We sent our troops to Iraq to do away with Saddam Hussein’s regime — and you got the job done. We kept our troops in Iraq to help establish a sovereign government — and you got the job done. And we will leave the Iraqi people with a hard-earned opportunity to live a better life — that is your achievement; that is the prospect that you have made possible.
He opposed the first two, and if it were up to him the third would not have been possible. I haven’t read the text, but I’m going to presume he didn’t note as much in the speech. Perhaps, when the best selling Speeches of President Obama is published, it will have a footnote: “Personally, I’d rather have Hans Blix still playing cat and mouse with Saddam, and the Iraqi people suffering under severe sanctions.” Perhaps.
When the actual history of this war is written – not the myopic journalism that has passed for history thus far, but real history written with the perspective of knowing how things turned out – it will be noted that a leader of great foresight and courage led this country to war, freed a nation from oppression, and created an ally in a hostile region, and that he did so over the opposition of villains and clowns. That his success was so overwhelming that even the election of one of those clowns – running on an anti-war platform – to succeed him could not reverse it, will add more to our former president’s reputation than to his successor’s.
Not only will the current deficit reach $1.75 trillion, next year’s will also top $1 trillion and the deficits will remain above $500 billion until fiscal 2019, the last year projected in yesterday’s document.
Any other issue aside, I think there starts to be a legitimate question of whether there really is just $10 trillion laying around, waiting for the U.S. government to borrow it. To this point in our history, after all the moaning and groaning of the Bush years, we’ve amassed a public debt that is a little under $11 trillion, 60% of our GDP. Over the next decade, Obama wants to double that.
However, to meet that goal, the administration’s budget depends on optimistic projections that the economy, currently in the longest recession in a quarter-century, will come roaring back with economic growth of 3.2 percent next year and 4 percent-plus rates in the following three years, significantly higher than private economists are forecasting.
Translation: those deficit numbers come from someone smoking illegal substances. It’ll be vastly worse than predicted. I think it’s a serious question of how much money there actually is out there for our government to borrow. The number is >∞.
During the campaign, I thought it was kinda funny that some people actually believed the stuff that Obama said about reducing deficit spending and going through the budget “line by line.” Well I think now would be a good time for us to all kick back and have a good chuckle at the Barry of Yore:
Remember, the $700 billion bailout he was talking about there was last year’s $700 billion bailout, not this year’s $800 billion “stimulus.” This all would be less confusing if they would have just taken my advice and passed an $∞ bailout, but I guess we’re getting there in bits and pieces.
Also remember, the consistent story line with Obama was “He’s so eloquent,” not, “He’s plainly lying and making crap up.” Nope, journalists and a surprisingly large section of the American electorate fell for this, and fell hard.
I got this from David Bernstein. The situation he describes of upper middle class yuppies in DC is precisely the reason Dorothy and I decided not to move back there after grad school. There’s simply too much good living to be had in the rest of this country to put up with that place.
Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office. My administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs. As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some time. But we’re starting with the biggest lines. We have already identified two trillion dollars in savings over the next decade.
There was applause. From Congress. That’s like a DA getting a standing ovation from mafia dons at the end of his get-tough-on-crime speech.
I don’t know whether this reflects worse on the president or congress.
Nathan over at A Few Thoughts deplores the game-playing with the federal courts and explains the rules:
Identify rising legal stars in the opposite political or judicial camp.
When a president nominates these rising legal starts to “pipeline” positions that could lead to a seat on the Supreme Court, fight their nominations with every substantive complaint and procedural maneuver you can manage. (The public doesn’t pay much attention to this round of the game, so if you want to defeat nominees that would be hard to oppose in the attention-grabbing Supreme Court nomination round, this is your chance. Be sure to oppose the nominations of women and racial minorities with zeal.)
Don’t let your guard down when you defeat one nomination; you can’t let anyone through. That way, the president will be forced to nominate someone you like (or at least one you like better than the nominee you defeated).
He opposes the Republicans who oppose Harvard Law School dean Elena Kagan, who was blocked from the federal bench in 1999. But now that Kagan is up for Solicitor General, she has a duty to answer questions about what she’ll argue in court. Courtesy of the WSJ’s Political Diary (sorry, no link) here’s a summary of her testimony [emphasis added]:
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote today for President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to become the Justice Department’s new Solicitor General. The dean of Harvard Law School is expected to be confirmed, but her refusal to answer questions is setting a bad precedent.
Supreme Court nominees have in recent years declined to answer many questions on grounds that their answers could jeopardize impartiality in future cases. The exemption has not extended to executive branch nominees, however, whose policy opinions and judgments are a relevant part of their qualifications.
That could change if Ms. Kagan’s antics are allowed to stand. Seventeen times in response to Senate questions on topics including legal policy regarding gays in the military, enemy combatants and the Second Amendment, Ms. Kagan declined to give her views. Why? She claimed either she had a special duty to the Court or that she did not wish to prejudice future decisions from the Solicitor General’s office.
Well, Well. That’s a major departure from other executive branch nominees, including two Bush-era solicitors general, Ted Olson and Paul Clement, who answered questions at their hearings on controversial issues, from ROTC on campus to detainee treatment.
Ms. Kagan’s real motive for staying mute has been a subject of speculation. She may wish to avoid going on record with anything that could complicate her own potential nomination to the Supreme Court. If so, perhaps she shouldn’t have accepted Mr. Obama’s nomination to the SG’s office. The Senate confirmation process exists to provide oversight and give voters often their only chance to learn about the people who will govern in their name. The Solicitor General is not an empty vessel but the top legal advocate for the United States.
Republican Senators roll over for Democratic nominees in ways that Democratic Senators do not for Republican nominees; this is why Orrin Hatch, long time ranking Republican on the Judiciary committee, was the subject of an irritated but truthful aphorism: “Don’t count on Hatch till he’s chickened.” The problem is that if one side is throwing punches and its opponent is not, the side throwing punches has no motivation to stop. Republicans need to do unto their political enemies as their enemies do unto them.
For example, the Democrats were obsessed with using sex scandals (or the implication of them) to bring down Republicans like Bob Packwood and Clarence Thomas. It took Bill Clinton’s sexcapades to get Democrats to back off that tool. If Republicans want to end the game, they need to stop complaining about the rules and win the silly thing.
America already houses and employees millions of Mexican citizens here illegally, who would otherwise be listlessly roaming the streets of Mexico or aggitating for reform. Those Mexicans take over $20 billion a year out of the American economy and mail it to Mexico. This, little more than a decade after American taxpayers massively bailed out the Mexican economy with direct aid.
Now the Obama administration is suggesting that we restrict the types of guns Americans can buy in order to help reduce violence in Mexico. Fantastic. Perhaps it would also help Mexico if instead of eating French cheese on our crackers we ate more imported queso? We could also limit the domestic production of Mexican style beers in order to help Dos Equis exports. By all means, call your congressmen with these suggestions.
P.S. Obama’s already going after guns. You can start the countdown on this guy.
Christian Toto tries to explain why Ms. Ryan’s career is unlikely to come back:
Ryan is a good example of what happens to too many older actresses. Sure, you’ll always have the exceptions — Meryl Streep and Judi Dench come to mind. But only Streep remains red-hot, commercially speaking, at the ripe age of 59.
Ryan, the ’90s rom-com princess, could command big paychecks. Romantic comedies are where actresses shine, both commercially and in the hearts and minds of movie goers.
Just think back to Goldie Hawn and Doris Day before her.
Today, Ryan is often seen in direct to video fare (”The Deal,” “My Mom’s New Boyfriend”). She still looks beautiful even if she may have dabbled in some plastic surgery. And her figure remains to die for.
But she’d need Quentin Tarantino to stage an entire film around her to give her career that ol’ A-list juice.
Then you have Rourke, an actor who seemingly spent the last decade burning every bridge in sight. And his face is a Jackson Pollock painting of age, boxing losses and who knows what.
But he came this close to beating out Sean Penn for the Best Actor Oscar over the weekend and is in talks to star in “Iron Man 2.”
The one movie in which I liked Meg Ryan was Courage Under Fire; perhaps not coincidentally, she died horribly in it. But more important than that, she was NOT in a chick flick or rom-com. Perhaps a large part of the trouble is that actresses try to do rom-coms long after they should have moved on. John Wayne always played John Wayne because being a tough guys, like fine wine, improve with age, but actresses must get beyond My Mom’s New Boyfriend. Note that Meryl Streep wasn’t most recently nominated for a rom-com but for playing a hard edged nun. Ingenues sparkle in gooey rom-coms, but grande dames need to get out of the candy shop and into the forge. Ms. Ryan needs needs roles that showcase iron will, steely determination, brassy self-confidence; the heart of gold is optional and might be a counterproductive. (See the careers of Bette Davis or Joan Crawford.) It’d be nice to see some more actresses evolve. Helen Mirren and Judy Dench won’t be around forever. I somehow doubt Meg Ryan will evolve, but one never knows.
N.B. Obviously no “nation” invented the car. It was invented by Karl Benz, an individual, though others were working on similar ideas at the time. As best I can tell, he did it without a penny of government investment. That story doesn’t fit in as well with the president’s purposes.
If you think this is objective journalism, you should probably get out more often. Jindal has said, roughly a brazillian times, that he has no plans of running for president in 2012. That may or may not be true (just because Obama irresponsibly ran for president when he didn’t have enough experience doesn’t mean that every inexperienced politician is simply biding his time until the next presidential election), but judging by the AP story, his impending presidential run is the defining feature of Bobby Jindal’s life. Jeez Louise, Obama’s been in office for barely a month and already anyone who speaks out against him is attacked as a potential usurper.
Apollo posted this at 12:03 AM CDT on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 as Journalism
They’re banning pet chimps. On the one hand, this is stupid legislation that addresses a non-problem, and in a rational world Congress wouldn’t bother itself with this. On the other, any minute this Congress doesn’t use to increase spending is a minute well spent. Remember Franklin’s words: A trillion saved is a trillion earned.
Back in 1991, Andrew Ferguson wrote a thorough take down of Bill Moyers. It’s not available in The New Republic archives, but it’s in his book Fools’ Names, Fools’ Places. Here’s what Ferguson had to say about it in an interview:
LAMB: What do you think of Bill Moyers?
FERGUSON: I think Moyers has the capacity to be a very gifted documentarian. In that piece, I praise a number of his documentaries which I think are really first rate. But I think he is also — as a public person, which is all I care about — just insufferably pious and self regarding and censorious about people that he feels are his moral inferiors, like conservatives or Republicans.
LAMB: What evidence do you have of this?
FERGUSON: Well, there’s 20 years of television work, and I go through a lot of it. You know, one of the points of the piece is to show how when, for example, the Iran Contra stuff came out, he wrote some or did some blistering documentaries about it, about malfeasance in government and misfeasance and so on — misbehavior and using the legitimate parts of — law enforcement parts of government and so on for political ends. And then I simply went back to parts that — most of which were in the public record, but were seldom talked about. See, Moyers is so loved by so many people in the mainstream press that nobody had really examined his career.
And you go back and you see when he worked for Lyndon Johnson in the White House in 1964, he was intimately involved with some of the uglier aspects of Johnson’s politics having to do with the monitoring of Martin Luther King’s activities under J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, some of the hanky panky that the FBI undertook in the 1964 convention to unseat a delegation from Mississippi, and various things like that. He once ordered the FBI to do political checks on Goldwater’s staffers, which is the source of Goldwater’s contempt for him. And then he can then — whatever — 15, 20 years later — more than 20 years later — come out with these pious condemnations of Republicans. And I thought somebody ought to point this slight discrepancy out.
Moyers, a former Democratic White House press secretary under Lyndon Johnson, singles out an aide to a Republican president for using gay people as political fodder. When he occupied a similar position in the White House of LBJ — a president far more eager than Rove’s employer to destroy his political opponents — Moyers did not hesitate to use sexuality as what he might call a “weapon of political combat.”
And not just political combat. Moyers even tried to find out about the sexuality of a number of aides to his Democratic boss.
When investigating the secret files of longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in 1975, then-acting Attorney General Laurence Silberman learned how Hoover “ ” rel=”external”>had allowed — even offered — the bureau to be used by presidents for nakedly political purposes.” Bill Moyers took advantage of that invitation to help his boss deal with a crisis which the Democrat feared could jeopardize his reelection in 1964.
Many of Moyers’s sins have been a matter of public record, but he still gets away with sanctimony. He’s still a fixture of public television. It’s nice that another generation is hacking away at the old fraud, but it seems likely that nothing short of death will get Moyers off the tube.
The “size” of government is not a good proxy for either economic or non-economic liberty or for economic performance. Advocates of “small government” need to worry more than they do about the moral and economic dimensions of the composition of spending, and they need to realize that they care more than they think they do about questions of “distributive justice,” which is pretty obviously manifest in enthusiasm for reforms, like the “flat” and “fair” tax.
I think our real concern ought to be limited government. But whether you think an ideally limited government is also small will depends on lots of things including your account of rights, your beliefs about the relative efficiency and reliability of state vs. market provision of various goods, your beliefs about the necessity of public spending to facilitate growth, and more.
The post goes off to some interesting places — largely dependent on how one reads his use of the word “liberalism” – but it’s a smart post.
Jonathan Rauch and David Blankenhorn have co-written an op-ed on gay marriage. It’s somewhat like seeing Nancy Pelosi and Rick Santorum co-write on abortion. If there’s a conservative way to integrate gay families into the law, this is it:
We take very different positions on gay marriage. We have had heated debates on the subject. Nonetheless, we agree that the time is ripe for a deal that could give each side what it most needs in the short run, while moving the debate onto a healthier, calmer track in the years ahead.
It would work like this: Congress would bestow the status of federal civil unions on same-sex marriages and civil unions granted at the state level, thereby conferring upon them most or all of the federal benefits and rights of marriage. But there would be a condition: Washington would recognize only those unions licensed in states with robust religious-conscience exceptions, which provide that religious organizations need not recognize same-sex unions against their will. The federal government would also enact religious-conscience protections of its own. All of these changes would be enacted in the same bill.