The Legacy of Barack Obama

February 16, 2015

Thoughts on the legacy of President Barack Obama 2-16-15

The election of Barack Obama

President Obama’s legacy will be inextricably linked to the fact that he was the first African American to be elected president.  A Black man in the White House.  The Founding Fathers, including those who wrote the words “All men are created equal” owned slaves.  So the election, in itself, will always be a great moment in our nation’s history and part of the Obama legacy.

That’s why they gave him a Nobel Peace Prize before he had even done anything.  His election alone was stunning.

How will he be immediately judged?

If his current media treatment is any indication he will be immediately praised to the heavens by liberals and critiqued by conservatives.   Liberal think tanks of historians will immediately say he is one of America’s greatest presidents.  I should point out, shortly after he was elected president the Sienna Institute named him as the 15th greatest president in history.  So get ready for a healthy debate.

What will he do?

I’ve always argued that his post presidency will be hugely eventful.  In some respects his legacy will be in his hands.  More than any other president in history his post White House years may define him.  He could be a “Jesse Jackson on steroids, with companies seeking to have his approval and putting him, or his surrogates, on their boards of directors.  Expect his team to bully the television executives to give him good coverage.  His NGO will rival Bill Clinton’s and raise billions of dollars.  He will be an international sensation.

What will it mean long term?

Long term?  The quick answer is – we don’t know.

A more prosaic answer is that it depends on the kind of America we have in the future.

If American swings back to a more constitutional form of government and to a more free market economy, your grandchildren will hear history teachers say we almost lost it all under Barack Obama.  That the whole American experiment was almost cashed in.  But don’t count on it.

It is much more likely that American continues to move toward a more government managed economy and government managed education and society, then our grandchildren will hear history teachers say that America is today what it is, because of Barack Obama.  Not FDR, not Lincoln… but Barack Obama.

So the future legacy of Obama will depend on the future of America.

And some would say that the combination of numbers, including those in the general public who benefit from a more socialist form of government and corporations who have their own government subsidies or special insider laws or contracts that give them an advantage, that those numbers mean that it is already too late.  That is, the people who are now gaming the system outnumber and outvote the people who are living under its rules – trying to make a living without any special advantage.

What was his greatest moment?

Getting Osama Bin Laden.  He made a gutsy call and it worked.

What will be seen as his greatest failure?

It has to the plight of the poor.  According to a groundbreaking study at UC Berkley, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer on a massive scale under Barak Obama.  That has to be a disappointment for him and it is a terrible legacy for a liberal president to carry.  It is causing a lot of people to rethink.

Conclusions?

Either way, this presidency of Barak Obama has been a linchpin and will be one of the most significant in all of American history.  It was set up by 9-11 and by the failed economy of the Bush presidency but the final responsibility for what happened in his two terms is his.  Whether he is seen as a good or bad leader will be partly determined by how good and bad is defined in the future.

And in 100 years?

My guess is that like Reagan, he will gain in respect.  I have liberal friends who hated Reagan who now speak respectfully because he is gone and no longer a threat. I think that will happen with Obama for different reasons,  partly because he is African American and we are still living down a legacy of slavery in our history.  People will find other ways to argue policies and even conservatives will treat him nicely when he is gone and no longer a threat. That’s my suspicion.


What’s with Rand Paul’s blue jeans?

February 2, 2015

Doug Wead on Neil Cavuto, February 2, 2015.


Will Hillary’ granddaughter be a game changer?

September 29, 2014

Will Hillary Clinton’s new granddaughter be a political plus or minus? Will she make us feel kinder toward Hillary, a sometimes choleric personality, or will she remind us that the Clinton’s have been around too long and are corrupted by the process?  Or does it really matter?

Here’s my historical rule of thumb.  Grandkids are usually bad for male leaders and good for female leaders.  The American electorate, anyway, clearly likes their men young and vigorous like John  F. Kennedy and Theodore Roosevelt.   And worldwide, older women have been more successful in politics than younger women.  Maggie Thatcher comes to mind.  So too does Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who was revered for her wisdom.   She was actually called “the grandmother of the Jewish nation.”

John F. Kennedy was portrayed as youthful and “vigorous,” his failing health hidden from view.  FDR’s polio was carefully shielded by an adoring press who traded access to the boss for serving as his personal public relations team.

When Ronald Reagan’s grandchildren were photographed with the president building a snowman in the Rose Garden, Reagan’s media savvy staffer, Michael Deaver, had a fit.  The grandchildren were never to be seen.  Even the children were kept at bay, when possible.  The Reagan children, products of different marriages were a reminder that the president had been divorced and the grandchildren were reminders that he was old.  Even today, while most Americans can name the Reagan children, not very many can name the grandchildren who were kept from view.

In fact, many recent presidents were grandfathers with grandchildren roaming the halls of the White House.  George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Dwight Eisenhower and FDR all had grandchildren living, at various times, in the White House.

Eisenhower’s grandson, David, lived in the White House with his mother and father, John and Barbara Eisenhower.  The latter, the president’s daughter in law, served as Eisenhower’s hostess on road trips in place of the First Lady.  Mamie Eisenhower had a fear of flying.

Meanwhile, in the Eisenhower White House, grandson David played with the Vice President’s daughter, Julie Nixon.  Years later they were married on the eve of the Nixon presidency, thus at least one president’s grandchild helped elect an American president.

The very first president, George Washington, married the widow, Martha Custis and when her children died, they raised the grandchildren as their own.  George and Martha lived with them in the president’s mansion while George served as the nation’s head of state.

America’s love affair with young, vigorous presidents may be a reaction to our European, monarchial roots.   European cultures have sometimes revered their aging political leaders as if they were Kings or Queen s.  French President Charles de Gaulle served until age 79.  British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was finally voted out of power at age 81. Otto von Bismarck served as German Chancellor until age 75.  German leader, Paul Hindenburg, served as president until age 86 and in more recent years, Conrad Adenauer served until age 87.

Young female leaders have a more challenging time.  When a younger, First Lady, Hillary Clinton tried to organize the White House push for healthcare, critics said she came off as pushy and presumptuous.  When Republican presidential candidate, Michelle Bachman, an Evangelical Christian, won the Ames, Iowa Cavalcade Straw Poll in 2011 and had a clear path to winning the Iowa Caucus, Southern Baptists leaders rejected the idea of a women candidate and pushed for Texas Governor Rick Perry, also an evangelical Christian, to get into the race.  It was a disaster.  Both candidates failed.

When GOP nominee, John McCain picked Alaska governor, Sarah Palin as his running mate, critics labeled her screechy and shallow.  Her biggest critics were other women.

The gold standard for modern women political leaders is the late, former, Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher.  The story is that she was given voice lessons to help her lower her voice from a shrill housewife to the calm, sagacious leader that is known to history.

Likewise, one can see the changes in Hillary Clinton’s demeanor.  She has morphed from what critics described as the mean-spirited, know-it-all supervisor of the driver’s license bureau into a more wise and caring leader.  It is very likely that a granddaughter will only speed up that transformation.  If Hillary Clinton is elected president and her political advisers trump the Clinton family penchant for personal privacy, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, born September 26, 2014, to Marc and Chelsea Mezvinsky, may just be the most visible presidential grandchild we have seen in a long time.


Is Obama too big too fail? Why is he acting so strangely?

July 26, 2014

President Barack Obama’s shameless fundraising tours in the midst of a world in chaos have brought immediate comparisons to Ronald Reagan.   Led by his erstwhile advisers, such as Michael Deaver, who understood imagery, Reagan would have been back in the Oval Office, looking presidential and sounding like the statesman he was.  Reagan would likely have brought his government together, State Department, NSA, Pentegon, CIA and taken an assessment of how it could all impact on American economy and lives.  He would likely have given a national address, reassuring the nation and signalling the world how we expect civilized people to act.

On the surface, Obama’s actions are incomprehensible.  There is no explanation.  Obama appears transcendent, not responsible for his own administration and uncaring about the world around him.

It has been the Obama style from the beginning. The economic crisis was the fault of the previous administration.  When his own stimulus program could not produce one of the one million jobs he promised, it was replaced with more of the same and  blame on congress for failing to immediately enact more of what wasn’t working.

The president declared that he had no responsibility for the IRS which was blatantly being used for political purposes, he had nothing to do with the failed Healthcare website and nothing to do with the Veteran’s Administration which was corrupt on his watch. Whatever happened to Harry Truman and his Oval Office motto, “the buck stops here?”

It was not just that the president was not in charge of anything, or seemed to know anything, or should be blamed for anything, it was also when we found out differently he didn’t apologize.  When we learned, for example, that the $678 million , no bid, Healthcare website was awarded to Michelle Obama’s buddy from Princeton, the White House ignored it all.  When a news agency asked about it they were charged with racism.  When the president’s hand picked political lieutenant at the IRS claimed she had lost her emails the president defended her.

Sometimes, these juxtapositions can get downright comical.  Recently, General Motors was fined millions of dollars by the Justice Department for faulty ignition issues when, in fact, at that time, the company was owned and being run by the U.S. government.  Should the Justice Department fine itself?  When Obama ran for re-election he bragged about saving the auto industry?  But he has no responsibility for the company he bought.   The President is too big to fail.

On closer examination, Obama’s recent actions make sense.  He is angling for his post presidential role.  He will either be the Secretary General of the United Nations or else he will be some NGO equivalent.  Thus, he spent the week campaigning for the Democrat Party and ultimately Hillary Clinton whom he will need as an ally if he is to realize his ambition.  Nor would he want to poke the Russians more than necessary.

And the Federal Aviation Administration’s sudden cancellation of all flights to Tel Aviv?  At a cost to Israel of millions of dollars?  At first we were told that the president didn’t get involved in such things.  And given the fact that the president isn’t responsible for the economy, the IRS, his own Healthcare namesake and the Veterans Administration, to name a few departments, then one could almost believe it.    What does he do with all that free time?  But if he is now on track for his post presidency then it makes perfect sense.  The U.N. votes solidly against Israel, with only American on her side.  Obama will need to have some more of these anti-Israel moments to shore up his support from the African and Arab nations who dominate the the U.N. and will dictate the reach of any international role.

There was an awkward scene on CNN last week.  Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg snapped at Wolf Blitzer.  The CNN reporter had asked if the FAA decision represented policy.  Given Obama’s anti Israel record it was a reasonable question.  And it had just been raised by a U.S. Senator.  A testy Bloomberg was outraged at Wolf Blitzer for daring to ask such a thing.  It was another shameful moment.  Bloomberg has taken a lot of heat for his slavish support of Obama, in spite of his record toward Israel.

The irony was that Bloomberg’s very appearance was proof of the politics of the policy. If Tel Aviv was safe, and Bloomberg could fly there, then why was it ordered closed to all American airlines?  And if it wasn’t safe, why was it opened up again after the American people reacted to the FAA’ decision with outrage?

Oh, by the way, as someone who once worked in the White House, I can tell you that no one at the FAA would make such an unprecedented and politically charged decision without the okay of the president of the United States.  Sorry.

It all points to this very likely scenario.  We will have Barrack Obama on the world stage for a very, very long time to come.

 

Below was a controversial “what would Reagan do” moment during the Egyptian crisis and the Arab spring.  On this segment, several years ago, I voiced a lonely position that turned out to be prophetic.


Edward Snowden, American hero

June 24, 2013

Is Edward Snowden a Benedict Arnold or a Paul Revere?

According to the US government Snowden is a spy.

That is the official word from Attorney General Eric Holder who is accusing him of espionage.  He is not a hero, we are now being told.  He is not a whistleblower?  He has not done a service to the American people?

How did this happen?  How and why did the national news media change its coverage on a dime, in a single day last week, leaving its television audiences laughing aloud at the audacious about face.  All week Snowden was a hero, exposing the unconstitutional NSA surveillance and in one moment he suddenly morphs into a traitor.

Isn’t this  the same Eric Holder who told a federal judge that James Rosen of Fox  News was “an aider, abettor and / or co-conspirator” in espionage?

Oh that? Old news. Holder was exaggerating to get a warrant.  it was a white lie.  All is forgiven.  The Fox is back in the pen.  But don’t try that at home.

Meanwhile, now that Edward Snowden has sacrificed his life for freedom of speech and our right to privacy, the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution,  the  national media is falling all over themselves to prove their loyalty to the all powerful government, lining  up against their latest target.

Snowden is a fake.  He is not our friend.  “He did this for attention,” says  Michelle Cottle of the Daily Beast, during a CNN appearance.  Thanks Michelle, brilliant.  The NSA can now stop transcribing your phone conversations.   Well done.  You’re safe.  The First Amendment can go to hell.

The media seems to believe that Snowden should wait patiently to be picked up by the US government, that he is wrong to run.  That he should trust the people who he knows have been lying to the American public about surveillance and who allow torture as long as the people doing the torturing are Americans and don’t wear black or have scary music in the background.  That would be too close to the Nazis.

It is clear that Snowden did not expect to be on the run.  Did  he really think he could escape from a government who has everyone’s emails and phone conversations stored away?  Did he think that any corporation or ambassador or head of state or government in the world would stand before such a power?  This is the new atomic bomb and America has it.  No one else.  We rule the world.  Or perhaps, I should say that Barack Obama and his successor rules the world.

Poor Edward Snowden.  Running to Hong Kong and then Moscow will only help the government paint him as a bad guy, a traitor to America.  He imagined that people in American really believed in the Constitution or in a government of laws.  He thought we would care about the fact that our government leaders lie to congress and the media.  He imagined that we still have a free press, who can write and say what they believe, without direction from corporate owners who, like druggies in the inner city, now depend totally on government subsidies and easy FED loans to sustain their empires.

So two questions remain.  Isn’t the government taking a risk that by running Snowden to ground they will only make him a hero?

There ia a simple answer to that one.  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what any of us say.  They have the new WMD.  They don’t need to control everybody.  There are plenty who will fall all over themselves to get in their good graces and say and do whatever they think the government wants, just to avoid the inconvenience of an IRS audit or a criminal investigation based on their emails and phone calls.  So the government will risk Edward Snowden’s martyrdom.

Why? Because the government has even more secrets to hide.  It fears another Snowden among its 4.2 million top secret cleared employees.  They have to make his life so miserable that no one else will dare speak up.

And finally, one last thing remains to be known.  If Edward Snowden is a spy, not a whistleblower, then for whom has he been spying?  Russia?  China? North Korea?  Islamic Fundamentalists?

No.  He has been spying for us, the American people.  He is our spy.  He is the first American spy to be prosecuted by an American government.  They will get him.  And he will be locked away and after the furor dies down, he may even tortured by our American government.  He is like a Buddhist monk in Vietnam in the 1960’s setting himself ablaze, signaling to the world that something is wrong here.  He is a Paul Revere with an alarming message, “The government is coming, the government is coming.”

Sent from my iPad


The Obama Cover-up begins

June 11, 2013

What did the President know and when did he know it?

During Watergate, Senator Howard Baker made that question famous.  It was a different time, a different president and a different second term scandal.  But now, once again, the question is raised and it goes to the heart of the issue.  Was Obama behind the IRS attacks on his political enemies?  Or was it happening on its own, a bureaucratic “planchette,” moving across the political Ouija board with many biased hands guiding it?  And if it was the latter, when did the president finally know about it?

According to the Inspector General, the IRS asked illegal questions of politically targeted groups and organizations.  This included “requests for donor information, positions on issues, and whether officers have run for public office.” One disgusting national news story revealed that IRS agents had asked an organization to report the content of their prayers.

Now comes the shocking news.  The former IRS commissioner, Douglas Shulman, visited the White House 157 times since 2009.    Sarah Hall Ingram, the woman responsible for the IRS division that targeted conservative and constitutional groups, made 165 visits to the White House since 2011.  Incredibly, according to the official White House visitors’ records, none of the visits of the two IRS officials overlapped.

During those 322 visits to the White House, which represents almost every other working day, did they ever encounter the president?  And if so, what did they talk about?  Baseball?  Did they ever talk about work?

Did they feel comfortable about quizzing nonprofit applicants about their prayer language because they knew the president wouldn’t mind?  How could Barack Obama possibly not know what was going on?  When they met with him, did they lie to him?

Ken Walsh – arguably America’s preeminent authority on modern presidents – makes the point in a recent book that President Obama, as other presidents before him, may be isolated from what is happening in his own administration.  (Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America’s Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder – London. )

As Walsh points out, presidents’ aides often give their boss some distance so he has deniability when a scandal erupts.  There is nothing new about this.  History has showed how sovereigns and mafia dons get things done without giving a literal command.  Frustrated over Thomas Becket, King Henry II supposedly bellowed, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”  Aides figured out what Henry wanted and butchered Becket.

Having worked in a White House I personally experienced this first hand.  A good staffer knows when the president should not be bothered by something, when his fingerprints should not be on the paper.  But can one meet with the president hundreds of times and not talk about ones work?  Isn’t the president too busy to talk about life?  Or to quiz an IRS official about personal gossip at the agency?  Wouldn’t a chief executive want to know what she is doing and how she is doing it?  And would she really make hundreds of visits without the details of her work ever coming up?  What would be the purpose of the visits?

As Kenneth T. Walsh shows in Prisoners of the White House and I was to experience firsthand, isolation happens to all presidents.  But then so does hubris.

Even if one accepts the most generous account of President Obama’s innocence it does not explain how he continues to relentlessly reward and punish his enemies after the fact.

Sarah Hall Ingram, the administrator of the IRS division that targeted conservative groups, the one who made 165 visits to the White House and supposedly never uttered a word about what she was doing, was given a $100,000 bonus and promoted to run the enforcement of ObamaCare.

What is that?  Coincidence?  A payoff?

The president can claim he didn’t know when it happened, which seems far fetched, but he surely knows now.  And like Richard Nixon before him, he is paying off the Watergate Burglars.


Behind the IRS Scandal and the attacks on Obama

May 20, 2013

In what must totally confuse the public, the left leaning, liberal media is now daily hawking a news story that the IRS has been purposely targeting applications for conservative charities and educational non profits.  What?  This is news?  The liberal media has been targeting conservative organizations and personalities for years, so why should they blame the government for doing the same?  Ah, but you see, there is a very good reason.

The media is run by big corporations that count on interest free money from the Federal Reserve and burdening regulations to keep out small business competitors and complete freedom to run their fiefdoms without interference.   In return they pay the politicians, Republican and Democrat, big money to help them get re-elected and they provide priceless air support, by promoting their candidacies of choice on national television and marginalizing anyone who dares to challenge the corrupt arrangement.

Take for example, the Associated Press, a “non-profit” owned by a cooperative of newspapers and television companies, which are owned by big corporations.  The A.P. virtually led the national media in their censorship and misreporting of the Ron Paul campaign in 2012.  (See here The Great Hudsonville Cover-up.)

Now, there is a great irony here for Ron Paul was the one candidate who was ringing the warning bells about our abandonment of the US Constitution.   (By the way, in addition to conservative groups, the IRS was also targeting any non profit that had the word “constitution” in its name.  The IRS can never be too careful in fulfilling its constitutional duty.)

What happened at the A.P. is only an example of what Dr. Paul feared and warned would happen.  The government asked that the A.P. hold back a news story about a terrorist bomb plot planned on the anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.  The Associated Press complied.  But when White House officials then lied to the American people, saying that there had been no threats on the anniversary, well, that was too much.  It was a replay of the Benghazi attack on the anniversary of 9-11, which the government had contended was a spontaneous reaction to an American anti-Islamic movie and had nothing to do with terrorists or 9-11.

The Associated Press ran their story and the government began their spying campaign against them.

Now it may be tempting for Liberty Lovers to let the A.P. stew in its juices but with Rand Paul, now making a serious effort to save the U.S. Constitution and end the culture of corruption in Washington, DC we should stand up for our old antagonist, the Associated Press.  Maybe, just maybe, they will learn that having masses of people supporting the U.S. Constitution is not such a bad thing.  Maybe, just maybe they will make room for Rand and when there are 2,000 at his events they will not say there are 40.

It is amusing to see the A.P. wringing its hands over the issue.  Since 9-11, the millions of intercepts of ordinary citizens have not even warranted a peep from many in the national media.  The drone killing of a US citizen with no connection to terrorism was passed over in a single day.  But listening on the AP?  Well, that apparently violates the “honor among thieves” arrangement of the New World Order.

There are some in the Liberty Movement who will say that this is not our fight.  They will say that the oligarchy is now obviously piqued at Obama and are bloodying his nose a bit to show him whose boss.  And that may be the case.  But the fact that they are using a bias against conservatives in the IRS as the weapon of choice is pure comic theater at its best and should be enjoyed to the hilt.

Just to look into the faces of those serious news anchors as they solemnly tell us that the IRS is biased against conservatives, implying that all good folks, themselves included, are scandalized by this outrageous an unfair behavior, is better than watching Cersei outmaneuver the court in the Game of Thrones.  Enjoy it while you can.  The House of Rand Paul is coming.

The attack on Vandersloot.


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