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By Gary Starr for The Neville Awards
March 7, 2009
And so ever more rats desert the sinking ship.
We told you so. We warned you for months about this radical leftist, this marxist, this communist, this cheap Chicago pol.
All of the so-called moderate pundits said he would govern from the center, that his radical associations didn't matter, that lack of experience didn't matter and on and on.
But we just had to have this guy...it would expunge America's "original sin" and everyone, epecially our oh-so-sophisticated, guilt-ridden, wine & latte sipping, Upper West Side white liberals would feel better about themselves.
By now it's becoming painfully clear that experience does count and you should believe demagogues when they say the things they say.
The DOW, or the "tracking poll" as Obama prefers to call it, is off 28.4% since his election, 15.2% since his inauguration (coronation), and 17.2% since his so-called “stimulus” bill was enacted. Since the Dow is off 30% when it became clear Obama would win this constitutes
an Obama bear market within an overall bear market.
Well, there are some cracks beginning to show in the Obama veneer. The hypnosis may be wearing off. The Obama binge may be wearing thin and a hangover may be taking hold. The journalistic natives are becoming restless.
Some of the enraptured beard-scratching pundits who voted for the Fraudinator-In-Chief appear to be getting buyer's remorse, however it is still couched
in very polite and erudite tones. After all, if they end up on the White House Enemies List (yes there is one) they won't get to party with the swells on the left.
Pajamas Media describes this very strange phenomenon thusly:
They may need a support group before the month is out. They could gather in New York or Washington where many victims reside. The meetings would start: “I’m Maureen [or David]. I’m a duped Barack voter. And I’m mad.”
The ranks indeed are filling with the disaffected and the disappointed — Chris Buckley, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks, David Gergen, and even that gynecological sleuth and blogger Andrew Sullivan. And then there is the very angry Marty Peretz. Their complaints are varied but expressed with equal amounts of remorse and bitterness. They all have been done wrong by Barack.
This is an ongoing page and will be updated as new "pundits" wake up and come out of the Glo-bama. Here's a sampling:
Friendly fire: NYT hits Obama
By: Jonathan Martin
March 22, 2009
The leading liberal voices of the New York Times editorial pages all criticized-and, in some cases, clobbered-President Obama on Sunday for his handling of the economy and national security.
It's not unusual for Barack Obama to take a little friendly fire from the Times. But it's perhaps unprecedented for him to get hit on the same day by columnists Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd-and in the paper's lead editorial. Their critique punctuated a weekend that started with a widely circulated blog post by Paul Krugman that said the president's yet to be announced bank rescue plan would almost certainly fail.
The sentiment, coming just two months after the president was sworn in, reflects elite opinion in the Washington-New York corridor that Obama is increasingly overwhelmed, and not fully appreciative of the building tsunami of populist outrage.
Unlike with President Bush, the Obama administration is less apt to dismiss such commentary, at least publicly, as so much carping from an out-of-touch peanut gallery. These are voices that have been sympathetic, and at times gushing toward Obama, during the campaign and in his administration's early days.
The president and his top aides read the Times closely and react quickly to its reporting and commentary. Tom Daschle, for example, withdrew from consideration as Health and Human Services Secretary amid back tax issues on the same day that the paper ran a tough front-page piece and editorial on what keeping Daschle would mean to the Obama brand.
So it likely caused some consternation this morning at the White House and at Camp David, where the president is staying this weekend, to pick up the Times and find:
-Frank Rich, who made a cottage industry of Bush-bashing, writing that until Obama "addresses the full depth of Americans' anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed."
Recalling the Daschle episode and the public's response to the image of a wealthy former senator not paying taxes on a limousine, Rich said that judging from their response to the AIG case "the administration learned nothing from that brush with disaster."
Larry Summers, perhaps the president's most high-profile economic adviser, came in for the worst of it.
"Summers is so tone-deaf that he makes Geithner seem like Bobby Kennedy," Rich wrote.
-Thomas Friedman, the paper's highly-read foreign affairs columnist, turning his focus home to find the nation lacking "inspirational leadership."
Friedman's indictment was not limited to Obama, but he captured some of the concern about the president's communications skills by writing that the president "missed a huge teaching opportunity with A.I.G."
Instead of letting Congress react in its usual knee-jerk fashion to overcompensate for what it believes the public wants-what Friedman called letting them "run riot"-the president should have stepped up.
"He should have gone on national TV and had the fireside chat with the country that is long overdue. That's a talk where he lays out exactly how deep the crisis we are in is, exactly how much sacrifice we're all going to have to make to get out of it, and then calls on those A.I.G. brokers - and everyone else who, in our rush to heal our banking system, may have gotten bonuses they did not deserve - and tells them that their president is asking them to return their bonuses 'for the sake of the country.'"
-The paper's liberal editorial page and a frequent voice of opposition to Bush's national security policies complaining about "confused and mixed signals from the [Obama] White House" on some of the same issues.
"Some of what the public has heard from the Obama administration on issues like state secrets and detainees sounds a bit too close for comfort to the Bush team's benighted ideas," penned the Times editorialists, carping about Guantanamo specifically, detainee policy more broadly and Obama's reluctance to investigate Bush-era actions on "terrorism, state secrets, wiretapping, detention and interrogation."
-Maureen Dowd, in her inimitable fashion, citing the take-charge First Lady digging a White House garden to wonder "if the wrong Obama is in the Oval."
"It's a time in America's history where we need less smooth jazz and more martial brass," wrote Dowd.
-Krugman, who is perhaps the most frequent Obama critic at the paper but also a Nobel Prize-winning economist whose analysis carries considerable sway in liberal circles, not even waiting for the administration's bank plan announcement this week before panning it.
"It's exactly the plan that was widely analyzed - and found wanting - a couple of weeks ago," Krugman wrote on his blog. "The zombie ideas have won. The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there's nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system - that what we're facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank."
The Princeton economist turned opinion columnist predicted: "This plan will produce big gains for banks that didn't actually need any help; it will, however, do little to reassure the public about banks that are seriously undercapitalized. And I fear that when the plan fails, as it almost surely will, the administration will have shot its bolt: it won't be able to come back to Congress for a plan that might actually work. What an awful mess."
Christina Romer, the Chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, called Krugman's critique "unfair" in an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" and said their plan of partnering with the private sector was to ensure taxpayers didn't shoulder more of the burden and they didn't offer "just another hand-out to banks."
Barack Obama Is a Terrible Bore
by Michael Wolff
March 20, 2009
Sheesh, the guy is Jimmy Carter.
That homespun bowling crap on Jay Leno, followed by the turgid, teachy fiscal policy lecture, together with the hurt defensiveness (and bad script for it) that everybody in Washington "is Simon Cowell… Everybody's got an opinion," is pure I'm-in-over-my-head stuff. Even the idea of having to go on Jay Leno to rescue yourself from the AIG mess is lame. Be a man, man.
The guy just doesn't know what to say. He can't connect. Emotions are here, he's over there. He can't get the words to match the situation.
This began, I'd argue, from the first moment. He punted on the inaugural. Everybody ran around like crazy trying to praise it because if Barack Obama couldn't give a speech then what?
But now, at week 11, we're face-to-face with the reality, the man can't talk worth a damn.
You can see the fundamental mistake he's making. Having been so successfully elected, he's acting like people actually want to hear what he thinks. He's the great earnest bore at the dinner party. Instead of singing for his supper, he's just talking-and going on at length. The real job of making people part of the story you're telling, of having them hang on your every word, of getting the tone and detail right, the hard job of holding a conversation, he ain't doing.
He's cold; he's prickly; he's uncomfortable; he's not funny; and he's getting awfully tedious.
He thinks it's all about him. That we want him for himself-that he doesn't have to seduce, charm, surprise, show some skin.
It's instructive and humorous to remember that Carter ran a brilliant campaign that succeeded largely because his voice was new. Simple, direct, basic, human. And then, of course, he turned into a sad-sack twit.
What happens when you move into the White House?
Well, shit, of course. The true secret of the power of language is in quickness. Barack Obama can't keep up. He evidently needs too much preparation. And then there's the organization. He's undoubtedly got too many people debating what he should say. That's the other secret of language: You've got to just go for it. Can't think too much about it. It's like hitting the ball. And then there's knowing who you want to be-which is different than knowing who you are. You're on the stage. You're acting. You've got to make yourself believable, cleverly make yourself up as you go along.
This guy is leaden and this show is in trouble.
Neville's note: This is an insult to Jimmy Carter. It took a year and a half for Jimmy Carter to become Jimmy Carter. This guy has done it in 60 days.
Michael Gerson-Washington Post-Wrong Move: Obama's Liberal Agenda
March 13, 2009
Following Obama during the New Hampshire primary, I saw a candidate who -- though I disagreed with him on many issues -- defended idealism and rhetoric against the supremely cynical Clinton machine, who brought a religious sensibility to matters of social justice, who took care to understand and accommodate the arguments of others, who provided a temperamental contrast to culture war politics.
After just weeks of governing, that image seems like a brittle, yellowed photograph, buried at the back of a drawer.
Obama's proposed budget shows all the vision, restraint and grace of a grasping committee chairman, using the cover of a still-unresolved banking crisis to push through a broad liberal wish list before anyone notices its costs and complications. The pledge of "responsibility" has become the massive expansion of debt, the constant allocation of blame to others and the childish cultivation of controversy with conservative media figures to favorably polarize the electorate. The pledge of "honesty" and "sacrifice" has become the deceptive guarantee of apparently limitless public benefits at the expense of a very few. The pledge of "bipartisan" cooperation has become an attempt to shove Republicans until their backs reach some wall of outrage and humiliation.
Jim Cramer-Host of Mad Money
March 3, 2009
"Look at the incredible decline in the stock market, in all indices, since the inauguration of the president, with the drop accelerating when the budget plan came to light because of the massive fear and indecision the document sowed: Raising taxes on the eve of what could be a second Great Depression, destroying the profits in healthcare companies (one of the few areas still robust in the economy), tinkering with the mortgage deduction at a time when U.S. house price depreciation is behind much of the world's morass and certainly the devastation affecting our banks, and pushing an aggressive cap and trade program that could raise the price of energy for millions of people.
But Obama has undeniably made things worse by creating an atmosphere of fear and panic rather than an atmosphere of calm and hope. He's done it by pushing a huge amount of change at a very perilous moment, by seeking to demonize the entire banking system and by raising taxes for those making more than $250,000 at the exact time when we need them to spend and build new businesses, and by revoking deductions for funds to charity that help eliminate the excess supply of homes.
Most important, I believe his agenda is crushing nest eggs around the nation in loud ways, like the decline in the averages, and in soft but dangerous ways, like in the annuities that can't be paid and the insurance benefits that will be challenging to deliver on.
So I will fight the fight against that agenda. I will stand up for what I believe and for what I have always believed: Every person has a right to be rich in this country and I want to help them get there. And when they get there, if times are good, we can have them give back or pay higher taxes. Until they get there, I don't want them shackled or scared or paralyzed. That's what I see now.
If that makes me an enemy of the White House, then call me a general of an army that Obama may not even know exists -- tens of millions of people who live in fear of having no money saved when they need it and who get poorer by the day."
David Brooks-A moderate manifesto
March 3, 2009
You wouldn't know it some days, but there are moderates here in the United States - moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.
But the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor - caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.
So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.
The U.S. has traditionally had a relatively limited central government. But federal spending as a share of GDP is zooming from its modern norm of 20 percent to an unacknowledged level somewhere far beyond.
The first task will be to block the excesses of unchecked liberalism. In the past weeks, Democrats have legislated provisions to dilute welfare reform, restrict the inflow of skilled immigrants and gut a voucher program designed for poor students. It will be up to moderates to raise the alarms against these ideological outrages.
Christopher Buckley-The Audacity of Nope
Hold on—there’s a typo in that paragraph. “$3.6 trillion budget” can’t be right.The entire national debt is—what—about $11 trillion? He can’t actually be proposing to spend nearly one-third of that in one year, surely. Let me check. Hmm. He did. The Wall Street Journal notes that federal outlays in fiscal 2009 will rise to almost 30 percent of the gross national product. In language that even an innumerate English major such as myself can understand: The US government is now spending annually about one-third of what the entire US economy produces.
The strange thing is that one feels almost unpatriotic, entertaining negative thoughts about Mr. Obama’s grand plan, as if one were indulging in—call it—the audacity of nope. It is on the one hand clear that something must be done about our economic woes. But that is very different from saying that spending these vast, oceanic sums of money is the right corrective to a decade of fiscal incontinence.
One thing is certain, however: Government is getting bigger and will stay bigger. Just remember the apothegm that a government that is big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.And remember what de Tocqueville told us about a bureaucracy that grows so profuse that not even the most original mind can penetrate it.
If this is what the American people want, so be it, but they ought to have no illusions about the perils of this approach. Mr. Obama is proposing among everything else $1 trillion in new entitlements, and entitlement programs never go away, or in the oddly poetic bureaucratic jargon, “sunset.” He is proposing $1.4 trillion in new taxes, an appetite for which was largely was whetted by the shameful excesses of American CEO corporate culture. And finally, he has proposed $5 trillion in new debt, one-half the total accumulated national debt in all US history. All in one fell swoop.
He tells us that all this is going to work because the economy is going to be growing by 3.2 percent a year from now. Do you believe that? Would you take out a loan based on that? And in the three years following, he predicts that our economy will grow by 4 percent a year.
This is nothing if not audacious hope. If he’s right, then looking back, March 2009 will be the dawn of the Age of Stimulation, or whatever elegant phrase Niall Ferguson comes up with. If he turns out to be wrong, then it will look very different, the entrance ramp to the Road to Serfdom, perhaps, and he will reap the whirlwind that follows, along with the rest of us.
David S. Broder-Obama Rolls The Dice
February 26, 2009
The size of the gambles that President Obama is taking every day is simply staggering. What came through in his speech to a joint session of Congress and a national television audience Tuesday night was a dramatic reminder of the unbelievable stakes he has placed on the table in his first month in office, putting at risk the future well-being of the country and the Democratic Party's control of Washington.
No sooner had he finished describing his plans for spurring an economic recovery and shoring up the crippled automotive and banking industries than he was off to the races, outlining his ambitions for overhauling energy, health care and education policy.
Is he naive? Does he not understand the political challenge he is inviting?
His response to those doubters on both sides of the aisle who think that Obama is trying to do too much was to assert that passivity is not an option. "And I refuse to let that happen."
The risk to Obama's ambitions is likely to arise less from the defeated Republicans than from the victorious Democrats, who have all too many ideas of their own about what should be done in energy, health care and education.
And the other risk is in what he barely mentioned Tuesday: the rest of the world. Obama has just ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, a country with a stumbling government and a shaky neighbor in Pakistan, and a place where the United States is still searching for a plausible strategy.
When we elected Obama, we didn't know what a gambler we were getting.
MAUREEN DOWD-Stage of Fools
March 3, 2009
In one of his disturbing spells of passivity, President Obama decided not to fight Congress and live up to his own no-earmark pledge from the campaign.
He’s been lecturing us on the need to prune away frills while the economy fizzles. He was slated to make a speech on “wasteful spending” on Wednesday.
“You know, there are times where you can afford to redecorate your house and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its foundation,” he said recently about the “hard choices” we must make. Yet he did not ask Congress to sacrifice and make hard choices; he let it do a lot of frivolous redecorating in its budget.
He reckons he’ll need Congress for more ambitious projects, like health care, and when he goes back to wheedle more bailout billions, given that A.I.G. and G.M. and our other corporate protectorates are burning through our money faster than we can print it and borrow it from the ever-more-alarmed Chinese.
Team Obama sounds hollow, chanting that “the status quo is not acceptable,” even while conceding that the president is accepting the status quo by signing a budget festooned with pork.
Obama spinners insist it was “a leftover budget.” But Iraq was leftover, too, and the president’s trying to end that. This is the first pork-filled budget from a new president who promised to go through the budget “line by line” and cut pork.
On Face the Nation on Sunday, Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, dismissed the bill as “last year’s business,” because most of it was written last year.
But given how angry Americans are, watching their future go up in smoke, the bloated bill counts as this year’s business.
It includes $38.4 million of earmarks sponsored or co-sponsored by President Obama’s labor secretary, Hilda Solis; $109 million Hillary Clinton signed on to; and $31.2 million in earmarks sought by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood with colleagues.
(Even Barack Obama was listed as one of the co-sponsors of a $7.7 million pet project for Tribally Controlled Postsecondary Vocational Institutions until he got his name taken off last week.)
And then there are the 16 earmarks worth $8.5 million that Emanuel put into the bill when he was a congressman, including money for streets in Chicago suburbs and a Chicago planetarium.
Andrew Sullivan-Obama's Long-Term Budget
Feb 26, 2009
We are being presented with what can only be described as a massive increase in government spending and power with the only fiscal balance being wringing much more money from the successful. The president predicted a tight budget and spending control in his non-SOTU, and he appealed to fiscal conservatives by promising a long-term attack on entitlement spending. I see nothing here yet that fulfills that promise.
Marty Peretz, former owner and now editor-in-chief of the left wing publication The New Republic, who attested to candidate Obama’s pro-Israel and tough foreign policy bona fides during the campaign, now is fretting that the president has put into a high level national security post Chas Freeman, the Israel-hating tool of the Saudis and bemoaned the Chinese didn’t crack down on the Tiananmen Square protesters more enthusiastically. He demands the president dump Freeman and writes in language as bitter as the betrayed idealist:
But Freeman’s real offense (and the president’s if he were to appoint him) is that he has questioned the loyalty and patriotism of not only Zionists and other friends of Israel, the great swath of American Jews and their Christian countrymen, who believed that the protection of Zion is at the core of our religious and secular history, from the Pilgrim fathers through Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy. And how has he offended this tradition? By publishing and peddling the unabridged John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, with panegyric and hysteria. If Freeman believes that this book is the truth he can’t be trusted by anyone, least of all Barack Obama. I can’t believe that Obama wants to appoint someone who is quintessentially an insult to the patriotism of some many of his supporters, me included.