Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Prelude

September 19th, 2013 - 3:38 pm

Just how much fight is left in Barack Obama?

Various actors, ranging from Benjamin Netanyahu, the Republican Party, Vladimir Putin and Iran are trying to decide how much they can risk against a weakened President. In each case their dilemmas take the form of how hard to press. Or in Netanyahu’s case, how much can he still trust the man who promised the Jewish lobby he would take care of Israel.

The Washington Examiner looks at the GOP debate over fighting Obamacare. Some conservatives want to defund Obamacare.  But some, like Ted Cruz, don’t think they have the votes to do it.  Obama has drawn a hard line against even negotiating with Republicans on Obamacare or even the debt ceiling, leading to the threat of a government shutdown, which the Democrats believe will work in their favor.

The liberals believe that the critics will shut up and join them at the trough. The New York Times described the lucrative careers of lawyers who crafted the labyrinthine piece of legislation and are now advising insurance companies on ways around its byzantine toils. “Washington’s health care revolving door is spinning fast as the new online health insurance marketplaces, a central provision of President Obama’s health care law, are set to open Oct. 1. Those who had a hand in the law’s passage are now finding lucrative work in the private sector, as businesses try to understand the complex measure, reshape it by pressing for regulatory changes — or profit from it.”

That means boom times for what might be called an Obamacare cottage industry, providing work for dozens of former administration and mostly Democratic Congressional officials whose immersion in health policy minutiae, and friendships, make them invaluable to private business.

The ultimate Democratic Party defense has been to stop the mouths of their critics with gold. But gold has been running short lately just as it has been doing in every Blue setting. For the GOP the question is whether to retreat before the Obama machine or risk fighting it; in other words whether to keep playing the game or wait for a new deck of cards to be shuffled.

But if Obama was reluctant to negotiate with American conservatives, he was falling all over himself to make a deal with Iran. Although the Telegraph says Obama claims Iran reached out to Washington for a nuclear deal it now appears the reverse is true.

Buzzfeed reports that the Sultan of Oman hand carried a letter from Obama to Iran. “The White House asked Sultan Qaboos of Oman if he would deliver the letter”, a process which the NYT charmingly describes as a ‘finding a penpal’. The NYT says, “this week, Mr. Obama indicated that he might finally have found a pen pal in Tehran.”

Reuters reports that Obama reflected, or perhaps took a 45 minute walk alone with his phone and decided that “the U.S. is ready to resolve the nuclear issue in a way that allows Iran to demonstrate that its nuclear program is for exclusively peaceful purposes.”  That wording does not inspire confidence. You can probably guess what that means and so too can Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is heading for Washington on Sept 30 “for talks expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear program”, ostensibly to plead for more pressure on Iran.

“In a week and a half, I will go to the United Nations General Assembly, and before that I will meet with President Obama. I intend to focus on stopping Iranian nuclear program. Really stopping the nuclear program,” Netanyahu said at a cabinet meeting Tuesday.

The prime minister presented four criteria for doing so: ”1. Halting all uranium enrichment; 2. Removing all enriched uranium; 3. Closing [the Fordo enrichment facility at] Qom; and 4. Stopping the plutonium track.”

Netanyahu is evidently trying to draw lines which he hopes Obama won’t cross. The danger for Israel is that Obama, having thrown away the Syria card respecting Iran, will now fold like a cheap suit and offer Teheran a free hand in exchange for a meaningless promise not weaponize their fissile material backed by some “United Nations” guarantee.

But if the Republicans and Israelis are still showing respect Obama, al-Qaeda by contrast is openly trying to take over the leadership of the Syrian rebellion against Assad. With campaign “Expunging Filth”, al-Qaeda launched an offensive against “the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army”. Al-Qaeda is killing anyone foolish enough to have trusted Obama in Syria.  Time adds “a Syrian town on the border with Turkey has been captured from the Free Syrian Army—not by forces loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but by Islamist rebels backed by al-Qaeda. The violent takeover of the town has laid bare the deep rifts that plague the movement to oust Assad.”

It also lays bare the conviction that Obama will not respond in any meaningful way. It is a belief apparently shared in the Pentagon. The Washington Post ran an amazing piece say that the US military leadership is angry about being used in a meaningless and shambolic way.

The prospect of a new U.S. military intervention in the Middle East elicited grumbling from a war-weary generation of senior commanders and veterans who share similar reservations to those voiced by the former defense secretaries. Their reluctance was informed by lingering distrust over the administration’s handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have been wound down in ways that have left many in uniform feeling apprehensive, if not bitter.

But there was also trepidation about a White House that many career military officers say has monopolized decision-making in a tight circle dominated by civilians and that often deliberates endlessly, seemingly unwilling or unable to formulate decisive policies.

A cynical observer might be led to believe that Obama has embarked on a policy of appeasement abroad to buy him the resources to expand his power domestically. The Washington Times noted that in Obama’s most disastrous foreign policy week “TIME puts Vladimir Putin on its front cover everywhere but America”.

The most recent cover of TIME Magazine features a photo of him on its front cover, alongside the caption — rewritten with caps removed — “America’s weak and waffling. Russia’s rich and resurgent — and its leader doesn’t care what anybody thinks of him.”

This cover is only being published in TIME’s international editions, though. Here in the United States, a football player replaces Putin. Instead of the latter’s success, a story about compensating college athletes is the top story.

Local Hero, Global Zero

Local Hero, Global Zero

This indicates where Obama intends to win. The rest of the world can see the truth. They don’t vote early and often. But the low-information base must be fed a steady diet of celebrity news, sports stories and puff-pieces to keep their mental world just as it was in 2008, “stuck on stupid” — when the LightBringer had a firm grip on the ocean levels and all was well with the future world that never came.

In reality things have not worked out too well for Barack Obama.  His administration is now rotten to its core, unable to face enemies abroad, incapable of tapering the money machine, yet unwilling to yield the slightest ground on the Obamacare racket because that’s what he needs to buy off his critics and pay off his supporters. The question facing the other political players, ranging from Israel, Russia, Iran or the GOP is how much longer Obama can continue and get away with it.

While the administration has abandoned the field of foreign policy, it still believes it can hold its domestic forts. But things may be different this time. Obama’s bombs have cratered the political landscape. They have weakened both his minions in the Democratic Party and his reliable interlocutors in the Republican Party. The withdrawal of the Summers nomination and the shrinking stature of John McCain are both indicators that the old coalition ain’t what it used to be.  Obama’s domestic position is probably weaker than it once was.  The next few weeks will see it tested and the results should be interesting to watch.

Andy McCarthy is betting “he’ll cave” if the Republicans defund Obamacare. “His political position is untenable, even with the media carrying his water. He will be grinding things to a halt to force Obamacare on the public even though he himself has slashed Obamacare for the benefit of big business and members of Congress.” McCarthy may be right, but the question is whether the Republicans will have the guts to try it. That is not a given.


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   

Re: zxnrbl,
Who clicked "Like" on this? The cave in to please the Independents argument is false. The Independents do not want the GOP to be mediocre copies of the Democrats. They also do not want the GOP to be extremists in the sense of revolutionary ideologues. What do they want? My suggestion is that they want Conservatives to offer the choice of conserving and restoring identified marks of success.

The Democrats use media to drive false panics implying that everything is terrible and the past was worse. If the GOP accepts the premise then why should anyone choose them? Errors in the past or injustices in the present should be acknowledged but responsibility for them, which the Democrats through the MSM and education monopoly assign to the GOP, must be aggressively and vocally constantly reassigned to the Democrats. Slavery and a host of other evils were their fault and not ours. The successes of the past, military cultural moral and economic, must be even more vigorously championed as worth retrieving. The current policies that leads to failure are the radical innovations that the public can reject in favor of the security that they would naturally prefer to restore.

Pardon my uncharacteristic feeding of what is most likely a troll but I felt the point worth making.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama will not give an inch on domestic policy. Why should he?

Anything he gives up alienates his base, which is his only support (and therefore his only concern). He has no problem forcing a government shutdown. The GOP WILL NOT be able to simply whistle through a prolonged government shutdown without alienating the "independent" voters they need to win elections.

Obama wants NOTHING BETTER than to recover the Democrat majority in the House of Representatives. He wants the GOP to tighten the rope around their necks politically by an inane show of bravado just before the mid-term election.

I suppose all the oh-so-savvy commenters here at BC would be just happy as peaches if Nancy Pelosi became Speaker again courtesy of some government shutdown occasioned by inane GOP grandstanding over an issue they have no hope in Hades of winning ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
======quote==============
A cynical observer might be led to believe that Obama has embarked on a policy of appeasement abroad to buy him the resources to expand his power domestically. The Washington Times noted that in Obama’s most disastrous foreign policy week “TIME puts Vladimir Putin on its front cover everywhere but America”.
=========end quote==============

Absolutely true, with the protection of the State controlled media who share the same goals.

========quote==============
For the GOP the question is whether to retreat before the Obama machine
========end quote===========

No need for the "or risk fighting it"; because that was never really in play. They have been forced to put up a show of a fight, but ultimate goal for the Institutional GOP is capitulation, if they can somehow get away with it.

Why does Buraq Hussein yield easily to our foreign enemies, constantly betray our allies, and refuse to even speak with any domestic political force not under his control?

It is because he has much more in common with our country's enemies, in that he hates this country and its allies; and he has nothing but contempt for everything American. No matter how much McConnell, Boehner, and the powers behind the throne in the Institutional Republican Party long for the lash, it will never be enough.

How much fight? Against Russia, China, Iran, Al Quada, and the Muslim Brotherhood, none at all. Against anything that stands against his drive for total dictatorial power domestically; he will bring the columns of the Temple down around his own ears rather than yield an iota of legitimacy to anyone but himself.

Israel is on its own, and I hope that it acts in its own interest. To place itself at any risk for the sake of our current regime would be suicide.

Noting the repeated suspicions that Buraq Hussein suffers [OK, he actually enjoys it] from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, when opposed there is a strong possibility of striking out blindly. He is not stupid enough to strike in the direction of our foreign enemies. He will strike to harm this country's core.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (54)
All Comments   (54)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Shut the Federal government down. Let it perform essential services only. Using the IRS as a political hammer is not an essential service.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just how much fight is left in Barack Obama?
Against whom? America, or America's enemies?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
imho if the pubbies can drag out the obamacare fight until the supreme court takes up another court challenge of Obamacare in November or December--then the chances of Roberts flipping in favor of declaring the Obamacare unconstitutional increase substantially. ... why?... because he will have a lot more political cover this year than last. Even if Elena Kagan again tells Obama everything the court is doing in real time-- Obama will be too weakened to Mau Mau Roberts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If Obamacare is defunded, then no matter what Obama does or doesn't do--the main legacy of his presidency on which future democrats will run--will be that he saw the US through the greatest depression since Roosevelt took over from Hoover....and brought the US back to a robust economy and a balanced budget.

And not a single piece of the great recovery will Obama have had any part of. In fact, everything will have happened successfully despite Obama's best efforts to thwart it.

Won't matter. The balanced federal budget of the 90's came because of the stock market rise and Newt efforts to limit government spending. Nevertheless, Newt was smeared and Clinton got the credit for the balanced budget. It has become his legacy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" will be that he saw the US through the greatest depression since Roosevelt took over from Hoover....and brought the US back to a robust economy and a balanced budget. "

He may *try* to take credit for seeing us through the 2nd Great Depression [and it is that by the measurements taught to me shortly after we chased the Mastodons off the campus of the University of Colorado], but unless there is some real sign of us actually getting through that Depression, it will be hard to make the claim stick. If he follows the Constitution and leaves office in January 2017 [a dubious prospect] there is not time for it to bottom out and start to pull up, let alone recover. Economically, we are teetering on the tightrope; and Obama is still trying to cut it.

If he stays, there are other matters that will have to be dealt with that will push the economy to the background.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Righto, Clinton raised taxes (a tiny bit) and then took credit for a balanced budget, because of the stock market and other economic factors, mainly the Internet Bubble and Greenspan's version of QE - which was microscopic compared to Bernanke's, oh we were so young and innocent then.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
roughcoat said: John Boehner says he's on board with defunding ObamaCare. Did hell just freeze over? Is the Second Coming at Hand? Did the Speaker suddenly grow pair? Are we starting to turn a corner?

I dunno. Maybe it's his evil twin.

But the Republicans still need someone to take PERSONAL affront at the crap spewed by Obambus and Pelosi. "This is absurd. This is insulting, to me, to the offices they hold, to the traditions of American politics, and to every good American voter. I demand an apology, to me, to my party, and to the American people." For starters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Where are the men (or people, I should say) of courage when you need them. Military people risk life & limb everyday, and the GOP can't stand on hind legs for fear of loosing a job? I wish I sounded a bit more like Patton, about now - you let a convoy get held up and strafed because of a couple of jackasses?

Our focus should be on saving the nation, not on winning the next election. If this country injects the heroine of socialized medicine in it's veins, there will be no prevention of decline or our great nation short of some great calamity causing apocalyptic upheaval.

Regardless of past experience, a shut down of government over funding will be owned entirely and wholly by the Democrats.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If this country injects the heroine of socialized medicine in it's veins"

You mean Hillary?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
John Boehner says he's on board with defunding ObamaCare.

Did hell just freeze over? Is the Second Coming at Hand? Did the Speaker suddenly grow pair?

Are we starting to turn a corner?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I suspect that a critical mass of dissent, willing to try to work around him, has become a serious prospect. And he may be realizing that he has run against the limits of the bait and switch and has to make a pretense of fighting. From that point of view, a loss he can blame those nasty conservatives for is better than winning. He did not want to try to defund Obamacare, he wanted to collaborate on the Continuing Resolution, so that he could go on to collaborate on the Debt Ceiling.

He is surely not a happy camper. And he will just as surely stab the country in the back in order to get back to his comfort zone. After all, if he does not, those NSA files may come out. So trusting him is not wise.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
(My alternative response to Karl Rove).

Cruz's right . . . absolutely right. We gotta take these (you know the word). Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!

We, Republicans, are just the guys to do it.

Let's do it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Damn right! It matters not to win or lose, but how we gamed the play!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Subotai: "He [Soetero] is not stupid enough to strike in the direction of our foreign enemies. He will strike to harm this country's core."

Absolutely! But what about those "foreign enemies", who know they are safe from the Wrath of Hussein? While Barry is polluting the well from which he himself drinks, are other actors simply going to stand back & twiddle thumbs?

The human beings who stand to be collateral damage from Soetero's animus against the US are probably for the most part not US citizens. E.g. Argentina may decide now is a good time to reclaim the Malvinas from English colonialists, or Russia may decide that this is the day the Baltic states should be re-integrated into the "motherland". The EUnuchs are powerless to do anything except issue empty words. Without the US as the ultimate guarantor of decency, we are back to the Law of the Jungle.

US citizens are more likely to be harmed economically than physically by Barry's anti-Americanism. Eventually, exporters to the US will decide that they are not willing to trade real goods & services for BarryBucks. Actually, that damage is already occurring, but it won't get noticed by the Chattering Classes until the denial of imports hits the "Symbolic Analysts".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Misfortune comes on horseback and goes away on foot."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Karl Rove is the perfect inverse barometer of reasoned conservative political strategy. When he writes, “any strategy to repeal, delay or replace the law must have a credible chance of succeeding or affecting broad public opinion positively. . . The defunding strategy doesn't. Going down that road would strengthen the president while alienating independents. It is an ill-conceived tactic, and Republicans should reject it”, it tells anyone who is listening that Cruz/Lee are on the right track.

And then there is this from Glenn Reynolds: “I think the GOP can win even by losing, forcing vulnerable Democrats to vote in favor of ObamaCare, which is even less popular than it was when it was rammed through.”

Could it be any simpler?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama was seriously weakened by his bungling of the Syrian matter. Only brain damaged Leftists like Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Drum think Obama is competent. Obama's average approval rating at Real Clear Politics is 44.1% versus 50.6% disapproval. His record high disapproval rating was 51.3%. Politically, Obama is now damaged goods.

Popular wisdom as expressed by the Obama's sycophants in the MSM is that blocking Obamacare through defunding would only damage the Republicans. However it is quite possible that Obama would receive equal or greater political damage. Also, LeftNoMore has correctly mentioned that Senate Democrats voting in favor of ObamaCare would make themselves more vulnerable. If the Republicans win the Senate in 2014 then they could repeal ObamaCare and force a veto from Obama. That would further damage Obama's credibility. Who knows, if the Republicans controlled the Senate and Obama's disapproval rate was over 70% then impeachment followed by Senate conviction becomes possible. Impeaching Obama would hammer a stake through the heart of American socialism and further damage the credibility of the MSM.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For almost eight decades American presidents bestrode the world. Names like Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, the Bushes and Clinton spoke with authority because of the unparalleled military and economic power of the United States. It took Obama only six years to completely erase eight decades of American hegemony. Presidents, Prime Ministers and potentates everywhere have always had shadow cabinets. The United States of Obama may be the first to have a shadow president.

Where once the giants strode the globe
With sceptered mace and purple robe
With Kissingers for acolytes
The country slept well through the nights
But now poor Barry sits in gloom
Still the smartest in the room
How could he not, for it’s his call
The room has Kerry, Rice et al
With Hagel, Biden standing by
Watch undismayed the country die
Dim shadows all of giants past
The days go slow but years go fast
And so we come now to the end
The cliff is looming round the bend
Yet gods still walk the city walls
And long before the country falls
The strong return to save the day
And Barry’s shadows swept away

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
in rhyme and meter so like "Lepanto"
your chestertonian "Le 'pantsed' O"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 Next View All