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Does Obama Believe What He Says Anymore?

State_of_Union

by Ron Fournier     •     NationalJournal

President Obama ended his State of the Union address where he started his political ascent—offering to be a leader who produces can-do bipartisanship in a divided, dysfunctional capital.

“Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns,” he told a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. “Imagine if we did something different.”

Yes, imagine if rather than empty promises, the president could report two-party progress on big issues like immigration, climate change, social mobility, and the debt and deficit. [Read more...]

Obama Blows Smoke

by Fred Barnes     •     The Weekly Standard

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in WashingtonWe know that supply-side economics emphasizes serious cuts in tax rates and Keynesianism relies on massive amounts of government spending. But how in the world does “middle class economics” work? After President Obama cited it repeatedly in State of the Union speech, I waited and waited for him to explain how it works. He never did.

Instead, he confused a cause with a result. Middle class economics, he said, “is the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.” That’s a nice sentiment, but it’s not an economic policy. [Read more...]

Obama: Charlie Who?

by Charles Krauthammer     •     The Washington Post

Obama 102On Sunday, at the great Paris rally, the whole world was Charlie. By Tuesday, the veneer of solidarity was exposed as tissue thin. It began dissolving as soon as the real, remaining Charlie Hebdo put out its post-massacre issue featuring a Muhammad cover that, as the New York Times put it, “reignited the debate pitting free speech against religious sensitivities.”

Again? Already? Had not 4 million marchers and 44 foreign leaders just turned out on the streets of France to declare “No” to intimidation, and pledging solidarity, indeed identification (“Je suis Charlie”) with a satirical weekly specializing in the most outrageous and often tasteless portrayals of Muhammad? [Read more...]

4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris

by Mollie Hemingway     •     The Federalist

Smug-ObamaOn Sunday, millions of people rallied in France in a show of unity for Western political freedoms and against Islamist extremism. World leaders from dozens of other countries came to Paris, the site of the largest rally, in a show of solidarity and strength in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter and the murderous siege of a Kosher supermarket. The United States didn’t send a high-ranking delegation and the absence was noted by American media and concerned critics of the Obama administration.

Some simply wanted the United States to formally acknowledge the shock and horror France dealt with last week, as well as our shared efforts in the fight for liberty. Others hoped a strong U.S. presence would indicate our strong adherence to democratic values and, as Peggy Noonan put it, “to demonstrate the shared understanding that the massacre may amount to a tipping point, whereby those who protect and put forward Western political values will insist upon them in their sphere and ask their Muslim fellow citizens to walk side by side with them in shared public commitment.” [Read more...]

Unlocking the Potential

The Keystone XL pipeline is our best bet for a secure energy future.

By Peter Roff     •     U.S. News

keystone-xl-pipelineA decision handed down Friday by the Nebraska Supreme Court allows the permitting process for the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward.

It’s long overdue. The pipeline is a needed addition to the U.S. energy infrastructure that will do much to help America reduce its dependence on energy sources produced in politically volatile regions of the world. In the interim, its construction will lead to the creation of thousands of new jobs in vital industries, the kind some politicians like to call “good jobs and good wages.” [Read more...]

Executive Dysfunction

President Obama has done next to nothing to build confidence in government.

by James Bennet     •     The Atlantic

Obama defeatedIt’s happened by this point in every modern two-term presidency: If we weren’t sick of the guy to start with, we certainly are by now. What once seemed like roguish charm, or bracing surety, or nuanced intelligence, has curdled into self-indulgence, or arrogance, or passivity. Voters punish the president in the midterms; congressmen investigate him; political journalists, eager to cultivate sources in the coming campaigns, save all their nice adjectives for the presidents-in-waiting, and their aides. [Read more...]

Nylons for Nothing in Cuba

by Charles Krauthammer     •     Washington Post

cuba1There’s an old Cold War joke — pre-pantyhose — that to defeat communism we should empty our B-52 bombers of nuclear weapons and instead drop nylons over the Soviet Union. Flood the Russians with the soft consumer culture of capitalism, seduce them with Western contact and commerce, love-bomb them into freedom.

We did win the Cold War, but differently. We contained, constrained, squeezed and eventually exhausted the Soviets into giving up. The dissidents inside subsequently told us how much they were sustained by our support for them and our implacable pressure on their oppressors. [Read more...]

Obama’s Year In Review

ISIS, Ferguson, the Senate, Ukraine, Ebola, border kids. Really, this was a pretty awful sixth year for the president. Not that he’s acting like it.

by James Oliphant     •     National Journal

Smug-ObamaYou can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress rebuffed him on Syria and the federal health care exchange imploded.

Those setbacks ate away at Obama’s public support. According to Gallup, the president began 2014 with a 41 percent approval rating, and he’s ending it a tick or two higher. He’s also ending the year as a certified lame duck, facing two final years with a hostile Congress and the political conversation centering around the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul. [Read more...]

Obama’s Executive Memoranda Highlights Constitutional Crisis

by Jonathan S. Tobin     •     Commentary

obama-legislation executive orderWhen conservatives protested President Obama’s attempt to go around the Constitution and rule by executive orders rather than with the consent of Congress, his defenders had a ready answer. While they insisted that Obama’s fiat granting amnesty to five million illegal immigrants did not exceed his authority, they also countered by saying that the president had actually issued far fewer such executive orders than that of President Bush. But, as USA Today noted last week, focusing only on executive orders while ignoring the far more numerous executive memoranda issued by this administration that have the same effect as law, the press and the public have vastly underestimated the extent of how far he has stretched the boundaries of executive power. If anything, this president’s effort to create a one-man government may have gone farther than we thought. [Read more...]

Congress Can Pry Open a Clammed-Up IRS

The agency pleads that it can’t share the documents that it may have shared illegally because that would be illegal.

by Charles Lipson     •     Wall Street Journal

Obama_IRS-2The White House and IRS are entangled in a sticky court case with major political ramifications. It concerns allegations that the IRS illegally shared private taxpayer information with the White House related to conservative individuals or organizations. The Treasury Department said this month that although it has found a cache of documents that may be pertinent, it is not allowed by law to release them. The question now is who can find out whether the Obama White House has in effect weaponized the IRS, turning it into an agency that targets Americans out of favor with the administration.

Most likely, for reasons outlined below, Congress will have to be the one to find out. While we are far from knowing if any violations of the law have occurred, this is a serious issue. Misuse of the IRS was an article in Richard Nixon ’s impeachment—and he was only accused of trying to politicize the tax agency. [Read more...]

Obama’s IRS Faces Scrutiny with New Congress

by The Washington Times

IRS Silecing ConservativesThe corruption of the Internal Revenue Service is still under investigation, but the public has learned a lot already: The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny and harassment, Lois G. Lerner tried to hide behind the Fifth Amendment to avoid prosecution for violating the rights of taxpayers, and the president of the United States assured one and all that there was not even a “smidgen of corruption” at the agency when he knew better.

What the public did not know until recently was that the White House requested and received from the IRS the tax records of 2,500 taxpayers for White House inspection. [Read more...]

Gruber’s Pathetic Congressional Testimony

Despite his memory lapses, the ethical problems related to his work on Obamacare are plain.

by John Fund     •     National Review Online

ObamaCare Gruber LiesAn old Soviet joke had men carrying briefcases marching alongside tanks and soldiers in a Kremlin parade. “Why are those men in a military parade?” a boy innocently asks his father. He replies, “Those are the economists. They are the most dangerous of all.”

MIT economist Jonathan Gruber’s factually impoverished testimony on Obamacare didn’t get nearly the attention it should have, as congressional Democrats cleverly decided to release a report on CIA torture abuses on the same day. [Read more...]

Halfway to Wrecking Internet Freedom

To forestall censorship by authoritarian governments, the White House must renew the Icann contract.

By L. Gordon Crovitz     •     The Wall Street Journal

internet-censorshipWe’re at the midpoint between the Obama administration’s March announcement that it would end U.S. protection of the open Internet and September 2015, when the change is supposed to happen. During this time, there has been no progress finding an alternative for protecting the Internet from authoritarian governments.

That’s no surprise—except to Obama administration officials who apparently never considered how hard it would be to replace U.S. stewardship. [Read more...]

No Justification for Executive Overreach

by Terry Eastland     •     The Weekly Standard

obama-legislation executive orderWith his aggressive executive action on immigration, President Obama has struck a constitutional nerve in the body politic. The first lawsuit challenging the president’s action was filed last week by a coalition of 18 states led by Texas. Oklahoma is about to file, and other states may do so as well.

As for the two houses of Congress, House Judiciary Committee chairman Robert Goodlatte told The Weekly Standard that the House “should litigate the issue.” Probably a majority of his colleagues agree. Goodlatte expects that soon after the new Congress is sworn in, the House will authorize the filing of a complaint that the new Republican Senate will then vote to join. [Read more...]

The Ruin of “Hope and Change”

Obama’s hubristic promises have been followed by a total discrediting of his ideology.

by Victor Davis Hanson     •     National Review Online

Obama 102Barack Obama will end his tenure with the ruin of Hope and Change. The implosion was brought about not by the marginalization of Hope and Change, but by the power of the U.S. government to reify the slogan in a way we have not seen since the 1930s.

Survey the wreckage.

The hope-and-change therapeutic approach to foreign relations ended logically with historic cuts in defense, lectures about American culpability, pink lines and the end of Syria, farcical Iranian talks, in Libya the short trip from “leading from behind” to Benghazi, the self-induced suicide of Iraq, the empowerment of Putin, a pivot to Asia that invited ridicule, and the charade of a war against ISIS. [Read more...]