Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chapter 23. President Pussycat

"Here's how you get him.  He pulls a knife, you pull a gun.  He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send you of his to the morgue.  That's the Chicago way, and that's how you get Capone."  Officer Jimmy Malone (Sean Connery) The Untouchables  1987
In the first 16 months of his presidency, Barack Obama has carried the reputation of a Chicago hardballer, bullying slow moving liberals and recalcitrant moderates into submission as he seeks to socialize everything from health care to oil changes.  Who but a broad-shouldered enforcer could respond to a lady's question about whether her mom should have gotten a pacemaker at age 100, by saying the old gal might be better off "taking the painkiller."  That's tough.

Obama's minions are equally granite.  Take White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.  It takes a man confident in his abilities to push others around, to accost a "member" of Congress in the House gym shower, both of them naked, reportedly poking then-Representative Eric Massa in the chest and berating him for not supporting the President's budget plans.  And earlier this month Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar indicated on CNN that it is the administration's job "to keep the boot on the neck of British Petroleum" regarding the Gulf oil rig disaster.  Press Secretary Robert Gibbs repeated the phrase at a briefing the next day.  The messages are clear:  don't mess with this President or his posse.

Unless you're a tin pot dictator or radical Muslim terrorist, that is.

Chief law enforcement officer and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stammered his way through Congressional questioning by refusing to say that radical Islam might have been a motivating factor in the Times Square bombing attempt.  One wonders if Holder might have had this much trouble if Congressman Smith had asked him whether gravity might be a factor in keeping us all from floating around the room.  A year ago Holder had the same trouble explaining why his Justice Department dropped all charges in the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party.

To be fair to Holder, his boss doesn't fare any better.  While the President has bowed and groveled his way across the globe since taking office, North Korea took the opportunity to explode a nuclear bomb, fire off a couple of long-range missile tests, sink a South Korean warship, and imprison two American journalists and essentially hold them for political ransom.  Korean dictator Kim Jong Il threatens all out war if there is any retaliation. Not to be outdone, the equally diminutive and badly dressed Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad forged ahead with his nuclear weapon ambitions, and captured his own American prisoners back in July 2009 (the three hikers still await release, perhaps in exchange for the release of Iranian terror suspects).

Apparently gone are the days when a sunk ship or the harassment of a nation's citizens spurred action.  For America, it led to two world wars (and the liberation of a continent from the Nazis).  In response to Libya's role in the 1986 West Berlin discotheque bombing, in which American servicemen were killed and wounded, President Reagan ordered air strikes of Libyan targets.  At his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush famously called Iraq, Iran, and North Korea the "axis of evil."  A year later, he began the liberation of Iraq from Saddam Hussein.

Today, President Obama's foreign affairs and national defense actions consists of unleashing the only arrow he has in his quiver:  rhetoric.  When today's bad guys do something against the U.S. or her allies, they don't fear grabbing a tiger by the tail; instead, they know they'll get complimentary admission to President Pussycat's Petting Zoo.

Quotient out.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chapter 22. Term Limits Au Naturel

"Power tends to corrupt... Great men are almost always bad men."
Lord Acton, 1887
When we last left 18 year Utah Senate veteran Bob Bennett, he was sobbing his way out of office, having been ousted by voters in the state's GOP convention in the midst of what Bennett called the "toxic" atmosphere of anti-incumbent dissatisfaction.  Three terms in public service should be enough for any citizen, but given the money and power involved it's no wonder that Bennett is far from the most extreme example of the American Political Tick.

In fact, of the 100 current senators in office, 27 have longer tenures than Bennett (he is tied with four others).  When former stints in the House of Representative are counted, 14 additional "public servants" jump ahead of him.  Many of them have decades more, such as Senator Robert Byrd (class of 1959), Daniel Inouye (1963) and Patrick Leahy (1975).  Then there's Pat Roberts (1997) and Chuck Schumer (1999) who also formerly spent 16 and 18 years in the House, respectively, giving them each longer times at the trough than Bennett.

This also gives them longer tenures than the dictatorships of Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin.

Experience shows that our politicians will generally not voluntarily give up their powerful positions in government; very few resign unless clearly facing voter rejection or perhaps under cloud of scandal, and even then they sometimes have to be forcibly shown the door.  Many would-be reformers call for imposed term limits as a solution, but such legislation must be sponsored and supported by the very men and women taking advantage of the system, so the term limitists probably shouldn't hold their breath.

No, there is only one sure way, already built into every election, to limit the time politicians remain in office:  the voters.  Voters must resolve that after a particular number of terms or years in office, they will automatically cast a ballot for another candidate in the primary and general elections.  Unfortunately, many Americans have the classic age-old opinion, "he may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."  If we are to change the dynamic of higher stakes and lower expectations in our political system, this naive and robotic sentiment must be eliminated.

This blog calls on all American voters to pull the opposing lever against any politician who is running for a cumulative fourth term, regardless of the promises, the pork, or the winning smile.  If we don't do this, there may come a day when we lose the right to throw the bums out.  Shame on us if this happens.

Quotient out.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Chapter 21. Nothing More Than Feelings

On the May 2 edition of ABC's Sunday morning This Week show, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked by host Jake Tapper how concerned she was that the Times Square car bomb attempt of the evening before was not an isolated incident, after Tapper pointed out the obvious similarities between it and previous attempts in Great Britain.  Napolitano smoothly stated:
"We have no evidence that it is anything other than a one-off..."
This despite the events of the so-called "underwear bomber" only four months earlier, of which Napolitano said "the system worked."  It is as if the Secretary is a drone that is occasionally re-booted and rolled out to spout the ridiculous, so that more favored Obama cronies like Eric Holder can correct the misstatements, as the Attorney General did today when he announced what everyone besides Napolitano already knew:  this was another terrorist with Middle Eastern training and funding.  One must wonder why the "Napolitanobot" is kept in perpetual patsy-mode.  Her job seems to be to soft peddle the bad news that we're still in a war on terror, er, overseas contingency operation.  The same day she even tossed out that the Times Square attempt was amateurish.  Wouldn't want to hurt the feelings of all those professional man-caused disasterists out there.

CNN got into the act in the intervening week between respective interviews, when anchor Jim Acosta suggested that Times Square terrorist Faisal Shahzad's home foreclosure must have put a lot of pressure on him and the family.  The President was probably kicking himself for not having the Napolitanobot lead with that theory, since the financial and foreclosure crisis can be so readily linked back to George W. Bush.  At any rate, the manic suggestion that Shahzad, and those like him, may have been a victim is becoming a pattern of the left that reveals an increasing distance from common sense reality.  Not hurting the feelings of jihadists is not going to spare us any violence, and may in fact get us killed.

In a different example of feelings on display, just-deposed Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) had his feelings hurt in a big way, when Utah's GOP convention delegates voted him third behind two newcomers on Saturday.  No doubt the tears summoned as he thanked supporters and family were real; he had just seen his meal ticket torn up and tossed into the air by voters tired of career politicians bedding their nests for life.  Bennett called the political atmosphere "toxic":
"The political atmosphere obviously has been toxic, and it's very clear that some of the votes that I have cast have added to the toxic environment."
What Bennett calls toxic a lot of other folks simply call democracy.  Bennett's conservative credentials are more than respectable, but three terms in office is enough, and sometimes voters get it.  Eighteen years in a public office can corrupt just about anyone, and our political system is awash in corruption.  There will be more on term limits in upcoming posts.

Napolitano, CNN anchors and Bennett have one vexing thing in common:  the attempted shielding of the truth from the public, and all of them look silly trying it.

Quotient out.