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Why Obama Looks Bad This Morning

It was a rough night for the President. 

Steve has good thoughts on Obama's speech from last night, but let me offer some others from Michael Goodwin at The New York Post:

"His idea to tax all forms of carbon already failed once as the public gagged on his splurge in deficit spending.

Even Democratic senators and governors fear the impact it would have on energy prices and manufacturing jobs in coal and oil states.

But the idea is in play, repackaged as Obama's answer to the Gulf spill. It would be one thing if he came up with these industry takeovers as answers to the emergencies.

It's quite another when he uses the emergencies as a transparent excuse to sell a plan he had before the crisis hit." [Emphasis mine]

The headline on Goodwin's piece calls Obama's speech a "Crude Grab for Power."  And that's just it.  Unfortunately, regarding power grabs we've come to the point where we all rather know to expect that--what's shocking (and perhaps even disconcerting) is just how crude these power grabs are getting.

It is one thing for a liberal Democrat to ogle your posterior for the wallet it sports and whisper sweet-nothings in your ear so as to get you to hand it over.  And as he's fishing in there, we naturally expect that he's going to take with him a little bit more than just our money . . . he's also giving himself a bit of power over us--power that he maybe didn't have before this exchange.  But this kind of activity--however disingenuous--is perfectly in line with the democratic tradition and gives a nod--however scoffing--to the concept of consent.  Of course, political Casanova's deserve some scorn . . . though probably not as much as the gullible recipients of their barely concealed flattery. 

But it is another thing altogether for a liberal Democrat to brazenly announce his intentions to take what you're not inclined to give--and whether you're into it or not . . . and then, moreover, to suggest that there is something wrong and bad about you for not wanting it.  Don't you know what's good for you?  No other President is going to love you like I do . . .  Obama, of course, is not the first to address us in this way (and from this room!) but he seems amazingly oblivious to the likely outcome, given the precedent.

Now, when confronted with this kind of "logic" in other areas of life, we are inclined either to call it attempted rape or, alternatively, pathetic and desperate begging.  Teasing out the difference, I guess, depends upon the level of threat and a reasonable assessment of the danger. 

My inclination is to say that this thing of Obama's was so darn desperate and obvious . . . pathetic, really, that the temptation is to laugh him off as a political has-been before he's ever been much of anything.  Yet, there he sits . . . only 17 months into his Presidency.  We've got a long time ahead of us with him as President and he has demonstrated that he is not going to change his mind about what he wants from us and, moreover, that he is unlikely to stop making these desperate appeals that turn, subsequently, into pushes.  We have told him that we are not going to give it.  It appears that he still needs to be made to understand that he is not going to take it, either. 

Categories > Presidency

Discussions - 11 Comments

"We have told him that we are not going to give it. It appears that he still needs to be made to understand that he is not going to take it, either."

Come November, I suspect he's going to be made to understand it.

He took what he wanted in the matter of health care.

Wondering about why this, why now -- there is the oil spill catastrophe, of course, but also he has now how many months left with Democrats in both houses of Congress? He has to push and press as he doesn't have much time. Michelle is right about November.

He has no choice but to push this now, if he has a hope of getting it passed. He'll have to push it hard and ugly, like with health care, as he hasn't really got much time left. Democrats in the House & Senate who are up for re-election will have to make a calculation on this. Given the mood of the country, they will have to look at their constituents and gauge voter turnout in their districts. You know? Who still has faith in this variety of hope and change and a new future for America? Is it amajority in my district or state?

Really insightful comment by Rich Lowry over at NRO's Corner

I don't think that Obama's appeal for cap and trade worked. Actually I thought it was mostly incomprehensible. If you didn't already know what cap and trade was, there wasn't enough content in his speech rally support for anything. But his approval numbers remain steady and higher than I would like under very adverse circumstances.

they probably did this on purpose, and if it was an accident they are refusing to fix it because it is too good for politics. BP will make a killing off cap and trade because they will end up with subsidies from the taxes on energy plus they will simply raise rates to beat the tax hikes on their end. they may be loosing ground right now, but this incident, if the outcome is cap and trade, will be a long term boom in profit. Just like the failing banks we 'bailed' out made record profits.

"It's quite another when he uses the emergencies as a transparent excuse to sell a plan he had before the crisis hit."

Yes, what an outrage. Taking over companies that, through their own recklessness and incompetence have inflicted massive harm on the US.

But, when the scenario involves putting American lives (and at least a TRILLION dollars) on the line to execute a plan that was being mulled before a crisis (9/11), that elicits not so much as a shoulder-shrug...

If I didn't know (much) better, I'd swear that Goodwin copped some (valid) ideas from Naomi Klein and her book "Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism":

But yes, yes, screw the coastline and the environment (and all those fishermen) and drill baby, drill. After all, there's an endless supply of oil to be had and used, right?

[Captcha words: "oiling" "the" - let me finish - "machine"!]

Scanlon, your oh-so-predictable reaction to things (e.g., Bush did worse!) is getting quite tiresome. To equate a clear accident by a company that is otherwise serving the public interest with a clear act of war is nonsense, and you know it.

And, FYI, there is no alternative source of energy that will take up the slack left by fossil fuels. Deal with it, buddy. Be a realist for one in your life.

All from John Fund, open for the moment, on politics, interest,the caring Obama, and repairing the mess.

Hawaii GOP Rep. Charles Djou, who won his seat in a special election last month, says he's "disappointed" that Mr. Obama has failed to waive the Jones Act, an antiquated 1920 law mandating that goods shipped between U.S. ports be handled by U.S.-built and -owned ships manned by U.S. crews. Unions fiercely support the law as a means of preserving U.S. jobs. In this case, though, the law might be hindering the recovery of hundreds of thousands of Gulf Coast jobs.

Mr. Obama could issue a full waiver of the Jones Act, but failed even to mention the law in his speech last night. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Bush administration didn't hesitate to waive the law completely in an emergency. Congressman Djou says a waiver is essential in spurring the Gulf Coast cleanup. The Houston Chronicle reports that several countries offered to send sophisticated equipment immediately after the spill but were turned down. The Dutch government offered ships fitted with oil-skimming booms three days after the leak began. Geert Visser, the consul general for the Netherlands in Houston, said the answer from the Obama administration was "Thanks, but no thanks."

Later, the administration relented, allowing U.S. ships to be outfitted with Dutch skimming booms that can remove 20,000 tons of oil and sludge a day. "At that rate, how much more oil could have been removed from the Gulf during the past month?" asks the Chronicle. The paper notes that some offers of help from other countries still haven't been accepted.


Busy this morning, but to Craig, beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder in this matter. Obama is acting as demagogue in denouncing businesses (in the terms you do above) and his behavior in doing so begs comparison to Hugo Chavez . It looks ugly to me.

After Obama servers his one term as president, I wonder if he will write another autobiography? I can just imagine the name of the book: "The Audacity of Hope and Change".

"Scanlon, your oh-so-predictable reaction to things (e.g., Bush did worse!) is getting quite tiresome. To equate a clear accident by a company that is otherwise serving the public interest with a clear act of war is nonsense, and you know it."

Actually, I thought I was comparing one act of government leadership acting opportunistically to another, and the right's inconsistent reactions to said opportunism. There was no "equat[ing]" of the oil spill with the war. In the case of the spill, the spill was the trigger for the opportunistic activity. With the war, it was 9/11 that was the trigger for the opportunistic activity (which was the war). If I had said what you've twisted my words into, then yes, it would indeed be nonsense. But since I didn't, it's not.

And what "opportunity" did the Bushies see for themselves going into the war?

Sorry, Craig, you're just wrong on this analogy. Of course the American government had "plans" to invade Iraq prior to 911. We also have "plans" to invade Iran, North Korea, and probably Canada. What kind of superpower would we be if we didn't lay contingency plans?

Perhaps the Bush administration was too eager to go into Iraq, but every major intelligence service in the Western world thought Saddam had WMD. That's what he WANTED us to believe, and his bluff killed him in the end. Moreover, we knew he had relationships with terrorists (e.g., what city to Abu Nidal die in?). Saddam was serious unfinished business, a man at war with everyone around him, and given that we were destined to have a major military builidup in the Middle East after 9/11, it was logical to do what Bush did. We can debate whether he did it well or not, but I would remind you about the rock-solid support for the Iraqi invasion. And no, Bush didn't lie to gain that support.

Obama, on the other hand, is simply exploiting the crisis de jour and making political capital of it. Disgusting. Given a choice between eliminating a terrible dictator or instituting a massive transfer of wealth from industrial to industrializing countries, I'll take the former every time. Bush did the world a service, Obama is just a jackass socialist who can't seem to learn from history.

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