Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

The Obama Administration after one year

Posted by sanityinjection on January 22, 2010

It’s a truism that political columnists and bloggers all tend to write about the same things at the same time. So it is no surprise that with the Obama Administration passing the first anniversary of its inception this week, the op-ed-osphere is full of articles assessing the performance of the President and his team after a full year in office.

Rather than add to the babble, I commend to you Mort Zuckerman’s column in US News and World Report, “The Incredible Deflation of Barack Obama.”  Zuckerman’s writing is notable not for the originality of what he has to say, but for his ability to summarize and present a good comprehensive picture of where the Administration is at and what it has – or has not – accomplished. It’s also extremely well written. His central point is that the President has not only failed to achieve progress in any significant area, but that this failure is heightened by the extremely high expectations he encouraged the American people to have for his Presidency.

Here’s a teaser:

“[Obama’s] gift for inspiration aroused expectations, stoked to unprecedented heights by his own staff, that he would solve the climate crisis on Monday, the jobs crisis on Tuesday, the financial crisis on Wednesday, the education crisis on Thursday, Afghanistan on Friday, Iraq on Saturday, and rest on Sunday.”


Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quote of the Week

Posted by sanityinjection on August 27, 2009

“Obama didn’t have a father.  Maybe that’s why he sees the government as Daddy.” – Actress/comedienne and Saturday Night Live alumna Victoria Jackson

Jackson isn’t being snide here, she’s being serious. The question of whether President Obama’s unsettled childhood and single-parent upbringing affected his views on the role of government as caretaker is an interesting one and will no doubt be addressed in detail in some 750-page biography written after he leaves office. Jackson’s point is that if we as a society did more to try to encourage two-parent families, maybe we wouldn’t have so many people in need of government assistance.

In saying that, I am acknowledging how difficult it is for a single parent to raise a child. There are of course people who do so successfully, and they are amazing and admirable. But we should not, based on a minority of remarkable individuals, have come to the point where we now view single parenthood simply as a “lifestyle choice” that is no better or worse than anything else. A single parent family may be the best (or only) option when one parent is deceased, has abandoned the family, is abusive or has deleterious issues such as drug or alcohol abuse. That’s in sharp contrast to the young women who believe that they can have a child, career, and active single life all at once. Experience suggests that when you try to do too many things at once you end up doing some of them badly.

If you think I am exaggerating the prevalence of this view among women, you haven’t been to the movies or watched TV lately. And let’s not forget last year’s “Gloucester dozen.”

We are told that preventive medicine can reduce the need for emergency medicine. and economic opportunity can reduce the prevalence of crime. We are encouraged to shift resources to such preventive measures. Why then, is it incomprehensible that shifting resources to the encouragement of stable, two-parent child rearing can decrease the need for government social services later on? Is there not a similar savings to be had?

You may well ask how we are supposed to go out about this. After all, we believe that people have the right to make their own choices about partnership and reproduction. But a good start would be to stop treating those areas of life as simple vehicles for self-discovery that are devoid of consequences. Maybe sex education classes could include the idea that you should only have as many children as you can financially support. Maybe our television and movies could revive the idea of parent characters as models to look up to (in the vein of June Cleaver, Mike Brady, and Bill and Claire Huxtable) rather than bumbling buffoons to be sneered at.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

It’s Paglia time again!

Posted by sanityinjection on August 12, 2009

I’ve been refraining from posting excerpts from every new column by one of my favorites, Camille Paglia, but her August column really is a must-read. Keep in mind as you read, Paglia identifies herself as a Democrat and an Obama supporter:

“But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises — or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama’s aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you’re happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

I just don’t get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy….

…Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical because Democrats control all three branches of government. It isn’t conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it’s the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan — it’s the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves….

…And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the “mob” — a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration’s outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable “casual conversations” to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it.”

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Dear Major Cook: Shut up and fight

Posted by sanityinjection on July 14, 2009

The Columbus (Georgia) Ledger-Enquirer reports that Army reservist Major Stefan Cook has filed a court motion seeking an injunction and conscientious objector status to avoid having to be deployed to Afghanistan. His argument? It would be illegal for him to serve overseas under President Obama as Commander-in-Chief because Obama was not born in the United States:

Honestly, I think we’re all pretty tired of this Obama birth certificate nonsense. Skeptics have had ample time to back up their claims that there is something wrong with Obama’s 1961 Hawaii birth certificate, without success. Like it or not, Barack Obama is the President of the United States and the Commander in Chief of America’s armed forces. And that’s not going to change for a few years.

Even if there were something in the birth certificate story, the idea that an individual soldier’s opinion on that question is of legal validity is pretty ridiculous. That’s sort of like the folks who claim they don’t have to pay taxes because of their personal interpretation of whether they are constitutional. This is why we have courts to decide these questions. You may not like the court’s judgment, but that doesn’t mean you get to substitute your own.

So with all due respect to Major Cook for your service to our country as a reservist: It’s time to shut up and fight for your country. That’s what you signed up for. I don’t blame you if you’re afraid of getting killed in Afghanistan, but that doesn’t make it OK for you to try to weasel out of your commitment on a technicality while your fellow reservists risk their lives. If you were a “conscientious objector” – a true pacifist – you never should have joined the reserves in the first place.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 24 Comments »

The “Obamagenda”?

Posted by sanityinjection on July 13, 2009

Rex Murphy argues in an opinion piece for Canada’s Globe and Mail that the main initiatives of the Obama Administration so far – massive federal intervention in the economy, nationalization of GM, energy sector regulation and a national health-care system – are not reactions to events but rather were all planned well in advance of the inauguration as part of an agenda to radically transform American government. In other words, the economic crisis is being used as an excuse to ram a sweeping liberal agenda down America’s collective throat.

While I’m not sure that Obama lay dreaming in his bed last fall of having the government run General Motors, I think there’s some truth to this. Even Obama would agree that health care reform and climate change legislation have been long-term goals. Murphy’s point is that if Obama had articulated clearly during the campaign exactly what he would end up doing in these areas, American voters probably would have run screaming in the other direction. It’s a lot easier to vote for “change” when you’re not told exactly what that change is going to mean. But it does make you wonder – What else is on the “Obamagenda” that we don’t know about? After all, the Administration has been very clear about wanting to get its health-care bill passed within the next few months. That suggests they have something planned to come later in the year.

Of course, Obama is hardly the first politician to prefer vague generalities on the campaign trail. It will be a little while before we learn – first with the 2010 Congressional elections and then with the Presidential race in 2012 – whether the voters have developed buyer’s remorse.

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Obamawatch: Obama’s tax pledge broken in first 100 days

Posted by sanityinjection on April 1, 2009

At first I thought it was an April Fool’s joke, but mirabile! There it was: an AP article slamming their former golden boy, Barack Obama for breaking his promise not to raise taxes by raising the cigarette tax:

Obama said repeatedly during the campaign that he would not raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. The AP article points out that the campaign specifically included other forms of taxes besides the income tax in this pledge, though they’re pretending now that they didn’t. Thus, the 62 cents per pack cigarette tax increase taking effect today is a direct violation of that pledge. Of course, your Sanity Injection told you back in the fall that this pledge was a total fabrication that was belied by Obama’s own economic plan. So I’m hardly surprised by this move.

The AP reporter (Calvin Woodward, who will probably be fired for writing this article) even points out that a cigarette tax hike disproportionately hits lower-income people who are more likely to be smokers. So it’s a regressive tax, exactly the sort Democrats usually complain is unfair.

What the article doesn’t explain is that the cigarette tax is an inherently unstable revenue source, because if the price goes too high, some people will quit smoking and thus not have to pay the tax. This means that any projections of revenue the tax hike will generate are unreliable espcially after the first year. In turn, that means that any federal program receiving funding from this tax – such as the children’s health insurance expansion Obama wants to use it for – is in danger of seeing that funding melt away (or should I say, vanish in a puff of smoke?) in successive years. At that point you either have to cut the program (which never happens, think of the children!) or find another source of funding – which means another tax hike.

Smoke’em if you got’em.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Wikipedia refuses to allow critical facts about Obama

Posted by sanityinjection on March 9, 2009

Controversy is brewing over one of my favorite websites, Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia and read it almost every day. Thus, I was disturbed to read that Wikipedia editors are being accused of “whitewashing” the entry on President Obama by eliminating any references to Bill Ayers or Reverend Wright:

I had to see this for myself. It’s true. In fact, on the “talk” page attached to article there is a whole explanation. But I don’t buy it. The editors claim that the appropriate place for those references is in the articles on the 2008 elections. Yet you won’t find Ayers referenced there either. One has to look up Ayers directly in order to discover that the two were ever connected in any way. That’s a little ridiculous. Also nothing about the flap over his Hawaiian birth certificate.

Of course, now that the controversy has been mentioned in the media, the article will be locked and no changes made until it dies down. That’s standard policy at Wikipedia.  But I do think the article should, in time, be revised. I agree that biographical articles should not be weighed down with criticism, but simply mentioning the controversies and linking to another article hardly constitutes a hatchet job. The standard being applied to the Obama article clearly is more strict than that which is applied to other public figures.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Inaugural hypocrisy

Posted by sanityinjection on January 14, 2009

Matt Drudge reminds us that before both George W. Bush’s inaugurals, there was much criticism and discussion in the media about the cost of the celebrations and whether it was appropriate, even though mostly privately funded.

Where, he asks, are these same critics today as Barack Obama’s inaugural shapes up to be the most expensive in history in the midst of a severe economic crisis? Strangely silent.

In 2005, the Washington Post commissioned a poll which showed that 66 percent of Americans thought the inaugural should be a smaller affair. Has any such poll been commissioned this year? I’m betting the answer is no, because the media is no longer interested in asking the question. (And if a poll is taken, and the answer turns out to be the same, they’ll try to make sure you don’t hear about it.)

I am not troubled by Obama’s inaugural plans, but then again I took the same view with Bush. For our friends in the liberal media, however, the rules of the game are apparently different depending on who the contestant is.

Rich Noyes has the embarrassing details here:

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Obamawatch: New efficiency watchdog post

Posted by sanityinjection on January 7, 2009

President-elect Obama has announced the appointment of Nancy Killefer as Chief Performance Officer, a new White House post created to act as a watchdog on federal spending and efficiency.

Never let it be said that our new President does not have a sense of humor. If you’re concerned about overspending, creating a new top-level administrative position isn’t the most self-evident way of reducing spending. Especially as Obama is busily crafting an economic stimulus plan that is projected to cost between $775 billion and $1.2 trillion, which he acknowledges is going to make the deficit worse. If Killefer really wants to do her job properly, her first report should be one criticizing the President’s stimulus plan 🙂 Expect this position to be more style than substance. The White House Office of Management and Budget is already perfectly well suited to handle concerns about efficiency and spending – in fact, that’s exactly what it was originally intended for.

 I feel compelled to point out that the last President who had a “Chief Performance Officer” was Bill Clinton, although the position was a decidedly unofficial one, and it led to his impeachment.

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Obamawatch: Sanjay Gupta for Surgeon General

Posted by sanityinjection on January 7, 2009

I cannot be the first, but let me be one of those to congratulate President-Elect Obama on his nomination of Sanjay Gupta to be the country’s next Surgeon General.

The pick is being derided in some quarters of the media because of the semi-celebrity status Gupta enjoys as a CNN correspondent, Time Magazine columnist and host of his own show. The fact that he is also young and good looking doesn’t add to his gravitas. However, Gupta is also an accomplished neurosurgeon.

But the reason I am very supportive of Gupta’s candidacy is his demonstrated history of insisting on truth and accuracy even when that puts him at odds with the politically correct. For example, how many public figures have the guts to tell the truth about smoking: that like anything else, the danger to your health lies chiefly in the degree and duration to which the behavior is indulged? Gupta has. He’s also challenged the lies and distortions of demoagogues such as Michael Moore:

It is vital that American public policy in areas that touch on science be guided by those who are not afraid to embrace scientific fact in all cases, rather than those who would selectively pervert science as a club to be wielded in pursuit of a predetermined political agenda. In this light, Sanjay Gupta represents the best of his profession. I hope he is confirmed overwhelmingly.

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