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Tags: Barack Obama

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



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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



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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



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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



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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

WhiteHouse.gov, Bringing You The Really Important Updates



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The lead item on WhiteHouse.gov 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



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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



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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

Why Did President Obama Come Back to Washington?



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Can this possibly be true?

Speculation for why Obama returned [to Washington Monday] focused around the possibility of a secret foreign leader meeting or the roll out of a new administration initiative on immigration or corporate taxes.

But no such explanation materialized.

The most unusual deviation from a normal day at the White House was Obama’s dinner Monday night at Sam Kass’s home. The president, joined by deputy chief of staff Anita Breckenridge, spent nearly five hours at the White House chef’s Dupont Circle duplex apartment.

It’s possible that the party may have been a celebration of Kass’s impending nuptials to MSNBC host Alex Wagner. The couple announced their engagement last September. But the White House provided no details of the meal.

Remember yesterday’s comment from “One senior Democrat with close ties to Hill leadership” declaring that “except for fundraising, it appears … POTUS has completely checked out”? Could it be President Obama is comfortable spending the remainder of his presidency attending parties while crises like Ferguson and ISIS worsen?

UPDATE: No presidential statement about the killing of James Foley yet, but the latest fundraising e-mail came through just fine:

 

Tags: Barack Obama

After ISIS Beheading Video, UK’s Cameron Cancels Vacation, Obama Returns to His Vacation



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Over there: “U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria, calling the video ‘shocking and depraved.’”

Over here:

President Obama went back to his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard Tuesday evening following less than 48 hours in Washington, leaving people puzzled over why he came back in the first place.

Obama’s two days in Washington were mostly quiet, and concluded with the president receiving his daily national security briefing in the morning, and joining Vice President Biden to huddle with members of his economic team in the afternoon.

Administration officials have insisted for weeks that the president just wanted to return to the White House for a series of meetings, but the explanation was met with a healthy dose of skepticism, since Obama rarely interrupts his vacations.

Lead item on Whitehouse.gov right now: HUD Secretary Julian Castro is sworn in.

No statement yet from the president on the not-quite-confirmed-but-not-disputed Foley murder video.

Tags: David Cameron , Barack Obama , ISIS

‘Except for Fundraising... POTUS Has Completely Checked Out.’



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Ben White: “One senior Democrat with close ties to Hill leadership told me that ‘except for fundraising, it appears … POTUS has completely checked out.’ With over two years left on the clock, it’s not too late to check back in and turn things around.”

White’s article cites multiple examples of the president seeming strangely detached, disinterested, and disengaged from the usual presidential activities, but perhaps none are more surprising than Harry Reid’s account of Obama not caring about confirmation fights about his own ambassadorial nominees.

Dear Obama voters: You failed. You picked the wrong guy.

You told us we needed this guy in office. You believed he would deliver ‘hope and change’ and insisted to us skeptics he would do that. You told us he would be a post-partisan healer. You assured us he was “the smartest guy ever to become president” and “the triumph of word over flesh, over color, over despair.”

Here we today, and he’s “completely checked out” except for the part of the job you can outsource to any Hollywood celebrity.

Take it all back, Obama voters. Admit you were wrong. Admit that you completely misjudged this guy and how he would react to setbacks and the challenges of the office. Admit that a guy who had been in the Senate two years before announcing his presidential campaign was not ready for the difficulties of the job, and that you bought into the hype of soaring rhetoric. You dismissed all his critics, all the warnings, all the signals that after a few years, he grows bored – as he did in all of his previous elected offices.

To paraphrase one of the great post-game press conferences of all time, he is what we thought he was, and you let him off the hook.

Tags: Barack Obama

Will Hillary and Obama Make Up? Tune in Tomorrow to As D.C. Turns!



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Also in today’s Jolt:

Will Hillary and Obama Make Up? Tune in Tomorrow to As D.C. Turns!

Notice this section at the tail-end of an AP story on the president’s week ahead:

Obama’s vacation has also been infused with a dose of politics. He headlined a fundraiser on the island for Democratic Senate candidates and attended a birthday party for Democratic adviser Vernon Jordan’s wife, where he spent time with former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

That get-together between the former rivals-turned-partners added another complicated dynamic to Obama’s vacation. Just as Obama was arriving on Martha’s Vineyard, an interview with the former secretary of state was published in which she levied some of her sharpest criticism of Obama’s foreign policy.

Clinton later promised she and Obama would “hug it out” when they saw each other at Jordan’s party. No reporters were allowed in, so it’s not clear whether there was any hugging, but the White House said the president danced to nearly every song.

We discussed this on Howard Kurtz’s Media Buzz Sunday morning, and I was left with the distinct impression that the Washington press corps has lost its collective mind.

The “hug it out” aspect of the recent Hillary Clinton–Barack Obama brouhaha is the absolute least important part of the whole matter. Think about it: The last secretary of state just said that Obama’s foreign policy had “no coherent organizing principle” and that “we don’t even tell our own story very well these days.” That’s a pretty damning indictment, well beyond the particulars of sending arms to the Syrian rebels. It goes well beyond Syria. But what makes the criticism so mind-boggling is that this was Hillary’s whole area of responsibility for four years, and she’s insisting that the disappointing results all around the globe are the president’s fault. If she’s telling the truth now, how would she characterize her praise for the president’s foreign policy from 2009 to 2013? How often did she suppress her objections and help enact policies she felt were doomed to failure?

In light of all that, who gives a flying fuchsia pantsuit about whether or not Hillary and Obama have patched it up, or who’s mad at who, or who’s still carrying a grudge against the other? It matters once it affects policy; until then, it’s part of a soap opera.

One of Ace of Spades’ keen observations, from last year:

For Obama’s fanbois [sic], this is not politics. This isn’t even America, not really, not anymore.

This is a movie. And Barack Obama is the Hero. And the Republicans are the Villains. And policy questions — and Obama’s myriad failures as an executive — are simply incidental. They are MacGuffins only, of no importance whatsoever, except to the extent they provide opportunities for Drama as the Hero fights in favor of them.

Watching Chris Matthews interview Obama, I was struck by just how uninterested in policy questions Matthews (and his panel) were, and how almost every question seemed to be, at heart, about Obama’s emotional response to difficulties– not about policy itself, but about Obama’s Hero’s Journey in navigating the plot of President Barack Obama: The Movie.

As with a MacGuffin in the movie, only the Hero’s emotional response to the MacGuffin matters.

Once you hear about this phenomenon of seeing all events through the lens of the personal heroic narrative of the president, you start recognizing it everywhere.

Tags: Hillary Clinton , Barack Obama , Media

What’s On WhiteHouse.gov Right Now?



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The lead issue on WhiteHouse.gov right now? Raising the minimum wage.

Not the U.S. military action in Iraq, not the efforts to address the humanitarian crisis on the border, not the president’s statement on the situation in Missouri, not our diplomatic efforts in the Middle East or addressing Russian moves in Ukraine. Not even “comprehensive immigration reform” or Obamacare/the Affordable Care Act…

 

Tags: Barack Obama

Senate Democrats Accidentally Admit They Don’t Want Their Jobs



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If indeed, as Politico reports, Senate Democrats want President Obama to “make immigration changes through executive action” — changes that they themselves are not willing to vote for in legislative form… why do they want to be Senators?

At that point, you’re no longer a representative of the people, crafting legislation and law through the constitutionally-established process that dates back to the founding. You’re the Executive Order Cheerleading Squad.

Why would anyone vote for a lawmaker who wants to completely abandon their role in the process of making law?

Apparently he doesn’t really want his job.

Tags: Senate Democrats , Immigration , Barack Obama

American Liberals Experience ‘The Great Reset’ of Foreign Policy



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From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

The Great Reset: Liberals Suddenly Realize Their Ideas Don’t Work After All

Suddenly, we’re experiencing the “Great Reset.”

No, not this one…

We’re experiencing the one where America’s largely liberal political elites suddenly realize a lot of hard truths that many voices on the Right were saying all along: a U.S. troop presence in Iraq could help prevent chaos and genocide. Islamists want to reestablish a Caliphate. Vladimir Putin is not a reasonable guy. The United Nations is useless. The worldview and policy solutions expressed by Barack Obama during his rise in 2007 and 2008 were hopelessly naïve.

Any day now, they’ll suddenly realize Iran wants nuclear weapons and isn’t likely to give them up at the negotiating table!

Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times breaks it to his readers that no, the Iraq War didn’t really end; it just went on hiatus, and the American sabbatical just ended:

The Obama Doctrine, which has evolved through painful trial and error (see Libya and Syria), says the United States won’t use military force except when vital U.S. interests are threatened. But the “vital interest” exceptions Obama has cited include international terrorism, other threats to U.S. citizens and genocide — and all three are present in Iraq…

Indeed, the stakes in this war are immeasurably larger than the safety of Americans in Kurdistan (they could have been evacuated) or even the lives of thousands of Iraqi Yazidis on a mountain (although, yes, they deserved rescue too)…

Even without American boots on the ground, Obama has entered the United States in its fourth Iraq war. It won’t be over quickly. As the president said, this is going to be a long-term project.

So if a U.S. presence in Iraq does turn out to be vital to U.S. national security and the basic human decency requiring us to do more than just stand by during a genocide… then maybe George W. Bush wasn’t such a crazed warmonger after all, huh, liberals?

Ali Khedery attempts a pep talk for the president:

As a U.S. official, and now as an executive doing business in the Middle East, I have heard the same sentiment echoed privately by regional leaders for years. The reality is that your intended policy of benign neglect has actually proven to be one of malignant neglect and only strengthened our foes. But you still have 30 months left in office and there are vital American interests that need to be safeguarded—and not just on a remote mountaintop filled with desperate, fleeing Yazidi civilians. It is time to put the pivot to Asia on the backburner and to refocus on the unfinished business at hand. It is time to reengage in the Middle East, lest its widening chaos destroy what is left of your presidential legacy.

Here’s the problem: the Democratic base is functionally isolationist. Large swaths of Democratic primary voters do not want money spent overseas or troops deployed anywhere near Iraq. All of the Democrats officeholders’ opportunistic demonization of the Iraq War from 2003 to 2008 has caught up with them; their base actually believed all of that stuff about neocons and oil companies and Hallburton and “Imperial Hubris.” For the better part of a decade, Democrats insisted U.S. troops could leave Iraq and things would turn out fine for American interests.

As Ace put it, “Obama is essentially now in the position of fighting a war while pretending to not be fighting a war, because of The Base. That should go well for all of us!”

Here’s Khedery’s comments to Jake Tapper:

They don’t take the threat of transnational jihad seriously enough, as demonstrated by President Obama’s assessment of ISIS a few months ago, calling them the JV team,” said Ali Khedery, referring to comments Obama made to The New Yorker magazine, comparing the militant group to a junior varsity basketball team.

“In reality, ISIS represents the most virulent form of Islamic jihad the planet has ever seen. These folks are not Muslims, they are animals, frankly. They are a group that is so vicious, and so blood-thirsty, and such a death cult, that even core al Qaeda leadership – bin Laden’s successors namely – have disavowed them,” Khedery said in an interview with CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”


“And by doing nothing about it for months now, despite repeated warnings from the American intelligence community, what’s happened now is the cancer has metastasized, and we have a major problem on our hands, a problem that threatens regional stability, and thus threatens global stability,” he says.

“You don’t need access to CIA and NSA (intelligence) to know that they are coming, and that another 9/11 is imminent unless we act decisively, quickly, and do it right now with our allies,” said Khedery.

Well… damn.

Oh, and even the French appear to be cracking jokes about Obama’s vacations:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has a message about Iraq for Barack Obama: Get back to the White House and do something.

’I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,’ Fabius told a radio interviewer Tuesday in France,’ but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.’

Full-time workers in France are guaranteed a whopping five weeks of paid vacation every year, making his plea all the more urgent.

Obama is on a family and golfing holiday in a ritzy neighborhood of Martha’s Vineyard but says he will come back to Washington briefly on Tuesday before returning to fun, sun, and more golf.

Tags: Barack Obama , ISIS , Iraq

Obama Snubs Lauren Bacall! Pop-Culture President Fails to Issue Statement on Death of Hollywood Legend



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President Barack Obama, whose opinions on entertainment are eagerly awaited by all Americans, has shocked the entertainment industry by ignoring the death of legendary Hollywood actress, and lifelong Democrat, Lauren Bacall.

Bacall, a movie legend whose career included work with filmmakers ranging from Howard Hawks to Douglas Sirk to Lars von Trier, died Tuesday, leaving behind a legacy that included many classic films, a youthful marriage (and early widowhood) to Humphrey Bogart, and a lifetime of activism for liberal causes. Bacall joined protests against the House Un-American Activities Committee, campaigned for two-time failed presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s, and identified herself as “anti-Republican . . . a liberal” in a 2005 Larry King interview.

Yet Bacall’s loyalty to the president’s party has not earned any recognition from the pop-culture-saturated commander-in-chief. Obama has spent much of his time in office taking selfies with cultural notables; giving his opinions on Downton Abbey, Orange Is the New Black, Mad Men, and many other popular television shows; texting with Jay-Z; and gracing the nation with his opinion of Kanye West’s interruption of Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Obama rarely leaves America in the dark about his media diet and pop-culture opinions.

Inconveniently, Obama’s pop connoisseurship is occasionally interrupted by details of national and global politics: Russia is on the verge of invading Ukraine; an area of Iraq the size of Belgium is under the control of a mass-murdering Sunni Islamist terror group; and the United States remains stuck in the longest period of economic stagnation since the Great Depression. But Obama has until now found ways to soldier through, most recently taking time during his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to issue a statement on the death of hirsute funnyman Robin Williams.

The cause of Obama’s Bacall snub is not known. It is possible that he is preparing to hug it out with his former secretary of state Hillary Clinton on the Vineyard tonight. The president may also share the view, held by a large minority of American men, that Martha Vickers, who played Bacall’s slutty younger sister in Hawks’s 1946 adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, was the real hot one.

The White House did not respond to phone and e-mail requests for comment.

Tags: War On Women , Hollywood , Barack Obama

Way More than a Handful of Lobbyists Work in the Obama Administration



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Elsewhere on NRO, Michelle Malkin greets the “sleepyheads” in the D.C. press corps who are only now noticing “the White House is infested with Beltway lobbyists.”

In today’s Morning Jolt, I noted that the New York Times reported on this topic and referred to only “a number” of lobbyists, conveniently omitting any sense of scale of the phenomenon for its readership. 

Obama Administration: Actually, We Were Cool With Lobbyists All Along

All statements from Barack Obama come with an expiration date. All of them.

Particularly the ones related to ideas that seem good and not particularly partisan:

The Obama administration on Tuesday rolled back part of its ban on lobbyists serving in government, narrowing one of the president’s signature policies in the face of a legal challenge.

Under a new rule, registered lobbyists whom Mr. Obama had previously barred from serving on government advisory boards may now participate if they are representing companies or groups and not acting on their own behalf.

The change was published in the Federal Register and took effect immediately, the administration said. It comes after the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the Obama administration’s efforts to dismiss a lawsuit by six lobbyists who challenged the ban’s constitutionality after being excluded from a trade advisory committee. The lobbyists said their First Amendment rights to petition the government had been violated.

The change is the latest example of the limits of the president’s effort to rein in the influence of special interests in government. Mr. Obama barred lobbyists from contributing to his campaign and signed an order on his first day in office in 2009 prohibiting them from serving in his administration.

But Mr. Obama has made a number of exceptions to that rule and has hired lobbyists for several important jobs.

Bad form, New York Times. You should offer a specific figure, or at least a ballpark range, for the “number of exceptions.”

Last year the Obama administration hit 119. The conclusion then:

Obama’s rules have largely served to fuel unregistered lobbying. He writes “as lobbying is increasingly conducted by unregistered lobbyists, the disclosure system becomes increasingly less transparent.”

Obama’s “war on lobbyists” was an attempt to capture populist passion. It worked. Now, McGrath aptly concludes, Obama “must bear some responsibility for continuing levels of public cynicism and mistrust of politics, for having made promises he knew he couldn’t keep.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Lobbyists

Hillary Calls Obama to Say She Didn’t Mean to Criticize Him



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Looks like Hillary’s attempt to distance herself from Obama’s foreign policy did not go over well in the White House:

I understand this was the hold music:

You know how we know that Team Obama was irked about Hillary’s comments?

Tags: Hillary Clinton , Barack Obama

Recriminations



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I don’t have any constructive, forward-looking proposals for Iraq, but let’s take a look back. By the time Obama took office, Iraq’s political violence had sharply declined, Al-Qaeda had been marginalized, the Iran-backed Shiite militias had been subdued, the government had the backing of parties representing pluralities of all of Iraq’s largest confessional and ethnic groups, and the legislature was working though changes to the country’s civil service and pension systems.  All of the progress took place while Maliki was prime minster.   

Then the Obama administration happened. Maliki is a bad guy, but the forces of stability in Iraq were able to keep his worst instincts in check while the US was heavily involved.  When it became clear that the Obama administration had ceded influence to Iran, the incentives changed for all the players.

Obama treated Iraq as primarily an American domestic policy problem.  He was glad to take all the credit for pulling all the troops out even as the Iraqi state disintegrated. Obama’s short-term-oriented strategy worked – for Obama. He was reelected. It is unlikely he will ever pay the full political price of his choices. But the map of ISIS control of Iraq is a measure of his failures.         

Tags: Iraq , Barack Obama

The President’s Busy Day Continues



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The poor man just can’t enjoy his vacation uninterrupted: “Obama, who arrived at Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, headlines a late afternoon event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at a private residence in Tisbury, Mass.”

He will also make some remarks to the public about Iraq this afternoon.

The commander-in-chief taking a moment to review his options at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, as U.S. combat operations began over Iraq. 

 

UPDATE: Hm? ”Audio only?”

Tags: Barack Obama , DSCC

America At War in Iraq, Day Four



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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking in Sydney, Australia, today: “On the assessment of the effectiveness of the air strikes, they have been very effective, from all the reports that we’ve received on the ground. I will be speaking with General Austin here in a couple of hours. I spoke with Chairman Dempsey this morning. I have been talking with our people on a — on a regular basis, not just on those assessments, but all the other dimensions of — of what we’re doing and how we’re doing and future operations in Iraq.”

Above, in this AP photo, President Barack Obama laughs while golfing with former NFL player Ahmad Rashad at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Mass., on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.

Tags: Chuck Hagel , Barack Obama , Iraq

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