Friday, October 23, 2009

An American Tragedy

I've often pondered and occasionally stated in this blog that Barack Obama was not ready to be President. He lacked the experience, especially the Washington experience to handle the complexities and the political maneuvering of the job.

Sadly, I have once again been proved right. But much, much worse, he lacks the temperament and intelligence to handle the job. What we are watching this past few weeks is simply heartbreaking.

Now I must stop this essay for a moment and say that we all must support President Obama to the very best of our abilities. He is OUR PRESIDENT. And we all need him to succeed. Our success as a country is tied directly to his success as a President.

But that doesn't mean for even a millisecond that we should not criticize his mistakes, and point out his failings. We also should compliment his successes and, most important, we should give him our advice and council.

But now Barack Obama has made a potentially tragic error. Although he has already broken almost every single campaign promise he made in 2008, he is now breaking his most important promise and violating his trust with the American people. He has decided he will not be President of all the people, but only of the people who agree wholeheartedly with his every mood and policy swing.

So Barack Obama has decided to make enemies of FOX News, The Chamber of Commerce, and various media pundits. More importantly, he has made enemies of everyone who watches FOX, runs a small business or occasionally even rarely agrees with a Limbaugh, Hannity or Beck.

Why is this happening?

Timothy P. Carney writes today in
The Washington Examiner, "Chamber lobbyist Bruce Josten told me that White House is picking a high-profile fight with his group because, given Democratic supermajorities, Obama "needs an enemy" to blame for the difficulty he's having in getting his policies approved."

"But there's another reason Obama is running low on enemies: He's already bought off many of the most powerful industries and businesses."

"Look at health care, where Obama has brought the name-brand drug makers on board to his reform with promises of subsidies and pledges not to attack the industry's special favors. Look at cigarettes, where Obama signed a tobacco regulation bill with the firm backing of Philip Morris."

"And of course, look at climate-change legislation, where Obama has on his side coal giants like American Electric Power, manufacturing giants like Nike, agribusiness giant Monsanto, and lobbying giant General Electric, to name a few. The Democrats have bought off these special interests by rigging the legislation so that taxpayer and ratepayer money is funneled into corporate coffers."

Indeed, much of what is happening here is done to distract Obama's critics and especially his supporters. And it's working. The Press is eating this up. Virtually every newscast is covering Obama's fight with FOX News and The Chamber.

But, We the People are the losers. In creating a class warfare between Americans, Obama is dividing the country as it has never been divided before.

Wesley Pruden writes today in his essay Obama's
Third World Press Rant. "Mr. Obama and his White House can't seem to get their brains around the fact that the election of '08 is over, and he won. A candidate feeds on red meat, but a president is the president of everyone, and must set a different table."

"Mr. Obama campaigned with promises of a post-racial, post-partisan, post-rancor administration, and millions of Americans responded with enthusiasm. The candidate who said he took inspiration from Abraham Lincoln of Illinois now acts as if he takes inspiration from the distinguished statesmen of the Third World, where press opposition to the leader is usually a bloody no-no. The remarkable White House attempt to define which news organization is legitimate and which is not began in August, as Mr. Obama's poll numbers began a dramatic slide."

The press from the other networks are beginning to see the light and many are questioning the Presidents actions and motives.

And the public is appalled. Obama's poll numbers are sinking at an alarming rate. Frankly they should be sinking faster because this level of betrayal of the American people is tragic.

The British newspaper
The Telegraph writes, "The decline in Barack Obama's popularity since July has been the steepest of any president at the same stage of his first term for more than 50 years."

Peggy Noonan, a liberal leaning Republican in name only, who has generally been supportive of the President
writes in The Wall Street Journal, "At a New York fund-raiser this week, Obama said to the Democratic audience, are "an opinionated bunch." They always have a lot of thoughts and views. Republicans, on the other hand—"the other side"—aren't really big on independent thinking. "They just kinda sometimes do what they're told. Democrats, y'all thinkin' for yourselves."

"It is never a good sign when the president gets folksy, dropping his g's, because he is by nature not a folksy g-dropper but a coolly calibrating intellectual who is always trying to guess, as most politicians do, what normal people think. When Mr. Obama gets folksy he isn't narrowing his distance from his audience but underlining it. He shouldn't do this."

"But the statement that Republicans just do what they're told was like his famous description of unhappy voters as people who "cling to guns or religion." (What comes over him at fund-raisers?) Both statements speak of a political misjudgment of his opponents and his situation.They show a misdiagnosis of the opposition that is politically tin-eared. Politicians looking to win don't patronize those they're trying to win over."

Sadly, Peggy Noonan has misread the President's intent. He has absolutely no desire to win over the other side. He really wants to simply destroy them. Failing that, he wants to ignore them or bully them into compliance. He is a Blue State Only President. We can support the President best by simply turning a majority of states back to red.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fractured Fairy Tales

I have long been an admirer of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. But no more.

She remains bright, articulate and extremely well informed. Rachel is obviously a hard worker and tireless in her research and documentation. She prepares for each show and each interview with a thoroughness I can only wish every television and radio host would emulate.

She then completely wastes her talent and all her effort with fractured fairy tales. Instead of real discussion and real information, we get partisan political grandstanding, puff pieces of self aggrandizement, false guests that are either lightweight pseudo opposition fall guys or embedded supporters of Maddow's preordained positions. At least 90% of each show is personal attacks. It's a rare night the 10% is about issues or ideas.

It would be generous of me to assume that no real, articulate opponents of her progressive/liberal positions are willing to appear against the bright and aggressive Maddow. Perhaps that is true. Perhaps every real conservative quakes in their collective boots at the mere thought of a confrontation with Maddow. But I doubt it.

More likely is the Rachel and the powers at MSNBC program each night like bloodsport in the Roman coliseum with sacrificial lambs to be slaughtered by the powerful and very hungry lioness that is Rachel Maddow.

Blood flows and the crowd cheers.

Meanwhile we the viewer learn nothing. If we really want to understand the actual and true position of conservatives we must change the channel and watch Sean Hannity, who hosts the right wing mirror image of the Maddow Show.

At least Sean Hannity had the courage and honor to engage in a long and thorough interview with Michael Moore and actually let Moore make his positions clear and complete.

What we Americans really need is to see Maddow in a format where she really interviews real guests and has genuine discussion about the issues and not just the name calling and demonizing of Republicans we see each night.

Rachel, you are a lot better than this. You deserve a better format. And you're capable of holding your own in a real, honest and fair debate of facts and policy.

I dare you to try. The viewers will flock to your door and your rating will go through the roof. More importantly, your viewers will be well served.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Don Imus Triumphant Return to Morning Television

OK, OK, I know Imus was actually on the RFD cable television channel for at least a year. And I'm certain he found an audience there, but their reach was limited and it was simply the wrong forum for the metropolitan and edgy Imus. But put him back where he belongs on a major news/business network and Imus immediately staged a major comeback.

Now simulcasting his WABC (770 AM, New York) radio show on the FOX BUSINESS CHANNEL, Imus catapulted FOX to it's first ever rating victory over rival CNBC in Imus first week on FOX. Trust me, this is only the beginning.

The reason is simple. Imus is easily the very best interviewer on all of radio or television. His show is instant must see-TV. In his 15 to 20 minute segments with each guest, Imus really cuts to the core of each issue and each individual. And he does it without interrupting or badgering the guest. He asks sharp and often unexpected questions and then he actually listens to the answer. He NEVER tries to ambush or set up a guest. His interviews are the real deal.

Imus is so powerful, he has actually improved the FOX BUSINESS NEWS ratings for the entire morning, long after he leaves the air, viewers remained on FOX. You can't ask for better results.

But the real winners are we viewers who have recently had to put up with completely bogus partisans like Hannity or Olbermann or strident egotists like O'Reilly or the unbelievably obnoxious Dylan Ratigan, who may actually be the nastiest person on all of television. Keep in mind that Ratigan is usually right, he is still an unbelievable jerk. The only thing you will ever learn from a Ratigan interview is what Ratigan thinks.

Kudos to FOX BUSINESS NEWS on the brilliant move.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Who Will Protect Us from Washington?

A POX on both their houses.

Universal Health Care was within easy reach. This was a "no brainer," a goal that should have been the crown jewel of President Obama's first term as President. Everybody wanted it, no one opposed.

And reduced health care costs were even easier. The formula for dropping health care costs was so simple that even our Congress could have figured it out.

Alas, the Health Care Restructuring we are about to get served is the absolute worst of all possible worlds. We will like not have any public option (not that I wanted one). And we will not have universal choice. We will be stuck with our current policies with lower benefits, less choice, more governmental controls (Sarah Palin's Death Panels, but with a kinder, gentler name) and costs that will quickly spiral out of control.

Thinking Democrats and liberals like MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan are protesting mightily, but it's falling on deaf ears.

Now go ahead and read Matt Miller's complete article in the Wall Street Journal: A Real Employee Free Choice Act Although Miller didn't know this when he wrote the article, Sen. Ron Wyden's (D., Ore.) Free Choice Act was permanently shelved at 1 am last night by the Senate Finance Committee without a vote.

As Ratigan and others have said, Congress is being boxed in by the odd couple combination of Labor Unions, who don't want their members to be able to chose a different plan, and businesses who are too stupid to realize that they should be begging to get out of the Health Care Business, not lobbying to stay in control of a system that will surely bankrupt them.

So we will get higher health care costs, a massive tax increase and government controlled care. And, because no one is willing to consider tort reform, we will get fewer doctors, fewer hospitals and higher premiums to cover malpractice insurance.

Finally, we are not really getting universal coverage, instead most people will face stiff fines if they somehow fail to purchase insurance they might not be able to afford.