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DISTURBING BIT OF TRIVIA: IN 2003 INTERVIEW, JAMES COMEY ADMITTED TO VOTING COMMUNIST IN THE ’70s – JUST LIKE BRENNAN.

The author, Chris Smith, wrote that, “Comey has been savaged by William Safire and lauded by Chuck Schumer; just what kind of Republican is he, anyway?”

Comey apparently howled with laughter.

He explained, “In college, I was left of center, and through a gradual process I found myself more comfortable with a lot of the ideas and approaches the Republicans were using.” He voted for Carter in 1980, but in ’84, “I voted for Reagan—I’d moved from Communist to whatever I am now. I’m not even sure how to characterize myself politically. Maybe at some point, I’ll have to figure it out.”

Perhaps his “gradual” move away from communism had something to do with his chosen career path. It may have dawned on him that communist leanings might be a serious disqualifier when one is hoping for a career in government law enforcement, especially during the Cold War.

It shouldn’t really surprise that Obama would nominate former communists to two of the most important offices in the U.S. government. Underneath it all, Obama really is a socialist – who surrounded himself with other socialists like Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Speaking of Obama, his former vice president is prepared to move even further left: “Joe Biden breaks with Obama in moving to left,” claims The Hill today.

Further left than the man who prompted Newsweek to blare on its cover shortly after his inauguration that “We Are All Socialists Now?” What could go wrong?

UPDATE: According to this “fact check” site, this post is wrong because Comey was calling Jimmy Carter a Communist. Their evidence is . . . the very quote reproduced verbatim above.

WELL, MAYBE THIS WON’T HURT JOE THAT BADLY. AFTER ALL, DICK CHENEY WAS IN FAVOR OF GAY RIGHTS LONG BEFORE BARACK OBAMA OR HILLARY CLINTON. Joe Biden faces backlash over resurfaced 2015 video of him praising Dick Cheney: ‘He is a decent man.’

REMEMBERING JOHN MCCAIN: “John taught us how to lose.”

Going back four decades, starting with the 1980 election, 15 men and women have been nominated for president by our two major parties. Until now, only one of them had left us — Ronald Reagan, born in 1911, who announced his withdrawal from public life in 1994, a quarter-century ago.

Four of these nominees are now past 90 and two more, including McCain, passed 80; seven passed the 70 mark in recent years, and just one, Barack Obama, is under 65. We’re used to having them around. In contrast, 40 years ago there were only five living presidential nominees, Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon, plus landslide losers George McGovern and Barry Goldwater.

John McCain does not belong in landslide loser territory. His loss by 7 points to Barack Obama in 2008 was the widest margin since 1988, but his 45.6 percent of the popular vote was just slightly under President Trump’s 45.9. The difference in the result was that Hillary Clinton ran 5 points behind Obama.

“John taught us how to lose,” his friend and colleague Lindsey Graham said on the Senate floor Tuesday. He was referring especially to McCain’s gracious concession speech on Election Night 2008, rallying Americans to support the first black president. This was indeed a national service, one Hillary Clinton failed to provide eight years later.

Indeed.

JOEL KOTKIN: Democrats Are Helping Trump Win Re-Election. “In their anti-Trump fervor, the Democrats have embraced leftist positions that weaken their prospects in 2018 and, perhaps even more so, beyond. This leftward shift was evident in scores of elections around the country as well as here in California where the party endorsed climate activist and open-borders advocate Kevin De Leon over longtime centrist, and still heavily favored, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The lurch to the left could become particularly problematic if the economy, always a big if, holds up. Right now almost two-thirds of voters think the economy is in good shape, according to a recent YouGov poll. To be sure, Trump’s approval ratings are not great, but not much worse than those at the same stage of their presidencies as Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, all but one of which was re-elected to second term.”

UNPOSSIBLE, HE USES NONE OF THE APPROVED STOCK PHRASES: Roger Simon: Trump Vastly Better than Obama at Foreign Policy.

Now that we have learned CIA director and secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jung-un over Easter, it is time to acknowledge the obvious: the foreign policy of political novice Donald Trump has been vastly more successful that that of the supposedly experienced Barack Obama.

And vastly is an understatement. Obama’s foreign policy was a disaster, beginning with the peculiar apology tour that mystified much of its Middle Eastern audience, through the yet more peculiar (misspelled) reset button with Russia that further mystified Sergei Lavrov, on to Obama’s overheard whisper to Medvedev telling Putin he would be more accommodating on missile defense after the election (imagine the apoplectic reaction of our media if Trump did that!) to the Libyan war leading to the assassination of Qaddafi (the only Arab leader to voluntarily denuclearize) that created a failed state and a raft of refugees to Italy and elsewhere, and, of course, the rapid exit from Iraq that gave rise to ISIS.

And this omits the equally egregious examples – the failure to enforce the red line on Assad’s use of chemical weapons, about which he naively believed Putin, and the never-signed, never published Iran Deal itself, which has done nothing but enrich the mullahs who wreak havoc from Venezuela to Yemen. This duplicitous and unverifiable non-agreement prolonged the monstrous Syrian civil war, causing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II and changing the character of Europe possibly forever.

There’s more but you get the point. Not even Jimmy Carter had that bad a record. And this is without Obama’s sickening lack of response to the freedom demonstrators in Iran. (“Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?” Well, we know.)

And Trump?

To begin with, there’s the near-annihilation of ISIS. Then there’s the renewed alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States without, miracle of miracles, the ostracism of Israel. Indeed, while announcing the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem (with little protest by ME standards), the Israeli-Saudi alliance has flourished. Does this mean an solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem is imminent? Probably not. But at least the decades of moribund unchanging policy since Oslo have finally been bypassed and new perspectives made possible.

Read the whole thing.

WEIRD, POLITICO HAD A SIMILAR PIECE THE OTHER DAY: TNR: How Trump Wins Re-Election.

Internal polling by the Democratic group Priorities USA showed the president’s approval rating had climbed to 44 percent in early February, which “mirrors Trump’s improving position in public polls.” Gallup finds a narrow majority of Americans support his handling of the economy, and the new Republican tax law is getting more popular.

“I think people just kind of assume he’s a goner,” FiveThirtyEight statistician Nate Silver told me recently, “but look, he’s now more in a range where presidents have recovered to win reelection. His approval rating is up to 41 or 42 percent in our tracking. That verges on being a normal number that resembles what happened to Reagan or Clinton or Obama in their second years.” (Silver noted over the weekend that Trump dipped to 39 percent in their tracking.) As Jim Messina, who managed President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012, warned earlier this month, “Donald Trump can absolutely be reelected.” . . .

“If you had the election literally today, I think Trump would be an underdog in the popular vote, but I don’t know about the electoral college,” FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver told me. “He’s coming from a low point where he had, approval ratings wise, by far the worst first year of any president. But he’s kind of reverting to some mean, in a way, and the mean is how, on average, incumbent presidents get reelected. You know, on average incumbent presidents are having a rough time two years in and their parties suffer anywhere between mild and humongous loses in the midterms, but the baseline case is that incumbent presidents usually win.”

Interesting to see the conventional wisdom shifting. Plus:

Lichtman said the only variable that Democrats can control in the 2020 election is whether they nominate a charismatic candidate. He noted that the party’s past three presidents—Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter—were all elected as “young unknowns,” which does not describe the top likely candidates to run against Trump in 2020: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. “The Democratic Party increasingly is looking like a nursing home,” Sabato said.

But don’t get cocky, kids.

DON’T GET COCKY: Trump Makes Quick Work of Re-Election Fundraising. “President and his super PAC appeal to supporters big and small to build massive war chest—faster than any prior White House occupant.”

In the past year, Mr. Trump has appealed to supporters big and small to build up a re-election war chest, held nine political rallies in states he won in 2016 and aired campaign-sponsored television commercials to promote his policy agenda. He has also embraced the political action committees and major donors he once called a scourge on governing.

Mr. Trump’s campaign and an outside group that backs him collected more than $73 million last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings and interviews with officials at America First, a part-super PAC, part-nonprofit group that routinely meets with Mr. Trump and top White House officials to discuss political strategy. The campaign’s $43 million haul is four times what President Barack Obama raised in his first two years in office, a period when he wasn’t actively fundraising.

Indeed, no president who has served under modern campaign finance laws that date back to President Jimmy Carter has held a re-election fundraiser before entering his third year in office, said Brendan Doherty, an associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy who has researched presidential campaigning. Mr. Trump had eight in his first year.

If Trump continues to deliver on jobs and wage increases to Rust Belt and Midwest Obama-to-Trump voters, that warchest will be overkill.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a little overkill.

TRUMP VERSUS THE DEEP REGULATORY STATE: Unfortunately the Wall Street Journal op-ed by Christopher DeMuth is behind the pay wall. But it’s a fine essay and worth quoting at length.

Federal regulation has been growing mightily since the early 1970s, powered by statutes that delegate Congress’s lawmaking authority to mission-driven executive agencies. Beginning in 2008, the executive state achieved autonomy. The Bush administration during the financial crisis, and the Obama administration in normal times, decreed major policies on their own, without congressional authorization and sometimes even in defiance of statutory law.

President Trump might have been expected to continue the trend. As a candidate, he had railed against imperious Washington and promised to clear regulatory impediments to energy development and job creation. Yet he also was an avid protectionist, sounded sometimes like an antitrust populist, and had little to say about regulatory programs like those of the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration. He was contemptuous of Congress and admiring of President Obama’s unilateral methods. Clearly, this was to be a results-oriented, personality-centered presidency.

The record so far has been radically different. With some exceptions (such as business as usual on ethanol), and putting aside a few heavy-handed tweets (such as raising the idea of revoking broadcast licenses from purveyors of “fake news”), President Trump has proved to be a full-spectrum deregulator. His administration has been punctilious about the institutional prerogatives of Congress and the courts. Today there is a serious prospect of restoring the constitutional status quo ante and reversing what seemed to be an inexorable regulatory expansion…

The essay goes on to say Trump has appointed qualified, reform-oriented agency leaders (a first indicator that he’s serious). He has turned away from “unilateral lawmaking” (a second indicator). Unilateral lawmaking is a diplomatic term for Obama’s questionable or blatantly unconstitutional executive orders (like spending “billions without a congressional appropriation to subsidize insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges”).

Finally:

A third indicator is the introduction of regulatory budgeting, which sounds tedious but is potentially revolutionary. The idea goes back to the late 1970s, when the new health, safety and environmental agencies were first issuing rules that required private businesses and individuals to spend tens of millions of dollars or more. It seemed anomalous that this should be free of the disciplines of taxing, appropriating and budgeting that applied to direct expenditures. Jimmy Carter’s commerce secretary, Juanita Kreps, proposed a regulatory budget as a good-government measure; Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D., Texas) introduced legislation; and several academics (myself included) worked out the theory and practicalities in congressional reports and journal articles.

The idea never went anywhere.

Well, it never went anywhere until now.

DAVID GELERNTER ON THE FAILURE OF THE “CONSERVATIVE RESISTANCE:”

Conservative thinkers should recall that they helped create President Trump. They never blasted President Obama as he deserved. Mr. Obama’s policies punished the economy and made the country and its international standing worse year by year; his patronizing arrogance drove people crazy. He was the perfect embodiment of a one-term president. The tea-party outbreak of 2009-10 made it clear where he was headed. History will record that the press saved him. Naturally the mainstream press loved him, but too many conservative commentators never felt equal to taking him on. They had every reason to point out repeatedly that Mr. Obama was the worst president since Jimmy Carter, surrounded by a left-wing cabinet and advisers, hostile to Israel, crazed regarding Iran, and even less competent to deal with the issues than Mr. Carter was—which is saying plenty.

But they didn’t say plenty. They didn’t say much at all. The rank and file noticed and got mad. Even their supposed champions didn’t grasp what life under Mr. Obama was like—a man who was wrecking the economy while preaching little sermons, whose subtext was always how smart he was, how dumb they were, and how America was full of racist clods, dangerous cops and infantile nuts who would go crazy if they even heard the words “Islamic terrorism.” So the rank and file was deeply angry and elected Mr. Trump.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. They’d rather see the country collapse than risk being called a racist by Rachel Maddow. “Country over party” indeed. But Trump has brought along his own people, who are doing a lot better at engaging the left than the Bill Kristol/David Frum beltway types. As I wrote:

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racist, denounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared “I’m not a fan of this movement.” After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

But if you don’t like Trump, you really won’t like what comes after Trump, if the “resistance” succeeds. Luckily for Trump, the resistance seems mostly to be a bunch of self-important clowns and Antifa thugs.

OBAMA WASTING NO TIME SETTLING INTO THE HECTORING JIMMY CARTER PHASE OF HIS POST-PRESIDENCY:

Obama now lecturing America on food waste and eating meat, gets fact-checked by his former chef.

Barack Obama Jets to Milan to Deliver Climate Change Speech, says there that Climate Change ‘Created by Man’ and ‘Can Be Solved.

Crucial for Americans to Resist ‘Hate,’ Obama Says in Rare Address.

That last item is pretty rich coming from a guy who before his last State of the Union address, met with a rapper who featured an illustration of a gang posing with a recently murdered judge in front of the White House on his then-most recent album.

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Barack Obama Is Using His Presidency to Cash In, But Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter Refused.

Another argument for my revolving-door surtax.

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD HARSHES THE NARRATIVE: Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole: Trump’s core global strategy is intended to destroy any illusions in Moscow that Russia is a peer competitor of Washington’s.

A Trump administration is going to be four years of hell for Russia: a massive American doubling down on shale production along with a major military buildup. Trump is, in other words, a nightmare for Putin and a much, much bigger threat to Putin’s goals than President Obama ever was or wanted to be.

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:

Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
Blocking oil and gas pipelines
Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
Cutting U.S. military spending
Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

So blind does hatred make them that they cannot understand how their own behavior is driving American public opinion in directions that bode ill for liberals in the future. In the first place, suppose Donald Trump does not in fact turn out to be the second coming of Benedict Arnold. Suppose instead, as is much more likely, that he turns out to be a very hawkish president, one who quite possibly will make George W. Bush look like Jimmy Carter. The media and Democratic Party leaders will have staked huge amounts of credibility on a position that turns out to be laughably untrue. Six months or a year from now, they will have to flip from calling Trump an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three.

The press and the Democrats — but I repeat myself — will make that flip without a moment’s hesitation or acknowledgment.

Plus: “The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself.”

FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS: Older Judges and Vacant Seats Give Trump Huge Power to Shape American Courts.

There are 870 Article III federal court judgeships, the vast majority on district courts or appeals courts like the one that recently upheld a halt on Mr. Trump’s immigration ban. These judges are appointed by the president and serve a lifetime term. (A few federal judges are appointed for limited terms.)

After Jimmy Carter took office, Congress established 152 new federal judgeships, expanding the federal judiciary by nearly 30 percent and allowing Mr. Carter to stack the federal courts despite a presidency that lasted only one term.

Mr. Trump, through a combination of demography and a growing number of vacancies, stands to enjoy a similar windfall. Democrats have long accused Republican Senate leaders of obstruction in not allowing many of the previous administration’s judicial nominees to come to a vote. The most prominent example was the refusal to vote on Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, but the tactic extended to Mr. Obama’s lower court nominees as well.

“Right off the bat, Republicans refused to approve anyone,” said Nan Aron, president of the liberal group Alliance for Justice. “So you know how important this is to the Republican Party.” Currently, 112 of the 870 authorized judgeships with lifetime appointments remain vacant — 33 have been vacant for more than two years.

Damn right it’s important. And if the Gorsuch nomination is any indicator, the Constitution could be ripe for a big comeback.

FROM JOEL KOTKIN, AN IDEA SO CRAZY IT JUST MIGHT WORK: Decentralize government to resolve country’s divisions.

America is increasingly a nation haunted by fears of looming dictatorship. Whether under President Barack Obama’s “pen and phone” rule by decree, or its counterpoint, the madcap Twitter rule of our current chief executive, one part of the country, and society, always feels mortally threatened by whoever occupies the Oval Office.

Given this worsening divide, perhaps the only reasonable solution is to move away from elected kings and toward early concepts of the republic, granting far more leeway to states, local areas and families to rule themselves. Democrats, as liberal thinker Ross Baker suggests, may “own” the D.C. “swamp,” but they are beginning to change their tune in the age of Trump. Even dutiful cheerleaders for Barack Obama’s imperial presidency, such as the New Yorker, are now embracing states’ rights.

As in the antebellum period, American politics sadly reflects two increasingly antagonistic nations. One can be described as a primarily urban, elite-driven, ethnically diverse country that embraces a sense of inevitable triumphalism. The other America, rooted more in the past, thrives in the smaller towns and cities, as well as large swaths of suburbia. Sometimes whiter, the suburbs are both more egalitarian and less reflexively socially liberal.

This division worsened in the Obama era, whose city-centric approach all but ignored the interests of the resource-producing regions of the country, as well as the South. In contrast, under Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, Democrats were joyously competitive in these areas, assuring that the party was truly diverse, rather than simply the lap dog of the littoral constituencies.

With the GOP now in control of Washington, the coastal areas are becoming, to paraphrase President Obama, the new clingers, whether on the environment, racial redress or gender-related issues. Now they fear, with good reason, that the very administrative state they so eagerly embraced could come back to undermine their agenda even at the local level.

The problem is, I don’t think the blue states have “learned their lesson” about big government. They’re still all for it, and will happily wield it against the Deplorable Classes whenever they manage to get back in control. Unless you can do something about that, I don’t think you can successfully sell limited government. Maybe a constitutional convention could do something.

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Newsflash: Obama Was A Historically Unpopular President, According To Gallup.

That poll found that Obama’s overall average approval rating was a dismal 47.9%.

Only three presidents scored worse than Obama since Gallup started doing these surveys in 1945: never-elected Gerald Ford (47.2%), one-termer Jimmy Carter (45.4%), and Harry Truman (45.4%).

Obama even did worse overall than Richard Nixon, whose average approval was 49%, and was less popular overall than George W. Bush, who got an average 49.4%.

Well, he was a historically bad president. If he hadn’t had the press propping him up he’d have been in the 30s.

WITH FIRE: To Fix the Department of the Navy; Kill the Mabus Legacy.

Global warming and political incorrectness are the greatest threats to the United States, and it is the job of America’s Navy to protect us from those threats. For the past eight years, that has been the strategic legacy of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and the primary goal of his successor should be to ensure that Mabus has no legacy. The traditional mission of the US Navy has been to deter potentially hostile navies, or failing to do that, defeat them. Getting the US naval services back to that philosophy is going to be a big job for the new administration.

The Mabus priorities have been making the naval services more caring, inclusive, and environmentally protective. Discipline, combat effectiveness, and readiness have been secondary goals at best. Under Mabus, the Navy has sunk to readiness levels approaching those of the post-Vietnam Carter era.

Read the whole thing — although Instapundit readers have long known that Jimmy Carter was Obama’s best-case scenario.

JOEL KOTKIN: Obama’s Not So Glorious Legacy.

Like a child star who reached his peak at age 15, Barack Obama could never fulfill the inflated expectations that accompanied his election. After all not only was he heralded as the “smartest” president in history within months of assuming the White House, but he also secured the Nobel Peace Prize during his first year in office. Usually, it takes actually settling a conflict or two — like Richard Nixon or Jimmy Carter — to win such plaudits.

The greatest accomplishment of the Obama presidency turned out to be his election as the first African American president. This should always be seen as a great step forward. Yet, the Obama presidency failed to accomplish the great things promised by his election: racial healing, a stronger economy, greater global influence and, perhaps most critically, the fundamental progressive “transformation” of American politics. . . .

Whenever race-related issues came up — notably in the area of law enforcement — Obama and his Justice Department have tended to embrace the narrative that America remains hopelessly racist. As a result, he seemed to embrace groups like Black Lives Matter and, wherever possible, blame law enforcement, even as crime was soaring in many cities, particularly those with beleaguered African American communities.

Eight years after his election, more Americans now consider race relations to be getting worse, and we are more ethnically divided than in any time in recent history. As has been the case for several decades, African Americans’ economic equality has continued to slip, and is lower now than it was when Obama came into office in 2009, according to a 2016 Urban League study.

And that’s just the beginning of his failures. Read the whole thing.

KARL ROVE: A Preview of Obama’s Post-Presidency.

Mr. Obama still doesn’t understand that the GOP’s victories in ’10, ’14 and ’16 were repudiations of his policies. In the podcast, he argued that rural voters were wrong to vote Republican because his administration “devoted more attention, more focus, put more resources into rural America.” The idea that Democrats “abandoned the white working class,” he added, is “nonsense.” In other words, country folks should stay bought and the working class is too dumb to understand what’s good for them.

While saying it was time for “new voices and fresh legs,” Mr. Obama threatened that if “some foundational issues about our democracy” arise after he leaves office, he might “weigh in.” He also promised his presidential center would help young people become “organizers, journalists, politicians” by providing “tools for them to bring about progressive change.”

The IRS may get indigestion at such partisan use of a nonprofit, but Republicans should do cartwheels about these pledges, since it was Mr. Obama’s leadership that helped produce the biggest GOP dominance in nearly a century.

Mr. Obama will be the first ex-president since Woodrow Wilson to remain in Washington. Given the tone of his interviews, he could well become a carping, persistent presence in our nation’s capital.

We’re years past Carter being Obama’s best-case scenario.

BLOOMBERG NEWS EDITORIAL: Obama’s Betrayal of Israel at the UN Must Not Stand.

Flashback: Candidate Obama: “Any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.”

Plus, Tom Maguire emails:

Since you were early and accurate with your Obama administration prediction that “Jimmy Carter is a best-case scenario”, shouldn’t you be taking a Bold Stand on Obama’s likely behavior as an Ex-Pres?

I think “Jimmy Carter is a best case” will apply to Future Obama as well. And that was before this UN Security Council clown show.

I think that Obama will far surpass Jimmy Carter in both sanctimony and support to America’s enemies. I believe that he will set a new standard in awfulness for ex-Presidents. But sadly, I don’t think this counts as a particularly bold prediction.

DON’T DOUBT ME: “Obama had barely lowered his hand after being sworn in back in 2009 that Glenn Reynolds proposed that a re-run of the Carter presidency was likely a best case scenario for the lightworker, and while this has been manifestly true for quite a while now, yesterday’s UN vote seals the deal.”

Related: Krauthammer’s Take: It’s As If the U.N. Passed a Resolution Declaring Mecca Jewish Territory. They’d never do that. Someone would kill them. Israelis take note. . . .

OBAMA’S MIDNIGHT REGULATION EXPRESS: The goal is to issue more rules than the new administration could ever repeal.

Kimberly Strassel:

Perhaps nothing has more underlined the Obama arrogance than his final flurry of midnight regulations. With each new proposed rule or executive order, Mr. Obama is spitefully mocking the nation that just told him “enough.”

The technical definition of a midnight regulation is one issued between Election Day and the inauguration of a new president. The practice is bipartisan. George W. Bush, despite having promised not to do so, pushed through a fair number of rules in his final months. But Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were more aggressive, and Mr. Obama is making them look like pikers.

Mr. Obama has devoted his last year to ramming through controversial and far-reaching rules. Whether it was born of a desire to lay groundwork for a Clinton presidency, or as a guard against a Trump White House, the motive makes no difference. According to a Politico story of nearly a year ago, the administration had some 4,000 regulations in the works for Mr. Obama’s last year. They included smaller rules on workplace hazards, gun sellers, nutrition labels and energy efficiency, as well as giant regulations (costing billions) on retirement advice and overtime pay.

Since the election Mr. Obama has broken with all precedent by issuing rules that would be astonishing at any moment and are downright obnoxious at this point. This past week we learned of several sweeping new rules from the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, including regs on methane on public lands (cost: $2.4 billion); a new anti-coal rule related to streams ($1.2 billion) and renewable fuel standards ($1.5 billion).

The fundamental transformation will continue until January 20.

ANALYSIS: TRUE. Obama’s Second Term Was a Complete Failure.

As the Professor warned in the middle of Obama’s first term, “Up to now, comparisons with Carter were a tool of Obama’s critics. From now on, they’re likely to be a tool of his defenders. Because as bad as Carter was, Obama is shaping up to be worse. Much worse.”

ABOUT THAT JOBS REPORT… Labor force participation ticks down.

It remains stuck at levels not seen since 1978, when Jimmy Carter was President.

Of course, even during Carter’s Administration the trend for labor participation was upward.

If only someone had warned us that Obama would prove to be worse than Carter.

THE LEFT SPENT DECADES GIVING US A REALITY-TV CULTURE, AND NOW IT’S UNHAPPY WE ELECTED A REALITY-TV PRESIDENT: Donald Trump: The Showman President.

With the announcement of Trump’s triumphant (Trumphant?) Carrier deal, the word that occurs to me—not for the first time—is “showman.”

That’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, by the way. But it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years.

It’s not that previous presidents haven’t tried. Reagan was good at the speeches, as well as some sweeping gestures (“tear down this wall,” and the firing of the air controllers). Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush were abysmal; Clinton only so-so (playing the sax on TV comes to mind).

Obama tried and sometimes succeeded, particularly during his first campaign. Remember the Greek columns? . . .

But this is the water in which Trump swims. This is his most comfortable place to be: the showman, in the spotlight. He’s been doing it for his entire life.

That’s one of the reasons Trump preferred enormous rallies, and was relaxed when giving lengthy speeches without a teleprompter and ad-libbing extensively. He likes the spectacle of it all and realizes the important of the gesture and the symbol. And despite his more “presidential” demeanor since his election, I doubt this aspect of his personality will fade during his presidency; au contraire. And he understands the elements of surprise, of timing.

It does look that way.

ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES: White House Report Card: Will Obama Oust Jimmy Carter As Worst Ex-President?

“SO, ABOUT LAST NIGHT …” In his column at the Washington Post, Sonny Bunch of the conservative Washington Free Beacon writes:

There’s something to be said for the idea that Trump rode a wave of white resentment into the White House. But this is, at best, a half-truth. I’ll discuss the demographics in a moment; for now, let’s focus on the resentment. “Family Guy”‘s Seth MacFarlane made the totally reasonable point that “the Left expended so much energy over the last several years being outraged over verbal missteps, accidental innuendo, ‘tasteless tweets’ … in the name of clickbait, that when the REAL threat to equality emerged, we’d cried wolf too many times to be heard.”

This is a variation on the “But he fights!” defense/critique of Donald Trump. He gives voice to people who have spent the social media age watching viral outrage after viral outrage consume news cycles and destroy lives, to people who look at the silliness on college campuses and recoil at the thought of giving such institutions tens of thousands of dollars to fill their children’s heads with nonsense ideas. As Robby Soave noted at Reason, “Trump won because he convinced a great number of Americans that he would destroy political correctness.”

* * * * * * * *

Twitter created a series of impenetrable bubbles this cycle, and bubbles of this sort are not healthy for members of the media. They’re not healthy for anyone, really, but they’re doubly unhealthy for those of us who would dare to think they can or should shape the national narrative. If Democrats’ takeaway from last night is “the people of this country are filled with hatred,” as my own bubble suggests it might be, they will learn no lessons and gain no weapons with which to combat Trump and his successors going forward.

I don’t know if it’s fair to say that it was Twitter that created those impenetrable bubbles, or if it was simply one of the many platforms available to amplify and broadcast them.

During the 1960 presidential election, at the height of mass-media, mass-production, and the concomitant federal government shaped by the socialist New Deal, Nixon and Kennedy shared remarkably similar midcentury centrist views on most issues, from civil rights to the role of religion in America to the Cold War. But virtually every election since has seen pitched battles between two diametrically opposed worldviews: the radical chic anger of the McGovernites versus Nixon’s Great Society-esque foreign and domestic policies. Jimmy Carter’s big government malaise versus Reagan’s Goldwater-inspired conservatism. Al Gore’s radical environmentalism as religion versus George W. Bush’s Compassionate Conservatism. Etc., etc.

Until now. This election offered a plethora of worldviews slugging it out: a Northeast Corridor-based overculture that believes a radical chic-inspired failed community organizer and failed health care reformer in a bespoke suit is the second coming of God. And that his designated successor, whom they previously denigrated as a reactionary racist, whose biggest achievement was making a hash of the Middle East while pointlessly racking up nearly a million air miles (all the while railing against “climate change”) deserves to be president simply because of her gender.

Their reality was opposed by the alternate media bubble created by Trump’s most loyal media supporters, such as Dilbert creator Scott Adams, an increasingly surreal Drudge Report, and a Breitbart.com that would likely be unrecognizable by its late founder.

Their reality in turn was opposed by the #NeverTrump crowd at the Weekly Standard and National Review. Who at times arguably seemed more angry with Trump himself and his mixed legacy in business than his Democratic opponent.

Ultimately though, the reality that prevailed was that of Trump’s working class base of supporters. Who tried to send a message to Washington in 2009 with the surprise election of Scott Brown to block Obamacare. And when that failed to stop the Democrats, tried to send a message in 2010 by sweeping a wave of Republicans into the House to block its implementation. And when that failed to stop the Democrats (and its rollout turned out to the debacle that everyone on the right insisted it would be) sent a wave that recaptured the Senate. A group that’s angry at being called homophobic bigots and racists. Angry at a never-ending war in Iraq after victory was in-hand. Angry at a stagnant economy. Angry over possibly the biggest lie told repeatedly by an American president: “If you like your plan you can keep your plan,” only to discover no, you can’t – and if you want any health insurance at all, you might need a second mortgage to cover the premiums.

Is Trump a perfect messenger for such anger? Of course not. But like Bill Clinton in 1992 and Obama in 2008, he showed up to play, mentally decided that he had more star power and cable media savvy than his opponents in his party’s primary, and rode a populist message to success. I hope he can deliver on some of his promises, but the fact that he won’t begin his administration by launching a culture war against half the nation, as both Obama and Clinton did, will give us all room to breathe.

FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORMED: From Hope And Change To Fear And Loathing:

So this is how Hope & Change ends. With the FBI in turmoil, with surging anti-police violence, with fears of voter fraud and foreign hacking, with a sluggish economy, with a terror warning and with two unpopular presidential candidates tearing at each other like wolves.

Heckuva job, Barack Obama!

The 44th president made history by being elected, but leaves behind a nation on the verge of a crack-up. He flatters himself by insisting his tenure has been a roaring success, but the public mood tells a different story.

Obama promised to unite America, but exits amidst far greater divisions. It is telling that he has stopped portraying himself as a uniter and, like Jimmy Carter, blames the public.

Carter saw malaise, Obama sees bitter clingers, racists and xenophobes. While Obama’s lectures convey disappointment in his fellow Americans, it never occurs to him that he is a disappointment to them.

His failure to come to grips with the polarization, combined with an aggressively liberal agenda spearheaded by executive orders and a politicized bureaucracy, means his successor will inherit a country broken along every fault line imaginable. Voices of discontent and even estrangement are rising among Americans of all stripes and persuasions.

It would have been hard for him to have done more damage if that had been his goal all along.

HEY, REMEMBER HIM? Barack Obama, the incredible shrinking president:

While presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump loom horrifyingly larger, can we spare a little horror as U.S. President Barack Obama looms ever smaller? No, I’m not sorry he’s leaving. I’m alarmed at a series of recent foreign policy humiliations showing just how badly the incredible shrinking president has damaged America’s standing in this turbulent world of ours.

First, emerging from the back door of Air Force One at the G20 in China after local functionaries literally denied him a red carpet. Second, begging Russian President Vladimir Putin for help on Syria and getting chlorine gas. Third, being told off by the president of Turkey over American support for Kurds in Syria. Fourth, being cussed out by the president of the Philippines.

It is literally impossible to imagine any of these things happening to former presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush or Richard Nixon. Jimmy Carter? Maybe one or two. But Obama managed all four. While he did cancel his meeting with the appalling Filipino president, he seemed to treat the rest as no big deal.

As Glenn noted, “When Jimmy Carter Is your best-case scenario, you’re in trouble.” That was written back in 2011, but alas, voters didn’t heed the warning. Which is why our semi-retired president’s last months in office aren’t exactly occurring “unexpectedly,” even to his most die-hard loyalists.

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LIE OF THE DECADE: Obama’s ransom payment to Iran out-lies Hillary and even his own Obamacare mendacity, Jed Babbin writes at the American Spectator:

Obama has said repeatedly that the deal blocks all of Iran’s paths to nuclear weapons, which is precisely the opposite of the truth. Hillary won’t disturb Obama’s lies about the Iran deal because it’s as much a part of her legacy as it is a part of his.

Obama’s lies — on Islamic terrorism, Iran, Syria, Russia, China and the rest — will remain undisturbed if, as seems likely, America elects the woman Safire labeled congenital liar as president. On Iran, Obama’s lies deserve the label “historic” because they will shape our history, and those of our allies.

When presidential lies are synonymous with policy, our nation is in great danger.

Indeed™. Or as Glenn warned in 2011, “Up to now, comparisons with Carter were a tool of Obama’s critics. From now on, they’re likely to be a tool of his defenders. Because as bad as Carter was, Obama is shaping up to be worse. Much worse.”

Of course, Carter hasn’t lacked for leftwing apologists to spin even his most embarrassing moments. The scrotal torque-inducing spin to defend his successor’s myriad disasters will be astonishing to witness in the coming years.

OBAMANOMICS: US Productivity Plunges For 3rd Quarter In A Row – Longest Losing Streak Since 1979.

Instapundit readers have known for years that Jimmy Carter was the “best-case scenario” for Barack Obama.

CRY HAVOC AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF ABORTION!  “As It Prepares For War, Planned Parenthood Is Training A Political Army,” Think “Progress,” breathlessly reports.

Ahh, progressivism, where time and ideas stand still. Philosopher William James coined the phrase “the moral equivalent of war” at the dawn of the 20th century; the concept immediately spread like wildfire amongst his fellow “Progressives” as way to organize Americans and end-run their pesky notions of freedom and individuality, as Jonah Goldberg noted in his 2012 book, The Tyranny of Clichés:

And creating a moral equivalent of war was just the perfect way to get this organic cooperative life off the page and into American hearts and minds. Although the idea began as just the moral equivalent, when the opportunity for a real war loomed on the horizon, the progressives leaped at it with both feet. John Dewey, James’s heir as the foremost practitioner of philosophical pragmatism, championed going to nonmetaphorical war, on the grounds that it would help do all of the things that James wanted from a moral equivalent of war. In less than a decade the optimistic and individualistic possibilities of pragmatism had now evolved into “social possibilities,” specifically what Dewey called the “social possibilities of war.” He complained that opponents of entering World War I failed to recognize the “immense impetus to reorganization afforded by this war” and implored them not to let the crisis go to waste.

After the war (covered extensively in my book Liberal Fascism), progressives returned to the Jamesian argument about the moral equivalent of war, now claiming that World War I proved that planning and social control had worked under Woodrow Wilson’s war socialism. Therefore, the same techniques — command and control economics (i.e., “war socialism”), censorship, propaganda, etc. — should be applied in peacetime. “We planned in war” became the mantra of the intellectuals, furious with the Republican-led “return to normalcy” of the 1920s. And liberalism has never recovered. The search for a moral equivalent of war continues to define American liberalism to this day.

From Jimmy Carter declaring the moral equivalent of war in 1977 in a futile effort to solve that decade energy “crisis,” to Obama issuing Thomas Friedman-inspired “Sputnik Moments” seemingly every year at his State of the Union addresses, to Planned Parent’s battle cry (to be fair, they’ve long been in the killing business), the moral equivalent of war continues to endlessly pop up on the left, often in the strangest places.

GALLUP: Satisfaction Under Obama Is Lowest Since Carter.

According to Gallup, Americans’ satisfaction levels with the way things are going in the U.S. are low and President Obama will be leaving office with a lower overall satisfaction average of any president since Jimmy Carter.

Only 29% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. according to the Gallup poll conducted during the first week of June.

The Gallup poll asked, “In general, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?”

Americans’ satisfaction has averaged only 24% across the 89 months of the Obama administration to date. The low satisfaction levels of recent years means that Obama will be leaving office with an overall satisfaction average of 24% for his presidency so far. Obama’s numbers are lower than the average measured across the term of any president since Jimmy Carter.

The Obama administration’s numbers are far below the 37% overall average since Gallup began measuring in 1979. Gallup has only three measures of satisfaction taken during the Carter administration, all in 1979, and they average 19%.

I can’t imagine why.

CRAZY BARRY’S IS HAVING A HALF-OFF SALE! “Bank of America gets half off its Justice Dept. settlement…by giving millions of dollars to liberal groups approved by the Obama administration:”

The bank has wiped about $194 million off its record $16.6 billion 2014 mortgage settlement by donating to nonprofits and legal groups. Thanks to little-known provisions in the settlement, the bank only had to make $84 million in donations to do that.

The bank wasn’t exploiting any loophole. It’s a key part of the deal the Justice Department offered to get it to settle in the first place. For every dollar the bank has given the nonprofits — none of which were victims of fraud themselves — it has claimed at least two dollars off the settlement. The deal ensured the Obama administration that a certain part of the settlement funds would go to friendly liberal groups, bypassing the normal congressional appropriations.

Among the groups receiving the money were Hispanic civil rights group the National Council of La Raza ($1.5 million), the National Urban League ($1.1 million) and the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America ($750,000).

* * * * * * * *

“This is nothing short of a shakedown and another example of how the Obama administration is rigging the system to benefit their political allies. Instead of directing settlements directly to victims or returning the money to the U.S. Treasury, President Obama set up a slush fund for community organizers and other liberal activists. This is outrageous,” said Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., chairman of the Financial Services Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

It’s quite a racket – the 2008 financial crisis was caused by the Clinton administration massively expanding Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act, forcing banks to give high-risk loans to those who had no business owning a home, in a textbook example of Reynolds’ Law run amok. Now in its wreckage, Bank of America is shaken down for billions by the same party that created the CRIA. And of course, no one in the MSM will ask Hillary about her husband’s involvement in the debacle – instead, as this NewsBusters headline today notes, “NY Mag Writer Begs Media to ‘Stop Bugging Hillary Clinton!’

As Michael Walsh would say, “think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” and you won’t go far wrong. Not to mention how all of the above is another marker on the road to “The Coming Middle-Class Anarchy,” if sufficient voters begin to realize how corrupt Beltway elites have rigged the system to benefit themselves and their cronies.

 

YES, NEXT QUESTION: While Obama plays, the Defense Sec holds sway … Is Ash Carter picking up slack for the President?

Quite a damning series of juxtapositions at the new Heat Street Website, where Stephen Miller is credited for coining the “President Ash Carter” riff while our semi-retired president goofs it up during the last months as “Preezy of the United Steezy,” as NBC’s Jimmy Fallon dubbed him.

GEE, WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BENEFITS FROM THIS ARTICLE? “We Keep Electing Outsiders; How’s That Working Out?”, Jonathan Allen asks at Roll Call:

Jimmy Carter kicked off the trend with a promise to restore honor to the White House. Ronald Reagan, the tough-talking movie star and California governor, vowed he’d get Washington’s spending and taxing under control. Bill Clinton, who had never worked in Washington, ran as the man from Hope. George W. Bush, despite being the son of a president, managed to come off as more Texan than political elite. Most recently, Barack Obama’s message and historic 2008 candidacy made it impossible for anyone to view him as an insider.

And yet, after electing this caravan of outsiders, voters still see Washington as a swamp of dysfunction, decadence and corruption. I readily admit I have more faith in our government and its leaders than most Americans do. But if you truly believe that Washington is getting worse, why keep electing the same kind of candidate?

If this sounds like an infomercial for Hillary Clinton, that’s likely not a coincidence. In December of 2009, NewsBusters spotted “another entry for the revolving door file: Politico’s Jonathan Allen…formerly of Congressional Quarterly and former Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ [D-MD] office, will take over as the top staffer at Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s DWS PAC,” Ken Shepherd wrote. “For his part, Allen, whose wife works as the communications director for freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), found it an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

In February of 2010, when Allen returned to the Politico after admitting that he preferred pack journalism to working in a PAC, he sheepishly claimed:

I am a registered independent. My political views, like those of many Americans, are not neatly defined by anyone’s platform. I love the power of a good idea and get frustrated when I see the political system distorted by inertia or hypocrisy. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats and even some third-party candidates. I am not by temperament a partisan or an ideologue. But there is no doubt that I have voted more often for Democrats, and when I decided to indulge my curiosity about life on the other side of the notebook it was most natural for me to align with them.

And judging by the above article, he’s still a Democrat operative, whether it’s with or without his byline.

IRAN RELEASES SAILORS AFTER U.S. PROMISES ‘NOT TO REPEAT SUCH MISTAKES.’

Related: Man tasked by president to cure cancer spins Iran was just helping out our boats “in distress,” Kerry thanks Tehran.

Remember in 2008, when Democrats with bylines were all cranking out their worshipful spin predicting which legendary president Obama was going to be most like? I wonder what they think about January in his last year in office resembling the last Januaries of the administrations of both Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson?

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This frame grab from Tuesday, January 12, 2016 video by the Iranian state-run IRIB News Agency, shows the detention of American Navy sailors by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, Iran. The 10 U.S. Navy sailors detained by Iran after their two small boats allegedly drifted into Iranian territorial waters around one of Iran’s Persian Gulf islands a day earlier have been freed, the United States and Iran said Wednesday. (IRIB News Agency via AP)

UPDATE: Iran’s Humiliation Of Barack Obama Is Now Complete.

With a year in his administration to go, do you really want to tempt fate like that?

MORE: Wow, the Gray Lady turned into Vox.com so slowly, I hardly even noticed:

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IT’S HARD FOR PEOPLE TO TRUST THE GOVERNMENT, WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IS RUN BY UNTRUSTWORTHY PEOPLE: Andrew Malcolm: One-in-five Americans still trusts the federal government!

A shocking new poll out on Americans’ growing cynicism about their federal government.

It’s not really surprising that after seven years of an administration of serial liars, empty promises and failed plans, an overwhelming percentage of the public does not trust elected officials, their politics or the government they’re supposed to be running.

What’s really shocking is that 19% of Americans still do.

Nearly one-in-five say they can always or most always trust that Washington crowd. Seriously? Who are these people? Cubs fans? Newly-arrived Martians? Rachel Maddowers?

Do you know five people who swallow everything they hear from the upside-down capital of our nation? How about two? ObamaCare is working really well? ISIS is on the run? The FBI is seriously probing Hillary Clinton’s email scam?

Nineteen percent trusting is actually among the lowest in almost six decades. People even had more trust in Jimmy Carter’s presidency. People had the most trust during the first year of Lyndon Johnson’s sudden presidency. But then came Vietnam and Richard Nixon.

The newest poll from the Pew Research Center is based on 6,000 interviews this fall. It confirms suspicions that most people have felt for some time. Trust in those institutions began sagging during the second term of George W. Bush. But has absolutely cratered during these past 2,499 days of Barack Obama’s hope and change.

Fundamentally transformed.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Jimmy Carter is slagging Obama’s Mideast Policy. “I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”

MARK STEYN: The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates:

Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world – an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”. And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity. They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the colonial subjects of ramshackle backwaters such as Aden, Sudan and the North-West Frontier Province were at least obliged to pay lip service to them. But the European empires retreated from the world, and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level most of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live – modern, pluralist, western societies and those “universal values” of which Barack Obama bleats. So, if you are either an active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim, and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.

In his post titled “Le Kobayashi Maru,” Richard Fernandez writes that “The dream of a ‘borderless Europe’ has taken a body blow:”

The dilemma the West now faces is that it cannot survive on basis on the platform which its elites have carefully constructed since WW2. They are being beaten to death with their own lofty statements. They must either continue to uphold the vision of open borders, multiculturalism, declining birthrates, unilateral disarmament and a growing state sector at all costs — in other words continue on the road to suicide — or retreat. As recent events at American campuses have shown, when faced with the choice of saving the Left and saving the actual world the odds are that “the world” goes over the side first.

In attempting to survive on its own terms the Left will tear itself apart. In its agony it will destroy much else. It maybe that Europe will rediscover its culture; possible it will develop the will to defend itself; conceivable it will hold off extreme fascist movements; even plausibly reconstruct its demography. But it cannot do this without an upheaval that will leave nothing unscathed.

The good news is that the West must soon squarely face choices it has been avoiding until now.  The bad news is that nothing will escape unscathed.

Radical Islamism’s greatest challenge is it that ruthlessly exposes a  fatal flaw which has existed in the ideology of the West for the last 70 years. It is representative of a question that won’t go away.  Can it face the facts just as they are and think its way out of a jam? What Samantha Power called the Problem from Hell is really the Kobayashi Maru test of European civilization. Faced with a no-win situation, will the West find a path through?

Based on Europe’s current political leaders and their wannabe cousins in America, I’m not especially optimistic; tomorrow night’s Democratic presidential debate will likely resemble a round-robin reading of Jimmy Carter’s infamous “Malaise speech,” which signaled that Great Society-era liberalism had reached its intellectual cul-de-sac, in much the same way that Clinton-Obama-era “Progressive” has as well.

As Steyn asks, “What’s the happy ending here?” It won’t be coming from Europe’s leaders, and it certainly won’t be coming from America’s president, nor his designated successor.

MARTIN O’MALLEY: ‘CLINTON HAS CHANGED HER POSITION ON VIRTUALLY EVERY DEFINING ISSUE.’ Curiously, he doesn’t mean it as a compliment, despite appearing on Democrat house organ MSNBC:

“A weathervane shifts its positions in the wind. Effective leaders do not. I am clear about my principles I know where I stand. I was against the Trans Pacific Partnership 8 months ago. Hillary Clinton has changed her position on virtually every defining issue in this race – except for one, and that’s to protect the big banks on Wall Street and go about with business as usual. I don’t think that’s what the people of our country are looking for. I have the independence, I have the backbone, to stand up for what our nation needs. That’s what people are going to see now that it’s down to a three person race.”

O’Malley knows he’s competing in a three-person race to win the support of the Democrat base, doesn’t he? Because from Iraq to gay marriage to health care to trade agreements to gun control, Democrat voters view flip-flops and being lied to as a sign of strength from their politicians. Or as Mark Steyn noted six years ago:

Democrats win by pretending to be to the right of who they really are. Their base understands and accepts this. Thus, when Democrat candidates profess to believe that “marriage is between a man and a woman” or to be “personally passionately opposed to abortion” or even to favor “the good war” in Afghanistan and if necessary invade Pakistan, their base hears this as a necessary rhetorical genuflection to the knuckledragging masses but one that will be conveniently discarded on the first day in office.

In modern terms, it’s a phenomenon that dates at least back to the aftermath of Walter Mondale getting creamed in 1984 after promising to raise taxes, and arguably to Jimmy Carter’s centrist campaign in 1976 – though its roots date much, much further back in time than that.

ED DRISCOLL LINKED this 2011 column of mine on Obama vs. Carter earlier today, and, well, I wish I hadn’t been so right. And note this bit:

At the moment, Obama is involved in three wars, and in two of them he is losing. (The third, ironically, is the war he ran against, in Iraq, where things seem to be going comparatively well).

Well, it was then, but he fixed that shortly thereafter by withdrawing American troops, setting the stage for today’s debacle.

IS OBAMA AS BAD AS CARTER? NO, HE’S WORSE:

Conservatives have long attacked President Barack Obama by comparing him with Jimmy Carter. Obama seemed to be following in Carter’s footsteps, becoming a failure both at home and abroad. That comparison is mistaken, however. Obama is far worse than Carter.

“I think of Jimmy Carter as the good old days,” said former ambassador and American Enterprise Institute senior fellow John Bolton.

He’s in good company.

DEMS’ REVOLUTION IS ALREADY HERE: “Near the end of the debate, former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia said he has a great deal of admiration for Sanders — a self-described progressive, socialist and democratic socialist — but also said: ‘Bernie, I don’t think the revolution’s going to come. And I don’t think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff.’ Wrong. The revolution has come. And Congress won’t pay for it. Taxpayers will.”

Usually during election years when Democrats believe they have a serious shot at winning the White House, they cloak their socialism with something far more reasonable sounding. Jimmy Carter ran against the DC establishment as a post-Watergate reformer. Bill Clinton excoriated George H.W. Bush for raising taxes and ran to the right of Papa Bush on several other issues. Obama was given a bit of a pass because many assumed his socialist rhetoric was merely boob bait for the bobos (to mash up Pat Moynihan and David Brooks), and that once in office, he would govern following the relatively successful centrist model of Bill Clinton. (Won’t get fooled again.)

What does it say about the Democrats when they’re really letting their socialist freak flag so blatantly high this time around?

WHY SUSAN RICE PLAYED THE RACE CARD: At Commentary, Jonathan S. Tobin writes:

The headline on the Politico website for the Ross excerpts when it went up on Thursday morning was one that used a quote in which the State Department veteran claimed that Rice spread the word that “Netanyahu did everything but ‘use the N-word’ in his interactions with Obama over Iran. Later in the day, that was changed to the more neutral (and actually more in keeping with thrust of the content of the story) headline, “How Obama got to “Yes” on Iran.” But as inflammatory as that initial headline was, that one line was what has everyone talking about Ross’s book today. Indeed, although Ross’s purpose is to try to repair what he correctly terms the unnecessary damage to the alliance that was caused by the administration’s combative attitude toward Netanyahu, that false allegation by Rice actually tells us more about what’s wrong between Washington and Jerusalem than anything else.

“Ross draws a distinction between Obama’s first term, when a figure such as National Security Director Tom Donilon worked to reassure the Israelis that they were not being left alone to fend for themselves, and his last,” Tobin adds. “In his second term, Obama ceased caring about what the Israelis thought, and Donilon’s successor Susan Rice acted on that imperative.”

In his 2002 article with the classic headline “Carterpalooza,” Jay Nordlinger wrote, “No one quite realizes just how passionately anti-Israel Carter is. William Safire has reported that Cyrus Vance acknowledged that, if he had had a second term, Carter would have sold Israel down the river.”

Think of the last eight years as Jimmy Carter’s long-lost second term – dialed up to 11.

DESCRIPTION: “Alternately depressing and terrifying.” WaPo: How the Obama White House runs foreign policy. Even the Obama-friendly Washington Post is all about “an overbearing and paranoid White House that insists on controlling even the smallest policy details, often at the expense of timely and effective decisions.” Plus, explicit parallels to Jimmy Carter.

THOUGHTS ON TRUMP, from Roger Kimball:

I don’t think Donald Trump will be the GOP candidate in 2016, and I don’t think he would win if he were.  But he has raised some issues that the high and mighty dispensers of conventional wisdom would do well to ponder. Moreover, he has done it in a way that, though terribly, terribly vulgar, is catapulting Trump to first place in the polls. What does that tell us?  That the people are stupid and need to be guided by the suits in Washington?  If you believe that, I submit, you are going to be profoundly disappointed come November 2016.

Though does anyone think Trump will be a laissezfaire kind of president if he actually won? To borrow from the Spy magazine gag line on Trump that Roger quoted in his post, wouldn’t President Trump likely be a “short-fingered vulgarian” clone of Michael Bloomberg or Jimmy Carter? Perhaps not in terms of specific policies (such as Bloomberg’s obsession with bike lanes), but in terms of wanting to micromanage everything? Generally, that’s been a recipe for failure in the White House, whether it’s LBJ or Obama personally choosing bombing runs to Carter’s legendary micromanagement of the White House tennis court. It’s only a matter of time before someone like that thinks he knows what’s better for the American people than the people themselves.

AFTER NEARLY 4 YEARS IN HANDS OF IRAN, OBAMA FINALLY SAYS U.S. HOSTAGE’S NAME:

Next month, the family of a Marine veteran will mark the grim milestone of his fourth year held by Iran — barring a miraculous change of heart by a regime that originally sentenced him to death for conspiracy to commit espionage.

Today brought another milestone in the tragic case of Amir Hekmati: President Obama finally, for the first time, said his name in public.

The family had been begging the White House just to say Amir’s name.

Mr. Obama’s two terms really are a case study in how a president can make Jimmy Carter look competent by comparison, aren’t they?

THE DEATH OF GOLF:

By any measure, participation in the game is way off, from a high of 30.6 million golfers in 2003 to 24.7 million in 2014, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). The long-term trends are also troubling, with the number of golfers ages 18 to 34 showing a 30 percent decline over the last 20 years. Nearly every metric — TV ratings, rounds played, golf-equipment sales, golf courses constructed — shows a drop-off. “I look forward to a time when we’ve got the wind at our back, but that’s not what we’re expecting,” says Oliver “Chip” Brewer, president and CEO of Callaway. “This is a demographic challenge.”

During the boom, most of those 20-somethings who were out hacking every weekend were out there because of one man: Tiger Woods. Golf’s heyday coincided neatly with Tiger’s run of 15 major golf championships between 1997 and 2008. If you listen to golf insiders, he’s the individual most to blame for those thousands of Craigs­list ads for used clubs. When Tiger triple-bogeyed his marriage, dallied with porn stars, and seemingly misplaced his swing all at once, the game not only lost its best player; it also lost its leading salesman. The most common answer given by golf industry types when asked what would return the game to its former popularity is “Find another Tiger.”

But you can’t blame one man’s wandering libido for the demise of an entire sport. The challenges golf faces are myriad, from millennials lacking the requisite attention span for a five-hour round, to an increasingly environmentally conscious public that’s reluctant to take up a resource-intensive game played on nonnative grass requiring an almond farm’s worth of water, to the recent economic crisis that curtailed discretionary spending. “Golf is an expensive, aspirational game,” says Brewer, “and a lot of millennials are struggling with debt and jobs. If you don’t have a job, golf doesn’t really fit you very well.”

In retrospect, it’s easy to spot the apogee; this Photoshopped cover was created around November of 2009, five minutes before Tiger’s PR cratered, and as the last bloom decayed from the era of Hopenchange. The copy inside the issue, written by such Democrat operatives with bylines as Thomas Friedman and Joe Conason now reads like the worst Stalin-era hagiography. (No wonder so little of it is online, other than the passages I scanned from my now dog-eared hard copy):

tiger-obama-golf-digest-12-09

JIMMY CARTER WORKS ON HIS LEGACY OF “NO LONGER WORST PRESIDENT”: Jimmy Carter: Obama’s Foreign Policy Accomplishments ‘Minimal’.

ANOTHER ISRAEL AND AMERICA-HATING PRESIDENT: Former President Jimmy Carter spoke recently to an AARP group, telling them, “Americans still have racist tendencies or feelings of superiority to people of color.”  Nice to hear such pro-American words from a former President.

Carter’s other recent gems include an oped last August in which Carter accused Israel of committing war crimes against Palestinians.  He also defended Obama’s decision to miss the unity rally in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo shootings, saying, “President Obama’s just come back from vacation, and I know how it is when you’ve been gone for a week or two.”

The similarities between Carter and Obama are growing day by day– although a poll last summer had Obama beating Carter for the title of “worst President since World War II” by five percentage points.  I suspect Obama’s lead in that poll would be much higher today. 

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Next Up in America: The Liberal Retreat.

As the United States staggers toward the seventh year of Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, a growing disquiet permeates the ranks of the American left. After six years of the most liberal President since Jimmy Carter, the nation doesn’t seem to be asking for a second helping. Even though the multiyear rollout of Obamacare was carefully crafted to put all the popular features up front, delaying less popular changes into the far future, the program remains unpopular. Trust in the fairness and competence of government is pushing toward new lows in the polls, even though the government is now in the hands of forward-looking, progressive Democrats rather than antediluvian Gopers.

For liberals, these are bleak times of hollow victories (Obamacare) and tipping points that don’t tip. For examples of the latter, think of Sandy Hook, the horrific massacre in Connecticut that Democrats and liberals everywhere believed would finally push the American public toward gun control. Two years later, polls show more Americans than ever before think it’s more important to protect gun access than to promote gun control.

Sandy Hook isn’t the only example. There was the latest 2014 IPCC report on climate change that was going to end the debate once and for all. The chances for legislative action on climate change in the new Congress: zero or less. There was Ferguson and the Garner videotape showing the fatal chokehold, both of which set off a wave of protests but seem unlikely to change public attitudes about the police. There was the Senate Intelligence Committee “torture report” that was going to settle the issue of treatment of detainees. Again, the polls are rolling in suggesting that the public remains exactly where it was: supportive of “torture” under certain circumstances. And of course there was the blockbuster Rolling Stone article on campus rape at UVA, the story that, before it abruptly collapsed, was going to cement public support for the Obama administration’s aggressive attempt to federalize the treatment of sexual harassment on campuses around the country. . . .

Shell-shocked liberals are beginning to grasp some inconvenient truths. No gun massacre is horrible enough to change Americans’ ideas about gun control. No UN Climate Report will get a climate treaty through the U.S. Senate. No combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence will persuade Americans to end their longtime practice of giving police officers extremely wide discretion in the use of force. No “name and shame” report, however graphic, from the Senate Intelligence Committee staff will change the minds of the consistent majority of Americans who tell pollsters that they believe that torture is justifiable under at least some circumstances. No feminist campaign will convince enough voters that the presumption of innocence should not apply to those accused of rape.

It’s like Americans insist on remaining Americans.

HE’S LIKE AN UNHOLY CROSSBREED OF JIMMY CARTER AND RICHARD NIXON: Ann Compton on Obama: He Launches ‘Profanity-Laced’ Tirades Against Press.

But what a thin-skinned, narcissistic little putz. No President has gotten such adulatory coverage, and he’s still unhappy?

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Obama’s Big Miscalculation.

Frank Fukuyama, no howling partisan, has tagged President Obama’s decision to circumvent Congress on immigration as a “bad call,” and while the President’s limited offer of a three-year temporary work authorization for people in the country illegally was not the worst or the most radical step he could have taken, Frank is right. This was the wrong step at the wrong time. At the very minimum, the President should have given the new Congress ninety days to act before going it alone. Failing to do so isn’t just a slap in the face of his Republican opponents; it is a slap in the face of the voters who no longer trust the President and his party on the big issues of national life.

If the new Congress proved unable or unwilling to act, the President’s step would have had at least an element of political legitimacy to it. As it is, this half-hearted, hobbled amnesty will likely join President Obama’s flawed health care law as a toxic legacy that will haunt the Democratic Party for years to come. Just as the President’s poor reputation was a millstone around the neck of many Democratic candidates in 2014, future Democratic candidates are going to run away from Obama’s memory, and their opponents will work to tag them with the heavy burden of a presidency that most Americans will want to forget. As a political brand, the name “Barack Obama” now risks drifting into Jimmy Carter territory and becoming a label that blights the prospects of the Democratic party and its candidates for years.

Moreover, as with the health care law, the President’s immigration policy doesn’t solve the underlying problems it addresses and makes the task of real reform more difficult. As often happens with our careful and deliberative President, he’s balanced so many concerns so nicely and split so many hairs so finely that the final product doesn’t get much done.

It’s almost as if he’s just not all that good at this Presidenting stuff.

FORGET KANSAS, WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH LIBERALS? “Liberal icon Thomas Frank, author of What’s the Matter with Kansas?, is the latest lefty to compare President Obama to Jimmy Carter—and he doesn’t mean it as a compliment.”

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.

AUSTIN BAY: Obama In Historical Perspective.

UPDATE: It’s come to this: Jimmy Carter is criticizing Obama for weakness over ISIS.

OUR JUNIOR VARSITY ADMINISTRATION: Adriana Cohen: Foreign Policy Inexperience Proving Costly. “The truth is, Obama is worse at foreign policy than Jimmy Carter.” Hey, I warned everybody that a Carter rerun was a best-case scenario. . . .

JOEL KOTKIN: America Down, But Not Out:

America, seen either from here or from abroad, doesn’t look so good these days. The country that maintained world peace for decades now “leads by behind,” or not at all. You don’t have to have nostalgia for George W. Bush’s foreign policy to wish for someone in the White House who at least belongs in the same room with the likes of Vladimir Putin. Some wags now suggest that President Barack Obama has exceeded Jimmy Carter in foreign policy incompetence – Carter certainly was more effective in the Middle East.

What about space? Remember, we won the space race but now have to depend on Russian launch vehicles to do much of anything in orbit. President Obama thought we could rely on the Russians to provide us with cheap rides into orbit, but Putin squashed that notion after we objected to his actions in Ukraine. John Kennedy must be turning over in his grave.

And as for our domestic economy, the best you can say is “It could be worse,” particularly if you look at what’s happening in torpid Europe. It’s a sign of our utter lack of confidence that the current administration, and much of the punditry, still thinks we should follow the Continent’s economic and social policies.

Yet, despite all these challenges – and two presidencies the public ranks among the worst in history – it’s far too early to write off the United States. After all, no one else is doing very well.

We’ve had a worldwide epidemic of bad luck.

SUBSTANTIALLY BETTER THAN OBAMA’S: Gallup: George W. Bush’s Favorability Rating at 53 Percent. Well, Obama’s making everybody look better in retrospect. Even Jimmy Carter.

JAMES TARANTO: Dear Tina: A journalist writes an advice column for Mrs. Clinton.

Tina Brown doesn’t think Hillary Clinton should run for president. In a column for the Daily Beast, the website’s founder and former editor lays out her rationale.

Does Brown disagree with Mrs. Clinton on matters of policy or doubt she would be a good president? One assumes the answer is no, though the column doesn’t say. Nor does Brown offer a more coldly political rationale–say, that Mrs. Clinton would be unlikely to win, or that a different candidate would better enhance the long-term fortunes of the Democratic Party.

Brown sums up her argument as follows: “She should forget it. If she wins, it’s too much stress for too little return.” By “return,” Brown means nothing more than “personal benefit.” By forgoing a campaign, Brown writes, Mrs. Clinton “can have her glory-filled post-presidency now, without actually having to deal with the miseries of the office itself.”

That advice is very precisely targeted. Of all Americans constitutionally eligible to serve as the 45th president only seven other than Mrs. Clinton have the option of a “post-presidency”: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. As far as we know, none of them are considering a run for the presidency or any other public office. And of course Mrs. Clinton has already been a part of her husband’s post-presidency for more than 13 years.

An obvious question is why Brown offered this advice publicly instead of in a private conversation with Mrs. Clinton.

The real message is to the Democrats: You’d better have a Hillary alternative ready!

THE NATIONAL INTEREST: The Tragic Decline of American Foreign Policy. I think it’s called “smart diplomacy.”

Related: John McCain: Obama lets ‘bad people’ fill U.S. void, says Jimmy Carter was better.

KURT SCHLICHTER: Ukraine Illustrates Hard Truths Liberals Won’t Face. “Now we are in the almost unimaginable position of looking back at Jimmy Carter as an example of comparatively sure, savvy leadership. The Russians invaded Afghanistan and Carter armed the rebels. The Russians invaded Crimea and Barack Obama went on Ellen to hear the hostess gush about how much America loves Obamacare.”

SLATE: Why Obama Got Russia Wrong (and Romney Got It Right). “So you see the politics—they reveal Obama as the player of a cheap trick.”

Also: The New Republic: Mitt Romney Was Right About Russia.

Do tell. And do remember the lefty, and general media (but I repeat myself) mockery with which his statement was greeted.

Related, also from TNR: Enough With the Cliches Already: Obama’s vapid rhetoric on Russia is accomplishing nothing.

UPDATE: Forget the Bush picture. It’s come to this:

carter-miss-me-yet

THAT CLINT EASTWOOD EMPTY CHAIR SKETCH WAS SPOT-ON, WASN’T IT?

This was eyepopping. Obamacare is the single most important initiative of his presidency. The website rollout was, as the President himself has repeatedly stated, the most important element of the law’s debut. Domestically speaking there was no higher priority for the President and his staff than getting this right. And the President is telling the world that a week before the disaster he had no idea how that website was doing.

Reflect on that for a moment. The President of the United States is sitting in the Oval Office day after day. The West Wing is stuffed with high power aides. His political appointees sit atop federal bureaucracies, monitoring the work of the career staff around them. The President has told his core team, over and over, that the health care law and the website rollout are his number one domestic priorities.

And with all this, neither he nor, apparently, anyone in his close circle of aides and advisors knew that the website was a disaster. Vapid, blind, idly flapping their lips; they pushed paper, attended meetings and edited memos as the roof came crashing down. It is one thing to fail; it is much, much worse not to see failure coming. There is no way to construe this as anything but a world class flop.

And just one of many from this administration. Like I said, Clint was spot on. And much as I love Walter Russell Mead, I note that he voted for this guy, and blandly assumed that an Ivy League pedigree was some sort of assurance of competence. Not so much. And it’s not as if the signs weren’t there, for those able to see them.

Plus:

As more people reflect on the President’s extraordinary press conference, the public sense that the President and his team just aren’t up to the job will inevitably grow. It was a jaw dropping moment of naked self revelation, and the more one reflects on it the more striking it becomes. The President of the United States didn’t know that his major domestic priority wasn’t ready for prime time—and he thinks that sharing this news with us will somehow make it better. It is moments of this kind that give epithets like “Carteresque” their sting.

That’s unfair to Jimmy Carter, whose style ran more toward micromanagement than to obliviousness.

UPDATE: More competence.

ANOTHER UPDATE: National Journal: President Obama and His Gang That (Still) Isn’t Shooting Straight: Incompetence, deception and lack of accountability still hound White House and health reform. “Incompetence, deception and lack of accountability doomed the Obamacare rollout. That’s old news. What’s new? The nagging durability of the White House’s incompetence, deception and lack of accountability.”

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Moral Decline Of Oprah.

Multi-billionaire Oprah Winfrey, after her surreal $38,000 handbag “racism” encounter in Switzerland, has just weighed in again on race and the presidency, as yet the nth way of hyping her new film: “There’s a level of disrespect for the office that occurs. And that occurs in some cases and maybe even many cases because he’s African American. There’s no question about that and it’s the kind of thing nobody ever says but everybody’s thinking it.”

Nobody ever says? Has she read a newspaper columnist or turned on MSNBC lately?

Aside from her historical ignorance, Oprah Winfrey has increasingly turned to the race card to explain the president’s plummeting polls. In her race-obsessed world, Syria, Benghazi, the NSA, IRS, AP, and ACA messes do not explain why a reelected president crashes from a recent 60 percent approval rating to less than 40 percent in less than a year.

Instead, in Oprah’s no-win, racialist world, to the degree that Obama is popular, Americans are considered for the time being as not racist; to the degree that he is not, the country suddenly is collectively under suspicion (e.g., “everybody’s thinking it”).

That Obama might be utterly inexperienced in the manner of Jimmy Carter, less than veracious in the manner of the impeached Bill Clinton, or suffering the same second-term blues of Ronald Reagan during Iran-Contra or popularity crash of George W. Bush after Katrina simply cannot for Oprah be true of an African-American president, who for some reason must not suffer the same fate and treatment as almost all who have held the highest office.

In the words of Tony Katz: “It’s not his race. It’s that he’s awful.” To Oprah, however, it’s all about his race. That’s why she supported him in 2008, and it’s why she’s smearing his opposition now: Racial loyalty trumps all. Her fans figured this out in 2008, of course, which is why she’s a comparative nobody now.

JAMES TARANTO: The Carter Administration: Shop till you drop (your insurance carrier).

The press release doesn’t say if it includes Oregon, but that actually doesn’t affect the result one way or another. The Beaver State’s website is completely nonfunctional, so that its total enrollment is zero, zip, zilch, nada, nil, naught–in other words, a big goose egg.

The Associated Press has one of the all-time great look-on-the-sunny-side quotes, from Amy Fauver, chief communications officer for Cover Oregon: “We stuck to the vision, and we’re experiencing now the bumps that go along with having a grand vision that doesn’t work out exactly the way you hope it will.”

If she were good at math, she might have added that Cover Oregon’s enrollment has been growing exponentially.

Another state excluded from the Avalere study is Massachusetts. You might think that’s because Massachusettsans are old pros at running a health-insurance exchange, having set one up way back in 2006 after Mitt Romney’s reform. But no. As the Boston Herald reports, the old, functional Commonwealth Connector had to be scrapped and replaced with an ObamaCare-compliant exchange.

The new Massachusetts Health Connector is beset with “embarrassing glitches,” the Herald reports, and little wonder, since the state hired CGI Group, the same Canadian firm that designed the beglitched federal exchange. Result: “Only 549 applicants–out of the 150,000 Bay Staters forced to switch their health plans to comply with Obamacare rules–are poised to receive insurance.”

“Poised” turns out to be the local dialect for what the Obama administration calls “enrolled”; in Massachusetts, at least, the latter word retains its earlier meaning. “No, nobody’s enrolled,” Scott Devonshire, the exchange’s chief information officer, told the Herald, “because enrollment . . . doesn’t happen until a [health plan] carrier receives payment. It’s a semantics issue, I guess.”

Which seems like a perfect segue to Bill Clinton. The Weekly Standard’s Daniel Halper notes that the 42nd president said in a recent interview that Obama ought to keep his most infamous promise: “I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

So a couple of weeks ago he was being called incompetent by Jimmy Carter. Now he’s being lectured on commitment by Bill Clinton.

IT’S COME TO THIS: Jimmy Carter Slams Obama’s Ineptitude. “It may be that Jimmy Carter has a right to sit in judgment of Barack Obama. Which is among the worst things that could be said about America’s 44th president.”

AT THIS POINT, JIMMY CARTER ISN’T EVEN A PLAUSIBLE BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Obama fails Lincoln lesson on Syria.

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MITT ROMNEY, BRITPUNDITS WOULD SCORN OUR PRESIDENT’S BUMBLING. AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Nile Gardiner: Barack Obama’s Syria speech was an incoherent mess – he is outperforming Jimmy Carter as the most feeble US president of modern times.

“SMART DIPLOMACY:” It’s Official: Obama Has Surpassed Jimmy Carter.

HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? VICTOR DAVIS HANSON:

Barack Obama’s cancellation of his Russian visit is the normal sort of diplomat payback for insult and injury — in this case the asylum offered Edward Snowden in the face of administration pleas to send him home for punishment. But with Obama, as with everything with Obama, the about-face invokes irony, hypocrisy, and paradox, because it is just the sort of normal Neanderthal tit-for-tat that was not supposed to happen under an Obama pathbreaking foreign policy.

He entered office chastising the Bush administration for its failure to talk with the Iranians and Syrians. The subtext was that Bush lacked both his own charm and insight into human character that together would produce results that Texan right-wingers stuck in Cold War prisms could hardly appreciate.

The Snowden putdown proved the proverbial icing on the cake, given that the Obama administration had always combined the worst of both diplomatic worlds with Putin, as it so often does with its empty redlines and deadlines: loud sermonizing without commensurate toughness. . . . Putin — earlier than other leaders — grasped that the U.S. was back to a utopian Jimmy Carter mode. And so, not content in finding advantage, he also seeks fun in publicly humiliating the U.S. He was always an unapologetic Russian nationalist, stung by the loss of prestige after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but reenergized by huge oil revenues. His stock and trade has always been pointing out Western moral hypocrisies — from supporting cruel anti-democratic Islamists to distorting U.N. resolutions on no-fly zones and humanitarian aid in Libya.

In that sense, he is the perfect antithesis to Obama.

What cruel synthesis is even now slouching toward Bethlehem to be born?

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Obama Who?

Critics of the president are convinced that Barack Obama will do lasting damage to the U.S. I doubt it.

Obama came to power in the third year of large Democratic congressional majorities. In his first referendum, he lost the House and may soon lose the Senate; in other words, there followed a somewhat normal reaction against a majority party. Obama’s popularity rating is well below 50%, despite an obsequious media, and a brilliantly negative billion-dollar campaign that long ago turned Mitt Romney into a veritable elevator-using, equestrian-marrying, canine-hating monster.

In the second term, there is little of the Obama bully pulpit left. “Make no mistake about it” and “let me be perfectly clear” can incur caricature, not fainting. “Really,” “I’m not kidding,” “I’m serious,” “in point of fact,” and “I’m not making this up” often prove rhetoric hints that the opposite is true. When Obama warns about gridlock in Washington, the “same old tired politics,” the dangers of a tyrant or king in the White House, the need for an honest IRS, or the perils of government surveillance, these admonitions have tragically become a psychological tic to warn us about himself. Former jokes about siccing the IRS on his enemies, or using Predator drones to go after suitors of his daughters are as eerie as comedic. . . .

Americans are always up for a good class war. Obama gave them one, with all the talk of the “one percent”, “millionaires and billionaires”, and the “pay your fair share” boilerplate. But to be a good class warrior also requires the pretense of populism. Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich were at least not habitués of Martha’s Vineyard, did not make second homes out of tony golf courses, did not have the family jetting to Aspen and Costa del Sol to take time off with those who forgot when to quit their profiting. How can a president so rail at the 1% and yet so wish to play, vacation, and be among those who didn’t build their wealth?

The president’s signature achievement? He has established a precedent that the president can play all the golf he wishes without being caricatured as a distracted would-be aristocrat.

Jimmy Carter’s four years had short-term consequences — almost all negative — but little long-term damage. Obama’s eight years in theory should have far more lasting ramifications, given the huge debt, radical appointees, job-killing regulations, and dismal economy of the last five years. Yet we are learning that he is proving even a more inconsequential figure than was Carter. And so likewise in years to come, even his true believers will talk more of an iconic Barack Obama before and after he was president — but rarely during.

Let’s hope.

REMEMBER HOW I’VE SAID THAT A CARTER-RERUN WOULD BE THE BEST-CASE SCENARIO FOR OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY? WELL, NOW THERE’S THIS: Jimmy Carter: US “has no functioning democracy.”

CATS AND DOGS, LIVING TOGETHER: Jimmy Carter Lauds George W. Bush As Peacemaker. “That’s what we newspapermen call a man-bites-dog story. . . . As for Barack Obama, he was fittingly if uncharacteristically gracious.”

HE’S LINCOLN! HE’S REAGAN! Have You Noticed Liberals Always Compare Obama To Republican Presidents? “It’s funny how you never hear Democrats squeal with delight saying, Finally! Our generation’s Jimmy Carter! At Last! A Woodrow Wilson of our very own! There’s a reason for that.”

JOHN HINDERAKER ENDORSES MY PROPOSAL. “Today, there are many millions of Americans who can tell one Kardashian sister from another, but have no idea that Barack Obama has compiled the worst presidential record since Jimmy Carter. Seriously: they really don’t know. These are the voters we need to reach, and to reach them we need to go where they live. At TMZ, for example. Or The Frisky.”

THE OCTOBER SURPRISE: Michael Ledeen writes:

At least one element of the Times story is true: the agreement, if there actually is one, is undoubtedly “a result of intense, secret exchanges between American and Iranian officials that date almost to the beginning of President Obama’s term.” Indeed, there were talks between Iranian officials and a representative of the Obama campaign, even before the Inauguration. Secret talks between the two countries have been going on for decades, and I do not know of any American president from Jimmy Carter to the present who did not secretly pursue a deal with Tehran. (I participated in such talks in the mid-1980s during the Reagan Administration).

So what is happening? The most likely explanation is that Obama is still desperately seeking his grand bargain, the one that would validate his (and the Nobel Committee’s) claim to be a talented peace maker. That deal is not available, because the Iranians don’t want it. But he wants something to show for his efforts, so he settled for a big nothingburger: an agreement to talk some more.

Even if the story turns out to be true, I don’t think it will help him. “We’re going to talk to the Iranians!” isn’t a very sexy headline.

Heh, indeed.™

HUGH HEWITT: President Obama’s Closing Act: An Epic Collapse.

The president of course has his passionate supporters. These are the same people that spent last Tuesdaynight declaring him the winner of his second meeting with Mitt Romney, and Wednesday and Thursday trying to infuse the word “binder” with game-changing significance.

They are the same people who spent Friday denying that “not optimal” was not a big deal.

“Binder” –big deal. “Not optimal” –no deal at all. That’s the state of the Obama campaign: A nearly Orwellian effort at making some words matter and others disappear while facts are pushed aside It hasn’t worked. It won’t work..

Mitt Romney by contrast followed two very strong debate showings with a wonderful set of remarks at the Al Smith dinner, the third time in two weeks that he has reassured those just tuning into the presidential campaign that he will be a steady and reliable force for good in the Oval Office.

Romney was ready for his close up. This is the primary reasion behind his surge.

Related: How Romney’s Polling:

According to the latest Gallup survey, Mitt Romney is polling 52% of likely voters. At this point in the race he is ahead of:

Where Jimmy Carter was in 1976 (47%)

Where Ronald Reagan was in 1980 (39% — Carter was six points up)

Where George H.W. Bush was in 1988 (50%)

Where Bill Clinton was in 1992 (40%)

Where George W. Bush was in 2000 (48%)

Where Barack Obama was in 2008 (49%)

Nice polling, kid. Don’t get cocky. It only matters if people show up.

THE OBAMA BREAKING POINT: Victor Davis Hanson writes:

The election is not over, but it is starting to resemble October 29 or November 1 in 1980, when, after just one debate, the nation at last decided that it really did not like Jimmy Carter very much or what he had done, and discovered that Ronald Reagan was not the mad Dr. Strangelove/Jefferson Davis of the Carter summer television ads. Like Carter, Obama both has no wish to defend his record (who would?) and is just as petulant. In the next three weeks, he has only three hours left to save his presidency.

Needless to say, read the whole thing.

THE HILL: Romney Surges Past Obama In Second Poll. “Mitt Romney has overtaken President Obama in a Public Policy Polling survey released on Tuesday. Romney won 49 percent support from likely voters in the poll, compared to 47 percent for Obama. It’s the first time all year Romney has led in the poll, which was conducted on behalf of the liberal Daily Kos website and the Service Employees International Union. Obama led 49-45 percent in the group’s previous poll, conducted before last week’s debate.”

UPDATE: Romney Ahead in Colorado, North Carolina, Ohio. And pulling close in Pennsylvania.

Also: Obama loses 
lead on key 
voter issues: economy, national security. “The left, as I suggested, may soon (if not before the election, than certainly after if he loses) reach the point in which Obama is trashed to save liberalism. It is not, the left tells us, the Keynesian record of failure that was to blame for the debate wipeout; rather it was Obama’s cruddy performance. It’s not that liberalism lacks a reform agenda that is both feasible and politically popular, you see. No, the problem was that Obama didn’t shout ‘Liar!’ loudly enough. Given a choice between casting off their false idol and giving up the cult of liberalism, there is no competition. Liberals will have no compunction about dumping Obama.”

MORE: IowaHawk: White House Scientists Struggle to Contain Outbreak of Scrutonium. “Engaged a relentless battle against time and fatigue, a select group of message scientists assembled by the White House’s Center for Narrative Control say they will take “all steps necessary” to contain a recent outbreak of scrutonium, a deadly poll-eating supervirus that attacks the immuno-hope system, leaving victims vulnerable to material facts.”

Related: Obama cultists’ crack-up.

Also: Washington Post Joins “Poll Truthers.” “Exit Question: Is this sample Pew’s attempt to correct itself pre-election or will we see a new poll just before the day re-skewed to try and create the Obama comeback?”

STILL MORE: Fine, enjoy the meltdown — but don’t get cocky!

But reader William Miller emails: “I ran the Chicago Marathon this past weekend, which went through several different neighborhoods in and around downtown Chicago. I did not see one pro-Obama sign. I did see a few Romney signs though. I know it wasn’t a political event, but I assumed that I would be overwhelmed by all of the Obama supporters that the press has been telling me about especially on his home turf.”

Maybe he just isn’t cool any more, and people are embarrassed? Kind of like Jimmy Carter, at the end.

MORE STILL: Reader Carey Cline writes:

I live in an intown Atlanta neighborhood that is very near Emory University, the CDC and a large conservative Jewish synagogue. So my yard is a little island of conservatism in a vast sea of liberal moonbats.

In 2008 every yard (except mine) it seemed had the requisite Obama yard sign. A yeti would have been an easier find than a McCain/Palin sign or sticker.

This morning on my way to work I counted six Romney/Ryan signs….If Obama is losing my neighborhood….oh you know the rest….

Well, don’t get cocky, kids.

SCANDAL: Bombshell: Obama.com Owned by Bundler in Shanghai with Business Ties to Chinese Government.

In an explosive report set to send shockwaves through official Washington, the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) released a 108-page GAI investigation into the threat of foreign and fraudulent Internet campaign donations in U.S. federal elections (visit campaignfundingrisks.com to download the full report).

Breitbart News obtained an advance copy of the bombshell report which reveals that the Obama.com website is not owned by the president’s campaign but rather by Obama bundler Robert Roche, a U.S. citizen living in Shanghai, China. Roche is the chairman of a Chinese infomercial company, Acorn International, with ties to state-controlled banks that allow it to “gain revenue through credit card transactions with Chinese banks.”

There’s more.

The unusual Obama.com website redirects traffic directly to a donation page on the Obama campaign’s official website, my.barackobama.com, which does not require donors tob enter their credit card security code (known as the CVV code), thereby increasing the likelihood of foreign or fraudulent donations. The website is managed by a small web development firm, Wicked Global, in Maine. One of Wicked Global’s employees, Greg Dorr, lists on his LinkedIn page his additional employment with Peace Action Maine and Maine Voices for Palestinian Rights. According to the GAI report, 68 percent of all Internet traffic to Obama.com comes from foreign visitors.

And still more.

In 2011, Mr. Roche obtained one of the most sought-after pieces of real estate in Washington, DC: a seat at the head table for President Obama’s State Dinner for Chinese President Hu Jintao. How Roche—a man whose infomercial company hawks fitness equipment, cell phones, and breast enhancement products—landed a seat alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, Sen. John Kerry, former President Jimmy Carter, and Chinese President Hu Jintao remains unclear.

Since 2009, White House Visitor Logs list the name Robert Roche at least 19 times, despite the fact Mr. Roche’s primary residence is in China.

Those of us who remember the dubious-donation scandal of 2008 — largely ignored by the press, of course — won’t be surprised. Will this get more attention now?

More from Katie Pavlich.

Because of the lack of a CVV code requirement, the door is opened for OFA to accept robo-donations, or in other words, large numbers of small and automatic donations made online to evade FEC reporting requirements. Although it isn’t illegal to decline the use of a secure CVV credit card code for campaign donations, it is illegal to accept campaign donations from foreign sources. Campaigns are required under criminal code not to solicit, accept or receive foreign donations in any amount. The Federal Elections Commission doesn’t require campaigns to disclose the names of donors making contributions of less than $200 unless audited. In addition, FEC rules don’t require campaigns to keep records of those giving less than $50. These rules combined with the lack of a CVV numbers make it easy for campaigns to get away with taking foreign donations.

According to GAI, it is the duty of the campaign to “ensure compliance with the law. Indeed, they risk criminal prosecution for the conscious failure to do so. This means that whether or not the FEC requires it to be reported, campaigns have an independent duty under the law to discover and protect against criminal campaign contributions.” Protecting against criminal campaign contributions is easily accomplished by requiring a CVV code on the campaign donation page.

OFA has specifically touted its “grassroots” success by showcasing the majority of its donations coming from those giving less than $200. It appears the campaign also solicits funds for less than $200 in order to avoid having to report the name of the person making a donation under FEC rules.

Read the whole thing.

EXQUISITELY BORED IN THE WHITE HOUSE: “Liberals fret: Is Obama bored? Does he want a second term? Maybe not,” Byron York writes, noting that “A look at the president’s career shows he has never stayed in a job four years without looking to move on to something better:”

Now Obama has been president for nearly four years.  Aided by a huge Democratic majority from 2009 to 2011, he achieved some big things — massive stimulus, Obamacare, Dodd-Frank.  He even won the Nobel Peace Prize, essentially for showing up.  But he hasn’t achieved, and won’t achieve in four more years, the “fundamental transformation” of American society that he envisioned.  And his entire career suggests that by now he should be angling for a bigger, better job. The problem is, there isn’t such a position — and a second term in the same old job doesn’t count. The chief benefit of winning re-election to a second term might simply be to avoid being labeled a loser, to avoid joining Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush as presidents who couldn’t win a second time.

So if his liberal supporters sense signs of boredom and frustration in the president, they might be right.  I wrote about this in a January 2010 column that began, “This is about the time Barack Obama becomes bored with his job.”  Back then, he had just passed a year in office — about the time, in the past, that his restlessness and ambition began to kick in. Now, years later, the problem is only worse.

UPDATE: More, from the Guardian: “Has a disillusioned Barack Obama lost the will to win?”

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE (FROM GLENN): Reader Dennis Roach emails: “He’s just not that into us!”

UPDATE (FROM ED): On Facebook, reader Ric Manhard spotted the Pete Townshend callback in the headline.

PAUL RAHE: Appeasement And The Suppression Of Liberty.

On Wednesday, when everyone was obsessing about the upcoming debate and no one but Joel Gehrke was paying any attention. Zbigniew Brzezinski appeared on Morning Joe to tout his recent book Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power and to discuss recent developments. In the course of the ensuing conversation, which focused in part on the events that took place on 11 September 2012 in Libya and elsewhere within the Islamic world, Brzezinski acknowledged, “We’re dealing here with a messy region which is increasingly slipping into increased instability — a region in which American domination is rapidly, rapidly coming to an end.”

In this situation, the former advisor to Jimmy Carter might have said a word or two about the failure of Barack Obama’s new-look foreign policy in the Middle East. He might have mentioned the President’s famous and highly apologetic Cairo speech. He might have noted the manner in which Obama had repeatedly and pathetically tried to suck up to the Iranian government. He might have discussed our betrayal of the Green Movement in Iran. He might have drawn attention to his administration’s embarrassing and futile attempt to flatter Bashar al-Assad of Syria and enlist him as a go-between in his attempt to foster a dialogue with the Islamic Republic. He might have emphasized the President’s marked reluctance to align the United States with those attempting to overthrow the tyrants dominant in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Iran, and he might have ended by commenting on the fact that displays of weakness and attempts at appeasing tyrants are apt to backfire.

But, of course, he did not do that. Instead, as Gehrke was quick to note, he endorsed the preposterous story that the Obama administration has intermittently peddled — that our troubles are somehow due to a fourteen-minute video posted on YouTube more than a month before the attacks in Benghazi by a Coptic Christian film-maker, and he suggested that a “crack-down” on the film-maker and those working with him might be appropriate on the off-chance that the video was designed “to provoke [Muslim] violence” against Americans.

Zbig was manifestly unfit to hold the offices he held, and he hasn’t gotten any fitter in the intervening years. Like Britain, I fear that America is afflicted with a ruling class that fundamentally doesn’t believe in the country it rules. That is unlikely to end well, if it is allowed to persist.

REMEMBER WHEN JIMMY CARTER WAS BLOWING REAGAN OUT OF THE WATER? Powerline’s John Hinderaker offers a timely reminder that something very similar to what is happening now with the Gallup Poll and President Obama occurred at a similar point in the 1980 campaign. “Americans are by no means infallible, but are they really dumb enough, or self-destructive enough, to want another four years of Barack Obama’s failures,” Hinderaker asks. Me, neither.

FOUAD AJAMI: Muslim Rage And Obama’s Retreat.

This is not a Jimmy Carter moment—a U.S. Embassy and its staff seized and held hostage for 444 days, America’s enemies taking stock of its weakness, its allies running for cover. But the anti-American protests that broke upon 20 nations this past week must be reckoned a grand personal failure for Barack Obama, and a case of hubris undone.

No American president before this one had proclaimed such intimacy with a world that stretches from Morocco to Indonesia. From the start of his administration, Mr. Obama put forth his own biography as a bridge to those aggrieved nations. He would be a “different president,” he promised, and the years he lived among Muslims would acquit him—and thus America itself. He was the un-Bush.

And so, in June 2009, Mr. Obama descended on Cairo. He had opposed the Iraq war, he had Muslim relatives, and he would offer Egyptians, and by extension other Arabs, the promise of a “new beginning.” They told their history as a tale of victimization at the hands of outsiders, and he empathized with that narrative.

He spoke of “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

Without knowing it, he had broken a time-honored maxim of that world: Never speak ill of your own people when in the company of strangers. There was too little recognition of the malignant trilogy—anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism and anti-modernism—that had poisoned the life of Egypt and much of the region. . . .

Our foreign policy has been altered, as never before, to fit one man’s electoral needs. We hear from the presidential handlers only what they want us to believe about the temper of distant lands. It was only yesterday that our leader, we are told, had solved the riddle of our position in the world.

Give him your warrant, the palace guard intone, at least until the next election. In tales of charismatic, chosen leaders, it is always, and only, about the man at the helm.

Obama didn’t learn much in his sojourn abroad, and apparently much of what he did learn turned out not to be so.

Related: James Taranto on Obama’s Apology Ad:

What message does the ad actually send the Mohammed Tariq Khans? On the one hand, a message of weakness: Assemble a big enough mob, kill enough people, burn enough flags and churches, and you too can grab the attention of the most powerful man and woman in the world. On the other hand, a taunt. If Obama and Mrs. Clinton really mean it, the Khans must think, why haven’t they presented the video makers for public mincing? The State Department’s ad contains no answer to that crucial question.

If our government is going to run an ad to educate Pakistanis (or whoever) about American attitudes, wouldn’t it make sense to include an explanation as to why America’s leaders cannot and will not enforce the mob’s standards of blasphemy? To an American, what’s objectionable about this ad isn’t so much the apology for the video’s offense as the abject failure to defend basic American principles of freedom. That same failure makes the ad less than worthless as an educational tool.

Obama didn’t learn much in his sojourn at Harvard and Chicago law schools, and apparently much of what he did learn turned out not to be so.

Oh, and it’s not a Jimmy Carter moment — because at this point, Jimmy Carter would be a best-case scenario. And an increasingly implausible one, I’m afraid.

NICK GILLESPIE: Secret Romney Tape Means We Can Finally Stop Talking About Obama’s Failed Foreign & Domestic Policy! “Does anyone still think that Obama has any idea of what he’s doing with regard to foreign policy?” No, but the press doesn’t want to talk about that, so they’re happy to have this tape. Not that they were talking about it before.

For the slow-learners in the press corps, the reason it’s bad when nearly half the electorate doesn’t pay income tax isn’t that they’re somehow parasites. It’s that people who don’t have skin in the game don’t care about the game. In a better world, everyone would pay at least some income tax — enough to feel it, say 5% of gross income — and it would go up and down every year in proportion to government spending. If that happened, there would be political pressure to control government spending, and we wouldn’t have the $16 Trillion debt. Don’t, however, expect our corps of bylined Democratic operatives to stress that point, even if by some chance they manage to grasp it.

Meanwhile, more from Nick:

Obama’s actual record is worth sussing through. As spun out at the Democratic National Convention, Obama’s domestic policy moves have seen nothing but success. Either the stimulus flat-out worked or, if it didn’t actually achieve any of its goals in terms of reducing unemployment, it staved off far worse outcomes. You got that, America: If I hadn’t gotten to do what I wanted, says President Obama, you’d be even more out of a job. The illegal auto bailout was so successful that it will never earn back what was spent on it. Health care reform, which expands the budget-breaking program Medicare and yet manages to protect completely the budget-breaking program Medicare, will help the country’s bottom line because it forces more people to pay for insurance so good they have to be forced to pay for it. The president’s plans for the future include more spending, slightly more taxes (but only on the rich) and deficits for at least the next 10 years (his budget proposal only goes that far).

When the focus shifts from economic policy to things such as the drug war, or immigration, or transparency, well…noboby really wants to discuss those things anyway, right?

Apparently not.

UPDATE: Reader Aaron Chmielewski writes:

Who wants to think of themselves as the 47%?

Mitt can make this work brilliantly.

The implication is people who vote for Obama don’t want people to work. He won’t raise taxes on them, but he will focus on the America that wants to work, the people who don’t want to be part of the 47%.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: By “slow learners in the press corps,” I particularly want to include David Brooks.

MORE: Reader Leslie Eastman writes: “I defy the press to release the full contents of Romney’s speech.”

And reader Tom Gunn writes: “I think this secret Romney tape is not going to do what the progressive expect it to do. 47% of the population on the dole, of that 47%, 23 million are not paying taxes BECAUSE they don’t have a job and would do near anything to be able to pay taxes because that would mean they have a JOB with income!” Yeah, not so many of those going around. Ask Jimmy Carter’s unemployed grandson. . . .

Plus, an excellent point about the Khalidi tape:

Well, the LA Times has a “secret” video of Barack Obama speaking at a party for a famous radical Palestinian, Rashid Khalidi. They’ve been sitting on it since before the 2008 election, and they won’t let voters see it. Why is that?

Because they’re covering for him. Which bears repeating over and over an over again.

MICHAEL WALSH: Mitt Romney’s Gettysburg Moment. “Mitt Romney found himself in an unexpected place last night — in the public eye. He ought to make the most of it.”

Hey, the only way Mitt can get any press is if he can convince them that he’s committed a gaffe. Since this is a story that actually helps him, but that the press is dumb enough to think looks like a gaffe, I suspect the campaign was behind it, somehow.

And isn’t it rich that the video was shot by Jimmy Carter’s currently-unemployed grandson? That’s how bad the Obama economy has gotten. . . .

CONN CARROLL: Obama’s Alternative Middle East Reality.

President Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, hit the Sunday talk show circuit yesterday to defend the administration’s Middle East policy in light of a week’s worth of spreading violence and the first murder of a U.S. ambassador since Jimmy Carter was president. In the course of defending Obama, Rice claimed: 1) that the security at the Benghazi consulate was adequate; 2) the attacks on the Benghazi consulate were not pre-planned; and 3) all of this violence is due solely to one 11-minute video on YouTube. All three of these positions are preposterous.

First, as the BBC reported this weekend, the Obama administration purposefully chose to provide substandard security at the Benghazi consulate. “US embassies and consulates in areas of the world where they are deemed liable to attack are usually offered a formal security contract called a Worldwide Protective Services Agreement … But sources have told the BBC that on the advice of a US diplomatic regional security officer, the mission in Benghazi was not given the full contract … Instead, the US consulate was guarded externally by a force of local Libyan militia, many of whom reportedly put down their weapons and fled once the mission came under concerted attack.”

Second, Libya President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf directly contradicted Rice on CBS’s , Face the Nation, telling Bob Schieffer, “It was planned, definitely. It was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago. And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival.”

Finally, no one outside the White House believes a single video caused the violence. Liberal commentator and Tufts University international politics professor Dan Drezner has called Obama’s decision to blame the YouTube clip a “radically incomplete and dishonest answer.” As The New York Times Ross Douthat points out, the riots have far more to do with internal power politics.

The reality is that Obama has failed internationally for the same reason he has failed at home: arrogance.

Read the whole thing.

A READER EMAILS:

Much as it pains me to admit she was right about something, Hillary’s remarks about that 3 a.m. phone call were correct in one way. It wouldn’t be wise to call President Obama, as they probably don’t allow phones on the golf course or at campaign fundraisers which is where he seems to spend most of his time.
Sadly, we’ve also learned that Secretary Clinton can’t handle that phone call too well, as it seems her response was to apologize for freedom.
With all of the things I didn’t like about him, John McCain doesn’t look so bad to me now.

Please withhold my name if you use this.

When people are willing to give their names in support of this sentiment, we’ll have really turned a corner . . . .

UPDATE: And maybe we have. From my email:

“Well, I’m Bob Tandler, and I support that message.”

“I’m guessing I won’t be the only one to do so, but I’m quite willing to say: My name is Todd Tolhurst, and I wholly support this sentiment. And you can post that.”

Also:

I support what the reader writes.

Use my name – I’m a proud Tea Party supporter and Republican.

I do this for my grandchildren.

By the way, we are in a brand new Congressional District – Ron DeSantis, a Navy and Iraq vet is the R candidate and deserves support.

Republican volunteers have knocked on my door, but no Democrats. Maybe they´re looking at the registration, but I would have noticed if the Dems were in the neighborhood.

Mike Thompson
Palm Coast FL. ( part of the I4 corridor which the MSM thinks is so important)

Moe Lane emails: “I didn’t say it, but I’d put my name to the sentiment. I’ll happily cop to being offended by Obama; disappointed by Clinton; and wistful for McCain.” Hell, at this point I’m wistful for Jimmy Carter. I told you people that a Carter rerun would be a best-case scenario, and I was right!

“Wish I had said it, and you can use my name if you like. Bill Gasper.”

“Hell, put my name to it. I am Spartacus. Rob Carty, Houston, Texas.”

Johanna Lapp writes: “Out me. Orphan, white African exile, refugee, new US citizen, Democrat, lesbian, grad student at expensive elitist college. One more stripe can’t make matters any worse.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More coming out. Sarah Hoyt emails:

I need something to make me feel good after this horrible week, so here it is:

Foreign born, Latin origin, MA in literature, novelist — I wish we’d elected McCain. Sometimes, in my crazier moments, I wish Clinton (whom I hate) were still president. After a week like this, I think we’d be better off with Carter. What more should go in my self denunciation? I hate Marxism with a burning purple passion; Communism should not be acceptable. Declaring yourself a communist should be as acceptable as declaring yourself a puppy eater (oh, wait!) It should shock and disgust well-balanced people. I believe the US is the best country in the world — not perfect — but by far the best system humanity has constructed. Those dead white men who wrote the constitution knew very well what they were doing and we’re not fit to shine their boots. What other totally crazy beliefs do I hold? Oh, yeah, I like men. I think masculine virtues are necessary to the maintenance of civilization and I think we’re treating our men very badly and there will be a price to pay. I believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe that our system of individual rights has made possible magnificent technology. And because that technology allowed me to drop all the publishers who would have objected to this statement — other than Baen Books who doesn’t object at all — and self publish all the books Baen doesn’t buy, you can sign me Sarah A. Hoyt (aka Sarah D’Almeida, aka Elise Hyatt.)

The USA is lucky to have you, Sarah.

FINALLY: Reader Richard Samson writes:

Please allow me to join in the “I Am Spartacus!” moment.
Richard E Samson
Greensboro, NC

Done!

“SMART DIPLOMACY:” White House: On second thought, Egypt is still kinda sorta an “ally.”

How bad has it gotten? Jimmy Carter is correcting Obama on foreign relations.

Related: America ‘was warned of embassy attack but did nothing.’ Too busy with fundraisers and golf.

OBA-MEH: Krauthammer Pans Obama’s Speech: “He Gave One of the Emptiest Speeches I’ve Ever Heard on a National Stage.”

And “Oba-meh” was actually Ben Smith’s take.

Related: “That’s it?” “Seriously. Like an aging rock star, President Obama, in a downsized venue, with downsized proposal and spewing downsized rhetoric only reminded us how far he has fallen from the heady days of 2008. The man, the agenda and the aura are faint imitations of their 2008 incarnations. And most importantly, he put forth an agenda that was entirely, and obviously, lacking, one that didn’t begin to match the demands of our time.”

The Spinal Tap resonance continues, but without the #1 in Japan salvation. . . .

UPDATE: George W. Bush responds to Obama speech.

Plus, another Jimmy Carter parallel.

OBVIOUSLY, IT’S BECAUSE OF RACISM: Jimmy Carter Accuses U.S. of ‘Widespread Abuse of Human Rights.’ “Jimmy Carter, America’s 39 th president, denounced the Obama administration for ‘clearly violating’ 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the ‘United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.'”

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Is The Country Unraveling? “Nowhere is the Obama model of massive borrowing, vast increases in the size of the state, more regulations, and class warfare successful — not in California or Illinois, not in Greece, Spain, or Italy, not anywhere. Culturally, Obama might at least have played the Jimmy Carter populist and eschewed the elite world that had so mesmerized Bill Clinton. Instead, Obama proved a counterfeit populist and became enthralled with the high life of rich friends, celebrities, high-priced fundraisers, and family getaways to Martha’s Vineyard, or Costa del Sol. He somehow has set records both in the number of meet-and-greet campaign fundraisers and the number of golf rounds played. As Obama damned the fat cats and corporate jet owners, he courted them in preparation to joining them post officium.”

COMEDY GOLD: Hapless anti-Walker protesters in deep denial.

UPDATE: The Hill: Obama frets after ‘terrifying’ recall vote.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Wisconsin Recap: Thanks to Obama, American Left Lies in Smoldering Wreckage.

MORE: Obama Is Killing The Democratic Party. “Not even Jimmy Carter did this much, I would suggest, to jerk his party to the left and hobble its electoral prospects. No wonder Clinton is on a rampage.”

THE TELEGRAPH: Barack Obama Is Facing His Jimmy Carter Moment.

Obama’s re-election is no longer guaranteed; some pollsters think it is unlikely. Day by day, the odds are improving that Mitt Romney will be the next President of the United States.

What changed? For a start, voters are getting gloomier about the economy. Joblessness remains high and debt is out of control. According to one poll released this week, only 33 per cent of Americans expect the economy to improve in the coming months and only 43 per cent approve of the way that the president has handled it. Voters think Obama has made the debt situation and health care worse. The man who conducted the poll – Democrat Peter Hart – concluded that “Obama’s chances for re-election… are no better than 50-50.”

The president has tried to distract from America’s economic misery by playing up the so-called culture war. Earlier in the year he decided that he would force Catholic employers to provide contraception to their employees through their insurance plans, and he followed that swipe at social traditionalism by endorsing gay marriage. This embrace of Sixties liberalism has backfired.

Plus this:

But it isn’t just Obama’s flaws that are making this race interesting. Mitt Romney might not be the most charismatic candidate, but that’s a hidden strength in an election that’s all about competence and getting back to the basics of what once made America work so well. This week, the pro-Obama journalist Andrew Sullivan wrote that with his wealth, good looks and apple-pie conservatism, Romney is like “a focus-group tested model president from 1965”. Sullivan obviously doesn’t realise how popular the TV show Mad Men is. Who wouldn’t warm to a candidate that represents an age marked by low unemployment, stable families and a laissez-faire attitude towards drinking at work?

Poor Obama. He’s on the wrong side of history, at both ends.

MITT ROMNEY USES JIMMY CARTER AS CAMPAIGN WEAPON: Why would Obama (and arguably by extension, the Politico) complain, when Obama has – voluntarily — favorably compared himself with Carter? And incidentally, note the “dog whistle” opening in the Politico article:

For President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney is an obvious throwback to another era — a stiff Father Knows Best-type who straps the dog to the station wagon and marries his high-school sweetheart.

The presidential candidate does what to his dog?

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Jobs? What Jobs? Note this chart in particular:

Why have jobs recovered so slowly, and so little, compared to past recessions?

UPDATE: Reader John Hawkins — no, not that one, another John Hawkins — writes: “You keep saying that Jimmy Carter is a best-case scenario for Broke Obama, and looking at that jobs chart confirms it, at least when it comes to employment. Carter’s recession is the yellow line up in the corner. The current red line is four times deeper and five times longer.”

And reader Brock Cusick emails:

Glenn, this chart is more important than just Obama’s awful stewardship of the economy. Look closer. Look at how each recovery takes longer than the previous one. The longest recovery prior to this one was 2001, and the longest recovery before that was 1991. This is a chart of demosclerosis. We don’t just need to get rid of Obama. We need a hard reset of the entire Federal apparatus. A do-over, if you will. Or the next recession will be even worse – no matter who’s in office.

Here’s a simple solution: Any Federal agency which isn’t delivering real value, is shut down. Give the employees a generous exit package to lessen the human cost, but get the regulators to stop interfering with the economy. And any Federal agency that’s kept, gets six months to re-write the regulations so that they’re clear, transparent, market friendly, and less than 100 pages in length.

And, of course, pass a major tax reform. Make the tax code 10 pages in length. Make that a hard cap.

Works for me.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Economic historian Eric Schubert writes:

There are two basic reasons why the job situation remains so tough:

First, the current recession is a classic balance sheet recession that was 30 years in the making. The housing bubble of the last decade was the culmination of our increasing love of debt and our failure to save. Nouriel Roubini called it four years ago. His analysis – along with Gary Schilling’s – still holds. The large run-up of government debt under the Obama Administration has allowed private balance sheets to heal. – a process very similar to what Nordic countries faced in the 1990s. The process would have happened if John McCain had won in 2008. An inevitability, unless you want 25-30 percent unemployment over a very short period of time. Low job growth is a function of the laws of economics, not politics.

The problem we now face is that next year the government balance sheet will need to be addressed, which will prolong the hiring slump over the next five years. No sign President Present is up to that job.

Second, there is a structural mismatch on skills and education young men and women are getting and what is needed in the economy. Walter Russell Mead has been writing on the subject extensively for the past year. Too many folks leaning on the Blue Social Model for their future; education needs serious reform. Arnold Kling wrote a convincing column months that there is some strong evidence that a comparable mismatch also prolonged the Great Depression.

http://www.american.com/archive/2011/november/what-if-middle-class-jobs-disappear

While I agree with some of Mr. Cusik’s ideas, Obama has done little either way to impact employment. What he did with the stimulus package, however, was one of the most egregious forms of crony capitalism in the history of this country. And as Michael Barone has repeatedly commented, the President still pushes the outdated Blue Social Model from the 1950s, which makes him more of a square than Governor Romney! In that respect, a second term would slow the healing and transformation our economy needs, and which I believe Governor Romney understands or will soon grasp.

Let’s hope.

THIS DOES SEEM LIKE A CONCISE SUMMARY OF THE ADMINISTRATION’S POSITION: Obama inherited everything from George Bush (except the intelligence network that tracked down Bin Laden).

UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark predicts the future narrative:

Should Romney win in November, any improvement in the economy will be due to the foundations laid during Obama’s term – tragically cut short – and insufficient time to realize his genius because Bush’s mess was so very large. But he was a terrible politico-administrator you say? Well, in an effort to expiate their collective guilt Americans thrust him into a position that he wasn’t prepared to occupy at that time – if only they had been more patient. Those who want to believe will go on believing.

Should Romney win in November, an ex-President Obama will make Jimmy Carter seem positively decorous in comparison. However, for Republicans, this might just be a gift that keeps on giving.

Sounds about right.

CATS AND DOGS: Jimmy Carter shoots one and Barack Obama eats the other.