Get PJ Media on your Apple

Ed Driscoll

The Making of the President

What If There’s No There There?

August 29th, 2014 - 2:58 pm

Jay Cost is asking if the clothes have no emperor, in the Weekly Standard:

Toward the end of Ronald Reagan’s second term, a friend of Vice President Bush encouraged him to think carefully about what a Bush presidency should look like. According to Time, Bush responded, “Oh, the vision thing.” Fairly or unfairly, this phrase came to characterize the Bush 41 tenure. Despite his impressive résumé spanning three decades in government, he seemed not to have a clear view of what he wanted to do.

When Barack Obama campaigned for the White House in 2008, that hardly seemed like his problem. Obama would take in the whole sweep of American history in his speeches to suggest that his candidacy was its culmination. His heavy-handed propaganda​—​from the Greek columns to Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster​—​suggested a man with a vision surplus.

In the sixth year of his presidency, it is clear that Obama does not have much of a vision at all. Sure, he is a man of the left and possesses a commitment to its goals; he thinks government should grow larger and taxes should increase. Beyond that, he does not seem to have a firm sense of the reforms he should implement, how to implement them, how he fits into the constitutional schema, what a sensible U.S. foreign policy should be or how to execute it.

This is not to say that the White House does not offer positions on the issues. We are inundated with Obama positions. We are also treated periodically to longer “think pieces” from sycophantic authors granted extraordinary access to reinforce the point that this is a president deeply engaged in the issues of the day, struggling to bring order from chaos.

Yet the constant positioning and propagandizing belie deep-rooted ambiguities in this administration, which​—​it must be noted​—​has taken flak from left and right for years. Radical academic Cornel West recently suggested that Obama is a corporatist stooge, while Rand Paul fretted about the “socialist nightmare” the president is creating. Some might think these critiques accidentally demonstrate that the president is down-the-center. More likely they point to the absence of “the vision thing.” Sometimes he’s a corporate crony, sometimes a socialist; it all depends on what side of the bed he wakes up on.

Read the whole thing. Of course, corporatism and socialism have been deeply intertwined by their very nature since the days of Otto Von Bismarck, as Jonah Goldberg noted in Liberal Fascism. And as Jonah writes in his latest G-File regarding Mr. Obama’s own lack of the vision thing:

The reality, alas, is that Obama is — and has always been — out of his depth on the international stage. Given the prestige of the presidency and the incredible institutional forces behind the office, particularly when a liberal is elected, it takes time to burn through all of the political capital that comes with the job. But Obama has been throwing that political capital on an Oval Office bonfire like so much kindling on a clean and safe Anchorage night. In yet another metaphor that threatens to burn out the dilithium crystals , the credibility inferno is reaching China Syndrome proportions (“You should have said ‘literally’ a lot! Literally means ‘pay attention to how smart my metaphors are.’ Wheeeeee!” — Joe Biden). For a depressing but brilliant analysis of this meltdown, see Bret Stephens’s piece in the new Commentary coincidentally titled “The Meltdown.”

Remember the famous SNL clip where Phil Hartman plays Ronald Reagan? He’s an amiable dunce in public, but get him behind closed doors and he’s a master strategist? Well, maybe that stuff about Obama being the liberal opposite of Reagan is true. Out in public, he seems like he’s the Chess Master (though I never saw it). But get him behind closed doors and he’s in the chair next to Biden shouting “I can spin faster than you!”

Unlike Reagan, who was a master orator at the podium, while the introverted GWB was often painfully inarticulate on the world stage (there are many, myself included, who sympathize deeply with his fear of public speaking), as left-leaning pundit Jonathan Rauch noted in the Atlantic back in 2003 in “The Accidental Radical,” Bush #43 came to Washington with a clear vision of reform, much of which came from observing the mistakes his father made, and set about executing his plan.

In his new article, Cost compares the distance between Obama’s mesmerizing performance on the campaign stump in 2008 and 2012 and behind-the-scenes, his sleepwalking haze as chief executive to FDR and LBJ, who were excellent campaigners and could shape policy behind closed doors. But FDR had been Assistant Secretary of the Navy and governor of New York before becoming president, and LBJ spent decades in both houses of Congress before circumstances thrust him into his own role as an accidental radical.

In sharp contrast to the long careers of both men, Obama made three brilliant calculations to leapfrog so quickly into the White House: One: Since the McGovern debacle, Democrats often nominate a chameleonic newcomer to the national scene onto whom they can project whatever policies they wish to advance that year. Two: Race trumps gender on the left, and a majority of Americans would be thrilled to vote for a black president, provided he wasn’t a radical far left bomb thrower in the Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson mold. And finally, even though Obama was precisely that, given the background he marinated in all his life, from his radical parents to his years at the foot of Rev. Wright, that the media would be similarly thrilled to push all of that aside for him. And he was certainly right about that:

As MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough told Hugh Hewitt a couple of weeks ago, the memoirs to come from Obama White House insiders will make for astonishing reading, once the former president makes it official and leaves office:

This president wants yes men around him. And again, I hear that from my Democratic friends, I hear that from his own former chiefs of staff. If anybody steps out of line, they’re immediately insulated and pushed out. You know, I said this on set after the cameras were turned off to a couple of people who I knew wouldn’t say it on the air. I said guys, you know as well as I do that the second this administration is over, the books are going to come from former secretaries of state. The books are going to come from former chiefs of staff. The books are going to come, and this president is going to have to deal with 20-30 years of disparagement from his own side, calling him one of the least effective presidents, because he’s one of the most insulated presidents.

I suspect the material that emerges will be alternately thrilling, terrifying, and laugh-aloud funny, often within the same sentence. Not the least of which being when we discover how the famous conclusion of Robert Redford’s 1972 movie The Candidate played out in real life, once a real-life far left tyro senator won the biggest political title in the land in 2008:

The Madness of 2008: A Gnostic Too Far

August 26th, 2014 - 2:10 pm

Sometimes a conman makes a first impression so magnetic, the timing of the vaporwear he’s selling seems so perfect, and his marks so eager for his spiel, they eagerly hypnotize themselves without all that much coaxing. Victor Davis Hanson explores “The Madness of 2008:”

Pundits vied for superlatives. On little evidence, Christopher Buckley assured us that Obama possessed “a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect.” For some, proof of Obama’s godhead became almost physical — a “perfectly creased pant” for David Brooks, a tingling leg for Chris Matthews. For Evan Thomas he was a “sort of God”; for one blue-chip historian he was the smartest man with the highest IQ ever running for the presidency. And on and on, as huge crowds acted as if they were watching Paul McCartney on tour in 1966. After the election, there was real apprehension that the country might not make it for the two and a half months until an elected Obama could take power.

Given that there was no evidence from Obama’s legislative career to justify such superlatives, we can only assume that our intellectual elites got caught up in the faux Greek columns, the Obama tutorials for fainting crowds about proper first aid, the teleprompted emphatics of “Let me be perfectly clear” and “Make no mistake about it,” the Latinate motto “Vero possumus” on the faux presidential seal on his campaign podiums, the boast that Obama & Co. were “the ones we’ve been waiting for,” the messianic promise to cool the planet and lower the seas, the Lincoln self-comparisons, and the other embarrassing childish banalities.

Obama, it is true, ran a brilliant campaign in 2008, hinting to the Other that as a non-white he shared both their racial bona fides and their frustrations, hinting to white elites that his own unique heritage would end racial hostilities and thus allow them to square the circle of living largely separate elite lives and not having to feel guilty about it. He dropped his g’s and went into Southern cadences among African Americans, and then back again into wonkish academese to mainstream whites. It was well known that in impromptu talks he stuttered and stumbled with uh’s in deer-in-the-headlights fashion, and used the pronouns I, me, my, and mine ad nauseam, but such unease was ignored given his teleprompted eloquence and the considerable elite investment in his symbolism.

In sum, in 2008 Obama gave America more than enough evidence to doubt that he was ready for the presidency, but when a nation becomes unhinged by trivialities like “hope and change,” there is not much one can do — until the patient wakes up from his trance and in embarrassment asks, “What exactly was all that nuttiness in 2008 about?”

We will be fathoming that strange madness of 2008 for decades to come.

Afterwards, it’s all fun and games until the marks realize they’ve been sold a bill of goods, and then wonder where they go to get their own credibility back — which they’ll need to promote the wears of the next bunco artist.

Perhaps those who willingly allowed themselves to be sold a bill of goods in 2008 atone in strange ways. In his post on far left historian (and alleged plagiarist) Rick Perlstein’s new biography of President Reagan’s rise to power, Orrin Judd dubs Perlstein “The Accidental Hagiographer:”

As you can see here, the premise of this volume is not only hilarious but inflates Ronald Reagan into a mythical hero far moreso than any of the fawning texts we on the right produce: the gnostic reality, known only to the Left, is that America is nothing special and, for one brief shining moment, in the 70s everyone was about to realize that, but Reagan, through the exercise of little more than his personal will, restores the delusion that America is more important than other states.

If Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh had given Reagan that much credit for reshaping the world around himself, they’d be dismissed as overenthusiastic cultists.  But Reagan looms so large in the mind of the Left that Friend Perlstein can’t see he’s gone far beyond any Reagan fanboy of the right in his claims for the greatness (let’s say we use the term in its value neutral sense) of the Gipper.

Perhaps in writing about how the mythical heartland of his imagination (insert Pauline Kael reference here) was hypnotized by the ebullient speechmaking of an upbeat presidential candidate offering to restore his party to greatness after its recent, seemingly fatal stumbles on the national stage, and upend the perceived malaise of the times, Perlstein had the right notion, but the wrong presidential candidate. Or simply wished to project his own party’s gullibility onto the other side of the aisle.

Update: “Take a minute today, though, to appreciate that this guy, the epitome of in-touch cultural cool in 2008, is now so at risk of being seen as ‘out of touch’ that Axelrod and Bill Burton have to eat sh*t publicly as damage control. Oh well. As Amanda Curtis could tell you, sometimes even the most practiced Democrat run out of things to say.”

Related: “Top 5 Crazy Lies Told During Campaigns We Fall For Every Time.”

“‘Dead broke’ no more: Bill Clinton fancies $1,000 cigars, world’s most expensive stogie maker says,” the London Daily Mail reports:

Bill Clinton is among the clientele of the most expensive cigar make in the world, it was revealed on Thursday.

The once ‘dead broke’ former president is a connoisseur of His Majesty’s Reserve cigars, which cost $1,000 a piece, Gurkha Cigars owner and CEO Kaizad Hansotia told Bloomberg during an interview about the company.

‘Bill Clinton loves the beauties. He loves the Gurkhas,’ Hansotia said. [It's when the beauties and the Gurkhas intersect that problems for Bill can really occur -- Ed]

The Dominican Republic-made cigar is the ‘Rolls Royce of the cigar industry,’ Hansotia said, and boxes cost $25,000 a piece.

That price is set to rise to $30,000 next year. Only 20 boxes of the cognac-infused cigars are produced a year, the cigar boss said, and there’s a three-year waiting list.

The perfect cigar to light up inside your “presidential suite” hotel room, as your wife pockets up to $300,000 per speeches that position her as a formerly “dead broke” champion of income inequality. (Pun definitely intended.)

Which brings us to…“Elizabeth Warren on Hillary Clinton’s qualifications for 2016: No comment.”

Pass the popcorn. (And the Gurka.)

Was It Good For You?

August 18th, 2014 - 1:40 pm

“Is the U.S. economic recovery almost over — already?”, James Pethokoukis asks at The Week:

Half of America still thinks the Great Recession never ended. That, even though the U.S. economy continues to grow and add jobs.

It’s an understandable view, of course. Median family incomes are 3 percent lower today than five years ago, new jobs pay a fifth less than those lost during the downturn, and the share of adults with a job remains well below pre-recession levels. For most workers — particularly those who aren’t software engineers at Google — the Not-So-Great Recovery has been a bust.

That’s not even the worst of it. If history is any guide, we’re overdue for another recession. The average length of a post-WWII upturn after a downturn is 58 months. The current recovery, which began in July 2009, has been plugging along for 62 months. But because this recovery has been so weak, even a mild downturn, like the one after the internet stock bubble popped, could conceivably push the jobless rate back over 8 percent.

The good news? Recoveries don’t have a built-in expiration date. They simply don’t die of old age. Something bad has to happen. Often that bad thing is the Federal Reserve jacking up interest rates to keep inflation in check. But just because upturns tend to last less than five years doesn’t mean this one will.

But what could go wrong? Well, a lot.

Well, that’s comforting. In the summer of 2006 — aka, America’s good ol’ days — one economic blogger quipped, “Americans Hate Their Fabulous Economy,” two years before before the Clinton-approved Housing Bubble and the Pelosi Premium on gas prices blew up the economy in the waning days of the Bush administration. If the Obama economy slows visibly enough for even the MSM to “unexpectedly” notice, how will that play for Hillary’s presidential bid?

Oh right — she and the MSM will simply blame it all on Bush. Sorry for temporarily forgetting.

Update: To borrow from my “good ol’ days” line above, here’s a scary thought.

At Last, MSNBC Gets a Successor to Bridgegate

August 15th, 2014 - 4:39 pm

Battlefield preparation: “Rick Perry Indicted On Two Counts Related To Abuse Of Office,” Drew notes at Ace of Spades. “Apparently he vetoed funding for the Travis County DA’s office in an attempt to get the DA, who had been arrested for DWI to resign. The theory seems to be that’s illegal coercion:

There was a special prosecutor but remember Travis County is where the Tom Delay persecution was launched. They kind of hate Republicans and will abuse the courts to stop them.

Is this pure political bullshit? Yeah. But it’s really hard to run for President while your under indictment. This is another reminder that Democrats play for keeps.

While MSNBC will be running the headline that Perry was indicted on a loop for the weekend — maybe the rest of the month — here’s video of the Travis County DA, “getting mouthy with deputies who expected her to follow the law she was sworn to uphold,” Drew writes. “The DA blew a .238 blood alcohol level which isn’t just drunk, it’s AoSHQ Lifestyle Drunk. She was convicted of the charge:”

First Bridgegate, and now this; as Drew notes, Democrats play hardball when prepping the battlefield for an election (Just ask Barry.)

So which GOP presidential candidate will be blown up next to help clear the battlefield for Hillary?

daniel_halper_clinton_inc_cover_8-13-14-2

“It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics,” H.L. Mencken once wrote.

Of course, that was in the days before journalists decide to retire from reporting the news to become Democrat operatives with bylines, as PJM’s own Glenn Reynolds has dubbed the MSM. And Bill Clinton himself has admitted as much in one of his more unguarded moments. Which is why it’s so rare and refreshing to see the smoky pitch-black clouds of hate billowing from the ears of the Clintons in response to Clinton Inc.: The Audacious Rebuilding of a Political Machine, the new book by Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard.

As the Washington Times reported late last month, spokesmen for Clinton Inc. are warning their fellow Democrats with bylines that Halper’s book should “neither be allowed nor enabled, and legitimate media outlets who know with every fiber of their being that this is complete crap should know not to get down in the gutter with them and spread their lies.” And to facilitate his blacklisting, the Times added, borrowing from an earlier Washington Free Beacon story, former Clinton administration press secretary Mike McCurry is “quietly waging a campaign to quash coverage on Mr. Halper’s book and has ‘successfully blocked Politico media reporter Dylan Byers from writing about’” Halper’s book.

You know you’re over the target when you start receiving that level of flak. Fortunately, Halper is quite prepared to push back. During our 18-minute long interview, he’ll discuss:

● Why are the Clintons openly trying to block reviews and articles about Halper’s new book?

● How are they using Halper’s interviewees against him?

● Does these tactics indicate that Hillary will run roughshod over the First Amendment if elected?

● How did the Clintons get a fellow Democrat at MSNBC suspended – and possibly, ultimately fired?

● What was the lowest ebb of the Clintons, and how did they recover from it?

● How did Bill Clinton become so friendly with both presidents Bush?

● Can Hillary make the case that she would govern any differently than Barack Obama, despite being his former secretary of State?

● How is Hillary actively undermining her husband’s legacy as president?

● What should we look for in the coming months, and after the 2014 midterms conclude, from the Clintons and their cronies?

And much more. Click here to listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(18 minutes, 37 seconds long; 17 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 5.32 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 | 3 Comments bullet bullet

“Joe Biden’s Latest Gaffe Is As Stupid As You Might Imagine,” Jerome Hudson writes at the Daily Surge. Hudson adds that Joe’s gaffe “was served up during his remarks today at the United States Africa Leaders Summit:”

Now if you thought that one of his senior staffers would’ve taken the time to educate Joe Biden on the differences between nations, countries, and continents, before putting him in front of a microphone, you’d be wrong.

​”There’s no reason the nation of Africa cannot and should not join the ranks of the world’s most prosperous nations in the near term, in the decades ahead,” the vice president of the United States of America said.

“There is simply no reason,” he said.

Actually, I think what we’re seeing here is Joe Biden, Super-Trekkie. Let’s assume he’s seen Star Trek in at least one of its many forms; perhaps he’s read all of the “Making of” books and Websites. If so, Joe knows that in two centuries, Lt. Uhura will be born in the “United States of Africa” — it’s just a matter of time. Like the jurist who wore her Star Trek uniform to Bill Clinton’s Whitewater trial, why not live the futuristic Federation dream now?

Live Long and Prosper, Admiral Biden. Live Long and Prosper.

As the Washington Times noted last week, “a joint statement from spokesmen for Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton reportedly blasts authors Ed Klein, Daniel Halper and Ronald Kessler as ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors concocting trashy nonsense for a quick buck:’”

The statement singles out Mr. Klein’s “Blood Feud,” Mr. Halper’s “Clinton, Inc.” and Mr. Kessler’s soon-to-be-released “The First Family Detail,” Politico reported.

The books, which paint the Clintons in a less-than-desirable light, are “an insult to readers [and] authors, and should be reserved for the fiction bin, if not the trash,” a joint statement from spokesmen for the Clintons read, Politico reported.

“With Klein, Halper and [author Ronald] Kessler, we now have a Hat Trick of despicable actors concocting trashy nonsense for a quick buck, at the expense of anything even remotely resembling the truth,” the statement reportedly said.

“Their behavior should neither be allowed nor enabled, and legitimate media outlets who know with every fiber of their being that this is complete crap should know not to get down in the gutter with them and spread their lies.”

Huh. The “allowed” is the tell here. In the past, liberal fascists such as Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama waited until they were in office before they began to trample on the First Amendment. It’s a rare, refreshingly honest moment from Hillary Clinton to admit her presidential intentions upfront.

“Bill Clinton, September 10, 2001: I could have killed Bin Laden once but called it off because of civilian casualties,” Allahpundit paraphrases:

A time capsule from Australia via MSNBC, captured for posterity at what would have been around 11 p.m. New York time. The hijackers may have been ritually shaving themselves as he said it. Previewing the audio, the host says Clinton “almost brags” about his decision. Of course he does; at the time, it would have been a no-brainer for a politician to congratulate himself for sparing a terrorist in the name of also sparing dozens (or, if you believe Clinton, hundreds) of civilians, even if that terrorist was responsible for the U.S.S. Cole attack. Twenty-four hours later, I guarantee you he wasn’t bragging anymore. In fact, you can draw a straight line from this audio to America’s drone policy today. These 20 seconds or so are precisely why Obama ended up pulling the trigger on Anwar al-Awlaki and why he continues to pull the trigger on Al Qaeda’s bigger fish even if it means incinerating civilians in Waziristan or Yemen in the process. He’s never going to let a statement like this come back to haunt him.

Obligatory Allahpundit-style exit question: MSNBC rarely actually breaks news, and almost never goes after any of its fellow leftists. Are they bringing this up now to get it out of the way early, so that if Hillary’s opposition raises it, Hillary’s spox can shrug and say, “Hey, old news. This made the rounds in 2014. 9/11 was a wake up call for everyone. How dare you politicize it!” Or is this another effort to push Hillary aside for Elizabeth Warren, MSNBC’s preferred socialist presidential candidate?

Oh and one more: Say ABC, how’s that DVD edition of The Path to 9/11 coming?

Hillary Clinton Praises George W. Bush

July 27th, 2014 - 3:55 pm

You go, Hill!

“George W. Bush is very popular in Sub-Saharan Africa. Why? Because of the president emergency program for AIDS relief whether you agree or disagree with a lot of what else he did — and I disagree with a lot of it — I am proud to be an American when I go to Sub-Saharan Africa and people say, ‘I want to thank President Bush and the United States for helping us fight HIV/AIDS.’ We spend a lot of money and a lot of time and effort trying to be influential around the world when I think we would be able to succeed more effectively if we were clearer about who we are and what we stand for and the values that we hold.”

Actually, I’d be really curious to hear which of GWB’s policies that Hillary disagrees with, as Bush #43 was, in many ways, an extension of the Clinton administration* — which made the left’s permanent seething all the more ironic to watch.

* Which Hillary is effectively running against, even as she attempts to conjure up nostalgic memories of that period.

It’s Deja Socialism All Over Again

July 21st, 2014 - 7:26 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

“Elizabeth Warren Would Be the Most Liberal Democratic Nominee Since 1972.”

– Headline, FiveThirtyEight, today.

“Study: Obama most liberal senator last year — A new study suggests Obama had the most liberal voting record in 2007.”

– Headline and lede at CNN, January 31st, 2008.

In both cases, the headline writers spelled Leftist wrong — and in both cases, the far left senators had nightmarish theme songs to kick off what seemed at the time like longshot presidential bids. And in both cases — well, if I was Hillary’s campaign advisor, I’d be more than a little worried right now.

Minor language and sanity warnings apply:

Audio Interview: Ed Klein on Blood Feud

July 20th, 2014 - 11:26 pm

blood_feud_cover_7-18-14-1

Much to the chagrin of the Washington Post, Ed Klein’s Blood Feud is outselling Hillary Clinton’s new memoirs.  Naturally, Klein is elated. “It is a terrific thrill to knock Hillary off the top of the [best-seller] list, I have to tell you. She helped me a lot, because she put out a committee-written book that has absolutely nothing new in it.”

In contrast, Klein’s Blood Feud is loaded with juicy details, and dramatic scenes of five of the most powerful people on the planet scheming against each other.

Five? In addition to his portraits of the Clintons and the Obamas, Klein’s Blood Feud sheds new light on one of the most mysterious members of Barack and Michelle’s inner circle, Valerie Jarrett. As Klein describes Jarrett, she’s the distaff equivalent of Tom Hagen, the dangerous consigliere pulling the strings behind the scenes of The Godfather.

During our 18-minute long interview, Klein will discuss:

● What roles did Jarrett and Hillary play in the Benghazi debacle starting on September 11, 2012?

● What was the key promise that the Obamas made to Bill and Hillary, that the president would later renege on?

● Obama’s political skills versus his performance on the job he’s landed with them.

● How will Hillary perform on the campaign trail in 2015 and 2016 and, if she wins, as president?

● What are the health issues plaguing Bill and Hillary, and how serious a threat are they?

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

(18 minutes, 50 seconds long; 17.2 MB file size. Want to download instead of streaming? Right click here to download this interview to your hard drive. Or right click here to download the 5.38 MB lo-fi edition.)

If the above Flash audio player is not be compatible with your browser, click on the video player below, or click here to be taken directly to YouTube, for an audio-only YouTube clip. Between one of those versions, you should find a format that plays on your system.

Transcript of our interview begins on the following page; for our many previous podcasts, start here and keep scrolling.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 | 8 Comments bullet bullet

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

What explains Obama’s robust showing with white liberals?

Some elements of the answer are obvious: his high-toned oratory, his promises of reconciliation in a divisive time, a background in community organizing that suggests both idealism and a talent for problem-solving. But another clue may lie in the presidential bid of a figure Obama’s devotees love to invoke: John F. Kennedy.

When answering the charge that the Illinois senator lacks the record of achievement befitting a White House aspirant, Obama’s backers often stack him next to JFK. Obama is 44, they note, older than JFK was when he ran. Skeptics derided JFK, as they now do Obama, as callow and ill-versed in substantive issues. And yet Obama, similar to JFK, manages to inspire people with sex appeal, cerebral cool, and a message of generational change.

—”Playing the Tolerance Card: How Obama is like JFK,” Slate, then owned by the Washington Post, April 20, 2007.

Six months after becoming president, JFK had his calamitous meeting with Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna — a meeting The New York Times described as “one of the more self-destructive American actions of the Cold War, and one that contributed to the most dangerous crisis of the nuclear age.” (The Times admitted that a half-century later. At the time, the Newspaper of Record lied about the meeting.)

For two days, Khrushchev batted Kennedy around, leaving the president’s own advisers white-faced and shaken. Kennedy’s Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Nitze called the meeting “just a disaster.”

Khrushchev was delighted to discover that the U.S. president was so “weak.” A Russian aide said the American president seemed “very inexperienced, even immature.”

Seeing he was dealing with a naif, Khrushchev promptly sent missiles to Cuba. The Kennedy Myth Machine has somehow turned JFK’s handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis into a brilliant foreign policy coup. The truth is: (1) Russia would never have dared move missiles to Cuba had Khrushchev not realized that JFK was a nincompoop; and (2) it wasn’t a victory.

In exchange for Russia’s laughably empty threats about Cuba, JFK removed our missiles from Turkey — a major retreat. As Khrushchev put it in his memoirs: “It would have been ridiculous for us to go to war over Cuba — for a country 12,000 miles away. For us, war was unthinkable. We ended up getting exactly what we’d wanted all along, security for Fidel Castro’s regime and American missiles removed from Turkey.”

* * * * * * * * * *

So now, another Russian leader is playing cat-and-mouse with an American president — and guess who’s the mouse? Putin has taunted Obama in Iran, in Syria and with Edward Snowden. By now, Obama has become such an object for Putin’s amusement that the fastest way to get the Russians out of Crimea would be for Obama to call on Putin to invade Ukraine.

—”Column: From JFK to Obama, Democratic Presidents Have Shown Weakness in Face of Aggression,” Ann Coulter, NewsBusters, March 5th, 2014.

Moscow has since shown a new interest in Latin America and its Cold War ally Cuba and relations with the West have deteriorated amid the Ukraine crisis.

The base was set up in 1964 after the Cuban missile crisis to spy on the United States.

Just 155 miles from the U.S. coast, it was the Soviet Union’s largest covert military outpost abroad with up to 3,000 staff.

It was used to listen in to radio signals including those from submarines and ships and satellite communications.

‘All I can say is – finally!’ one Russian source told Kommersant of the reported reopening.

—”Russia ‘to reopen Cold War Cuban listening post used to spy on America,’” the London Daily Mail, today.

Heh. Or as Allahpundit writes:

First “don’t ask, don’t tell,” then DOMA, now RFRA: Precisely how many statutes signed by Bill Clinton are the Clintons currently horrified by?

It’ll be fun during President Hillary’s administration to try to identify the various laws that Senator Chelsea will be forced to repudiate circa 2036.

* * * * * * * *

By the way, since Hillary and, presumably, Bill are so mortified to find that closely held corporations count as “persons” for purposes of RFRA, I’m curious: Did either of them demand any clarification of who’d be covered by the statute before Bill signed it in 1993? You would think the Smartest Woman In The World, who hates corporations every bit as much as Elizabeth Warren when she’s not busy hitting them up for contributions, would have flagged that potential wrinkle before Bill made it the law of the land. Huh.

Beyond feminist identity politics, Hillary’s appeal derives from nostalgia of her husband’s two terms and the good feelings they engender to moderates and the left. (The ’90s: The Last Great Decade? is the title of an upcoming miniseries on the National Geographic cable TV channel. Coincidental timing? I would tend to doubt it.) But economically, those good times relied entirely on Bill’s eventual rejection of the far left corporatism (read: liberal fascism) that Hillary, Al Gore, Obama and Elizabeth Warren all wallow in. Not to mention the arrival of a Republican Congress that allowed Bill to govern as the moderate he ran as in 1992, after his own Obama-esque collectivist floundering in his first two years in office culminating in the Hillarycare flameout.

What’s the sense of supporting Clinton when she’s rejected everything her husband’s administration stood for? Other than pure identity politics. And if identity politics is all that you’re left with, why not go with someone who practices that dark art much more skillfully than Hillary? (And like Obama in 2007 and 2008, has far left historical baggage dragging her down.)

Pages: 1 2 | 16 Comments bullet bullet

Quote of the Day

June 29th, 2014 - 2:04 pm

Calling it early today with this one, from the Blogfather. (Don’t miss the comments there, as well):

THAT’S RACISM, STRAIGHT UP: Hillary “Disrespects” Obama. To people clucking that the First Black President deserves more respect, may I suggest that you should have done a better job of picking the First Black President? I mean, Jackie Robinson was a really good ballplayer. If he’d instead, well . . . thrown a baseball like Barack Obama, it would have been different.

Oh, and just a reminder that “disrespect” is not a verb.

That’s the question that would-be Obama advisor and cut and paste specialist Fareed Zakaria is debating in the Washington Post

Some of the candidates had an easier time distancing themselves from unpopular presidents. McCain was clearly a rival and opponent of George W. Bush. Stevenson was very different from Harry Truman, but he was, in effect, asking for not a third term for the Democrats but a sixth term — after 20 years of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Truman. Shortly before the 1952 election, Stevenson wrote to the Oregon Journal that “the thesis ‘time for a change’ is the principal obstacle ahead” for his campaign. After all, if the country wants change, it will probably vote for the other party. “It’s time for a change” was Dwight Eisenhower’s official campaign slogan in 1952.

The most awkward circumstance has been for vice presidents trying to distance themselves from their bosses. Humphrey tried mightily to explain that he was different from Lyndon Johnson without criticizing the latter. “One does not repudiate his family in order to establish his own identity,” he would say. Gore faced the same problem in 2000, though many believe that he should not have tried to distance himself so much from a popular president who had presided over good times. As Michael Kinsley noted, Gore’s often fiery and populist campaign seemed to have as its slogan: “You’ve never had it so good, and I’m mad as hell about it.”

The latter is a slogan that Fareed would be happy to plagiarize.

But what exactly would Hillary do differently than Obama? She oversaw his foreign policy during four disastrous years culminating in Benghazi and Putin’s power grab of Ukraine, and Obamacare is simply Hillarycare that escaped from its laboratory.

Of course, the media are seeking real continuity with Obama and his toxic, but MSM-approved combination of punitive corporatism and identity politics, which may just leave the “inevitable” Hillary in the dust once again.

In “Our Ruling Class,” Richard Fernandez explores how wealth and power have warped the worldviews of grandees such as John Kerry and his spot-on Thurston Howell impersonation, and now Chelsea Clinton. Regarding the latter figure, Richard writes:

…I read about Chelsea Clinton, who recently told Fast Company in an interview how she gritted her teeth and took on lucrative gigs before deciding to join her family’s philanthropic foundation because, “I was curious if I could care about (money) on some fundamental level, and I couldn’t.”  She decided making money bored her after all and decided to pursue her true Clinton calling, which was telling people what to do.

In Chelsea the Clintons had finally become true aristocrats, finally left their Little Rock roots. Chelsea had joined that elite group which has had money for so long it bores them. She, as the British well knew of the upper classes, finally accepted her duty to rule, shouldered the burden and paid the sad price for a life cursed with luxury and privilege.

To real aristocrats, position is simply the way things have always been. In the movie The Aviator, the Howard Hughes character sits down to dinner with Old Money, and his hosts don’t even know where their money came from.

Ludlow: Then how did you make all that money?

Mrs. Hepburn: We don’t care about money here, Mr. Hughes.

Howard: That’s because you have it.

Mrs. Hepburn: Would you repeat that?

Howard: You don’t care about money because you have it. And you’ve always had it. My father was dirt poor when I was born…. I care about money, because I know what it takes out of a man to make it.

It is always rude to inquire where money comes from. Among real royalty it should simply be there. The recompense for the burden of aristocracy is privilege. Aristocrats must do their duty from grace; now could we please get out of the way?

That style worked for Franklin and Eleanor, and John and Jacqueline, but after Kennedy’s death, the Boomers, ironically aping his assassin’s Marxist worldview, began their all-out assault on wealth and privilege, even as they acquired mammoth amounts of wealth and privilege of their own. (See also: Al Gore and the Drawbridge Effect.) Thus Hillary is forced to speak from a sort of double-track position, tut-tutting the same wealth that’s necessary for a presidential bid. And Chelsea’s recent remarks, quoted above by Richard, haven’t helped these early days of her mother’s second go-around for the White House.

Nor does Hillary have much to show for her tenure at State, as Russia advances into Crimea, ISIS into Iraq, and the world actually looks far more unstable now than it did at at the end of 2008. (Fancy that.) And  regrets? Well, at least according to Ed Klein and the London Daily Mail, Hillary has more than a few regarding that period of her life:

Klein describes Clinton’s Obama-bashing session as having taken place last May – two months after she vacated her position on Obama’s cabinet – at French restaurant Le Jardin du Roi, near the Clinton’s home in Chappaqua, New York.

‘ “Obama has turned into a joke,” she said sharply,’ according to Klein.

‘ “The IRS targeting the Tea Party, the Justice Department’s seizure of AP phone records and James Rosen’s emails — all these scandals. Obama’s allowed his hatred for his enemies to screw him the way Nixon did,” ‘ Clinton reportedly told her pals.

‘She went on to explain that Bill was a natural leader and great executive, unlike Obama, who was in her words “incompetent and feckless,” ‘ Klein writes.

At another point in the conversation Hillary is quoted as having said of Obama, ‘you can’t trust the motherf***er.

” ‘Obama has treated Bill and me incredibly shabbily. And we’re angry,’ ” Clinton continued.

Clinton allegedly told her friends that she and Bill promised Obama they would help him him get reelected in 2012 if he helped Hillary get elected in 2016.

‘He agreed to the arrangement but then he reneged on the deal. His word isn’t worth sh*t,’ Hillary said.

‘The bad blood between us is just too much to overcome.’

But that bad blood was awfully transparent during the slugfest between the two candidates in 2007 and 2008, particularly in the Obama campaign and its surrogates in the media accusing Bill and Hillary of racism. So why accept a job offer to serve in the Obama administration?

What if Hillary hadn’t chosen to become secretary of State under Obama, and used that period to speak out on the excesses of his administration?(What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?) She had to know that however zany the Beatlemania-level of Peak Hopenchange, it wasn’t sustainable, and that his administration would ultimately follow the arc of the vast majority of presidential terms in office: a sweet honeymoon followed by a long and bitter hangover. She could have been speaking out on his mistakes and errors, and reminding voters that a more experienced person was waiting in the wings in 2012 or 2016. (I know, I know, but after all, this is how she presented herself in 2008.)

Pages: 1 2 | 49 Comments bullet bullet

The Palace Guard MSM Drops the Mask

June 25th, 2014 - 3:54 pm

journalists_media_6-17-13

Since its birth in the 1920s with the first national radio networks, the modern MSM has always had a cozy relationship with power, and until the creation of Fox News, one channel on your TV dial or satellite guide, that power has almost exclusively meant their fellow Democrats. The media have long voted overwhelmingly Democrat in presidential elections; as Walter Cronkite once said at a Radio & TV Correspondents Dinner in the mid-1990s, in-between feting the Clintons on his yacht in Martha’s Vineyard,  “Everybody knows that there’s a liberal, that there’s a heavy liberal persuasion among correspondents.” But in the past, those correspondents at least paid lip service to being out for the little guy, and holding politicians’ feet to the fire. Al Roker of NBC has had enough of that pretention – and as we’ll see, he’s far from the only one. But first up, here’s Roker this morning, trashing a fellow NBC “journalist”:

At the top of the 9 a.m. ET hour on Wednesday’s NBC Today, weatherman Al Roker suggested in jest that his colleague David Gregory deserved to be punched in the face by former President Bill Clinton after the Meet the Press moderator asked Clinton in a recent interview about wife Hillary being “out of touch.” Roker joked: “You know, I’d give anything if after David finished the question, Bill just kind of hauled off and popped him. Just see what happens.” [Audio and video at NewsBusters – Ed]

What a fascinating development – of course, the fact that millions of potential viewers would also like to (hopefully only in the metaphoric sense) “haul off and pop” David Gregory helps to explain why Gregory’s ratings at Meet the Press are much more anemic compared to Tim Russert, his late predecessor, to the point where NBC has tried to stage an intervention to save Gregory from himself. But remember when journalists at least posed at asking tough questions to politicians? Here’s an NBC newsreader insulting another NBC newsreader for one of his very few questions asked to a fellow Democrat that caused him just a jot of discomfort, and yet Roker is mad at the interviewer for asking it.

And then there’s the IRS scandal.

“The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate; it’s worse than Watergate,” Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal perceptively noted earlier this month. “The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable”:

Here’s a partial list of the American place names where the “tea party” groups audited by the IRS were organized: Franklin, Tenn.; Livonia, Mich.; Lucas, Texas; Middletown, Del.; Fishersville, Va.; Jackson, N.J.; Redding, Calif.; Chandler, Ariz.; Laurens, S.C.; Woodstown, N.J.; Wetumpka, Ala.; Kahului, Hawaii; Sidney, Ohio; Newalla, Okla.

He’s right, these people do live most of their lives in the shadow of daily American life, out of the public eye. Still, they considered themselves to be very much inside “our democracy.” Then the IRS asked them for the names of their donors, what they talked about, political affiliations.

The IRS tea-party audit story isn’t Watergate; it’s worse than Watergate.

The Watergate break-in was the professionals of the party in power going after the party professionals of the party out of power. The IRS scandal is the party in power going after the most average Americans imaginable.

They didn’t need to do this. The Obama campaign machine was a wonder, perfecting the uses of social media in 2008 and 2012. But the Democrats were so crazed in 2010 by Citizens United, so convinced that anyone’s new political money might bust their hold on power, that they sicced the most feared agency in government on people who disagreed with them.

It’s so crazed that Chuck Todd, former political operative to fellow Democrat Tom Harkin turned “NBC political director,” today lived up to both current and former titles when he asked regarding the IRS scandal, “Are there any actual real victims?”

So while the IRS is certainly not a good guy here they have been terrible about being forthcoming. Are there any actual real victims? Folks, this scandal is not black and white since frankly two wrongs don’t make a right. We know what really is working here for Republicans. Beating up the IRS, good for the base. Good politics there makes for great fundraising e-mails. But let’s remember what the controversy itself is about.

Also today, when it was announced that the EPA “unexpectedly” had a hard drive failure of its own (no word yet if a Roberto Clemente baseball bat was the proximate cause) when they were subpoenaed by a Congressional oversight committee, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post astonishingly tweeted:

sam_stein_defends_irs_epa_lost_evidence_6-25-14

Somewhere, H.L. Mencken, who in the 1920s wrote, “It is the prime function of a really first-rate newspaper to serve as a sort of permanent opposition in politics,” is roaring with cynical laughter at the pitiful 21st century state of his profession.

Meanwhile back in reality — as opposed to the media fiction created by the Democrats and their operatives with bylines — the news gets worse regarding IRS malfeasance, as we’ll explore right after the page break.

Pages: 1 2 | 49 Comments bullet bullet

Ed Driscoll.com Regrets the Error

June 23rd, 2014 - 12:15 pm

In a post last month titled, “Why Democrats Call Americans Racist,” we posited:

As in the 2010 midterms, expect the madness from the left to ramp up exponentially between now and November. They’re just getting started.

(And then presumably some time between mid-November and the start of the new year, the left will begin declaring half of America sexist. Unexpectedly.)

We apologize for getting the timing wrong; DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile opened up that particular assault on Americans, yesterday:

donna_brazile_america_sexist_6-23-14

Click to enlarge.

As Ed Morrissey responds, “Ahem:”

Brazile and her fellow Democrats spent all summer in 2012 attacking Mitt Romney’s wealth and the business he created, even while Barack Obama kept a former Bain exec as an advisor. Harry Reid accused Romney of tax evasion for a decade, allegations which proved utterly false, in an attempt to pressure Romney into releasing his income tax records for Democrats to attack — which they did, incessantly. Romney, who never pretended to be a middle-class guy “struggling” to pay his bills, got repeatedly painted as a prep-school elitist who couldn’t possibly understand the experience of middle America on the basis and origin of his wealth.

Now, suddenly, focusing on wealth is not just improper but sexist. In Clintonworld, what’s good for the gander is decidedly not good for the goose, so it’s time to smear critics to pre-empt the attacks. Outside Democrats aren’t the only ones panicking over Hillary’s gaffe-a-thon, apparently.

And thus, the next two and a half years or more of reactionary leftwing punditry write itself. In 2007 and 2008, America was a hotbed of the very worst sorts of racism, which could only find redemption from original sin by electing a leftwing black president. And then in 2010, when Americans turned on that president — as they tend to do during the midterms of most presidents, no matter what their ideological worldviews, America returned to being the epicenter of the very worst sorts of racism in the eyes of the Democrat operatives with bylines*.

Similarly, for the next two and a half years, America will be a focal point of the most rank sorts of sexism, and will only be able to redeem itself by electing the first leftwing woman president. And then if it actually does, will return to its medieval ways when it turns on her in the midterms of her administration.

Plus ça change.

Exit quote, which applies equally well to debates regarding would-be presidential candidates as well:

* H/T: IP.

Hildebeest with a Heart Condition

June 22nd, 2014 - 6:50 pm

Well, this is interesting. In Blood Feud, his latest book, veteran journalist Edward Klein claims that Hillary has a problem with her ticker:

When the author attempted to contact the Clintons’ cardiologist, Dr. Allan Schwartz, he refused to comment, which made it impossible to determine the exact nature of Hillary’s medical status or its long-term significance. However, sources who discussed Hillary’s medical condition with her were told that Hillary’s doctors considered performing valve-replacement surgery. They ultimately decided against it. Still, before they released Hillary from the hospital, they warned Bill Clinton: “She has to be carefully monitored for the rest of her life.”

That last sentence is usually a wise precaution when dealing with any Machiavellian socialist career lifer politician. Elsewhere in his book, excerpted in the New York Post, Klein has delicious details of the mammoth egos vying for power and dueling for alpha-Dem status inside the Beltway:

Outwardly, they put on a show of unity — but privately, the Obamas and Clintons, the two power couples of the Democrat Party, loathe each other.

“I hate that man Obama more than any man I’ve ever met, more than any man who ever lived,” Bill Clinton said to friends on one occasion, adding he would never forgive Obama for suggesting he was a racist during the 2008 campaign. [If not a racist, certainly a racialist -- Ed.]

The feeling is mutual. Obama made ­excuses not to talk to Bill, while the first lady privately sniped about Hillary.

On most evenings, Michelle Obama and her trusted adviser, Valerie Jarrett, met in a quiet corner of the White House residence. They’d usually open a bottle of Chardonnay, catch up on news about Sasha and Malia, and gossip about people who gave them heartburn.

Their favorite bête noire was Hillary Clinton, whom they nicknamed “Hildebeest,” after the menacing and shaggy-maned gnu that roams the Serengeti.

Read the whole thing. Regarding the chasm between Barry and Bubba, at Power Line, John Hinderaker writes:

This is revealing. Bill Clinton was a mostly-successful president. Sure, you can say he was just along for the ride: he benefited from the era of explosive innovation that began with the internet. While he gave speeches advocating school uniforms, and a Republican Congress blocked him from raising taxes and implementing Hillarycare or anything similar, the economy boomed.

Still, in any sane world, an unsuccessful president–Barack Obama–would seek counsel from a successful one. As Clinton said, George Bush was glad to get his advice, and rightfully so. One of Obama’s many problems is that he is uncomfortable around first-rate people. He is a second- or third-rate intellect–no shame in that–but he is too defensive to get help from those who know more than he does, like Bill Clinton or George Bush. Among many others. So we have mediocrities like Joe Biden, John Kerry, Valerie Jarrett and Chuck Hagel making policy.

Linking to a Politico piece titled, “Barack Obama: The Man Who Broke The Middle East,” Glenn Reynolds insta-quips, “Hey, he’s a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, a better policy analyst than his policy analysts, and a better Muslim than the Muslims. It’s not his failure. It’s the world of Islam that let him down. Poor Barack. The world just isn’t up to his standards.”