Exclusive – Oval Office Watch – Wednesday, March 3

by OVAL OFFICE WATCH March 3, 2010
CNN poll: 56% say government a threat to citizens' rights - HERE.
Latest Round-Up of Obama Poll Ratings by State - CLICK HERE.
SEIU Andy Stern on Obama Debt Panel - SEE HERE.
Obama's Perverse Priorities
Jed Babbin, Human Events.com
When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind) announced his retirement, the media revived their drumbeat that our government is broken. As the indispensable Brent Bozell pointed out last week, Democrats and the media only complain of broken government when the liberals can’t get their agenda enacted.
The problem isn’t that our government isn’t working: it’s that President Obama’s agenda is entirely perverse. It reverses the essential order of priorities, devoting the energy of government exclusively to his plans to revolutionize our country. 
Since last June, congress and the White House have been consumed by President Obama’s plan to impose government control on our healthcare system. With time outs for the occasional earthquake or celebrity scandal, their attention has been drawn from more important issues, and of our most precious asset -- time -- nine months have been wasted and cannot be recovered. Read article.
He's No FDR: Barack Obama’s shrinking presidency.
Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard.com
President Obama spent seven hours last week acting like a committee chairman, not a president. Rather than preside over the nationally televised health care “summit” of Democratic and Republican members of Congress, Obama was a participant. He big-footed Democrats and responded to Republican statements himself. He talked and talked and talked, considerably more than anyone else and for a total of two hours. When Obama delivered a concluding monologue, the TV cameras panned to a drowsy and bored group of senators and House members, the Republicans especially.
Did Obama lower the presidency to the level of mere legislator? Perhaps. But I think Obama’s behavior at the summit answers a separate question, one that’s lingered since he was elected more than 15 months ago. Is Obama the new FDR? The answer is no.
If Franklin Delano Roosevelt were president today, the summit never would have happened. As the top priority on his agenda, liberal health care reform would have been enacted already. For Obama, the summit was a last-gasp attempt to revive his moribund legislation. More than likely, it will fail.
The reason is tied to what is probably the greatest difference between FDR and Obama. Roosevelt took command of Washington. Obama hasn’t. “FDR became the father of the modern presidency by moving the Chief Executive to the center of the American political universe,” John Yoo writes in his new book on presidential power, Crisis and Command. “Roosevelt’s revolution radically shifted the balance of power among the three branches of government.”
Obama has weakened the presidency and strengthened the power of Congress. Read article.
Has the White house used bribery to preserve Senate majority?
Selwyn Duke, The New American.com
Has a bombshell just been dropped in the November elections? If a story that broke on Thursday gets enough ink, the answer may be yes.
It’s being reported that the White House has sought to entice Senate primary challengers into dropping their campaigns against incumbent Democrats with the offer of plum government appointments — a jailable offense.
Jeffrey Lord of The American Spectator reports on the story, writing:
For the second time in five months, the Obama White House is being accused — by Democrats — of offering high ranking government jobs in return for political favors. What no one is reporting is that this is a violation of federal law that can lead to prison time, a fine or both, according to Title 18, Chapter 11, Section 211 of the United States Code.
The jobs in question? Secretary of the Navy and a position within the U.S. Agency for International Development [USAID]. 
The newest allegation has been made by Congressman Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who has launched a promising primary challenge against the Pennsylvania party-switcher, Arlen Specter. While being interviewed by talk-show host Larry Kane, Sestak was asked about whether he had been offered a job to exit the race and, appearing “a little surprised,” answered “yes.” Writes Kane, “I asked him if the job was Navy Secretary [Sestak is a former Navy admiral]. He said, ‘I can’t comment on that.’ In the next few seconds, he admitted that it was a ‘high up’ job, that it came from the White House, and that he didn’t accept the offering.”
Kane says that he later inquired about the matter with the White House press office but never heard back from its staff. This may indicate that the allegation is true. After all, if the Obama administration is guilty, it has a vested interested in not fielding questions about the matter. Read article.
Obama's Ides-of-March Moment is Near
Monty Pelerin, American Thinker.com
By the end of March, Barack Obama's administration will face its destiny, its Brutus a pawn of the fates.
In Jimmy Carter's presidency, the Wall Street Journal editorialized about "Ratcheting to Ruin." The title derived from the fact that each cycle high in unemployment was higher than previous ones, and each cycle high in inflation was also. "Stagflation" was the neologism coined to describe what up until then was believed to be impossible in the Keynesian world. This period ushered in a new era in both politics and economics. Carter was replaced by Reagan, and Keynes was replaced by Friedman.
Thirty years later, Keynes is back in vogue, Obama has ascended to the White House, and times are reminiscent of the Carter era. The economy is awful. Fear and dissatisfaction prevail. Politicians are held in contempt. There is one major difference -- Carter did not face an "ides of March" event.
In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar to "beware the Ides of March." The prescient warning did not help Caesar. As Obama approaches his March moment, no warning can change his fate. Read article.
President Obama’s “Pro-Business” Policies Are Killing the Free Market
The Foundry, Heritage.org
Last night President Barack Obama held a behind-closed-door dinner with 17 chief executive officers from major U.S. corporations including Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase, Verizon Communications’ Ivan Seidenberg, and General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt. According to Bloomberg, the President made the case to his select guests that his administration is “fundamentally business-friendly.” This comes almost two weeks after the President told BusinessWeek: “[T]he irony is, is that on the left we are perceived as being in the pockets of Big Business. And then on the business side, we are perceived as being anti-business.”
What the President fails to understand is that there is no irony here. It is entirely consistent for big government policies that favor select and politically connected big corporations to hurt the economy as a whole. In fact, almost all well-intentioned government interventions in the market place do exactly that. In a July 2009 interview with BusinessWeek, President Obama spoke of an earlier behind-closed-door meeting he had with top corporate executives:
The last lunch that I had, I guess we had the CEOs of Xerox (XRX), AT&T (T), Honeywell (HON), and Coke (KO). We talked about the fact that, in the 1980s, when everybody was afraid Japan was going to eat our lunch, a lot of companies did a 180 in terms of quality improvement, efficiency, increasing productivity. There was a change in corporate culture that significantly boosted corporate productivity for a long time and helped create the boom of the ’90s. What they pointed out was, there were a couple of sectors that were resistant to that: health care, education, energy, and government.
[What we're saying] matches up almost perfectly with what those CEOs were saying: Can we introduce the same sort of productivity in the health-care industry, which we know is going to be a growing sector because of the aging population? Can we use the need to transition our energy economy in such a way that it ends up being a huge engine for economic growth? Can we revamp our education system so that it’s producing the kind of workers we need? … we need to get beyond this notion that somehow government is always just the problem. Read article.
Michael Connelly.viviti.com
After much anticipation, at least by the so-called mainstream media, the White House has released the new and improved version of Obamacare. Since I have already had to read two previous versions of these monstrosities in the House and two more in the Senate, I call this version Obamacare 5.0 and it is actually an easy read. It is not hundreds or thousands of pages long and it doesn’t take long for people to realize that it really changes very little. 
It must be remembered that this is not a Congressional Bill, but simply the President’s proposal to make the bill more palatable to the American public and even some members of Congress who have grown increasingly more concerned about the implications that these proposals have for freedom in this country. In that regard the proposal fails miserably.
Despite the use of smoke and mirrors to hide what is really going on with the proposal and the spin that is put on it by the Whitehouse to make it sound like Obama is the smartest man in the world and has found a solution to the problems that couldn’t be resolved by the 535 members of the House and Senate the White House proposal is basically Senate Bill 3590 with a new hairstyle and thicker makeup. This is all an attempt to hide the fact that the bill is still blatantly unconstitutional.
The Obama proposal also leaves intact the provisions under Section 3403 that establish an “Independent Medicare Advisory Board” that will oversee the severe cuts in Medicare and the services provided to seniors. In other words, the Executive Branch of government will ration healthcare for the elderly while at the same time controlling how much everyone else pays for health insurance and what treatments they can be provided with. Read article.
My Gift to the Obama Presidency
John Yoo, WSJ.com
Barack Obama may not realize it, but I may have just helped save his presidency. How? By winning a drawn-out fight to protect his powers as commander in chief to wage war and keep Americans safe.
He sure didn't make it easy. When Mr. Obama took office a year ago, receiving help from one of the lawyers involved in the development of George W. Bush's counterterrorism policies was the furthest thing from his mind. Having won a great electoral victory, the new president promised a quick about-face. He rejected "as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" and moved to restore the law-enforcement system as the first line of defense against a hardened enemy devoted to killing Americans.
In office only one day, Mr. Obama ordered the shuttering of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, followed later by the announcement that he would bring terrorists to an Illinois prison. He terminated the Central Intelligence Agency's ability to use "enhanced interrogations techniques" to question al Qaeda operatives. He stayed the military trial, approved by Congress, of al Qaeda leaders. He ultimately decided to transfer Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks, to a civilian court in New York City, and automatically treated Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day, as a criminal suspect (not an illegal enemy combatant). Nothing better could have symbolized the new president's determination to take us back to a Sept. 10, 2001, approach to terrorism. Read article.
Not a Failure of Capitalism...A Failure of Government
Peter J. Wallison, NMJ.us
Since the beginning of the turmoil in the financial markets that is now commonly referred to as the "financial crisis," many voices have asserted that this is a "crisis of capitalism." These are not merely the voices of socialist groups, who could be expected to see this event as a vindication of their views; government officials also joined the chorus, as did many commentators on financial matters. As Samuel Brittan observed early in the mortgage meltdown that ultimately became the financial crisis, "Any failures on the financial side are sure to bring the opponents of capitalism out of their burrows. Pundits who until recently conceded that 'capitalism is the only game in town' are now rejoicing at what they hope is the longed-for death agony of the system."
Billionaire investor George Soros, who had been arguing at least since 1997 that the capitalist system was "coming apart at the seams," finally found vindication, telling a group in New York in February 2009, according to a Bloomberg News summary, that "the current economic upheaval has its roots in the financial deregulation of the 1980s and signals the end of a free market model that has since dominated capitalist countries." In 2009, the debate over the responsibility of capitalism for the current crisis rose to such significance that the Financial Times ran a gloomy series on the future of capitalism. Read article.
"Broken" Government: When Liberals Lose
Brent Bozell, Townhall.com
When Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana announced last week he wasn't running for re-election, he didn't state what may have seemed obvious. He couldn't say he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of losing, or that he worried he'd never achieve national office if that happened. Instead, he launched into a lecture about what was wrong with everyone else. The government is "dysfunctional" with "brain-dead partisanship."
It's "Groundhog Day." This scenario repeats itself every time the Democrats take control. 
Bayh's bleats hardened quickly into the media's conventional wisdom. Why can't the politicians hold hands in a "Kumbaya" circle and get "something" done? Translation: When Obama and a Democrat-dominated Congress can't nationalize the health care system and force everyone to drive a Prius, suddenly government is "dysfunctional." When gridlock is holding up the liberals' agenda, Washington should know "the people" sent them to pass massive ultraliberal bills. Read article.

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