Barack Obama and the Solution that Wasn’t

June 19, 2010

Two days ago, Obama delivered his first speech from the Oval Office to a country that desperately wanted to know what was being done to address the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What he delivered, to paraphrase Keith Olbermann, was a speech that could have described another country on another continent on another planet. Perhaps even a time and place long ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Certainly, he discussed the many efforts the government has undertaken to address this disaster. And to the average, uninformed citizen, Obama would have left the impression that something was being done, even from Day 1.

It’s true that since the oil spill, Obama has been very busy. After all, there’s so much to do.

For instance, since day one, Obama has played at least 7 rounds of golf. He has welcomed at least 4 sports teams to the White House including the New York Yankees, the Duke men’s basketball team, UConn women’s basketball team and the Navy football team.

He has attended at least 3 fundraisers, one of which was held for Barbara Boxer on the same day as the memorial service for the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. I suppose keeping Barbara Boxer’s Senate Seat was more important. Oh, and did I mention that he attended a party with the Getty Oil family that day too?

Obama has even been on two vacations. Not to mention that Tom Strickland, chief of staff for Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, went on a “work-focused” trip that includes whitewater rafting in Arizona on Day 8 of the oil spill.

But let’s not forget that since the oil spill, President Obama has met with very important dignitaries like President Calderon of Mexico, sports analyst Marv Albert, Bono, and most importantly, Paul McCartney. However, it wasn’t until day 58 that he met with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg and BP CEO Tony Hayward.

As much as Obama would love for us to believe that he has his “boot on the neck” of BP and that he is demanding to know “whose @$$ to kick,” it seems that he has other irons in the fire. Actions speak louder than words, Mr. President.

In sharp contrast with his actions over the past 59 days, Obama’s speech offered the illusion that he is in control of this massive disaster. Furthermore, he is begging us to believe that his cap-and-trade legislation will somehow address this monstrosity. The reality is that it simply will not. I believe Governor Bob Riley of Alabama said it best: “If my house is on fire, I don’t need the fire chief telling me I should not have built the house out of wood.  I need somebody to put the fire out.” We don’t need cap and trade, we need to “plug the d@mn hole” (to quote Obama) and clean up our shoreline.

Also, we shouldn’t have rejected assistance from the Dutch when they offered it to us days after the rig exploded. We should have repealed the Jones Act and let our allies help us with this disaster.

It is downright shameful of this president to use the oil spill as leverage to foist his economically inhibitive policies on our country. Cap-and-trade will not clean the oil from our shores. Cap-and-trade will not directly prevent disasters like this from happening. Cap-and-trade will not accelerate scientific advances in clean energy. Why on earth should we pass such legislation?

We must ask ourselves: does it make sense to throw more money at a government who has failed, as a result of bureaucracy and not a lack of money, to clean up our shores in a timely manner? Unfortunately, instead of concerning themselves with the actual oil spill, the White House is apparently more concerned with never letting “a crisis go to waste.”

Article first published as Obama and the Solution that Wasn’t on Blogcritics.

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A Timeline of Obama’s Reaction to the Oil Spill

June 17, 2010
Back in 2005, President Bush was routinely criticized by the left-wing media for his handling of Hurricane Katrina. But in less than a week, he made it down to the gulf to survey the damage. Obama took nearly two weeks to view the areas affected by the oil spill. Let’s take a look at how busy our President has been throughout this crisis:

Day 1: The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explodes, killing 11 workers.

Day 3: The Netherlands government offers skimmers and other equipment to protect American shores. The Obama administration rejects the offer.

Day 4: Obama attacks Arizona’s immigration law, then goes on vacation in NC with a round of golf included.

Day 5: Another round of golf for Obama.

Day 7: Obama welcomes the New York Yankees to the White House.

Day 8: Tom Strickland, chief of staff for Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, goes on a “work-focused” trip that includes whitewater rafting in Arizona.

Day 10: Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declares a state of emergency in Louisiana. Obama pledges “every single available resource” to take care of the spill, then attends a DNC fundraising dinner.

Day 11: White House says that there will be no drilling allowed in new areas until the cause of the explosion is known

Day 12: Obama attends White House Correspondents Dinner.

Day 13: Obama visits the gulf coast.

Day 14: Obama hosts the Navy football team at the White House.

Day 16: Obama hosts Cinco De Mayo party at the White House.

Day 19: Tar balls are found in Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Day 20: Obama delivers commencement speech at Hampton University.

Day 21: Obama nominates Elena Kagen for Supreme Court Justice.

Day 22: Another round of golf for Obama.

Day 24: Obama attends DCCC fundraiser.

Day 25: Obama criticizes oil companies for their “ridiculous spectacle” before Congress.

Day 26: Obama goes golfing.

Day 27: Obama golfs some more.

Day 28: Obama hosts UConn women’s basketball team.

Day 30: Oil makes landfall in Louisiana. Obama hosts state dinner for Mexican President Calderon.

Day 31: Obama meets with Bono.

Day 32: Obama addresses Wall Street reform at the White House Rose Garden.

Day 33: Obama golfs at Andrews Air Force Base.

Day 34: Governor Jindal announces that he’s tired of waiting for federal approval to build sand booms and that he will proceed without it. Obama discusses basketball with Marv Albert.

Day 35: The size of the oil slick reaches 30,000 square miles, enough to cover an area the size of Hawaii 3 times.

Day 36: Memorial service is held for the 11 men killed in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Notably absent: Barack Obama. Obama attends fundraiser for Barbara Boxer in California, as well as a party with the Getty Oil family.

Day 38: The amount of oil leaked reaches 38 million gallons. Obama hosts the Duke basketball team at the White House.

Day 39: Obama visits the Gulf Coast for the second time, saying “I am the president and the buck stops with me.”

Day 40: Obama heads to Chicago for Memorial Day weekend vacation.

Day 41: Obama goes to the gym in Chicago.

Day 43: Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs states that he has seen “rage” and a “clenched jaw” from the President over the oil spill. The Department of Justice launches criminal probe of the oil spill.

Day 45: Obama says he is “furious” about the oil spill, then rocks out with Paul McCartney at the White House.

Day 46: Obama makes 3rd trip to the Gulf Coast since the explosion. Oil makes landfall in Florida.

Day 47: Oil hits Alabama beaches.

Day 50: Obama says he would fire Tony Hayward, CEO of BP.

Day 55: Obama plays golf.

Day 58: Obama finally meets with BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

And you wonder why so many people want to be president…


Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama?

June 4, 2010

On the campaign trail, Obama was portrayed as a moderate, willing to extend the olive branch of bipartisanship. Then he became known for his views on the redistribution of wealth, revealing himself to be a liberal. Next, he was branded a socialist. But was he ever thought to be scandal-ridden and incompetent? Not until now.

In a time where Obama would do well to seem calm, collected, and in charge after a knock-down, drag-out fight over healthcare, the chinks in his armor are beginning to show.

BP and Barack: A Love Story

Despite what Ken Salazar, Obama’s Secretary of the Interior, has said about keeping a “boot on the neck” of BP, Obama’s actual dealings with BP seem to indicate otherwise. In fact, out of all of BP’s contributions to federal candidates, the President ranks #1 among its recipients. I suppose this conflict of interest might make it more difficult for him to apply pressure with that size 13 1/2 heel. Oh, why do we always hurt the ones we love?

His hesitance to do anything at all in the midst of this crisis (besides hang out with the Duke basketball team and Bill Clinton) bears a strong resemblance to the left’s caricature of a supposedly uncaring President Bush in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. However, while Bush only took a mere four days to physically arrive at the scene, Obama’s arrival to Louisiana took nearly two weeks.

Is it a lack of compassion? Is it incompetence? What is it that keeps Obama at the point of being so stupefied? At any rate, something needs to happen before James Carville blows a gasket over this.

I’ll Have Mine Chicago-style, Please

At press time, there are two scandals on the horizon where the White House has dangled the carrot of federal jobs to Democrats in primary races for political reasons. Apparently, Obama didn’t learn much from the Blago scandal, but I suppose the Chicago culture is so ingrained in the mindset of the White House that it’s difficult to resist.

The first case involves Joe Sestak, a Democrat who challenged and prevailed over the Obama-backed Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania. Supposedly, the White House via Bill Clinton offered Sestak the position of Secretary of the Navy if he would drop out of the race. He probably should’ve taken it, considering that he could still lose to Pat Toomey in November.

The second instance involves Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff being offered an unknown position if he would drop his challenge to Senator Michael Bennet. Apparently, it’s pretty lucrative to challenge sitting Democratic congressmen in the primaries. Are there any other positions open that you’d like to tell us about, Mr. President?

From FDR and JFK to Carter and Nixon?

Obama was supposed to be a legendary president in the mold of FDR and JFK. After all, BHO does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Instead, he has taken up the policies of Carter with the transparency of Nixon. Will “I’m not an ideologue” become the next “I am not a crook”?

In record time, Obama’s presidency has taken a turn for the worse. Between a massive oil spill (resulting from a rig that won a Safety Award from his administration) and two back room deals, will the Obama administration survive politically until 2012? Some don’t think so.

This November could simply be the last nail in the coffin for his hopes of a two-term presidency unless he significantly alters course.

Article first published as Is it the Beginning of the End for Obama? on Blogcritics.


Obama: The Worst President Since FDR

March 11, 2010

I know what many of you are thinking: “But FDR got us out of the Great Depression. FDR signed the Social Security act. FDR helped us win World War II. He was a good president!”

A good president? Yes and no.

Now while I would not be one to discount his leadership in World War II or many of the other positive things he accomplished, instead what I intend to look at is the result of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s economic policies, specifically the ones he implemented to get us out of the Great Depression in comparison to Obama’s economic policies today.

Certainly there are parallels between the two presidents from the outset. Both began their administrations after an unpopular Republican president. Both faced dire economic circumstances in the early parts of their administrations (though for FDR, the problems were arguably much greater than they are today). And both of them sought to bring about major social change through their respective government programs.

One thing that is interesting to note about FDR’s administration is that he actually implemented some of the policies of his predecessor, Republican president Herbert Hoover. How can that be? FDR bringing about the same things as the dreaded Herbert Hoover? It’s true. Just ask FDR’s advisor Rexford Guy Tugwell:

We didn’t admit it at the time, but practically the whole New Deal was extrapolated from programs that Hoover started.”

This is unusual considering that FDR ran on a platform of cutting taxes, cutting government, and balancing the budget. In contrast to Hoover’s Revenue Act in 1932, which doubled the income tax rate and was the largest tax increase in peacetime history.  The ideas that FDR campaigned on were actually quite good. However, just like with Obama, campaign promises and actual policies were two different things to FDR. He raised the top income tax rate as high as 90 percent. In the same vein, just last year, Obama has proposed to increase the top income tax rate as well, although fortunately not to 90 percent like FDR did!

And just as FDR followed Hoover’s bad policies, Steve Forbes points out that Obama is following Bush’s bad economic policies, which ironically run counter to that of FDR’s:

What is most astounding about President Barack Obama’s radical economic recovery program isn’t its breadth, but its continuation of the most destructive policies of the Bush administration. These Bush policies were in themselves repudiations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mr. Obama’s hero.

Both presidents also share a fondness of elevating the public sector. InThe Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression, Amity Shlaes points out that the New Deal eroded the private sector, while lifting the public sector:

Evidence from that period suggest that government was crowding out the private sector. The Tennessee Valley Authority, for example, dealt mortal blows to a private employer that wanted to electrify the South… For every state-relief job created, about half a private-sector job was lost.”

Since Obama has taken office, private sector jobs have decreased and public sector jobs have increased.

A few interesting excerpts from the diary of Henry Morgenthau Jr., Secretary of the Treasury under FDR, are also very revealing:

“…we have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work… We have never made good on our promises…. I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started… and an enormous debt to boot!

That sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? A 2004 study by Harold Cole & Lee Ohanian at UCLA concludes that FDR’s “ill-conceived stimulus policies” prolonged the Depression by seven years. They also said that the New Deal “short-circuited the market’s self-correcting forces.”

But back to Morgenthau’s comment on unemployment. In spite of the New Deal, the unemployment rate during the Great Depression never got below 14%. Obviously, the New Deal had little to no effect on the staggering unemployment that faced our country. Just like the New Deal, Obama’s stimulus has failed to affect unemployment. In fact, unemployment numbers have gone up since the stimulus, despite the White House’s predictions.

Just like FDR, Obama is prolonging our recession. Now personally, I think Barack Obama is more like Jimmy Carter: a miserable failure of a president that needed to be ousted after 4 years of dreadful economic policies. But perhaps like Carter, the American people will find themselves repeating history by voting Obama out in 2012. Only time will tell.

-Originally posted on BlogCritics.org