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1/26/2009
THOUGHTS ON OBAMA’S FIRST WEEK: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

It is probably too early to get a good handle on what kind of president Barack Obama will turn out to be. After all, it’s been less than 4 days since he took the oath for keeps.

Still, the study of the American presidency is a study in the exercise of power in a democratic republic. How does Obama turn his comfortable electoral victory into actionable policies and programs?

Taking the raw, unformed mandate of victory at the polls and shaping it into a club to get Congress and the various departments to do his bidding has been his first chore. In this, he has succeeded. He controls the agenda. His own party looks to him for leadership, while the Republicans — both for political and traditional reasons — are generally inclined to grant him the benefit of the doubt. This so-called “honeymoon” is nothing more than recognition by the opposition of political reality. The Republicans lost by near-landslide proportions, and now that his popularity has skyrocketed during the transition, to be seen hindering Obama is to be seen as obstructing the will of the people. At least, that’s the argument that Democrats would make.

Obama made it quite plain what that means when Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA) went into a critique of the new president’s “stimulus plan.” Reportedly, Obama waited for Cantor to finish and then said, simply “I won.” Obama’s two word put down trumped the discussion. (Glenn Reynolds points out that if George Bush had tried something like that, he would have been considered arrogant.)

Obama will eventually discover, as all presidents do, that the office is, at one and the same time, both the weakest of Constitutional offices and the strongest. All Article II says about a president’s powers is that he must execute the laws, act as Commander in Chief, make treaties, and fill vacancies in the departments during congressional recesses. And that’s basically it. He cannot “propose”, only “dispose.”

The office of president draws some of its strength from the direct support of the people. In parliamentary systems, it is the prime minister’s power base among MP’s that allows him to exercise his authority. If he loses support among the people, he can still wield a considerable amount of influence as long as his party has “confidence” in his leadership. A president, as amply demonstrated by the last 18 months of the Bush presidency, has no such luxury. Power ebbs and flows as a result of the will of the people and a weak president is next to useless except in matters of national security where his undoubted supremacy as Commander in Chief imbues the office with the ability to respond to any crisis involving the safety and security of the people.

For the first 2 or 3 months, Obama will be more powerful than at any other point during his term in office. During these first few days, he has sought to use that power both symbolically and practically, altering some of the policies of his predecessor while staying the course on others.

Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of Obama’s first week.

The Ugly

The entire inaugural was a disaster area. The program was marked by a poem that some consider to have been the worst in inaugural history. A flat, strangely subdued (almost dirge-like) performance by some of the world’s greatest musicians turned out to be taped. A hugely inappropriate benediction was given by the Reverend Joseph Lowrey. The huge crowd booed and mocked the outgoing president thus insulting not only Bush but Obama. And, after a flubbed oath of office that forced him to take it over again, a strangely uninspiring and forgettable address by the President himself.

There was also the evening festivities where President and Mrs. Obama found time for Hollywood celebrities, Washington glitterati, and politicos of every shape and size but somehow had no room on his dance card for the 48 Medal of Honor winners who attended the “Salute to Heroes” ball — the first time in 56 years the Commander in Chief failed to show. The new president attended another mostly military ball but broke faith with his predecessors when he snubbed the MOH winners and other wounded vets — some of whom had limped to the Ball from Walter Reed hospital.

The launch of the new WhiteHouse.gov website got a black eye when it was discovered the worst kind of partisan language was used to describe the reconstruction of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Someone should tell Obama’s partisans on the White House staff that the campaign is over and the American people will judge him based on his performance and not on how cleverly he can pass the buck for any failures on his predecessor.

There was the ugly scene in the press room on Wednesday night where Obama became irritated when a reporter asked a question he didn’t like. For a president to treat the press as an extension of his administration’s PR arm — which is what Obama was expecting when he entered the press room in the first place — and not working reporters with a job to do, is clearly a troubling indication, first noticed during the campaign, that this president will not accept criticism or opposition very graciously. This attitude is probably going to make the press even less likely to challenge him — if they had a mind to do so in the first place.

Finally, the question that got Obama’s dander up regarded his intention to name lobbyist William Lynn to the position of Deputy Defense Secretary. In order to do so, Obama has to waive his own rules not to hire any lobbyists for his administration.

Not even 72 hours into his presidency and he’s already broken one of his major campaign promises. And he wonders why people are cynical about politics? Ugly, indeed.

The Good

The high point of the inaugural may have been the playing of the national anthem by the Navy Band and sung by the “Sea Chanters” — played and sung as it should be played and sung, at the proper speed (a fairly brisk 135 beats a minute) and without the pop-culture trashing of the piece with unnecessary jazzy lilts and rock ‘n roll screams. And the parade was pretty good.

Obama’s choice of Richard Holbrooke for special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan (”AFPAK”) may be the best move of the week. Holbrooke is a no-nonsense, straight from the shoulder, tell-it-like-it-is diplomat. He was the chief architect of the Dayton Accords that ended the Bosnian War, knocking heads together until the two sides came to an agreement. As UN Ambassador, he got our contribution reduced while forcing the first tentative steps at reforming the corrupt finances of that body. (John Bolton, in his short time at the UN, did far more and was much more honest about the scandalous state of UN finances.)

If there is anyone who can persuade the Pakistani government to crack down on the Taliban and al-Qaeda who are currently crossing the border into Afghanistan almost at will it is Holbrooke. His portfolio does not include any power to negotiate with the Taliban, which is good. But neither does it include any instructions regarding India or the Kashmir, which is bad. Obviously, the Kashmir is a breeding ground for terrorists and the big bone of contention between the two countries. (Laura Rozen outlines the downside to this at the Foreign Policy magazine blog The Cable. )

President Obama also issued an executive order that will bring some sunshine back into the Oval Office, when he nixed a Bush era rule that not only hid many presidential documents behind executive privilege but allowed surviving family members to make the same claim even after the death of the ex-president. Any move that opens the government to scrutiny is a good one — even if, as seems likely, Democrats will use Bush documents to press for an investigation into his presidency. Obama could have grandfathered the executive order to include the papers of future presidents only but such a move would have had his base howling in protest.

Finally, it was heartening to find out that President Obama will continue the Bush policy of attacking the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan. The missile attack ordered by the president struck compounds in North and South Waziristan - a hot bed of al-Qaeda and Taliban activity. Past attacks have targeted the terrorist’s leadership but there’s no word yet on any success in that regard.

The Bad

Obama’s choice of George Mitchell for Middle East Envoy in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli-Hamas War may turn out to be a big mistake. As AT’s news editor Ed Lasky points out here, Mitchell has a history of seeing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a question of Israel needing to give more in negotiations than the Palestinians. Expectations of Mitchell’s “friendliness” in the Arab world may be raised due to his Lebanese ancestry and his promotion of a more “evenhanded” approach to the conflict. How this will affect US-Israel ties is unknown, but after 8 years of strong support for Israel from George Bush, there is no doubt that the appointment of Mitchell signals a big change.

Another big change is perhaps Obama’s worst decision this week; the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility along with all other “black sites” run by the CIA. This was done with absolutely no plan regarding what to do with the remaining inmates at Gitmo nor coming up with an alternate for the CIA sites that isolated the “worst of the worst” terrorists in total security and secrecy.

One can look at most of Obama’s actions this first week as payoffs to constituent groups who supported him in the election. His decision to close Gitmo can be seen in that light. The base of the Democratic Party had been suffering apoplectic fits for years over Gitmo and the terrorist trials. Closing the facility and suspending the tribunals was shortsighted. There is no plan in place on where to put the prisoners, how to judge them, or how to make sure that further releases do not return to fight us again. It is irresponsible and dangerous to our security, it’s cheered the base of the Democratic party nonetheless. Apparently, President Obama prefers to indulge in symbolism at the expense of our safety.

Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the decision to close Guantánamo by a year from now “places hope ahead of reality — it sets an objective without a plan to get there.” I would add that it places atmospherics ahead of common sense — a bad sign for any presidency, but especially one where the new chief executive has so little experience on national security issues.

An argument can be made to close Guantanamo and the black sites. But to make such an announcement without an alternate plan for where to house the prisoners, what legal structure will replace the tribunals, what, if any, rights will be granted the enemy combatants, what to do with future al-Qaeda leaders who are captured, and other questions Obama didn’t bother to address with this political grandstanding and pandering to his base, suggests that the new president is unserious about issues affecting our security. Such may not be the case. But it is hard to judge otherwise given the cavalier manner in which Obama has taken these steps.

Another decision made rather cavalierly was the rescinding of the “Mexico City Policy” which prevents groups receiving federal funds from promoting or performing abortions overseas.

Americans supported the Mexico City Policy by more than 2-1. It is a good policy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it prevented overly zealous groups from promoting abortion as a means of birth control in poor countries. This is an inherently racist attitude as it attaches less worth to babies of color than white babies. It also saved the lives of countless women who would have been exposed to dangerous procedures performed in less than ideal facilities from a medical point of view.

Rescinding this order (a payoff to feminists) will do little to improve the lot of women in poor countries and may even put their lives at risk. Quite a price to pay for pandering to a constituency.

Finally, Obama made his first really dumb political move when he picked a fight with Rush Limbaugh, telling GOP senators that they shouldn’t listen to the talk show host and get on board with his stimulus package.

Obama broke the first rule of political gunslinging: never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel — or in the case of Rush Limbaugh, someone with 23 million daily listeners and 3 hours every day with which to make you look like an idiot.

 

Limbaugh correctly diagnosed Obama’s attack:

There are two things going on here. One prong of the Great Unifier’s plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan. He is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me. And who knows? Are ideological and philosophical ties enough to keep the GOP loyal to their voters? Meanwhile, the effort to foist all blame for this mess on the private sector continues unabated when most of the blame for this current debacle can be laid at the feet of the Congress and a couple of former presidents. And there is a strategic reason for this.

It won’t be much of a war. Obama can’t respond to Limbaugh every day while Rush will pummel him mercilessly. He was going to do so anyway but now Obama has made it personal. Aside from being a stupid move, it is simply bad politics.

As of Sunday, Obama’s approval rating stands at a robust 68%. But with more questions being raised about his stimulus bill and the entire bailout culture that has sprung up in recent months. it stands to reason there is only one direction those numbers can go. And because as Peter Wehner points out in Commentary Magazine, Obama’s support is “aesthetic rather than substantive” — driven by a cult of personality rather than ideas — it is likely we will see those numbers travel south as the reality of our economic situation and security concerns set in and people realize that The One does not have all the answers.

 

By: Rick Moran at 8:08 am
40 Responses to “THOUGHTS ON OBAMA’S FIRST WEEK: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY”
  1. 1
    nanc Said:
    12:16 pm 

    when will he calm the seas as planned?

  2. 2
    retire05 Said:
    1:38 pm 

    Last night I watched a new special about Air Force One on National Geographic. It talked about the plane itself, it’s crew and the Thanksgiving surprise visit made by President Bush to the troops a few years ago and how difficult the logistics were for that trip.

    At the end of the special, it showed Barack Obama being picked up in Chicago after he had won the election and was on his way to being inaugurated.

    The pilot, the very best of the best our military has to offer, and who is responsible for the safety of the President, was standing at the top of the stairs to greet the new president as is tradition.

    When Obama got to the top of the stairs, the pilot said “Welcome to Air Force One, Mr. President.” Barack Obama asked if he was the pilot of AFO, and the pilot replied “Yes, Sir, Mr. President”. Obama then proceeded to tell the pilot that he looked like he was out of central casting and looked like Sam Shephard from movie “The Right Stuff.” (The pilot in no way resembled Sam Shephard either in looks or in build)

    Call me crazy, but should not the President of the United States have a little more respect for a pilot who has earned the right to captain Air Force One? What is wrong with a mindset that thinks in terms of movies and movie stars when it comes to a highly trained professional pilot responsible for the most important plane in our nation?

    Perhaps some will think my complaint nit-picking. But I am sorry, I think it shows a disconnect in the CIC for the acheivements of our military, and especially the captain of AFO.

    We have, as a nation, acted like third graders when electing a president in 2008. And we will soon find out that he is not up to the task. Even Bill Clinton, for all his faults, had more respect for the crew and captain of AFO than our new Clueless In Chief.

    Why third graders? Senario: two kids are running for class president. Johnny outlines what he thinks will benefit the kids, raise their grades, improve friendships and make them the best third grade in the school district. Janie takes to the front of the class and says “I will provide everyone with ice cream”. Now she doesn’t say what kind of ice cream, who will pay for it, how it will be doled out, just that she will provide everyone with ice cream. Janie wins. Third graders is what we have become voting for the one who promised ice cream.

  3. 3
    jackson1234 Said:
    1:53 pm 

    I pretty well agree.

    Nonetheless, the tremendous likelihood that the stimulus plan will fail–and the GOP’s recent rediscovery of financial responsiblity–probably will accelerate Obama’s popularity decline even more than the volatility of the Cult of Personalty. The Republicans should be applauded for making certain this horrific boondoggle has a Democratic face. If you can’t get John McCain to carry water for bad Democratic legislation, you know it is, well, really bad.

    If, God forbid, a released Gitmo detainee should carry out or be involved with a terrorist attack on the homeland, what is a stupid, pig-headed political decision would become a disaster. I don’t see Mexico City as a factor one way or another. Maybe the Doug Kmiecs might get upset with Obama, but most people will disagree but chalk it up to “politics.”

    Holbrooke is indeed a good choice. I didn’t think the same of Panetta, but Holbrooke does come with a history of success. I agree Mitchell is a poor choice, but he’s apparently got a thousand or so cards in the Democrats’ Rolodex.

    Finally, I would tend to dismiss the inaugural ugliness but those seemingly minor things do effect public perception.

    Good work, Rick.

  4. 4
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    2:51 pm 

    I love the Rush Limbaugh school of logic. Arguing that Merrill Lynch spending $1.2 Million dollars of TARP money to remodel their executive suites constitutes economic stimulus in the spirit of the bill…

    Classic. I hope they at least added a stripper pole and some coke mirrors in the executive washroom. No strings attached tax payer supported bailout money… nothing quite like it.

  5. 5
    Jim Said:
    3:10 pm 

    Re: Retire05

    Your comment on President Obama’s remarks to the pilot of AFO are well taken.

    Our new president comes from a part of America that really has no clue about earning anything, a portion of our populace that believes in entitlement. President Obama and most of his supporters probably have no idea of the rigors involved in becoming AFO’s pilot and could care less. It is obvious by the way they regard the military - half-idiot savages running loose across the planet. Every major Democrat seems, at one time or another, to have called our military losers or killers or implied that they routinely commit crimes. Biden and Hillary may be exceptions, but they haven’t gone out of their way very far to denounce the others.

    That remark you quoted is horrifying proof of how completely the country is “Oprahfied” - i.e. interested only in emotions and feelings, not logic and thinking. Essentially uninterested in duty and sacrifice. It also shows that many Americans are completely captivated by pop culture (which Oprah personifies) and have no idea there is a world beyond.

    There is always Hope.

  6. 6
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    4:09 pm 

    Jim,

    It is obvious by the way they regard the military – half-idiot savages running loose across the planet.

    War is a racket. And as long as business interests commercially benefit from war, it always will be. People can delude themselves to the contrary, but the only people who view our soldiers as you describe are the people making money on the other end. Furthermore, it’s a relatively bipartisan endeavor, despite your efforts to portray the contrary.

  7. 7
    sara in va Said:
    4:37 pm 

    Here’s another “bad” thing to add to the list. Robert Reich’s “directives” regarding the stimulus money. (No money for white guys, there are others who have greater needs).

    Although Reich’s statement was made a week prior to the inauguration, it was ignored. Bloggers made sure to bring it out to the forefront last week, and rightfully so, because Reich is one of Obama’s top economic advisers.

    What this mis-step illuminates are Obama’s true motives. This is nothing but a first step towards Reparations. He won’t call it that, because all hell would break loose. But we all can agree, that is what it is.

    —–

    Also retire05, right on, I saw the special as well. When he made that comment, I rolled my eyes. It was yet another manifestation of the dude’s obsession with looks. As in: Isn’t my wife beautiful, isn’t Joe good looking? And, ahem, not to mention, me?

    That’s Reich not Obama. Or perhaps you didn’t read the headline.

    ed.

  8. 8
    michael reynolds Said:
    5:12 pm 

    Nanc:

    when will he calm the seas as planned?

    Yeah, why hasn’t he managed in a week to eat the entire s–t sandwich Mr. Bush handed off to him? Huh? I mean, what’s taking so long? 8 years of Bushian incompetence and idiocy, hey, how long can it take to fix it all? Two weeks? Surely not a whole month!

    Jesus can’t you take a little dig at your guy without flying off into Bushie land? No one is that thin skinned.

    ed.

  9. 9
    Jennifer Said:
    5:37 pm 

    If I’m not mistaken, Bush did have his own “I won” moment in a press conference, when he claimed his victory had given him political capital and he intended to spend it.

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, both gentlemen were technically correct, although degree could be debated.

  10. 10
    Bald Ninja Said:
    6:07 pm 

    michael,
    It’s too early to judge the efficacy of the Obama administration but just for clarification at what point does Bush stop being an excuse?

  11. 11
    sara in va Said:
    6:20 pm 

    Rick, sorry, I was too busy brushing my long blonde hair and forgot I was an ignoramus (what you called me last week). I didn’t mean to upset you by posting again.

    I know it’s Reich, but he’s Obama’s Economic Adviser. A top confidante, buddy, pal, and it ain’t just me who thinks so. (See. Phoenix Biz Journal, which ran this headline: Obama economic adviser voices controversial concerns about construction stimulus outlays.)

    Your headline (let’s see if I can get this right, cuz I’m illiterate): Thought’s on Obama’s First Week: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - well, in my opinion his appointees, advisers and comrades reflect on him. When they make blunders, he looks “bad.”

    Glad “24″ is on tonight… Pour a cocktail and hope for a high body count so you’ll feel better.

  12. 12
    The MaryHunter Said:
    6:57 pm 

    We have, as a nation, acted like third graders when electing a president in 2008. And we will soon find out that he is not up to the task.

    retire05, what an apt observation. What’s more: not only does His Messiahness have no respect for AFO’s captain, he has none for the American people. The absurd, indeed surreal, nomination of tax-corrupt Geithner for SOTT alone reveals this. Perhaps 53% of Americans may have deserved his disrespect, but I’m sure I didn’t.

  13. 13
    The MaryHunter Said:
    7:18 pm 

    BTW Rick,

    Thanks for an excellent summary/commentary, with the usual concise aplomb one would expect given your years of 24 posts. One could almost imagine a weekly rundown from you, “Obama: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” covering the antics of the Immaculator in Chief and his wacky sidekicks as only you could.

    Side note on Limbaugh: his barrel of ink runneth over: heard/read his Obama-Limbaugh Bipartisan Stimulus Plan yet?

    Not yet. And are you trying to kill me or something? I already am over committed and now you want to saddle me with another weekly gig?

    Just kidding. Was wondering where you’;ve been for a couple of years - don’t hear much from the old gang anymore except Kender, Raven, and occassionaly Cao. Miss those days.

    ed.

  14. 14
    retire05 Said:
    7:39 pm 

    “War is a racket. As long as business interests commercially benefit from war, it always will be.”

    You know Chuck, just when I think that you can’t be anymore of a lunatic, you prove me wrong.

    Perhaps you could go to Iran and convince the Iranians to quit making bombs they are giving to the Palestinians. Or maybe you could go to Afghanistan and Iraq, and convince the terrorists to give up their evil capitalistic ways. Explain how they are simply promoting racketeering and that it must end. Maybe you could teach them to sing “White Rabbit” while you are at it.

    Is there money in the defense industry, but I bet you damn sure are glad that FDR converted auto plants in to tank plants and tin can manufacturers into bullet producers.

    I bet you even have “Rules for Radicals” on a CD so you can listen to it while you are driving that evil vehicle you own. Or do you alternate with the “Communist Manifesto” just to add interest to your obviously pathetic little life?

    Here is what I propose: every university student over the age of 18 who ever dunked a classmate or friend’s head underwater in the swimming pool, every fraternity member who ever required to make a pledge stay up all night be located, arrested and prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

    How’s that for a start toward a more “civilized” nation. Then we could elimiate companies that provide our soldiers with the equipment that help save their lives, since you would prefer to see them out there throwing stones instead of making the evil military industrial complex money.

    Christ man, I know you are a moron, but do you have to prove it?

  15. 15
    P. Aaron Said:
    8:01 pm 

    Obama’s doing the political payoff thing. Most of it shortsighted and not very logical.

    His allowing states to set their own guidelines for tailpipe emmissions will result in more pollution by limiting the ability of the Big 3 & Foreign makers to adapt to ever-changing rules. The used cars in activist states will fetch a premium and folks will either buy or hold on to those older cars. The car-makers are in a manufacturing nightmare and will simply write off certain models for some states, effectively limiting choices to the consumer. Used car are not subject to the new emmission standards, so all that old car pollutant content will be higher and add more junk to the air those meddling idiots are trying to clear.

    It seems that nobody in Obama-land is thinking anything through.

  16. 16
    cdor Said:
    8:24 pm 

    Sara in va has pretty damn solid posts every time I tune in to your blog, Mr Rick. Why so hypercritical? I listened to your podcast with Ed and you seem very relaxed and good humored. I like you that way. Please don’t chase away solid intellects of the right or you’ll be left with Chuck and Michael and your hand (so to speak).

  17. 17
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    8:36 pm 

    retire05,

    First, in the United States, being told that you resemble a talented and famous actor who portrayed one of the greatest pilots in the history of our country in a critically acclaimed film is actually quite a compliment. It’s like telling someone they look like a hero. Second, there is definitely some resemblance in this AFO’s pilot to a young Sam Shepard.

    Now, I watched the video and below is the transcript for anyone who actually thinks that Obama just insulted and denigrated the man who is in charge of flying him safely around the world…

    [Obama exits his vehicle and climbs the steps to board AFO. The pilot is standing there to greet him. Obama waves at some people and turns to the pilot.]

    Obama: How are you sir!

    Pilot: Hi sir, good afternoon.

    (they shake hands)

    Pilot My name is [inaudible], nice to meet you.

    Obama: Good to see you.

    Pilot: Yes sir.

    Obama: So, you’re the pilot of Air Force One!

    Pilot: Yes sir, it will be my privilege to serve you as your pilot (smiling, joking) if you’ll have me.

    Obama: (chuckles) You know, I gotta say, you’re outta central casting.

    (pilot laughs)

    Obama: You’re exactly what I want the pilot of Air Force One to look like.

    Pilot: (smiling) Thank you very much sir.

    Obama: You look like you know how to fly. You look like Sam Shepard in The Right… The Right Stuff.

    Pilot: (smiling, laughing) Thank you very much sir. On behalf of everyone at Air Force One, I’d like to invite you… welcome you aboard.

    [the pilot then proceeds to introduce Obama to the rest of the flight crew.]

    I’m completely baffled as to where the insult to the man, or his service took place. They were both smiling. The pilot cracked a joke, he was smiling, though a bit nervous, and the mood seemed pleasant and upbeat.

    You can criticize Obama for any number of things, but this is completely, nit pickingly, absurd. Does tend to fire people up though, which was exactly your point.

  18. 18
    retire05 Said:
    10:43 pm 

    “You’re exactly what I wanted the pilot of Air Force One to look like.”

    “You look like you know how to fly. You look like Sam Shepard in The Right….The Right Stuff.”

    WTF, Chuck. What the hell does a pilot LOOK like? So if the pilot was a 5′8″ 145 lb. guy instead of over six foot like Sam Shepard, does that mean that the pilot is probably lousy? Perhaps you should take a look at the photos of the pilot that just saved many lives by landing in the Hudson River. But I guess he’s a lousy pilot since he no way resembles Sam Shepard.
    And they were both smiling? WTF did you expect the pilot to do? Tell the Clown In Chief, “hey, bub, I worked my ass off for this job. WTF does it matter what I look like?” Well, that would have gotten him a courts martial within about six hours flat.

    How about something like “Good to meet you. I understand you are the best of the best. I appreciate your dedication.” Or is that too damn much to ask from someone who seems more impressed with how a pilot looks than that pilot’s capabilities? Maybe you have forgotten how David Axelrod stated flatly that Obama was NOT out of central casting and was the real deal.

    Seem we have a president who is obsessed with looks and not ability. What litmus test will the Clown In Chief apply to the next SCOTUS judge? That he looks like Spencer Tracy?

    Never mind that we are rapidly approaching have the most corrupt Cabinet in our modern history. Tax dodges, AG’s that represent Gitmo detainees pro bono, etc.

    And no, moron, I don’t think Obama’s comments to the pilot were nik-picking. You see, unlike you, I have tremendous respect for the military and don’t consider them just pawns in the military industrial, evil capitalist complex.

  19. 19
    Postagoras Said:
    10:51 pm 

    Wow, Rick, the four-day evaluation. I’m totally anticipating your next assessment on Friday… and I’m sure that eight days from now you’ll be able to give us the historical perspective on the Obama Presidency. By then you might be able to stretch it out, give the assessments once a week.

    Reportedly, Obama waited for Cantor to finish and then said, simply “I won.” Obama’s two word put down trumped the discussion. (Glenn Reynolds points out that if George Bush had tried something like that, he would have been considered arrogant.)

    Well, that *is* arrogant.

    The entire inaugural was a disaster area.

    Disaster area?? That’s one of the funniest things you’ve ever written. Dude, these ceremonies always end up validating whatever ideas you brought with you. You’ve shown yours.

    There was the ugly scene in the press room on Wednesday night where Obama became irritated when a reporter asked a question he didn’t like.

    This is pretty much a lie. It wasn’t a situation where Obama was answering questions until he was asked one that he didn’t like. His intention, as he stated it, was to come down and introduce himself to the press. Of all the reporters there, one decided to repeatedly ask a question. I think it’s pretty funny that Obama got irritated, though. I mean, these are REPORTERS. You could’ve made your point without the added spin.

    Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the decision to close Guantánamo by a year from now “places hope ahead of reality—it sets an objective without a plan to get there.” I would add that it places atmospherics ahead of common sense—a bad sign for any presidency, but especially one where the new chief executive has so little experience on national security issues.

    “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth.” President John F. Kennedy, 1961.

    Boy, what a dope. (sarcasm alert)

    Americans supported the Mexico City Policy by more than 2-1. It is a good policy for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it prevented overly zealous groups from promoting abortion as a means of birth control in poor countries. This is an inherently racist attitude as it attaches less worth to babies of color than white babies. It also saved the lives of countless women who would have been exposed to dangerous procedures performed in less than ideal facilities from a medical point of view.

    Americans may have responded to a poll by 2-1, but they also responded to another poll called the ballot box. But let’s not be arrogant.

    As far as saving the lives of women who would be exposed to dangerous procedures in less than ideal facilities… that is very hard to measure. And it resulted in some women getting an abortion in a even less than ideal facility. Again, a very hard number to measure. You are saying that it’s bad if a woman dies getting an abortion in a clinic funded by US aid. I agree. But I thinks it’s also bad if a woman dies getting an abortion in somebody’s basement, because the clinic had to turn her away. And the chances of death are higher in the second case.

    Finally, Obama made his first really dumb political move when he picked a fight with Rush Limbaugh, telling GOP senators that they shouldn’t listen to the talk show host and get on board with his stimulus package.

    Obama broke the first rule of political gunslinging: never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel—or in the case of Rush Limbaugh, someone with 23 million daily listeners and 3 hours every day with which to make you look like an idiot.

    Obama doesn’t really care about Limbaugh’s 23 million daily listeners, or what Limbaugh says about him… that wasn’t the point. Limbaugh can rant to his audience all he wants. Obama was telling the Republicans in Congress that if they care what Limbaugh says, they will have exactly 23 million votes… which will not be good news for the Republican party.

  20. 20
    retire05 Said:
    10:53 pm 

    Chuck, one other thing, just to inform you how damn stupid you are along with the Clown In Chief,
    here are some photos of the REAL Chuck Yeager, who Sam Shepard protrayed in The Right Stuff. Shepard has absolutely no resemblance to the real thing, who, if you will notice, was a short guy. But I guess since Gen. Yeager was not six foot, he was proably a lousy pilot.

    http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/yea0bio-1

    No wonder you seem to support Obama. You live in a make believe world.

  21. 21
    Surabaya Stew Said:
    11:19 pm 

    Judging by the hate and acrimony here before Obama’s first week is through, I have only 1 conclusion; it’s going to be a long 8 years!

  22. 22
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:42 am 

    Jesus can’t you take a little dig at your guy without flying off into Bushie land? No one is that thin skinned.

    ed.

    Hey, haven’t you seen the new video? I’m a servant to my president and all mankind. Plus something about bags at the supermarket. Can’t remember if it’s supposed to be paper or plastic. I’d better check, I don’t want to kill Mother Earth.

  23. 23
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:44 am 

    Bald Ninja:

    June 26. I haven’t decided what year yet.

  24. 24
    Jim Said:
    2:29 am 

    Chuck Tucson:

    Thanks. I often forget how easy it is to check the source these days. Before flying off the handle and accepting another persons opinion at face value. I am glad this site usually remains pretty civil.

  25. 25
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    4:20 am 

    retire05,

    You know Chuck, just when I think that you can’t be anymore of a lunatic, you prove me wrong.

    I was inspired by US Marine Major General S. Darlington Butler. One of the most decorated US Marines in the history of the corps, including two medals of honor. I was echoing his wisdom. Incidentally, he is one of the people who informed congress and FDR of the so called Business Plot.

    One of my favorite pastimes is utterly destroying your attempts at logic and reason. This includes your use of logical fallacy, canned talking point responses, and ad hominem attacks.

    Your simpleton analogies and backwards reasoning (see college student example) make sense only to you, and a few like minded people. They are so far removed from reality that it actually makes me cringe. Think about what you’ve just done… you’ve equated torture with fraternity hazing. I know that comparison will never sink in with you, but it’s so intellectually dishonest that most people couldn’t even bring themselves to joke about it.

    You proceed to suggest that I’m a communist, or socialist, or whatever other bobble head name springs to mind to denigrate me in a public forum in order to bolster your simplistic views. This, without a shred of knowledge about my life, or the lives of the people you mock and make ridiculous sweeping generalizations about. I’m a capitalist. I earn money in the free market. I own successful businesses. I served my country. I criticize my government and its policies when they become and embarrassment to the ideals I thought I was protecting.

    And you know what? Torture is wrong. Torture is evil. Torture is so much more than your simple analogies suggest. And furthermore, it does not work, but man it sure sounds good. So yeah, I’m the moron. I’m the lunatic. The lunatic who says torture is wrong, and war is a racket. I’m the one shouting facts and getting mocked for it. But you’re the one who destroyed your party. And for a guy without a party, it was amazing to watch it happen.

    You should probably respond by calling me more names, and by typing a few simplistic analogies to highlight your points so that I can understand them.

  26. 26
    Neal J. King Said:
    9:00 am 

    Yep, it definitely looks as though Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS) has set into certain minds.

    The guy pulls a few gentle jokes to break the ice with someone upon whose skill he will be depending for safe flights, and the ODSers accuse of dissing the military!

    He tells the Republican senators that minority status does NOT mean that they have the right to dictate what is meant by “governing from the middle” and the ODSers accuse him of arrogance.

    My impression: He’s done pretty well for less than a week in office. If things turn as well as this (of which there is no guarantee - but also no guarantee of failure), the ODSers will have more to churn about. Maybe they’re just suffering from “Pre-Traumatic-Stress” syndrome already.

    Republicans would do better to make constructive criticisms focused on improving the likelihood of success of the program, and not just impeding it to the extent of trying to make it fail. Because if it DOES fail, and Obama can pin the failure on Republicans tying together the shoelaces, the ODS victory will be pyrrhic. (Use the dictionary.)

  27. 27
    retire05 Said:
    10:43 am 

    “But you’re the one who destroyed your party.”

    Say, Chuck, that crystal ball you’re using (or perhaps you subscribe to the navel gazing technique) must be a bit cloudy. You ASSume I am a Republican, with a big “R”. I’m not. I am a conservative, with a small “c”.

    So you served your country. You and how many millions? It is not a pass to be stupid.

    You destroyed my “attempts” at reason? Buddy, you couldn’t pull the wings off a butterfly. You obvious need to toot your own horn (capitalist, served your nation, successful business), which I have neither the desire to prove nor do I care, shows that you feel the need to try to gain the high ground. To me, it only sounds like a desparate person saying “See, I am soooooo much smarter than you.”

    The Clown In Chief sounded stupid and it showed that he has a “American Idol” mentality. But you have to find a way to excuse that. Can’t allow him to look like the inept Chicago ambulance chaser that he really is.

    It should be an extraordinarily long four years for you as you scramble to make excuses for him. Have fun doing it.

  28. 28
    Bald Ninja Said:
    11:56 am 

    “June 26. I haven’t decided what year yet.”

    Thanks michael, keep me posted.

  29. 29
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    12:02 pm 

    retire05,

    I’m done. You win.

  30. 30
    jackson1234 Said:
    1:12 pm 

    Neal:

    “Because if it DOES fail, and Obama can pin the failure on Republicans tying together the shoelaces, the ODS victory will be pyrrhic. (Use the dictionary.)”

    The precise reason to oppose this scandalous waste of money is that it will fail, based on history. Republicans have taken the right approach–make certain the public knows this is Democratic legislation, and when it fails, Obama will have no one to pin it on other than himself and his party. This is the fast track back to huge congressional gains in 2010 and the neutering of a president who seems clueless when it comes to fundamental economics.

    What’s more, it’s the right thing to do. Obama–or more precisely, intransigent congressional Democrats–have the rope around their necks. The public may want this to be successful but it will know full well who to blame when it is not.

    You can see the fear in the eyes of Pelosi, Reid and Obama. Good. This is horrible legislation. There’s no John McCain to act as a human shield on this one. They own the stimulus boondoggle, and no amount of obfuscation (use a dictionary or ask someone who can) will work.

  31. 31
    michael reynolds Said:
    1:59 pm 

    Jackson:

    Funny you should talk about pyrrhic victories.

    Politics is only tangentially about reality, what matters politically is perception.

    If you want to look at the odds, consider:

    1) Recessions eventually end.
    2) It is highly likely that this recession will end within Obama’s first term.
    3) Presidents get credit for what happens with the economy.
    4) Action usually trumps inaction.

    So, assuming a turn-around within the next four years, and knowing that the public will credit whatever action was aimed at effecting the turn-around, how do you see this working for the GOP?

    The GOP is in the position of betting on America’s failure. The GOP doesn’t “win” unless the economy stays in the crapper — in which case the GOP will be blamed for causing it to begin with, and the Democrats will only be blamed for failing to end it.

    And think about this: Obama’s rhetoric has been pretty moderate so far. It need not remain that way. If he concludes that the GOP is playing a purely partisan role he’ll be free to turn the big rhetorical guns on you and ratchet up the blame game. You have no one on your side capable of countering effectively. You haven’t been re-Hooverized yet, but you could be.

  32. 32
    jackson1234 Said:
    2:26 pm 

    If this grand larceny passes, and the GOP holds firm in opposition, Barack Hussein Hoover will be your president. Perceptions do matter, but all the propaganda in the world can’t make someone who is unemployed or underemployed not realize the stupid economic mistakes the Democrats are about to make caused it. I wouldn’t get near this abortion with a 10-foot pole.

    This isn’t betting on failure. It is acknowledging this type of massive, discredited spending fails. This will be the Democrats’ economic Iraq.

    If Obama wants to release his inner left-winger, let it rip. He has all the votes he needs in a Democratic Congress, and he should go fish there. The GOP isn’t biting, the public is starting to see this as the grand larceny it is and to remember why they kicked the Democrats to the curb in 1994.

    I think I’ll stay with the GOP position. I know Obama wishes it would change, and not because he wants more Republicans in Congress and one in the White House in 2012.

  33. 33
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    7:14 pm 

    Jackson1234,

    but all the propaganda in the world can’t make someone who is unemployed or underemployed not realize the stupid economic mistakes the Democrats are about to make caused it.

    Your hypothesis would require a time machine.

  34. 34
    P. Aaron Said:
    9:11 pm 

    Tell me Dem defenders how this “stimulus” bill, as it was originally proposed; with the dog runs, an ACORN subsidy and the exceptional contraceptive heft would stimulate anything economical?

    There’s spending, there’s pork, then there’s just plain foolishness.

    It is terror in the eyes of the Democrats you’re seeing. They’re seeking Republican compliance NOT because the bill is good, but because they doubt their own ideas and they want bi-partisan cover, not for ‘if’ it fails, but when it fails to produce the result they claim it would.

    This entire “Stimulus” premise is flawed. As if printing currency is going to grow an economy. If it was that simple, why not shave down gold coins like the Romans did and expect the same amount of coins to buy the same quantity of goods, which did not happen.

  35. 35
    michael reynolds Said:
    1:49 am 

    Chuck:

    Time’s arrow is only one of their problems. They’re in denial. They don’t realize that they’ve just wet their pants and everyone sees the stain. They don’t realize how discredited they are. They don’t yet realize that the only person even pretending to listen to them is Barack Obama.

  36. 36
    jackson1234 Said:
    11:18 am 

    Chuck:

    “Your hypothesis would require a time machine.”

    I hope it is a better machine than the one Harry Reid took when he declared the Iraq War lost.

    The Democrats own this debacle, and will pay heavily come 2010 as the fraud and incompetence it represents leaks out. That doesn’t require a time machine, only Republicans who have decided to make sure the public knows which soon-to-be discredited party and president owns this massive fraud.

  37. 37
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    1:46 pm 

    jackson1234,

    That doesn’t require a time machine, only Republicans who have decided to make sure the public knows which soon-to-be discredited party and president owns this massive fraud.

    I’m not sure which discredited party, or massive fraud you’re referring to. There have been so many lately, it’s kinda hard to tell.

  38. 38
    crowepps Said:
    10:57 pm 

    “Another decision made rather cavalierly was the rescinding of the “Mexico City Policy” which prevents groups receiving federal funds from promoting or performing abortions overseas.”

    As was demonstrated by the use of this policy to withhold funds from United Nations Population Fund, in actuality the policy was used to penalize an organization which was falsely accused of being complicit in Chinese abortion policy, even when there was absolutely no evidence of such activity. And of course the insistence by some that “contraception is the equivalent of abortion” means that funds also could be withheld from organizations which prescribe hormonal pregnancy prevention in the form of birth control pills taken monthly or in the form of Plan B (thereby increasing unwanted pregnancies and the abortions consequent from them). This policy was rescinded under Clinton with no leap in abortion rates so why would doing the exact same thing be cavalier now?

  39. 39
    Right Wing Nut House » OBAMA IS FUMBLING HIS FIRST SNAP FROM CENTER Pinged With:
    9:17 am 

    [...] LIFE EASIER, DOES THAT MAKE IT BETTER? THE RICK MORAN SHOW: STIMULATE ME, BABY WHEN WILL TONY FLIP? THOUGHTS ON OBAMA’S FIRST WEEK: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY KEPLER MISSION WILL TAKE A GALACTIC CENSUS OF EARTH-LIKE WORLDS DAVID FRUM, THE BIG TENT, AND [...]

  40. 40
    John Simmons Said:
    11:33 am 

    Obama should not have simply said “I won”. This is true. But you incorrectly implied that George Bush WOULD have been pilloried if he had said the same. Truth is, he pretty much DID say the same thing after the ‘04 election when he stated that he had collected “political capital and intended to spend it”. What political capitol? He got 50.73% of the vote!!! What incredible chutzpah…

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