The Obama Watch

The Obama Watch

MH 17 vs. KAL 007—Obama vs. Reagan

By 7.19.14

This generation has its KAL 007. The stunning downing of Malaysian flight 17 is strikingly similar to the shock of September 1, 1983, when the Russians downed a Korean passenger airliner, flight 007, which had left New York City for Seoul via Alaska. In both cases, the Russian government vehemently denied any involvement, disparaging anyone who dared to accuse it of prior knowledge.

Both planes were Asian with similar numbers of dead. KAL had 269 passengers; the Malaysian flight nearly 300. They were mostly Asian passengers but also Americans—61 Americans in KAL 007 and a much smaller (still unconfirmed) number in the Malaysian flight. In both cases, questions arise over why the planes were flying where they were flying. Exactly what happened with KAL still isn’t entirely clear, but it seems the computer on the plane’s guidance system was set incorrectly, allowing it to stray into Soviet airspace. Russia fighter planes stalked KAL 007 before blasting it out of the sky.

The Obama Watch

A Flashing Green Light

By 7.16.14

The tens of thousands of Central Americans who have crossed America’s porous borders over the last year came on the assumption that once on U.S. soil they would never have to return to their countries. The instigators of this influx correctly viewed Obama’s de facto support for amnesty as a flashing green light.

After all, how seriously were they going to take U.S. immigration law under a president who treated border security as a punch line to a joke? In 2011, Obama loudly mocked conservatives, the very ones who foresaw today’s mushrooming crisis, as malcontents crying wolf about a vulnerable border.

“You know, they said ‘we needed to triple the border patrol.’ Well, now they're going to say we need to quadruple the border patrol, or they’ll want a higher fence,” he said at the time. “Maybe they'll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied. I understand. That’s politics. But the truth is the measures we put in place are getting results.”

The Obama Watch

Obama Can’t Fix Immigration By Himself

By 7.9.14

On Monday, Major Garrett penned a fascinating piece at the Atlantic about a White House meeting on June 30 between President Barack Obama and a host of leftist pro-amnesty groups including the Center for American Progress, the Service Employees International Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and the Leadership Council on Civil Rights.

According to Garrett, Obama did most of the talking, promising the groups that he would take executive action to slow deportations and grant legal status to millions of undocumented workers. Obama also said he would criticize Congress for its lack of action on immigration reform, ignoring the fact nobody on Capitol Hill trusts the president to carry out any laws they’d pass.

The Obama Watch

Obama Sings a Smug, Self-Satisfied, Falsely Optimistic Tune

By 6.24.14

Ronald Reagan and Louis Armstrong appeared together in the popular movie Going Places in 1938. Though Reagan is one of the featured stars, no one remembers his role. Instead, we remember Armstrong as Gabriel the horse trainer, his alabaster grin and bulging eyes charming us as he capers gracefully, trumpet in tow. Jeepers Creepers, the horse in his care, is as wild as it is fast. Gabriel discovers that the way to calm the horse down is to sing to it—putting its name to music. In turning the skittish horse into a champion, Satchmo plays his trumpet and sings the words:

Jeepers Creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Jeepers Creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?

The same tune came to me upon reading President Obama’s latest speech, which was filled with self-congratulations on every front but one, that being the terrible peril of climate change. Never has there been a more smug and self-satisfied philippic than this one. It made me think:

Hocus Pocus, where’d ya get that focus?
Hocus Pocus, where’d ya get those “facts”?

The Obama Watch

An Administration at Death’s Door

By 6.20.14

Unlike the rest of us, celebrities do not actually pass away. Instead their publicists announce their deaths, and generally they cooperate. We can only imagine how badly a person’s career must be careening out of control if the publicist has only one last move to shake things up: “We regret to inform that John Smith, star of stage and screen, has passed on to the great dressing-room in the sky. Live bookings will no longer be available, but his autobiography is at Amazon and his music can be heard on Pandora.”

Hey, Elvis and Marilyn are making more money dead than alive, so maybe their publicists were on to something.

All this comes to mind this week with the pronouncement by NBC’s Chuck Todd that based on polling patterns the Obama presidency is dead. If indeed the news media are the publicists for Democratic politicians, as Rush Limbaugh and others have long claimed, then we should attach great credence to Todd’s statement. The press has always asked us to trust it about Obama’s birth certificate, so we should do no less for his death certificate.

The Obama Watch

Catch and Release

By 6.18.14

President Obama justified his release of the Taliban’s top terrorists on among other curious grounds that U.S. forces could just capture them again should they pose a risk to U.S. interests and security in the future. It doesn’t seem to bother Obama that such a careless policy means burdening soldiers with the demoralizing and exceedingly dangerous task of having to fight the same enemy multiple times.

Obama considers furor over a deliberate practice of giving terrorists a fresh chance to kill Americans a contrived “controversy.” “This is what happens at the end of wars,” he casually says. Never mind that the terrorists have no intention of joining him in his deluded declaration.

For them, the war is still in its opening stages and they can’t believe their luck at facing such an accommodating foe. The Taliban has been rejoicing ever since the release, chortling that “from the hand of the enemy” it got back its most effective leaders and fighters. Whether these terrorists will return to the battlefield is not a question of if but when.

The Obama Watch

The Madness of King George

By 6.17.14

So now Bowe Bergdahl is back in the U.S. And the five Al-Qaeda terrorists we released for him are in Qatar—doubtless on their way to Iraq or Afghanistan. The prospect of an American defeat in both countries makes the exchange look more than usually stupid, and we’re entitled to ask just what’s going on in the Obama administration. We remember the Fall of Saigon and nervously await the possible evacuation of the Embassy in Baghdad, as Obama plays golf.

We’ve seen crazy rulers before. There was a time, during the Napoleonic Wars, when most of Europe’s crowned heads were barking mad. But then they were hereditary monarchs, and that’s what happens in families. Many of us have a crazy uncle or two, a Joe Biden we bring out only after the visitors are gone.

The Obama Watch

Sliding Into the Abyss

By 6.16.14

It was an amazing week for Barack Obama — perhaps the most remarkable in his disastrous presidency. We watched history unfold as it did in Greek mythology — with all of the ills that would confront mankind escaping from Pandora’s box.

Sunday, June 8: The week began with a “prayer summit” and tree-planting at the Vatican Gardens in Rome — hosted by Pope Francis and attended by Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. There were hugs all around, with prayers in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Italian. It was a love-in as well as a pray-in — marked by the planting of an olive tree as evening fell.

The Obama Watch

Looking Ahead to 2015

By 6.12.14

The Revolution of ’94 saw Bill Clinton staring down the cannons of righteous Republican fury. However, Clinton’s clashes with a Republican Congress resulted in an era of economic expansion and fiscal responsibility. Obama may be faced with such a Congress himself, the results of which may be ominous.

Clinton faced numerous disadvantages in his confrontation with this Republican majority. His policy and political missteps had delivered control of the House and the Senate to Republicans for the first time in almost 50 years. He confronted this Congress for the next six years, losing frequently and ultimately facing impeachment. However, Clinton’s apparent disadvantages propelled him to a favorably viewed presidency. If faced with a Republican Congress himself, Obama could have more trouble.

The Obama Watch

The Prisoner Swap Deal

By 6.10.14

People are arguing about what the United States got out of the deal that swapped five top level terrorist leaders for one American soldier who was, at best, absent from his post in a war zone. Soldiers who served in the same unit with him call him a deserter. The key to this deal, however, is less likely to be what the United States got out of the deal than it is about what Barack Obama got out of the deal. If nothing else, it instantly got the veterans’ hospitals scandals off the front pages of newspapers and pushed these scandals aside on television news programs.

It was a clear winner for Barack Obama. And that may be all that matters to Barack Obama.

People who are questioning the president’s competence seem not to want to believe that any President of the United States would knowingly damage this country’s interests.

One of the problems of many fundamentally decent people is that they find it hard to understand people who are not fundamentally decent, or whose moral compass points in a different direction from theirs.