Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obama the Vigilante

In Obama's fevered mind the future might give us regenerative medicine, educational software and intelligent prosthetics. But in his delirium he sees something standing in the way of our promising future:

Lobbyists. Especially lobbyists for the banks or the insurance industry that don't want more regulation; or the corporation that would prefer to see more tax breaks. However, among the visions dancing in his head is a vision of huge tax credits to fund the research & development of his favored technologies. It seems he's missing an epic irony -- the fact that he is the ultimate lobbyist. Appalling.

He'll sacrifice BP, possibly believing that strangling an oil company will produce a successful biomedical company. He's losing touch with reality.

The President's Animosities

Since when was the American idea us versus them?

The oil company formerly known as British Petroleum is starting to look kind of beaten up. So it goes when a business finds itself tossed into the ring with the current president of the United States.

"We will make BP pay," Mr. Obama said Tuesday night.

There is a mood in the land that BP is getting what it deserves. Maybe so. But players in the political game who've found it convenient to join the president in the BP bear-baiting should not delude themselves that BP is a free hit. In politics, nothing happens in isolation.

The beating Mr. Obama is giving BP isn't the exception. It's the rule when this president finds himself in tension with the private sector. I can't recall any previous president with this depth of visceral, antibusiness animosity.

Amid the BP crisis, the president traveled to Carnegie Mellon University to give what was billed as a major speech on the economy. In its entirety, the speech is a guided tour through Mr. Obama's mind. The pundits carping yesterday that the president's oil-spill apologia was limp—even as BP gave him $20 billion in tribute—should check out this one.

That Pittsburgh speech wasn't just about "the economy," but the way Mr. Obama sees life in 21st century America: a tooth-and-fang world of private interests in constant struggle against the benevolent goals of government. All of this described in a tone that is extraordinary for a president.

"As November approaches," the president said, "leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic arguments they've been making for decades." They gave "tax cuts . . . to millionaires who didn't need them. They gutted regulations and put industry insiders in charge of oversight."

The beating Mr. Obama is giving BP isn't the exception.

Mr. Obama believes that "if you're a Wall Street bank or an insurance company or an oil company, you pretty much get to play by your own rules, regardless of the consequences for everybody else." Al Gore campaigned hard against these same targets, but never with such ill will.

Americans, he says, want to compete but can't "if the irresponsibility of a few folks on Wall Street can bring our entire economy to its knees." A president is not some backwater pol running for sheriff. But his explanation of the financial crisis—the whole economy brought down by "a few" on Wall Street—is a scenario found nowhere outside a James Bond movie.

He punched out WellPoint and other insurers verbally for months until they dropped and the Democrats passed the president's health-care bill. And they'd better stay down. No longer, said Mr. Obama, would it be possible for people to be "thrown off" their coverage for reasons "contrived" by an insurance company.

He complains his predecessor left him with projected deficits of $8 trillion caused by unpaid-for tax cuts, a familiar analysis, except that Mr. Obama adds that the cuts were "skewed to the wealthy."

When in the Carnegie Mellon speech Mr. Obama turns from what he called "the dangers of an unfettered market" and discusses government—"only government has been able to do what individuals couldn't do and corporations wouldn't do"—he is virtually delirious with joy.

Of his proposed research and experimentation tax credit he says, "The possibilities of where this research might lead are endless." Regenerative medicine, educational software, intelligent prosthetics. "Imagine all the workers and small business owners and consumers who would benefit from these discoveries."

He then identifies what stands in the way of "a better future." It's that "there will always be lobbyists for the banks or the insurance industry that don't want more regulation; or the corporation that would prefer to see more tax breaks . . ." A president seeking tax breaks to the horizon for green industries wouldn't say this, unless whacking "corporations" was just too much fun.

The agenda Mr. Obama described at Carnegie Mellon is so vast you'd think he'd at least enlist the private sector's help. But there's nothing in the speech's enumerations to suggest any desire to have them along on these projects. If they contribute or comply, it will be out of intimidation. It's all him or the government or its "investments."

Some might say that instead of being a cheerleader for business, Mr. Obama is simply a tough-minded public official holding well-shod feet to the fire. I don't buy it. His tone and vocabulary, in use since he took office, goes beyond public policy. It sounds personal. Too personal for a president.

Populism in the United States is a trickier proposition than in, say, South America. Here, the private sector isn't automatically a suspect proposition. Bill Clinton played the populism card as well as anyone. Harry Truman and JFK had famous fights with big steel. But none of these Democratic presidents routinely pistol-whipped private interests in the language this one does. No previous president assembled a Cabinet with not one member from the private sector, as now.

The worldview in this White House is distinct and unusual. It wasn't a voting issue in 2008. The opposition should make it an issue in 2012, and this November. Since when was the American idea us versus them?

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Blogger SNAKE HUNTERS said...

Meanwhile, in a recent statement
Jose Maria Aznar, the former president of Spain (1964-2004) said, "If Israel goes down, we all go down."

Obama could use a fresh face like this on his Chicago-based advisory


11:17 PM  
Blogger no_slappz said...


Obama is as troubling as he seemed back in 2008 when he was running in the primaries.

10:53 AM  
Blogger SNAKE HUNTERS said...

Sir Slappz - The most frightening thing of all is the fact that Obama is the Commander-In-Chief of our military forces, and his advisors are part of the Chicago machine politics with a corrupt, decades old track record, from Governor Blagojevich to Bill Ayers,
from slum-lord Tony Resko to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The list of thugs and con-men seem endless!

Barry Hussein Obama's words: "We will never be at war with Islam."

Fact: The USA is at war, has been at war for 31 yrs -- with Iran's Leadership -- through TWO Grand Ayatollahs, and too few Americans understand it.

And behind it all, Soros & Andrew Stern calling the shots for their Puppet-In-Charge--Sickening! - reb

10:01 PM  
Blogger no_slappz said...


Obama's inability to lead is starting to show. The Gulf oil leak is primary evidence.

He speaks and nothing happens. However, the leak is not his fault, not at all, but he is at fault when he puts a moratorium on offshore drilling that causes lawsuits to fly.

He's making a bad situation worse.

Worse, of course, is the way he is running the fighting in Afghanistan.

Given his approach, we are far better off if we leave Afghanistan.

1:50 PM  

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