I’ve run across a number of New Zealanders who are incredulous that Obama is not romping home.
To be fair, the ignorance this displays is understandable as our media simply doesn’t give us the information that Americans have access to.
So I thought I’d compile together just a few of the reasons I read in conservative (and often, not so conservative) sources from the US. This is not an endorsement for Romney (though I think he will make a better president) or an attempt at a balanced look at the situation, but rather an attempt to “fill in the gaps” with information that people may not have come across.
Let’s start with…
1. The economy stinks.
It’s the economy stupid. That’s the phrase that bought down Bush 1.
And it looks like it may take down Obama too, because the US economy is still in the crapper.
That makes a postwar record 42 months of unemployment over 8%, the longest period of unemployment that high since the Great Depression. While Obama promised us when he wanted to pass his nearly $1 trillion wasteful government spending stimulus that unemployment would never climb above 8% if we did, it has never fallen below 8% during his entire, mistaken Presidency.
You could argue that it isn’t Obama’s job to fix the economy, but then then we have the stimulus…
2. The stimulus indifferent at best, a disaster at worst
All recessions end eventually. The Stimulus was sold as a way of bunting it’s effects. Sadly, the data clearly shows that it absolutely failed in that regard. In fact, the white house’s own data predicted that without the stimulus the recession would be sorted by now and would only be marginally higher that with it.
Indeed, the data suggests that the stimulus might well have made things a lot worse.
So the stimulus didn’t fix the economy, but it still had to be paid for which brings us to…
Most people know that Bush racked up a fair bit of debt. The assume that Obama has added just a little to this, and the Tea Party is being very one eyed as they complain about Obama’s but not Bush’s.
But the reality is that Bush’s defect was created by military spending after 9/11, spending that was coming under control towards the end of his term. TARP (which was bipartisan) skewed his last numbers.
But in order to appreciate just how much Obama changed the debt situation, you really have to see it to believe it.
Check out the graph, noting that the actual numbers are even worse than the dire predictions.
So the stimulus (and Obama’s presidency in general) has been the worst of both worlds – continuing high unemployment and massive debt on future generations. But at least the president is selling it well…
4. Crazy contradictions on money and stuff.
There’s two things to consider here.
The first is… well, I’ll let my good friend Mac Doctor explain with the words he wrote back in 2009.
I assume that President Obama has had a mind-wipe done over the weekend, like Jim Carey in the movie of the title. This is the only way I can explain his admirable determination to halve the federal deficit in four years only five days after signing into law a NZ $1.5 trillion bailout bill. A bill for which he is clearly going to either print money or borrow it.
So in other words, Obama is quite happy to stand up in public and make vastly conflicting statements within days. (In fact, later I have a video where he contradicted himself within a single speech.) Given that a president’s speeches are carefully written and not made up on the spot, we can rule out mental illness as the cause of this. Which leaves a lot of people with the conclusion that he thinks that the people are idiots who can’t spot such things.
When unveiling his budget, Michelle’s husband reminded Americans, “Everybody’s going to have to give a little bit.” The President even suggested: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, you might put off a vacation.”
According to Obama, “Just like every family in America, the federal government has to … live within its means.” Which is exactly what Mrs. Obama is doing, spending time with her daughters at a resort that is much more modest than she’s used to.
In fact, if this is a cutback, the mind boggles as to what constitutes ”normal”!
Accounting for trips out of Washington for several days, the total number of vacations Washington Secrets tabulated is 16, 10 where the family was together, such as for Christmas and summer vacations, one by the president and five by the first lady. Not included were Camp David visits or trips like the first family’s New York City date night in May, 2009.
According to presidential watcher Mark Knoller of CBS, George W. Bush, at this time of his presidency, had made 30 visits to his Texas ranch spanning all or part of 220 days. The Obama’s vacation day count is less than half of that.
But his have become more controversial because of the costs associated with moving the first family to a public vacation spot, unlike the Bushes to their remote ranch in Crawford, Texas. For example, the Hawaii Reporter said the first family’s 2011 Christmas vacation in Hawaii would exceed $1.5 million.
Bush took a lot of holidays, but in effect he was simply working from home a lot. By contrast, the Obama’s have gone to many different places at home and abroad, stopping to see sights, ski, swim and other activities. Whereas Bush’s vacations would entail the same security and other arrangements, Obama’s trips would have the Secret Service starting fresh working out expensive security arrangements.
Speaking of abroad, let’s look at…
5. Foreign Policy.
Now, Bush is widely regarded as a foreign policy failure. He set Iraq and Afghanistan on the path of freedom, saw Saddam hanged by the people he had enslaved, made massive strides against AIDS in Africa, but Iraq turned out to be largely WMD free, and Afghanistan turned out to be the quagmire everyone said it would be.
Upon election, Obama was immediately hailed as the saviour from all this freedom and AIDS fighting and was promptly awarded the Nobel peace prize. As bad an idea as that was, he made it worse by accepting it.
Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world’s population.
Well, how did that work out?
- He promised to close Guantanamo. That never happened.
- He promised to get out of Iraq, that did happen… on the schedule promised by Bush.
- He delayed his decision on his Afghanistan strategy so long that it became a real problem. (The strategy itself has lead to 3x the deaths under Bush in that country.)
That wasn’t the message McChrystal delivered in his Aug. 30 assessment, when he declared that “time is of the essence.” He repeatedly stressed “the importance of time” and added that “the short-term fight will be decisive.” McChrystal wrote that “we must act now to reverse the negative trends and demonstrate progress” and made clear that “time matters.” Yet there are now hints that Obama may not make a decision on troops until late November, two months after McChrystal submitted his request.
- Russia should have been an easy win. After all, according to the “it’s all Bush’s fault theory, if you are not Bush you can improve things. But somehow the “reset” never worked. Oh, and while we all know that Russia isn’t the friendliest nation, let me note that Obama was caught on an open mike promising that he would have “more space” once that pesky reelection was done and he didn’t actually have to answer to the electorate anymore. (The NZ Herald dismissed this as a “gaffe”. Ho ho.)
Well that’s wars and enemies, what about friends? Well, ask their best friend, the UK:
There are other bits of evidence that Mr Obama does not cherish the ‘special relationship’ so dear to the hearts of policymakers in Whitehall. As soon as he entered the Oval Office, he removed the bust of Winston Churchill that had been loaned to George W. Bush by the British government.
During Britain’s stand-off with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, the Obama administration has been at best neutral, at worst pro-Argentine. And throughout the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year, the American President was keen to emphasise the British provenance of BP, the chief perpetrator, and to make it pay.
Despite what the Foreign Office Johnnies may argue to themselves, there is enough evidence to suggest that Britain is not greatly valued by Mr Obama. And although there might be personal reasons for this — the American President claims his grandfather was tortured by the British during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya — I would suggest his standpoint is shared by more American politicians than we might care to admit.
Even Germany got annoyed, after having been lectured on debt by the man who’s writing more debt than any man in history.
In fact, there’s very little that Obama can be truly proud of on the foreign front.
Obama kept his promise to withdraw American forces from Iraq during his first term. But the move proved to be a strategic defeat, given that it significantly diminished the United States’ political influence in Iraq. Indeed, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government is becoming increasingly allied with Iran. Obama, who opposed the Iraq war, should not be blamed for current circumstances there. But he was unable to improve the situation or help Iraq’s Shias and Sunnis reach a political compromise….
Meanwhile, America’s strategic partnership with Pakistan, where Obama won a significant symbolic victory by eliminating Osama bin Laden, is in tatters. US-Pakistan relations have regressed to their level before September 11, 2001, with mutual distrust minimising cooperation. In fact, in all of the strategic challenges to US security that Obama inherited – Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – he has made virtually no significant political gains.
Notwithstanding Obama’s skillful response to the Arab Spring – the only strategic surprise that he has faced as president – his credibility in the Muslim world has steadily declined. He has failed to deliver on the key promise of his Cairo speech in 2009: “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.”
Moreover, Obama’s efforts to improve relations with Russia – embodied in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) – did not lead to a genuine “reset” in bilateral ties, largely because an increasingly Soviet-style Russian leadership distrusts a US establishment that still regards Russia as a foe. And the US-China relationship has deteriorated, with America seeking to manage China’s rise strategically – for example, through regional trade agreements and an enhanced military presence in Asia.
On multilateral issues, Obama’s performance is equally unimpressive. After committing to a 17 per cent reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020 – and despite his declaration that he would not tolerate inaction in this area – he simply stopped raising the issue after the Republicans’ sweeping victory in the November 2010 mid-term elections.
Likewise, domestic pressure has caused Obama to neglect trade issues. The US is largely responsible for the failure of the Doha Round of global trade talks.
Now let us be clear. Osama Bin Laden is dead. That is a win… well it would be if Obama blabbed classified information to the press bout who did the job.
While the Vaughns do not believe their son was part of the bin Laden mission, they said the entire team shared the victory, and eventually the shock, of being named.
“Aaron called me and said, ‘Mom, you need to wipe your social media clean of any reference to me or any of my buddies. Just disconnect completely,’” Karen Vaughn said her son warned after Vice President Biden publicly identified the SEALs on May 3, 2011 — two days after the raid. “He [Aaron] actually said to me, ‘Mom, there’s chatter, and all of our lives could be in danger, including yours’ … then I realized all of those families, you know, you’re talking about a community of around three hundred families who were all of a sudden made targets by this administration.”
Way to thank the people who did the dirty work, while he runs ads taking the credit. To borrow from Kaarl at Patterico…
It would take a lot of effort to turn the killing of Osama bin Laden into a political liability. But Team Obama is working on it:
Serving and former US Navy SEALs have slammed President Barack Obama for taking the credit for killing Osama bin Laden and accused him of using Special Forces operators as ‘ammunition’ for his re-election campaign.
The SEALs spoke out to MailOnline after the Obama campaign released an ad entitled ‘One Chance’.
In it President Bill Clinton is featured saying that Mr Obama took ‘the harder and the more honourable path’ in ordering that bin Laden be killed. The words ‘Which path would Mitt Romney have taken?’ are then displayed.
It’s one thing to make false claims. But it’s quite another to contradict your previous ones. I mean, are the Republicans gun-ho, or are they timid little girly-men?
One thing I haven’t spent a lot of time talking about is the Benghazi scandal, but I now want to talk about how in the course of that situation, Obama violated…
6. The Constitution
During the Bush years, the presidents administration caught a lot of flack for violating the Constitution of the United States. That’s sort of bad, because Americans really like their constitution.
So how’s Obama done? Better?
I’m going to defer here to well known conservative commentator Rachel Maddow*.
There’s that. Then there’s the fact that as part of the cover-up of the Benghazi scandal, a stupid youtube video called “The Innocence of Muslims” was blamed for causing the riots that killed the American ambassador (except of course, the riots had nothing to do with the death and the administration knew that from the start).
Obama called Google to pressure them to remove it.
Google ruled on the side of free speech on Friday, announcing it will not remove a controversial anti-Muslim video from YouTube despite being pressured by the Obama administration to review the clip and see if it violates the site’s terms of service.
…White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed to Politico in an email that the White House reached out to Google about the video on Tuesday.
This is extraordinary, because as part of Obama’s vow of office, he said this:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Most people have no idea what’s in the constitution of the United States. Most people have never read it. But there is one thing that everyone knows, and that is that free speech is in it. And everyone knows that publishing a video on youtube is considered free speech.
Except apparently, the one guy who’s current job includes an oath to protect it.
Really, I should stop right there. I’m no lawyer (big city or otherwise!) but I’m pretty sure that’s an impeachable offense.
But there’s oh so much more because Obama promised oh-so-much…
7. He utterly ignored pretty much all his most grand promises
Obama came in promising the world.
Prior to his election to the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama and his supporters made us several promises.
First, they promised us that if Obama is elected, American race relations will improve dramatically. After all, the office of the presidency is the most visible, and arguably the most powerful, office on the planet. If a black man occupied it, it would be obvious for all with eyes to see that whatever obstacles their color once threw up for blacks had been safely relegated to the dustbin of history.
If Obama is elected, Obama enthusiasts continued, the white American majority will have redeemed itself. It is the election of Obama—and nothing more—that would open the portal to the promised land of a post-racial era.
This is what we were promised.
Another promise, closely linked to this first, pertained to the unity generally that Obama would allegedly bring to the country upon his election.
His presidency would be post-racial, yes; but it would also be post-partisan, or trans-partisan. There would be no blue-state America or red-state America, as Obama famously said. There would be only one America—and he would be the President of all Americans. The country was more divided under George W. Bush and Republican rule than at any other time, we were told. Obama would heal our wounds and unify us.
Thirdly, Obama would make us loved throughout the world once again. He would restore our damaged global image, especially throughout the Middle East. During a visit to Israel, then Senator Obama went so far as to vow to “bring peace to the Middle East,” if he should become the president.
Each of his major promises Obama has shattered into a gazillion pieces.
It seems stupid now how naive voters were about Obama. Even as he was elected, people started discussing how he was inevitably going to let people down. But it’s not just that he’s let people down, he’s actually made things worse in some areas.
After a two-week delay, President Obama this week received an award from transparency and good-government advocates in a closed-door Oval Office meeting that wasn’t on his public schedule — a snub that’s angering the folks who met with him.
Obama is apparently running an office so obsessed with secrecy that he didn’t want anyone to know he had received an award for transparency.
Seriously, his administration is that screwed up.
Then there’s bipartisanship. Not only did Obama not work with Republicans but his insistence on pushing through uncompromising healthcare legislation pretty much made the largest conservative protest movement in history – the Tea Party. (Oh you thought it was a racist thing? Sorry, but it’s not.)
Speaking of racists…
7. Obama has put some really bad people in really powerful places
Let’s talk about three Obama appointments.
There was guy called Kevin Jennings who was appointed “safe schools czar”. This one is ugly.
Once again, “safe schools czar” Kevin Jennings has been involved in making schools less safe. As always, this one was, whoops, a mistake. It is always a mistake. Whoops, while a teacher, he enabled a teenager to continue a sexual relationship with an older man whom the student had met in a bus-stop bathroom. Whoops, he praised one of the North American Man/Boy Love Association’s most vociferous defenders. Whoops, the group Mr. Jennings founded, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, recommended books for children as young as 13 that present sex between minors and adults in a positive light.
The new whoops is a safe-sex guide distributed in a Massachusetts high school in 2005. Included in the book are the addresses and phone numbers of Boston-area gay bars to make it easier for teens to find the businesses that cater to homosexual men over the age of 21. The guide’s descriptions of what goes on in these bars is explicit. Over here, there’s “dancing, young guys and those who like young guys.” Over there, the ambience is “old school, cruisy, sex-charged late at night.” At another hot spot, there’s “porn on the television, the old, the young. Something for everyone.”
Google more if you can stomach it.
There’s Tim Geithner, tax cheat. Guess what he does?
In 2006 the Internal Revenue Service discovered that Geithner had not paid he had failed to pay taxes in 2003 and 2004 because he had incorrectly believed they were deducted at source by the IMF, where he had moved after serving the treasury in the Clinton administration. He duly paid about $17,230 in back taxes and interest.
After he was selected to lead the treasury in November, it was discovered as part of his vetting that he owed a further $25,970 for 2001 and 2002 as well. That was the point Obama should have dropped Geithner, instead he has championed him as the only man fit for this major job in dire times.
It is just possible that Geithner, as he claimed, made an honest mistake. But he has yet to provide a proper explanation of why when the IRS told him he was due for 2003 and 2004 he did not then realize that he owed taxes in the two earlier years.
Then last but not least, there’s Eric Holder. He’s the US Attorney General (i.e. Justice Minister) and he refused to prosecute these guys, who were standing outside a polling booth making sure that while people couldn’t enter and cast a vote against Obama.
Turns out, he was a big fan of the Black Panthers in college.
The details of the student-led occupation, including the claim that the raiders were “armed,” come from a deleted Web page of the Black Students’ Organization (BSO) at Columbia, a successor group to the SAAS. Contemporary newspaper accounts in The Columbia Daily Spectator, a student newspaper, did not mention weapons.
Holder, now the United States’ highest-ranking law enforcement official, has given conflicting accounts of this episode during college commencement addresses at Columbia, but both the BSO’s website and the Daily Spectator have published facts that conflict with his version of events.
Holder has bragged about his involvement in the “rise of black consciousness” protests at Columbia.
“I was among a large group of students who felt strongly about the way we thought the world should be, and we weren’t afraid to make our opinions heard,” he said during Columbia’s 2009 commencement exercises. “I did not take a final exam until my junior year at Columbia — we were on strike every time finals seemed to roll around — but we ran out of issues by that third year.”
Then there’s his refusal to take voter fraud seriously. This prompted some young fellows to make a pointed demonstration of how easy voter fraud was… by stealing his vote.
MacDonald begins by pointing out that it was Holder who insisted on imposing a consent decree on the LAPD after the Rampart scandal, a decision that cost the city police budget almost $250M over 5 years. She contends the consent decree assumed every LAPD supervisor and officer were borderline racists and corrupt, and that tending to the decree required the reallocation of 350 police from crime-fighting to paper-pushing.
More to come in part 2, where I plan to cover Obama’s complete lack of experience, achievements and ability to talk without a teleprompter!
* Here I’m using sarcasm to make a point.