Sure, limiting the list to the nine worst mistakes of the Obama administration in a year that saw so many of them was a tough proposition. But in the spirit of Christmas, I decided to be merciful and not pile on. Plus, you know, I have company coming over.
So for now, nine will have to do.
Quoting Bluto from Animal House sans burp: “Why the hell not.”
I’ve included links and snippets from my columns addressing each topic:
9) Sending a budget to Capitol Hill that didn’t get one vote:
Calculate the man-hours that went into presenting to Congress a budget that didn’t muster even one vote in the Senate. If that didn’t cry out that Obama is a one-term president, certainly the rest of the year’s events did. The question that I have for the political geniuses at the White House is: “After getting elected primarily on the strength of the financial crisis, how could you be so ignorant of fiscal issues?” Nothing better represents the disconnect between Washington and the rest of the country as Obama’s attitude towards passing a budget. They didn’t even pretend to take the process seriously. And then they thought no one would notice.
Mr. Irrelevant, the man formerly known as president, was in France when news came that the Senate unanimously rejected the Jerry Lewis gag budget that the administration submitted to Congress in February.
The vote was 0-97 against, with three Senators voting “not present.”
Can you blame them?
If John Kerry’s misshapen theme was “Reporting for Duty,” Obama’s is: “I’m AWOL: Ha. Ha. Ha. You can’t catch me.”
If Kerry’s presidency was still-born, Obama’s died of crib-death.
Can you imagine any other president in history being satisfied with sending up a budget that couldn’t muster even one vote from his own party?
8) Predicting the economic recovery:
Presidents are notoriously bad financiers and economists. They take a big chance getting caught with their pants down when bragging about accomplishments in an economy that has been as tentative as this one has been. That’s especially true when they aren’t following any coordinated economic program, but rather making it more difficult for businesses to create jobs. Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, MACT and the Keystone Pipeline show an administration that will pick narrow, special interests every time over real results. Given the strutting and puff Obama does, it’s hard not to blame him when things go wrong.
As economists predict that the Japanese earthquake and tsunami will contract the third largest economy’s GDP by between zero percent and 3 percent, Obama has responded by filling out his bracket for the NCAA tournament.
If Reagan was the Great Communicator, Obama is the Great Fabricator. For Obama, every day is just another episode of the Beltway Unreality show, where acting is much more important than actually doing something; where pop-culture trumps substance.
Time’s senior correspondent Michael Crowley complains, “[A]t a moment when it feels that the world is reaching a full boil, it's hard for the president not to speak.”
Crowley’s got it half right.
It’s hard for Obama not to speak irrelevantly.
7) Spiking the “football” on Osama bin Laden:
Obama has made too may references to “getting” Osama bin Laden. He’s done it in such a way that he claims too much credit. The proper thing to have done was to give the US Intelligence Community along with our armed forces all of the credit. Since 2001, there has been a small group of people fighting a war while the rest of us remained safe at home. As one reader who served in the military put it, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have gone to war, while the rest of the country has gone to the mall. The intelligence gathering that eventually “got” bin Laden started a long time before Obama was president. Obama’s never learned the hard lesson, often lost on the “special” child, that no one likes a braggart.
Obama interrupted his “Osama bin Laden is still dead” cross-country tour yesterday to give another major policy speech bereft of new ideas. But first the president let us know that “Osama bin Laden is still dead.”
As Jimmy Carter manipulated the teleprompter in the background, Obama put on his best professorial airs and spit out his trademarked clipped delivery in a room full of State department staffers and diplomats who applauded tepidly when the “applause light” went on.
He talked about what he called self-determination in the Middle East.
If you covered your ears hard enough you could barely tell that the speech was largely a plagiarism of Carter’s 2009 book, “We can have peace in the Holy Land: a plan that will work,” updated for recent developments.
The economic futility of the regime in Washington was best displayed by the decision to “invest” US taxpayers’ hard-earned money in Solyndra, even knowing that the company would fail. This at a time when Obama was lecturing the half who actually pays taxes that we are not paying our fair share. Even after getting caught, then lying and getting caught in the lie about the decisions surrounding the DOE program that made the Solyndra investment possible, Obama doubled down on stupid to put billions, yes, billions more into the program. I suspect that after all the dust has settled and the market has crushede many of the rest of these companies, that somehow, somewhere, you’ll find GE picking up the left-over pieces of the “green” energy industry at bargain prices.
It doesn't help the administration that the decision to make the loans in the first place has crony capitalism written all over it.
Big time Obama donors and bundlers have a financial interest in Solyndra.
In May, the left-wing leaning Center for Public Integrity blasted Obama for putting the welfare of donors above that of taxpayers by killing important safeguards in the process of making the loans.
"The Energy Department in March 2009 announced its intention to award Solyndra Inc. a $535 million loan guarantee before receiving final copies of outside reviews typically used to vet such deals," wrote CPI. "An independent federal auditor who has reviewed the energy loan program said moving so quickly without completing thorough reviews exposed the program to perceptions of political influence and put taxpayers at greater risk.”
5) Fast and Furious:
Admittedly I haven’t been a fan of Eric Holder’s. But even I’m amazed at the breathtaking cynicism shown by our top law-enforcement officer as he lied to Congress about what he knew and when he knew it regarding Fast and Furious. It shouldn’t have taken the death of a federal agent to know arming drug gangs in Mexico would lead to no good. But that just shows the depths to which progressives will go to dupe people into supporting policies that progressives know are “for the best.”
Republicans have alleged, if not from the first, then at least for a long time, that operation Fast and Furious was a callous attempt by progressives in the plutocracy that we now call America at creating an artificial gun crisis so that the plutocracy could abridge citizens' 2nd Amendment rights.
I mean further than they’ve already abridged them.
Now even liberals are getting the memo- or at least email evidence- that it’s true.
CBSNews has reported that new documents show that officials in the ATF discussed using the fallout from Fast and Furious as means of introducing “controversial new rules about gun sales” even as they forced gun dealers to let illegal transactions occur.
4) Vacations 1, 2 & 3
I don’t begrudge the president taking his family someplace, you know, once. But $4 million dollars for a Christmas vacation? And despite what some progressives are claiming, yes that amount is the tab picked up by the US taxpayers for Obama’s 17-day Hawaiian vacation with Mary Todd Lincoln Jr. And the money part isn’t the worst of it. This year Obama was notably absent during the start up to the war in Libya and during the aftermath of the debt ceiling negotiations- remember the ones he really didn’t take part in in the first place? He promptly decamped to Martha’s Vineyard while S&P downgraded US debt.
The last time the market was this spooked was when Mr. Obama decided to start a war with Libya. While on vacation.
At that time, the presidential family headed to Brazil where the HuffPo Entertainment section told us that the “First Family watched local performers during their tour of the Cidade de Deus Favela in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday. Sasha went sporty with sneakers, while the first lady showed her support of the country sartorially, in an outfit comprised of yellow, green and blue--the colors of the Brazilian flag. They later changed into pants to tour the Christ the Redeemer Statue at night.”
This vacation happened while the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was in full force, because Japan had been rocked by the tsunami of the century. Obama also chose the vacation to start serving up cruise missiles in Libya, a war he made his very own and that he still hasn’t won.
Libya for crying out loud. That’s like invading Wisconsin.
Here was the moment when the next Great Recession began.
We saw in that crisis the epitome of a failed presidency: the listless leadership, the lack of direction, the lack of pretension in being presidential (or even pretending to be), disregard for the consequences of policy. And the certainty that vacations would always come first.
3) Keystone Pipeline
The Keystone Pipeline demonstrates the dilemma that all Democrat presidents face. It’s one thing to get elected; it’s a another to govern while keeping your whack-job coalition together. Lyndon Johnson couldn’t do it, Carter couldn’t, Clinton could, but Obama is having a hard time of it. That’s why he punted on making a decision on the Keystone Pipline. He’d either have to defy the saucer people who pass as progressives these days or the American people who want jobs. In the end, he’s only succeeded in making everyone mad.
Another guy with nice hair and a good tan is working on the Obama job plan. He’ll be a great addition at Martha’s Vineyard.
This ought to work out as well as Geithner doing his own taxes.
This week, Obama announced his new econ czar would be Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist who figured out that if you gave billions away to the auto industry in price incentives, auto sales would go up.
OK. Sales only went up temporarily. But he’s the only member of the Obama administration who possesses an understanding of the relationship between price and sales. Maybe that’s progress for an administration that seems to sabotage every economic plan they come up with.
However, count me as skeptical.
Krueger likes taxes.
He likes them a lot.
He likes taxes on the rich, the poor, carpools, employers, employees.
Did I say he likes taxes? He really, really does.
Nothing cried hypocrisy more than Obama’s decision to start a time-limited, scope-limited kinetic military activity- whatever that is- in Libya over European oil. Up to that point, progressives supported him. After that? Not so much. Obama’s decision on Libya made it much easier to say that both the GOP and the Democrats criticize when out of power and hypocrisize when in power. The GOP needs to avoid that trap this time around.
I don’t know that Obama will be a one-term president.
But the glamour days are done for him. His scholarship has about run out.
On that, even people on the left are starting to agree.
We can no longer afford to treat the presidency as if it were a reality show starring Barack Obama as the chief contestant.
In order to turn the country around, we have to elevate the presidency above the level of American Idol, and turn it back into the American ideal.
It’s apparent every time the “president” makes a “big” speech, that he’s not up to the moment, that Obama can’t do the job the presidency demands.
He’s a man of limitations. For all his seeming worldliness, his experiences have limited the scope of his vision, instead of broadening it.
He has become the kinetic president, famous for only the sound his movement creates.
Sure, there was a short romance, when some in the country were in love with the speeches and yearned for Camelot. But speeches aren’t a destination. More often than not, the sound of his voice has been a distraction; or too often an outright distortion.
Eventually, even Barack Obama’s life has to get judged on results.
1) Debt Ceiling:
It’s hard to pin this completely on the president. But really you have to because here’s the un-get-aroundable fact. In February, Obama presented a budget that called for more deficit spending, more borrowing, more debt. In July he was pretending to be concerned about the deficit. He wasn’t and isn’t. That was just a bid to raise taxes. Super, epic, utter fail, dude. Thanks for playing.
Obama’s into big stuff, says chief of staff Bill Daley on ABC’s This Week.
"I do firmly believe that one of the wet blankets on this economy and on companies, on the system right now is a question as to whether or not our political system, whether the leaders can get together, whether they can solve big problems," Daley said.
So let’s define the “big, wet blanket problem” in which Obama and his Chicago friends now find themselves:
They are addicted to big taxes, big spending and big government, and none of it- NONE. OF. IT. - has a darn thing to do with what’s best for the public and the economy.
All of it- ALL. OF. IT. - has to do with funneling money into Democrat Party coffers.
And it's sitting like a wet blanket over our economy. And Daley's right. Democrat leaders can't solve it. They couldn't solve it when they ran the tax scam in Chicago and they can't solve it now.
The results are showing in our two parallel economies: One for the Democrat Party and one for the rest of us. In order to keep the Democrat Party’s economy humming along, they are going to need a new injection of taxes, because the public won’t write them a blank check again.