the nation safe, free, and prosperous in the year ahead. Rather, Congress and the White House should be making bold moves to restore America’s capacity to protect itself. Here are the top five they could make.
1. Own the Skies
Rather than slowing production of the F-35—America’s newest combat aircraft, which can replace upwards of a dozen airframes that do a variety of missions from reconnaissance to attacking targets—the Pentagon ought to be ramping up production. It is time to reap the benefits of the $50 billion taxpayer investment in this program. Likewise, the Pentagon should reopen the recently canceled F-22 production, the companion stealth fighter for the F-35. The two planes were designed to work together to give the U.S. the capacity to maintain air supremacy in any theater for decades.
At the same time, the government should be aggressively seeking to export both planes to any capable ally. In particular, the goal ought to be to ring the Asia-Pacific from India to the Arctic with a robust allied air fleet of F-35/F-22 fighters.
2. Build Ships Faster
The U.S. has the smallest Navy since before World War I. While it is true that modern ships are much more capable than their predecessors, the planet is the same size. When U.S. presence is absent for critical areas, as was recently seen in the Strait of Hormuz—trouble follows. From submarines to amphibious ships to carriers, the U.S. needs to ramp up production.
The needs also go beyond the Defense Department. Replacing the Coast Guard’s aging fleet of ships continues to lag, undermining the capacity of the U.S. to protect its sovereignty at sea. In particular, replacing the Coast Guard (part of the Department of Homeland Security) fleet of “high-endurance” cutters has to be a priority.
3. Do Not Cut Ground Forces
Human capital is the most valuable resource in the armed forces. Shedding the most qualified, combat-experienced, volunteer ground forces in the nation’s history would be like Apple canceling the production of iPhones to save money. It makes no sense.
The argument that “we won’t need these troops because we are not going to do any more Iraqs and Afghanistans” is just a strategy of hope. These were the same arguments used to justify troop cuts before 9/11. As then, the enemy gets a vote, and it always votes to fight the wars that the U.S. is least prepared for. Rebuilding ground forces is far more expensive—and less risky—than maintaining adequate troop strength to defend the nation’s interests and deter conflict.
4. Put Missile Defense on the Fast Track
President Obama’s “phased and adaptive” missile defense program has proven itself to be insufficient and inadequate. The nation needs immediate and comprehensive missile defense now. That demands starting a three-step process:
- Expand and continually improve the Navy’s proven and popular sea-based Aegis missile defense system;
- Pursue advanced integration of the various components of a layered missile defense system, including ground-based interceptors; and
- Develop and deploy space-based missile defenses, particularly space-based interceptors, to counter ballistic missile attacks.
5. Start with Smart Savings
There are savings to be gained from more efficient defense spending, but they should be reinvested in defense modernization. The most immediate source of efficiencies to be gained is in the area of simplifying, consolidating, and contracting defense logistics. Estimates of immediate benefits range up to $90 billion. Congress and the Administration should focus laser-like on this area of Pentagon spending—now.
Really curbing cost growth over time requires getting the cost of manpower under control by establishing a more rational and practical package of pay and benefits for service members and their families. This can be done in a manner that honors commitments to those currently serving and providing more flexible and desirable benefits that would allow the service to continue to recruit and retain a quality all-volunteer force at reasonable cost.
The Wrong Way to Balance the Budget
Gutting defense would not balance the budget. However, it would certainly contribute to making the world less safe for America and its allies and leave the U.S. less prepared to deal with the dangers ahead. The smart move would be to invest in defense—rather than pay the butcher’s bill later.
Photoshop source: Ed Driscoll
The Year in Obama Scandals — and Scandal Deniers
by Michelle Malkin
With 2011 drawing to a close, it is time to account. As an early-and-often chronicler of Chicago-on-the-Potomac, I am amazed at the stubborn and clingy persistence of President Barack Obama’s snowblowers in the media. See no scandal, hear no scandal, speak no scandal.
Dartmouth College professor Brendan Nyhan asserted in May — while Operation Fast and Furious subpoenas were flying on Capitol Hill — that “one of the least remarked upon aspects of the Obama presidency has been the lack of scandals.” Conveniently, he defines scandal as a “widespread elite perception of wrongdoing.”
So as long as left-wing Ivy League scribes refuse to perceive something to be a scandal — never mind the actual suffering endured by the family of murdered Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, whose death came at the hands of a Mexican cartel thug wielding a Fast and Furious gun walkedacross the southern border under Attorney General Eric Holder’s watch — there is no scandal!
Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum likewise proclaimed: “Obama’s presidency has so far been almost completely free of scandal.”
This after the year kicked off in January with the departure of lying eco-radical czar Carol Browner. In backroom negotiations, she infamously bullied auto execs to “put nothing in writing, ever.” The previous fall, the White House’s own oil spill panel had singled out Browner for misleading the public about the scientific evidence for the administration’s Draconian drilling moratorium and “contributing to the perception that the government’s findings were more exact than they actually were.”
The Interior Department inspector general and federal judges likewise blasted drilling ban book-cooking by Browner and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who falsely rewrote the White House drilling ban report todoctor the Obama-appointed panel’s own overwhelming scientific objections to the job-killing edict.
In February, federal judge Martin Feldman in Louisiana excoriated the Obama Interior Department for defying his May 2010 order to lift its fraudulent ban on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. He called out the administration’s culture of contempt and “determined disregard” for the law.
This spring saw rising public anger over the preferential Obamacare waiver process (which I first reported on in September 2010). Some 2,000 lucky golden ticket winners were freed from the costly federal mandates — including a handful of fancy restaurants in Aloha Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco district, the entire state of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Nevada, and scores of local, state and national Big Labor organizations, from the Service Employees International Union and Teamsters on down. Meanwhile, as The Hill newspaper reported last month, other not-so-lucky Republican-led states seeking waivers, such as Indiana and Louisiana, were rejected.
But it wasn’t just Republicans objecting to the president’s arbitrary Obamacare fiats. In July, congressional Democrats turned on the monstrous federal health bureaucracy known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board. The constitutionally suspect panel — freed from normal public notice, public comment and public review rules — would have unprecedented authority over health care spending and an expanding jurisdiction of private health care payment rates.
Obama’s health and human services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, faced separate legal questions over her overseer role in a hair-raising document-shredding case when she served as governor of Kansas. In October, a district judge in the Sunflower State suspended court proceedings in a high-profile criminal case against the abortion racketeers of Planned Parenthood. Bombshell court filings showed that Kansas health officials “shredded documents related to felony charges the abortion giant faces” and failed to disclose it for six years.
That same month, Bloomberg News columnist Jonathan Alter gushed:“There is zero evidence … of corruption. Where is it?”
Alter’s declaration of the “Obama Miracle” came just weeks after the politically driven half-billion-dollar Solyndra stimulus “investment” went bankrupt, prompting an FBI raid and ongoing criminal and congressional probes of the solar company funded by top White House bundler and visitor George Kaiser.
As Solyndra and an avalanche of other ongoing green subsidy scams erupted, so did the LightSquared debacle — a federal broadband boondoggle involving billionaire hedge fund managers and Obama donors Philip Falcone and George Soros. In September, two high-ranking witnesses — William Shelton, the four-star general who heads the Air Force Space Command, and National Coordination Office for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Director Anthony Russo — exposed how the White House had pressured them to alter their congressional testimony and play down concerns about LightSquared’s interference threat to military communications.
The White House continues to block efforts to gain information about the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of a special waiver for the company, even as new government tests this month showed that the company’s “signals caused harmful interference to the majority of … general purpose GPS receivers.”
The Obama White House closed out the year with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri demanding a probe of the smelly $443 million no-bid smallpox antiviral pill contract with Siga Technologies — controlled by big lefty donor Ron Perelman. Then there was the small matter of massive voter fraud in Indiana, where a Democratic official resigned amid allegations that “dozens, if not hundreds,” of signatures were faked to get Obama on the state primary ballot in 2008. And while Americans busied themselves with the holidays, White House and Democratic campaign officials were dumping more than $70,000 in contributions from another deep-pocketed contributor — scandal-plagued pal and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine, who oversaw thecollapse of MF Global.
All this — and so much more — yet erstwhile “conservative” journalist Andrew Sullivan of Newsweek/The Daily Beast scoffed, “Where are all the scandals promised by Michelle Malkin?”
There’s none so blind as those who will not see.
- The Year in Administration Scandals – and Scandal Deniers (papundits.wordpress.com)
- VIDEOs: President Obama and CAP’s Carol Browner on Final Approval of Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (thinkprogress.org)
- President Obama Agrees to Delay Debt Increase Request (abcnews.go.com)
- Too Green To Be Transparent (junkscience.com)
- Republican Party Plays Attack Dog (usnews.com)
- Solyndra finally touches Browner (junkscience.com)
- IBD: A Bad Green Dream (junkscience.com)
Taking a page from the book that Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen have borrowed from more than once to write their own tedious Op-Ed’s, former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary Robert Reich today predicts in a blog post that President Obama will put Hillary Clinton on the ticket in 2012:
My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State — a position he’s apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President.
So the Democratic ticket for 2012 is Obama-Clinton.
Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.
The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — offering the Democrats a shot at twelve (or more) years in the White House, something the Republicans had with Ronald Reagan and the first George Bush but which the Democrats haven’t had since FDR. Twelve years gives the party in power a chance to reshape the Supreme Court as well as put an indelible stamp on America.
According to the latest Gallup poll, the duo are this year’s most admired man and woman This marks the fourth consecutive win for Obama while Clinton has been the most admired woman in each of the last 10 years. She’a topped the list 16 times since 1993, exceeding the record held by former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who topped the list 13 times.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard the Clinton-replaces-Biden prediction, of course. It pretty much started from the day that Barack Obama and Joe Biden took their respective Oaths Of Office. It does make a certain amount of sense, perhaps. Joe Biden will be 74 by the time we reach the 2016 elections and, despite the fact that he’s said that he is keeping his options open in that regard, nobody seriously believes that the Vice-President will be candidate for the Democratic nomination. Clinton, on the other hand would be 69, certainly not young but no older than, say, Ronald Reagan was when he ran, or John McCain. Additionally, Reich is correct when he points out that Hillary remains a popular political figure, although I would submit that this is largely because of the current position she holds, which is far less of a political lightening rod than most others. Had Clinton chose to stay in the Senate it’s likely that she would be viewed as a far more partisan figure, and her approval numbers would be lower. That said, it is true that pretty much all of the arguments against putting Clinton on the ticket in 2008 are gone now, and if Biden did decide that he could not run for a second term she would be the most logical person Obama would turn to first.
Despite all of this, though, the Obama Administration has consistently shot downany of the Biden-Clinton swap rumors that have come up over the past three years. Moreover, Vice-President Biden has said more than once that he intends to run with the President in 2012, while Hillary Clinton has made clear that she considers Secretary of State to be her last public job and that she has no interest in running for political office again. Therefore, Reich’s “prediction” has no more value or substance to it than any of the other similar predictions we’ve heard before. Right now, it is as close as possible to a certainty that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee for Vice-President in 2012, unless something extraordinary or catastrophic happens.
Picking up on Reich’s argument, The Anchoress makes a completely different argument. She says Hillary Clinton should run as an Independent against Obama:
I know the conventional wisdom holds that no Democrat would dare to run against Obama and risk a deep fracturing of the party. Conventional wisdom, however, is hogwash in the face of voter discontent and distrust of both parties and the D.C. establishment. If ever the time was right for a strong candidate — from the left, not the right — to strike out as an Independent with a good chance of winning, it’s this election year, and Hillary Clinton is precisely the candidate to do it.
Independents ran to Obama in ’08, and they’re running away from him as fast as they can in ’12, but not necessarily toward the GOP, whose current field of candidates seems like 8 tilting vials of nitro-glycerin, just waiting to fall. Offer them a candidate they can associate with a era of “peace and prosperity” — one who many of them happen to like and think got a raw deal in 2008 — and they will careen toward her like seagulls toward dropped bread.
Hillary will pull all the disgruntled PUMA (Party Unity My A$$) voters who in ’08 were told “you don’t have to fall in love, just fall in line” and are still rinsing the bad taste out of their mouth from that primary; she’ll pull all of the Democrats who are currently, quietly, wishing Obama would just go away. And while Obama supposedly enjoys an approval rating of about 85% within the African American community, it’s a decent bet that those who liked her before they ever thought of Obama could be persuaded to like her again. Hillary, after all, feels no ways tired.
A candidate from the right could never do it. Between GOP/Conservative in-fighting, the purge-and-purity brigade and the need of some to “teach a lesson” with their vote — and the predictable broadsides that will be launched against such a candidate by the Democrat-favoring press — the best a conservative third-party candidate could hope to do is “make a point.” The Democrats and far left will all still vote for Obama, and the independents will either run scattershot or sit out the election altogether. Hello, Mr. Perot.
The arguments against a Hillary Clinton run as an Independent, assuming she would even want to do that, are even stronger than those against the silly idea that Hillary should challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. For one thing, there is no realistic possibility that Clinton could actually win the Presidency. She’s not going to take away any Red States from the Republicans, and all she’d be likely to do in Blue States is split the Democratic vote with the President, thus opening up the possibility that the GOP could pick up Electoral Votes they otherwise wouldn’t merely by winning a plurality of the vote. The worst of all possible outcomes, of course, would be if the election ended up getting thrown into the House of Representatives because nobody has 270 Electoral Votes.
For another, it’s fairly clear that a Clinton candidacy in the General Election would take votes from Obama, possibly cost him most if not all of the battleground states that he needs to win the election, and hand the election to the Republicans. Why in the world would Hillary Clinton, who has been a loyal Democrat all her life, want to do that? Why, to put it bluntly, would she want to go down in history as the person who made the first African-American President in American history a one-termer? Not only does it ruin her own legacy, but it would also likely tear the Democratic Party itself to shreds in the wake of the defeat. African-Americans in particular would likely be upset by what they would rightfully see as a stab in the back by someone who has been part of the Democratic Party establishment for 20 years. It’s a suicide mission, and a stupid one at that.
- Robert Reich: My Political Prediction for 2012: It’s Obama-Clinton (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama to Name Hillary Vp for 2012 (weeklyworldnews.com)
- Robert Reich: Obama-hillary 2012 (maboulette.wordpress.com)
- Will Biden and Clinton Switch Jobs? (politicalwire.com)
After observing President Obama for the last three years, it has become obvious to me that the president might prefer to be a university professor rather than do the job he holds today. While he might not realize that he feels this way, the evidence is very clear to those who work with or watch him closely.
Let me be clear — I’m not trying to disparage professors. But anyone who wonders why the president is not crushing the weak Republican field only needs to examine how President Obama has behaved more like Professor Obama:
‘I’M RIGHT, YOU’RE WRONG’
Early in his administration, President/Professor Obama repeatedly referred to “teaching moments.” He would admonish staff, members of Congress and the public, in speeches and in private, about what they could learn from him. Rather than the ideological or corrupt “I’m above the law” attitudes of some past administrations, President Obama projected an arrogant “I’m right, you’re wrong” demeanor that alienated many potential allies. Furthermore, the president concentrated power within the White House, leaving Cabinet members with no other option but to dutifully carry out policies with which they had limited input in crafting and might very well disagree. From my experience, this was especially true in the environmental, resources, housing and employment areas. Not by coincidence, these areas have also been responsible for much of the president’s harshest critiques.
LECTURES vs. LISTENING
One former administration official told me directly that the people in the White House “NEVER TALK TO REAL PEOPLE.” Another former Obama staffer confided to me that it was clear to him that the president didn’t mind giving speeches (lectures), but really avoided personal contact with members of Congress and folks outside the Beltway. “He doesn’t seem to derive energy from spending time with regular people the way Clinton did. He rallies to give speeches for the big crowds, but avoids individual contact,” the former staffer recalled. This “arms-length” attitude extends to top decision-makers in the president’s administration. A senior housing official recently told me that, despite the fact that he was responsible for crafting policies to stem the foreclosure crisis, he had personally never met with a homeowner who had been foreclosed on.