Tags: Barack Obama

Can Our Forces Bomb an Outhouse in Syria Without Presidential Approval?


From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Can Our Forces Bomb an Outhouse in Syria Without Presidential Approval?


The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.

Welcome back to Vietnam, and General William Westmoreland’s experience:

Somewhere, some Baby Boomers are chuckling about what happens once you elect a president too young to have served in — or, it seems, remember — Vietnam.

Remember Obama’s boast, “I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m going to think I’m a better political director than my political director.” I guess he thinks he’s a better general than his generals and a better bomber than his bombers.

Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book “Double Down: Game Change 2012” notes President Obama commenting on drone strikes, reportedly telling his aides that he’s “really good at killing people.”

Oh. So he really does think he’s an expert at killing people.

How the heck did we end up in this mess?

Through tight control over airstrikes in Syria and limits on U.S. action in Iraq, Mr. Obama is closely managing the new war in the Middle East in a way he hasn’t done with previous conflicts, such as the troop surge in Afghanistan announced in 2009 or the last years of the Iraq war before the 2011 U.S. pullout.

In Iraq, Mr. Obama had delegated day-to-day management to Vice President Joe Biden.


Well, that explains a lot.

In other news, Mr. Vice President, look out for that bus!

Tags: Iraq , Syria , ISIS , Barack Obama , Joe Biden

Why Is Our President Thinking About What He Would Tell ISIS if He Were Advising Them?


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Why Is Our President Thinking About What He Would Tell ISIS if He Were Advising Them?

A strange presidential comment, revealed to the world Sunday by the New York Times:

But the president said he had already been headed toward a military response before the men’s deaths. He added that ISIS had made a major strategic error by killing them because the anger it generated resulted in the American public’s quickly backing military action.

If he had been “an adviser to ISIS,” Mr. Obama added, he would not have killed the hostages but released them and pinned notes on their chests saying, “Stay out of here; this is none of your business.” Such a move, he speculated, might have undercut support for military intervention.

Why is our president thinking about what he would tell ISIS if he were advising them?

Does the president spend a lot of time thinking about this? Or did it just strike him as a fascinating little nugget of insight to share with a guest while discussing ISIS?

I can see the value in trying to understand the thinking of your enemy. I can see the value in thinking through an ultimatum to the group, contemplating what you’ll demand and what consequences to threaten. You can “offer advice” to a foe in the sense of, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

But Obama’s “if I was an adviser to ISIS” comment doesn’t sound like any of these — at least from the context that we’re given by the Times’s sources, individuals who have met with the president in the past week. It’s just, Hey, if I were advising the enemy, this is what I would have told them.

Okay . . . what’s the point? Why spend any time thinking about that scenario? Did ISIS call and ask for advice? They didn’t attach notes; they detached heads. That’s the choice they made. Now the question is what we’re going to do about it.

Notice Obama’s assessment presumes ISIS wants to avoid a U.S. military intervention. Is this a manifestation of the mirroring effect, where Obama projects its own values and priorities onto its foes? (Think about how often he insists publicly that seizing Crimea and moving into Ukraine isn’t in Russia’s interest, or that bellicose or provocative actions on the part of Iran aren’t in that country’s interest.) ISIS appears to want to send the message, far and wide, that they don’t fear a clash with the U.S. military. Perhaps they want to demonstrate that they can commit horrific crimes against American civilians with no serious repercussion. Maybe they think God wants them to do this. Maybe they’re nuts! In the end, the “why” matters less than the “what.”

Viewed from another angle, President Obama’s comment sounds like a complaint. If ISIS hadn’t beheaded Americans, there wouldn’t be such widespread demand for action against ISIS in the American public.

“If I were advising ISIS . . . ”

Well, you’re not, Mr. President. What, are you looking for another job? Some sort of freelance consulting gig on the job, when you clock out as Commander-in-Chief?

Walter Russell Mead:

It is probably true that a lower profile by ISIS would have made it more difficult to win support for airstrikes in the United States and around the world, but that’s hardly the point. ISIS is a master of the pornography of politics and the pornography of perverted religion: slave girls, heads on spikes, executions uploaded to the Internet, naked defiance in the face of its enemies. ISIS isn’t trying to win a conventional geopolitical chess match, it wants to electrify millions of potential supporters and change the nature of the game. The execution of American hostages succeeded brilliantly, from an ISIS point of view. It has made President Obama look weak, forced him to change his entire Middle East policy and brought the jihadi movement back into the world spotlight. The politics of spectacle has eclipsed Al-Qaeda, weakened Assad’s position, drawn the awe and admiration of jihadi wanna-bes and funders, and elevated 30,000 thugs and nutjobs to a major force in global events. Yes, that elevation carries with it the risk of serious pushback and even conventional military defeat, but jihadi ideology has benefited enormously from what ISIS has accomplished so far. ISIS still isn’t going to conquer the world, but radical Islam is closer than ever to launching the clash of civilizations of which bin Laden dreamed.

ISIS has much less money than President Obama does, many fewer fighters, much less equipment and in every other conventional measure of power it is a pipsqueak compared to the Leader of the Free World. But who is acting, and who is reacting? Who is dancing to whose tune?

Are we about to learn what happens when the United States goes to war with a commander-in-chief who doesn’t really want to go to war? A president who’s ordering a particular military action because he feels he has to in order to placate public opinion, but that he has deep doubts about? How can that possibly turn out well?

Josh Jordan: “Shorter Obama: If I were advising ISIS, I’d tell them not to execute Americans on video so I can keep pretending they aren’t a threat to us.”

Ladd Ehlinger Jr.: “Ah yes, I remember when FDR thought-experimented an advisorship position with Imperial Japan.”

Doug Powers: “Obama also probably would have advised ISIS to pin OFA donation envelopes and voter registration forms to the shirts of released hostages.”

Iowahawk to the president: “If you were advising ISIS, they would be bankrupt.”

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS , Syria , Iraq

McDonough: We Didn’t Threaten Families. We Explained the Law.


White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday the Obama administration only terrified families of kidnapped American citizens in order to make “clear what the law is” regarding trying to ransom the life of a loved one.

McDonough, who claimed to be a father himself, disputed reports that the families of James Foley and Steven Sotloff were threatened with prosecution by executive-branch officials during an appearance with John Roberts on Fox News Sunday. But he said the alleged threats occurred over “many many” meetings during which administration officials explained the families’ powerlessness to them. “That’s our responsibility,” McDonough said, “to make sure we explain the law and uphold the law.”

McDonough also went into detail about the failed rescue operation the administration publicized after Foley’s murder was made public by the Islamic State. The failed operation, McDonough said, involved “hundreds of people in a multi-unit, multi-platform effort, which is something about which we are all very proud.”

Tags: Islamic State , Barack Obama , Denis McDonough , Divine Right of Kings and Bureaucrats , Sunday Shows September 14 2014

Obama’s ISIL Policy and the Conservative Case for Opposing It


I was too charitable initially. The more one thinks about Obama’s ISIL speech, the more appalled one becomes. The dismal-enough “ISIL is not Islamic” claim is not what we should concentrate upon. The real scandal is a basic absence of strategic thinking. Many, such as Bing West, more than confirm my suspicion that without special forces involvement on the ground, we cannot remotely hope to “destroy” or even to significantly “degrade” ISIL.  And we now learn that Obama received and rejected advice along these lines from the commander of CENTCOM. 

But the strategic incoherence is worse than that: As Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff points out, despite the talk in the speech of providing arms to the Free Syrian Army to help us fight ISIL, that’s not the primary purpose of that very weak and likely-pretty-pissed-at-Obama group. It’s primary purpose is to overthrow Assad, and more realistically, to simply survive. Why should it do much to help us hunt ISIL? Obama gave no indication that he is willing to protect it against Assad. Nor any indication of what the long-term U.S. strategy for Syria will be. 

Reports indicate that Obama’s implicit suggestion that the new Iraqi government is ready to fight ISIL in an effective and non-sectarian way is a shaky one, and reports show his claim to have already assembled a coalition of the willing contains more than a bit of bluster. Turkey said yesterday it was unwilling to let us use its air-bases, for example. 

And then there’s the sheer absurdity of Obama winding up this important speech by claiming that he’s rallied the world to defend Ukrainian independence, and that he “helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again.” Let’s let John Hinderaker, also of Powerline, parse that latter claim:

You might think this delusional, if you didn’t listen closely enough: Obama limited his claim to Syria’s “declared chemical weapons.” Within the last 24 hours, it has been reported that Syria used chlorine gas against civilians on numerous occasions in April. While it is still under investigation, it appears that Assad also gassed civilians last month. But–here’s the catch–Syria never “declared” its stockpiles of chlorine. Way to go, Barry! The most weaselly weasel would be proud of that one.

It’s not just weasel words about something deadly serious, but it also has the air of sheer fantasy. The man is apparently living in a foreign-policy Potemkin village of his own making.

And that’s the really frightening thing.  Regardless of how the debate about the present choices regarding ISIL goes, we have two more years in which the man who made this speech will be the primary mover of our foreign policy and our armed forces’ commander-in-chief. Every government and organization on the planet by now knows that the best opportunity for getting away with aggression against U.S. interests or allies, probably for decades to come, will be during the next two years. You’ll have a lame-duck (or nearly so) U.S. president who, despite certain appearances to contrary, is deeply unpopular and divisive, who nonetheless continues to toy with proposals and to block scandal-investigations in ways that may provoke an impeachment action; whose word on foreign-policy matters is not really trusted by anyone; who is hobbled by his close ties with an effectively isolationist left-wing; who has mixed relations with his key European allies; and best of all, who is himself a self-deluded and indecisive fool when it comes to strategic thinking.

We know in our bones that ISIL, if it is left to thrive, will deliver serious attacks upon us in the future. Hundreds, God forbid, maybe thousands, of Americans are going to die if this terror-state is not crushed now, to say nothing of the hundreds of thousands of non-Americans that ISIL is going to wind up enslaving and murdering in the Middle East. (Of course, similar yet worse things could be said about Iran becoming able to produce nuclear weapons.)

So what are conservative and moderate-leaning Americans to do?  Will it be enough to raise our voices so as to get Obama to correct the errors in his strategy, while nonetheless demanding that our representative in Congress support the overall policy, the way the National Review editorial yesterday suggested? At least we will know our bombs will hurt ISIL somewhat. At least America will be seen as trying to harm the bad guys. Isn’t that the best we can hope for?

Or, must we instead conclude that we cannot responsibly support sending American servicemen and women into any new wars under this incompetent and untrustworthy commander? Especially under such a leader, a mission that from the outset omits the necessary means for its stated end must not be undertaken.

Allow me to toy with that second option for a bit.  What would a “retrenchment for now — given this leader” conservative platform on foreign policy say? I think the following:

1) Unless Obama actually sends front-line fighting special forces to help our air-forces target ISIL, and makes a promise to stay with the mission until the end of his term, there should be no Republican support in Congress for the action. If Obama is unwilling to agree to these (and perhaps other) necessary provisions, Republicans should openly oppose the air-strike campaign in every way short of denying it funding in ways that expose our pilots to greater risk. Highlight each and every violation of the War Powers Act as a violation of existing law, regardless of our opinions about its constitutionality. Make the argument that wounding a deadly enemy, instead of killing or thoroughly maiming him, will provoke sympathy for him and increase the likelihood of his effectively attacking us.

2) Repeatedly demand that Obama seal the border with emergency measures.

3) Call upon Obama to promise Putin that we won’t send troops or arms to fight him in the Ukraine, and that under no circumstances will we support its joining NATO or the E — if Putin wants the mess of economic warfare with the EU and a prolonged insurgency war in Ukraine, that’s his bed to lie in. Simultaneously establish forward NATO bases in the Baltic States — thereby breaking existing promises not to.

4) The Republican Congress should openly warn Putin that no matter what degree of division they get into with Obama over the next two years, up to and including impeachment, they will stand by him in defending all NATO members from every sort of attack, and will insist that he do so. Similar warnings, perhaps less public, should be sent to Chinese leaders with respect to our commitment to our allies Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

5) Denounce the Obama timeline for withdrawing from Afghanistan, but do not make opposing it a major focus of a Republican Congress.

6) Demand that arms, aid, and advisors be sent to the Kurdistan Regional Government no matter what (well, short of it supporting independence for the Kurds in Turkey, which it likely has the wisdom to refrain from). 

7) If Obama goes through with the preemptive air-only war against ISIL, exert pressure to send more advisors to and plan more air sorties with Kurdish forces.  If Baghdad fails to step up, so be it and let the Kurdish forces be the ones to hold any territory taken from ISIL, perhaps to use as a bargaining chip in future Iraq-partition talks.

8) Demand stronger Obama threats against the Iranian nuclear policy, and back him to the hilt on these.

It’s an ugly policy. It means a willingness to tolerate Putin invading the Ukraine(which I would admittedly advise in any case), Assad remaining in power, and much else.  It even means letting ISIL remain in place, if Obama intransigently refuses to cut a deal, for two years.  As indicated above, that might mean a heightened risk of ISIL attacking the homeland. Politically, it would mean some congressional votes made in alliance with members of the “anti-war” left. 

What it says is that we can have little confidence in engaging in serious wars under this president, while simultaneously warning potential aggressors not to take advantage of this situation.  His confusion is not ours.  The weakness he conveys with his words is something of an illusion, as there is more to the American republic than him.  If you dare to try to take advantage of our political discord by crossing the lines indicated, we will put aside our differences with him in an instant.

You can tell I’m attracted to such a platform.  I suppose its main slogan could be “No War without a Plan for Victory!” But its big problem now is that the public knows something real has to be done about ISIL, and it will be inclined to interpret serious Republican resistance to Obama’s policy as irresponsible obstruction of that need. Larry Kudlow makes the case for supporting the president’s plan, and in just such a November-tuned political way.  Still, I sure don’t see how we can responsibly get behind a plan this incoherent, combined with a commander-in-chief this clueless and an American public that remains pretty viciously divided (thanks, Dems!) about all matters Iraqi.

May God help us, and turn our president’s eyes towards some adequate measure of wisdom. I say this prayer with his truly dangerous Big Amnesty plan in mind as much as this ISI -plan, because my fear is that a simultaneous occurrence of domestic and international chaos is just around November’s corner.

But in preparation for the possibility that God will not answer this prayer, and with the need to decide soon upon us, perhaps some of you can tell me whether Republicans should support the president’s present ISIL plan or not.  I’m leaning strongly towards no.

Keep reading this post . . .

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIL , ISIS , war

The Sneaking Suspicion That Obama Doubts His Own Decision


From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

The Sneaking Suspicion That Obama Doubts His Own Decision

Here’s what I fear is going through the president’s mind right now:

I don’t want to do this. I’m supposed to be the peacemaker president. I didn’t become president to start wars.

I’ve been telling people for years that there is no military solution to the problems in Iraq. Now somehow I’ve ended up telling people that I have a military solution for that and Syria.

We don’t have any reliable allies on the ground. There are at least fourteen different rebel groups, and they keep splitting into smaller groups, each one with a new name, and all of them sound the same. In March, a bunch of them formed the “Sham Legion.” Just perfect. I’m supposed to go out and tell Americans, ‘Hey, let’s give a bunch of weapons to the Sham Legion.’

This assumes that the Sham Legion or the Fake Brigades or whoever don’t just drop their guns and run away, leaving ISIS even more American weapons to use. Why can’t the Iraqis get their act together? We spent years and billions training the Iraqi army and they collapsed in their first real fight. I just went out and promised to do more training. Another couple hundred American soldiers over there, hoping to teach them how to fight. Is ISIS just going to sit and wait while we finish the training? Here’s the first lesson, guys. Stop throwing down your guns and running away.

Where the hell are our allies? I’m the exact opposite of Bush. I’ve talked about the importance of the multilateral approach until I’m blue in the face. You would think that in exchange for being consulted early and often, our allies would be more eager to help. Instead, every time I ask Susan Rice if the Germans are on board, all I hear is mother-blankers this and mother-blankers that. She did it while Rahm Emanuel dropped by and he asked her to tone down her language. It’s almost as if most of our allies don’t really mean it when they complain about not being consulted, like they just want to sit back and wait for somebody else to solve the problem.

Egypt, Jordan and Turkey have been screaming the loudest about ISIS, but now that we’re coming to do something, they’re tepid and not willing to make commitments. Heck of a job, Kerry. You know who’s most warmly welcoming the U.S. arrival? The Assad regime in Damascus. Those bastards.

I can’t shake the feeling ISIS loves the idea of us coming after them. They’re probably going to use some version of the Hamas playbook — provoke a fight with a more powerful, more technologically advanced foe, hide among civilians, play up any civilian casualties, and then declare yourself the winner once the bombardment ends.

Nobody wants to help. We’re trying to bomb an army, in the kind of “whack-a-mole” policies I used to criticize. The Democrats in Congress don’t want to touch this with a ten-foot pole. The Republicans will pounce on anything that goes wrong. The whole thing’s a distraction from what I really want to do with my remaining two years . . . 

In short, I think Obama has talked himself into a policy that he doesn’t really want to see through to the end. Which means that once it starts to go wrong — check Byron York for five ways this could go very wrong — President Obama will start having doubts. The moment flag-draped coffins start coming back to the United States, the public’s doubts will start to grow. Opportunistic politicians will read from Obama’s 2004 anti-war playbook.

Read the following and then ask yourself how long until you start hearing the word “quagmire”:

In Iraq, dissolved elements of the army will have to regroup and fight with conviction. Political leaders will have to reach compromises on the allocation of power and money in ways that have eluded them for years.

Disenfranchised Sunni tribesmen will have to muster the will to join the government’s battle. European and Arab allies will have to hang together, Washington will have to tolerate the resurgence of Iranian-backed Shiite militias it once fought, and U.S. commanders will have to orchestrate an air war without ground-level guidance from American combat forces.

“Harder than anything we’ve tried to do thus far in Iraq or Afghanistan” is how one U.S. general involved in war planning described the challenges ahead on one side of the border that splits the so-called Islamic State.

But defeating the group in neighboring Syria will be even more difficult, according to U.S. military and diplomatic officials. The strategy imagines weakening the Islamic State without indirectly strengthening the ruthless government led by Bashar al-Assad or a rival network of al-Qaeda affiliated rebels — while simultaneously trying to build up a moderate Syrian opposition.

Then Obama will want to undo this policy as quickly as he can. What happens when the United States tries to withdraw from a war “counterterrorism operation” in Iraq the second time?

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS , Iraq , Syria



From the Morning Jolt:


This president is still walking around with an oversized sense of his own popularity, political capital, and public trust. He still thinks that if he says “we will do X,” people will believe him.

He’s capable of giving a good speech — well, reading from a teleprompter with the right tone, facial expressions, and mannerisms — but very few people, at home or abroad still expect dramatic action to follow dramatic words. The Obama pattern is clear: Big promise, lousy results. Too many lines instantly pop into the minds of viewers. Red line. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” We’re going to arm the moderate Syrian rebels. “New tone.” “Assad must go.”

Just because Obama says it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. “We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are.” Well, that will be nice if it happens. As @CuffyMeh put it, “We will chase ISIS to the end of the earth as long as it doesn’t involve actually touching the earth.”

And as we’ve noted, Obama periodically offers comments that suggest he’s out to lunch. The world is safer than it was 20 years ago. We know more about trouble overseas because of social media.

Obama’s numbers are terrible — and that’s because of three things: Beheadings on Americans’ televisions, the idiotic “we don’t have a strategy” declaration, coupled with the subsequent statement that ISIS was a problem to be “managed.” You can throw in the “JV team” as another key element of the deep unease with this administration’s terror-fighting abilities. (The Osama bin Laden raid sure feels like a long time ago, huh?)

The president and his administration insist upon calling the group “ISIL”, preferring the term “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.” As Chuck Todd said, they don’t like to refer to Syria in this context. This is a silly word game in hopes for political spin.

Last night I enjoyed the chance to briefly speak to Brit Hume in the Fox News offices. “He’ll speak about ISIS as if they appeared out of nowhere like Godzilla,” Hume predicted.

David Frum makes the very solid point that by attacking ISIS, we are helping the Iranian regime, the Assad regime in Syria, and Hezbollah. He points out that the Obama administration is ignoring this embarrassing situation, and hoping the American public doesn’t notice it. Indeed, it is a pretty remarkable and revealing aspect of the Obama administration that apparently no one on that foreign policy all-star team even thought about using the carrot of anti-ISIS action as leverage against the Iranians.

Frum’s whole argument opposing military action is almost persuasive . . . except for the detail that ISIS has killed Americans and has made clear its intent to kill more Americans.

The John Wayne-Ted Nugent-Toby Keith-Andrew-Jackson-Early-Frank-Miller-Batman-Papa-Bear-Author-of-a-book-titled-Voting-to-Kill side of me says that whenever anybody anywhere in the world kills an American for being an American, we’re obligated to rain hellfire down upon them, oftentimes in the form of a literal Hellfire missile.

But the 2014 version of me recognizes something the 2004 version didn’t: If you openly broadcast that philosophy, a lot of people are going to kill Americans just because they want to fight the lone remaining superpower. Everybody wants to be the man that shot Liberty Valance. Every aspiring terrorist wants to be the one who punched the Great Satan and lived to tell the tale.

And let’s face it, there are a lot of groups in this world that killed Americans and escaped much consequence. The barracks bombers of Lebanon. We hit Qaddafi, but only before Lockerbie, not after. The Iranians had a hand in Khobar Towers; we only exposed the names of their agents. We’ve caught one Benghazi attacker. Syria basically ran a superhighway for insurgents in Iraq, and the Iranians helped the insurgents, too. We still don’t know who we can trust in Pakistan. (Perhaps America has taken vengeance in some covert manner, to be revealed to a future generation.)

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask of the ol’ Lone Ranger, and . . . well, you know.

Deterrence requires consequences. The world doesn’t lack people who enjoy killing Americans, and while we can debate “root causes” and “why do they hate us” as long as we like, we’re not likely to talk them out of it any time soon. (Does it seem like the Chinese don’t have this problem as much? The Russians? Is it that nobody’s really afraid of crossing us?)

So we have to respond. We have to punish aggression, wickedness and brutality when it targets our fellow Americans. But, as presidents are fond of saying, we must deal out that punishment “at a time and place of our choosing.”

Tags: ISIS , Barack Obama

No Obama Immigration Action Until After November Elections


A new GOP message for the midterms: November is your last chance to send a message to President Obama to not unilaterally rewrite America’s immigration policy!

If this is such a great idea, why wait until after the elections? Perhaps it’s not such a good idea!

In fact, if 74 percent of Americans oppose the president doing this unilaterally… maybe it’s a terrible idea, hm?

Allahpundit, on why Obama’s waiting: “Once the people have been safely duped and the votes are in, Obama will announce his mega-amnesty in November or December. The point is to ensure that voters aren’t making a fully informed choice when they go to the polls this fall. That might turn out badly for the left, so the king is once again exercising his royal prerogative to shield them from political difficulty. Just like he did repeatedly in moving statutory deadlines around for ObamaCare.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Illegal Immigration

Why We Fight


From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Why We Fight

Jonah’s always awesome, but this point from yesterday afternoon is really important. He points to some transcripts of ISIS members, cheerfully laughing and appreciating that their rule has re-institated the practice of buying and selling women as sex slaves.

Then Jonah notes:

… the president has done everything he can to claim that his domestic political opponents are engaged in a “war on women.” He won an election largely because he convinced enough women — and pliant journalists — to take this bilge seriously. Just this week the head of his party went on at great length to claim that the Republican governor of Wisconsin has been “giving women the back of his hand.”

Oh, and let us not forget, the president and his supporters work very hard to paint their domestic political opponents as religious extremists because some private businesses and religious groups don’t want to pay for procedures that violate their conscience. 

Now compare this to the people who are celebrating the fact their faith allows them to enslave women. 

Just think about it for a moment. The president surely knows about this. His administration surely knows about this. And yet, the president — this modern incarnation of Lincoln, protector of women and opponent of domestic religious extremism — defines his goal for ISIS as reducing it to a “manageable problem.” Does this mean that if ISIS renounces any designs on attacking the US homeland (an impossibility given the tenets of their faith and ambition for a global caliphate) he will stand by as they continue to barter women as sex slaves and breeders? This is the same man who campaigned in Berlin as a “citizen of the world” and champion of global community. 

Forgive me, but the term, “Lincolnesque” doesn’t immediately spring to mind. 

The disconnect goes beyond mere inconsistency or hypocrisy. It is a moral sickness that is sickening to behold.

Remember President Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon?

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Whatever else you think of President Kennedy, he grasped that a big part of leadership is persuading people to do things that they would rather not do, often because those tasks are difficult. And a good leader gets people to do those things because they’re needed.

Look at what the president insists upon talking about in his fundraiser speeches and other public events this autumn: Hiking the minimum wage. The “gender pay gap” (that shrinks dramatically once you account for interruptions in a woman’s career for child-rearing). Climate change and “carbon pollution.”

Meanwhile, ISIS is planning to murder us.

The quasi-isolationist vibe going through the Democratic Party since, oh, late 2003 or so reflects their desire to avoid doing things that are hard. If we absolutely must intervene in Libya, we’ll “lead from behind.” If we absolutely must kill someone, better for the president to have a personal, secret “kill list” and launch unmanned drone strikes in far-off lands, so the American people don’t have to hear about it and have to think about it.

Are drone strikes enough to contain militant Islam? Look at the evidence around us. Look at Libya. Look at Syria. Look at Iraq. Look at Pakistan. God forbid, look somewhere closer someday soon.

But persuading the American people to accept a more aggressive policy would be hard, particularly after this president spent years assuring them that “the tide of war is receding” and “al-Qaeda is on the run.”

Democrats – and perhaps almost all of Washington – shy away from doing things that are hard.

Stopping Putin? That’s hard. Pushing back against the rising tide of virulent anti-Semitism in Europe? That’s hard. Addressing the insufficient skill-set of the American workforce in a rapidly-changing, globalized economy? Really hard. Creating a culture of opportunity, responsibility and accountability in the worst neighborhoods in the inner cities? Nothing’s worked wonders yet. Ensuring every child is raised in a loving home? That’s hard.

Entitlement reform? Too difficult to even mention. The national debt? Too big and difficult to even think about.

Cleaning out the dead wood from the federal bureaucracy and instituting a new culture of accountability and results? That’s really hard.

It’s much easier to fume at length about Todd Akin and “binders full of women” and what Phil Robertson said on “Duck Dynasty” and sneer at gun owners and religious Christians. Vast swaths of our public debate revolve around metronomic “Can you believe what this person said?” outrages. Any ill-tempered comment from any little-known “GOP lawmaker” anywhere in the country can set off a couple news cycles of ritualistic denunciation.

Driving the guy at Mozilla out of his job is relatively easy. Making a figure so controversial that they’re metaphorically radioactive is easy.

Considering what liberals claim to care about, they have every reason to focus their fury upon militant Islam… but they don’t. Liberals claim to care about underprivileged children and the importance of education, so they have every reason to lash out at status-quo-defending teacher’s unions and demand public school choice for every parent everywhere in the country… but most of them don’t. Liberals claim to care about low-income Americans, so they have every reason to oppose allowing more unskilled or low-skilled workers to enter the country illegally… but they don’t. Liberals claim they want to help the little guy, so they have every reason to want to reduce the amount of red tape and paperwork that a new small business faces… but they don’t.

All of those tasks would require them doing something difficult – oftentimes, confronting a part of their own coalition for the status quo.

Every once in a while, Democrats do try something difficult. “Hey, let’s set up a system that guarantees health insurance to every single American!” Of course, that usually proves to be way, way, way harder than they expected and creating more problems, or worse problems, than when they started.

Remember my “Progressive Aristocracy” series, here and here and here and here and here? The Progressive Aristocracy doesn’t want to do that much, other than tell you how to live your life.

Yes, the Republican Party has its flaws. It often earns its nickname of “the Stupid Party” and it has its weak leaders, its loudmouths too much in love with the sound of their own voices, its craven types eager to find that sweet post-elected office lobbying deal, and its boring old white men with comb-overs, speaking in legislative-ese.

But by and large, the Republicans are worried about the right problems – the big problems: crazy people who want to kill us, a skyrocketing debt, a growing culture of dependency, an avalanche of red tape strangling the entrepreneurial lifeblood of the economy and an unsecure border.

That’s why this November, we’ve got to elect as many of these guys as we can. Not because they’re perfect, or even all that great; not because their ideas are perfect or even have a good chance of getting past an Obama veto… but because they’re at least looking at the real problems, instead of telling us our eyes are deceiving us and it’s not as bad as it looks

A great country deserves great leadership.

Tags: Democrats , Progressives , Barack Obama

Biden’s Strangely Political ‘Official’ Visit to New England


Vice President Joe Biden travels to New Hampshire and Maine today:

Vice President Joe Biden is expected to tour the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard this morning, an event we are told will highlight the shipyard’s work-force engagement. 

Also attending will be U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, representing New Hampshire, along with U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, from Maine — all Democrats.

But it’s totally not a political campaign event, honest!

(Note Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire’s other senator, was not invited to the allegedly non-partisan event.)

Once and perhaps future U.S. Senator Scott Brown welcomes the Vice President to the Granite State with this video:

VICE PRESIDENT BIDENPresident Obama has made those hard calls with strength and steadiness.
And the reason he’s been able to is because he had clear goals and clear strategy how to achieve those goals.
He had a clear vision and has a clear vision for America’s place in the world

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We don’t have a strategy yet.
VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN: I am very optimistic about Iraq. I think it is going to be one of the great achievements of this administration.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: We don’t, we don’t have a strategy.

Tags: Joe Biden , Barack Obama , New Hampshire , Scott Brown

New York Times Columnist: ‘Is the President Consoling Us - or Himself?’


In keeping with the theme of today’s Morning Jolt, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni is sounding… a lot like some longtime conservative critics of the president, and unnerved by the president’s comments and seeming denial of what’s happening overseas. Responding to Obama’s declaration that “the world has always been messy” at a Democratic party fundraiser Friday, Bruni writes:

When the gut-twisting image stuck in your head is of a masked madman holding a crude knife to the neck of an American on his knees in the desert, when you’re reading about crucifixions in the 21st century, when you’re hearing about women sold by jihadists as sex slaves, and when British leaders have just raised the threat level in their country to “severe,” the last thing that you want to be told is that it’s par for the historical course, all a matter of perspective and not so cosmically dire.

Where’s the reassurance — or the sense of urgency — in that?

And maybe the second-to-last thing that you want to be told is that technology and social media amplify peril in a new way and may be the reason you’re feeling especially on edge. Obama said something along those lines, too. It’s not the terror, folks. It’s the tweets.

Is the president consoling us — or himself? It’s as if he’s taken his interior monologue and wired it to speakers in the town square. And it’s rattling.

Perhaps when Air Force One arrives in Estonia and President Obama appears before the press, he will come out with fire in his eyes. Perhaps he will pledge to unleash the full wrath of the arsenal of democracy against ISIS for the barbaric crime of beheading a second American. Perhaps he will use his favorite phrase, “let me be clear,” and send a message to Vladimir Putin that further shenanigans in Ukraine are an act of war, and that if Putin wants to boast that he get to Kiev in two weeks, NATO can prove that it get there quicker as an invited ally. Maybe he’ll come out and be a strong, decisive, confidence-inspiring, oh-so-slightly menacing wartime commander-in-chief.

But maybe not.


Tags: Barack Obama

Obama to Campaign in States Where His Job Approval Is In the Mid-40s


President Obama’s autumn campaign schedule feels a lot like President Bush’s safe-state only itinerary in 2006: “The White House is putting the finishing touches on a post-Labor Day schedule that will send the president to states where he’s still popular, such as: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California, Obama officials and Democratic operatives said this week.”

Michigan is the only state with a competitive Senate race on that list. Republican Terri Lynn Land is keeping it close with Democrat Rep. Gary Peters. In the governor’s race, incumbent Republican Rick Snyder has held a small lead over Democrat Mark Schauer. Note that PPP found Obama’s approval rating in Michigan at 43 percent in early July.

Democrats are feeling cheerier about their odds in Wisconsin’s governor’s race, where Mary Burke is neck-and-neck with incumbent Republican Scott Walker. (Obama held a Labor Day rally in Wisconsin Monday.) But recent polling puts President Obama’s approval rating in Wisconsin at 44 percent

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Tom Wolf appears set to easily beat incumbent Republican Tom Corbett. (NRO’s John Fund dissects the Corbett implosion here.) Wolf may not particularly want the presidential help; the most recent Franklin & Marshall poll put President Obama’s approval at 34 percent

Illinois, President Obama’s home state, offers a Senate race that is not expected to be competitive, with incumbent Dick Durbin heavily favored over Jim Oberweis. But Republicans appear likely to win the governor’s race, with Bruce Rauner enjoying a solid lead over beleaguered incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn.  An early August poll put President Obama’s job approval at 45 percent among Illinois registered voters.

In California, Jerry Brown is expected to win reelection over Neel Kashkari. The Field Poll released today found Obama’s job approval at 45 percent — which doesn’t sound so bad, but it’s the lowest ever recorded in that poll.  

​Back in 2006, the Washington Post looked at then-President Bush’s schedule in deep red states and concluded, “The politician who has done more than anyone else over the past decade to build and expand the Republican Party has become a liability to Republicans in many parts of the country.”

Eight years later, the politician who as done more than anyone else over the past decade to build and expand the Democratic Party has become a liability to Democrats in many parts of the country — perhaps even in some states he won twice.

Tags: Barack Obama , Michigan , Wisconsin , Pennsylvania , Illinois , California

President Obama Is Always Telling Us to Not Worry.


From the first post-Labor Day edition of the Morning Jolt:

President Obama Is Always Telling Us to Not Worry.

The “unfortunate contrasts” for the White House are piling up like planes waiting on the tarmac at Dallas Fort Worth Friday afternoon. We have a president keeping a summer 2008 schedule while a high-profile American enemy speaks like it’s autumn 2001:

President Obama flies to Europe on Tuesday ahead of talks with NATO allies over the crisis in Ukraine. But they will also discuss the growing threat posed by ISIS, the Islamic extremists who have seized control of large sections of Iraq and Syria.

While Mr. Obama was touting an improving economy in Wisconsin, the terror group released the third issue of its English language online magazine, complete with pictures of the group executing Syrian soldiers and blowing up the homes of those who cooperated with police.

It’s no longer some crazy right-wing notion to wonder if the president is in denial about the seriousness of the threats building overseas. The editorial board of the Washington Post openly wonders if President Obama is ignoring what his cabinet is telling him about Russia’s aggression and ISIS:

One can only imagine the whiplash that foreign leaders must be suffering. They heard U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power denounce Russia as “today . . . they open a new front . . . Russia’s force along the border is the largest it has been . . . the mask is coming off.” An hour later, Mr. Obama implicitly contradicted her: “I consider the actions that we’ve seen in the last week a continuation of what’s been taking place for months now . . . it’s not really a shift.”

Similarly, his senior advisers uniformly have warned of the unprecedented threat to America and Americans represented by Islamic extremists in Syria and Iraq. But Mr. Obama didn’t seem to agree. “Now, ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region,” he said. “My priority at this point is to make sure that the gains that ISIL made in Iraq are rolled back.” Contrast that ambition with this vow from Secretary of State John F. Kerry: “And make no mistake: We will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil.”

His advisers are only stating the obvious: Russia has invaded Ukraine. The Islamic State and the Americans it is training are a danger to the United States. When Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. says the threat they pose is “in some ways . . . more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” it’s not because he is a warmonger or an alarmist. He’s describing the world as he sees it. When Mr. Obama refuses to acknowledge the reality, allies naturally wonder whether he will also refuse to respond to it.

NBC News’ Richard Engel Sunday: “I speak to military commanders, I speak to former officials, and they are apoplectic. They think that this is a clear and present danger. They think something needs to be done. One official said that this was a Freudian slip, that it shows how the United States does not have a policy to deal with Syria, even when you have ISIS, which has effectively become a terrorist army, roughly 20,000 strong.”

One quick note: The United States military is the best in the world, and while fighting terrorists is always difficult, the Pentagon is pretty spectacular and thorough when it comes to defeating opposing armies. House-to-house urban warfare, determining friend from foe in densely-packed chaotic environments full of civilians – everybody struggles at that. But once an American enemy gets big enough to have groups of guys standing around in one place, and lots of vehicles, and permanent structures – well, then it’s just a matter of establishing air superiority and then targeting and bombing them to oblivion. Ask the Iraqi army, either the 1991 edition or the 2003 edition.

What makes ISIS different – its ability to openly hold and control territory with heavier weapons – also makes it much more vulnerable from the West’s preferred style of combat.

Back to our resolutely oblivious president.  Obama at a DNC event, late last week: “I promise you, things are much less dangerous now than they were 20 years ago, 25 years ago or 30 years ago.” He said this the day UK Prime Minister David Cameron declared that his country faced “the greatest and deepest terror threat in its history.”

Ace of Spades, articulating an increasingly common fear:

For some time I have had concerns about Obama. And not all of these concerns are political.

I have wondered if he simply snapped.

He continues to make me wonder.

The less menacing possibility is that he is determined to create a happy, false reality for his LIV supporters.

The more frightening possibility is that he was so successful in creating that Happy Place, he decided to move in, and now lives in his own delusions as well.

I don’t know if this will make Ace feel any better, but what we’re seeing now is an old and steady Obama habit, more pronounced against horrific events. “It’s not as bad as it seems!” is an Obama trademark.

Remember, the Benghazi terror attack was a “bump in the road.” ISIS is the JV squad.  “Because Israel is so capable militarily, I don’t worry about Israel’s survival.”

If you were worried about Putin in 2012, “the 80s called, they want their foreign policy back.” All that U.S.-Russia relations needed was “more flexibility.” In May, he spoke about the invasion and occupation of Crimea as if it had been properly resolved: “Our ability to mobilize international opinion rapidly has changed the balance and the equation in Ukraine.”

The private sector is “doing fine.” People who already have health insurance “don’t have to worry.” Increases in the unemployment rate are, similarly, just “bumps in the road.”

Relax, America. This pair is on the case!


Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS , Russia

Senate Dem: The West Is Afraid to ‘Provoke Putin’


President Obama needs to rethink his unwillingness to provide Ukrainian military forces with lethal weapons to fight Russia, according to a Senate Democrat who scoffed at political leaders who fear “provok[ing] Putin.”

“I think that was his initial assessment,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) said on CNN’s State of the Union when asked whether Obama was right to withhold weaponry. “And there are those in Europe and elsewhere who says, you know, we don’t want to provoke Putin. Well, Putin doesn’t need provocation. In this case weakness is a greater provocation for Putin act than strike.”

Menendez was clear that some of the fearful political leaders are in Europe — where is “elsewhere?”

He sharpened the point during an MSNBC interview Sunday. “The West has constantly held back because we didn’t want to ‘provoke Putin,’” he said. “The European Union’s reticence to vigorously pursue sanctions and our reticence to provide the Ukrainians with the ability to defend themselves so that the cost to Russia would be so significant that they’d have to think twice about continuing this aggression has, I think, invited Putin to pursue the actions that he has done to date.”

Menendez then offered a peace-through-strength sort of rationale for arming the Ukrainians.

“Putin only understands two things and that’s strength either because of the economic consequences that we can levy upon Russia and hopefully the European Union will move with us into more significant sectoral sanctions,” he said. “And also the costs to Russians as they send their sons and daughters back in body bags to Russia and Russian mothers say, What is happening here?”

Tags: Barack Obama , Vladimir Putin , Ukraine , Bob Menendez

‘I Defer to the President’s Judgment..’


With President Obama briefly returning to the issue of veterans’ care this week — very briefly — it’s good to remind the voters of Georgia that Michelle Nunn, aspiring Democratic senator declared during the heat of the VA scandal: “I defer to the president’s judgment about the leadership that will be necessary to ensure that accountability and that transparency, and that we actually change the system.”

She defers judgment to the guy who only learned about the problem from media reports. (Remember, the Obama administration is the “greatest threat to press freedom in a generation, according to a New York Times reporter who covers the government. Thus, the Obama administration is cracking down on the institution that most frequently informs the White House about scandals and problems within the federal government.) 

Tags: Barack Obama , Michelle Nunn

Another Day, Another White House Effort to Ignore the Constitution


From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Another Day, Another White House Effort to Ignore the Constitution

How many Democrats are beginning to realize what they’ve done, and what kind of man they’ve put in the Oval Office?

Both political parties are in a state of high anxiety about the possibility that President Obama will allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the country, fearing that White House action on the issue could change the course of November’s midterm elections.

In the past few days, Democratic candidates in nearly every closely fought Senate race have criticized the idea of aggressive action by Obama. Some strategists say privately that it would signal that he has written off the Democrats’ prospects for retaining control of the chamber, deciding to focus on securing his legacy instead.

Keep in mind, by assuming that he, alone, has the power to legalize millions of people who entered the country illegally, he’s taking another hatchet to the concept of checks and balances in the Constitution.

Just yesterday we learned this White House asserts it can join international treaties that the U.S. Senate will not ratify.

Don’t take it from me; take it from the New York Times staff:

A New York Times reporter who has been fighting off a US government demand that he reveal a confidential source has described the Obama administration as “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”

James Risen, who has been ordered to testify in the criminal trial of a former CIA official Jeffrey Sterling, was speaking at a New York conference, “Sources and secrets” .

He argued that he administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” and that its prosecutions have created “a de facto Official Secrets Act.”

Or all nine justices of the Supreme Court: “The Supreme Court has ruled in Noel Canning v. NLRB, No. 12-1115, and found that President Obama had indeed violated the constitution in his recess appointment. The decision was unanimous.”

In fact, some of these coming changes come in policy areas where the administration has already lost, 9-0, at the Supreme Court. Let Ted Cruz explain:

The defeats include cases such: as Judalang v. Holder, when the court faulted the Obama team for making an “arbitrary and capricious” attempt to rewrite the rules governing who is eligible for relief from deportation; Henderson ex rel. Henderson v. Shinseki , in which Obama’s lawyers argued wrongly “that the Department of Veterans Affairs can wholly ignore a veteran’s appeal of a VA regional office’s benefits ruling when the appeal was not filed within the 120-day deadline”; and Bond v. United States, in which the “DOJ argued that an international treaty gave Congress the power to create federal criminal law for wholly local conduct.”

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the president’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” Cruz explained.

“When President Obama’s own Supreme Court nominees join their colleagues in unanimously rejecting the administration’s call for broader federal power nine times in 18 months, the inescapable conclusion is that the Obama administration’s view of federal power knows virtually no bounds,” he concluded.


Tags: Constitution , Barack Obama

Obama Unveils New Plan to Work with Foreign Governments to Ignore the Constitution


From the midweek edition of the Morning Jolt:

President Obama’s a big NBA fan, right? What if he’s tanking this year of his presidency because he thinks he gets a better lottery pick in the draft next year?

Obama Unveils New Plan to Work with Foreign Governments to Ignore the Constitution

You know why Obama seems so disconnected and disinterested in the presidency? Because he doesn’t want to be president, he would rather be king:

The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress.

In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate.

To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path.

“If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.

Look at how these people speak. If you cannot get the Senate to ratify a treaty (technically, passing a resolution of ratification), then the United States is not a party to that treaty. Period. Full stop. The Constitution is not iffy on this. This part is not a suggestion. There is no wiggle room.

There are a lot of nonsensical or highly exaggerated chain e-mails accusing the president of working with foreigners to subvert the U.S. Constitution. But this time you’ve got the foreigners and administration officials themselves confirming it on the front page of the New York Times!

“There’s a strong understanding of the difficulties of the U.S. situation, and a willingness to work with the U.S. to get out of this impasse,” said Laurence Tubiana, the French ambassador for climate change to the United Nations. “There is an implicit understanding that this not require ratification by the Senate.”

“The difficulties of the U.S. situation” is a reference the fact that we have a Senate that opposes the treaty.

The Times casually notes that President Obama ignored the legislative process in his domestic climate-change agenda, too:

In seeking to go around Congress to push his international climate change agenda, Mr. Obama is echoing his domestic climate strategy. In June, he bypassed Congress and used his executive authority to order a far-reaching regulation forcing American coal-fired power plants to curb their carbon emissions. That regulation, which would not be final until next year, already faces legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed on behalf of a dozen states.

“ . . . days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America . . . ”

Tags: Barack Obama , Climate Change , Constitution , Global Warming , United Nations

Obama, Standing Undaunted for the Unpopular Principle... of His Leisure Time


From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

President Obama Doesn’t Care What We Think About His Golfing.

After that brutal New York Daily News cover Thursday afternoon, hitting him for going golfing right after his remarks about the beheading of American, President Obama  responded Thursday afternoon… by going golfing.

President Obama doesn’t care if the optics are bad. He doesn’t care if there’s an awful contrast because UK Prime Minister David Cameron canceled his vacation plans. He doesn’t care if he’s getting grief from once-stalwart fans like Chris Matthews and Maureen Dowd. He doesn’t care if Congressional Democrats are openly griping about his disinterest and disconnect in the New York Times, and he doesn’t care if senior Democrats are declaring that he’s completely checked out of his presidency other than attending fundraisers.

He doesn’t care what any of us think.

There are times when resisting the cries of the crowd can be an act of courage. It is brave to stay true to your own conscience and judgment in the face of howls of outrage. Paraphrasing that old saying, “One man with a conviction is a felon New Jersey Democrat majority.”

But I’m not sure “I’m entitled to this time off, and I don’t care what anybody says,” is the right line in the sand to draw. And we’ve already seen what happens to President Obama’s other red lines.

(Speaking of red lines, next time you hear someone bragging that the U.S. forced Bashir Assad to destroy all of his chemical weapons, remind them that they only gave up their illegal chemical weapons and that there is such a thing as legal chemical weapons: “International weapons inspectors have issued preliminary findings that chlorine gas was used in a ‘systematic manner’ in Syria this year, long after the government of President Bashar al-Assad pledged to give up other toxic weapons such as sarin.”)

It’s not just the number of rounds of golf. It’s that his actions subsequent to his bold words demonstrate that he doesn’t really mean anything he’s saying.

Back when I came up with the “All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date, all of them” rule, my aim wasn’t quite to say Obama is a pathological liar. (Admittedly, you’re free to draw that conclusion from the record.) In many cases, Obama probably meant what he said when he said it… but then, at some future point, keeping his word became difficult. And he conveniently forgot about his pledge. For example, Obama was probably perfectly fine with the idea of accepting public financing and its attached spending limits in 2008 until the moment he realized or was informed he would be giving up one of his campaign advantages. So he came up with some nonsense about how his campaign’s fundraising success amounts to a “parallel public financing structure” and thus he didn’t need to accept the spending limits.

Most of us look at that and say, “hey, you broke your promise.” Obama would pat us on the head and tell us it’s complicated. He likes to tell us, and probably himself, that he’s a pragmatist. He’s just looking for what works, and keeping a promise that now looks disadvantageous just doesn’t “work,” or to use one of his hackneyed phrases, “just doesn’t make sense.” He’s got a country to fundamentally transform. Omelets, broken eggs, etc. He hand-waves away the little detail that he’s proven himself someone willing to break his word in order to get what he wants, and in fact is echoing all of the “cynical voices” he campaigned against his whole life.

You recall Obama’s exhausted, “we will not rest” pledge, deployed after every crisis. Even when he gives a decent delivery of his remarks, like he did Wednesday, talking about how relentless and determined the U.S. government is… then it’s back to the links. There’s no action that follows; No emergency meetings or summits, no new deployment of military resources to the region. Business as usual. Does anyone really believe his pledges of relentlessness anymore? Does ISIS?

I suppose someone will say, “the president golfing shows the terrorists can’t shake him out of his routine.” What’s so vital about that routine that an interruption of it constitutes a terrorist victory? 

Tags: Barack Obama, Bringing You The Really Important Updates


The lead item on right now: “Improving digital services across government.”

“The U.S. Digital Service is a small team of our country’s brightest digital talent that will work with government agencies to find more effective ways to use technology to improve the service, information, and benefits they provide.”

That’s great, can they provide HD-level images of ISIS goons getting blown to smithereens?

Ace, yesterday

Obama has his plans. His plans include pushing his various fake campaign positionings to gin up the left-wing base, and playing golf and attending jazz festivals.

No matter what happens in the world, or even in America, Obama is sticking to that plan.

He dismisses — either explicitly or implicitly, by his near-total lack of intellectual or emotional engagement with serious political events — all occurrences which are not in his List of Things to Do as “distractions.”

Thursday afternoon is U.S. Digital Service day, regardless of what’s going on in the world, the news, or is on the minds of the American people.


Tags: Barack Obama , White House

Welcome Back to Wartime With President Obama


From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

The cover of the New York Daily News this morning:

Or take a look at the response from…. Chris Matthews:

“I don’t know why he used the word ‘justice.’ It’s not appropriate here. This is an attack on our country, we have to react to it,” an upset Chris Matthews reacted to a video excerpt of President Obama’s statement today about the beheading by an ISIS member of American freelance journalist James Foley. 

“This is our country versus this group that’s declared war on us. What’s justice mean in this con– I don’t know why the word’s used, like we’re going to go to the World Court with this?!” Matthews sneered to guest Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post Media Group on the August 20 edition of Hardball. Later in the segment, an irate Matthews insisted “no American president can survive if he lets Americans be beheaded on international television with impunity. Impunity! He has to strike back, as an American, it’s in our soul!”

I could quote Mollie Hemingway just about every day, but her thoughts on our response to the Foley outrage are particularly good. I suspect she’s way more skeptical and disinclined towards foreign military actions than I am, but her “have we thought this through” points are always worth examining. And here she perfectly isolates that section of Obama’s soaring optimistic rhetoric that sets off the BS detector deep within our brain stem:

That’s why they say 3) unbelievably inane things such as, “you’re on the wrong side of history.” Or “The future is always won by those who build, not destroy.” That is literally Mickey Mouse philosophy. And I don’t mean that in a good way.

President Obama’s utopian fantasy of “the future” “always” being “won by those who build, not destroy” is just obviously and resoundingly false, for better or worse. I mean, define “future.” And define “winning” and “building vs. destroying.” Tamerlane had tremendous success destroying and slaughtering his enemies — for most of a century. And World War II didn’t end by building up Nagasaki. There are good winners and bad winners littered throughout history.

What’s more, this “wrong side of history” nonsense is nothing more than a religious belief in supernatural causality. It implies that history isn’t shaped by men but, instead, by outside inevitable forces that can always be counted on. If this were so, we wouldn’t need to work so hard to raise up good children and fight the evils all around us.

Obama’s had this tic for a long time, and what’s fascinating is that he clings to it – bitterly? – even after five and a half years of being president. David Brooks, back in 2008:

Obama speeches almost always have the same narrative arc. Some problem threatens. The odds are against the forces of righteousness. But then people of good faith unite and walls come tumbling down. Obama used the word “walls” 16 times in the Berlin speech, and in 11 of those cases, he was talking about walls coming down.

The Berlin blockade was thwarted because people came together. Apartheid ended because people came together and walls tumbled. Winning the cold war was the same: “People of the world,” Obama declared, “look at Berlin, where a wall came down, a continent came together and history proved there is no challenge too great for a world that stands as one.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, West Point graduate and former Army cavalry officer, is…. somewhat less than inspired by the president’s response so far:

“The President is correct that terrorist groups like ISIS don’t belong in the 21st Century and that we must be relentless to see that justice is done. But there is another, even greater reason the United States must take action: To prevent more Americans from being killed. The President is wrong to continue to downplay this threat by saying that ISIS is claiming to be at war with America merely out of expediency, or that ISIS is motivated by sheer ‘nihilism.’ This is not a “J.V. team,” as the President has put it. ISIS is an army of cold-blooded killers motivated by radical Islam. They continue their march, uninterrupted, to convert by the sword, kill Christians and other religious minorities, and expand their control of the Middle East. The Iraqis have already demonstrated that they cannot stop them on their own. The President’s current path of action has been far too limited to make a difference. We must do what is necessary to eliminate ISIS, protect the innocent, and keep Americans safe.”

Tags: Barack Obama

Obama’s Day: Foley/ISIS Statement, Then Golf


With the remarks on James Foley and ISIS complete… guess where President Obama went?

Apparently nothing gets in the way of President Obama’s vacation. Nothing!

If you wrote it in a novel, people would say it was too farfetched.

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS


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