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President Stomps Foot, Threatens Russia with Harsh Rhetoric, Makes Lame Exercise Video

Posted by V the K at 5:31 pm - February 28, 2014.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance

Earlier this afternoon, President Obama gave a very stern warning to Russia not to intervene in the Ukraine.

Oops, wrong link. Meh, whatever.

President Obama said he was “deeply concerned” on Friday over reports that Russian troops are meddling in Ukraine as armed men took up positions in Ukraine’s Crimean region. “Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia or Europe,” he said.

Q. Does any intelligent believe that President Obama would really intervene militarily in Ukraine? A. No.

Q. Does Vladimir Putin give two hoots about President Stompy Foot’s threats?
A. See above.

BTW, here’s a link to an actual video of the president, in which he manages to embarrass and humiliate the United States only slightly less than his foreign policy does.(“Oh yeah, *that* guy makes me think twice about engaging in bad behavior,” said no foreign tyrant ever.)

Update: MSDNC keeps its viewers informed of the most important breaking news and developments.

Update: Putin sends Russian troops into Ukraine; Obama attends Democrat fundraiser. #Priorities.

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Obama’s “Age of Austerity”: A Retrospective

Posted by V the K at 4:52 pm - February 25, 2014.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance

Leftist Progressives are overjoyed that Mr. President Obama is going to request massive new spending increases that will bring to an end this horrible age of austerity and limited Government spending under which the country has suffered lo these past five years.

The Federalist has a a retrospective on the hardships and scarcity Mr. Obama has put himself through to spare the country needless expenses in accordance with the modesty and reserve for which his administration has been renowned.  A sample below the break:

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Ain’t It The Truth?

Posted by V the K at 1:23 pm - February 11, 2014.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance

L’etat, c’est moi.

“That’s the good thing as a president. I can do whatever I want.” Mr. Barack Obama, 10 February 2014

Unironically, Mr. Obama made the remark the same day he decided he would not faithfully execute the Obamacare law passed by his own party, but instead waved his pen and granted another politically expedient extension.

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So let me get this right:

The administration—whose latest foray into unobstructed, unlegislated, we’ve-got-this, go-it-aloneism was the fabulously ‘effed up roll-out of HealthCare.gov—is going to make 2014 the year of the Executive Branch takes on the world without the messiness of involving the People’s Branch of the federal government?

This’ll be something to see…

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from The Ranch)

Typical Obama

Posted by V the K at 1:10 pm - January 4, 2014.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance

The President, currently enjoying a 17-day, $4 Million, taxpayer-funded vacation in Hawaii… attacks Republicans for going home to their families instead of staying in Washington to spend taxpayer money and expand that welfare state.

Just a few days after Christmas, more than one million of our fellow Americans lost a vital economic lifeline – the temporary insurance that helps folks make ends meet while they look for a job. Republicans in Congress went home for the holidays and let that lifeline expire

…We make this promise to one another because it makes a difference to a mother who needs help feeding her kids while she’s looking for work; to a father who needs help paying the rent while learning the skills to get a new and better job. And denying families that security is just plain cruel. We’re a better country than that. We don’t abandon our fellow Americans when times get tough – we keep the faith with them until they start that new job.

BTW, when he returns from Hawaii, the top items on this man’s agenda are to enact punitve, job-killing EPA regulations and pass an Amnesty bill to replace American workers with cheap, imported foreign workers.

How anyone can have anything but contempt for this contemptible man is beyond me.

Obama: “Freedom Doesn’t Work”

That’s the gist of his speech.

There is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

It’s the usual Obama campaign speech (the only kind he gives, the man doesn’t do thoughtful), unnamed enemies (“a certain crowd”), strawman arguments (“the market will take care of everything”), mixed in with blatant falsehoods, (“we tried cutting taxes and reducing regulation, and it didn’t work”). It’s a candyfloss of lies, class warfare, and demagoguery but this is what Obamacrats actually believe.  In fact, his crowd of mindless drones lapped it up like an MSDNC panel of Melissa Harris-Perry clones.

And all of it has no more truth or substance than their rumor that Mitt Romney would outlaw tampons. But the low-information voters that have turned the USA into a statist Idiocracy lap it up.

Obama really believes this inanity too, and it drives his policies of massively increased regulation, tax increases, and welfare expansion.

How Not to Behave at a Funeral

Imagine if you will, George W. Bush, attending a state funeral for a much respected world leader. And, during the funeral procession, he flirts with an attractive blond and takes grinning selfies in full view of the cameras.

Obama_Mandela_Selfie_Moment

And before any of Obama’s Army of Sycophants shrieks “faux outrage,” I’m not actually outraged by him acting like a complete boob at a state funeral. I am somewhat outraged by his eager and ready handshake for a Communist dictator with the blood of thousands on his hands, who keeps millions of his people oppressed and impoverished. Or, maybe that’s not a big deal to the Food Stamp, IRS-Abusing, “I’m really good at killing people” President.

Obama’s Partners

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So, over the weekend, the Obama Regime came to an agreement with the gay-killing, terrorist-supporting Iranian regime. The agreement is that sanctions will be lifted, and Iran will be allowed to continue to enrich uranium. And in return, the Obama Regime gets a distraction from the Obamacare debacle and the predictable adulation of their sycophants in the press.

The agreement is strikingly similar to the deal Jimmy Carter negotiated with the Norks in 1994. And we all know what a brilliant success that was.

Obama is happily willing not only to negotiate with the gay-killing, terrrorist supporting regime in Iran, but eagerly grants them major concessions. But he will not negotiate with Congressional Republicans.

Sad? Or hilariously funny?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:21 am - November 15, 2013.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance,Obama Prevarications

“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

– Barack Obama, June 3, 2008

Via The Other McCain.

Communism vs. freedom: The war is back!

And it’s happening in the middle of our own society, now.

I didn’t say nearly enough about this morning’s incredibly wrong quote from Jonathan Gruber, who is billed as the ‘architect’ of Obamacare:

We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick or [if] you’re going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance.

The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners who’ve been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return.

First, Gruber doesn’t understand free markets: If we had them (and we have NOT had them in medical care for decades), then health insurance would always be available to people with pre-existing conditions, at some price. And they could choose to take it, or not – as they have the means and perceive being to their own advantage (or not).

One of the ways the Left wins is by warping language. In this case, the Left has warped the concept of “health insurance” to mean “subsidized health care”, health care paid largely by Other People’s Money.

And it’s true: the free market won’t supply that – beyond voluntary charity. Because it is by definition a win-lose transaction. Someone must be forced to pay the subsidy, and that person loses. The free market is about win-win transactions. If your basic desire is to win at someone else’s expense, forcing them to pay for you, then you naturally hate free markets; the Left is your political home. Congratulations.

Next, Gruber thinks it’s “discriminatory” that people with conditions would pay more for health care. But here’s the thing: They take more health care.

Just like young men get into more car accidents, consume more repair services and thus have to pay higher rates for car insurance, so unhealthy people properly should have larger bills for health care – or health insurance.

Finally, Gruber’s quote wrongly chalks up everything about one’s health to genetics, ignoring the role of lifestyle choices in determining health – and thus ignoring the role of personal responsibility. And that may be where he’s most wrong. We know that socializing health care will lead a society to greater disease, as people make worse lifestyle choices.

But we also know that the Left has a ready ‘solution’ for it: namely, greater government control of people’s lifestyle choices. We’ve seen the beginnings of it in the U.S., with Nanny Michelle-Bloomberg’s efforts. It’s a road that ends with everyone doing mandatory calisthenics in front of the telescreen, _1984_-style. Because, at some point, no one’s life is their own anymore; each person is an investment (property) of the State.

Which brings me to my point. There are, so to speak, “two paths you can go by”.

  • If you believe in freedom – that is, in self-ownership, responsibility and choice under the Rule of Law – the logic of your position drives you toward limited government. Not to anarchy, but to *min*archy: the idea that government is there to protect people’s rights against attack and crime and, beyond that, to do little; allowing people to reap what they sow.
  • If, instead, you believe in community ownership of people’s lives and efforts – the central tendency of communism – the logic of your position drives you toward ever-larger government. You will always need more government, to solve the social problems that you caused by your last round of increases to government. Concluding in totalitarianism.

People support Obamacare and President Obama depending on whether – deep in their souls – they truly prefer freedom or dictatorship.

Gruber’s idea is essentially communist. The idea that capable and healthy people must be forced to pay for incapable or unhealthy people, lest society be “discriminatory” or whatever, means that people’s lives are not their own. Whatever people become, whatever they produce, is ultimately the State’s property to distribute as it sees the need.

“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” – it can’t really ever be implemented, but if it could be, then only by total government diktat over everyone and everything. That is Gruber’s road – the underlying logic of his position – whether he admits it or not. It is also Karl Marx’s.

Why the Obamacare Website Woes Are Significant

Glenn Reynolds explains:

A government that can’t build a health care website isn’t likely to be very good at running health care for 330 million people. But the technocrats aren’t so concerned with being good as with being in charge.

Emphasis added.   (Read the whole thing as the blogmeister excerpts Daniel Greenfield’s wonderful reflections on the magic powers of government.)

RELATED:  Michael Barone asks us to

. . . check out this story from Britain’s Independent. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service is going to abandon a $17 billion information technology system that was being rolled in over a 10-year period.

The Independent account suggests that big universal governent IT systems just can’t be made to work.

UPDATE (from Jeff): Is cronyism involved? Meet Anthony Welters. He and his wife have been top Obama donors/”bundlers”, and White House visitors. His company owns QSSI who got a lot of money for the broken Obamacare website…including millions more right now, to fix it.

President Obama’s solution to every problem: Give a speech

Each of us is born with certain gifts. What determines our success in life oftentimes is how we develop those gifts to serve the needs of the world in which we live.

Barack Obama has a mellifluous speaking voice. And he can, on occasion, deliver an inspiring speech. His keynote address to the 2004 Democratic National Convention catapulted the charismatic Chicago politician to national fame. Had he not delivered that speech he would not have been in a position to run for — and win — the White House four years later.

And now, as president, he seems think that he can address the nation’s problems through such speeches. During the month of September, as a government shutdown loomed, instead of reaching out to — and meeting with — congressional leaders, he delivered a number of campaign-style speeches.  And now as his health care overhaul faces myriad glitches, he’s doing it again, as Reason’s Peter Suderman reports:

Three weeks after the deeply troubled launch of Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges, President Obama gave a speech responding to some of the problems that have plagued the government-run online enrollment system. The most revealing thing about it was what he didn’t say.

Obama was somewhat more blunt than he has been about the system’s failures. “There’s no sugarcoating it. The website has been too slow. People have getting stuck during the application process. And I think it’s fair to say that nobody’s more frustrated by that than I am,” he said. “There’s no excuse for the problems.”

No excuse—and no explanation either. Obama acknowledged some problems with the site. But he didn’t say why they happened, when they would be resolved, or what the administration’s specific plan was to get things working.

Read the whole thing.  H/t:  Powerline picks.  So convinced is the president with his rhetorical prowess that he doesn’t need explain, he just needs to talk.

No wonder, Allahpundit sees the speech as a means to buy “time for website repairs and trying to combat ominous polls like this, which show the public’s perceptions of Healthcare.gov bleeding over into their perceptions of the ObamaCare program generally.”

A speech may buy the president time, but it won’t fix the program’s flaws  – nor will it contain its costs.

Hostage crisis quieting down?

These past few weeks, President Obama has (metaphorically or morally) held a gun to America’s head, demanding that his profligate borrow-and-spending be fully funded or else he’ll default on America’s debt payments.

Now it looks like the crisis is receding, with the hostage-taker mostly getting his way. It isn’t clear if the GOP achieved anything, except yet another committee to look into the nation’s fiscal turpitude.

Knowing that the Tea Party doesn’t have the votes it needs (yet) to break through that turpitude, I didn’t really expect a different outcome. So, I’m not too upset. But was the time & drama worth it?

I say yes: at least it shed light on these issues. Even if you can’t stop lying would-be dictators from succeeding, it’s still worthwhile to rip their masks off. Seeing Obama lie outright about the debt (as I always suspected he would, when cornered) was priceless.

Perhaps Pascal Emmanuel Gobry at Forbes would feel as I do? He writes about the crisis showing Tea Party mettle, and about the hope he feels from seeing the House GOP at least demand (even if they didn’t win) Congress being put on Obamacare like the rest of us. But he also notes that the crisis may have distracted much-deserved attention from Obama’s other troubles, like Obamacare’s launch failure.

Your thoughts?

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).

The Dawn Davenport Presidency

By way of Michelle Malkin’s excellent website Twitchy, I’ve learned of two great hashtag nicknames for Obama and his administration in the past few days: #PresidentStompyFoot and #SpiteHouse.  As appropriate and amusing as those are, in thinking about his behavior, I’ve come up with another one lately which I like to imagine is just as good: President Cha-Cha Heels.

The reference, for those who don’t recognize it, is to Dawn Davenport, the spoiled teenager in John Waters’ 1974 film Female Trouble.  Although the film is one of Waters’ earlier efforts and is therefore full of the sort of rude, crude, and just plain gross humor and incidents which assured it an NC-17 rating, in some respects it is a useful parable about the evils of modern liberalism.

Here’s a brief synopsis: Dawn Davenport wants nothing more than a pair of “cha-cha heels” for Christmas, but when her parents refuse to get her any on the grounds that “nice girls don’t wear cha-cha heels,” she throws her mother into the Christmas tree, runs away from home, gets pregnant, and eventually becomes a criminal before being discovered by Donald and Donna Dasher, a couple who loves to photograph women committing crimes.  They make her famous, and she becomes even more notorious as a result.  The Dashers are the sort of liberals who embrace transgression as art and dysfunction as beauty, until Dawn goes berserk and then they try to pretend that they had nothing to do with it.

So what does this have to do with Obama?  Well, our petulant President seems rather like Dawn Davenport throwing a tantrum because he didn’t get any cha-cha heels to wear with his Mom jeans.

As Thomas Sowell wrote in an excellent article that appeared last Friday: “You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.”

In any case, Obama doesn’t care.  He didn’t get his cha-cha heels, and so he’s determined to “walk all over you,” in the words of this catchy tune inspired by the story of Dawn Davenport and performed by Eartha Kitt and Bronski Beat:

YouTube Preview Image

Unfortunately, like the Dashers, his enablers in the press and the liberals who voted for him are rallying around him as though there’s nothing offensive, disturbing, or troubling about his dishonest and spiteful behavior.

 

Democrats Hold America Hostage: Updates

Sen. Harry Reid’s refusal to negotiate on anything leads to his own elderly constituents being thrown out of their homes.

America’s veterans will rally October 13 to storm the Barackades at the nation’s war memorials, if things don’t get better first.

Veterans got through the Barackades at the Iwo Jima memorial. But President Obama still has a tight grip on the Jefferson memorial (where the guards physically manhandle the tourists), the Lincoln memorial and many others.

Park rangers, acting effectively as jack-booted thugs, Barrycade an inn that has operated seasonally since 1919.

Mark Steyn is not to be missed, as usual. “The World War II Memorial exists thanks to some $200 million in private donations…But the thug usurpers of the bureaucracy want to send a message: In today’s America, everything is the gift of the government, and exists only at the government’s pleasure, whether it’s your health insurance, your religious liberty, or the monument to your fallen comrades.”

Video of Sen. Ted Cruz reminding his Democrat colleagues that civility is a two-way street, something they need to think about.

Jonah Goldberg reminds us that President Obama has “set out to create problems for the American people, just to prove how great government is” at least since the ‘sequester’ fight earlier this year, when “The Department of Homeland Security announced it might not be able to protect the nation’s borders, and in an effort to prove the point summarily released a couple thousand of immigrant detainees, many of them with criminal records.”

Tweet of the day: from Sean M. Davis, “If you think this gangster gov’t. shutdown nonsense is bad, just wait until these people decide that your medical procedure isn’t necessary.”

UPDATE (from Dan):  Don’t like the hostage-taking rhetoric coming from the Obama White House.  Perhaps, it’s a nice rhetorical trick to turn the tables on the blame-shifting Democrats, but it does not promote a civil debate of these contentious issues.

Last week, Ilya Somin offered a nice rejoinder to the Democrats’ hostage talk.  (H/t:  Instapundit.)

UPDATE (from Jeff): Dan, I appreciate that we needn’t always agree. For the record: This is not a “rhetorical trick”, it is calling the facts as I see them. Ilya Somin (your link) writes, “Terrorists and hostage-takers are evil because they threaten lives and property that do not belong to them.” I think that definition applies to a group of politicians seeking to withhold symbols and property that belong to all the People, from the People.

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.

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.

Government by spite

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:13 am - October 3, 2013.
Filed under: Government Shutdown,Obama Arrogance,Obama Incompetence

A quick roundup of some items on the government shutdown (gleaned from Ace, HotAir, ZH, etc.).

Are these the actions of a constructive presidency, or one filled with spite?

I think they fit with the Obama administration’s hostage-taking over the ‘sequester’ budget cuts earlier this year. For example, they refused to restore White House tours for school kids, even after alternate (private) funding was found for the tours.

One good note: 91% of the IRS has been furloughed.

BONUS: A history of government shutdowns. Here’s the short version: There have been many…as in, many shutdowns organized/led by the Democrats. So the present shutdown is nothing new, nothing disastrous, and nothing that Democrats themselves haven’t done whenever they felt like it.