The Obama Watch

The Obama Watch

The Name’s the Same — Aptronyms

By 11.18.14

Richie Richman is a name that perfectly describes the well-heeled financial position of Mr. Richman. It’s like the name match of Tom Crapper, the man who many credit with inventing the toilet. 

In fact, Mr. Crapper was a plumber who founded Thomas Crapper & Company in London and invented the ballcock, or float value, a mechanism that increased the efficiency of the flush toilet by avoiding an overflow or (in the event of inadequate water pressure) a backflow. 

Two other people with well-fitting names are Bernie Madoff, who made off with billions from defrauded investors, and Anthony Weiner, who left politics after sexting unseemly selfies and engaging in explicit online chats under the name “Carlos Danger.”

By way of definition, a person’s name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation or passion is called an aptronym.

The Obama Watch

Barack Obama and the Art of the Deal

By 11.17.14

The real Joe Stalin turned up at the Potsdam Conference: not benign Uncle Joe, but the murderous dictator — a bully brimming with malice. Old newsreel footage captures an act of startling rudeness. In a show of truculence and disrespect toward his wartime allies, Stalin strides into the conference room and tosses his briefcase onto the table where Truman and Churchill are seated.

Everything had been breaking Stalin’s way in the ten weeks that had passed from Germany’s surrender on May 7 to July 17, 1945, the first day of the conference. While American forces pulled out of Europe and headed for the Pacific, Stalin still had most of his 2 million-strong Red Army stationed in a long line from the Baltic to the Adriatic.

The Soviet Union had overrun most of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. What was to stop it from conquering Western Europe, including Britain? If there was anything that Stalin needed to complete the task, it was a credible navy.

One of the topics on the agenda at Potsdam happened to be the fate of the German fleet.

The Obama Watch

Iran Appeasers in Bed With Obama: The Truman Project Unmasked

By 11.13.14

The mask is off. What do Eric Bolling of Fox News and President Obama’s strategy on Iran have in common? Answer: the Truman National Security Project. A few weeks back in this space (“The Hit Job on Fox News”) it was revealed that an arrogant, huffy letter from veterans demanding an apology from Bolling was in fact a setup. Left unrevealed by the letter’s sponsor — the Truman National Security Project — many of the signers in question were in fact Democratic Party or liberal special interest activists.

This is not, but of course, how the Truman Project presents itself. The impression given by its website is that it is just another independent-no-alliances-out-there think tank. In its own words, the Truman National Security Project puts itself out there as part of a

growing movement [that] is supported by Americans from every state and walk of life, dedicated to service, a set of common values, and a shared vision of America’s role in today’s world.

The Obama Watch

The Silent Majority?

By 11.12.14

Last week President Obama consoled himself after his party suffered heavy losses by noting that “two-thirds” of voters didn’t show up to the polls. Obama presented himself as the voice of this nonvoting silent majority. He had “heard” them. Through telepathy apparently, he knows that they want him to continue his failed progressive agenda.

Richard Nixon once claimed a “silent majority” for himself too. But he never had the audacity to suggest its members didn’t vote. Nixon’s silent majority voted but didn’t protest. Obama’s apparently protests but doesn’t vote.

Obama may have set a new precedent for politicians on the losing side of an election. They can now poison the results by suggesting all the people who didn’t vote disapprove of them. Almost four out of ten voters didn’t vote in Obama’s election in 2008. But back then he wasn’t in the mood to listen to nonvoters. He was too busy promising a “fundamental” transformation of the country. As the most inspirational politician of his generation, he was going to usher in an era of maximum political participation.

The Obama Watch

Pity Barack Obama

By 11.5.14

Poor Barack Obama.

For him, campaigning is “fun.” But for the last few months, almost nobody has wanted to play with him.

He was only invited to campaign for one Democrat running for the U.S. Senate, and that was for a candidate with an insurmountable lead. (Gary Peters in Michigan.)

His public schedule through Tuesday showed that he hadn’t made a public appearance since last Friday. He was conspicuously absent in the days leading up to, and including, Election Day.

No wonder the man used to being the center of attention was “clearly frustrated“ and “fed up“ by the 2014 midterms even though Democrats breathed slightly easier at Obama’s sequestration.

The Obama Watch

Progressives in the Dock

By 10.30.14

As always, the progressive utopia sounds just ducky. Utopia arrives. And then…shocker!…it doesn’t work. Now? Americans have soured on President Obama — and progressives are in the dock.

One poll after another says Americans are a pretty unhappy lot this election year, and are set next Tuesday to deliver a smackdown of some considerable size to the president's party. But why? Let’s review, beginning with this famous passage from Obama's speech the night in 2008 that he clinched the Democratic nomination:

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The Obama Watch

The Politics of Ebola

By 10.29.14

Normally hyperactive about potential risks, the nanny-state establishment is strangely intolerant of reasonable fears about Ebola’s spread. It usually frets over second-hand smoke, too many cupcakes and sodas in schools, and is always ready to label something an “epidemic.” Nor are nanny-state liberals averse to inconveniencing doctors and nurses in the name of public health, as evident in Obamacare’s voluminous regulations. But on matters related to Ebola, these attitudes disappear. Suddenly it is “paranoid,” “draconian,” and unconstitutional for states to quarantine medical workers exposed to Ebola patients in West Africa.

In light of the fact that a considerable number of medical workers have contracted the disease, quarantining doctors and nurses during the incubation period hardly qualifies as an outlandish policy. Public support for the policy is particularly understandable, given the CDC’s wobbly performance throughout the crisis. Its confident pronouncements keep getting punctured by changing events. It is not even clear if its most confident claim — that asymptomatic people can’t communicate the disease — is true.

The Obama Watch

D.C. Reporters Push Back on White House Control

By 10.21.14

Nobody likes a micro-manager. Especially when that micro-manager is the government.

Here in the United States, we have this great thing called “the freedom of the press,” protected by our Constitution. But the White House doesn’t always seem to value that freedom above its own image. And since it is the primary distributor for some reports on the president’s activity, it takes advantage of that position to block certain content from being made public.

A group of “pool reporters” got tired of the White House throwing its weight around and demanding edits to their reports. So they came up with another way to share information that isn’t dependent on presidential press aides.

Here’s how the pool system works: instead of subjecting the president to a mob of journalists everywhere he goes, representative reporters for each event are chosen from a pool of regular White House press. The information they gather on the president’s appearances is then shared with news outlets, federal agencies, and congressional offices.

The Obama Watch

What Obama Didn’t Say About the Economy

By 10.15.14

In his speech the day before the federal government reported U.S. job growth was 248,000 in September, President Obama painted a picture that made the current state of the American economy look like the grand fireworks finale on the Fourth of July — everything simultaneously and beautifully exploding to more dazzling and far-reaching levels.

“Unemployment down, jobs up,” Mr. Obama asserted. “Manufacturing growing. Deficits cut by more than half. High School graduation up. College enrollment up. Energy production up.”

Obamanomics, allegedly batting a thousand — everything that should be up was up and everything that should be down was down.

“By every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office,” declared Mr. Obama.

Well, not exactly “every economic measure.” Some things went up during President Obama’s White House years that weren’t included on his checklist of successes.

The Obama Watch

Ebola and Obama

By 10.7.14

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is both a danger in itself and a wake-up call for Americans — about President Obama, about the institutions of this country and, most important, about ourselves.

There was a time when an outbreak of a deadly disease overseas would bring virtually unanimous agreement that our top priority should be to keep it overseas. Yet Barack Obama has refused to bar entry to the United States by people from countries where the Ebola epidemic rages, as Britain has done.

The reason? Refusing to let people with Ebola enter the United States would conflict with the goal of fighting the disease. In other words, the safety of the American people takes second place to the goal of helping people overseas.

As if to emphasize his priorities, President Obama has ordered thousands of American troops to go into Ebola-stricken Liberia, disregarding the dangers to those troops and to other Americans when the troops return.

What does this say about Obama?