The PJ Tatler

Fred Barnes Almost Figures Out Who Barack Obama Really Is

This Saturday is Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day. Why do we need to have a Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day? Because that company, which is owned by the Green family of Oklahoma, finds itself under assault from the US government.

Why? Are they mobsters? Did they traffic in drugs or sponsor terrorism? Did they cheat on their taxes or declare themselves a sovereign state? Are they building an arsenal of weapons or menacing people around them?

No. They’re entirely law-abiding citizens who have built businesses through hard work, offering great service and quality merchandise that people want to buy. Their crime is that they do not believe they should be forced to pay for something that violates their religious beliefs, but which is otherwise widely available if their employees want to buy those things for themselves. That’s their crime. The Obama government is trying to put them under its jackboot.

Why? Because of the man who was just re-elected President of the United States.

In his latest column, Fred Barnes doesn’t quite get that. But he’s getting there.

It was support by the Senate “gang of six” for $1.2 trillion in taxes—a third more than Mr. Obama had agreed to—that prompted him to up the ante with Mr. Boehner. The president feared the political embarrassment of being outbid on taxes by a rump Senate group that included three Republicans. His sudden demand for more tax revenues snuffed out any chance of a deal with Republicans.

Mr. Obama’s post-Thanksgiving insistence on new concessions by Republicans had the same effect. He wanted a new stimulus of $50 billion the first year and $25 billion in the subsequent years, another housing-finance program and still-higher taxes. Negotiations soon petered out, leading to the scaled-backed legislation that cleared Congress on Tuesday.

It was not a happy ending for Mr. Obama or Republicans. The president barred significant spending cuts in the stopgap bill, further alienating Republicans and worsening the poisonous political climate in Washington as he begins his second term.

This is a bigger problem than Mr. Obama may imagine. The most important issues—the debt ceiling, entitlement reform, tax reform, government spending, the $110 billion sequester—now must be dealt with in an atmosphere that is hardly conducive to bipartisanship and compromise.

The essence of bipartisan deals is win-win: Both sides are satisfied, even if not elated. Mr. Obama’s approach is that he alone gets to win. The approach worked, more or less, on the fiscal-cliff deal, but it won’t produce the larger bipartisan agreements that Mr. Obama now needs. And he’ll miss the opportunities that other presidents seized, to their own benefit and the country’s.

Read the whole thing. It’s informative about the recent past and the spending, Second Amendment and immigration battles to come.

The most important line is this one:

“Mr. Obama’s approach is that he alone gets to win.”

There’s a word for that. The sooner his opponents figure him out and stop thinking of him as an amateur or an empty suit — because he knows exactly what he is doing, and is better at it than most realize — the better.

He can be stalled for two years and his hold on Congress can be broken next year, but only if he is exposed.