The Obama Watch

The Obama Watch

Bob McDonnell’s Revenge

By 4.29.16

Seven years into the Age of Obama, we’ve become used to, and in fact now expect, the application of federal law, or lack thereof, to depend on politics. Particularly when it comes to the president’s debauched Department of Justice.

Can there be any doubt about this? It began almost before the president even took office, with the decision to quash the prosecution of the New Black Panthers in Philadelphia on voter intimidation charges arising from the 2008 election, in a case that was about as open-and-shut as one could get and in fact had been won by the Bush Justice Department. Next came the decision to let the unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing case skate.

The Obama Watch

Boris and Barack

By 4.25.16

From an American perspective, President Barack Obama traveling to England to wish Queen Elizabeth a happy 90th birthday, play a little golf with Prime Minister David Cameron, contribute a somewhat condescending editorial piece on British foreign policy in the distinguished Daily Telegraph, and be on his merry way, is not terribly big news.

In Britain, however, it caused a bit of a row, because the issue on which our President chose to lecture his hosts happens to be sensitive at the moment. As per a pledge he made during last year’s parliamentary elections, which his Conservative Party won handily, Mr. Cameron’s government is putting the question of continued membership in the European Union to the voters.

The Obama Watch

Obama’s Surge — It’s Not Against Jihadis

By 4.14.16

Here comes the surge! No, not a military surge against ISIS or an increase in the number of security personnel guarding our mass transportation hubs. Here comes the surge in Syrian refugees.

And if you live in a preferred community, as I do in Walnut Creek, California, over the next year you are going to feel its impact.

There is an obvious and shameful reason that the federal government does not bother to make communities aware of what’s coming. It knows there will be resistance. Dumping refugees into the institutional structure of a community can have dire consequences for that community.

Many of these refugees will not be English speakers and they will not possess the skills to navigate in a post-industrial, highly technological economy. Their children will weigh on the educational system. They will have medical needs — physical, psychological, and emotional — that will weigh on the medical infrastructure.

The Obama Watch

Obama’s Underused Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

By 4.6.16

“Did ‘Hope and Change’ really mean: ‘Arguably, better than the very worst?’” political science professor P.S. Ruckman Jr. asked in his Pardon Power blog last week. With 61 new presidential commutations making the total to date 248, President Barack Obama had reached a number of commutations greater than those of the “past six presidents,” the White House blog had boasted. Considering the poor record on clemency of Obama’s recent predecessors, Ruckman is not impressed. After attending a closed White House briefing last week, he told me he is “really, really afraid that they’re spiking the ball.”

There was a time when the White House looked as if it might be serious about using the president’s pardon power to commute the sentences of federal offenders. In August 2013, then-Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the American Bar Association in San Francisco. He called the criminal justice system “broken,” and he informed lawyers that the president would begin issuing more commutations. In December, Holder told the Washington Post he envisioned as many as 10,000 commutations.

The Obama Watch

Fifty Seconds

By 3.22.16

Fifty seconds. A little more than one second per dead body. That’s what President Barack Obama spent opening his Tuesday morning press conference from Havana, Cuba, reacting to the death of at least 30 human beings and injuries to at least 230 more in two coordinated terrorist attacks in Brussels.

Fifty seconds.

I suppose you’ve got to keep on schedule when there’s a baseball game to get to, right?

The “move along, folks” attitude following another Islam-perpetrated catastrophe perfectly befits this president, the same man who on November 5, 2009, gave a “shout-out” and spoke about “an extremely productive (Tribal Nations) conference” for nearly two minutes before addressing that morning’s massacre of American servicemen and women by Major Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood.

The Obama Watch

No American President Should Give a Damn What Raul Castro Thinks About Us

By 3.22.16

President Obama has truly outdone himself.

During his joint press conference with Raul Castro, Obama said of the Cuban dictator:

And, you know, I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels that we’re falling short because I think we should not be immune or afraid of criticism or discussion as well.

Scarcely hours before President Obama landed in Havana, Cuban authorities arrested members of The Ladies in White, a prominent dissident group whose husbands are in jail for speaking out against the Communist regime.

At the very same press conference where Obama welcomed the Cuban dictator’s commentary on our shortcomings, Castro denied the very existence of political prisoners in Cuba:

The Obama Watch

Obama Atones for America’s Sins in Cuba

By 3.22.16

Some two thousand years ago, the Messiah journeyed into Jerusalem. He came as the people’s redeemer, to expiate their sins. As he drew near Bethpage and Bethany, he sent two disciples before him to fetch a tethered colt. He would mount the colt and ride it into the holy city to sounds of hosannas from the faithful — and to the rebukes of the Pharisees.

Some two thousand years henceforth, Palm Sunday 2016, Barack Hussein Obama, political redeemer of the secular left, arrived in communist Cuba aboard Air Force One. It is an island once rich in the faith, only to be annihilated by Fidel and Raul Castro and their war on religion. “Heaven… right here in front of me,” was how Thomas Merton, the atheist-communist who became a devout Catholic monk, once described pre-Castro’s Cuba. “Every morning… I could find my way quickly to any one of a dozen churches as old as the seventeenth century. Almost as soon as I went in the door I could receive Communion, if I wished… and every fifteen or twenty minutes a new Mass was starting at a different altar…. Everywhere I turned, there was someone ready to feed me with the infinite strength of the Christ Who loved me.”

The Obama Watch

Obama to GOP: Do As I Say, Not As I Did

By 3.17.16

Washington, D.C. should host an Olympics for finger-pointing. There would be no shortage of accomplished practitioners. Start with President Barack Obama, who, in introducing Judge Merrick Garland as his choice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the big bench, asked the Senate “to give him a fair hearing and then an up-or-down vote.” He told senators: “If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair. It will mean everything is subject to the most partisan of politics — everything.”

You’d never guess Obama not only voted against Chief Justice John Roberts but also supported a filibuster — that is, he opposed an up-or-down vote — to thwart the confirmation of Samuel Alito in 2005. Hillary Clinton also opposed Roberts and supported an Alito filibuster. Both Roberts and Alito won confirmation with Democratic support — which tells you they were qualified but not immune to the sort of partisan opposition that Obama now finds distasteful.

The Obama Watch

Obama’s Middle East Bellyflop

By 3.1.16

David Ignatius is second generation Democratic Party foreign policy royalty. “My father went to work for Kennedy in 1961, so I am very much part of that world,” the columnist and bestselling novelist said in a recent interview. His father rose to Secretary of the Navy before moving on to publish the Washington Post, where David ended up working for the bulk of his journalistic career.

Ignatius’s judgment on foreign policy thus reflects something like a consensus of centrist and just left-of-center analysts. That’s awful news for President Barack Obama’s legacy. “It’s impossible for me to argue that it’s turned out well,” Ignatius said on the Federalist Radio Hour. Though Ignatius credits Obama with some successes, he thinks we can pretty much all agree that he bungled how America dealt with ISIS and much of the Middle East.

“Anybody would have been encouraged by the Arab Spring. It did seem like a hopeful moment. But the president made what I called at the time a ‘cosmic bet’ on these Muslim democrats and their ability to change the fundamentals. That has proven wrong and the president has paid deeply for it,” he admitted.

The Obama Watch

We Did Drill Our Way to $2 Gas

By 2.23.16

“We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” President Obama told an audience four years ago today at the University of Miami. Like this year, it was an election year and Obama was running for re-election. Later in his speech, he added: “anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t telling you the truth.” He scoffed at the Republicans for believing that drilling would result in $2 gasoline — remember this was when prices at the pump, in many places, spiked to more than $4 a gallon: “You can bet that since it is an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas. I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, step three is drill.”

Well, Mr. President, you owe America, and the Republicans, an apology. Your snarky comments were wrong. The Republican’s supposed three-point plan, which you mocked, was correct.