Nobody’s Fault: Liberals make excuses for Obama
Noemie Emery writes: All of a sudden, people have noticed that we are in trouble, and many are saying it isn’t the president’s fault. All the bad news, from Iraq to Ukraine, from Libya and Syria to the Mexican border, just seems to have happened: Obama was standing there, golfing or shaking hands with donors, and, like a burst of bad weather, the winds blew, the skies opened, and things went to hell. Mysterious forces conspired against him, terrible setbacks occurred for no reason, and we were left with effects without a cause. His supporters commiserate with him and note his bad fortune at being in office at a time when events make his life difficult. Or they worry about the effect of all these misfortunes on his legacy. “Can Obama Weather the Current Geopolitical S—storm?” Mother Jones’s David Corn wondered recently. Judging from recent poll numbers—36 percent approve of his conduct of foreign relations—the answer appears to be “no.”
[Check out Noemie Emery's book "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families", available at Amazon]
The reasons offered for why bad things aren’t his doing fall into three different categories: (1) The system is broken, the country is polarized, and the Republicans have become too insane to deal with; (2) stuff happens, and no one at all can do much about it; and (3) people think that the president ought to be Superman and solve all their problems, which is really expecting too much. As Joshua Keating wrote on July 21 in Slate: “There’s a tendency to judge U.S. foreign policy on the condition of the world at any given moment rather than the success of actual actions taken,” as if the condition and the actions can have no conceivable link. “U.S. leverage is limited,” wrote Robert Kuttner in the Huffington Posta day earlier. “U.S. projections of . . . bravado or prudence have little to do with” how recent events have come out.
Obama legacy @Will_Antonin: Militants swim in pool at US embassy in Libya; American press suddenly & strangely unconcerned with “optics.”
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 31, 2014
Added to this is the fact that we lack the easy simplicities of the good old days when Hitler and Stalin were murdering millions. “Republican jingoists scapegoat President Obama for all the world’s ills and try to impose a simple story of weakness and strength on events of stupefying complexity,” Kuttner added, complaining that today’s wars lack the grandeur and moral simplicity of the Cold War, and of course World War II. “Who are the good guys and bad guys in Syria and Iraq?” Corn concurred: “Barack Obama is in charge . . . at a time when the world seems to be cracking up more than usual. . . . There are no simple fixes to these nuance-drenched problems. . . . None of these matters are easily resolved.” Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: President Obama Jets to New Rochelle to Attend Wedding of his Personal Chef Sam Kass to MSNBC’s Alex WagnerPosted: August 30, 2014
UPDATE: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest clarified Obama’s schedule Friday afternoon, noting that he would return to the White House tonight after his fundraisers in New York. He is expected to travel back to New York on Saturday for the wedding of his personal chef Sam Kass to MSNBC’s Alex Wagner.
According to Earnest, Obama decided to “sleep in his own bed,” do a little work tomorrow, and spend some time with his family before going to the wedding. Read the rest of this entry »
Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice
and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.
Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago. Read the rest of this entry »
“I thought he had a phone. How about picking up the phone and talking with the allies? You know the phone is a way to communicate rather rapidly.”
From The Corner: On Thursday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer reacted to President Obama’s statement, “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse—we don’t have a strategy yet,” about the United States’ effort against the Islamic State. Krauthammer said he was shocked by Obama’s statement, especially considering the context in which the comment was made.
“Look I thought that the president could no longer surprise me,” Krauthammer said. “I was wrong. He shocked me today. The President of the United States, in the middle of a real crisis, a few days after the beheading of an American, deliberately sort of spitting in the face of the country and demonstrating his cruelty, the president gets in front of the world and says, ‘I don’t have a strategy.'”
But even worse than the president’s statement that he had no strategy to defeat the Islamic State, Krauthammer said, was his comment about Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »
Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations
President Barack Obama faced a tough crowd on Tuesday – American military veterans – and fell flat on his applause lines as he failed to win over the American Legion’s convention-goers.
“You could tell when the applause was genuine and when it wasn’t. It was obvious to everyone here.”
– Virginia Legionnaire in attendance
The 35-minute speech seemed to have reminded the audience of the stark divide between the White House’s policy choices and the feelings of the men and women often called on to carry them out.
A Virginia legionnaire who served in the U.S. Marine Corps told MailOnline that ‘a small group of Obama’s admirers – and there are some here – sat near the front and tried to generate applause for him about 10 times.’ Read the rest of this entry »
This is a rather stunning admission: Justice Department attorneys have acknowledged that there are not, and have never been, any missing Lois Lerner e-mails. Judicial Watch, which has been pressing the IRS and the Obama administration for the Lerner e-mails in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, has just released this statement by JW president Tom Fitton:
Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system...(read more)
We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.
This is a jaw-dropping revelation…(read more)
The press release is here…
WASHINGTON — He had just hung up the telephone with the devastated parents before heading in front of the cameras. Unusually emotional, President Obama declared himself “heartbroken” by the brutal murder of an American journalist, James Foley…(more)
Reporters Released by Islamic State Say They Spent Several Months With Beheaded Journalist
PARIS - David Gauthier-Villars reports: Former French hostages in Syria said they spent several months in captivity with James Foley, the American journalist whose beheading was videotaped and posted on the Internet this week, and had shared the information with U.S. authorities.British Broadcasting Corp.
Didier François, a reporter with French radio Europe 1 who was kidnapped by Islamist insurgents in Syria in June of last year, said he shared a cell with Mr. Foley from September 2013 to April, when he was released by the group that calls itself Islamic State.
“He was an extraordinary man, an impressive journalist, an extremely strong man who never cracked down despite the incredibly difficult conditions.”
Mr. François told Europe 1. Upon his release with three other French reporters, Mr. François said he contacted Mr. Foley’s family, as well as U.S. authorities, to share information about the American correspondent.
U.S. Special Operations forces mounted an unsuccessful mission inside Syria earlier this summer to try to rescue Mr. Foley and other Americans held by the Islamic extremists, senior Obama administration officials have said. Read the rest of this entry »
President Bush said yesterday that he gave up golfing in 2003 “in solidarity” with the families of soldiers who were dying in Iraq, concluding that it was “just not worth it anymore” to play the sport in a time of war…(more)
NEW YORK TIMES HEADLINE: OBAMA VOWS TO ‘STAY ON COURSE’
The vacationing commander-in-chief returned to the golf course Wednesday after calling for justice in the brutal killing of an American journalist by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) terrorists. …
The president zipped quickly from a local school to a Martha’s Vineyard golf course after his 12:45 p.m. media session. Obama delivered a short statement and took no questions from the assembled media.
[VIDEO] Hubris: Obama Taking Credit for Iraq Troop Withdrawal Over and Over in 2012, Ducking Responsibility for it in 2014Posted: August 12, 2014
President Obama took credit for Iraq troop withdrawal over and over in 2012 before ducking responsibility for it in 2014. The first 3/4ths of this is predictable grandstanding, electioneering, credit-taking, campaigning, boasting, signature Obama. The sweet spot starts at around 46 seconds.
“Uh umm, you give me this office and in turn my, fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone. I am giving myself to you.“
Full in-context video here
One of the many things Obama campaigned on was a promise to restore confidence in the federal government’s competence after the failures of the Bush years. Building a case for expanding, not reducing, the role of big government in American life, while curbing overuse of executive power, scaling back military obligations, and ending intelligence agency abuses, the effort succeeded, and Democrats took power. Five years later, Obama’s campaign to make government better, more responsive, and more accountable is widely recognized for what it was–empty campaign rhetoric. Once in the White House, his administration became more secretive, more adventurous, and more abusive than any in the post-war era.
And the campaign never ended. Employing a variety of tactical maneuvers and rhetorical sleight-of-hand, this administration seeks to provide cover for one power grab after another. Defending Obama’s use of executive orders, his team–with help from the media–are waging a cynical campaign to mislead the American public.
This point can’t be made enough–quantity isn’t the issue, quality is–but that won’t put a dent in the rhetorical armor shielding the White House from charges of overreach. The predictable boasts by Administration officials and talking heads about Obama’s record of issuing fewer executive orders, or less than his predecessors, is meant to fortify effort. Why so cynical? One answer–though this deserves further exploration in a future post–is that it banks on the public’s escapist tendencies, it urges them to tune out.
Barack Obama is constantly mocking the House lawsuit by referencing the fact he’s issued the fewest executive orders of any president over the last century. His spin-squad, paid and unpaid, parrots the argument at every turn. My yell-at-the-TV gripe about this has mostly revolved around the fact that the number of executive orders has nothing to do with anything. The president could issue a hundred executive orders a day — about casual Friday dress codes, the need to label food in the West Wing fridge, about how August 15 will hence forth be known as “Wacky Sock Day” — and no one would care. Or he could issue one executive order during his entire presidency. If that one order was about “Wacky Sock Day,” again no one would care. Read the rest of this entry »
“That’s got to change to serve the president better, because right now the communications shop is ill-serving him.”
Disclosure: I had a phone conversation with Lanny Davis during the Clinton years. He was interested in a portrait I’d done of him in the New Republic, and sweet-talked me into giving it to him for next to nothing. I found Mr. Davis to be a disarming, self-deprecating, gently persuasive operator. Davis was viewed by the press at that time, as a ‘master of spin’. He’s well-positioned to make these observations, and I’m sure it gives him no pleasure to see a Democrat in the oval office being ill-served by communications director Dan Pfeiffer.
“It’s the cynical spin that I hear from the White House communications shop rather than constructive, outreach, high-level the way the way the president deserves.”
The strategy of the White House communications wing of “always demonizing the opposition” is not only damaging to the national discourse, but ultimately for President Obama as well, says Democratic adviser and strategist Lanny Davis…(read more)
FLASHBACK: June 10, 2008: ‘Impeaching George W. Bush, president of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors’Posted: August 3, 2014
For RealClearPolitics, Carl M. Cannon writes: One disconcerting feature of modern liberalism is that so many Democrats consider it reasonable to judge the Republican Party by its most rhetorically untethered adherents: Sarah Palin, for one. Or Rush Limbaugh. Texas Congressman Steve Stockman is another example.
Those three have been trying to nudge their fellow conservatives in the direction of impeaching President Obama. This suicidal idea has been duly ignored by the Senate Republican leadership, the House leadership, and every potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate.
“The sponsors of the Bush impeachment bill were congressional liberals in good standing with the Democratic leadership in the House, and most of them are still there, including—yes, you guessed it—Sheila Jackson Lee.”
It has been rejected out of hand, really, by almost every prominent Republican in the country, including the never-shy Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Limbaugh is a famous talk radio provocateur; Palin a failed vice president candidate who resigned from Alaska’s governorship after less than one full term to cash in as an author and Fox News talking head. Stockman is a fringe character departing the House after losing a Republican senatorial primary in landslide. In other words, these are not people in positions of authority or responsibility within the Republican Party.
The actual officeholders and party professionals stoking impeachment talk are all Democrats. This is disquieting for several reasons. For starters, having White House officials and leading congressional Democrats claim with straight faces that impeachment is a serious threat is cynical and dishonest. Its purpose is to frighten liberals into donating money to Democrats, a tactic that is working. But it suggests a political party that is out of gas and out of ideas.
Speaking in Kansas City last week, Obama sounded more Valley Girl than presidential. “We could do so much more if Congress would just come on and help out a little bit,” he complained. “Stop being mad all the time. Stop just hating all the time.”
On Capitol Hill, Democrats deliberately conflated the loose talk of impeachment with the House Republicans’ pending lawsuit against Obama over a series of executive orders and administrative waivers regarding the Affordable Care Act. This, too, is a nasty little ploy: Impeachment is a right-wing fantasy. Going to court over the separation of powers disputes is a way to address constitutional disputes. Read the rest of this entry »
…Over the last month… an entire apocalyptic fund-raising campaign has been built around the specter of a House impeachment vote.
Anyone paying attention knows that no such impeachment plan is currently afoot. So taken on its own, the impeachment chatter would simply be an unseemly, un-presidential attempt to raise money and get out the 2014 vote…
“The president is contemplating — indeed, all but promising — an extraordinary abuse of office.”
…Beyond a certain point, as the president himself has conceded in the past, selective enforcement of our laws amounts to a de facto repeal of their provisions. And in this case the de facto repeal would aim to effectively settle — not shift, but settle — a major domestic policy controversy on the terms favored by the White House.
[White House Double-Speak - Obama on DREAM Act: Can't "just change the laws unilaterally" Transcript]
[Not seeing the big picture - To improve its standing with voters, the White House tries to drum up some trouble for itself - Time]
“This is the tone of the media right now: The president may get the occasional rebuke for impeachment-baiting, but what the White House wants to do on immigration is assumed to be reasonable, legitimate, within normal political bounds.”
[Setting the Table: Pfeiffer: ‘The President Has No Choice but to Act’]
“It is not: It would be lawless, reckless, a leap into the antidemocratic dark.”
…This simply does not happen in our politics. Presidents are granted broad powers over foreign policy, and they tend to push the envelope substantially in wartime. But domestic power grabs are usually modest in scope, and executive orders usually work around the margins of hotly contested issues.
In defense of going much, much further, the White House would doubtless cite the need to address the current migrant surge, the House Republicans’ resistance to comprehensive immigration reform and public opinion’s inclination in its favor. Read the rest of this entry »
Immigration is now President Obama’s worst issue http://t.co/aELOG7Si4M
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 31, 2014