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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Did We Miss an Election?

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.” — Frederic Bastiat

While we were sleeping during the night of December 9th did we miss a presidential election? It appears as though we did.

Anyone walking into the middle of the news conference Friday afternoon at the White House would be forgiven for wondering whether Bill Clinton was back for a command performance as leader of the free world.

Clinton — who for the record has been out of the president's office for a decade -- stood in front of the White House logo and took questions from reporters as if he hadn't missed a beat. But this time, he was selling the policies of his successor — George W. Bush.

Obama, after meeting with Clinton, brought him back onto center stage in a surprise appearance to endorse the tax deal Obama has struck with Republicans. But it remains to be seen whether even Clinton has the power to quell a revolt brewing on the left and the right.

Yet Clinton seemed like the perfect choice to try to pacify liberals angry over a Democratic president tacking to his center. Clinton, after all, popularized "triangulating" in the 90's and was credited for overseeing a decade of prosperity and peace in country.

"I don't believe there is a better deal out there," Clinton told reporters, who called him "Mr. President."

After a private meeting with Obama in the Oval Office, Clinton held court for more than 30 minutes, expressing support not only for the tax deal, but also the stalled U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty.

For his part, Obama said it was a "terrific meeting," turned the podium over to Clinton and eventually left to attend a Christmas party.

During their private meeting, Clinton presumably offered Obama some advice on how to deal with his critics on the left as well as an emboldened GOP, which takes control of the House in January and increases its ranks in the Senate.

Liberal Democrats are outraged that Obama cut a deal extending the Bush tax cuts for all households, including the wealthiest Americans. In return, Obama got an extension of long-term unemployment aid for 13 months and a one-year reduction to the Social Security payroll tax on employees.

Liberals fear the deal could be the first of many he makes over the next two years that favors Republicans in a strategy known as triangulation.

You can watch the video of the White House press briefing by clicking here. The video is 32 minutes long, but the most revealing parts take place at the 01:28 and 10:54 marks. At 01:28 Obama walks away from the White House podium and turns it over to Clinton. He then stands by, looking at Clinton in awe, while Clinton begins to explain to the reporters why this extension of the Bush tax rates is a “good deal”.  At the 10:54 mark Obama walks to Clinton, pats him on the shoulder and says “Here's what I'll say, is I've been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour, so I'm going to take off —.you're in good hands” and walks of stage. Clinton continues on his own, in front of the White House logo, for another 22 minutes fielding questions from the press.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says he will support President Obama's tax cut compromise, even though he's not happy about all the pork and earmarks being loaded into it. In fact, McCain predicts that if Congress keeps it up, Americans will be so upset by the fiscal irresponsibility, they will elect third party.

"Unless we satisfy the message of this last election, you will see the rise of a third party," McCain told Fox News on Saturday. He went on to say most Americans think Congress has not responded to the message voters sent this election.

"Stop the spending, keep the taxes low, end the corruption, have some fiscal discipline, and start making some tough decisions about this debt that we have laid on every man, woman and child in America," he said.

McCain says he thinks the tax extenders bill will pass, but adds, "The Tea Partiers and the majority of Americans will justifiably feel betrayed" if Congress adds an omnibus appropriations bill, instead of keeping a clean bill.

He's particularly upset about an extension for an ethanol tax credit that has been wrapped into the Senate's tax-cut package. The bill would extend a 45 cent per gallon ethanol tax cut credit for two years, which McCain calls unacceptable.

Today we are in the midst of the holiday season and the north and east are cold and snow covered — not a good time to take to the streets. I am sure that after January 3rd the people who turned out 65 Democrats will be watching the 112th Congress with great care. If this new Congress does not heed the message of last November those same people will be out to remind them that 2012 is just around the corner.

Somehow we must have missed the election of Bill Clinton as the 45th president of the United States. Is he another Grover Cleveland? This is unprecedented in our history when a president of the United States is so weak and disengaged he has to call on a former (and disgraced) president to stand in for him — who will he call on next, Jimmy Carter.

If the picture of Michelle barefoot and walking on hot bricks while her husband and the Indonesian dignitary walked on the carpet told us a great deal about how carelessly organized the presidential visit to Indonesia was, this picture speaks to us about how unserious and unqualified Obama is for the highest office in the land.

Obama called the former president in to make the case he was unable to make himself and then left to party.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal noted that Bill Clinton was an odd endorser of the proposed tax rates:

Taranto notes in a comment on the Daily Caller; “I was at the 2004 Democratic Convention, where I watched Bill Clinton deliver a very effective, though completely wrongheaded, attack on the Bush tax rates. Today I turn on the TV to see Bill Clinton holding a White House news conference to endorse those same tax rates. It's great to see him come around, even if his return to the presidential podium runs counter to the spirit of the 22nd Amendment.”

It's as if it shocks Obama that his promise to stop the rising of the waters and to heal the sick and feed the poor doesn't seem enough. People want to see results, and the only results they are seeing is the destruction of centuries' worth of sound legal doctrine (the bailouts) and economic structures (our health care system) and national wealth (trillions wasted to no end except to pay off Obama's friends).

Or is it that having stepped out of the chattering classes into a position of responsibility, Obama is being forced — too late — to realize that all his beliefs and those of the left are just so much unicorn scat — unworkable, unrealistic nonsense?  If that's so, no wonder he seems disquieted.  He surely isn't able to see where to go since being exiled from wonderland, where he was the one we were waiting for, to reality, where he seems unable to carry out his responsibilities and retain his allies and support.

In fact, Obama's spokesman Gibbs did point his finger at Congress and said they should have taken up the issue before November, as Obama urged them to, but the truth is that, having rammed through the unpopular Obamacare law, both the congressional leadership and the administration caved to the Blue Dogs' pleas that the tax issue be put in order for them to have any hope of reelection. The left-wingers who lost that battle are now in no mood to cede to the White House's begging for more "compromise."  And when all is said and done, the White House failure to communicate the deal with the congressional Democrats before announcing it publicly revealed a striking ignorance of Washington protocol and rubbed salt in their wounds.

The economy is not all that Obama and his administration are demonstrably failing at. WikiLeaks is severely undercutting our diplomatic service, and yet our response is weak.  Eric Holder still hasn't made any moves to get Assange extradited from the U.K., where extradition is easier than it will be from Sweden, and he's had since July, when the document dump began, to think up something.  Instead, the president had him fly overseas in a failed attempt to get the World Cup held in the U.S. This mirrors the great expense and effort Obama put in his failed attempt to get Chicago named the venue for the Olympics.

Max Boot sated in the American Thinker; “... if those barriers are insuperable, why hasn't the administration proposed legislation to Congress that would allow the prosecution of cyber-vandals like Assange? Given the diplomatic damage that WikiLeaks continues to cause, the administration's inaction so far signals a dangerous ineffectuality that will come back to haunt the U.S. We can't rely on the Swedish courts to lock up Assange for rape - not when the apparent facts of the case appear to be as bizarre as they are.” You can read the Daily Mail article here.

When you elect to the office of chief executive someone with not one minute's worth of executive experience, this is what you get. He can't do his job, and the people he appointed to work with him are just as ill-suited for their positions.

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