The Obama Watch

The Obama Watch

Why I Want Obama to Run in 2016

By 12.2.13

When I read New York University history professor Jonathan Zimmerman’s Washington Post op-ed calling for the end of presidential term limits, I knew I wasn’t reading the words of someone whose life’s work it is to repeal the 22nd Amendment.

What Professor Zimmerman wants, in the guise of academic pretension, is for Barack Obama to be President for Life. Consider what Zimmerman wrote in the WaPo after Obama was elected in 2008: 

Wherever you look, it would seem, the world is celebrating Barack Obama's landslide win in Tuesday's US presidential election. To people around the globe, Obama's victory signals a new American willingness to converse with the world instead of imposing our will upon it.

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The Obama Watch

Gettysburg Follies

By 11.19.13

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. In recent days, regrettable errors regarding Gettysburg and Lincoln have surfaced in the news, and our president is responsible for the worst of them.

On October 31, we learned that the Gettysburg National Military Park and local officials, who prepared two years for a presidential visit, according the Washington Times, weren’t going to get one.

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The Obama Watch

The (Obamacare) Fix Is In

By 11.18.13

President Obama’s Thursday press conference about a proposed “administrative fix” to the disaster that is Obamacare had the feeling of the last air leaking out of the “hope and change” party balloon.

Giving typically rambling and somnolent answers to simple questions, President Obama dodged and stink-faced while offering the occasional “it’s on me” — by which he meant “Please accept my half-hearted apology so that I can get back to blaming straw men and misleading voters.”

The president’s remarks highlight his disconnection with reality and his perception of Obamacare’s failure as primarily a political risk for himself rather than a policy disaster for millions.

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Too ‘Smart’ to Do the Job?

By 11.14.13

In his 2007 biography of Barack Obama, Obama: From Promise to Power, Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendell described the exchange he had with then-Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama just minutes before he delivered the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston: 

After Obama and I slipped through a security checkpoint and he momentarily broke free from the entourage, I sidled up to him and told him that he seemed to be impressing many people of influence in this rarefied atmosphere. Obama, his gaze fixed directly ahead, never broke his stride. “I'm LeBron, baby,” he replied, referring to LeBron James, the phenomenally talented teenager who at the time was shooting the lights out in the National Basketball Association. “I can play on this level. I got some game.”

Obama was right. He had some game, delivering a breakthrough speech that, in an analysis by David Bernstein, senior editor at Chicago magazine, “captured the nation's attention and opened the way for a run at the presidency.”

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Confederacy of Slackers

By 11.13.13

Ben Bernanke complains that there is still an “awful lot of slack” in the U.S. Labor market. He said last week that the official unemployment rate — up a tick at 7.3 percent in October — “probably understates” the problem.

Who could disagree?

As bad as it is from any historical perspective, we would be looking at the economy through rose-colored glasses if we took the 7.3 percent figure too seriously. If you include the millions of part-time workers who want full-time work, and millions more who have despaired of finding jobs and so have dropped out of the labor market, the real unemployment rate jumps to 13.8 percent, or close to twice the official rate.

Out of a workforce of 154 million people, that’s 21 million Americans who are under-employed, unemployed, or sitting on the sidelines — able-bodied but not even bothering to look for work. The U.S. labor force participation rate has declined continuously throughout the Obama presidency — from 65.8 percent of available workers in January 2009 to 62.8 percent today — the lowest it has been since March 1978.

So, yes, there’s an “awful lot of slack” in the U.S. Labor market.

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The Sinking of RMS Obamacare

By 11.7.13

How goes the captain of RMS Obamacare as water pours through the open holes and hatches of what was supposed to be a masterpiece of social engineering? How does he feel as the forward deck of his eponymous vessel sinks beneath the waves while the stern lifts high into the air -- cracking the doomed ship into two?

Does he say a prayer for those he has condemned to an early death -- like Edie Littlefield Sundby, who wrote an article (“You Also Can’t Keep Your Doctor,” WSJ, Nov. 4) describing how she has survived stage-4 gall bladder cancer for almost seven years, but how her existing medical insurance has been canceled effective Dec. 31 , leaving her with no hope of finding an affordable replacement through the government health exchange that would enable her to keep her lifesaving team of doctors in place?

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