Exclusive – Oval Office Watch – Tuesday, March 2
by OVAL OFFICE WATCH
March 2, 2010
"Miss Me Yet?" Bush Merchandise a Hit Online, Obama store closing - GO HERE.
Drilling Ban To Cost Trillions - GO HERE.
Walter E. Williams: The Census and the Constitution - SEE HERE.
Bold Colors or Pale Pastels
Doug Patton, GOPUSA.com
"Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pastels, but bold colors, which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?" - Ronald Reagan, Speech to CPAC March 1, 1975
When Ronald Reagan spoke those words to the second annual Conservative Political Action Committee convention, he had just completed his second term as governor of California and was preparing to challenge President Gerald Ford for the 1976 GOP presidential nomination, a race he almost won. The Watergate scandal and subsequent resignation and pardon of Richard Nixon had devastated Republicans in the congressional mid-term elections of 1974, and as dispirited conservatives met at CPAC that spring, Reagan knew that talk of a third party was in the air.
In those years after Watergate, CPAC attendees were hungry for a candidate who would unapologetically crusade for the values and ideals embodied -- but unfulfilled -- in the Republican Party platform. Meanwhile, the pale pastel crowd was busy trying to convince the party faithful that in order to hold the presidency -- let alone ever gain congressional power -- the GOP had to become more "moderate," especially in its positions on social issues. The party chose the moderate course in 1976, nominating the accidental incumbent, Gerald Ford, who went on to lose to the most incompetent man ever to occupy the White House, Jimmy Carter.
Obama helped bring on the healthcare backlash
Janet Hook, LA Times.com
As President Obama seeks to revive his moribund healthcare initiative -- and arrest the precipitous drop in his political fortunes -- he is struggling with the consequences of one of his most important early decisions: letting Congress take the lead in designing his signature policy proposal.
Leaving it to Congress put an unusually glaring spotlight on how Capitol Hill does business. The spectacle of Congress' horse-trading, secrecy and gridlock has fueled today's virulent anti-Washington mood. The public's reaction was all the greater because Obama had campaigned on a promise to change the way Washington did business, and because healthcare reform engendered such personal high hopes and anxiety.
The way voters saw it, the smoke-filled room was back -- and they did not like it.
"It's an ugly process, and it looks like there are a bunch of backroom deals," Obama conceded in a January television interview. "The process didn't run the way I ideally would like it to."
But Obama himself helped bring on the backlash.
"In 2006 and 2008, voters threw out Republicans and thought things would change," said Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster. "Now they see it's even worse. Because of YouTube and Facebook, and you can watch TV on your cellphone, we know these deals are happening. We assumed they happened 20 years ago, but we know it today." Read article.
Obama lacks one crucial ingredient — intuition
Michael Barone, JWR.com
No president enters office knowing everything he needs to know. His experience is limited to some greater or lesser extent; his knowledge of the people from whom he will choose appointees is incomplete; his mastery of the substance of public policy, after years on the campaign trail, is likely to be out of date. And like all of us, he does not know what the future will bring.
So presidents must rely on something else, something intangible and unquantifiable, in determining what is within the realm of possibility and what is a bridge too far: intuition.
Great leaders have it, though it sometimes fails; failed leaders don't, though their plans sometimes succeed.
In the first category are great American presidents like Franklin Roosevelt. FDR could have nationalized the banks in 1933 and war industries in the 1940s. Instead he prevented runs on the banks and called in captains of industry to help run the war effort.
Fluent in German, he listened to Hitler on short-wave radio and recognized by 1938 that he was a monster that must be destroyed. Alerted by Albert Einstein's letter to the possibilities of nuclear fission, he said, "We can't let Hitler get this before we do," and authorized the spending in secret of something approaching 1 percent of gross domestic product on building the atomic bomb.
His judgment in picking military leaders — Gens. Marshall, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Adms. King and Nimitz — was unerringly brilliant. His decisions to invade North Africa in 1942 (against all military advice), to concentrate on the European theater and not the Pacific in 1943 (against the Navy's urging), to stage the cross-Channel invasion in 1944 rather than 1943 (despite British and Russian pressure) all look very good in retrospect. It wasn't so easy to make them at the time.
Barack Obama, so far, seems to belong in the second category. Like everyone who gets elected president, he entered office brimming with confidence, convinced he could end the hostility of the Iranian mullahs, Islamist terrorists, the leaders of China and Russia, and the likes of Hugo Chavez.
At least so far, that confidence has proved to be dreamy. Obama now knows their hostility was rooted not just in distaste for George W. Bush's Texas twang but to the fundamental character of the American people. A Muslim middle name hasn't made much difference.
At home, Obama, like many others and not just in his own party, believed that economic distress would move Americans to favor government direction of the health care and energy sectors and to support sharply increased federal spending.
That intuition now seems unfounded. As does the intuition that the Senate would pass hugely important legislation on a party-line vote with not one vote to spare. That left Obama and his party hostage to the Cornhusker Hustle and the Louisiana Purchase and the chance that a special election would transform the 60-vote supermajority to a less-than-super 59. The bridge turned out to be too far. Read article.
I’ve Got Your Deficit Commission Right Here!
Joseph C. Phillips, Townhall.com
Even as a bloodbath looms in the November distance, the Obama administration continues to push healthcare because they know that Americans love their entitlements like winos love wine. They are betting the farm that once that fiery warmth begins running through the National body we will not only love national health care, but will fight to defend it. We will also be too glassy eyed to notice that we have suddenly signed away our liberty, becoming slaves to those that serve us. But I digress.
Like wine, entitlements cost money. Sadly the more addicted we become the less money we have to spend on more important and often essential things. The wino lacks food, housing and clothing; the entitlement addict lacks employment, savings and luxury.
Consider that today our national debt stands at roughly $12 trillion or roughly 70% of our gross domestic product or GDP. But wait. We have promised today’s workers Social Security and Medicare benefits totaling another $41 trillion. Toss in another trillion for miscellaneous expenses, and suddenly our debt skyrockets to $54 trillion. In layman’s terms it means in order to pay our future obligations we would need $54 trillion dollars invested today. How much of that money does this nation have sitting around? Zip! Zero! Zilch! Read article.
Time for America to Act on Iran
Reza Kahlili, American Thinker.com
It's time for us to take a more aggressive stance. The American flag stands for more than two centuries of struggle, sacrifice, and bravery by courageous citizens in defense of freedom, democracy, and justice. It represents the very principles that make our enemies despise us. Whenever we have stepped back from those principles in the spirit of appeasement or for purely political reasons, we have guided our country and the world into a troubled future. President Carter, for instance, called the Ayatollah Khomeini "a man of God" immediately after the overthrow of the shah, and that man of God responded by seizing the American Embassy and taking the staff hostage.
Carter believed that an Islamic regime in Iran would be advantageous to U.S. policies in confronting the Soviet Union. Instead, it fostered the growth of Islamic fanaticism that continues to plague us. However, when we have stood tall and called out evil, we have shaped a better future for all humankind. President Reagan did just that by standing strong against communism, bringing freedom to hundreds of millions of people, and changing the world for the better.
My years with the Revolutionary Guards in Iran taught me that the mullahs believe in a god that hates, who seeks the blood of all non-believers -- including their own citizens -- and who calls for jihad against all non-Muslims. The fanatics in Iran believe that that same god requires them to bring the world to chaos -- where many die and others experience hunger and lawlessness -- so Imam Mahdi will reappear, kill the rest of the infidels, and raise the flag of Islam everywhere on our planet. No Western leader will ever be able to reach accord with people who feel this way. President Obama needs to realize this before an atrocity greater than 9/11 happens on our shores. Read article.
Prepare for war with Iran — in case Israel strikes
Anne Applebaum, JWR.com
Let's be serious for a moment: Barack Obama will not bomb Iran. This is not because he is a liberal, or because he is a peacenik, or because he doesn't have the guts to try and "save his presidency" in this time-honored manner, as Daniel Pipes has urged and Sarah Palin said she would like him to do.
The president will not bomb Iran's nuclear installations for precisely the same reasons that George W. Bush did not bomb Iran's nuclear installations: Because we don't know exactly where they all are, because we don't know whether such a raid could stop the Iranian nuclear program for more than a few months, and because Iran's threatened response — against Israelis and U.S. troops, via Iranian allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Lebanon — isn't one we want to cope with at this moment. Nor do we want the higher oil prices that would instantly follow. No American president doing a sober calculation would start a war of choice now, while U.S. troops are actively engaged on two other fronts, and no American president could expect public support for more than a nanosecond.
But even if Obama does not bomb Iran, that doesn't mean that no one else will. At the moment, when Washington is consumed by health care and the implications of Massachusetts, it may seem as if Obama's most important legacy, positive or negative, will be domestic. In the future, we might not consider any of this important at all. The defining moment of his presidency may well come at 2 a.m. some day when he picks up the phone and is told that the Israeli prime minister is on the line: Israel has just carried out a raid on Iranian nuclear sites. What then? Read article.
Thomas Sowell, Townhall.com
During bad times, the blame game is the biggest game in Washington. Wall Street "greed" or "predatory" lenders seem to be favorite targets to blame for our current economic woes.
When government policy is mentioned at all in handing out blame, it is usually blamed for not imposing enough regulation on the private sector. But there is still the question whether any of these explanations can stand up under scrutiny.
Take Wall Street "greed." Is there any evidence that people in Wall Street were any less interested in making money during all the decades and generations when investments in housing were among the safest investments around? If their greed did not bring on an economic disaster before, why would it bring it on now?
As for lenders, how could they have expected to satisfy their greed by lending to people who were not likely to repay them? Read article.