Friday, January 29, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Regardless of station in life, faith or philosophy, unfulfilled expectations are the greatest cause of anger, frustration and discontent on the planet. That's true whether those expectations arise in the interaction of husbands and wives, parents and children, teachers and students, employers and employees, businesses and customers, leaders and the led or politicians and their constituents. President Barack Obama apparently doesn't grasp this fundamental truth of human nature.
Resolving the "friction" of unfulfilled expectations requires a straightforward recognition of personal responsibility for commitments -- perceived or real -- that have not been satisfied and a determination by the parties involved to do better in the future. My experience with this process with my wife, children and colleagues usually begins with an acknowledgment of mistakes or errors I have made and includes the words "I'm sorry" or a similar phrase.
When Mr. Obama was campaigning for president, he promised "hope" and "change." The majority of the American electorate believed these nebulous ideas would make life better for us and our children. We now know better.
Current poll numbers -- the lowest for any president at this point in office -- reflect the unfulfilled expectations of millions who voted for him. Yet the president's first State of the Union address indicates he still doesn't get it.
Absent from Mr. Obama's lengthy lecture to the assembled masses last Wednesday night was any recognition of personal failure or error or even the hint of an apology. Instead, he ascribes blame to his predecessors, his political opponents and even the Supreme Court for all our problems. Apparently, apologies still are reserved for our nation generally -- and are delivered in front of "blame America first" audiences overseas.
Worse, the president's efforts to deflect responsibility for his party's political reversals, our current economic travail, national security threats and foreign policy setbacks lead him to be disingenuous at best and downright deceptive at worst. Thankfully, not everyone gathered in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night was willing to timidly "go along to get along."
When Mr. Obama accused the Supreme Court of reversing "a century of law ... (to) open the floodgates for special interests -- including foreign corporations -- to spend without limit in our elections," Justice Samuel Alito could be seen mouthing the words "that's not true." The justice is right, for the court has done nothing to remove long-standing prohibitions on foreign entities -- be they individuals or corporations -- against their contributing to our election campaigns.
Some argue our tolerance for dissembling on domestic political matters -- limiting campaign contributions, legislation to create jobs, raising taxes, increasing government spending and debt, imposing government-run health care or increasing regulatory controls on free enterprise -- is a long-standing tradition. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama carries the practice into issues of national security.
He boldly claimed he has provided "leadership" and "engagement that advances the common security and prosperity of all people." He also said, "Since the day I took office, we have renewed our focus on the terrorists who threaten our nation." Yet the administration's belated support for pro-democracy movements in Honduras and Iran, abandoning of a U.S. missile defense shield in Europe, insistence on shipping terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. while returning others to the battlefield, and treating terrorists -- such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief 9/11 plotter; accused Fort Hood killer Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan; and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day "underpants bomber" -- as common criminals all make his assertions ring hollow.
The same applies to Mr. Obama's call for Congress to "repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are." The commander in chief apparently wants us to ignore that it's not love of country that's the problem. Simply put, a warrior's ethos is incompatible with illicit, same-sex eros in the ranks. It's not "who they are"; it's what they do.
This cynical effort at resurrecting a campaign promise to use our military for radical social engineering raises expectations in the Democratic "base" that their leader can somehow prevail in implementing their agenda. Yet like so many of Mr. Obama's pledges, it is unlikely to happen absent a sea change in the American body politic.
The 1993 law -- Section 654 of Title 10, U.S. Code -- was mislabeled "don't ask, don't tell" by the media and the Clinton administration. In fact, a veto-proof majority in both houses of Congress found "no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces" and codified that "homosexuality is incompatible with military service," holding that active gays in the ranks would pose "an unacceptable risk to the armed forces' high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability."
Unless the O-Team can show irrefutable evidence that changing the law would somehow improve "military capability" in the midst of war, even this Pelosi-Reid Congress will have to reject such blatant pandering to the far-left fringe. That undoubtedly will anger some who have not yet learned how to avoid disappointment with Mr. Obama: Keep expectations low. He is sure to live down to them.
Posted by Brett at 11:26 AM
Tebow Takes a Stand
Friday, January 29, 2010
The Super Bowl is a cultural phenomenon. It's not only watched by godzillions of people worldwide, it's the only televised broadcast where the audience tunes in not just for the game, but for the commercials. The top-dollar, high-profile advertising space has led to some unforgettable commercials over the years.
Sometimes, the ad is so remarkable it becomes a word-of-mouth sensation before it even airs, before anyone has even seen it. It's happened again this year.
CBS has decided to accept an ad from a politically involved group and caused a firestorm with the radical Left because that group is proudly Christian.
The conservative Christian group Focus on the Family plans to air a commercial featuring Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Tim Tebow and his mother, Pam, who will tell the story of how doctors told her she should have an abortion, and she refused that exercise of "choice." Pam Tebow was a missionary in the Philippines and had contracted dysentery, and the medicine had a chance of causing birth defects.
It is an ultra-positive story celebrating life itself, a story of a mother who kept her baby, who became a famous football hero. And so-called "feminist" groups have exploded in fury, demanding CBS censor the ad.
The Women's Media Center wrote a letter signed by an array of feminist organizations. They projected the ad would be "disastrous" for CBS, and it throws women "under the bus" and "endangers women's health." They even suggested pro-life ads resulted in "escalated violence" against abortionists. "We sincerely hope you do not want CBS associated with this brand of un-American hate."
Words like these might make a scintilla of sense if Focus on the Family were running some kind of hardcore, negative ad with inflammatory abortion images. But that's not the message, and they know it. The Tebow ad is not far removed from the positive pro-life ads run by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation during the Clinton years with the slogan "Life. What a beautiful choice."
Isn't it a little strange to see people who present themselves as "pro-choice" get so upset when someone suggests their choice was to keep the baby? They can't seem to make any mental allowance for people to promote making a pro-life choice in a permissive society. They sound silly when they proclaim they are groups united in "tolerance" -- and then demand CBS should "immediately cancel this ad and refuse any other advertisement promoting Focus on the Family's agenda."
It's especially noteworthy when libertines demand something be removed from television before they've even seen it. I haven't seen it either, but I will bet some serious money that millions of viewers at home will see the warm-hearted Tebow ad and ask in amazement, "What in the world was wrong with that?"
These hardcore leftists argue that CBS is clearly breaking with the usual pattern of refusing Super Bowl ads with political overtones, and point to their recent rejection of MoveOn.org ads. But one need only see these and their dark, vicious, angry, negative overtones to understand why CBS turned them down.
Moreover, CBS has invited the protesters here to buy their own commercial and balance out Focus on the Family. No takers. They just want the Christian message censored.
And it's time we stop calling them "feminist" groups. Where are these advocates every year when CBS runs the sleazy Victoria's Secret Fashion Show? Where were they when Janet Jackson had her clothing ripped off on stage at the Super Bowl six years ago? Why don't they protest the sleazy "Go Daddy" Super Bowl spots?
Feminists did not write letters of protest when the Parents Television Council found that CBS led the networks with 118 violent story lines on women over the last five years. Feminists never protested CBS objectifying women in sleazy sitcoms like "Two and a Half Men."
The worst part of this overwrought controversy is the mud thrown at Tim Tebow's image before he plays a down of pro football. Advertising Age magazine is already going to experts who think this commercial will hurt his value as a celebrity endorser.
Chicago-based sports marketer John Rowady sneered at Tebow: "His promotion of his 'belief system' has built a perception throughout the league that he has a long way to mature from a business perspective, especially in the fast lane of the NFL."
Standing with your mother in an ad celebrating the choice of life makes Tebow "immature"? He should be considered radioactive, like he was now Tiger Woods or Michael Vick?
Making an ad like this ought to help advertisers see an endorser with character, not your stereotypical ego-addled, misbehaving professional athlete. It takes a maturity we're not used to seeing from pro athletes when they're a target of controversy. Tim Tebow has guts, not just on the football field, but in the game of life as well.
Posted by Brett at 11:25 AM
Courtroom Cirque du Jihad
Friday, January 29, 2010
Imagine this nightmare courtroom scenario: Unhinged Jew-bashing, open mockery of American soldiers, juror intimidation and coldly calculated exploitation of U.S. constitutional protections by a suspected al-Qaida defendant. Well, there’s no need to wait for the Gitmo terror trial circuses. New York City is already getting a glimpse of the future.
Jihadi scientist Aafia Siddiqui is on trial right now in a federal Manhattan court for the attempted murder and assault of U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province two years ago. She’s an accomplished Karachi-born scientist who studied microbiology at MIT and did graduate work in neurology at Brandeis University before disappearing in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Counterterrorism investigators connected Siddiqui and her estranged husband, anesthesiologist Dr. Mohammed Amjad Khan, to Saudi terror funders. The couple’s bank account showed repeated purchases of high-tech military equipment and apparel, including body armor, night-vision goggles and military manuals. Her second husband, fellow al-Qaida suspect and 9/11 plot helper Ammar al-Baluchi, is one of five Gitmo detainees the Obama administration is planning to transfer to New York for trial.
Siddiqui was identified as an al-Qaida operative, financier and fixer by no less than 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during U.S. interrogations. Al-Baluchi is KSM’s nephew. Mohammed reportedly enlisted Siddiqui in a Baltimore-based plot to bomb gas stations, fuel tanks and bridges, and to poison water reservoirs in the greater Washington, D.C., area. Siddiqui was taken into custody in Ghazni in July 2008 after attempting to shoot U.S. military interrogators and FBI agents.
Now, the savvy “Terror Mom” of three is pulling out all the stops to win a mistrial. Among her Cirque du Jihad antics:
-- Demanding that jurors be genetically tested for a “Zionist or Israeli background” to ensure a fair and impartial jury of her Jew-hating peers.
-- Ranting about 9/11 Israel conspiracies during voir dire.
-- Screaming out loud during the testimony of U.S. Army Capt. Robert Snyder, who was in the room in Ghazni when Siddiqui allegedly grabbed an M-4 rifle and proclaimed, “Allahu Akbar!” and “I hate Americans! Death to America!” Before being ejected from the courtroom, Siddiqui shouted to Snyder, “You’re lying!” She also babbled about torture at a secret prison.
-- Blurting out “I feel sorry for you” to the witness in front of the jury before being led out of the courtroom again.
Siddiqui’s defense team, funded in part by the Pakistani government, asserts that Lady al-Qaida is so mentally ga-ga that she should not be allowed to take the witness stand. Bleeding-heart human-rights groups have dutifully rallied around Siddiqui. She’s Mumia Abu-Jamal in a burqa. Indeed, her supporters have launched their own “Free Aafia” campaign. But two government-retained psychiatrists, working independently, determined last year that Siddiqui’s so-called symptoms of mental illness were attributed to “malingering” and “manipulation.” The judge in the case concluded that she is competent and understands full well the charges against her.
The Crazy Jihadi tactic is in perfect sync with the al-Qaida training manual advising its operatives to claim victimhood status if arrested and put on trial. This act is also in keeping with a long tradition of terror defendants invoking the insanity card -- from “20th hijacker” Zacarias Moussaoui (whose lawyers chalked up his mass-murdering ambitions to a traumatic childhood) to Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan (whose defense will undoubtedly play up his lonely bachelorhood).
To make matters worse, the New York Post reported this week that an “unidentified man in a white headdress” mouthed an obscenity at the Siddiqui trial and cocked his finger like a gun at two jurors. The jurors were let go; it remains unclear whether the thug in white headdress will be charged and what relation, if any, he has to Siddiqui.
Would you answer a jury summons knowing you could end up sitting in front of a jihadi sympathizer on the loose who is mentally painting a target on your forehead? And would you trust the White House ringmasters and Justice Department terror-coddlers to protect you from harm?
These suspects belong in controlled military tribunals, not federal courtrooms that are being turned into al-Qaida P.R. platforms. The O.J. Simpson spectacle of a smirking murder suspect, preening defense attorneys, a showboating judge and the judicial process run amok on cable TV 24/7 was bad enough. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing trial, which gave the bin Laden network a multimillion-dollar tax-subsidized legal team, free translation services, personal dry-cleaning services, race-baiting defense witnesses and access to information that was allegedly used by jihadists to evade surveillance, was even worse.
The specter of 10, 15, 20 Siddiqui-style courtroom carnivals -- at a cost of at least $1 billion to taxpayers -- threatens to throw our civilian court system into complete chaos. America can’t afford to clown around with national security.
Posted by Brett at 11:23 AM
Democrats’ Political Suicide Pact
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The president recently told Diane Sawyer: “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.” Excise the self-aggrandizing “really good” twaddle and it would seem ol’ Windy City Barry’s well on his way.
In the wake of Democrats’ historic Massachusetts smack-down, I’ve been anxious to see whether Obama would dig in his jackbooted heels and forge ahead with his wildly unpopular socialist agenda, or if he’d play nice with others and tack center (à la Bill Clinton in ‘94).
Wednesday night, during his first State of the Union address, we got our answer.
I’ll leave the in-depth analysis to others, but here’s the recap: Obama was Charlie Gibson and America was Sarah Palin. He looked down his nose, through the teleprompter, at the American people and in the most “me-centric” way imaginable, said: “Electric trains are wicked-cool. America sucks. Capitalism sucks. The Supreme Court sucks. It’s Bush’s fault. Oh, yea – the jobs thing. I’ll start my spending-freeze diet tomorrow. Give Perez Hilton a machine gun. Bama knows best. I’ll never quit. It’s Bush’s fault. Hopey-changey. Peace-out.”
I have mixed feelings. The not-ready-for-prime-time amalgamation of jaw-dropping hubris and chuckle-out-loud incompetence this man continues to display bodes well for conservatives. The creepy political suicide pact he, Pelosi and Reid have apparently entered into – if fulfilled – almost certainly ensures an electoral bloodbath in 2010. It could cripple the Democratic Party for decades to come.
On the down side, if Obama and his fellow “progressive” extremists in Congress actually implement any of these radical policy initiatives, it could cripple the entire country for decades to come. If Obama loses, Democrats lose. If Obama wins, we all lose. Either way, Dems are in a pickle.
While recently trying to reassure his very anxious colleagues that all’s well in O’Ba-La-Land, the president advised Democrats that the difference between 1994 and 2010 is that, now, “you’ve got me.” On Wednesday night he reminded them that, despite America’s wholesale rejection of ObamaCare specifically, and his larger socialist agenda generally, Democrats “still have the largest majority in decades.” He defiantly admonished: “Don’t run for the Hills,” concluding, “I have never been more hopeful.”
Now, as we all know, optimism is “always seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.” Narcissism, on the other hand, is laboring under the pathological delusion that you are the light at the end of the tunnel.
In 1994, after Bill Clinton over-optimistically interpreted his uninspiring presidential victory as a carte blanche mandate to “remake” America into Europe, voters responded by sweeping Republicans into leadership for the first time in 40 years.
Now – as revealed Wednesday night – we learn that, this time around, Obama has over-narcissistically interpreted his uninspiring presidential victory as a carte blanche mandate to “remake” America into Europe.
To borrow from Yogi Berra: It’s déjà vu all over again.
Notes, Elaine Donnelly with the Center for Military Readiness: “Dan Balz in a November 14, 1994, Washington Post article titled ‘Health Plan Was Albatross for Democrats: Big Government Label Hurt Party, Poll Finds. Greenburg found that 54% of 1,250 voters surveyed named the Health Care Task Force issue [HillaryCare] as the number one reason they cast a ‘vote of dissatisfaction’ in the leadership of Clinton and the Democrats controlling Congress in 1993.
“Greenberg also identified a second issue, called ‘cultural liberalism,’ which was cited by 51% of respondents and symbolized by Bill Clinton’s failed 1993 campaign for homosexuals in the military.”
So, in 1994, voters took Clinton and Democrats to the woodshed for 1) trying to “Mark McGwire” the federal government through imposition of socialized healthcare, and 2) for pushing hard-left social policies to include misusing and abusing the military as a petri dish for San Francisco-style social experimentation.
Obama? Same script, different decade.
As Einstein (or was it Ben Franklin?) observed: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So, is our president insane, daft, an obstinate left-wing ideologue or all three? You be the judge.
One thing’s for certain: Wednesday night kicked-off the 2010 campaign season. Wonder how many Democrats will – as did Deeds, Corzine and Coakley – ring the Oval Office for help.
Kind of like having Jack Kevorkian lend a hand with your medication, I suppose.
Matt Barber is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He is author of the book “The Right Hook – From the Ring to the Culture War” and serves as Director of Cultural Affairs with Liberty Counsel. Send comments to Matt at email@example.com.
Posted by Brett at 11:21 AM
Palin Unloads on Obama, SOTU Address
Thursday, January 28, 2010 Posted by: Meredith Jessup at 5:40 PM
This afternoon, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sounded off online about what she really thought of President Obama's state of the union:
While I don’t wish to speak too harshly about President Obama’s state of the union address, we live in challenging times that call for candor. I call them as I see them, and I hope my frank assessment will be taken as an honest effort to move this conversation forward.
Last night, the president spoke of the “credibility gap” between the public’s expectations of their leaders and what those leaders actually deliver. “Credibility gap” is a good way to describe the chasm between rhetoric and reality in the president’s address. The contradictions seemed endless.
He called for Democrats and Republicans to “work through our differences,” but last year he dismissed any notion of bipartisanship when he smugly told Republicans, “I won.”
He talked like a Washington “outsider,” but he runs Washington! He’s had everything any president could ask for – an overwhelming majority in Congress and a fawning press corps that feels tingles every time he speaks. There was nothing preventing him from pursuing “common sense” solutions all along. He didn’t pursue them because they weren’t his priorities, and he spent his speech blaming Republicans for the problems caused by his own policies.
He dared us to “let him know” if we have a better health care plan, but he refused to allow Republicans in on the negotiations or consider any ideas for real free market and patient-centered reforms. We’ve been “letting him know” our ideas for months from the town halls to the tea parties, but he isn’t interested in listening. Instead he keeps making the nonsensical claim that his massive trillion-dollar health care bill won’t increase the deficit.
Americans are suffering from job losses and lower wages, yet the president practically demanded applause when he mentioned tax cuts, as if allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is an act of noblesse oblige. He claims that he cut taxes, but I must have missed that. I see his policies as paving the way for massive tax increases and inflation, which is the “hidden tax” that most hurts the poor and the elderly living on fixed incomes.
He condemned lobbyists, but his White House is filled with former lobbyists, and this has been a banner year for K Street with his stimulus bill, aka the Lobbyist’s Full Employment Act. He talked about a “deficit of trust” and the need to “do our work in the open,” but he chased away the C-SPAN cameras and cut deals with insurance industry lobbyists behind closed doors.
He spoke of doing what’s best for the next generation and not leaving our children with a “mountain of debt,” but under his watch this year, government spending is up by 22%, and his budget will triple our national debt.
He spoke of a spending freeze, but doesn’t he realize that each new program he’s proposing comes with a new price tag? A spending freeze is a nice idea, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. We need a comprehensive examination of the role of government spending. The president’s deficit commission is little more than a bipartisan tax hike committee, lending political cover to raise taxes without seriously addressing the problem of spending.
He condemned bailouts, but he voted for them and then expanded and extended them. He praised the House’s financial reform bill, but where was Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in that bill? He still hasn’t told us when we’ll be getting out of the auto and the mortgage industries. He praised small businesses, but he’s spent the past year as a friend to big corporations and their lobbyists, who always find a way to make government regulations work in their favor at the expense of their mom & pop competitors.
He praised the effectiveness of his stimulus bill, but then he called for another one – this time cleverly renamed a “jobs bill.” The first stimulus was sold to us as a jobs bill that would keep unemployment under 8%. We now have double digit unemployment with no end in sight. Why should we trust this new “jobs bill”?
He talked about “making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but apparently it’s still too tough for his Interior Secretary to move ahead with Virginia’s offshore oil and gas leases. If they’re dragging their feet on leases, how long will it take them to build “safe, clean nuclear power plants”? Meanwhile, he continued to emphasize “green jobs,” which require massive government subsidies for inefficient technologies that can’t survive on their own in the real world of the free market.
He spoke of supporting young girls in Afghanistan who want to go to school and young women in Iran who courageously protest in the streets, but where were his words of encouragement to the young girls of Afghanistan in his West Point speech? And where was his support for the young women of Iran when they were being gunned down in the streets of Tehran?
Despite speaking for an hour, the president only spent 10% of his speech on foreign policy, and he left us with many unanswered questions. Does he still think trying the 9/11 terrorists in New York is a good idea? Does he still think closing Gitmo is a good idea? Does he still believe in Mirandizing terrorists after the Christmas bomber fiasco? Does he believe we’re in a war against terrorists, or does he think this is just a global crime spree? Does he understand that the first priority of our government is to keep our country safe?
In his address last night, the president once again revealed that there’s a fundamental disconnect between what the American people expect from their government, and what he wants to deliver. He’s still proposing failed top-down big government solutions to our problems. Instead of smaller, smarter government, he’s taken a government that was already too big and supersized it.
Real private sector jobs are created when taxes are low, investment is high, and people are free to go about their business without the heavy hand of government. The president thinks innovation comes from government subsidies. Common sense conservatives know innovation comes from unleashing the creative energy of American entrepreneurs.
Everything seems to be “unexpected” to this administration: unexpected job losses; unexpected housing numbers; unexpected political losses in Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. True leaders lead best when confronted with the unexpected. But instead of leading us, the president lectured us. He lectured Wall Street; he lectured Main Street; he lectured Congress; he even lectured our Supreme Court Justices.
He criticized politicians who “wage a perpetual campaign,” but he gave a campaign speech instead of a state of the union address. The campaign is over, and President Obama now has something that candidate Obama never had: an actual track record in office. We now can see the failed policies behind the flowery words. If Americans feel as cynical as the president suggests, perhaps it’s because the audacity of his recycled rhetoric no longer inspires hope.
Real leadership requires results. Real hope lies in the ingenuity, generosity, and boundless courage of the American people whose voices are still not being heard in Washington.
Posted by Brett at 11:20 AM
Friday, January 29, 2010
In 1960, Fidel Castro addressed the U.N. General Assembly for four-and-a-half hours. President Obama didn't hit that target last night -- it only felt like it. The president had some things to get off this chest -- and if it took 70-plus minutes, well, lucky us, we got to listen.
The speech answered the question that began to form when Republicans took the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey and came into sharp focus after Scott Brown delivered his haymaker Jan. 21: Would Obama pivot like Clinton in 1994 or not? He will not.
This isn't surprising. Obama is a conviction politician. Raised in a left-wing cocoon, he has never given evidence of being anything other than a true-believing left/liberal. Describing his college experience in "The Audacity of Hope," he wrote: "I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets." Sounds like a list of his czars.
So no, President Obama is not going to reassure voters that he has gotten their message. He is not going to tack to the political center. He is not going to acknowledge overreaching on the matter of nationalizing health care. These are moral issues for him. Promoting his health care reform to religious leaders last August, he said, "It is a core ethical and moral obligation that we look after each other. In the wealthiest nation on earth, we are neglecting to live up to that call." We embarrass him.
Though he shot to political stardom as a supposed "post-partisan," he has presided over the most ideologically dogged administration in memory. Bill Clinton might have triangulated to please the electorate. Barack Obama is more inclined to search for villains.
In this, he begins to resemble Jimmy Carter. When the country was reeling from his catastrophic mismanagement, President Carter diagnosed "a crisis of confidence ... a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America." Um, no. The nation's soul and spirit and will were just fine. Carter was the problem.
Last night, endeavoring to explain (to himself?) the peculiar failure of the people to adopt his social democrat agenda, President Obama too, found fault with them:
"Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions -- our corporations, our media, and yes, our government -- still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away. No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment."
That could be it. Alternatively, people may be dismayed to find that they elected a left-wing ideologue who wasted most of his first year pushing health care reform when something like 17 percent of the nation is unemployed or underemployed; who reads terrorists their Miranda rights and gives them lawyers; who apologizes to the world for America's manifold sins; who increases the national debt by $1.6 trillion in his first year; who elects to try Khalid Sheik Mohammad in Manhattan; who promises transparency and then presides over shameless backroom deals; who clings to cap and trade even in the midst of economic misery; who extends more conciliation to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than to Republicans; who has nearly the entire press in his back pocket but nonetheless attempts to punish Fox News; who disdained all Republican proposals as "the failed ideas of the past"; and whose vanity (a presidential podium and teleprompter in a sixth-grade classroom?) is verging on the pathetic.
President Obama has signaled that he will not change course. It's an affront that it took him 70 platitudinous and self-indulgent minutes to say so.
Posted by Brett at 11:18 AM
Soft on Terror
Friday, January 29, 2010
WASHINGTON -- The real scandal surrounding the failed Christmas Day airline bombing was not the fact that a terrorist got on a plane -- that can happen to any administration, as it surely did to the Bush administration -- but what happened afterward when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was captured and came under the full control of the U.S. government.
After 50 minutes of questioning him, the Obama administration chose, reflexively and mindlessly, to give the chatty terrorist the right to remain silent. Which he immediately did, undoubtedly denying us crucial information about al-Qaeda in Yemen, which had trained, armed and dispatched him.
We have since learned that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab had been made without the knowledge of or consultation with (1) the secretary of defense, (2) the secretary of homeland security, (3) the director of the FBI, (4) the director of the National Counterterrorism Center or (5) the director of national intelligence (DNI).
The Justice Department acted not just unilaterally but unaccountably. Obama's own DNI said that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by the HIG, the administration's new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.
Perhaps you hadn't heard the term. Well, in the very first week of his presidency, Obama abolished by executive order the Bush-Cheney interrogation procedures and pledged to study a substitute mechanism. In August, the administration announced the establishment of the HIG, housed in the FBI but overseen by the National Security Council.
Where was it during the Abdulmutallab case? Not available, admitted National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, because it had only been conceived for use abroad. Had not one person in this vast administration of highly nuanced sophisticates considered the possibility of a terror attack on American soil?
It gets worse. Blair later had to explain that the HIG was not deployed because it does not yet exist After a year! I suppose this administration was so busy deploying scores of the country's best lawyerly minds on finding the most rapid way to release Gitmo miscreants that it could not be bothered to establish a single operational HIG team to interrogate at-large miscreants with actionable intelligence that might save American lives.
Travesties of this magnitude are not lost on the American people. One of the reasons Scott Brown won in Massachusetts was his focus on the Mirandizing of Abdulmutallab.
Of course, this case is just a reflection of a larger problem: an administration that insists on treating Islamist terrorism as a law-enforcement issue. Which is why the Justice Department's other egregious terror decision, granting Khalid Sheik Mohammed a civilian trial in New York, is now the subject of a letter from six senators -- three Republicans, two Democrats and Joe Lieberman -- asking Attorney General Eric Holder to reverse the decision.
Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins had written an earlier letter asking for Abdulmutallab to be turned over to the military for renewed interrogation. The problem is, it's hard to see how that decision gets reversed. Once you've read a man Miranda rights, what do you say? We are idiots? On second thought ...
Hence the agitation over the KSM trial. This one can be reversed and it's a good surrogate for this administration's insistence upon criminalizing -- and therefore trivializing -- a war on terror that has now struck three times in one year within the United States, twice with effect (the Arkansas killer and the Fort Hood shooter) and once with a shockingly near miss (Abdulmutallab).
On the KSM civilian trial, sentiment is widespread that it is quite insane to spend $200 million a year to give the killer of 3,000 innocents the largest propaganda platform on earth, while at the same time granting civilian rights of cross-examination and discovery that risk betraying U.S. intelligence sources and methods.
Accordingly, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Frank Wolf have gone beyond appeals to the administration and are planning to introduce a bill to block funding for the trial. It's an important measure. It makes flesh an otherwise abstract issue -- should terrorists be treated as enemy combatants or criminal defendants? The vote will force members of Congress to declare themselves. There will be no hiding from the question.
Congress may not be able to roll back the Abdulmutallab travesty. But there will be future Abdulmutallabs. By cutting off funding for the KSM trial, Congress can send Obama a clear message: The Constitution is neither a safety net for illegal enemy combatants nor a suicide pact for us.
Posted by Brett at 11:17 AM
The Democrats' Political Death Wish
Friday, January 29, 2010
GOP Senate Whip Jon Kyl was a guest on my show Thursday and reported that Congressional Democrats have indeed decided to use reconciliation to resurrect the remains of Obamacare, despite Massachusetts, despite the public's continuing and still growing dislike of the bill, and despite the jam-down ultra-partisanship such a naked power play and perversion of Senate rules that such an approach entails. The transcript of our conversation is here.
The only reaction to such a stunt should be an instant and amazing level of political activism, beginning with donations to ReverseTheVote.org --the NRCC fund committed to defeating the 24 most vulnerable House Democrats who supported Obamacare. Even if Harry Reid can find 50 senators on his side of the aisle to, along with Vice President Biden, vote to overrule the American public's considered opinion about Obamacare, it would still have to make it through the House, where Nancy Pelosi's very fragile coalition faces the prospect of a wipe out in 39 weeks if this passes.
Prior to Massachusetts Obamacare was just a terrible bill with disastrous consequences for the American health care system, especially for seniors.
If passed after Massachusetts, Obamacare would become the single most contemptuous act by a Congress towards voters in American history.
The groups and efforts like Tea Party Patriots , Docs4PatientCare.org and AMAC's TearUpYourCard.com that may have dialed back their activism since Scott Brown's win now know they have to double and redouble their efforts. In recent weeks some of the attention of the powerful anti-Democrat grass root organizing has passed over to expressions of concern over out-of-control spending. Now the groups must return their attention to the mess that is Obamacare, however that Frankenstein monster of a bill gets reassembled through the reconciliation process.
There's another development that may come into play as well as Democrats pursue collective political suicide. America's health care businesses --from insurance companies to medical care device manufacturers to hospitals and Big Pharma-- are now free under the decision in Citizens United to enter the fray directly. And they should. Quickly. The impact of just a few ads in a few states targeting a few Democratic senators and Congressmen would be profound. A very effective ad could be made featuring the CEO of any such business, staring straight into the camera and announcing that Obamacare threatens jobs in the states where the company operates and appealing to the incumbent Democrat to please stop making the job of providing health care more difficult.
Harry Reid may well have given up serious hope of being re-elected in Nevada and is thus willing to go over the cliff with President Obama. The defeat of Nancy Pelosi is less likely than any of the Supreme Soviet losing one of their contests during the '70s. Others like Barbara Boxer may not be aware a vote occurred in Massachusetts, so out of touch with public opinion have they grown through long years of beltway privilege.
But even the modest assessments of the undertow threatening Democrats puts the loss of seats in the House nearing takeover land of 40, and as many as nine Senate seats now in play. Imagine if the political anger in the land were to grow, or even double? Democrats think there is a limit to their losses, but what if they have fundamentally misjudged the American political center and the American political temperament?
That's what House Democrats especially have to be wondering this weekend as they hear that their leadership has committed them to defending the health care fiasco for another few weeks which will become months. Unemployment stays in the stratosphere, the president gives bad speech after bad speech as the prompter jokes grow, and the polls slide further and further away from the Democrats.
Sounds like a political plan every bit the equal of Obamacare on the merits.
Posted by Brett at 11:16 AM
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Get Real, Mr. Obama!
Floyd and Mary Beth Brown
Thursday, January 28, 2010
The most annoying part of listening to a speech by the narcissist-in-chief is the number of times he refers to himself.
"I've got a very short commute;" "I can't always visit people directly;" "I break out;" "I saw;" "I knew it would be unpopular;" "I ran for this office;" "I had no illusions;" "I had a whole bunch of political advisors."
The latest State of the Union is no exception. Maybe because his world is so centered on the bubble that surrounds himself, he is incapable of understanding the frustration Americans have about his plans to remake the country.
Clearly, he is not hearing the message to back off. Instead, he is doubling down. Calling with renewed vigor for a litany of unpopular policies, he declared in a condescending tone, "I don't quit."
Obama spent an inane amount of time talking about job creation. His problem is, he doesn't understand how jobs are created. His left-wing fantasies on how to create jobs have had the opposite impact. For example; his plan to sock banks with new taxes as they struggle to recover. He's just like a boxer trying to punch the last knock-down blow
He repeatedly called for a second stimulus bill while we are still reaping the harvest of his first misguided stimulus plan. Then he urged Congress to pass the entire litany of failed regulatory and tax bills that will finish off the feeble recovery and increase unemployment well beyond 20 percent. He renewed his call for Obamacare, which guts Medicare, will increase insurance premiums, and soak the country with higher taxes.
"Change has not come fast enough," Obama exclaimed. "As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it's time to get serious..." Maybe you haven't been serious, Mr. Obama, but we are, and have been serious for a long time. The changes you seek divide Americans and hurt the prospects for our and our children's futures.
In defense and foreign policy, Obama's big new initiative to make us safer is a plan to transform the military into a sexual diversity seminar. He plans to force the armed services to embrace "LGBT" (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender) soldiers. To do this, Congress will have to pass a controversial bill.
The policy change would be a disaster for America's fighting force, as the Center for Military Readiness reports: "Members of Congress are becoming aware that repeal of the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible for military service, usually mislabeled 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' would undermine recruiting, retention, and readiness in our military. More than 1,160 retired Flag & General Officers for the Military have personally signed a statement supporting the 1993 law (Section 654, Title 10), and expressing concerns about consequences of repeal that would 'break the All-Volunteer Force.'"
Another big lie Obama told was, "To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve. That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why -- for the first time in history -- my Administration posts our White House visitors online. And that's why we've excluded lobbyists from policy-making jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions." How he could say this with a straight face shows the audacity of his deceit. Obama's administration is riddled with lobbyists.
Oh, and how could we forget? He is now a born-again fighter against big government and over-spending.
I agreed with only one statement in the speech. This is when Obama said: "We face a deficit of trust". That's right, Mr. Obama. We face a deficit of trust, and you and the people surrounding you are the ones we don't believe.
Posted by Brett at 11:44 AM
A Lobe Divided Will Not Stand
Thursday, January 28, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama tiptoed Wednesday night along the seam that bifurcates the Democratic Party's brain. The seam separates that brain's John Quincy Adams lobe from its Sigmund Freud lobe.
The dominant liberal lobe favors Adams' dictum that politicians should not be "palsied by the will of our constituents." It exhorts Democrats to smack Americans with what is good for them -- health care reform, carbon rationing, etc. -- even if the dimwits do not desire it.
The other lobe whispers Freud's reality principle: Restrain your id -- the pleasure principle and the impulse toward immediate gratification. Settle for deferred and diminished but achievable results.
Obama was mostly in Adams' mode Wednesday. His nods to reality were, however, notable.
Such speeches must be listened to with a third ear that hears what is not said. Unmentioned was organized labor's "card check" legislation to abolish workers' rights to secret ballots in unionization elections. Obama's perfunctory request for a "climate bill" -- the term "cap-and-trade" was as absent as the noun "Guantanamo" -- was not commensurate with his certitude that life on Earth may drown in rising seas.
Last Feb. 24, when unemployment was 8.2 percent, Obama said in the second sentence of his speech to Congress that the economy "is a concern that rises above all others" and later that his agenda "begins with jobs." After 11 months of health care monomania, he said Wednesday that "jobs must be our No. 1 focus." Unemployment is 10 percent.
He called Wednesday for a third stimulus (the first was his predecessor's, in February 2008) although the S-word has been banished in favor of "jobs bill." It will inject into the economy money that government siphons from the economy, thereby somehow creating jobs. And you thought alchemy was strange.
Not until the 33rd minute of Wednesday's 70-minute address did Obama mention health care. The weirdness of what he said made it worth the wait.
Acknowledging that the longer the public has looked at the legislation the less the public has liked it, he blamed himself for not "explaining it more clearly." But his faux contrition actually blames the public: The problem is not the legislation's substance but the presentation of it to slow learners. He urged them to take "another look at the plan we've proposed." The plan? The differences between the House and Senate plans are not trivial; they concern how to pay for the enormous new entitlement.
Last Feb. 24, with a grandiosity with which the nation has become wearily familiar, he said, "Already, we have done more to advance the cause of health care reform in the last 30 days than we have in the last decade." He was referring to the expansion of eligibility to an existing entitlement -- the State Children's Health Insurance Program. But that expansion was minor compared to the enormous new Medicare entitlement for prescription drugs created under Obama's predecessor. Before the Massachusetts nuisance, this year's speech was to be a self-coronation of the "last" president to deal with health care.
Last Feb. 24, he said he had an activist agenda because of the recession, "not because I believe in bigger government -- I don't." Ninety-seven days later, he bought General Motors.
Wednesday night's debut of Obama as avenging angel of populism featured one of those opaque phrases -- the "weight of our politics" -- that third-rate speechwriters slip past drowsy editors. Obama seems to regret the existence in Washington of ... everyone else. He seems to feel entitled to have his way without tiresome interventions in the political process by the many interests affected by his agenda for radical expansion of the regulatory state. Speaking of slow learners, liberals do not notice the connection between expansion of government and expansion of (often defensive) activities referred to under the rubric of "lobbying."
Lamenting Washington's "deficit of trust," Obama gave an example of the reason for it when he brassily declared: "We are prepared to freeze government spending for three years." This flagrant falsehood enlarges Washington's deficit of truth: He proposes freezing some discretionary spending -- about one-eighth of government spending.
Obama's leitmotif is: Washington is disappointing, Washington is annoying, Washington is dysfunctional, Washington is corrupt, verily Washington is toxic -- yet Washington should conscript a substantially larger share of GDP, and Washington should exercise vast new controls over health care, energy, K-12 education, etc. Talk about a divided brain.
Putting Religion on Trial?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The kid in the audience -- he seems a kid to me, just 20 years old -- asks me a question:
"You say gay marriage will lead to the use of the law to repress traditional faiths including Christianity. But I was raised in a Southern Baptist family. When I came out, I lost my sister. What is wrong with the idea that religions will be pressured to be less anti-gay?"
I have my speech tonight. I can explain why every human culture across millennia has recognized marriage as the union of male and female. These unions are unique. They create life and connect children to their mother and father. When I point this out, typically half the audience gets it. The other half stares blankly: How will gay marriage change anything? Why do you care?
I am in Boulder, Colo., invited to debate the impressive Jonathan Rauch. But I don't really want to debate; I don't want to score points. I want something rare and precious. I want to achieve disagreement -- to understand one another better.
This is the opposite of what legal eagles Ted Olson and Davis Boies are doing in the Proposition 8 trial, naturally. They are seeking to win -- to void the votes of 7 million Californians and overturn Prop 8, making gay marriage the law of the land in all 50 states. The stakes are high. And the argument they will be asking the Supreme Court to endorse is this: Only bigotry, hatred and unreason explains why anyone cares about the idea that to make a marriage you need a husband and a wife -- religious views of marriage are just anti-gay bigotry.
Can we do better than that?
I hunger, as so many of us do, for some way to connect across our differences.
So the question from this gay kid -- this clean-cut collegian who I'll call "Phil" -- hits me like a ton of bricks. What can I say to Phil? I just pointed out the ways that "marriage equality" will lead to the repression of traditional religious faiths by government. And here he is asking me: Why is that a bad thing?
I remember another debate at Harvard Law School, when a Harvard law student asked me how gay marriage would affect me. I pointed out all the ways the law intervenes to repress racism, and how "marriage equality" will lead to the same legal stigmatization, affecting rights from licensing to school accreditation to potentially tax-exempt status. I saw her eyes at first widen with surprise. She had never thought about it. And then I saw her turn on a dime and tell me to my face, "Yes, that's how the law should treat bigots like you." Gay marriage has consequences.
But tonight, this is a different kid in a different state. And behind his question, he makes clear, is a world of suffering -- a family torn apart by the deepest moral and religious disagreement.
And the first thing I want to tell him is: I'm sorry for your pain. I'm sorry for your sister's pain, too. Family to me is the place where love is an obligation. Your family are the people you didn't choose to love. But you still do.
Can we build a world where people like Phil and people like me will both be OK? Where people who disagree about the meaning and purpose of human sexuality can somehow not only tolerate but love one another?
I don't know. In Europe and Canada it is becoming increasingly clear that gay rights requires the repression of Christianity and other traditional faith communities. Can we find a better solution?
America usually has. Being honest with one another, being unafraid to say what we think, is the first, fragile step.
Posted by Brett at 11:40 AM
Can't We At Least Get a Toaster?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
In the wake of the Massachusetts Miracle last week ("The other Boston Massacre"), President Obama adopted a populist mantle, claiming he was going to "fight" Wall Street. It was either that or win another Nobel Peace Prize.
Now the only question is which Goldman Sachs crony he'll put in charge of this task.
If Obama plans to hold Wall Street accountable for its own bad decisions, it will be a first for the Democrats.
For the past two decades, Democrats have specialized in insulating financial giants from the consequences of their own high-risk bets. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs alone have been rescued from their risky bets by unwitting taxpayers four times in the last 15 years.
Bankers get all the profits, glory and bonuses when their flimflam bets pay off, but the taxpayers foot the bill when Wall Street firms' bets go bad on -- to name just three examples -- Mexican bonds (1995), Thai, Indonesian and South Korean bonds (1997), and Russian bonds (1998).
As Peter Schweizer writes in his magnificent book "Architects of Ruin": "Wall Street is a very far cry from the arena of freewheeling capitalism most people recall from their history books." With their reverse-Midas touch, the execrable baby boom generation turned Wall Street into what Schweizer dubs "risk-free Clintonian state capitalism."
Apropos of the Clintonian No-Responsibility Era, Goldman Sachs and Citibank became heavily invested in Mexican bonds after a two-day bender in Tijuana in the early '90s. Any half-wit could see that "investing" in the dog track would be safer than investing in a corrupt Third World government controlled by drug lords.
But precisely because the bonds were so risky, bankers made money hand-over-fist on the scheme -- at least until Mexico defaulted.
With Mexico unable to pay the $25 billion it owed the big financial houses, Clinton's White House decided the banks shouldn't be on the hook for their own bad bets.
Clinton's Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin, former chairman of Goldman, demanded that the U.S. bail out Mexico to save his friends at Goldman. He said a failure to bail out Mexico would affect "everyone," by which I take it he meant "everyone in my building."
Larry Summers, currently Obama's National Economic Council director, warned that a failure to rescue Mexico would lead to another Great Depression. (Ironically, Summers' current position in the Obama administration is "Great Depression czar.")
Republicans in Congress said "no" to Clinton's Welfare-for-Wall-Street plan.
It's not as if this hadn't happened before: In 1981, Reagan allowed Mexico to default on tens of billions of dollars in debt -- Mexico claimed the money was "in my other pair of pants" -- leaving Wall Street to deal with its own bad bets.
As Larry Summers expected, this led like night into day to the Great Depression we experienced during the Reagan years ... Wait, that never happened.
At congressional hearings on Clinton's proposed Mexico bailout a decade later, Republicans Larry Kudlow, Bill Seidman and Steve Forbes all denounced the plan to save Goldman Sachs via a Mexican bailout.
So the Clinton administration did an end run around the Republicans in Congress and rescued improvident Wall Street bankers by giving Mexico a $20 billion line of credit directly from the Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund.
Relieved of any responsibility for their losing bets, Wall Street firms leapt into buying other shaky foreign bonds. Soon the U.S. taxpayer, through the International Monetary Fund, was propping up bonds out of South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, then Russia -- all to save Goldman Sachs.
The IMF could have saved itself a lot of paperwork by just sending taxpayer money directly to Goldman, but I think they're saving that for Obama's second term.
Throughout every bailout, congressional Republicans were screaming from the rooftops that this wasn't capitalism. It was "Government Sachs." As Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) put it, the same rules that apply to welfare mothers "ought to apply to rich Greenwich, Conn., investors who are multimillionaires."
But Wall Street raised a lot of money for the Democrats, so Clinton bailed them out, over and over again.
Before you knew it, once-respectable Wall Street institutions were buying investment products even more ludicrous than Mexican bonds: They were buying the mortgages of Mexican strawberry-pickers.
Why shouldn't Wall Street trust in suicidal loans no sane person would ever imagine could be paid back? Time after time, when their bets paid off, they pocketed huge fees; when their bets failed, they sent the bill to the taxpayers.
With nothing to fear, the big financial houses bought, repackaged and resold investment products that included loans like the one issued by Washington Mutual to non-English-speaking strawberry pickers earning a combined $14,000 a year to purchase a $720,000 house.
But the financial wizards on Wall Street were trading these preposterous loans as if they were bars of gold. They may as well have bet the entire U.S. economy on a dice game in an alley off 44th Street.
Every mortgage-backed security bundle was infected with suicidal, politically correct loans that had been demanded by community organizers such as Barack Obama -- as is thoroughly documented in Schweizer's book.
On the off chance that mammoth mortgages to people who could barely afford food somehow went bad, Wall Street firms could be confident that their Democrat friends would bail them out.
Even the Republicans would have to bail them out this time: They had strapped the dynamite of toxic loans onto the entire economy and were threatening to pull the clip. Wall Street had infected every financial institution in the country, including completely innocent banks.
But now Obama says he's going to "fight" Wall Street, which is as plausible as claiming he'll "fight" the trial lawyers.
As Schweizer demonstrates, whenever the Democrats "regulate" Wall Street, the innocent pay through the nose, while Wall Street swine lower than drug dealers and pornographers end up with multimillion-dollar bonuses so they can run for governor of New Jersey and fund lavish Democratic fundraisers in the Hamptons.
Republicans should respond the way they always have: Support the free market, not looters and welfare recipients on Wall Street, especially the Democrats' friends at Goldman.
To read another Ann Coulter article, click here.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
President Obama's Lexicon of Rhetorical Devices
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
President Obama's friends call him the smartest man ever to occupy the White House (a dubious claim in light of the fact that John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson all had better intellectual credentials or were far superior writers, or both). According to his supporters, his command of the English language is supposedly unparalleled (when using a teleprompter, presumably).
There's only one problem: Obama is addicted to utilizing language that he has carefully tailored or perverted to obfuscate the truth. In other words, he uses double talk on a routine basis. In order to understand what Obama truly tells us when he speaks to us, it is necessary to grab our Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring and decipher precisely what he means when he uses his pet phrases. This, then, is a list of his favorite linguistic flourishes -- and just what he means when he uses them:
"Hope and change": Socialism at home, surrender abroad. Obama uses this talismanic formula when he wants to activate his base, which responds to it like a jukebox when you drop in a nickel.
"False choice": A very real choice Obama wants to pretend doesn't exist. He uses this when he puts on his "pragmatic administrator" mask. Instead of facing up to the reality that we sometimes have to choose between scientific advances and morality, or between civil liberties and national security, or between environmental regulations and economic development, Obama pretends he can solve these conflicts through some sort of Hegelian synthesis only he is wise enough to comprehend.
"Deficit reduction": Deficit increases. Obama suggests that he will cut the rate at which the deficit is growing -- something he has never actually achieved -- and acts as though this is actual deficit reduction. It's the equivalent of a woman spending $2,000 on her credit card, then informing her credit card company that though she won't pay off her debt, she'll only spend $1,500 next month.
"Let me be clear": Let me lie to you.
"Make no mistake": See "let me be clear."
"Unprecedented": When he's doing something beneficial for the American people, Obama claims he is the first to ever think of it; when he's doing something harmful, he seems to always find a precedent for it in FDR or LBJ.
"This isn't about me": This is completely about me.
"Hitting the reset button": Refusing to learn from the mistakes of the past and acting as though a fresh start requires utter naivete.
"Reaching out to the other side of the aisle": Totally rejecting all ideas from anyone outside the Obama-approved bubble. Then suggesting that subsequent political impasses are their fault, and that they ought to bend down and grab their ankles to establish a new tone in Washington.
"Failed policies of the past": Don't blame me! Blame Bush!
"Teachable moment": I screwed something up, now I'll brag about it.
"Tax cut": Redistribution of money from those who pay a disproportionate amount of taxes to those who pay none.
"Transparency": Deliberate opaqueness, hiding crucial facts from the American public.
"Accountability": Don't worry, I'll fire someone.
"Stimulus": Payoffs to friends.
"Shovel-ready jobs": Jobs that no one wants and that last for two months.
"Green jobs": Imaginary jobs.
"Saved or created": Old Obama language used to futz the numbers on jobs.
"Recovery": Continued economic stagnation.
"Jobs funded": Jobs Obama will take credit for, even though he has done nothing to either save or create.
"It won't happen overnight": It will never happen.
"Cynics": Anyone who doesn't believe in the Obama radical agenda. Obama uses this word to disparage his critics as angry and lacking in basic qualities of human kindness.
Watch for these phrases while marveling at Obama's supposed rhetorical brilliance. They shouldn't be taken at face value, because Obama isn't a master of pure artistry of the English language -- he's a master at manipulation above all.
Posted by Brett at 1:03 PM
Barney Frank and the "Democratic" Senate
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
With the ongoing debate over Obamacare and socialized medicine occupying much of the collective attention of the American public the past few months, Americans have become more familiar and focused on Senate rules and procedures, particularly the possibility of a Senate filibuster to stifle a vote on national healthcare. This has angered many Democrats, particularly those who seek to ram through bigger and more expensive government at a time when many Americans want to pump the breaks on irresponsible spending, higher debt, and higher taxes. This led Massachusetts representative Barney Frank to call for and end to filibusters in a 16 January interview on the now bankrupt Air America radio network. Frank said that a Senate rule requiring a 60 vote majority to end a filibuster is “anti-democratic” and that “it’s time to shut it down.” Small States from the “Mountain West,” in his estimation, continually conspire to retard progress in the Senate. Mr. Frank has never been more correct, at least concerning the “anti-democratic” nature of the Senate. In fact, this is precisely what the founding generation wanted when they designed the Upper House.
The original Senate was elected by the State Legislatures in an attempt to check democracy. The Virginia Plan proposed by James Madison and Edmund Randolph called for proportional representation in both houses and for Senators to be selected by the House of Representatives from a list submitted by each State. Randolph argued that “the general object [of the Senate] was to provide a cure for the evils under which the United States labored; that in tracing these evils to their origin, every man had found it in the turbulence and follies of democracy; that some check therefore was to be sought for against this tendency of our governments; and that a good Senate seemed most likely to answer the purpose.” Piece Butler of South Carolina agreed, and added that “taking so many powers out of the hands of the states…tended to destroy all that balance and security of interests among the states which it was necessary to preserve.” States’ rights, the essence of the “Mountain West” minority that Frank criticizes, served to stop mob rule in the Congress.
In that regard, Butler cut to the heart of the issue during debate over the Senate. The question was not whether Senators should be elected by the State legislatures—most of the framers understood that establishing a democracy was not a high priority—but whether representation in the Senate should be proportional to the population of a State. The States would be free to have greater democratic control of their governments if the people wanted it, but the Senate was created to check the tyranny of what John Randolph of Roanoke called “King Numbers” at the federal level. Roger Sherman of Connecticut suggested that each State have one Senator, thus preserving the equality of the States in the new Congress. His recommendation ultimately led to the Connecticut Compromise at the Convention and paved the way for the equal representation of each State in the Upper House.
A closer reading of the powers granted to the Senate amplifies the framers’ concern with democracy. The Senate, not the democratic House of Representatives, has final say in presidential appointments, treaties with foreign nations, and cases of impeachment. The Senate was designed to be independent from the will of the people and beholden to the interests of the States. John Dickinson of Delaware suggested this would allow the Senate the ability to “check and decide with uncommon freedom.” He envisioned an Upper House similar to that of the House of Lords in England where each member would be from “the most distinguished characters, distinguished for their rank in life and their weight in property….” Democracy in the Senate never entered his mind, and the Constitution was ultimately as much Dickinson’s document as it was Madison’s, if not more so.
The debates of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia are littered with critical observations about democracy. The United States government under the Constitution was never designed to be a democracy, and Frank is simply regurgitating old Progressive rhetoric that the Senate is undemocratic and that the United States should be tied to the wishes of the majority. Underlying this is an implicit attack on the founding generation and the Constitution. Frank doesn’t care about the 60 vote rule in the Senate (it has worked in favor of Leftists in the Democrat Party in the past); he simply wants to destroy any power that rural America, in particular the West and the South, has in the Congress. The Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution ruined much of the control States have over the Senate, but the Senate at times still serves as the independent check the framers designed it to be. The non-democratic nature of the Senate was put in place to protect property from being plundered by a small majority or a very vocal minority, which in the case of national healthcare would happen.
Since the early twentieth century, the Progressives have been very good at using the term “democracy” to undermine federalism and State power. Don’t continue to be duped. This rhetorical assault on the founding principles of the United States is not grounded in reality. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts probably made the most unequivocal statement in condemnation of democracy when he said at the Constitutional Convention that, “The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots.” Let the House of Representatives remain as a bastion of democracy on the federal level, but leave the anti-democratic nature of the Senate alone. Better yet, abolish the Seventeenth Amendment and return the States to their rightful position in the federal government. That way the States could continue to thwart fiscally disastrous proposals like national healthcare, and Senators couldn’t be bought off through federal bribes and kickbacks.
Posted by Brett at 1:01 PM
We Need Diversity
Walter E. Williams
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It's not at all uncommon to watch a college basketball game and see that 90 to 100 percent of the players are black. According to the University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport report titled "The 2008 Racial and Gender Report Card," the percentage of black male basketball players in Division I was an all-time high at 60.4 percent. It was 45.9 percent in football and 6.0 percent in baseball.
Diversity is worse in professional sports. In the National Basketball Association, almost 82 percent of the players are people of color, higher than last year's 80 percent. This is the highest percentage of players of color since the 1994-1995 season. The percentage of black players increased to 77 percent from last year's 76 percent mark. The percentage of Latinos remained constant at 3 percent. Football diversity is not much better. During the 2008 NFL season, the percentage of white players remained constant at 31 percent while the percentage of black players increased slightly from 66 to 67 percent. Casual observation shows that most sports lack sex diversity. Segregation by sex is the rule rather than the exception.
One can understand the absence of concern for diversity in professional sports; they are in it just for the money. But one is left flummoxed by the lack of sports diversity in college sports. After all, you can't listen to any college president or provost speak for more than five minutes before the word "diversity" drops from his lips. Colleges take diversity seriously and they spend tens of millions of dollars on it. Juilliard School has a director of diversity and inclusion; MIT has a manager of diversity recruitment; Toledo University, an associate dean for diversity; Harvard, Texas A&M, California at Berkeley, Virginia and many others boast of officers, deans, vice presidents and perhaps ministers of diversity. But, in what appears to be the height of deviousness and deceit, these diversity-driven administrators allow sports, the most visible part of the college, be the least diverse and least inclusive.
Let's look at George Mason University, where I've taught in its distinguished Economics Department for 29 years. According to university race/ethnic statistics, its campus consists of: 7 percent blacks, 7 percent Hispanics, 12 percent Asians, 43 percent white and miscellaneous others. If there were true basketball diversity, we would see at least two white players, and one each Asian, Hispanic and black on the starting five. I don't watch GMU basketball, and have no idea of whether our starting five looks like America, but I'd bet the rent money that our Office of Equity and Diversity has failed at producing basketball diversity.
You say, "Williams, the reason blacks dominate basketball and football is that they are better than whites." Careful! That's an attitude that could win you a charge of racism. It differs little from suggesting that the reason why not many blacks are nuclear physicists is because they are not as good as whites. It should be remembered that diversity creed holds that we are all equal and would be proportionately represented by race across all activities but for the fact of discrimination and oppression.
Basketball, football and nuclear physics aren't the only areas of our lives sorely lacking diversity and proportional representation. American men are struck by lightning six times as often as American women. Men are about 54 percent of the labor force but suffer more than 90 percent of job-related deaths. Cervical cancer rates are five times higher among Vietnamese women in the U.S. than among white women. Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest diabetes rates in the world. Prostate cancer is nearly twice as common among black men as white men. Half of all Mexican wives are married in their teens while only 10 percent of Japanese wives are married that early.
These and many other statistics about racial differences suggests that there will be full employment for people in the diversity business for decades to come.
Posted by Brett at 1:00 PM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
5 Things Americans Need To Understand About How Government Really Works
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
One of the biggest problems we have in this country is that so few Americans understand how our government works in the real world. Since that's the case, most people simply aren't capable of making an informed judgment about whether politicians can deliver on a promise. With that in mind, it seems like a good idea to go back to basics and explain what so many of us have already learned the hard way about the government.
Government can't compete on even footing with the private sector: There's a reason why you get better service at Wal-Mart than at the DMV. It's no coincidence that FedEx makes a profit while the post office loses billions. Moreover, it's no shocker that Enron and Lehman Brothers are gone, but FEMA and ICE are still around. It's because the government can't compete on an even footing with private industry. Unlike businesses, they don't have their own money on the line, most of their employees advance based on seniority, not merit, and government agencies don't pay a big price for failure. To the contrary, if a government agency does a lousy job, it just means it will probably get a bigger budget the next year. What it comes down to is that the only way the government can compete with a business is by outspending it or by rewriting the laws to make the business less competitive with the government.
Government action often creates more problems than it solves: People are always clamoring for the government to "solve" problems, but what they don't understand is that when the government "fixes" one problem, it can often create another issue that may be even worse in the process. Our government's attempts to "fix" one problem or another led to the length of the Great Depression, the destruction of the black family in America via welfare, marriages shattering across America because of no-fault divorces, gas lines in the seventies, the Savings and Loan crisis, and the current banking crisis that was caused by a government-created housing bubble. While the government is not the root of all evil, many of the worst problems we have as a society were exacerbated or created by the government in its clumsy attempts to fix some long forgotten mess. This is why government should be treated as a necessary evil, not a force for good.
It's extremely difficult to shrink government: Our political system rewards spending money and punishes cutting spending. For example, if you create a 300 million dollar a year "Giving Fluffy Kittens to Orphans Program," people will love you for it. Animal shelters and pro-orphan advocates will publicly laud you for your compassion while orphanages around the country will funnel campaign cash into your coffers. Meanwhile, if you bring up the cost of the program, most Americans will shrug their shoulders and say, "Ah, it's only 300 million dollars." However, if you suggest cutting 50 million dollars from the "Giving Fluffy Kittens to Orphans Program," you'll be accused of hating orphans and kittens while every orphanage in the country will be screaming for your blood. In other words, government spending is easy to get started, but difficult to stop. That's why it's wise to be very hesitant to create any new programs -- because billions can be frittered away on useless debacles like Head Start that have proven to be nearly impossible to kill despite the fact that they don't work.
Our politicians lack expertise: Many people seem to attribute almost super human abilities to our politicians, but the reality is far different. Most of the politicians in DC are bright people, but as a general rule, they have a very superficial understanding of the subjects their legislation impacts. How can we expect people who barely know how to use the internet to handle a subject as complex as network neutrality? How can we think someone who has worked in government all of his life can truly understand how much a new regulation may hurt someone running a small business? Moreover, given the length of bills that are being shoved through Congress and the fact that these bills are written in legalese, many of our legislators undoubtedly don't even fully understand what they're voting on half the time. Point being, even when members of Congress have good intentions, their lack of hands-on experience can lead to disaster.
The first priority of our politicians isn't solving our problems: As the great Thomas Sowell has said:
No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems -- of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind.
Getting reelected may entail lying about what a bill does, punishing people who don't deserve it because it's popular, rewarding special interests who may help your campaign, and promoting bills that sound good but don't work. The sad truth is that politicians are often rewarded at the ballot box for pushing policies that sound good, but ultimately do great harm to the country. That's all the more reason to limit the power of government as much as possible.
State of the Union Grade: F
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Mr. President, it's time to face the music and help America to do the same. This Wednesday evening, you will give your State of the Union speech. And millions upon millions of us are wondering whether you will sugarcoat the truth again -- whether you will pad your performance over this past year or confess that the plans and path Washington is taking are plummeting our country deeper into the abyss.
If you convey the real status of the union, then you must confess that we are truly no better off (and much worse off in many respects) than we were when you first took seat in the Oval Office.
>About this I'll give you credit: You have indeed fulfilled your promise to "fundamentally transform the United States of America." And you've done so in record-breaking speed -- one year, to be exact.
You've increased the national debt by a first-year record - by $1.6 trillion, to more than $12 trillion total - with 2010 White House end-of-fiscal-year projections topping $14 trillion and end-of-decade projections topping $24.5 trillion -- even exceeding the gross domestic product projection for 2019 of $22.8 trillion.
You've compromised America's sovereignty by advocating global governance (through the U.N.'s and individual countries' concessions, your willingness to ratify overreaching Copenhagen conference treaties, Interpol immunities, etc.) and literally selling America via the increase of our international indebtedness to $3.5 trillion -- $800 billion in U.S. government securities to China, followed by Japan with $731 billion and including smaller nations, such as Ireland, Luxembourg, Singapore and Taiwan.
Despite your promise to cap unemployment at 8 percent by borrowing and bailouts costing taxpayers trillions of dollars, it has climbed to 10.2 percent and shows no sign of decreasing. And a record 14 percent of homeowners are either in foreclosure or behind by at least one mortgage payment.
You are going around the back door to provide illegals with universal health care by seeking their amnesty. Amnesty not only would make Americans pay for another 14 million people's government health care but also would reduce the number of jobs available to the unemployed by adding more to the legal work force and simultaneously would slow down the rate that the unemployed were re-employed.
You've purchased and controlled enormous segments of the banking, automobile and (soon, you hope) health industries with taxpayers' money, but you refuse to call it socialism. At the very least, you've begun to turn America into a European-style country, in which the government sector dominates the private sector. No wonder a new quarterly Bloomberg Global Poll revealed that 77 percent of investors now regard you as "anti-business."
You've categorically disrespected and disregarded federal governmental constraints and fiscally prudent principles of our Founding Fathers and Constitution. You've bloated the federal government, budget and debt into a gargantuan hydra whose mere existence mocks any constitutional limitations of its power or 10th Amendment rights "reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
You've further enabled America's freedom from religion, not the First Amendment's freedom of religion, by denying America's Judeo-Christian heritage before other countries of the world and espousing "the promise of a secular nation."
You've reduced our freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment by signing a hate crimes bill that covertly amended to the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, criminalizing free speech if it can be proved to have contributed to assaults based upon sexual orientation.
You've reduced our Second Amendment firearm freedoms by appointing a host of anti-gun advocates, such as Justice Sonia Sotomayor and OSHA's David Michaels, and by your administration's leanings to blame guns rather than the people using them for murderous sprees, such as the Fort Hood shooting.
You've granted Interpol immunity from search and seizure regulations in the Fourth Amendment.
Despite the Declaration of Independence's mandate that government shall be used to secure all Americans' rights for "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness," you've denied them to babies in the womb by enacting more pro-abortion laws, policies and regulations than all former presidents combined.
You promised that you would provide "the most sweeping ethics reform in history" in Washington. Yet your administration has been riddled with questionable Cabinet appointees and a host of suspect czars.
You promised that you would be "committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government." Yet you've had more exclusive meetings, backroom negotiations, events closed to the media and clandestine sweetheart deals than any previous administration in its first year.
Despite your oath of office to defend the U.S. against all potential enemies, foreign and domestic, and your reluctant increase in U.S. forces in Afghanistan, you have pacified those who harbor terrorists, fought for the rights of combative detainees, allowed Gitmo detainees and terrorists to come to the U.S., enabled the enemies of Israel, and contributed -- via your tolerance and political correctness -- to homegrown terrorists, such as Fort Hood murderer Maj. Nidal Hasan. You've become a chief cheerleader for the "blame America" crowd and painted America before other countries as arrogant, intolerant and nonreligious (or non-Christian).
You've perfected Chicago-style politics in Washington to get your way and demonize anyone who dares to stand in opposition. Despite how many Tea Parties, protest rallies, town hall meetings, Washington marches, Internet inquisitions and Scott Brown-type elections there have been, you continue to deny that any opposition represents any viable resistance or consensus against your presidency.
Mr. President, your presidency is flailing. Your plan is failing. Your popularity is faltering. Our union is falling apart. We are not better off than we were a year ago, and it's time to quit pretending we are. It isn't helping our country to present false hope. It is an audacity of denial. The truth isn't "yes, we can"; it's "no, you haven't."
State of the union grade: F.
Posted by Brett at 11:41 AM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Some of the most melancholy letters and e-mails that are sent to me are from people who lament that there is nothing they can do about the bad policies that they see ruining this country. They don't have any media outlet for their opinions and the letters they send to their Congressmen are either ignored or are answered by form letters with weasel words. They feel powerless.
Sometimes I remind them that the whole political establishment -- both Democrats and Republicans, as well as the mainstream media -- were behind amnesty for illegal immigrants, until the public opinion polls showed that the voters were not buying it. If politicians can't do anything else right, they can count votes.
It was the same story with the government's health care takeover legislation. The Democrats have such huge majorities in both houses of Congress that they could literally lock the Republicans out of the room where they were deciding what to do, set arbitrary deadlines for votes, and cut off debate in the Senate. The mainstream media was on board with this bill too. To hear the talking heads on TV, you would think it was a done deal.
Then Scott Brown got elected to the "Kennedy seat" in the Senate, showing that that seat was not the inheritance of any dynasty to pass on. Moreover, it showed that the voters were already fed up with the Obama administration, even in liberal Massachusetts, as well as in Virginia and New Jersey. The backtracking on health care began immediately. Politicians can count votes. Once again, the public was not helpless.
One seat did not deprive the Democrats of big majorities in Congress. But one seat was the difference between being able to shut off debate in the Senate and having to allow debate on what was in this massive legislation. From day one it was clear that concealing what was in this bill was the key to getting it passed.
That is why there had to be arbitrary deadlines-- first to get it passed before the August 2009 recess, then before Labor Day, then before the Christmas recess.
The President could wait months before deciding to give a general the troops he asked for to fight the war in Afghanistan but there was never to be enough time for the health care bill to be exposed in the light of day to the usual Congressional hearings and debate. Moreover, despite all the haste, the health care program would not actually go into effect until after the 2012 presidential election. In other words, the public was not supposed to find out whether the government's takeover of medical care actually made things better or worse until after it was too late.
Although even the members of Congress who voted on this massive legislation did not have time to read its thousands of pages, just the way it was being rushed through in the dark should have told us all we needed to know. For many voters, that turned out to be enough.
Even after Scott Brown came out of nowhere to make a stunning upset election victory, there were still some cute political tricks that could have been pulled to save the health care bill. But enough Democrats saw the handwriting on the wall that they were not going to risk their own re-election to save this bill that Barack Obama has been hell-bent to pass, even when polls showed repeatedly that the public didn't want it.
President Obama's desire to do something "historic" by succeeding, where previous presidents had failed, was perfectly consistent for a man consumed with his own ego satisfaction, rather than the welfare of the country or even of his own political party.
As for the public, it doesn't matter if your Congressman answers your letter with a form letter, or doesn't answer at all. What matters is that you let him know what you are for or against and, when enough people do that-- whether in letters, in polls or in an election, politicians get the message, because they know their jobs depend on it.
As for what is likely to happen to health care, neither the bill passed by the House of Representatives nor the Senate bill can be expected to be enacted into law. Meanwhile, Obama's reaction to his political setback has been to respond rhetorically and to call on the political operatives who helped engineer his successful election campaign in 2008. But the public did not know him then, and his rhetoric may not fool them again, now that they do.
The Real Loser In The Massachusetts Election
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Smarting from their surprise loss in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, the Democrats are throwing their candidate, Martha Coakley, under the bus. They blame her for running a poor campaign that made losers out of Barack Obama, the Democrats, their bad health care bill and even Ted Kennedy in his grave.
Many reasons, of course, contributed to Scott Brown's remarkable victory. However, the chief reason Coakley's campaign didn't connect with the voters is that she is a feminist, causing even a liberal female TV commentator to admit she is "unappealing."
The feminists for years have had a stranglehold over the Democratic Party, enforcing their rule that every Democratic presidential candidate must pledge his fidelity to abortion with taxpayer funding. But abortion is only the first commandment of feminist ideology, and Coakley revealed much, much more, so let's use her defeat as a teaching moment.
"Martha's a really great candidate for everything that NOW stands for," gushed Christina Knowles, director of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Coakley was, indeed, a really great advocate for NOW's feminist ideology, but that did not attract the voters.
It was not so great when Coakley was disdainful about Brown campaigning in the cold outside Fenway Park, the fabled home of the beloved Boston Red Sox. It was not so great when Coakley dismissed one of the biggest Red Sox stars as a "Yankee fan."
Those comments fit the profile of feminists who have contempt for men's sports and therefore have eliminated hundreds of men's teams from college athletic programs under a misinterpretation of Title IX. Howard University even canceled both wrestling and baseball on the same day, giving double pleasure to the hateful feminists.
Boston University is the largest school in Boston, but it no longer has an NCAA baseball team. Nationwide, feminist opposition to anything masculine has forced the elimination of more than 450 wrestling teams.
Coakley insulted people with religious values by declaring that those who oppose abortion probably shouldn't work in emergency rooms because an occasional patient might demand an immediate abortion. Feminists refuse to allow respect for a right of conscience because that might get in the way of their ideology that abortion is women's premier right.
Feminists pretend they want all laws and behavior to be gender-neutral, with identical treatment of male and female (and other genders, whatever they are). But when it comes to domestic violence and child abuse, feminist ideology decrees that men are naturally batterers and women never lie so they don't have to present evidence in order to convict a man.
As prosecutor, Coakley followed this pattern when she insisted on treating a falsely accused man worse than a falsely accused woman. As copiously detailed by Dorothy Rabinowitz in The Wall Street Journal, Coakley persecuted the Amirault family for child abuse even after it became widely recognized that they had been imprisoned on false charges.
Although virtually everyone aware of the Amirault case recognized it to be as preposterous as the false allegation of rape against the Duke lacrosse players, Coakley insisted on continued incarceration of the Amirault brother in contrast with the release of his sister. Coakley insisted that when women are involved in child abuse cases, the real culprit is typically "a primary male offender."
Eventually, the falsely accused man, Gerald Amirault, was released by the extraordinary intervention of the Massachusetts parole board, considered the toughest in the nation. That followed an exhaustive investigation, but Coakley continued to pretend that he was somehow guilty.
Democratic Party leadership has shown that it cannot or will not stand up to the incoherent, man-hating attitude of feminists like Coakley. For example, after they had a tantrum and demanded that the majority of jobs created by Obama's stimulus be given to women (instead of to shovel-ready jobs), even though most of those who lost jobs in this recession are men, President Obama dutifully acquiesced.
It's no wonder that non-college-educated men voted overwhelmingly for Brown against Coakley by a massive 27-point margin. The Democrats are lucky enough to elect some feminists, but feminists are just too unappealing when running against a masculine man such as Brown.
Brown's driving a 2005 GMC pickup truck (which Obama sneered at) symbolized the elitism of Coakley, who drives a foreign car. While Coakley was sipping wine with drug and insurance company PAC representatives, Brown was shaking hands with the voters.
Commentary about Brown's appeal to women is diversionary -- it was male voters who overwhelmingly pulled the lever for him. Men are fed up with the feminist mindset and delivered a clear message in the Massachusetts election: give us a candidate who stands up to the feminists, and we will cross over from Democrat and independent to elect a Republican.