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August 31, 2011

Boundless Arrogance

I'm shocked and amazed at the boundless arrogance of Obama.  Here is his letter "respectfully" requesting the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress, picking the date and time of the Republican presidential debate for his speech.

August 31, 2011

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. Leader:)

Our Nation faces unprecedented economic challenges, and millions of hardworking Americans continue to look for jobs. As I have traveled across our country this summer and spoken with our fellow Americans, I have heard a consistent message: Washington needs to put aside politics and start making decisions based on what is best for our country and not what is best for each of our parties in order to grow the economy and create jobs. We must answer this call.

Therefore, I respectfully request the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on September 7, 2011, at 8:00 p.m. It is my intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money in the paychecks of the Middle Class and working Americans, while still reducing our deficit and getting our fiscal house in order. It is our responsibility to find bipartisan solutions to help grow our economy, and if we are willing to put country before party, I am confident we can do just that. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA

It would be one thing if we thought he had anything of the slightest value to say about jobs, but his record on the economy has already demonstrated that he's got nothing.  Now that he's had his little Martha's Vineyard vacation he's decided it's time to get down to the important work — campaigning for re-election. 

In a bare knuckled partisan insult, he's chosen to pre-empt the long scheduled Republican presidential debate.  It's clear from the obnoxious tone of his letter that he plans to propose higher taxes and more Keynesian spending, both of which are unpalatable to Republicans and most Americans, and won't create any lasting jobs.  When his plan is rejected, as it will no doubt richly deserve to be, he will accuse Republicans of putting party over country. 

2012 can't come soon enough.

Update:  Obama reschedules at Boehner's request.

The two-hour debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, was supposed to start at 8 p.m. on Sept. 7. In Obama's letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, the president requested to speak before a joint session of Congress at the very same time. 

The president needs permission from congressional leaders in order to deliver the address. While House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi welcomed the president, Boehner said in a letter late Wednesday afternoon that he would like the president to pick a different time, and told GOP members during a conference call that he'd invite Obama to speak on Thursday, Sept. 8. He did not mention the debate. Since the House does not come into session until Sept. 7, with votes scheduled that evening, Boehner expressed concern about the time it would take to conduct the security sweep in time for a presidential speech.  

Sources familiar with the conference call also said Boehner explained that a joint session is a difficult procedure to pull off in a short time.

"It is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks," Boehner wrote. 

Boehner's spokesman added in a statement that the White House ignored protocol by not first requesting a date from the speaker's office.

"It's unfortunate the White House ignored decades -- if not centuries -- of the protocol of working out a mutually agreeable date and time before making any public announcement," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said.

A senior House Democratic aide called Boehner's office "childish" for asking the president to reschedule.

Good for Boehner. 

Posted by Tom Bowler at 05:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 29, 2011

How Goes The Pivot?

According to an August 3rd Fox News report, President Obama has once again turned his focus on jobs.

With the debt-ceiling debate in Washington's rear view, President Obama emerged from the partisan rubble vowing -- as he has many times since taking office -- to devote his energy to jobs.

Americans "want us to get this economy growing and adding jobs," the president said.

The call echoed his 2010 State of the Union pledge to make jobs his "No. 1 focus."

This isn't the first time Obama has decided he would focus like a laser on jobs.  After his most recent pivot, Dr. Clark Jensen counted seven other times when the president promised that his focus would be on jobs.

Obama has stated at least 7 times, during his administration, that he would focus on jobs.  Here are the dates he said we needed to improve the job situation and promised that, “he was on it.”

February 2009, in a speech to Congress, Obama said his economic plan was to focus on jobs.

November 2009, during the Health Care debate, Obama promised again, “This is my administrations overriding focus.”

January 2010, he said, “What they can expect from this administration, and I know what they can expect from you, is that we are going to have a sustained and relentless focus over the next several months on accelerating the pace of job creation, because that’s priority number one.”

April and May 2010, Obama did a “Main Street” tour to stop and talk about jobs to the people on the street.

June 2010, he talked about the “beginning of the recovery summer.”

December 2010, he said, “And I think we are past the crisis point in the economy, but we now have to pivot and focus on jobs and growth.”

January 2011:  Obama talked about job creation in the State of the Union address and launched the “Startup America” initiative.

And just recently after the debt ceiling was raised, he once again said we needed to “pivot” towards job creation.

Is it just me or does it seem to you like he is having a lot of trouble staying focused.

Well, since the good Doctor asks, I think Obama is remarkably focused but not on jobs, unless you want to count killing off non-union jobs as a political favor to his labor union base of support.

In today's Wall Street Journal we get another example of Obama saying one thing while doing another when it comes to jobs.  At a time when an unprecented number of Americans are out of work, the Environmental Protection Agency is rewriting air-pollution rules in a way that is expected to shut down a significant percentage of our coal-fired power plants.

The EPA is currently pushing an unprecedented rewrite of air-pollution rules in an attempt to shut down a large portion of the coal-fired power fleet. Though these regulations are among the most expensive in the agency's history, none were demanded by the late Pelosi Congress. They're all the result of purely bureaucratic discretion under the Clean Air Act, last revised in 1990.

As it happens, those 1990 amendments contain an overlooked proviso that would let Mr. Obama overrule EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's agenda. With an executive order, he could exempt all power plants "from compliance with any standard or limitation" for two years, or even longer using rolling two-year periods. All he has to declare is "that the technology to implement such standard is not available and that it is in the national security interests of the United States to do so."

Both criteria are easily met. Most important, the EPA's regulatory cascade is a clear and present danger to the reliability and stability of the U.S. power system and grid. The spree affects plants that provide 40% of U.S. baseload capacity in the U.S., and almost half of U.S. net generation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which is charged with ensuring the integrity of the power supply, reported this month in a letter to the Senate that 81 gigawatts of generating capacity is "very likely" or "likely" to be subtracted by 2018 amid coal plant retirements and downgrades.

That's about 8% of all U.S. generating capacity. Merely losing 56 gigawatts—a midrange scenario in line with FERC and industry estimates—is the equivalent of wiping out all power generation for Florida and Mississippi.

I'm going to edge out onto this limb and suggest that shutting off 8% of our power will hurt rather than help job creation.  Does anybody really believe that Obama will delay the power shutdown?

Posted by Tom Bowler at 06:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 26, 2011

Reaganomics Vs. Obamanomics

From Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal:

The Reagan philosophy was to incentivize production—i.e., the "supply side" of the economy—by lowering restraints on business expansion and investment. This was done by slashing marginal income tax rates, eliminating regulatory high hurdles, and reining in inflation with a tighter monetary policy.

The Keynesians in the early 1980s assured us that the Reagan expansion would not and could not happen. Rapid growth with new jobs and falling rates of inflation (to 4% in 1983 from 13% in 1980) is an impossibility in Keynesian textbooks.

...

The economy would soon take flight for more than 80 consecutive months. Then the Reagan critics declared what they once thought couldn't work was actually a textbook Keynesian expansion fueled by budget deficits of $200 billion a year, or about 4%-5% of GDP.

...
Fast-forward to today. Mr. Obama is running deficits of $1.3 trillion, or 8%-9% of GDP. If the Reagan deficits powered the '80s expansion, the Obama deficits—twice as large—should have the U.S. sprinting at Olympic speed.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 06:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 25, 2011

A Man With Connections

A ringing endorsement for Rick Perry by Kinky Friedman.

I know Rick Perry to be a true friend of Israel, like Bill Clinton and George W. before him. There exists a visceral John Wayne kinship between Israelis and Texans, and Rick Perry gets it. That’s why he’s visited Israel on many more occasions than Obama, who’s been there exactly zero times as president. If I were Obama I wouldn’t go either. His favorability rating in Israel once clocked in at 4 percent. Say what you will about the Israelis, but they are not slow out of the chute. They know who their friends are. On the topic of the Holy Land, there remains the little matter of God. God talks to televangelists, football coaches, and people in mental hospitals. Why shouldn’t he talk to Rick Perry? In the spirit of Joseph Heller, I have a covenant with God. I leave him alone and he leaves me alone. If, however, I have a big problem, I ask God for the answer. He tells Rick Perry. And Rick tells me.

So would I support Rick Perry for president? Hell, yes!

Posted by Tom Bowler at 01:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Washington's Main Man

According to Karl Rove, House Speaker John Boehner is the man in Washington who has had the largest impact on our national agenda. 

In February, the speaker and his new House majority cut Mr. Obama's planned 2011 budget by $61 billion and then, in April, slashed the government's spending authority by $38 billion.

Then there was the debt-ceiling battle. Mr. Obama started by insisting on a "clean debt-ceiling vote," meaning an increase without spending cuts.

Mr. Boehner simply refused to accept the president's claim that not a dime of spending could be cut. Instead the speaker calmly and firmly stated his conditions: Any debt-ceiling increase must be "accompanied by meaningful action to cut spending." And in a May speech to the Economic Club of New York, he laid down his marker: Any debt-limit increase must be paired with bigger spending cuts and no tax hikes.

On the defensive, Mr. Obama abandoned his demand for a clean debt-ceiling increase and began advocating "a balanced approach" of spending cuts and tax increases. But Mr. Boehner rallied his colleagues and once again Mr. Obama came out the loser.

Mr. Boehner may not be an inspiring orator, but he has moved the country and Congress in his direction.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 08:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 23, 2011

What The Tea Party Understood From The Beginning

On Thursday, October 30, 2008, five days before the election Barack Obama told a University of Missouri audience that he intended to fundamentally transform America.  Americans took him at his word and in a matter of months the Tea Party was born.  At the time, details of the Obama's transformation hadn't been spelled out, but Tea Partiers understood the implications. 

Obama's signature issue was health care reform, which represented a major transformation of the U.S. economic and political landscapes.  Of course it was not sold as such.  "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," promised President Obama in August of 2009.  One month later the Tea Party gathered in Washington, DC in a massive show of skepticism, but Obama and Senate Democrats forged ahead.  In December 2009 The Senate passed ObamaCare by a margin 60 - 39 with all Republicans voting against it.

Once again the Tea Party registered its objections.  In January 2010 Massachusetts voters elected Republican Scott Brown over prohibitive favorite Martha Coakely in a special election to replace Ted Kennedy who died of cancer.  Brown won by promising to be the 41st vote against ObamaCare if it ever went back to the Senate for reconciliation with yet a to be passed House version.  But ObamaCare never went back to the Senate, since the House simply passed the Senate version and ObamaCare was signed into law.

Then came the court challenges with the most recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit declaring the individual mandate to be unconstitutional.  The implications of ObamaCare, so clear to the Tea Party, were distilled by Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in its decision in FLORIDA v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES.

In sum, the individual mandate is breathtaking in its expansive scope. It regulates those who have not entered the health care market at all. It regulates those who have entered the health care market, but have not entered the insurance market (and have no intention of doing so). It is overinclusive in when it regulates: it conflates those who presently consume health care with those who will not consume health care for many years into the future. The government's position amounts to an argument that the mere fact of an individual's existence substantially affects interstate commerce, and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life. This theory affords no limiting principles in which to confine Congress's enumerated power.

Now, there's a transformation for you.  No limit to the power of Congress to regulate Americans "at every point in their life."  This is what the Tea Party understood.  The Constitution with its Tenth Amendment becomes meaningless under ObamaCare.

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

What's left in the way of power that can be reserved to the people when our mere existence entitles Congress to say what we must buy and when we must buy it?  All impediments to the power of progressive politicians to firmly guide us toward correct thought and action are swept away with ObamaCare.  It's what health care reform has always been about.  It's not as if progressives care about anybody's health.  If they did, maybe their focus would on improving health care itself instead of meddling with health insurance.  The Tea Party understood this from the beginning.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 02:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 19, 2011

Perry's Jobs Record

Megan McArdle is skeptical.  She doesn't think Rick Perry deserves much credit for creating all those jobs in Texas.  However, after laying out her argument point by point she blows it with her conclusion (my emphasis):

There are a lot of reasons for Texan growth, and very few of them can be laid at the feet of the governor. For which we should really thank God.  If states really could be boosted into the stratosphere, or driven into the ground, merely by changing the occupant of the governor's office, we'd have to live with the constant risk that our fellow voters would elect an idiot, and destroy our lives.

Does the name Obama ring a bell?  OK, he's the president, not a governor, but sheesh!  Where has she been?

Posted by Tom Bowler at 09:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

"Ideology Trumps Reality Every Time"

Read this from Victor Davis Hanson.  Here's a flavor of it:

Start Hiring, Stupid!

Both the president and his supporters fault supposedly self-interested corporations and “the rich” who sit on “trillions of dollars” in capital and won’t hire new workers or make massive purchases of equipment. They are the real cause of record budget deficits, unsustainable aggregate debt, credit downgrading, high unemployment, a nose-diving stock market, sluggish growth, near-zero interest rates, explosive trade deficits, sky-high energy and food prices, a still ruined housing market, and a general fear of new hyperinflation.

There is some truth to Obama’s screed, though not quite in the way he thinks. So let me be perfectly clear and make no mistake about it and let’s be honest: The employers of America have taken a time out, despite the fact that now might be a good time to gear up for the inevitable recovery. They haven’t let the resting world fall entirely from their broad shoulders, but they have bent over for a bit and the globe is tottering on their upper arms.

Consider why after nearly three years our tired Atlas is starting to slouch.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Understanding Obama

Charles Krauthammer explores the question, is it's Obama's bad luck or bad faith.  It's really his hubris. 

Obama’s answer? He doesn’t even engage. That’s the point of these ugly accusations of bad faith. They are the equivalent of branding Republicans enemies of the people. Gov. Rick Perry has been rightly chided for throwing around the word “treasonous” in reference to the Fed. Obama gets a pass for doing the same, only slightly more artfully, regarding Republicans. After all, he is accusing them of wishing to see America fail for their own political gain. What is that if not a charge of betraying one’s country?

L'etat c'est moi?  C'est Obama.  At least in Obama's thinking.  He is the country.  To oppose Obama's policies is to be unpatriotic.  Not to mention racist, but Obama leaves that cudgel for the left wing media to swing.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 07:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2011

The Coming Campaign

It's going to be ugly.  Why?  It's what progressives do when things don't go their way, and the thing that isn't going their way is the economy, which doesn't look like it's going to go their way anytime soon.  Michael Barone explains why in his column on what progressives consider their economic ideal, the midwest economic model.

The Michigan model was based on the Progressive/New Deal assumption that, after the transition from farm to factory, the best way to secure growth was through big companies and big labor unions.

The Big Three auto companies, economist John Kenneth Galbraith wrote, could create endless demand for their products through manipulative advertising and planned obsolescence. The United Auto Workers would ensure that productivity gains would be shared by workers and the assembly line would never be speeded up.

It worked, but only for a while.  By the end of the 1970s the stylish junk rolling off of Detroit's planned obsolescence assembly lines had become boring, non-descript junk, and the door swung open for the Japanese auto makers to establish a firm foothold in the American market.  We could stand the boring cars, but couldn't they at least start when you turned the key?  "Made in Japan," once a label that stood for cheap, shoddy, toys became the symbol of high quality automobiles.  Competition from Honda, Toyota, and Nissan began the slow disintegration of the midwest model.

Obama knows only union dominated economic models, either midwestern or European.  Perhaps it's because they are really political models.  In Obama's limited imagination the private sector is a mysterious black box.  His challenge is to extract as much revenue as is politically practicable for the accomplishment of progressive goals, primarily the goal of keeping progressives permanently in power.  With that in mind Obama seeks to return the country to a place where big companies churned out the wealth and big unions spread it around — most importantly into Democratic party campaign coffers. 

Since Obama doesn't know of any alternative, he focused vast taxpayer resources on resuscitating the Midwest Model through the GM and Chrysler bailouts.  But even if both companies survive and prosper, the Midwest Model is gone.  There is just too much competition among the states to allow it.

So what does the president have to offer the Midwest? The idea that the wave of the future is an ever-larger public sector financed by a more or less stagnant private sector looks increasingly absurd. The Midwest's public sector has, as Margaret Thatcher put it, run on "other people's money." Meanwhile, Mr. Obama's trip to the Midwest has been preceded by Texas Gov. Rick Perry's foray into Waterloo, Iowa. Mr. Perry points out that his state, with low taxes and light regulation, has been producing nearly half of America's new jobs. The Texas model may be sweeping the Midwest, not vice versa.

Naturally, Governor Perry's record on jobs is a threat that lefty pundits can't ignore.  They downplay it, noting that Texas unemployment is still pretty high at 8.2%, but ignoring the fact that the Texas population is exploding as people flood the state looking for work.  Progressive politicos claim that the jobs created in Texas are low paying jobs, but the blog Political Math dismantles lefty arguments with charts and graphs and an analysis of the data underlying the Texas job numbers that comes to this conclusion.

I mentioned at the beginning that Texas is seeing high unemployment in a large part because they're growing so damn fast. The problem with this from a charts and graphs perspective is that it leaves worse states off the hook, making them look better than they actually are. Looking at unemployment alone, we would conclude that Wisconsin has a better economy than Texas. But Wisconsin is still 120K short of it's pre-recession numbers. The only reason they look better than Texas is because 32,000 people fled the state. During that time, 739,000 people fled into Texas. Anyone who takes that data and pretends that this is somehow bad news for Texas is simply not being honest.

...

My point is to show that most of the "excuses" you will hear about Texas' job statistics are based in nothing more than a hope that Rick Perry had nothing to do with them and not on a sound understanding of the data.

My advice to anti-Perry advocates is this: Give up talking about Texas jobs. Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they're creating ones with higher wages.

One can argue that Perry had very little to do with the job situation in Texas, but such a person should be probably prepare themselves for the consequences of that line of reasoning. If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere? And why would someone advocate any sort of "job creating" policies if policies don't seem to matter in when it comes to the decade long governor of Texas?

Americans are learning that policies do matter, having seen Obama's policies in action for two and a half years.  Europe is what we see.  Bankruptcy, violence, and riots.  The European Model doesn't measure up to the Texas Model, which leaves Obama without policies he can credibly campaign in favor of.  He has only people he can campaign against, and his allies in the media dutifully join in.  Prime targets are the Republican presidential front runner and the Tea Party.

On Monday's "The Ed Show," MSNBC host Ed Schultz played a video of a campaign speech by Texas Governor Rick Perry that had been deliberately doctored to change a comment about our massive national debt into a racist slur aimed at Barack Obama.  Newsbusters has the video and the transcript.

SCHULTZ: You know, folks, this is the same garbage with heard from Sarah Palin and all these Tea Party attack artists in this country. I think there`s an element of racism every time people claim the first black president doesn't love this country.

Perry comes from the radical country club that loves to remind white America President Obama is other, not like you.

Perry also wants you to know that he's pro-business.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I'm a pro-business governor. I don`t make any apologies about it, and I will be a pro-business president. Getting America back to work is the most important issue that faces this country, being able to pay off $14.5 trillion or $16 trillion worth of debt. That big black cloud that hangs over America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: That black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.

A day later Schultz admitted to the deceptive editing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY (R-TEXAS): I'm a pro-business governor. I don`t make any apologies about it, and I will be a pro-business president. Getting America back to work is the most important issue that faces this country, being able to pay off $14.5 trillion or $16 trillion worth of debt. That big black cloud that hangs over America, that debt that is so monstrous. There’s only one way you get rid of it that’s practical, that makes sense, and that is to free up America, free up American entrepreneurs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHULTZ: No doubt about it, it was a mistake and we regret the error on this particular statement. We should not have included it in our coverage of his overheated rhetoric. That’s our mistake.

No doubt about it, Governor Perry is the candidate lefties fear most.  When the charge of racism won't stick, lefties opt for the the next best thing which is to dismiss an opponent as stupid.  In that vein here is lefty pundit Kevin Drum on the subject of Governor Perry:

He's too dumb. Go ahead, call me an elitist. I'm keenly aware that Americans don't vote for presidents based on their SAT scores, but everything I've read about Perry suggests that he's a genuinely dim kind of guy. Not just incurious or too sure about his gut feelings, like George Bush, but simply not bright enough to handle the demands of the Oval Office. Americans might not care if their presidents are geniuses, but there's a limit to how doltish they can be too.

And that's the tame stuff.  For a flavor of how ugly things can really get, we need only look to the mindless rage the Tea Party induces in progressives.  The Tea Party represents progressives' worst fears — large numbers of people who disagree with them and aren't embarrassed to say so. 

Recall that their very first reaction to the Tea Party by progressives was to accuse the Tea Party of racism, which being untrue didn't stick.  And so they accused the Tea Party of being violent, but that wouldn't stick either.  Next they said violent Tea Party rhetoric incited violence by others.

As it happens the Tea Party does in fact induce violent rhetoric in progressives.  Certainty that the Tea Party is a potent force which will have a profound impact upon the 2012 presidential campaign has progressives in a rage.  Consider this bit from a recent editorial column by Deepak Chopra, who calls himself a spiritualist.  He has remarkable suggestions as to how Obama ought to deal with the Tea Party.

An intolerant faction like the Tea Party cannot be tolerated. They must be stopped with harsh, combative measures. A crazy minority is running rough shod over the executive branch and shows no sign of relenting. Fighting for your principles is more honorable than compromise with immorality and injustice. Reason is a foolish, impotent guide when you are under constant attack. The bad guys should be named in public and opposed with all necessary force.

What exactly is our spiritualist author promoting?  What harsh, combative measures?  What necessary force?  It's not surprising that a progressive would recommend using "necessary force" against the Tea Party.  After all, violence comes more commonly from the left than from the right.  Here is a recent example.

King Electrical Services owner John King was shot by a person who appears to be from one of the many unions who have targeted his workers, Toledo News Channel 11 WTOL reports.  King is the largest non-union electrical contractor company in the area of southeastern Michigan near the Ohio border.

He has a long history of being on the receiving end of union-related violence, and this case doesn’t appear to be any different. Before shooting him, the gunman etched the word “SCAB” into the side of King’s SUV.

With Barack Obama's popularity is sinking like a stone, progressives have only one campaign strategy.  Attack.  Attack the character, intelligence, morals, whatever — the charges don't have to be true — of whoever runs against Barack Obama.  It's going to be ugly, and there's no really telling how ugly.

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