CJK's blog

Tallying up Obama's first 100 days



--Apparent commitment not to withdraw from Iraq prematurely.

--Dedicated to a victory in Afghanistan.


--Massive stimulus unlikely to improve matters much

--A budget that leaves massive deficits for years to come

--No apparent plan to deal with Pakistan.

--Gave the implacable Chavez a propaganda opportunity.

--Lifted stem cell research bans

--Made innapropriate/unqualified appointments of Attorney General, Secretary of State, and treasury.

--Put out a bank plan that not even liberals think will work.

--Released "torture" memos/pictures in an effort to embarass the previous administration at the expense of U.S. security.

--Trying to close Gitmo.

Total: -9


Is Obama tanking?

It may be too good to be true, but that's the impression I got from two state polls released. In Massachusetts, Obama is down to 58-42% approval compared to an election day win of 62%-36% (Rassmussen). In Colorado, Obama has a net approval of 49%-45% compared to 54%-45% on election day (PPP). Rasmussen's tracking poll also tightened slightly to 54%-45%.

On the other hand Gallup shows Obama's approval largey unchanged at 63%, so it could be a statistical blip.

Obama's shamelessness reaches new high (or low)


Its one thing to break various promises you made in some speech or on your campaign website. But when you decide to adopt an idea that you spent millions of dollars denouncing in television ads a few months ago... I'm just speechless.

Just how shameless is this guy?



Oh, sorry. The journalist/blogger's actual words are:

 "As Jonathan Martin makes clear in the Politico today, this entire [Limbaugh] controversy has been cooked up and force fed to the American people by Obama's advisers.* In other words, it's not the kind of change you can believe in."

So I guess Obama's advisers are responsible for this, not Obama. But just in case we don't get that, this tool actually puts a little note at the bottom which reads:

"*By advisers here I am including the outside Democratic strategists and supporters discussed above who have influenced the White House line on Limbaugh."

In his lengthy blog post, the author does not once actually link Obama to the efforts to marginalize the GOP even though Obama has named Limbaugh by name and must know what strategy his advisor's are pursuing. He only mentions "Obama's advisers" "The White House" and "Obama aides" He does find space however to attack John McCain:

"it is also the same petty strategy that John McCain employed during the presidential campaign".

All I can say is I look forward to his next pathetic evasions that criticize stuff Obama does without actually implicating his Dear Leader.

The infighting is really bad


Conservatives really need to stop the infighting whose most recent incarnation is Limbaugh vs. Steel.

To catch everyone up, Steel described Limbaugh's show as "ugly" to the media, which infuriated Rush and the grassroots. Steel was forced to reconcile himself with Limbaugh. But now moderates are complaining that we're doing exactly what the Democrats want us to do by making Limbaugh into a leader in the Republican party.

So who exactly benefited from this exchange?

The Democrats of course. They were able to present the following information to the American people:

1. Even Republican insiders think Limbaugh is bad.

2. These same Republicans are too cowed to stand up to him because of his influence (at the same time they accuse Obama of catering solely to Liberal interests and their agendas).

3. The GOP is so fractured between moderates and hard-liners that it can't come up with a coherent policy.

I don't want to cast blame for this on Limbaugh or Steel, because this is just one example of the larger infighting that is gripping the Right. Republicans and conservatives of all stripes are doing the Democrat's dirty work for them: portraying the party as too caught up in internal squabbles to create any coherent policy for the American people.

Maybe my memory is faulty but I don't remember this sort of infighting from the Dems in 2005. It would be as if in 2005 Howard Dean decided to trash Michael Moore or some lefty hero, and then was forced to back down. The Democrats would have been portrayed as the party held captive to deranged loons.

So we need to get serious and direct the guns towards the Dems and not each other.

The Stimulus debate is politically overrated

I keep hearing from some on the right and left that this stimulus bill is going to have an impact on 2010 or 2012. I don't see it that way. If the economy recovers soon, no one will care that a congressman voted against the bill because the country will already have moved on to other issues. Its like the surge: even though all the Democrats were completely wrong, they paid no political price because the country was focusing on the economy instead. CW suggested that Republicans were hurt by impeaching Clinton in 1998-9 but by 2000 nobody really cared about it anymore.

If the economy doesn't recover, Republicans might be able to run on the fact that Barry threw a trillion dollars down the hole, but polling suggest voters really don't care about the deficit. So the mantra will be that Obama policies failed, but the stimulus itself will be background material. Meanwhile, Obama will just demand more money be spent.

I don't really see the Republicans gaining or losing any political points in the battle, however they did successfully deny Obama bipartisan cover to launch another spending spree in the future.

I don't get it

According to the Senate rollcall, just 21 Republicans voted against Holder compared to 34 who voted against Geithner.

Apparently to thirteen Republican Senators, cheating on your taxes is a worse offense than pardoning a fugitive billionaire that traded with Iran during the hostage crisis and commuting the sentences of unrepentant terrorists for purely political reasons. Disgusting.

I originally stated that Senate Republicans should vote against Geithner, Holder, and Clinton. In the end, they only voted against Geithner citing solely his tax problems. I guess the point is that Holder and Geithner didn't technically commit any crimes, but that low standard wasn't

I can't even comprehend how any person who was alive in the last 10 years could conclude that Clinton's minimal involvement in foreign affairs made her appropriate for State and that Holder's blatant kowtowing to the Clinton pardons made him the prime candidate to uphold the justice system. Am I missing something here, or do we all have the attention spans and memories of gnats?

Republicans need to be the adults in the room

Today I remembered one of the reasons why liberal Democrats are so repulsive: they have the same mentality as an elementary school student.

Don't get me wrong, this obviously doesn't apply to all Democrats. But I get that idea on a relatively frequent basis. Last year the Democrats ran on an economic platform no more sophisticated than looting the rich to give free cash to everyone else. Some say the Republicans dogmatically promote tax cuts, but at least that entails an economic philosophy. The Democrats are still operating from the Robin Hood "steal from the rich and give to the poor" mentality.

For years the left shrieked that Gitmo needs to be closed. So now Gitmo is closing, they find themselves dumbfounded by the fact that they are going to have to put the prisoners somewhere else. They've been whining for a new puppy so long that they forgot that it actually requires responsibility and discipline.

Most Democrats voted for the Iraq war like it was a free trip to Candyland. Of course, once the car ride started to last too long they started hurling abuse at their parents, like all spoiled kids do. "Bush lied for the oil!" they said, as if Bush was taking oil out of Iraq without paying for it. Eventually they demanded that he "end the war" as if the president could wave his magic wand and instantly end all the violence in Iraq.

And of course Bush is responsible for every Iraqi death instead of, you know, the people who actually killed them.

When Bush cut taxes the cuts were derided as being for the "rich" as if a Bill Gates would care that he's paying at a 35% rate instead of 39.6%.

Now the Democrats say that we absolutely have to pass this $800 billion stimulus bill, as if the economy will be in permanent decline for the rest of our lives if we do not. They want their shiny brand new toys so badly that their willing to make their parents go into heavy debt to get them.

Really, how else can you explain the fact that the likes of Frank Rich justify Democrat's obtuseness by citing past, nonexistent attacks on the Democrat's patriotism? Why else would the New York Times rave against Republican immigration extremists without citing a single Republican as an example?

In their editorial today the NYTimes cites a Youtube video of Bill O'Reilly. Of course they're sure nobody who could slap together a YouTube video would take his remarks out of context. It sounds like an arguement I'd make against my teacher back in the third grade.

How can Michael Moore ridicule Bush for his simple mindedness and then publicly justify his opposition against the Iraq War by asking "would you send your child to die in Fallujah?"

How can Oliver Stone sleep at night when he says (based on no evidence) that LBJ assassinated Kennedy to start the Vietnam War to give cash to defense contractors... and then turn around and lecture people on how Fidel Castro has been a "wise leader"?

Why does Chris Matthews think he's being insightful when he claims that the main lesson of Iraq is not to "occupy" a Middle Eastern nation under any circumstances?

The point is that much of the Left is living in a fantasy land. The Republicans need to be the grownups in the room, provide reality checks, and regularly point out the foolishness. We need to avoid getting bogged down in the ideology and instead figure out what works the best and advocate for common sense and responsibility.


Bush's Three Fatal Mistakes


Nobody, not even on the right, is defending George W. Bush's record in a convincing manner. No matter how one looks at it, his eight years in the White House has been a disappointment at best, a disaster at worst. Trying to pin down exactly why he became such a widely unpopular figure was surprisingly difficult for me, but I've narrowed it down to three events which did most to sink him.

Katrina: The federal goverment was too slow in responding to the hurricane, and the fact that the man in charge of FEMA was a crony with little experience made this a political nightmare. It tarnished the Republican image of being good managers and symbolized the collapse of Bush's second term agenda.

Failing to regulate the housing market: I'm not sure if the Bush administation could of stopped the subprime mortgage fiasco, but it sure didn't try that hard. In fact, Bush wanted to encourage high home ownership, particularly among minority voters, which made him reluctant to reign in the irresponsible loans being made by the banks (although he tried to reform Fannie/Freddie). This should serve as a valuable lesson for those wishing to use government to be "compassionate" instead of prudent.

The chaotic post-invasion of Iraq: This is by far the most important mistake Bush made. He and Rumsfeld sent in too few troops to control the country, and then after the insurgency began continued to refuse a change in strategy from 2003-2007 despite the fact that the insurgency only continued to gain strength during this time. They did not make serious attempts at nationbuilding, instead trying to pass off the fighting to a new Iraqi government that was weak, inexperienced, infiltrated by sectarian actors, and under constant attack from a deadly insurgency. Of course, this strategy could not be sustained. His efforts to "stay the course" in the face of continued bloodshed eventually destroyed his administration's credibility in his second term. Regardless of the merits of the surge, the fact remains that the price we and the Iraqis paid during post-invasion of Iraq remains unjustifiably high.

Looking at Bush's approval rating over time, one doesn't see any single moment where Bush's popularity collapsed. Instead, it just slowly dwindled away, relentlessly day after day, driven by first Iraq and then the economy.

Bush wasn't a failed president because he occupied a Middle Eastern nation, lied about WMDs, increased spending, snubbed our allies, wasn't conservative/moderate enough, exposed a CIA agent, met with Jack Abramoff, wanted to privatize Social Security, increased the budget deficit, violated the constitution, cut taxes for the rich, was friends with the Saudis, tried to amnesty Mexicans, gave contracts to Haliburton, supported big oil, or tortured prisoners. He failed because he just didn't grasp that he needed to act when his advisors were twidling their thumbs while the house was burning down. All of this was compounded by Bush's overall inability to communicate his goals in speeches which often sounded strained and insincere.

The fact is that nobody outside the Michael Moore left would care that there were no WMDs in Iraq if the war had cost 300 lives in a few months rather than 4,000 lives (and many more Iraqi deaths) over a period of five years. Nor would we bemoan the fact that the war hurt our world standing. Nobody would care that there was a "culture of corruption" if the goverment readily and efficiently responded to the Hurricane before it hit. Nobody would be whining now about Bush helping the rich, making free trade deals, increasing the deficit, or other aspects of his economic policy if he could have head off the subprime mortgage time bomb. (Or for that matter, making unpopular bailouts.)

His accomplishments such as building missile defense and improving relations with East Asia, conversely, would have been less obscure.

Over the last eight years Bush has been attacked in a deranged and often disgraceful manner by people more interested in making the news, pushing an agenda, avenging the past, selling a book, winning an election, making cheap shots, scoring political points, being popular, or cracking a joke than in advancing the nation's best interests. Many conservatives, including myself, defended the man against this unprecedented savagery, which sometimes led us to overlook his flaws. Looking back, though, probably 90% of what we said then is still valid and we should not be ashamed of it.

I only wish that George W. Bush had been as strong and decisive a person as the many millions of us who had supported and admired his leadership thought he was. He was a good man with an ambitious agenda and I'm thankful he stood his ground against much of the political/media/foreign policy elite. He had many accomplishments that may take time to fully appreciate. But that has not and will not save him from being harshly judged for his fatal errors.

Stop the Holder-Geithner-Clinton trainwreck, Republicans

I can't believe that these guys are going to be cabinet officials after eight years of attacking Bush for hiring low-quality people like Alberto Gonzalez. The Republican's party's first test of the Obama era is whether or not they'll present a united front to at least protest if not block the confirmation of Holder, Geithner, and Clinton.

Holder's problems are well known: he rolled over and facilitated politically motivated pardons for Puerto Rican terrorists, Weatherman Underground members, and fugitive Marc Rich.

Geithner couldn't figure out his taxes and, more worrisomely, failed to regulate Citigroup which looks to be in a death spiral.

Fortunately, there's some Republican spine on the first two. But Clinton? Just one Republican on the foreign relations committee voted against her. The case against Clinton isn't that hard: she's compromised by Bill's business dealings and has no distinguished record of foreign policy other than being for the Iraq War until it became unpopular.

Her appointment would be in violation of the Constitution as well, because no Senator can be appointed to a cabinet position during a time when the cabinet obtained a pay increase. Many dismiss this as petty because the relevant clause was only intended to prevent corruption. But does anybody really believe that the Clinton appointment is guided by anything other than the political opportunism of both side instead of this country's best interest?

Holder and Geithner are easy targets. If Republicans really want to be a vaiable opposition party they should stand against Clinton too. The feeling right now, though, is that they'll roll over, which shows that they truly aren't ready to be the party in power again.

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