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Obama’s First Three Weeks:
Neither Leader Nor New Kind of Politician

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:42 pm - February 11, 2009.
Filed under: Leadership,Obama Watch

By letting Congress cobble together the signature item of his first hundred days in office, the president has made clear that he’s not calling the shots in Washington.  As Camille Paglia, one of his most enthusiastic supporters, put it, “To defer to the House of Representatives and let the bill be thrown together by cacophonous mob rule made the president seem passive and behind the curve.

Obama could have demonstrated real leadership had he, together with leaders of both parties in both Houses of Congress, worked out a “stimulus” package.  It might have been just as costly as the current spendthrift proposal, but at least he could have claimed to have taken the lead in crafting it.

Just as Mr. Obama has failed so far as a leader, so too has he failed to bring a new tone to Washington as he had promised in the campaign.  He continues to rail against the “past eight years” and accuse his Republican adversaries of partisanship, yet even his own Transportation Secretary, himself a Republican, sympathizes with his former congressional colleagues’ frustration: they “like to be in the room when these things are put together. And they haven’t been. And so I think they were a bit offended by that.

So, is this the new kind of politics, criticizing those left out of negotiations of partisanship when they have been excluded from participating in legislation with a near-trillion-dollar price tag?

Pete Wehner sums up Obama’s new partisan politics:

Obama himself never made a serious play at bipartisan cooperation. What he did was allow Nancy Pelosi and liberal House Democrats to write the legislation. Republicans were shut out. And once the legislation emerged, Republicans were asked to come on board.

It’s as if president believes bipartisanship is when Republicans support of Democratic policies.

No wonder his rhetoric has become increasing partisan as a supermajority of Republicans, standing true to their conservative principles, balk at his spendthrift plans. And now, as Jennifer Rubin puts it, “Even liberal and mainstream reporters are growing weary of the president’s partisan rhetoric.

His partisan rhetoric is a reflection of his governing style.  He yields to the most partisan members of Congress to draft important legislation.  And by letting them take the lead here, by failing to include Republicans before signing on to the Democrats’ proposal while faulting his ideological adversaries for their principled stand, he showed that his politics are not new.  That is, unless you believe partisan grandstanding to be a novel form of governing.

Obama’s Hollow Call for Bipartisanship

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:00 pm - February 11, 2009.
Filed under: Liberal Hypocrisy,Obama Watch

Victor Davis Hanson offers some advice to the president:

Calling for bipartisanship seems contradicted when you then allege that those who disagree are being “partisan”, and you preface almost every major issue with a blanket invective against the past eight years, even when you seem to adopt many of the past policies, from rendition to FISA. Perhaps try to raise the debate from one of your opponents seeking cheap advantage to one of innate philosophical differences, and then try to cease the campaign mode. The election is over. Bush is gone. Like it or not, the executive responsibility of the U.S. is now yours alone.

Leaders of Obama’s party in Congress don’t seem interested in bipartisanship either given how they froze Republicans out of the House-Senate conference committee meeting to reconcile their two different versions of the “stimulus.”

If he were really interested in a new kind of post-partisan politics, the president would publicly take Democratic congressional leaders to task for their partisan shenanigans.  And if he were truly interested in transparency, he could call for “televising the stimulus bill conference committee meetings.”

Obama-voting blogress divas’ claws come out

My two favorite Obama-supporting blogress divas have entered into a kind of blogging cat fight.

No sooner did Camille Paglia praise the president for looking good on Inauguration Day (his “relaxed, natural authority with military officers”) while faulting him for dropping the ball on crafting the “stimulus,” than Ann Althouse took her fellow blogress to task for her “purple piffle:”

Yet read for a few paragraphs and you’ll get hit in the face with the insipidity of: “But aside from the stimulus muddle, Obama has been off to a good start.”

. . . .

The President was able to look decent standing next to military personnel. This is the “good start”? She should blush deep red with embarrassment to have defined the standard of presidential achievement down so low.

Read the whole thing (both of ’em).

(Tipping my hat to Glenn as he alerted me both to Ann’s post and to Camille’s before I had the chance to check their blogs on my own.)

The Least Senators Collins, Specter & Snowe Can Do
For Their Party (& Their Country)

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:30 pm - February 11, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Congress (111th)

It’s probably too late to get these three Republican Senators supporting the Democrats’ spendthrift “stimulus” to change their minds, but they could do their party one smaller favor and still vote for this boondoggle.

On the Senate’s web-site, we find this definition of the cloture rule:  “The cloture rule—Rule 22—is the only formal procedure that Senate rules provide for breaking a filibuster. A filibuster is an attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter.”  (Emphasis added.)

When the reconciled version of the “stimulus” deal comes up for a vote, they should join their Republican colleagues in filibustering the measure.  They could say they’re not blocking action, but merely delaying it.  With a package of this magnitude and the president’s promise of transparency, they beieve the public should have time familiarize themselves with its contents before their representatives vote dispensing this unprecedented sum.

We could remind these Republicans that the more people learn about this package, the more voters favor the GOP.  Heck, maybe when they hear what the citizens of Maine and Pennsylvania have to say, they’ll realize that their Senate colleagues are out of step with their constituents.

Perhaps, they should promise to continue to filibuster until fourteen days* have passed following publication of the entire text of legislation on the web.

I mean, heck, right now, nearly three-fifths of Americans think even Congress won’t know what’s in the “stimulus” when they vote on it.

*Or the number of days it takes someone reading fifty pages a day to complete the document.

The “Stimulus” Deal & Obama’s promise of transparency

Now that House and Senate negotiators nave reached a deal reconciling “their two versions” of the so-called “stimulus,” will they, in accord with President Obama’s commitment to transparency, give the public time to review the multi-hundred billion dollar package before putting it before their respective houses for a vote?

Given the magnitude of the package and the number of programs it includes, it seems only fair that since it is the people’s money (and that of their children and grandchildren), that we at least get the chance to read it and consider its merits.  So we can have time to share our thoughts with our elected representatives, Congress should delay the vote allowing members to return to their jurisdictions to hear what their constituents have to say.

This is an unprecedented sum for one bill.  While CNN may say it’s “less than” $800 billion, it’s still more than $700 billion cost of the bailout.  Congress had two separate votes on that.

UPDATE:  How’s this for transparency:

Less than 48 hours elapsed between the time the text of the compromise became available for public examination late Saturday evening and yesterday’s 61-37 vote for passage. At that rate, the Senate effectively was spending about $300 million every minute while considering the compromise, and allowing taxpayers a scandalously brief opportunity to discover how the senators were doing it.

UP-UPDATE: John Hinderaker is not confident the House will follow through on its promise of transparency:

Yesterday, the House voted unanimously to make the final text of the bill available on the internet for 48 hours before a vote is taken on it, so that the American people can have some idea what is being voted on. It doesn’t appear, though, that this will be done.

Does CNN Ignore Most Democratic Scandals?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 1:10 pm - February 11, 2009.
Filed under: Democratic Scandals,Media Bias

As I’ve noted before one of the advantages of my gym is that its largely liberal membership means that if the TV monitors show a news network it’s almost always CNN or MSNBC.  So, while I can’t claim to be an expert on its content, I can report what I notice when I’m doing my cardio (and I do try to do lots of cardio).

Now, it was yesterday (or perhaps the day before) when I caught a bit of Rich Sanchez’s show (I’m pretty sure he was he).  He was “reporting” on some scandals.  I recognized two of the faces in his little triptych of supposed shame. One was Ann Coulter, the other, Michael Steele, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee

As I was reading Instapundit this morning, I was reminded of that triptych and wondered who that third person might have been.  Could it have been a Democrat?  I mean, just look at all the Democratic scandals Glenn referenced.  Surely, Sanchez must have reported some Democrats in ethical hot water.

With far fewer resources than CNN, Glenn somehow manages to report regularly on Democratic scandals (and he doesn’t neglect the Republican ones).  Let’s see, just today we learn about the declining political fortunes of Connecticut’s senior Senator Chris Dodd.  Has CNN reported the favorable treatment that Democrat got from Countywide, the failed mortgage firm under the purview of the Senate committee he chairs?  His failure to release the documentation of his mortgage (as he has promised)?

Did they cover the raid of lobbying firms with ties to Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha (and with links to his Democratic cronies James Moran and Peter Visclosky)?  The multifaceted tax (& disclosure) problems of Charles Rangel, the Democratic Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee?

(more…)

The president & the deficit

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:18 am - February 11, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Dishonest Democrats

Once again, the president has been attacking the Republicans for the last eight years, as if still in campaign mode.  And yet he was in Washington for four of those eight years, so I’m wondering what he did in that time to confront those problems, particularly the deficit.

I mean, here he is blaming the GOP, yet did he ever propose a budget without such deficits?  Did he offer amendments to trim the size of federal appropriations?

And yet in his press conference he acts as if he were not in Congress when the deficits were increasing and debt was accumulating:

. . . when I hear that from folks who presided over a doubling of the national debt, then, you know, I just want them to not engage in some revisionist history. I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now.

And even as he decries those deficits, he’s putting forward a package which will increase it, as if to leave his successor with an even higher level of federal debt than that he inherited from his predecessor.  So much did I like Ed Morrissey’s thoughts on the matter (that I had linked, but not included, in previous post) that I include them here:

Obama tried a couple of times to lay the deficit off on the Republicans, but more than half of that deficit came from the bailouts of last year, which the Democrats pushed through Congress.  Republicans balked at the massive TARP program, which Obama criticized in his press conference last night.  The Bush administration didn’t partner with Republican leadership to get that passed; they had to get the Democrats to pass it, and Democrats have controlled Congress for the last two years.  And the economic crisis came from the collapse of the housing market bubble created by the kind of intervention Obama proposes.

It’s too bad the president can’t acknowledge his own part in the situation he “inherited.”  And if deficits are truly a problem, why is he seeking to expand rather than reduce them?

Mr. Obama Goes to Washington

As I was eating my dinner last night, I popped in one of my favorite flicks, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and began to think of Mr. Obama’s Washington.

When Senator Smith’s secretary Clarissa Saunders (Jean Arthur) tells longtime Senator Joseph Harrison Pain (Claude Rains) about how Washington has changed her, she offers, “Look, when I came here, my eyes were big, blue question marks. Now they’re big, green dollar marks.”

It took Arthur’s Saunders a few years to become jaded by our nation’s capital where everything turned into a question of the money that was in it for her.  Well, Mr. Obama has barely been in the White House three weeks and his eyes have become the same as those of Miss Saunders.

All he sees is those big, green dollar marks.