Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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A Rough Week for Team Obama

President Obama now vows to turn up the heat and has attacked Republicans in the House and Senate who are not yet wagging their tails in approval of Democratic plans for a stimulus. Never mind that, by implication, he’s also attacking some 54% of the American people who also have serious objections to the plan. Or . . . is that precisely the point of his attack?

Rich Lowry has written a fine article in which he suggests that Obama’s argument that, "I won" really amounts to an non-argument. It shows, as Lowry put it, "he’s out of better arguments." Not that he’s ever offered any real argument in favor of this kind of "scattershot" and massive government spending. He certainly did not campaign on such a plan. So "I won" isn’t going to cut it, Lowry argues.

That’s a fair point, it seems to me. But I wonder if it’s fair to suggest that Obama doesn’t know it. Obama certainly knows that he can and will pass this bill or some equally porky version of it and all, more or less, without Republican support. Other commentators in talk radio and elsewhere have observed that the President is making all this fuss because he wants cover for when the stimulus does not stimulate. That seems to be a fair observation--as far as it goes. But I wonder if it goes far enough.

It seems to me that this week has been hard on Obama less because of the opposition coming from Republicans than because of the stubborn trough-diving of his fellow Democrats and the startling revelation that--on this point anyway--the American people are not marching in lockstep with him. It’s tough stuff to go from celebrated American hero to the guy who’s stuck with the job of shining up a pig all in the span of two weeks. This is dirty work and I think there’s a tell in his reaction to it. This guy doesn’t seem to enjoy rolling in the mud. So the smart thing to do, if you’re a Republican, is to keep him there as long as possible. He’s never had to make a serious argument on behalf of this kind of reckless spending. Make him try.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Obama's week has been less bad than some conservatives seem to think. The Tom Daschle stuff was embarrasing but in the long run will matter about as much as Obama's Bill Ayers ties.

Obama has taken some knocks on the stimulus but conservatives aren't giving much thought to how the stimulus plays out in the longer run. The stimulus will pass (barring some very unlikey GOP unity in the Senate)and the sight of Obama winning a big fight for his stimulus bill will undo alot of the political damage of the fight over the stimulus itself. The broad middle will hope that the stimulus succeeds and things work out. I see two scenarios and I take it for granted that the economy in terms of personal income and the unemployment rate will be about the same as it would be if the current Frankenstein's Monster of a bill doesn't pass.

Scenario 1: The bill passes and the economy improves. The baseline for spending is raised and the stimulus, along with the children's health bill that Obama just signed adds milions of new recipients to government provided health insurance. This makes free market reforms of healthcare harder and further statist expansions easier. Furthermore, the imporvement in the economy is credited to the stimulus and this makes the passage of future Big Government bills more palatable to the public.

Scenario 2: The bill passes and the economy continues to struggle. Everything about the above paragraph remains true except the last sentence. Obama still got his big statist bill and it still changes the field for the future, making it harder for conservatives to roll back the government expansion. This along with whatever other liberal laws Obama gets Congress to pass between now and the midterm elections. The liberal groups have gotten their payoffs and Obama goes on to fight for reelection under tough conditions but the conditions are tough because the economy is in bad shape, not because of the stimulus. Even in this scenario, the stimulus bill is from Obama's perspective a policy plus and a political nonfactor.

Conservatives ought to avoid the temptation to become bipolar. We shouldn't get too optimistic with every Obama stumble. Obama will also get Congress to pass some very bad laws, and he will appoint some terrible judges. He will remain a tough and determined opponent. We should not despair.

Please. "Starbursts" Lowry has no historical vision, since Cheney basically used a version of the "I won" argument for years in his contemptuous dismissal of all opposition to the war. Again and again Cheney claimed the only justification for the administrations policies was that they had won the election, and reduced any opposition to the next voting cycle. Cheney was tone deaf to any political expression other than presidential elections, which served as a blanket endorsement for any actions by the victorious party.

In a couple of months, when things are really really bad, Ren won't be able to blame Bush and Cheney. Who will he blame then? I think the stimulus bill should pass. Obama and Pelosi will be totally responsible and Ren won't have a leg to stand on. 2010 will wipe the Congress of Reid, Murtha, Rangel, Schumer, etc and in 2012 Obama won't have a chance because after hope and change that did not work, what we he have? The Audicity of Hope? Not.

A couple of months? I thought the problems stemmed from the Clinton administration. I thought things were like four or eight years removed from showing up. If the economy goes back in a couple of months sell everything as fast as you can before it goes comepletely down the drain. Even cash is risky now considering all the paper being thrown at a raging fire. Bretton Woods set up U.S. currency as good as gold, then the gold part went away. More money in the system means less value for you money. How can this possibly work out? Mabye if Obama really is a holy man or even Captain Planet and he can miracle us all better. Barrack Obama, he's a hero... gonna take the economy down to zero. Ren, its not an attack at you, I would say the same thing if bush was still around.

Obama has "strongly attacked" Republicans? Were any of them injured, or is this just a matter of hurt feelings?

Worse yet, President Obama - that thug! - is now "attacking some 54% of the American people who also have serious objections to the plan." [Never mind that a healthy portion of those 54% are opposed to the plan from the LEFT, not by Limbaugh's instruction] Wow, this man is like a brutal dictator.

The best that can be said about this silly kind of "analysis" is that conservatives are as good at double standards as anyone. Did we hear even the slightest peep of objection here at NLT when Bush and Cheney regularly announced that they didn't govern or "lead" the country by "following the polls" when much more lopsided percentages of America opposed this or that policy agenda getting pushed through for our own good? No, we did not hear any objections. But now, if the losers of the last 2 elections do not get their way (which is being assumed to be the same thing as what those 54% of Americans who object to the Obama stimulus plan actually want), then it is like Obama is inflicting some sort of violence on the American people. Absurd.

Bush and the GOP-dominated Congress played it their way for 6 years (and then got 2 bonus years with a spineless Dem-led Congress that barely resisted anything, barely acted like an opposition party), and, even if you wish to blame Clinton for this economic crisis (and I'm guessing you do) that GOP-led Congress could have cut off this crisis at the pass if they knew how to do so. They didn't prevent or stop this crisis then, so why should their desires be taken seriously now?

Where are your republican principles now? Suddenly a desire for pure pulse-of-the-people democracy surfaces? What a joke. Where is the support for a strong executive to rule by its conscience (even if that conscience is significantly different than that of a majority of the polled public) Obama won by a greater margin than Bush ever did, so one would think he ought to be afforded at least the same leeway to just do what he thinks is best and follow his conscience, polls be damned, as was given to Cheney & Bush, at least by those who, explicitly and/or implicitly, agreed to stand behind their leader for better or worse when they were in charge. Just be glad that Obama wasn't possessed by the dark spirit of Cheney. If he had, the "we won" line so cruelly dismissive of The People would've been replaced by a "so what?" and a shrug... or worse.

And yes, it is fairly laughable that the same guy who saw "starbursts" whenever his TV screen was graced by Palin - someone who couldn't argue her way out of a paper bag - now feels his critique of Obama's arguments can be taken seriously. It can't.

This economic mess stems from the constant and unsuccessful attempts by the Liberals/Dems in this country to social engineer everything. The community reinvestment act of 1977 - one of Carter's Brain Thrusts started this whole mess. Carter's Administration comes up with the feel good thought that minorities are being redline by banks in their neighborhoods because of their race. Of course this is not true - it is because of the bad credit ratings. But what the heck Dems need everyone to feel good so they force the banks to give loans to high-risk applicants. The liberals need to make sure that everyone feels good about themselves. So all goes well until Feel-Good Clinton decides to deregulate the CRA even more in 1999. More bad loans being given to high-risk people and now it includes not only minorities, but everyone, because we need to make everyone feel good. The libs/dems do more Feel Good regulations making Banks and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae give out more bad loans. Of course in the mean time Obama, Schumer, Dodd, Reid and Frank are getting all kinds of kick backs from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae executives. SO there is more love and feel good incentives going on here - more social engineering. Let's give more people houses who really can't afford them because well it just makes everyone feel good. OF course the bad awful President Hilter Bush and that bad awful stupid JOhn McCain both in 2003 and 2005 go to Mr. Feel Good Barney Frank and tell him that there is going to be a problem with the bad loans that are being handed out left and right by the Feel Good, social engineering Dems/Liberals in the Congress and they say bad John McCain and bad Hitler Bush for trying to stop the feel good stuff and make people responsible for their own lives. Of course the people on Wall Street are trading these Feel Good loans all over the world because the Feel Good, social engineering Democrats in the Congress need to feel good about social engineering - this also helps them get voted back into office time and time again so that they can get kick backs and make all kinds of money off of their feel good social engineering programs. Did Bush overspend in the government - Yes he did. But nothing he did can compare what a long line of spineless, feel good social engineering Dems/Libs did over the past 40 years.

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