The Obama Watch

The Obama Watch

Obama’s Smoking Gun

By 5.1.14

The president lies. So insisted the Reverend Jeremiah Wright in a taped interview with author Ed Klein for Klein’s book on Obama titled The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House. As the latest revelation of a White House e-mail surfaces — which some are calling a smoking gun from the Benghazi scandal — the picture of a White House that flatly lies no matter the subject continues to sink Mr. Obama in the polls.

It is worth going back to the Reverend Wright to have a better understanding of what’s going on here. Klein was granted an interview with Obama’s longtime mentor, and as part of that interview Wright tells the story of the blow-up that occurred when videotaped sermons from Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ finally exploded into conservative media view. Obama, now in mid-campaign, took a secret break to confront the reverend in Wright’s Chicago living room. The conversation did not go well, with Obama asking Wright in essence to disappear from public view. Wright says this of the moment when Wright refused the suggestion:

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The Obama Watch

President Obama Celebrates the 1 Percent

By 4.22.14

Several years ago, when energy issues first starting engaging the public, the New Yorker ran a cartoon showing an upscale couple sitting in a fancy restaurant. The wife leans across the table and says to her husband, “Frankly, they’ve been perfectly insufferable since they went solar.”

President Obama reprised this spirit last week when he hosted a “Solar Summit” at the White House. The chief executive threw another $15 million at solar development, touted the military’s embrace of “renewable” energy (they’re very good at following orders), and honored the usual gaggle of Democratic loyalists as “Champions of Change” for promoting solar power. The private sector, he promised, will soon be dragged along.

It was a fitting match-up. Solar energy now provides about 1 percent of the nation’s energy income. With a heroic effort and another round of government mandates, it could probably climb to 2 percent by the end of the decade. Almost all residential solar consumption is concentrated among the wealthy. In effect, Obama is championing the 1 percent.

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Christian America and the White House Easter

By 4.18.14

Liberal secular elites often gush over how religiously diverse America supposedly is. Gloomy conservatives often join this chorus, ceding America as post-Christian. But Pew Research’s new study shows that the United States, at 78 percent Christian, only ranks 68th out of 232 countries on religious diversity.

And that ranking would be much lower without the much celebrated religious “nones,” pegged by Pew at 16 percent. America’s second largest religious group is Judaism at under 2 percent. All non-Christian religion in America accounts for 5 percent.

Predominantly Muslim United Arab Emirates is more religiously diverse than the U.S., according to Pew, not to mention France, Britain, Russia, Japan, China, Australia and Israel, much less India.

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Damned Statistical Lies

By 4.17.14

Back in 2009, President Obama made one of his first of many unprecedented executive moves: He snatched the Census Bureau out of the hands of the commerce secretary and placed it in the White House.

Conservatives were outraged. They predicted that this consolidation of power could result in skewed and biased Census reports. They warned that once the president owned the data, it would be the end of objective government statistics. The left laughed, and told them to calm down and retire the slippery slope arguments.

As Noah Rotham pointed out yesterday—turns out conservatives were right after all.

For the first time in over thirty years, the Census Bureau has decided to change its health care survey questions in order to supposedly produce more accurate data.

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Obama’s Numbers Worse News for Democrats

By 4.15.14

Bad as Obama’s poll numbers are, they bode worse for Congressional Democrats. Obama is being buoyed by continued strong support from Democrat voters. The problem for Congressional Democrats is that November’s election outcome will not be determined in Democrat strongholds.

Recent Quinnipiac polling data (released April 2, of 1,578 registered voters nationwide, with a MOE of +/-2.5%) showed the president with a deeply negative rating on his handling of the economy: 40% approval and 55% disapproval. In his sixth year in office, and the fifth year after the recession, 74% of respondents still rated the economy as “not so good” to “poor” and 71% said it was staying the same or getting worse.

The administration’s defining issue, Obamacare, was viewed equally negatively. Forty-one percent of respondents supported it, while 55% opposed it. This is only slightly better than Quinnipiac’s all-time low of 38%-56% recorded in January.

This same slightly-better-than-worst-case scenario prevailed on several other issues. 

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On Track to Restart the Cold War

By 3.12.14

On economic policy, President Obama has consistently and thoroughly followed just the opposite of everything Reagan did. And that is why he has consistently and thoroughly gotten the opposite of Reagan’s results.

Reagan slashed tax rates, with the top income tax rate reduced from 70% when he entered office to 28% when he left. (Federal tax revenues doubled during the 1980s.) Early in his first year, Reagan led Congress to cut federal spending by nearly 5%. Early in his first year, Obama led Congress to enact nearly $1 trillion in utterly wasted “stimulus” spending. Reagan deregulated, Obama overregulated. Reagan backed the Fed to follow strong dollar monetary policies that ended the double-digit inflation of the 1970s. Obama has backed the Fed to pursue loose dollar monetary policies that threaten, ultimately, to bring back the double-digit inflation of the 1970s.

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The Obama Watch

Covering With a Second Quote

By 3.5.14

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was justifiably proud when his son, Avner, won Israel’s National Bible Quiz in February 2010. That is a hard-fought annual contest, with very tough questions, and anyone who does not know the entire Bible, at least on a surface level, has zero chance of scoring a lucky win. Avner was fortunate to be tutored by his scholarly grandfather, the late Professor Netanyahu, who passed away in April 2012 at age 102.

What the Prime Minister surely never envisioned was that Israeli-American diplomacy would move beyond the Bible into a Talmudic debate over Mishnaic phrases taught by the Jewish prince and sage, Hillel. (The Talmud is divided into Mishna and Gemara. Mishna consists of concise phrases which review legal and moral conclusions derived from close study of the Bible. Gemara traces the Mishna principles back to their Biblical sources, then extrapolates from those principles to life situations.)

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Why Doesn’t Obama Call Him ‘Pootie Putt’?

By 3.4.14

Among the many things George W. Bush was vilified for while he was President was his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was said that Bush had looked into Putin’s eyes and had seen his soul. Well, here’s exactly what Bush said after he met Putin for the first time in Slovenia in June 2001:

I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He’s a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that’s the beginning of a very constructive relationship.

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‘My Brother’ Is a Keeper

By 3.1.14

It is nice on this side of the aisle to be able to support an initiative of the President without reservation. The launching of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative the other day to encourage minority children to aim higher in life was a marvelous event and the President said some really admirable things.

Among his comments were these:

I made bad choices. I got high, not always thinking about the harm it would do. I did not always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.

If we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers and well-educated, hardworking good citizens then not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country but they will pass those lessons on to their children and their grandchildren.

There is no room for the slightest quibble on this message. As long as this program really encourages those virtues with financial and moral support it should have our backing.

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The Obama Watch

No Recovering From This Recovery

By 2.27.14

Across the board, public opinion in all three major political groups — Democrats, Republicans and independents — identified unemployment as the nation’s top problem in a recent Gallup poll, released on Feb. 17.

The next day, ironically, an analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — hardly an assemblage of libertarian-leaning economists —projected that the Democrats’ proposed minimum-wage hike from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10 “would reduce total employment by approximately 500,000 workers” by 2016, and that job losses could reach 1 million.

The CBO, additionally, estimated that 81 percent of the proposed increased wages would go to workers who are not living below the poverty line. Roughly half the workers currently earning the minimum wage are between ages 16 and 24, many living in middle- and upper-income households.

In contrast, the segment of minimum-wage workers most likely to lose their jobs because of the proposed federally mandated wage hike will disproportionately be those who are the least skilled and least educated — the portion of bottom-rung workers who can least afford to be knocked off the occupational ladder.

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