OBAMA NOT POLLING SO WELL: Poll: Obama Worse Than Bush. Battleground voters say Bush a better manager of government.
TINA BROWN: Women Feel “Unsafe” With Obama. “Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they’re feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody.”
ESPECIALLY SINCE HE DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EBOLA. OR MEDICINE. The uphill battle for Obama’s new “Ebola czar.”
Well, okay, this isn’t helping: “The White House has argued that the chief management credential that qualifies Klain for the job is his experience in helping to implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the 2009 stimulus package that poured about $800 billion into the troubled U.S. economy by way of tax breaks, investments and entitlements.”
A near-trillion-dollar crony giveaway that entirely failed to achieve its stated goals. If the White House regards that as a shining credential, exactly what are they expecting him to accomplish here?
WE have no clue at this point how far Ebola could spread in the United States — and no reason for panic.
But one dimension of the disease’s toll is clear. It’s ravaging Americans’ already tenuous faith in the competence of our government and its bureaucracies.
Before President Obama’s election, we had Iraq, Katrina and the meltdown of banks supposedly under Washington’s watch. Since he came along to tidy things up, we’ve had the staggeringly messy rollout of Obamacare, the damnable negligence of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the baffling somnambulism of the Secret Service.
Now this. Although months of a raging Ebola epidemic in West Africa gave the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sufficient warning and ample time to get ready for any cases here, it was caught flat-footed, as its director, Tom Frieden, is being forced bit by bit to acknowledge. Weeks ago he assured us: “We are stopping Ebola in its tracks in this country.” Over recent days he updated that assessment, saying that “in retrospect, with 20/20 hindsight,” federal officials could and should have done more at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
President Obama made his own assurances and then corrections. He said back in mid-September that “in the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home.”
Well, we weren’t wholly prepared, and the event was never unlikely: This country is a potent magnet for travelers, with a proudly (and rightly) open posture toward the world.
Yeah, we might wind up rethinking that. Plus:
Rationally or not, this is one of those rare moments when Americans who typically tune out so much of what leaders say are paying rapt attention, and Obama’s style of communication hasn’t risen fully to the occasion. Even as he canceled campaign appearances and created a position — Ebola czar — that we were previously told wasn’t necessary, he spoke with that odd dispassion of his, that maddening distance.
About the ban, he said, “I don’t have a philosophical objection necessarily.” About the czar, he said that it might be good to have a person “to make sure that we’re crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s going forward.” He’s talking theory and calligraphy while Americans are focused on blood, sweat and tears.
Ebola is his presidency in a petri dish. It’s an example already of his tendency to talk too loosely at the outset of things, so that his words come back to haunt him. There was the doctor you could keep under his health plan until, well, you couldn’t. There was the red line for Syria that he didn’t have to draw and later erased.
Yeah, it’s as if he’s totally in over his head or something.
WHO NEEDS CONGRESS ANYWAY? Next – Obama To Sidestep Congress On Iran.
WITH TWO YEARS LEFT, A FULLY-DEPRECIATED PRESIDENT: Reuters: Obama makes rare campaign trail appearance, people leave early. “President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.” He was interrupted by a heckler, too.
JONATHAN LAST: Ebola: Six Reasons To Panic. “Despite the fact that Duncan was a lone man under scrupulous, first-world care, with the eyes of the entire nation on him, his R0 was 2, just like that of your average Liberian Ebola victim. One carrier; two infections. He passed the virus to nurse Pham and to another hospital worker, Amber Joy Vinson, who flew from Cleveland to Dallas with a low-grade fever before being diagnosed.”
Plus: “At a deeper level, the Ebola outbreak is a crisis not for Obama and his administration, but for elite institutions. Because once more they have been exposed as either corrupt, incompetent, or both.” And that’s the most panic-inducing part.
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Supreme Court May Yet Blunt Obama’s ‘Disparate Impact’ Weapon.
SO I GUESS WE SHOULD GET READY FOR TWO WEEKS OF NONSTOP RACE-BAITING: Memo: “Crushing Democratic Losses” If Blacks Don’t Turn Out In Big Numbers.
UPDATE: Tom Maguire emails:
Is Obama likely to support an Ebola travel ban from West Africa two weeks before the election, thereby stepping on the “racist Republican haters” message? Is our new political fixer Ebola Czar going to give that advice?
He will have more flexibility after the election.
In so many ways.
HE DOESN’T MISS A LOT: Limbaugh Pounces After CDC Chief Says Ebola Flight Ban Would Be Pointless Since Illegals Can Cross Border Anyway. “Do you know what he just said there? …. He just threw amnesty overboard! He, he, he just threw amnesty under the bus. He just threw Obama’s precious open borders under the bus. He says if we try to eliminate travel, then they’re going to come here illegally — acknowledging there are others already doing that!”
WITH ISIS ON THE MARCH AND EBOLA ON THE LOOSE, Obama spent today golfing with an ESPN host.
WHY DOCTORS give ObamaCare a failing grade.
BOBBY JINDAL PUTS THE BOOT IN.
Stage 1 of Obama Crisis Management: Don’t worry, I got this.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 2 of Obama Crisis Management: I'm so mad.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 3 of Obama Crisis Management: More money will fix it.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Stage 4 of Obama Crisis Management: Republicans are obstructing.
— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) October 18, 2014
Apparently we’re at Stage Two right now.
WELL, THAT’S BEEN THE HISTORY OF EVERY SIMILAR PROGRAM, AS NOTED HERE: How Much Will Obamacare Cost? Bet on ‘More Than Expected.’ “In 1967, Congress estimated that the nation’s single-payer system for the elderly, Medicare, would cost $12 billion in 1990. The actual price tag was $110 billion, for an error ratio on 9.17:1.”
The announcement of Ron Klain as the new Ebola “czar” checks all the boxes: Harvard Law, longtime Democrat party op, veteran of the Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns. The problem is, it checks all the wrong boxes. The Progressive myth is that we ought to have a government of experts — top men! — to handle the nation’s problems in a calm, deliberative manner. The reality is that we have a nation of unscrupulous lawyers, amoral apparatchiks and political hacks whose only area of expertise is manipulating the electoral and governmental systems and getting rich by doing so.
Yeah, pretty much.
SO DOES EVERYTHING ELSE IT DOES: Peggy Noonan: The administration’s Ebola evasions reveal its disdain for the American people.
The administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis continues to be marked by double talk, runaround and gobbledygook. And its logic is worse than its language. In many of its actions, especially its public pronouncements, the government is functioning not as a soother of public anxiety but the cause of it. . . .
Does the government think if America is made to feel safer, she will forget the needs of the Ebola nations? But Americans, more than anyone else, are the volunteers, altruists and in a few cases saints who go to the Ebola nations to help. And they were doing it long before the Western media was talking about the disease, and long before America was experiencing it.
At the Ebola hearings Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said, I guess to the American people: “Don’t panic.” No one’s panicking—except perhaps the administration, which might explain its decisions.
Is it always the most frightened people who run around telling others to calm down?
This week the president canceled a fundraiser and returned to the White House to deal with the crisis. He made a statement and came across as about three days behind the story—“rapid response teams” and so forth. It reminded some people of the statement in July, during another crisis, of the president’s communications director, who said that when a president rushes back to Washington, it “can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people.” Yes, we’re such sissies. Actually, when Mr. Obama eschews a fundraiser to go to his office to deal with a public problem we are not scared, only surprised.
But again, who do they think we are? You gather they see us as poor, panic-stricken people who want a travel ban because we’re beside ourselves with fear and loathing. Instead of practical, realistic people who are way ahead of our government.
If we were practical, realistic, and way ahead of our government, there would be politicians hanging from lampposts right now.
METAPHOR ALERT: Obama: ‘My Credit Card Was Rejected.’
EBOLA CZAR RON KLAIN: Obama’s New Ebola Czar Was Deeply Involved in Solyndra Scandal. Klain’s a competent political fixer. By naming a lawyer/political fixer as Ebola Czar, Obama’s demonstrating that he sees Ebola as a political problem first and foremost.
UPDATE: Paul Rahe: Damage Control. “The mainstream press in its wisdom tells us that Klain is a good manager. His accomplishment? He managed the allocation of stimulus funds. Take a moment to think about that. . . . Klain’s new job is not to protect thee and me from an outbreak of Ebola. It is to protect the President from an outbreak of criticism.”
HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKING OUT? On outskirts of Baghdad, Islamic State’s advances raise tensions.
Related: Austin Bay: The Wages of Smart Diplomacy. “After a month of presidential bravado, Obama’s anti-Islamic State coalition is little more than a loose collection of promises, occasional airstrikes and jaw-dropping political errors.”
To be fair, it’s only meant to last until November. He’ll have more flexibility after the elections.
MATT LEWIS: What Obama’s nakedly political moves say about our screwed-up polity. “More and more, the president seems uninterested in even trying to hide the fact that he is making policy moves based on political considerations — in confessing he has to act one way until after the next election, at which point he can act another way.”
MICHAEL BARONE: Hispanics seem to be souring on Obama Democrats.
SO I’VE HEARD SOME SPECULATION that the reason Obama jumped on this issue all of a sudden is that they now expect the Ebola outbreak to get worse in the U.S. Ebola in the Big Apple? CDC tells NYC to get ready.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Obama administration ‘days behind in coming to obvious conclusions’ about Ebola. They’ll ban travelers from Ebola countries right about the time it’s too late to do much good.
UPDATE: Poll: 82% want quarantine, 66% would block entry. “As the Ebola crisis surges to the top issue on the minds of Americans, a new poll finds that 82 percent of those following the issue closely want to quarantine anybody who has recently traveled to the virus-stricken nations. The Economist/YouGov poll found that women are more concerned than men and would refuse entry to anybody from those nations. Just 16 percent would allow them into the nation.”
Security Moms —> Quarantine Moms?
SMARTEST PRESIDENT EVER: Told in 2008: Obama administration ignored the CDC’s advice to prevent an Ebola outbreak.
ED DRISCOLL ON THE DAILY NEWS’ OBAMA DISAPPOINTMENT: If only the New York Daily News had taken its own advice in 2008. “The 2008 covers above, just a small example of the daily hagiography pumped out by the MSM back then, reflect a very different, but similarly self-destructive contagion that rapidly enveloped the MSM starting in early 2007. The virus began to subside around mid-2009, when it slowly became obvious that the MSM had sacrificed their credibility to elect a false messiah. But as a dangerous aftereffect to Obama fever, the MSM quickly turned viciously on its readers, in the form of their unceasing racialist attacks on the Tea Party and anyone who dared oppose The One. . . . After November, it will be fascinating to watch the MSM similarly go all-in to aid Hillary, and act as if 2008 never happened, and pretend that they had no role to play whatsoever in electing a president about to go as deep into the memory hole as Woodrow Wilson, and for similar reasons. It isn’t just that the MSM got things so wrong, it’s that they permanently shattered their credibility to make it happen. Don’t let them forget what they’d like the world to forget.”
TRANSPARENCY: Obama administration has secured 526 months of jail time for leakers. “Up until Obama’s ‘most transparent administration’, and throughout the entire history of the USA, national security leakers had received a total of 24 months of jail time. There are many more cases pending.”
TIM CARNEY: Party Of The Rich.
President Obama is sometimes beyond parody — especially when he plays the populist.
Last week, Obama headlined a $32,000-a-plate fundraiser at the $26 million Greenwich, Conn., estate of a real estate mogul. During that dinner I noticed an email from Obama in my inbox warning me that “If Republicans win, we know who they’ll be fighting for. Once again, the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.”
Obama has played this populist game unceasingly since he began his presidential run in 2007. He spoke as if he were being outspent while demolishing John McCain in fundraising. He declared war on lobbyists before hiring more than 100 of them and recruiting many as his top fundraisers. His top adviser at the White House — millionaire Valerie Jarrett — proclaimed that their administration was busy “speaking truth to power.” . . .
The richest county in America, according to IRS data on mean household income, is Teton County, Wyo., home of Jackson Hole. It’s the only Wyoming county Obama won in 2012. And Obama won it big — by 12 points, while losing the rest of the state by more than 40 points.
Seven of the 10 richest counties in America voted for Obama, from Manhattan to Marin. Three sparsely populated counties in Texas made the top 10, and all three voted for Mitt Romney. . . .
Here’s another measure: Ten members of Congress have a net worth more than $40 million — and seven of them are Democrats.
While the people of Northern Virginia get rich off of stimulus, and the people of Greenwich bank their bailouts and government loan guarantees, they can sleep well at night knowing they contributed to Obama. They may still be rich, but they’re different rich.
This thought can comfort Obama, too.
So who can comfort me?
JOSEPH CURL: Obama’s spectacular incompetence turns deadly.
POLITICO: Who Lost Yemen? Obama calls it a “model” for fighting terror. So why didn’t anyone notice last month’s coup? Smart diplomacy.
IT’S COME TO THIS.
L.A. TIMES EDITORIALIZES: In U.S., an Ebola crisis of confidence. “Even as U.S. health authorities continue to tell Americans not to worry about the Ebola virus, their assurances are being undercut by the increasingly obvious deficiencies in domestic planning. . . . The United States does not remotely have an Ebola crisis, but it is beginning to have a crisis of confidence in the Obama administration’s handling of the matter.”
MEGAN MCARDLE: Don’t Care About The Deficit? Now You Should.
Unfortunately, as a new Bloomberg News article suggests, in the near future, we may not be able to afford the luxury of not caring. Congressional Budget Office projections currently show the deficit beginning to grow again in 2016, just in time for the presidential election. By 2019, it’ll be above its historical average, where it will stay until the end of the forecast window — and that historical average is itself a bit high, as it includes the post-war record deficit of the Obama administration, which ran close to 10 percent for several years.2
If the growth in health-care costs continues to moderate, that may help a bit, but mostly, the rising cost of health care is not the problem. The problem is the rising number of aging citizens who will require Social Security benefits, Medicare and, eventually, Medicaid to pay for their nursing homes. For the next decade or so, it is demographics, not compound cost growth, that will account for most of our budget problems. And you can’t fix the demographics by directing providers to charge 2.9 percent less for their senior citizens.
As the Bloomberg article points out, there’s another factor that’s going to drive deficits, one that few people are talking about in the public-policy sphere: As the Fed tightens up on monetary policy, our borrowing costs are going to rise, not just for the new debt we take on, but also for the debt we already have. As old debt matures, we’ve been borrowing at record-low interest rates, which has helped hold down the deficit. But as the Fed tightens, that party will end, and the numbers will start moving in the other direction.
I’m still waiting for Obama to deliver on those “net spending cuts” he promised in 2008.
Just don’t call him unpatriotic.
HA HA HA HA HA! Howard Fineman: Remember The Fresh Promise Of Barack Obama? What Happened To That Guy? He never existed. You were duped.
UPDATE: Gabriel Malor: Despite What You May Have Read In The Papers, The Iraq War Was Not About An Active Weapons Program. “The NYTimes has published a particularly despicable piece on the Iraq War. Here’s the link, if you must. Now, let me start by saying there are parts of this piece that are noteworthy, and those parts recount acts of valor and duty by U.S. service members. That’s not the despicable part. The despicable part is how the NYTimes writers have twisted what happened to these service members to their own end of rewriting the Iraq War. . . . The first sentence is an absolute lie, uttered at Bush 43′s expense, and made to justify the terrifying conclusion, laid at Obama’s feet, in the last sentence. This NYTimes piece has an overarching political goal: to cement forever the lie that the Iraq War was directed solely at stopping an active weapons of mass destruction program in Iraq. As we know, the military never found an active weapons program, which makes this a particularly compelling slander.”
History will be whatever it needs to be to support a Hillary candidacy.
BYRON YORK: The Audacity of Greg Orman.
For many Republicans, the real problem is not that Orman is a cipher. It’s the suspicion that his entire campaign is a ruse. . . .
Yes, Orman can be slippery on some big issues. What would he do about Obamacare? Nobody really knows, except that Orman would not repeal the health care law. He’s been unclear about the Keystone pipeline, and fuzzy on immigration, too.
But on some other important issues, Orman has taken a clear stand. For example, at the debate, Orman proposed doing the following: 1) Relax Dodd-Frank restrictions on community and regional banks. 2) Review all government regulation every decade to rescind regulations that inhibit business growth. 3) Lower the corporate tax rate. 4) Lower overall tax rates. 5) Raise the Social Security eligibility age for younger Americans. 6) Cut the abuse of Social Security disability payments.
It’s all the kind of thing one often hears from Republican candidates. . . .
Then there is Orman’s own political history. He ran briefly against Roberts as a Democrat in 2008, but now says he is neither Democrat nor Republican. But he has made campaign contributions to Democrats over the years, among them Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, and Al Franken. At the debate, Orman noted just one Republican to whom he has given — Scott Brown, briefly the GOP senator from Massachusetts.
Later this week, there will be a fundraiser in New York for Orman, sponsored in part by big-money Democratic donors like Jonathan Soros, Joe Gleberman, John Petry, and others. Put it all together, and Orman seems to be the candidate that Democrats really, really want to win the Senate race in Kansas.
How do we know it’s a bad year for Dems? Even Democrats are running as Republicans.
RESPONDING TO EBOLA takes a community-wide response.
Containing the Ebola virus in a major U.S. city requires more than just a trained hospital staff and good equipment.
It takes a long list of people and companies, from clean-up firms willing to haul away Ebola-infected waste to landlords ready to house potential carriers of the virus to social workers who could ease the stress of an outbreak, from many corners of a community. “Literally hundreds of people somehow touched this to make it happen,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “Every time you turn around, you find another expert you need. It literally is a village making this process happen.”
When news of the first confirmed case of Ebola in the USA was announced Sept. 30, state, local and federal officials in Dallas scrambled to decontaminate everything around town where the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, had been after he arrived from Liberia..
At first, it wasn’t easy. Officials called a number of companies about decontaminating the apartment where Duncan had stayed with his fiancée, Louise Troh, and three other family members. One after another, the companies declined.
The call finally went to the Cleaning Guys, a Fort Worth-based hazardous waste cleanup firm. The company, which usually deals with highway spills and hospital cleanups, took the job.
“It was a real eye-opener,” owner Erick McCallum said. “We train for things like this, but then it hits home. We realized, ‘We’re not dreaming. This is really happening.’”
Over 24 hours, more than 15 workers in hazmat suits stripped the northeast Dallas apartment where Duncan and Troh stayed, tearing up carpets, mattresses, furniture, “everything not bolted down,” McCallum said. Workers tripled-bagged the items and crammed them into 140 55-gallon drums.
The drums needed to be driven to an incinerator 400 miles away, where they would be destroyed. But getting the appropriate permits from the Department of Transportation took a few days, because the agency needed to draw up permits specifically for Ebola transport, McCallum said.
So where did all this money go?
JAMES CARAFANO: On Ebola, Obama Gets an F.
“PREPPERS” LOOKING STEADILY LESS PARANOID AS THE OBAMA ERA ADVANCES: Training for the End of the World as We Know It: A visit to “prepper camp,” a four-day session on surviving super viruses, natural disasters, socioeconomic collapse, world war, and more.
In the words of Bill Quick: “This article is almost even-handed. But not quite.”
MEN WOMEN: President Obama Already Has An Ebola Czar. Where Is She? “What’s particularly interesting about this discussion, then, is that nobody has even discussed the fact that the federal government not ten years ago created and funded a brand new office in the Health and Human Services Department specifically to coordinate preparation for and response to public health threats like Ebola. The woman who heads that office, and reports directly to the HHS secretary, has been mysteriously invisible from the public handling of this threat. And she’s still on the job even though three years ago she was embroiled in a huge scandal of funneling a major stream of funding to a company with ties to a Democratic donor—and away from a company that was developing a treatment now being used on Ebola patients.”
Culture of corruption.
OBAMACARE: SO GREAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT IT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. Obamacare website won’t reveal insurance costs for 2015 until after election; States with key Senate races face double-digit premium hikes.
LIFE IN OBAMA’S POST-RACIAL AMERICA: New dimensions in racial tensions. “Who’s zoomin’ who? Like a perpetrator following the advice of counsel, the Star Tribune still declines to answer. The Daily Mail must have had the story right. Native born black students are harassing Somali students, and apparently vice versa. . . . If white students were harassing Somali students, I believe that Star Tribune would (rightly) have the story, calling (wrongly) for indoctrination in the glories of ‘diversity.’ Indeed, I think that’s what set me off back in 1997. But why is the Star Tribune so shy? How are we to account for the Star Tribune’s continuing failure to report who is harassing whom at South High School? The Star Tribune is still too ‘tense’ about ‘race’ to get the important story under its nose straight for its readers.”
They’re just a bunch of uptight squares, hung up on outdated notions of propriety.
“THE PORTIONS OF MY RECORD THAT I CHOOSE TO SHARE ARE AN OPEN BOOK:” Grimes doubles down on refusal to talk about Obama vote.
PAUL RAHE: The CDC Loses Its Grip.
I have lived long enough, now, to have seen it again and again. Something goes badly wrong involving a corporation, a university, a religious denomination, or a branch of government, and the executive in charge or a designated minion goes before the press to engage in what is euphemistically called “damage control.” The spokesman does not level with the public. He or she tries to be reassuring and — more often than not — by lying, succeeds in undermining confidence in the institution he or she represents.
This is what is now going on with the Centers for Disease Control. In recent years, this well-respected outfit has branched out, opining in a politically correct manner on one issue after another outside its proper remit. Now it is faced with a matter absolutely central to its responsibilities — actual disease control — and it flips and flops and flounders because the ultimate boss, the President of the United States, cannot bring himself to put limits on contacts between Americans and the citizens of the countries in Africa where there is an Ebola epidemic.
If a problem can’t be solved by blaming Republicans, Obama can’t solve it.
The report notes that “Pandemic Preparedness funding through the GHP account totaled $50 million, a decrease of $22.5 million (-31%) below FY14.” Let’s stipulate two things. First, $50 million is both a lot of money and not a lot of money in terms of federal spending. I doubt anyone seriously thinks that spending more in the year to come would have stopped Ebola outbreaks that began in fiscal 2014.
Second, the requested decrease is in President Obama’s budget. Is he a Republican now?
If that’s what it takes to win, sure. Plus:
You can argue that the United States needs to be constantly and massively increasing its spending on everything and that every time spending doesn’t go up in a lockstep fashion (and faster than inflation, as it did throughout the Bush years) that you’re killing people. You can also argue that the topline budget figures for various agencies don’t matter, but then you’re really talking about the ways in which bureaucracies, especially in the budget sector, misallocate resources. The one thing you really can’t do is say that the federal government, which is not actually controlled by the Republicans (just saying), has been slashing its spending on anything.
Indeed. But if I were a House budgeteer, I’d take the CDC/NIH folks at their — conveniently coordinated with Democratic groups — word and shift funding from all the nanny-state diet/obesity/smoking programs over into infectious diseases. And dare them to complain.
If we were living on such thin ice that the difference between sequestration (the president’s idea, just saying) and non-sequestration is the difference between life and death or Ebola and health, we’re screwed anyway.
I can understand why Democrats are trying to turn the Ebola outbreak here and abroad into a campaign issue. But that sort of gambit is more likely to draw attention to the failure and incompetency of public health bureaucrats here and abroad. That’s probably not good for Democrats, given that they run the White House and the agencies in question.
Yeah, its funny that the GOP controls one half of one third of the government, but somehow everything bad is their fault.
NEW YORK OBSERVER: Sex, Lies, and . . . White House Counsel; Ruemmler Blunders Into Secret Service Mess: White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler lands on the short list for AG but USSS disaster might undo her ambitions. “A dozen Secret Service Agents and military personnel were fired over ‘Hookergate.’ But a young member of the advance team from the White House itself, Mr. Jonathan Dach, was protected by Ms. Ruemmler’s “investigation.” Just so happens that his father, Leslie Dach, was a significant donor to Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign, and a key figure in Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ wellness campaign.”
THE ONE PERSON WHO NEEDS TO BE SHAKEN UP WILL BE ON THE GOLF COURSE: Dems want White House shakeup.
President Obama needs to shake up his White House staff to give new life to his presidency, top Democratic strategists and former White House veterans say.
They argue Obama needs an infusion of talent if he hopes to recover over his final two years in office.
One prominent party strategist said Obama “should take a flamethrower to his office.”
“He needs dramatic change — it’s not even a debatable point,” the strategist said. “The general consensus that the president is surrounded by people who do him more harm than good because they are more focused on pleasing him than they are challenging him or proposing a different course.”
Obama has endured a brutal two years since his reelection, with a legislative agenda stalled and his approval ratings in the dumps.
On the midterm campaign trail, he’s mostly been persona non grata, with Democratic candidates wishing he’d stay away.
JAMES JAY CARAFANO: Obama’s Great Big Ebola Error. “The last time a president tried to make a disease a national-security issue, he helped trigger a global pandemic that killed 50 million people.”
A paradox haunts America’s first black president. African-American wealth has fallen further under Barack Obama than under any president since the Depression. Yet they are the only group that still gives him high ratings. So meagre is Mr Obama’s national approval rating that embattled Democrats have made him unwelcome in states that twice swept him to power. Those who have fared worst under Mr Obama are the ones who love him the most. You would be hard-pressed to find a better example of perception-driven politics. As the Reverend Kevin Johnson asked in 2013: “Why are we so loyal to a president who isn’t loyal to us?”
The problem has taken on new salience with the resignation of Eric Holder. America’s first black attorney-general has tried to correct the gulag-sized disparities in prison sentencing between blacks and whites. His exit leaves just two African-Americans in Mr Obama’s cabinet. Given the mood among Republicans, it is hard to imagine the US Senate confirming a successor to Mr Holder who shares his priorities.
Well, since those priorities are racial discrimination and protecting Obama from accountability, I can live with that.
Since 2009, median non-white household income has dropped by almost a 10th to $33,000 a year, according to the US Federal Reserve’s survey of consumer finances. As a whole, median incomes fell by 5 per cent. But by the more telling measure of net wealth – assets minus liabilities – the numbers offer a more troubling story.
The median non-white family today has a net worth of just $18,100 – almost a fifth lower than it was when Mr Obama took office. White median wealth, on the other hand, has inched up by 1 per cent to $142,000. In 2009, white households were seven times richer than their black counterparts. That gap is now eightfold. Both in relative and absolute terms, blacks are doing worse under Mr Obama.
But, thanks to carefully-cultivated racism, they don’t mind.
CANADIANS FIGURE OUT a Keystone End-Run.
STUFF LIKE THIS REVEALS A LOT ABOUT HOW LEFTIES ACTUALLY THINK: Dana Milbank: Why would GOP want Secret Service to protect Obama?
Remember all the Bush assassination-fantasies? They weren’t jokes.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI: Only American Ground Troops Can Defeat ISIS. Yeah, but that’s not Obama’s plan. His plan is to look like he’s kinda doing something until November, then let ISIS win.
IT’S POTEMKIN VILLAGES ALL THE WAY DOWN: Fact checking Mark Warner and a ‘completely made up’ Obamacare claim.
JUST LIKE OBAMA’S DID: De Blasio’s Transparency Is Turning Opaque Under Fire.
IT’S COME TO THIS: Jimmy Carter: Say, the Obama admin dropped the ball on Ebola, huh? “Carter told CBS Atlanta on Wednesday that the White House blew an opportunity to get ahead of Ebola when it had the chance, although he thinks we’ve caught up to it now. Or, more exactly, he thinks it’s under control in the US now, when just a few weeks ago the Obama administration had scoffed at the odds of Ebola appearing here at all.”
GEORGE WILL: Why Chris Christie Matters. “Americans often elect presidents who conspicuously lack the perceived defect of the preceding president (e.g., Jack Kennedy’s youth contrasting with Dwight Eisenhower’s age, Ronald Reagan’s strength correcting for Jimmy Carter’s weakness). Christie, who exudes executive authority, is the antithesis of today’s bewildered incumbent floundering from the disappearing red line regarding Syria, to the HealthCare.gov debacle, to the Veterans Affairs scandals, to the no-one-tells-me-anything surprise about the Islamic State, to the Secret Service that cannot lock the White House’s front door.”
Even visually — and this is a theory first proposed by the Insta-Daughter, I believe — Obama and Christie are opposites: A fat white guy from New Jersey vs. a skinny black guy from Hawaii.
“When I took office,” President Obama bragged last week, “the deficit was nearly 10 percent of our economy. Today, it’s approaching 3 percent.”
All true. And yet it’s worth putting the declining deficit in context, and remembering that, as a Senator, Obama probably would have been appalled by his current deficits.
The year’s deficit total, just shy of half a trillion dollars, represents a big drop from the $1.4 trillion peak it hit in Obama’s first term. (More than 40 percent of that reduction came as a result of tax hikes.) But the reduction only came following a massive 800 percent increase in annual deficits.
Notably, it’s still much higher than the typical deficits during the Bush years, which, you may recall, were worrisomely large—indeed, they were large enough that Obama, as a Senator in 2005, declared that “you don’t have to be a deficit hawk to be disturbed by the growing gap between revenues and expenses.” Between the 2006 and 2007 fiscal years, the deficit dropped from $248 billion to $160 billion.
The Bush-era deficit totals, far lower than his own second-term deficits, were “a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies.” Obama even opposed an increase in the nation’s debt limit.
But look where we are now: Not only are this year’s lowered deficits still much higher than the deficits he was worried about during his predecessor’s presidency, they are on track to skyrocket again.
That Senator Obama seemed like a sensible fellow. I wish he were President now.
ROGER SIMON: What Happens If Republicans Win? “It’s time for Republicans to give serious thought to what happens if they win the Senate and House this November, as it looks increasingly that they will. . . . Barack Obama is a man unaccustomed to losing. Life has been exceptionally kind to him, sailing, as he did, through balmy Oahu sunsets, college, law school and career on into the presidency with scarcely a bump. He has been a protected man beyond any in recent memory, feted and praised virtually everywhere he went until the last couple of years. Even now, despite catastrophe after catastrophe, there are acolytes who continue to celebrate him, paying tens of thousands merely to have their photographs taken with him. When such cosseted people are forced to confront failure, they typically do not do so with grace.”
MICHAEL BARONE: Democrats’ plight in Senate races revealed.
1. Obama job approval is well below 50 percent in all 14 of these states. In only one state, Michigan, is it above the 42 percent job approval Obama was registering Oct. 1 in the RealClearPolitics average, and it is only slightly higher. This is true even though Obama carried three of these states — Colorado, Iowa and Michigan — in 2008 and 2012, and another, North Carolina, in 2008.
2. None of the Democratic candidates, including the six incumbents, in these 14 states is polling at 50 percent or above. Only one, Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, is polling above 45 percent, and only two, Kay Hagan in North Carolina and nominal independent Greg Orman in Kansas, are polling at 45 percent. All others are below. Looking back over the past six Senate cycles going back to 2002, using data compiled by Dan McLaughlin at redstate.com, I found that only two incumbent senators who were polling below 45 percent at about this stage in the electoral cycle went on to win — Michael Bennet (chairman of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee this year) in Colorado in 2010 and Jon Tester in Montana in 2012. Bennet was an appointed senator then, not yet elected to a statewide office; both Bennet and Tester got under 50 percent of the vote and won with pluralities.
Read the whole thing.
KENTUCKY: Did Allison Lundergan Grimes Vote For Obama? She Won’t Say. Upside for her: Nowadays, she’s got a lot of company.
WAIT, DOESN’T THIS MAKE THEM RACIST OR SOMETHING? Dems Call For Obama To Ban Flights From Ebola Countries.
The lawmakers accused Obama of attempting to “pass the buck” onto organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), which have advised against travel bans. Obama has said he would not ban travel unless the WHO reversed its position.
“[The WHO] has no duty to protect the lives and well-being of Americans, as you do. Furthermore, it has utterly failed to stem the epidemic through its own action. The responsibility for this decision is yours, not theirs,” they wrote.
The three Democrats — Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) – are among the growing handful in their party who have publicly criticized the Obama administration’s response to Ebola.
THEY’RE LIKE LAWRENCE WELK FANS IN 1970: College Democrats Don’t Know That Obama Is No Longer Popular. Well, they’re learning.
QUANTIFIED: How Unpopular Is Barack Obama? More Unpopular Than You Think. “Outside of a handful of states–California (49/48), New York (50/47), Massachusetts (50/47), Maryland, which benefits from the D.C. boom (56/43)–the numbers are brutal. Even blue states like Minnesota (40/57) and Oregon (44/54) have had it with Obama. And in his last redoubts, California et al., Obama is not much more than breaking even.”
THE HILL: Cruz Rallies Kansas Conservatives. “Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) waded into the Kansas Senate race Thursday, touting beleaguered Republican incumbent Pat Roberts as the contest’s only true conservative. The conservative hero’s support is crucial as Roberts tries to energize his campaign and ward off a challenge from well-funded independent Greg Orman in a race that could jeopardize the GOP’s hopes of winning Senate control.”
Orman’s as much an “independent” as Bill Maher is. Plus: “Cruz noted that when he waged a 21-hour filibuster to protest ObamaCare last year, Roberts was one of only a handful of senators who came to the floor to support him.” I would have preferred Milt Wolf, but I think it’s important that Dems not control the Senate.
FASTER, PLEASE: Shale Boom Has America Sitting Pretty.
The shale revolution has quickly and completely remade America’s energy landscape, leaving us in a much stronger position, both economically and geopolitically, than where we found ourselves just a decade ago. . . .
Cheap energy is key for economic growth, and a glut of natural gas is leading to a kind of small renaissance in American manufacturing, especially in energy-intensive industries. More fracking means more gas, lower prices, and growth potential for firms that use that gas. And then there’s the geopolitical aspect of the shale boom. . . .
America is poised to become the world’s top liquid petroleum producer, supplanting perennial hydrocarbon powerhouses like Russia and Saudi Arabia. Where just a decade ago we were busy building liquified natural gas (LNG) import terminals, now we’re busy converting those facilities to handle exports, and the possibility of opening up crude exports has entered the American energy discussion.
By lessening our dependence on foreign sources of oil and gas, the shale boom has given us more options abroad, and in some cases, as is intimated in the NYT story, has given America more clout in diplomatic standoffs.
There’s an economic success story here, and a geopolitical one as well—and both come courtesy of fracking.
And both come without any assistance from — and in fact in the face of some opposition from — the Obama Administration. Imagine what a competent president could do.
PETER SUDERMAN ASKS THE QUESTION:
The details are complex, and the actual “misconduct”—hiring a prostitute in Colombia, where it’s legal to do so—is perhaps politically embarrassing but hardly misconduct at all, and certainly not the sort of thing likely to swing a not-very-close national election. And yet the administration apparently chose to delay findings and mislead the press about what happened anyway.
So the short version is this: The administration had evidence indicating that a young advance team member, who was also the child of a lobbyist-and-donor-turned-administration-staffer, was involved in a potentially embarrassing incident with a prostitute while serving as a member of the presidential advance team—and yet explicitly denied that this was the case, and also appears to have pressured independent investigators to delay and withhold evidence until after the election was over.
And the question the story raises is: If the White House was so determined to cover up this embarassing but relatively minor incident, what larger stories has the White House supressed or covered up that we don’t know about?
Well, the coverups we do know about — the IRS Scandal, Benghazi, etc. — are bad enough.
PETER WEHNER: The President’s Emotional State Bears Watching. “One of the more interesting political/psychological pastimes these days is to watch how President Obama deals with his crumbling presidency. The answer is: Not well. . . . It’s in front of his donors that his most authentic feelings seem to surface, and it’s clear he’s becoming increasingly isolated, embittered, and thin skinned. His excuse making is now chronic and habitual. He’s even displaying some signs of paranoia. Everyone is against him. Obama is becoming Nixonian.”
This need to protect women from even reading or hearing about the ills of society has become so pervasive that some colleges are including “trigger warnings” on class syllabi to caution students that they might be offended or feel uncomfortable about some of the subject matter.
Even more detrimental to women than telling them words can hurt is the recent feminist trend of giving them mixed signals about sexuality. Modern feminists are arguing that it is “slut-shaming” to suggest that women should avoid drunken sex, but they also are pushing colleges to adopt a definition of rape in which women under the heavy influence of alcohol cannot give consent.
The perceived need to coddle women is not exclusive to liberals. In July, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., told an audience of women that her male colleagues needed to bring the discussion “down to a woman’s level.” She meant that Republican men need to learn how to relate to women, but the implication was that women can’t understand things the way men can.
There are even bills in Congress codifying the new belief that women are delicate flowers who need help to succeed in this terrible, terrible country. These include equal-pay bills that don’t actually reduce the mythical wage gap but do serve to tell women they need help to become equal to menfolk; campus sex assault bills that tell women they can’t handle alcohol and that if they regret a drunken hookup they have been raped; and a slew of abortion bills claiming the procedure is about “women’s health.” . . .
This shift toward telling women they need help at every stage of their lives (remember the Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia”?) might raise funds for feminist causes or gain votes for politicians, but it’s not empowering. It’s infantilizing.
Women are fragile flowers who must be protected from all the stuff men deal with every day. Because equality!
ED MORRISSEY: Obama’s Dismal Performance Is His Personal Failure. “When George Bush asked for Rumsfeld’s resignation, it was because Bush had followed Rumsfeld’s advice, for better and worse, and knew a new direction was needed. Reagan asked chief of staff Donald Regan to resign during the Iran-Contra scandal because Reagan needed a new hatchet man to handle the crisis. A fresh team won’t have the same value in this case. As Panetta, Clinton, and Gates make clear in their memoirs, Obama wasn’t taking their advice anyway. It’s likely that he’s not listening to his current team any more than his previous team, except to the extent that they tell Obama what he wants to hear. The problem is, and has been, the man in the Oval Office.”
HEADS NEED TO ROLL FOR THIS STUFF, AND I’M NOT SURE I MEAN FIGURATIVELY: EPA tells court it may have lost text messages.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told a federal court that it may have lost the text messages at the center of a lawsuit by a libertarian think tank.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) sued the EPA last year in federal court to compel the release of text messages to and from Administrator Gina McCarthy and her predecessor under the Freedom of Information Act.
In the Tuesday filing to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Justice Department lawyers representing the EPA said the agency will soon file a notice that it may have misplaced records that it was legally required to retain.
“Defendant has decided to formally notify the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about the potential loss of federal records relating to text messages,” the lawyers told the court.
Once it files that notice the CEI’s claim will become moot, since the records do not exist, the agency said. Lawyers will ask the court for a hearing to dismiss the case.
They told me if we elected Barack Obama, government would turn into a criminal enterprise. And they were right!
LIKE SO MANY HAPPENINGS IN THIS ADMINISTRATION, IF YOU PUT THIS IN A NOVEL IT WOULD SEEM CRUDE AND UNREALISTIC: Obama slams billionaires at the home of a guy named Rich Richman. Who is . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . rich!
Unlike fiction, reality doesn’t have to be plausible. And boy howdy have we seen that these past few years. But this would be too heavy-handed for any editor:
Richman, who built his $10 billion company developing rental housing, lives in the Conyers Farm area, where the minimum lot size is 10 acres. Twenty-five donors paid $32,400 each to get their photo taken with the president. Others paid $10,000 for dinner.
While Obama was schmoozing — and the press pool was playing billiards in the basement — he was also soliciting donations for House Democrats in an e-mail.
“If Republicans win, we know who they’ll be fighting for,” Obama said. “Once again, the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.”
Obama arrived from New York City — where he had attended a fundraiser with hedge-fund billionaires George Soros and Paul Tudor Jones — in a convoy of four helicopters that landed at the Greenwich Polo Club.
But not too heavy-handed for reality.
WAIT, THE WHITE HOUSE LIED? Aides knew of possible White House link to Cartagena, Colombia, prostitution scandal. “As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved. But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged. . . . Office staffers who raised questions about a White House role said they were put on administrative leave as a punishment for doing so. Later, Edwards, the acting inspector general, resigned amid allegations of misconduct stemming in part from the dispute.”
Nobody tell Country Dick Montana.
THE REST EITHER AREN’T PAYING ATTENTION, OR ARE ON HIS PAYROLL: Poll: Most see Obama as a failure.
THE BRIDE AT EVERY WEDDING, THE CORPSE AT EVERY FUNERAL: The Atlantic: Why Would Obama Try To Make The Election About Himself?
UPDATE: Stephen Green in the comments: “Meh. To Democrats in tough races, Obama is practically the corpse at every wedding.”
ROGER SIMON: Midnight in Obama’s Garden of Good and Evil. “At its basis, the problem is cultural relativism, the tawdry mother philosophy of political correctness that suffused the academy when Obama was going to school and still does. Under CR, all cultures are equal, ours and the Islamic State. We are imperialist to think otherwise. Morality is a thing of the distant past, some artifact of St. Anselm or Maimonides. Not cool, even if it protects us from murdering each other.”
If morality is obsolete, then there’s no reason not to destroy the Islamic State and all its supporters, and to occupy them with mercenary troops recruited from Muslim-hating parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Right?
BUT NO TRAVEL LIMITATIONS: President Obama vows tough passenger screenings to stop the spread of Ebola.
I was talking to my mom the other night, and she remembered that back when I was a kid, they made her get a chest x-ray before they’d let her back in the the US after a year in Germany. They made us all get re-vaccinated for smallpox, too. And some English friends traveling to Harvard had to spend most of a day at the airport because one of their kids couldn’t prove vaccination. Nowadays, the travel restrictions seem a lot laxer, even as the disease threats are worse.
We’ve heard that before.
MATT WELCH ON THE DECLINE OF THE OBAMA DREAM:
If you want to trace the downward trajectory of the dreams that liberals pinned on the enigmatic figure of Barack Obama, look no further than the presidential histories and political dramas through which they have filtered their understanding of his meteoric rise and drip-by-drip fall in popularity. . . .
The ensuing presidency, and the last six years of American political life, have been so desultory that it’s almost hard to remember how ubiquitous the now-laughable Lincoln comparison once was. Take this Washington Post analysis after the 2008 election: “He was a boy with a distant father, raised in a family of modest means. He had a curious intellect, devouring history and memorizing passages from Shakespeare. He became a lawyer and settled in Illinois, where he was elected to the state legislature. With relatively little political experience, he decided to run for president. Few believed he stood a chance of winning a primary campaign against the party’s heir apparent, a senator from New York. But the gangly, bookish Illinoisan galvanized millions across a country in crisis with his soaring rhetoric, speaking in big strokes about transcending partisan politics and creating America as it ought to be. He rose from obscurity to clinch his party’s nomination and the presidency. Sound familiar?”
Someone needs to do an updated edition of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
FEELING THE HOPE AND CHANGE: Obama Booed During PSA at Michigan State Football Game; Jeers reportedly started in student section.
JOHN HINDERAKER: Diversity And Self-Knowledge At The New York Times. Well, to be fair, the Times editorial board is as diverse as an Obama campaign headquarters. But remember: All this talk of tolerance and diversity is basically just a way for one group of white people to pursue power over other groups of white people. It’s not about actually helping anyone.
Besides, everybody knows if you want real diversity, you got to a Tea Party rally. The chicks are hotter, too.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CLUE? Leading Democrat: Obama Is Disconnected from His Own Government. “They keep getting surprised by stuff. And the surprise is almost worse than anything else. It conveys the sense that the White House doesn’t know what its own government is doing. You can’t prevent all these problems from happening, but you can certainly get ahead of the curve on some of them.”
POLITICO: Liberal doves run as war hawks.
Democrat Kay Hagan didn’t mince words about the Iraq War during her 2008 Senate campaign against Republican Elizabeth Dole.
“We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way,” Hagan declared in May of that year. “We need to elect leaders who don’t invade countries without planning and stay there without an end.”
Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she’s more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she’s been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.
“This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation,” she said this month.
A host of Democratic Senate hopefuls who rode anti-war sentiment into office in the past decade are running for reelection now as hawks, staking out hard-line positions on the latest upheaval in the Middle East.
Whatever works. The election is less than a month away.
JOHN HINDERAKER: Is Another Obama Administration Scandal About to Explode? “There are three possibilities here: either Goolsbee just made up the claim that Koch Industries doesn’t pay corporate income taxes; or he learned Koch’s tax status from some proper, legal source; or else he illegally accessed Koch’s tax returns and used the information he learned for political purposes in a call with reporters. Koch immediately objected to Goolsbee’s statement and requested an explanation. In response, Goolsbee has never come up with a coherent account of where he got the information that he passed on to the press. . . . The wheels of justice, as they say, grind slowly. As with other Obama administration scandals, Barack’s effort is to run out the clock. It may be that by the time we learn the full extent of the Obama administration’s lawlessness, the administration will be over. But the remaining options are not good: either Austan Goolsbee, a senior adviser to Obama, made up a smear of Koch Industries out of whole cloth, or else Obama’s IRS allowed the White House illegal access to confidential taxpayer data for political purposes. That’s a crime for which at least two people should go to jail.”