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Democrats in the Obama Era: Looking for Mr. Goldstein

In my “pre-mortem” on the Virginia gubernatorial election, I noted that Terry McAuliffe would win not because he offered a positive message of reform, but because he spent millions of dollars demonizing his Republican opponent.  He secure his victory in the Old Dominion this month just as Barack Obama secured his nationally last year, by running the political equivalent of a scorched earth campaign.  Their ideas not resonating with the American people, it’s all the Democrats have.

They are always looking for someone to demonize, to scare voters into voting for them to prevent some horrible, no good, very bad right-wing extremist from seizing the reins of power and taking away their birth control or their Mommy.  Or whatever.  To hold onto power, Democrats need an Emmanuel Goldstein.  Remember what they did to Sarah Palin, later the Koch Brothers and most recently Ted Cruz?

As the reality of Obamacare sinks it, they need someone — or some industry — to distract us once again.  And once again we see that  Obama’s promise to break the Washington pattern where “everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame” was, as he might put it, “just words,” his Democrats are seeking to pin the blame somewhere else, urging the “White House to attack health insurance companies“.

No, it can’t be Obama’s policies which have caused havoc on the health insurance market when these really bad, horrible extreme corporate profiteers are out there.

On the inevitability of default

In recent days, I’ve ridiculed President Obama’s claim that not giving him a debt ceiling increase would somehow force him to default on U.S. debt payments. (Since current revenues cover the minimum debt service many times over, making any debt default the president’s choice.)

But over the longer term, U.S. default is inevitable – if we keep raising the debt ceiling.

If you’ve ever seen a bankruptcy, you know that the path to default is to take on ever more debt – to supposedly “pay your bills”, in Obama’s expression – as you fail to cut your spending down to what you can afford.

By raising the debt ceiling so that Obama can borrow even more, America comes closer to default. NOT raising the debt ceiling – that is, giving up the deficit habit now, and running immediate balanced budgets – would postpone or prevent America’s coming default.

Some may answer “Ah, but letting Obama borrow more will keep things smooth and buy time to fix our other problems.” All I can say is: People told me that in early 2009, some six trillion dollars ago (of U.S. debt). Bullhockey. It’s how an alcoholic or drug addict thinks: tomorrow is always the day to officially clean up; never today.

Under present leadership, a U.S. default is inevitable. The only question is what form it will take.

  • Less likely: We could yet have an ‘honest default’, where we admit that we can’t repay our creditors and we negotiate cutbacks to our debt – and to our spending.
  • More likely: We will have a ‘dishonest default’ where we borrow, spend and print money until the dollar is confetti, and we never officially default, but we pay our creditors in dollars that buy far less than the dollars they loaned us (or were promised).

Either way, it’s a default (our debt is no good; our creditors don’t get what they were promised). And it’s the road we’re on. “Thanks, Obama!”

More details:

  • Niall Ferguson on why “the fiscal position of the federal government is in fact much worse today than is commonly realized”.
  • Jim Grant on America’s past defaults – honest and dishonest – and the one that’s coming.
  • Seeing the inevitable, China has called for the dollar to be overthrown (removed) as the world’s banking reserve currency. Read about it in the IB Times, the New York Times (which twists the facts to blame the Tea Party, natch) or the LA Times.

UPDATE: Obama has just called on America to stop listening to ‘the bloggers’, by a strange coincidence!

Classic Harry Reid on taxes

Via Zero Hedge. Squirming under the Socratic questioning of interviewer Jan Helfeld, Sen. Reid argues here that because the U.S. tax system is cumbersome (having people self-report, having deductions, often using civil penalties rather than criminal, etc.), it’s somehow “voluntary”; that is, somehow not based on the government taking your money under a threat of force:

YouTube Preview Image

Obama threatens to default – again!

While hopes of a government budget deal today flicker on and off, you surely heard the latest example yesterday of President Obama threatening a default:

Talking to reporters at an event in Washington D.C. Monday, President Obama said the U.S. faces “a good chance at defaulting.”

“This week if we don’t start making some real progress, both the House and the Senate, and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting. And defaulting could have a potentially have a devastating affect on our economy,” the president said.

Remember, default would be Obama’s choice because he has two Constitutional ways to avoid it:

  1. He could negotiate his differences with the GOP in good faith, like a leader.
  2. Failing that, he could prioritize debt service spending (the U.S. “minimum debt payment”) ahead of other government spending. Tax revenue alone is enough to cover it many times over. If there is a legal issue, he could ask Congress (Democrats) to help.

Thus, Obama talking about any serious possibility of default is Obama planning to default if he doesn’t get his way 100%. That is a very bad threat to be making; in no way fitting for a President of the United States.

In effect, Obama has put U.S. creditors on notice that he will prioritize them last in any real budget crisis. That means U.S. debt (the Treasury bond) is unsafe and unsound whether or not he defaults this time, and investors are fools to hold it (unhedged).

UPDATE via HotAir: Sen. Rand Paul agrees, and pushes the idea of a Full Faith And Credit Act to make prioritization explicit. And even liberal Cokie Roberts (NPR) admits that Obama has been trying to talk the stock market into crashing. “Thanks, Obama!”

UPDATE: Nice piece a couple of weeks ago from Jeffrey Dorfman at Forbes. Key idea: Not raising the debt ceiling means simply that the government must live within a balanced budget until these issues are worked out.

And that, to Democrats, is “a fate worse than default”. Literally. Democrats would literally rather choose default (which means, according to them, the collapse of our economy, the end of the world, yadda yadda) than a 20-25% net spending cutback to live within a balanced budget.

How to rationally discuss the ‘shutdown’ and budget

No discussion is grownup, if the participants don’t know/acknowledge certain facts which President Obama, the Democrats and their media try to have people forget:

  1. The government is supposed to spend by a budget.
  2. Between April 29, 2009 and March 23, 2013, Harry Reid’s Democrats didn’t even bother to pass a budget. Nearly four years!
  3. Under the U.S. Constitution, the budget is supposed to originate in Congress and particularly the House of Representatives. Which means,
  4. The House IS supposed to be able to impose its budgetary will on the President, including by shutting down the government, as Democrat Houses have shut down the government many times before to successfully impose their will on GOP Senates and presidents.
  5. On a district-by-district basis (as required by the Constitution), the American people elected a GOP House in 2012. To coin a phrase, “they won”.
  6. The current so-called “shutdown” only affects 17% of the government. (83% is still open.)
  7. The current House has passed many bills to keep most of the remaining 17% open – bills which the Democrats have rejected.
  8. Obama has given us more debt than any president in U.S. history.
  9. Contra Obama, raising the debt ceiling does indeed mean raising our debt further. And it does cost taxpayers a lot of money.
  10. Contra Obama, there is no reason for the government to default on its debt, even if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. You default only if you fail to make your minimum debt payment. Our ongoing tax revenue exceeds our minimum payment by many times over, leaving lots of money for the rest of government spending after debt service. (Just not as much as Democrats want.)
  11. Which is probably why Obama and the Democrats are the only side talking about having a default happen. (They want to at least dangle the threat – and they might carry out the threat – even if it’s unnecessary.)
  12. Contra Obama, our future spending isn’t “paying a bill”. Spending that Congress has budgeted or authorized (but not yet actually spent) can be stopped or cut any time Congress says so, or under-spent if the money simply doesn’t exist for it.

The people who run GayPatriot welcome intelligent disagreement with our views. If your disagreement ignores the above facts, sorry but it’s not intelligent.

As the adage goes, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.”

NB: Originally, point 2 stated incorrectly that the Senate hadn’t passed a budget since 2009. Error fixed. (thanks Kurt!)

ADDENDUM: 13. Contra Obama, borrowing money “to pay our bills” is NOT paying our bills. When you buy something on credit, have you paid you bill? No, of course not. You’ve merely changed to whom you owe the payment (and perhaps when).

ZH is right: This never gets old

This graphic was probably constructed for fun – except that the words, from then-Senator Obama, are quite real:
Senator Obama opposing a debt ceiling increase, from the Congressional Record

h/t Zero Hedge. Obama’s longer, original speech is here in the Congressional Record, 3/16/06, p. S2237.

FROM THE COMMENTS: EH tips us off to some info at Fraters Libertas and Powerline. It appears that, while Senator Obama carefully inserted his fiscal-responsibility speech into the Congressional Record, he never said it out loud to his colleagues. Yet he began it with a flourish to make it sound like he had: “Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem…”

Obama expects Boehner to come up with solutions?

More to mock the Democrat than to praise him, my nephew shared this image team Obama is offering of Facebook:

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 8.17.46 AM

And just what solutions to the impasse have you offered, Mr. President?

Remember what a certain politician said back in March 2009 about ending the pattern of looking for someone else to blame?

Obama lies outright, about the debt ceiling

A lie is: A false statement, made with intent to mislead people. Deceptive intent is required, or else it’s just an honest mistake.

Intent is often hard to know. But sometimes, a falsehood is so outlandish that there is little room for the honest mistake; your only other choice is to think the person is an imbecile, or delusional.

Regarding the debt ceiling, President Obama said this on Oct. 3:

I want to spend a little time on this. It’s something called raising the debt ceiling. And it’s got a lousy name, so a lot of people end up thinking, I don’t know, I don’t think we should raise our debt ceiling, because it sounds like we’re raising our debt. But that’s not what this is about.

*It doesn’t cost taxpayers a single dime. It doesn’t grow our deficits by a single dime. It doesn’t allow anybody to spend any new money whatsoever. So it’s not something that raises our debt.*

Emphasis added. The emphasized part is 100% false. It isn’t political spin; it is a set of total falsehoods.

The whole point of raising our debt ceiling is precisely to spend more money and raise our debt. It will authorize the Treasury to borrow beyond the current ceiling, which they mean to do instantly upon getting the authorization (the debt ceiling increase).

Within maybe two weeks of raising it, they will add hundreds of billions to our debt. Aside from the debt principal, the added ongoing interest costs will indeed grow our deficits.

There is no way Obama could not know, unless he were mentally incompetent. Isn’t it more respectful to say he’s lying? Because that at least credits him with a normal-functioning brain.

Obama continued: (more…)

Obama holding hostages: start with President Lincoln

1995 shutdown: the Lincoln Memorial kiosk is closed, but people can still visit the good Mr. Lincoln.
people visiting the Lincoln Memorial during 1995 government shutdown

2013 shutdown: Lincoln is barricaded.
A guard strolls in front of the Lincoln barricade during the 2013 shutdown

Both images above courtesy of The Daily Caller, which states, “It is not clear how much taxpayer money the Obama administration is paying to ensure that government sites and services remain shuttered to taxpayers. Popular Washington spots such as the World War II memorial are now guarded by more security personnel than they are during normal operations, while federal employees have been dispatched to put up barricades on capital bike paths and other public grounds that are not usually patrolled at all.”

The public is rebelling against these barriers, which are starting to be called “barrycades” or “barackades”.

In the 1995 shutdown, Congress passed numerous stopgap measures to keep government services running. In 2013, the House is passing such measures again; but Senator Reid, President Obama and other Democrats won’t allow them. Your Democrats: Holding America hostage.

Which leads us to the latest example of left-wing projection. Since the Left is actually holding America hostage (by ostentatiously denying certain programs or public facilities until they get their way), they try to say it’s the other guys doing it (GOP, Tea Party, etc.). We’ve seen it in comments at Gay Patriot. The ante got upped a few days ago by Obama himself, who said the GOP is “trying to put a gun” to his head.

Of course he would say that because, again, the Left always projects. But the facts show Obama and the Democrats holding the gun, to the rest of our heads.

The Un-Shutdown

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:31 pm - October 4, 2013.
Filed under: Democratic demagoguery,Government Shutdown

If you have any doubt that the Obama administration is just ‘playing politics’ with this government shutdown thing, well, we continue to get more evidence.

The other day, I gathered several links on the Obama administration’s spiteful focus on ‘optics’, that is, their taking of new/unusual actions (actions not taken in America’s many other government shutdowns) to make this one seem more painful.

Next, making the rounds this morning is a lovely quote from a top White House official:

Said a senior administration official: “We are winning…It doesn’t really matter to us” how long the shutdown lasts “because what matters is the end result.”

See? To the Obama crew, it doesn’t really matter how long the shutdown lasts. Neither does America’s fate. All they care about is scoring a political-points ‘win’.

Finally, The Economic Collapse Blog has a well-documented post on 36 Facts Which Prove That Almost Everything Is Still Running. A quick sample:

..the definition of “essential personnel” has expanded so much over the years that almost everyone is considered “essential” at this point…

#3 Overall, 63 percent of the federal workforce will continue to work during this “government shutdown”.

#6 Social Security recipients will continue to get their benefits.

#9 Food stamp recipients will continue to get their benefits.

#17 TSA employees will continue to molest travelers at our airports.

#32 All city employees of the D.C. government have been deemed “essential” and will continue to go to work.

RTWT. If anyone can contradict the post (with links), please do so in the comments. Otherwise, it proves further that – like the ‘sequester’ budget controversy earlier this year – the Obama administration is engaged in BS-ing the American people.

Well, Barry and Michelle might have a bit of personal concern over the shutdown, since it hits their personal army of servants:

The government shutdown has forced Obama to make do with only a quarter of his 1,701 person staff. That would leave 436 “vital” employees. The 90 people who look after his living quarters would be slashed to 15…

But that’s kind of a good thing, isn’t it? It might save taxpayer money in the long run, if it shows the Obamas that they don’t need so many servants. (I’ll wait for the laughing to quiet down.)

UPDATE: Some talk about uneven effects from the shutdown: Army grocery stores are closed, while Air Force golf courses remain open.

Much of that un-evenness arises from program-funding technicalities. But again, at least some of it comes from Obama administration choices: as, for example, their spending money spitefully to barricade certain open-air monuments and memorials (that were never barricaded in any previous shutdown).

Obama goofs, compares striking workers to terrorists

Speaking to construction workers in Rockville, MD today, he said:

Everybody here just does their job, right? You don’t – uh uh – If you’re working here, and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said “You know what, I wanna get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m gonna get, but I’m just gonna stop working until I get – I’m gonna shut down the whole plant until I get something” – You get fired, right? Because, the deal is, you’ve already gotten hired, you’ve got a job, you’re getting a paycheck, and so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and looking out for your fellow workers. That’s what you’re getting.

Perhaps without realizing it, President Obama just perfectly described workers who ‘walkout’ or go on strike – and why they should be fired.

But there’s more. Obama made his surprising slam on workers who strike in an attempt to compare them to the congressional GOP who, as we know, are failing (so to speak) to give King Obama his full budget demands.

Top Obama administration figures compare the GOP to terrorists (for example, Dan Pfeiffer the other day). So do other top Democrats (for example, Harry Reid calling them ‘anarchists’, or Al Gore who accused Obamcare foes of ‘political terrorism’).

If the GOP are behaving just like striking workers, according to Obama, and if the GOP are (in the very same behavior) also terrorists, then…striking workers are kind of like terrorists, aren’t they? “Thanks, Obama!”

UPDATE: Peter Schiff has another quote on the Left’s demonizing of conservatives as terrorists, this one from talk host Stephanie Miller on the GOP being “suicide bombers” who are “trying to blow your children up”.

This is the Left, in 2013. If you happen to truly want fiscal responsibility, an end to the endless debt ceiling increases, or avoidance of the train wreck that even Big Labor knows Obamacare to be: you get name-calling. Probably because that’s all the Left has left.

Evidence that Obama did not succeed in changing Washington

Barack Obama, March 2009:

And one of the things that I’m trying to break is a pattern in Washington where everybody is always looking for somebody else to blame. And I think Geithner is doing an outstanding job. I think that we have a big mess on our hands. It’s not going to be solved immediately, but it is going to get solved. And the key thing is for everybody just to stay focused on doing the job instead of trying to figure out who you can pass blame on to.

Barack Obama, October 2013:

Screen shot 2013-10-03 at 10.12.25 AM

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Michael Barone is also pointing the finger: Blame James Madison for the government shutdown. Well, I guess that gets Obama off the hook.

Obama “lashes out” at House Republicans, but will he meet with them?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:07 pm - October 1, 2013.
Filed under: Democratic demagoguery

Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 11.02.26 AM

This is the language of a politician on the campaign trail, not of a president trying to do his job.

UPDATE:  Even Yahoo! notes the president’s confrontational tone while its editors link an article with a headline ascribing that tone to Republicans:

Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 11.27.21 AM

Seems the Reuters writer is writing from the Democratic playbook, portraying the Republicans as confrontational while downplaying Democratic name-calling and refusals to negotiate.

UPDATE: Obama blinked and is doing the right thing (albeit belatedly): Obama invites Congressional leaders to WH shutdown summit

Remember: Even Big Labor is against Obamacare

Now that Obamacare implementation looms and people are “finding out what is in it” – seeing Obamacare’s destructive nature that may cost them their current coverage (if not their job) – even Democrats’ support for Obamacare has crashed to the point where a majority of them no longer back it.

Even Big Labor hates Obamacare. The AFL-CIO recently slammed it as “highly disruptive” to union workers. The Teamsters said Obamacare will ‘destroy the very health and wellbeing’ of workers. Another union conditionally called for Obamacare to be repealed.

Even Democrat Senators call for key pieces of Obamacare to be delayed. Even Saturday Night Live ridicules the perverse incentives of Obamacare (something I never thought I’d see).

So, why does President Obama keep trying to make it sound like conservatives have bad motives for opposing what everyone knows is a train wreck for America? As he recently said:

Some of them are actually willing to see the United States default…if they can’t deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.

Or, from the same speech, this:

And [they]‘d be willing to shut down the government and potentially default, for the first time in United States history, because it bothers [them] so much that we’re actually gonna make sure that everybody has affordable health care.

So many falsehoods are packed into two quotes there, that I’m tempted to just say “What a hate-monger!” and stop.

But there’s more. It isn’t just Obama; it’s also his White House, which compares Republicans to murderous enemies of the United States:

…the American people support, by a two-to-one margin, a requirement for spending cuts when negotiating more borrowing authority for the government to pay its bills, according to a new Bloomberg News poll.

The White House “is for cutting spending. We’re for reforming our tax code, for reforming entitlements,” said senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer. “What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest,” he added.

Never mind that the Obama administration is out there supporting (arming) U.S. enemies who literally strap bombs to their chests, in places like Syria.

The Obama crew are fools-or-worse, and they are getting desperate. As Deroy Murdock puts it, “The road away from Obamacare may be treacherous for Republicans…but this is no time to go wobbly.”

If the president is sincerely concerned about avoiding a government shutdown. . .

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:32 pm - September 27, 2013.
Filed under: Democratic demagoguery,Random Thoughts

. . . why does he prefer to harangue Republicans than to meet with them?

In his petulant press statement today, he said was willing to have conversation with the GOP, but, well, when was the last time he sat down to do just that?

He showed considerable cheek in insisting that a budget be passed on time, given how tardy he was in releasing his.

UP-UP-UPDATE (added on 09.28.13 @ 2:24 GP Blog time):  This time even CNN seems to be catching on, CNN: Obama’s Been on Phone More With Iran than Speaker of the House

RELATED: Obama avoids shutdown talk as deadline looms (Article posted before Obama’s statement today, references some of his, well, intemperate language.)

UPDATE:  How Drudge covers the president’s statement:

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 1.39.41 PM

UP-UPDATE: From Jonathan Strong at the Corner:

Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, responded to President Obama’s remarks just now, saying

The House will take action that reflects the fundamental fact that Americans don’t want a government shutdown and they don’t want the train wreck that is Obamacare. Grandstanding from the president, who refuses to even be a part of the process, won’t bring Congress any closer to a resolution.

A GOP aide noted Obama has not called the Speaker all week.

Emphasis added.

Obama in desperate denial

Via The Corner (and others):

President Obama contended that the United States would become reminiscent of a banana republic if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling and provide funding for Obamacare in upcoming budget negotiations.

“This is the United States of America — we’re not some banana republic, this is not a deadbeat nation, we don’t run out on our tab,” the president said during a speech at a Ford plant in Liberty, Mo., on Friday afternoon. “We can’t just not pay our bills.”

Just in case a leftie reads this, I’ll spell it out.

  1. Thanks in part to President Obama, the U.S. is indeed more like a banana republic every day. Think of a government that lies to its people (Obama administration – check) and impoverishes them (Obama spending, deficits and money-printing – check) to benefit its favored cronies (Big Banking, Big Labor, Big “Green” – check).
  2. We raise the debt ceiling, precisely because we are “just not pay[ing] our bills.” The debt ceiling is the nation’s credit card limit. You get your limit raised when you’ve maxed it out. Rather than wait and pay down your card, you want to pile on still more debt. It’s not a virtuous sign of your intent to pay your bills; it means, actually, that you’re failing to pay them.
  3. Which means, We are indeed a deadbeat nation, running out on our tab. If we were going to pay our tab, we would (if anything) reduce the debt ceiling, or at least stop raising it. Raising it makes us “a deadbeat nation.” To not be “a deadbeat nation”, we’d have to cut spending – enough to pay down our debt; and that would include (but not be limited to) a full and immediate repeal of Obamacare.

In short, Obama denies that which has already come to pass – and was brought about, at least in part, by him.

NB: Some language tweaks, after publication.

UPDATE: V reminds us of what Senator Obama had to say in 2006, about his future self:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

UPDATE: I realized that what Obama and the Left are up to in 2013, is: Trying to confuse people about “paying bills”. They’re all about government-as-Santa Claus. They want to spend, spend, spend. So, they are trying to spread a (false) concept that their wild spending is “paying bills”; that, when the government budgets for some crazy thing we can’t afford, the spending itself should be considered a ‘bill’ to be ‘paid’. That is what Obama is trying to put over on people, now.

But of course it’s nonsense. A really lame, crazy shopaholic might try it on you, if you cornered him. “Oh, but I promised to buy my daughter that expensive pony. You want me not to? But my crazy promise is a ‘bill’ that I have to pay now! That is why it’s up to you to keep letting me borrow ever-more money, so that I can buy people all the crazy gifts I’ve promised them.”

Anthony Weiner: Poster Boy for narcissism

I know this clip is everywhere today, but it’s everywhere for a reason: Weiner’s angry cluelessness is almost too appalling for words.

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It shows one of life’s classic moral confrontations.

  • The normal person (“normal” just meaning, “takes for granted that there are norms of personal behavior”) expresses a viewpoint like: There are norms; you are aware that you violated them when you repeatedly betrayed and humiliated your wife with your deviance, right? I’m not judging you, you can go home and have a good life, but you really don’t belong in the public eye. Have a nice life, but please stop bothering us here in the public square.
  • While the malignant narcissist expresses a viewpoint like: How DARE you tell me that I don’t belong in the public eye, being adored (e.g., voted for – and given power)?! You small person, you coward, you ignoramus, you self-appointed judge, you [insert names of choice]!

Hat tip, Michelle Malkin.

Classic Nancy Pelosi

I don’t know where Peter Schiff got this old footage, but it’s kind of interesting. Nancy Pelosi, known for her positions in favor of raising the minimum wage (which only raises unemployment and hopelessness, but lefties don’t care), refuses to answer an interviewer’s tough-but-fair questions about why she pays her own entry-level staff below the minimum wage, or even nothing at all:

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Schiff gets around to Pelosi at 11:10, and takes her apart clip-by-clip. Such answer as she gives the original interviewer is a variation of the classic, “It’s OK When I Do It, Because I’m In Congress” – mixed in with a pretty strained appeal to religion.

But the interviewer doesn’t give up. The last clip shows Pelosi telling her staff to “call the guard” to throw him out. Haughty yet anxious; what a mix.

If anyone knows the original interviewer’s name, please post it in the comments.

UPDATE: It’s Jan Helfeld. (Thanks Juan!)

This guy: America’s future?

This Fox interview is making the rounds. Will its subject become the new face of food stamps?

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Getting a job, he says, is “not the direction I’m going right now.”

Remember: Obama has removed the “work requirement” for SNAP benefits (what used to be called ‘food stamps’), a requirement put in by Bill Clinton and a GOP Congress.

What ARE the aims of Obama’s foreign policy?

Victor Davis Hanson published a memorable piece in the National Review last week entitled “America as Pill Bug.”  The pill bug or the roly-poly bug is one that turns itself into a ball when it feels threatened.  Hanson writes:

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On August 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed on the basis of intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Yet we still have over a month to go before the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, an iconic date for radical Islamists.

Such preemptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious. Yet if we shut down our entire public profile in the Middle East on the threat of terrorism, what will we do when more anti-American violence arises? Should we close more embassies for more days, or return home altogether?

Hanson makes an excellent point about the way the Obama administration’s closure of embassies is likely to be viewed in the Arab world and around the globe.  Although, as Jeff pointed out in a post last week, the administration may have ulterior motives–by trying to create a distraction–by closing the embassies in this manner, the reality is that the interpretation of the administration’s actions by our international foes is likely to proceed in a manner similar to that Hanson envisions in his article.

Hanson looks at the example of Libya and Syria to illustrate that the administration’s “lead from behind” strategy is not working, and that it appears to be counterproductive:

Instead, the terrorists are getting their second wind, as they interpret our loud magnanimity as weakness — or, more likely, simple confusion. They increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al-Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of curling up until danger passes.

Our enemies have grounds for such cockiness. President Obama promised swift punishment for those who attacked U.S. installations in Benghazi and killed four Americans. So far the killers roam free. Rumors abound that they have been seen publicly in Libya.

Instead of blaming radical Islamist killers for that attack, the Obama reelection campaign team fobbed the assault off as the reaction to a supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic videomaker. That yarn was untrue and was greeted as politically correct appeasement in the Middle East.

All these Libyan developments took place against a backdrop of “lead from behind.” Was it wise for American officials to brag that the world’s largest military had taken a subordinate role in removing Moammar Qaddafi — in a military operation contingent on approval from the United Nations and the Arab League but not the U.S. Congress?

No one knows what to do about the mess in Syria. But when you do not know what to do, it is imprudent to periodically lay down “red lines.” Yet the administration has done just that to the Bashar al-Assad regime over the last two years.

Hanson sees the Obama administration’s foreign policy as a disastrous replay of the Carter doctrine, once again illustrating Glenn Reynolds’ frequent observation that a replay of Jimmy Carter is simply the “best-case scenario” for Obama.

While I believe Hanson is right in his characterization of the big picture and the likely consequences of Obama foreign policy, I’d differ from him in seeing Obama as being as feckless and weak as Carter.  I’d maintain that Carter’s foreign policy was guided by a number of naive precepts about the nature of the world.  At least during the years of his presidency, I’d contend that Carter “meant well” in the way the phrase is commonly used to describe a hopelessly incompetent bumbler who seems incapable of recognizing his own shortcomings.  Likewise, early in the Obama administration, Tammy Bruce started referring to Obama as Urkel, the nerdy, awkward, inept kid from the TV show “Family Matters” who had an uncanny ability to mess up almost everything he touched.  That certainly is one narrative for what Obama is doing in the world of foreign policy, but I’m not sure it is the right one.

As I contemplate Obama foreign policy, though, particularly in the Middle East, I find myself thinking more and more that although incompetence might be the simplest explanation, it might not be the best or the right one.  I see no good intentions in the administration’s domestic policy, so why should its foreign policy be exempt from charges that it is motivated more by malevolence to the United States and its role in history than by a supposed set of “liberal” ideals?

This is an administration that seems bent on alienating all of our historical allies as quickly as possible, while taking it easy on our geopolitical foes.  Obama seems to want our allies to view us as unreliable and untrustworthy while making sure our enemies view us as weak, indecisive, and either unable or unwilling to use force to protect our interests or to enforce our stated policy goals.  If there is a better explanation of the administration’s ultimate foreign policy goals, I’d sure like to know what it might be.