What’s the saddest statistic of the political season? Here’s one contender: a Google search for the phrase “Obama ISIS buck pass” yields about 478,000 results.
That’s what happens when a president makes comments like the ones Barack Obama made during an interview on “60 Minutes.” There, he haplessly explained that Jim Clapper, director of national intelligence, acknowledged he’d underestimated how quickly ISIS could rise to threaten the Mideast.
True enough – but also misleading, and another unforced error for our clearly beleaguered president. Mr. Obama should have recognized that he had opened himself up to legitimate charges of buck passing.
But instead of facing the music – as John F. Kennedy did in the wake of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 – Mr. Obama all but hid behind his new press secretary, Josh Earnest. Continue reading
Nothing can be more fatal to a nation’s well-being than an attempt at autocratic transformation of society by incompetent politicians. Lack of competence engenders fear and inferiority complex. Knowledge of flawed abilities creates the desire to compensate by adopting confrontational and even hostile attitudes toward intellectually superior opponents. When such a politician encounters criticism and ridicule, his or her feelings could degenerate into destructive hatred that has the potential to destroy the morality and jeopardize the normal existence of society.
Today’s progressives see themselves as the exclusive trustees of all political truths, the absolute champions of social justice, and the elitist vanguard of an economically perfectly fair society. However, by claiming omniscience and by stressing moral superiority, they have closeted themselves in their self-constructed ivory towers, thus have become ignorant of reality, and gradually have lost sight of the human dimensions of the American people’s everyday lives. Continue reading
To hear administration officials and their supporters in the press tell it, this is a great time for Obamacare. People who signed up for coverage are actually paying for it; more insurance companies are joining exchanges; some consumers have more choices than originally envisioned. “The news surrounding the Affordable Care Act has been so good this week, it’s almost hard to know where to start,” wrote MSNBC’s Steve Benen in a recent post headlined “Everything’s Coming Up Aces for the ACA.”
Not so fast. Yes, Obamacare is a big help for those now receiving something substantial from the government — large subsidies for the lowest-income Americans who purchase coverage on the exchanges, free health care for people eligible for the expanded Medicaid program.
But for millions of other Americans, it’s a different story. In fact, one respected analyst worries that Obamacare, while helping some, is actually “creating a chronically uninsured class” of those ineligible for its taxpayer-paid assistance. Continue reading
Based on the bilateral agreement President George W. Bush signed in 2008, the last contingent of the United States military left Iraq on December 18, 2011. The departure was swiftly followed by a resurgence of sectarian violence. On December 22, 2011, more than a dozen car bombs exploded throughout Baghdad, leaving behind more than sixty dead and another two hundred injured Iraqis. Using these incidents to rid his governments from the two leading Sunni politicians, Tariq al-Hashimi, the Vice President, and Saleh Al-Mutlaq, the Deputy Prime Minister, Iraq’s Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, a Shia, ordered their arrests. Immediately following Maliki’s authoritarian actions to undermine Iraq’s fledgling democracy, he went on national television to celebrate the end of the American military presence. In his speech, rather hypocritically, he called on the country’s political leaders to work together to the benefit of a sovereign, democratic and united Iraq. Thus had began Iraq’s violent descent into its most recent national catastrophe. Continue reading
The comparison reflects poorly on the Obama Administration and the facts show an important difference – which reflects poorly on Obama himself.
The Benghazi investigation should go forward but with knowledge that it will face heavy partisan and media pushback.
Democrats will argue—they already are—that with the country in crisis the attention of Congress should be turned to addressing the issue that weighs most on the public mind: a bad economy with the very top flourishing while the middle is stuck, stressed and sinking. Continue reading
by Daniel Henninger
Surveying the fall in support for the governments of Barack Obama, New York City’s progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio and France’s Socialist President François Hollande, a diagnosis of the current crisis begins to emerge: The political left can win elections but it’s unable to govern.
Once in office, the left stumbles from fiasco to fiasco. ObamaCare, enacted without a single vote from the opposition party, is an impossible labyrinth of endless complexity. Bill de Blasio’s war on charter schools degenerated into an unseemly attack on poor New York minority children. François Hollande’s first act in 2012, like a character in a medieval fable, was to order that more tax revenue be squeezed from the French turnips.
Mr. Obama’s approval rating is about 43%, Mr. de Blasio’s has sunk to 45% after just two months in office, and Mr. Hollande hit the lowest approvals ever recorded in the modern French presidency. The left inevitably says their leaders failed them. The failure looks self-inflicted. Continue reading
by Kirit Radia
The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.
It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation. Continue reading
by Peter Roff
If America had a robust foreign policy, “the crisis in the Crimea” might never have come to pass. If America had a strong president, someone the world regarded as capable and decisive, Russian President Vladimir Putin might have thought twice about sending troops into the region with orders to make it officially a part of the Russian Federation once again.
Unfortunately, America at the moment has neither. Instead, a weak and feckless president who has chosen to surround himself with an ideological and inexperienced national security team is standing by, hands in pockets, because there is likely nothing the United States can do to change the outcome.
A strong president, a Jack Kennedy or a Ronald Reagan — someone who had command of the nation’s policymaking machine and a clear worldview that involved America as the guardian of world freedom against a dark, evil, expansionist regime in Moscow — would have already committed to a series of steps designed to demonstrate the seriousness of America, speaking on behalf of the western world, to recent events. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized, and his military forces have carried out, an unprovoked armed invasion of a neighboring nation, Ukraine — whose sole transgression was wanting closer diplomatic and economic ties with the West. Despite wide condemnation of the invasion and now the occupation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, Putin is unrepentant and China is now standing with Russia. As if the invasion wasn’t provocative enough, Putin also test-fired an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) only days after the invasion. These are dangerous times.
But it doesn’t stop there. Russia is helping Iran develop nuclear capabilities, giving them cover as they arm terrorists in the Middle East with missiles, and aiding Syria’s Assad cling to power despite his crimes against humanity.
For the past decade American foreign policy has mistakenly operated as if Russia and Putin were allies in making the world more secure and stable. One of Bush’s errors was to believe Putin was a responsible world leader. That was always a bad assumption. Continue reading
On February 23, five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press and shrugged off suggestions that Russia was preparing any kind of military intervention: “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate.” A return to a “Cold War construct” isn’t necessary, Rice insisted, because such thinking “is long out of date” and “doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century.” Even if Vladimir Putin sees the world this way, Rice argued, it is “not in the United States’ interests” to do so.
It was a remarkably transparent case of pretending the world is what we wish it to be, rather than seeing it as it is.
On February 28, Russian troops poured into Ukraine. As they did, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Kerry briefed reporters after their talk, plainly unaware of the developments on the ground. Kerry said that Russia wants to help Ukraine with its economic problems. Lavrov had told him “that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place at this point.” Continue reading
Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he’s got three more years of luck to come.
He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it’s not in Russia’s interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it’s a sign of weakness.
Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia annexed it 20 years before Jefferson acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot.
Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S. and European money (much of which — cash for gas — will end up in Putin’s treasury anyway). Continue reading
Solipsism. It’s a fancy word that means that the self is the only existing reality and that the external world, including other people, are representations of one’s own self and can have no independent existence. A person who follows this philosophy may believe that others see the world as he does and will behave as he would.
It’s a quality often found in narcissists, people who greatly admire themselves — such as a presidential candidate confident that he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, knows more about policy than his policy directors and is a better political director than his political director.
If that sounds familiar, it’s a paraphrase of what President Obama told top political aide Patrick Gaspard in 2008, according to the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza. Continue reading
Leaders of other countries don’t respect President Barack Obama, said 53 percent of respondents in Gallup’s annual World Affairs poll, conducted Feb. 3-6. That only 53 percent of Americans think this is an indictment of the news media’s coverage of foreign affairs.
He would lead the world by “deed and example,” not try to “bully it into submission,” Sen. Barack Obama wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine in 2007.
In a major foreign policy speech in 2008, Mr. Obama said he would focus on “ending the war in Iraq responsibly; finishing the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban; securing all nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists and rogue states; achieving true energy security; and rebuilding our alliances to meet the challenges of the 21st century.” Continue reading
Incompetence, politics, and delays frustrate advocates of health care reform.
by Ron Fournier
It’s getting difficult and slinking toward impossible to defend the Affordable Care Act. The latest blow to Democratic candidates, liberal activists, and naïve columnists like me came Monday from the White House, which announced yet another delay in the Obamacare implementation.
For the second time in a year, certain businesses were given more time before being forced to offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. Employers with 50 to 99 workers were given until 2016 to comply, two years longer than required by law. During a yearlong grace period, larger companies will be required to insure fewer employees than spelled out in the law.
Not coincidentally, the delays punt implementation beyond congressional elections in November, which raises the first problem with defending Obamacare: The White House has politicized its signature policy. Continue reading