Friday, July 27, 2012

The country sinks lower

What’s New Today

Story #1 is today’s sign of Obama’s desperation.  #2 looks at the fallout from Obama’s statement about small businesses.  #3 talks about Obama going off script.  #4 is an excellent video of a speech on the floor of the House.  #5 is Mark Steyn’s take on what’s going on with the election.  #6 looks at Obama’s claim that his policies are working. 

Today’s Thoughts

In the summer of 2009, 58 percent thought the economy would be stronger within five years. By the summer of 2010, only 50 percent had such long-term optimism. By last summer, just 46 percent were that upbeat. And now only 40 percent think the economy will be stronger in five years.  This spells disaster for Obama.

How’s the hopey/changey stuff working for ICE?  "Prosecutorial discretion for dreamers is solely based on the individual's claims. Our orders are if an alien says they went to high school, then let them go," Union boss Chris Crane said at a press conference with GOP senators. "Officers have been told that there is no burden for the alien to prove anything.”  This sounds like the Democrats policy on voter ID laws.  

Romney leads Obama 49-44 percent in today’s Rasmussen Poll.  This is the same lead on this date in 2008 that Obama had over John McCain also 49-44. 

1.  Signs of Desperation

Jon Stewart did more than take his clown nose off last night.  He put on his tragedy mask. After all, Stewart exists to protect President Barack Obama, and Obama is in trouble thanks to a self-inflicted campaign wound.

On Wednesday's edition of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," the Comedy Central host blasted both Fox News and the Romney campaign  for daring to cover - and focus on - President Obama's now infamous Ronoake, Va. "you didn't build that" speech.

Funny how it took several days for Stewart to take action on behalf of his Dear Leader, around the same time Team Obama started to panic that the gaffe has legs.

Just a coincidence, no doubt.

Although Stewart conceded that both sides are guilty of focusing on gaffes -- "I like to fire people,” anyone? -- he claimed that Romney was taking the usual political spin one giant step further.

"This deliberate misstating and misrepresentation of Obama's position is now the centerpiece of Romney's entire campaign," he said. "Hanging your attack on a person's slight grammatical misstep is what people do in an argument when they’re completely [in trouble] and they know they have no argument."

Calling in Stewart shows a great deal of desperation.  And Stewart’s comment that “hanging your attack on a person’s slight grammatical misstep is what people do in an argument when they’re completely in trouble and they know they have no argument” is humorous since Obama’s entire campaign is built on two huge lies that Romney is rich and therefore unworthy of being president and Bain Capital outsourced jobs when Romney ran it. 

2.  “You didn’t build that”:  the fallout

What's the difference between a calm and cool Barack Obama, and a rattled and worried Barack Obama? Four words, it turns out. 

"You didn't build that" is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense. Mr. Obama has felt compelled—for the first time in this campaign—to cut an ad in which he directly responds to the criticisms of his now-infamous speech, complaining his opponents took his words "out of context." …

…The obsession with tested messages is precisely why the president's rare moments of candor—on free enterprise, on those who "cling to their guns and religion," on the need to "spread the wealth around"—are so revealing. They are a look at the real man. It turns out Mr. Obama's dismissive words toward free enterprise closely mirror a speech that liberal Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren gave last August.

Ms. Warren's argument—that government is the real source of all business success—went viral and made a profound impression among the liberal elite, who have been pushing for its wider adoption. Mr. Obama chose to road-test it on the national stage, presumably thinking it would underline his argument for why the wealthy should pay more. It was a big political misstep, and now has the Obama team seriously worried.

And no wonder. The immediate effect was to suck away the president's momentum. Mr. Obama has little positive to brag about, and his campaign hinges on keeping negative attention on his opponent. For months, the president's team hammered on Mr. Romney's time at Bain, his Massachusetts tenure, his tax returns. "You didn't build that" shifted the focus to the president, and his decision to respond to the criticisms has only legitimized them and guaranteed they continue. 

The Obama campaign's bigger problem, both sides are now realizing, is that his words go beyond politics and are more devastating than the Romney complaints that Mr. Obama is too big-government oriented or has mishandled the economy. They raise the far more potent issue of national identity and feed the suspicion that Mr. Obama is actively hostile to American ideals and aspirations. Republicans are doing their own voter surveys, and they note that Mr. Obama's problem is that his words cause an emotional response, and that they disturb voters in nearly every demographic….

Trying to portray Romney as being out of touch seems futile when Obama said this on his own and demonstrated how out of touch he is with the American dream and the American experience. 

3.  Obama’s off Script honesty

One cannot help noticing the struggle between Barack Obama’s natural instincts and the serene and benevolent persona he projects to the world. Beneath the visage of a cosmetically populist, post-racial, post-partisan reformer who wants to “perfect” America and to have “millionaires and billionaires” “pay their fair share” is just another condescending, self-important, sarcastic, academic liberal Democrat, who believes in false consciousness and in scholastic theories that success in life can be attributed to birth or luck or community but not to individual effort and grit. Obama may be talented at self-fashioning, but he cannot maintain his public face constantly. The mask sometimes slips.

The real Obama emerges. He lets loose in the self-consciously ironic and pretentiously omniscient argot of the American ruling class, lecturing audiences in what he, Elizabeth Warren, and the segment producers at MSNBC treat as the new catechism. The reaction to these gaffes is always the same. His remarks spark justified criticism. There is a frenetic effort to paper over his comments and restore the impression that he is just another dad who wants to take care of one big American family. He and his lieutenants and other members of the “truth” posse indulge in mock outrage. They say the president’s words have been distorted, that he did not really say what he said, that he meant something else entirely. The activity is convulsive and furious because David Axelrod and David Plouffe understand that an unplugged Obama will damage his brand. He is not actually likable at all. And he is liable to wreck years of hard work and mythmaking the moment he goes off script….

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” Robert McCloskey Barack Obama
“Who are you going to believe?  Me or your lying ears?” David Axelrod

4.The Cost of Yellow Tape, Green Tape and Red Tape

Representative Mike Kelly gave a short speech on the floor of the House and got applause and cheers (both are normally forbidden).  I recommend you watch this link. 

5.  Building Roadblocks rather than Roads

… Rattled by the reborn Romney, the Obama campaign launched an attack on Romney's attack on Obama's attack on American business. First they showed Romney quoting Obama: "He said, 'If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'" And then the Obama team moved in for the kill: "The only problem? That's not what he said."

Indeed. What Obama actually said was:

"If you've got a business, you, you didn't build that. [Interjection by fawning supporters: "Yeeaaaaah!"] "Somebody else made that happen."… (note Romney forgot the second you)

…In Obama's world, businessmen build nothing, whereas government are the hardest hard-hats on the planet. So, in his "You didn't build that" speech, he invoked, yet again, the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. "When we invested in the Hoover Dam or the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Internet, sending a man to the moon – all those things benefited everybody. And so that's the vision that I want to carry forward."

He certainly carries it forward from one dam speech to another. He was doing his Hoover Dam shtick only last month, and I pointed out that there seemed to be a certain inconsistency between his enthusiasm for federal dam-building and the definitive administration pronouncement on the subject, by Deanna Archuleta, his Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Interior, in a speech to Democratic environmentalists in Nevada:

"You will never see another federal dam."

Ever. So the president can carry forward his "vision," but it apparently has no more real-world application than the visions he enjoyed as a member of his high school "choom gang" back in Hawaii. Incidentally, I was interested to learn from David Maraniss' enlightening new biography that, during car-chooming sessions, young Barry insisted all the windows be rolled up so that no marijuana smoke would escape. If you can seriously envision President Obama opening a 21st century Hoover Dam, you need to lower the windows on your Chevy Volt.

The Golden Gate Bridge? As Reason's Matt Welch pointed out, the Golden Gate cost at the time $35 million – or about $530 million today. So, for the cost of Obama's 2009 stimulus bill alone, we could have had 1,567 Golden Gate Bridges. Where are they? Where are, say, the first dozen?

I love Mark Steyn’s writing.  He brings up a good point.  To get the economy going government spent and extra equivalent of 1567 Golden Gate Bridges.  So where are they?  I guess the answer is Mr. President, “You didn’t build that.”

6.  Despite Obama’s claim his policies worked, growth slowed to 1.5% rate

The United States economy grew by a tepid 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, losing the momentum it had appeared to be gaining earlier this year, the government reported Friday.
Growth was held back as consumers curbed purchases and business investment slowed in the face of a global slowdown and a stronger dollar. Analysts had expected a 1.4 percent rate.

The sluggishness of the recovery makes the United States more vulnerable to trouble in Europe and increases the likelihood of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve, which has lowered its forecasts in recent weeks. It also illustrates the election-season challenge to President Obama, who must sell his economic record to voters as the recovery slows. 

In part, the economy subsided after an unseasonable spurt during the warm winter, and in part it followed the pattern of the past couple of years — one of hopes raised, then dashed by wary business owners and households trying to reduce their debt. 

In the first quarter, the economy grew 2 percent, according to the revised figures released Friday by the Commerce department.  Its previous estimate was 1.9 percent…

The timing of all this couldn’t be worse for Obama and the Democrats.  After two failed “recovery summers” we seem to be into a recession preview. 

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