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The Genuine Outrage of Obamacare Opponents

There are days when I really miss reading a “dead-tree” newspaper, sipping coffee as I read the news.  Yesterday, after an early morning hike with my Dad and his friends to celebrate his birthday, I did just that, alternating between the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

The former had a number of interesting columns and informative articles, notably Gerald Seib’s piece on how the President has hurt himself by his “Hands Off Strategy“* on health care and a news article on the increasingly vocal opposition to the Democrats’ proposed health-care overhaul.

That latter had two paragraphs which get at the nub of the grassroots opposition to the President’s various policies through out the year:

Recent town-hall uproars weren’t just about health care. They were also eruptions of concern that the government is taking on too much at once. 

. . . .

Mr. Obama also inherited a large budget deficit and expanded it further with economic-stimulus spending.

There’s more to the article than that–and I highly recommend you read the whole thing.  Like AP reporter Erica Werner,  WSJ reporters Janet Adamy  and Jonathan Weisman do take the time to understand the legitimate concerns of these outspoken opponents of big government rather than dismiss them as corporate and/or right-wing astroturfing.

The long and the short of it is:  Americans don’t like big government.

* (more…)

Has Any Previous President Ever Addressed Schoolchildren . . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:00 pm - September 1, 2009.
Filed under: Obama Watch,Obama Worship & Indoctrination

. . . with a special address just to them on September 8 and provided guidelines on how teachers should discuss his remarks with students?

Blogger Jim Hoft calls this “unprecedented.”  It sounds like he’s right, but is he?  Are you aware of any of his predecessors delivering a national address to our nation’s schoolchildren?  Did, say, Franklin Delano Roosevelt take to the radio to remind them of the importance of the war effort and the sacrifices their parents, uncles and older brothers must make?  And how they could help out at home?

Considering the questions the White House has provided, blogging law professor William A. Jacobson contends that the Administration has the “whole line of reasoning and questioning . . . backwards. It may have become lost in the mania, but HE [Obama] works for US, not the other way around.

Read Jacobson’s post, ponder his question and wonder whether it’s appropriate for an American President to deliver such an address.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Skip answers my question:  

His own secretary of ed says: ‘This is the first time an American president has spoken directly to the nation’s school children about persisting and succeeding in school.

Emphasis added.  I wonder how the media would have reacted if the incumbent’s predecessor tried to pull this off.

UPDATE:  Jim Geraghty weighs in:

Perhaps this will be a completely innocuous, standard-issue “education is important, study hard, and you can achieve all your dreams” that the President usually gives to one classroom around this time of year. If so, there’s not too much need for hullabaloo. And besides, it’s not like Obama’s the first national leader to think of addressing all the country’s children at once; the idea has been around since 1984.

UP-UPDATE: In her syndicated column, Michelle Malkin details how teachers’ unions and other Obama allies have used the classroom to promote liberal policies:

The activist tradition of government schools using students as junior lobbyists cannot be ignored. Zealous teacher’s unions have enlisted captive schoolchildren as letter-writers in their campaigns for higher education spending. Out-of-control activists have enlisted their secondary-school charges in pro-illegal immigration protests, gay marriage ceremoniesenvironmental propaganda stunts, and anti-war events.

As per the gay marriage ceremonies mentioned above, the problem was not the ceremony, but that the teacher took her class there.  It would be just as problematic if a straight teacher took her class to her traditional wedding.

UP-UP-UPDATE:  Apparently, this type of address is not entirely unprecedented.  My brother alerts me to this in at the end of a front page story in September 3rd’s Denver Post:

In 1991, President George H.W. Bush addressed the nation’s students, urging them to study hard, avoid drugs and turn in troublemakers. In his speech, he told students to ignore peers “who think it’s not cool to be smart.”

And Democrats responded then by criticizing him for spending Department of Education money on a broadcast they claimed was political advertising used to counter claims that he was ignoring domestic issues.

The Democrats’ Rangel Test

Charles Rangel, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is not the only congressional Democrat with ethics issues.  Indeed, the list of corrupt Democrats in 2009 rivals that of corrupt Republicans three years previously when the-then minority party ousted the then-majority on the basis of the Republicans’ (supposed) “culture of corruption.”

Upon her party’s winning the 2006 elections, the then-soon-to-be Speaker of the House promised to lead “the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.”  Shortly after taking the gavel, she seems to have forgotten that vow.

Now, she has a chance to show that she meant what she said–that things really have changed in Washington since Democrats too over.  As each new day seems to bring with it new revelations about Rangel’s misdeeds, Pelosi would do well to force Rangel to step aside as Ways and Means chairman pending the results of an ethics committee investigation.

This is her test–and that of her party–to see if they intend to crack down on the questionable ethics their fellow Democrats.  And if she refuses to demand that her New York colleague step aside, then other leading Democrats should step up to the plate and demand his dismissal.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  Sean A links a New York Post article:

Even as he fends off accusations about his own failure to pay taxes and fully disclose his financial dealings, Rep. Charles Rangel had quietly slipped into the health-care bill broad new provisions cracking down on taxpayers in proceedings with the IRS, The Post has learned.

Ethically challenged and a hypocrite?!?!?

UPDATE:  Looks like Speaker Pelosi is failing the test:

THE HILL: Pelosi will let Rangel hold post despite latest allegations. “Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will let Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) keep his chairmanship despite his failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms, according to Democratic aides.” Of course she will. This makes him vulnerable, and thus easier to control.

Whining about Being Left Out is Not a Solution to Revitalizing GOP

I read two posts yesterday which reminded me of a notion I’d been pondering for some time.  Here’s the idea in a nutshell:  While the Democrats continue to lose favor with the American people as they propose increased government spending and regulation as the solution to every problem, the GOP (while taking some important strides in the right direction) has not yet presented itself as a viable alternative.

Given Democratic control of Congress and the White House, Republicans still have time to come up with solutions.  After all, Republican Congressmen and congressional candidates did not sign the Contract with America until September 27, 1994, just six weeks before the fall elections which would return control of Congress to the GOP for the first time in forty years.

In the first post, Jim Geraghty reflected on the decline on Obama’s fortunes, but cautioned that this may not be a boon for the opposing party:

On Election Day 2008, many Americans didn’t like where they were. Nearly a year later, they still don’t like where they are; they feel like they’re stuck with the same problems or that they’re worsening. But they’re not convinced that the Republicans have the solutions. For the Right, the job is barely halfway done.

Emphasis added.

The second had a more peevish tone, almost like that of a child upset that he didn’t get an engraved invitation to a public forum advertised on the Internet (and in the local paper).  Bruce Bartlett, who makes some good points about the GOP going off track during the George W. Bush years, repeats a lot of nonsense about the state of the party, suggesting he gets his news from left-wing blogs and a hostile media:

I think the Republican Party is in the same boat the Democrats were in in the early eighties — dominated by extremists unable to see how badly their party was alienating moderates and independents. . . . I will know that the party is on the path to recovery when someone in a position of influence reaches out to former Republicans like me. We are the most likely group among independents to vote Republican. But I see no effort to do so. All I see is pandering to the party’s crazies like the birthers .

(H/t: Instapundit.)

Pandering to the birthers?  Huh?  Who?  Where?  Didn’t the GOP caucus in the House vote overwhelmingly (with no opposition) vote in favor of a bill recognizing Hawai’i as the President’s birth place? (more…)

Why Doesn’t He Just Freeze Federal Workers’ Salaries?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:23 am - September 1, 2009.
Filed under: Big Government Follies

I have lost count of the number of friends and acquaintances who work in the private sector who have told metheir employer has either cut their pay or frozen their salaries to avoid laying off (them and/or)  their co-workers.

And now, the President, is asking “federal workers to sacrifice” by cutting their pay increase by 0.4 percent:

Citing the current economic recession — and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks eight years ago — President Obama says he will use emergency powers to cut the programmed across-the-board January increase in federal employees’ pay from 2.4 percent to 2.0 percent, according to a letter he sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday.

It seems that Glenn Reynolds’ friends recount similar experiences to those of mine as he, who tipped me off to this story, opines:

Given that lots of people in the private sector — and even in state and municipal goverments — are facing no raise at all, or actual pay cuts, I don’t think this will impress many folks out there.

I agree.

The president would really show he wants to get a handle on the growth of the size of the federal government if he froze the salaries of federal workers.  Public employee unions might grouse, but the American people would cheer.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  SoCalRobert links an indispensable post on the rapid increase in federal workers’ salaries on the blog of the Cato Institute.  Read it and try not to lose your cool.  Seems we could almost erase the federal deficit just by bringing salaries of federal workers in line with those of their counterparts in the private sector.

Obama’s False Assumption:
That by power of his presence,
he could make Americans more supportive of big government

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:07 am - September 1, 2009.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites,Freedom

Perhaps Barack Obama’s biggest failure as President was (as I have argued before) the same as George H.W. Bush’s:  he misread his mandate.  The incumbent accelerated his fall from grace by so quickly reversing course on so many of the campaign promises he made which helped secure his support among moderate voters.

And there’s something else.

He assumed that by the combination of his personality and the crisis of the times, he could shift the national mood in the direction of his long-held far left beliefs.

Pointing out that Obama won because he won independents by a margin 12 points larger than that John Kerry enjoyed in 2004, Steve Chapman writes that in the election last fall (as in 1952) while Americans “weren’t inviting a radical turnabout — just some modest improvements in the status quo,”

. . . the 44th president apparently thought he had a mandate for the expansion of federal power and responsibility, which he has used on everything from bailing out automakers to showering the economy with stimulus dollars to trying to overhaul health insurance. He and his allies have therefore been surprised to face a surge of angry opposition, including some based on wild flights of paranoia.

What they forgot is that the surest way to mobilize American political opposition, irrational as well as rational, is to enlarge the government’s role in our lives.

(H/t:  Jennifer Rubin.)

And poll after poll after poll after poll shows that more Americans prefer private sector solutions to public ones.  Despite the president’s evident charm and presence, he has not been able to cause them to change their minds.  Indeed, if anything, he has helped intensify the level of opposition to government solutions, reinforcing our commitment to freedom.