Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Does Obama Think It's Beneath Him to Be President?

By Michael Goodwin

The words cut like a knife. “What the hell are we paying you for?” Gov. Chris Christie asked of President Obama.

The New Jersey Republican has a gift for getting to the heart of things, and his broadside against the president over the debt bomb is Exhibit A. His assertion, framed as a question, makes the case against Obama better than anything heard from the actual candidates.

Christie’s decision not to run remains a disappointment, but he is a valuable player who can help sharpen the fuzzy aim of Mitt Romney, the man he supports. Christie’s consistent theme is that Obama has defaulted on the responsibility to provide presidential leadership during a national crisis.

On Monday, the GOP heavyweight called Obama “a bystander in the Oval Office” for ducking the congressional committee charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years.

“I was angry this weekend, listening to the spin coming out of the administration about the failure of the super committee, and that the president knew it was doomed for failure, so he didn’t get involved,” Christie said. “Well, then, what the hell are we paying you for? ‘It’s doomed for failure so I’m not getting involved?’ Well, what have you been doing, exactly?”

The questions are rhetorical in that we know what the president has been doing and why. He plays golf and campaigns.

Governing is beneath him.

He doesn’t talk much to members of Congress or his own Cabinet.

They’re beneath him.

His connection to the public consists of speeches before large crowds, and he ducks behind the curtain and into the security bubble as soon as he finishes.

The people are beneath him.

Warped by a sense of entitlement and self-aggrandizement, Obama refuses to take responsibility for finding practical solutions to problems. He prefers the glory of transformation rather than the roll-the-sleeves-up work of reform.

When he can’t get his way, he appoints a czar and ignores Congress.

Democracy is beneath him.

He could have brokered a deficit deal, but doing so would have demolished his campaign slogan that Republicans are to blame for everything. Any deal would give him ownership of the results, and end the fiction that politics are beneath him.

In fact, he’s all politics, all the time. His idea of bipartisanship is that everybody agrees with him.

He’s so bad at the job that the frequent comparisons to Jimmy Carter are unfair to Carter. The former peanut farmer was a terrible president, but he was at least sincere in his starchy disdain for the country.

Obama professes to really, really like America. He just wants to change everything about it.

And when the country says no thanks, he goes off script and the smears come out. We’re “soft” and “lazy” and “bitter” and “cling” to God and guns.

Much ink has been spilled trying to figure out what went wrong after such a brilliant, history-making campaign got him to the White House. Obama smashed the Clinton machine and dispatched John McCain without breaking a sweat. Mount Rushmore was waiting.

But his first day in office marked the peak, and it’s been all downhill since. Deadenders, after blaming George W. Bush, Senate Republicans and the Tea Party, were forced to turn on their own, especially the economic advisers who are gone, Larry Summers and Peter Orszag. They were the problems.

But there are no hiding places in the Oval Office and, after three years, it’s clear who the problem is.

The campaign of 2008 looked brilliant because campaigns showcase Obama’s one real talent — blaming someone else for blocking the way to Utopia.

On that basis, he got the job. But now we know the terrible truth: Actually being president is beneath him, too.

Michael Goodwin is a New York Post columnist.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Barney Frank Quits!


Longtime Massachusetts liberal Democratic Rep. Barney Frank says he will not seek re-election in 2012 because of state redistricting that makes it too strenuous to campaign.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finally, Someone Explains The Occupy Protest... Very Well

By Marybeth Hicks.

Call it an occupational hazard, but I can't look at the Occupy Wall Street protesters without thinking, "Who parented these people?"

As a culture columnist, I've commented on the social and political ramifications of the "movement" - now known as "OWS" - whose fairyland agenda can be summarized by one of their placards: "Everything for everybody."

Thanks to their pipe-dream platform, it's clear there are people with serious designs on "transformational" change in America who are using the protesters like bedsprings in a brothel.

Yet it's not my role as a commentator that prompts my parenting question, but rather the fact that I'm the mother of four teens and young adults. There are some crucial life lessons that the protesters' moms clearly have not passed along.

Here, then, are five things the OWS protesters' mothers should have taught their children but obviously didn't, so I will:


* Life isn't fair. The concept of justice - that everyone should be treated fairly - is a worthy and worthwhile moral imperative on which our nation was founded. But justice and economic equality are not the same. Or, as Mick Jagger said, "You can't always get what you want."

No matter how you try to "level the playing field," some people have better luck, skills, talents or connections that land them in better places. Some seem to have all the advantages in life but squander them, others play the modest hand they're dealt and make up the difference in hard work and perseverance, and some find jobs on Wall Street and eventually buy houses in the Hamptons. Is it fair? Stupid question.



* Nothing is "free." Protesting with signs that seek "free" college degrees and "free" health care make you look like idiots, because colleges and hospitals don't operate on rainbows and sunshine. There is no magic money machine to tap for your meandering educational careers and "slow paths" to adulthood, and the 53 percent of taxpaying Americans owe you neither a degree nor an annual physical.

While I'm pointing out this obvious fact, here are a few other things that are not free: overtime for police officers and municipal workers, trash hauling, repairs to fixtures and property, condoms, Band-Aids and the food that inexplicably appears on the tables in your makeshift protest kitchens. Real people with real dollars are underwriting your civic temper tantrum.



* Your word is your bond. When you demonstrate to eliminate student loan debt, you are advocating precisely the lack of integrity you decry in others. Loans are made based on solemn promises to repay them. No one forces you to borrow money; you are free to choose educational pursuits that don't require loans, or to seek technical or vocational training that allows you to support yourself and your ongoing educational goals. Also, for the record, being a college student is not a state of victimization. It's a privilege that billions of young people around the globe would die for - literally.



* A protest is not a party. On Saturday in New York, while making a mad dash from my cab to the door of my hotel to avoid you, I saw what isn't evident in the newsreel footage of your demonstrations: Most of you are doing this only for attention and fun. Serious people in a sober pursuit of social and political change don't dance jigs down Sixth Avenue like attendees of a Renaissance festival. You look foolish, you smell gross, you are clearly high and you don't seem to realize that all around you are people who deem you irrelevant.



* There are reasons you haven't found jobs. The truth? Your tattooed necks, gauged ears, facial piercings and dirty dreadlocks are off-putting. Nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity isn't a virtue. Occupy reality: Only 4 percent of college graduates are out of work. If you are among that 4 percent, find a mirror and face the problem. It's not them. It's you.



Marybeth Hicks is a weekly columnist for the The Washington Times and editor of Family Events, a weekly e-newsletter and blog site for women from the publishers of Human Events. She is the author of Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom (Regnery Publishers, 2011), Bringing up GEEKS: How to Protect Your Kid’s Childhood in a Grow-up-too-fast World (Penguin/Berkley, 2008) and The Perfect World Inside My Minivan–One Mom’s Journey Through the Streets of Suburbia (Faith Publishing, 2006).

Marybeth Hicks is the author of "Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom." Find her on the Web at www.marybethhicks.com.

Friday, November 4, 2011

How Did Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' Predict an America Spinning Out of Control?

By Onkar Ghate












Author, Ayn Rand

Nearly thirty years after her death, Ayn Rand’s novels continue to be wildly popular—"Atlas Shrugged" alone is selling more today than it did when it was first published in 1957 -- more than one million copies have sold since the 2008 elections.

Especially among Tea Partiers, Ayn Rand is being hailed a prophet. How could she have anticipated, more than 50 years ago, a United States spinning out of financial control, plagued by soaring spending and crippling regulations?

How could she have painted villains who seem ripped from today’s headlines?

There’s Wesley Mouch, who in the face of failed government programs screams like Rep. Barney Frank (D) of Massachusetts for wider powers.

There’s Eugene Lawson, “the banker with a heart,” who like former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is ever ready with a bailout.

There’s Mr. Thompson, who like President Obama seeks to rally the country behind pious platitudes.

There’s Orren Boyle, who like President Bush says that we must abandon free-market principles to save the free market.

And in the face of this onslaught, what can you do? Should you, like Rand’s heroes, “go Galt,” stop working, retreat to a secluded valley, and try to rebuild only when the country has collapsed?

Rand was asked these very questions in her own lifetime. Her answers might surprise you.

In the 1970s, America was in a deep financial crisis (a new word, stagflation, had to be coined), urban violence was rampant, and power-seeking politicians like President Nixon instituted wage and price controls that led to, among other things, gas stations with no gas.

How, people wondered, could Rand have foreseen all this? Was she a prophet? No, she answered. She had simply identified the basic cause of why the country was veering from crisis to new crisis.

Was the solution to “go Galt” and quit society? No, Rand again answered. The solution was simultaneously much easier and much harder. “So long as we have not yet reached the state of censorship of ideas,” she once said, “one does not have to leave a society in the way the characters did in Atlas Shrugged. . . . But you know what one does have to do? One has to break relationships with the culture. . . . [D]iscard all the ideas—the entire cultural philosophy which is dominant today.”

Now, the fact that "Atlas Shrugged" is not a political novel might surprise you. But the book’s point is that our plight is caused not by corrupt politicians (who are only a symptom) or some alleged flaw in human nature. It’s caused by the philosophic ideas and moral ideals most of us embrace.

“You have cried that man’s sins are destroying the world and you have cursed human nature for its unwillingness to practice the virtues you demanded,” the novel's hero John Galt declares to a country in crisis. “Since virtue, to you, consists of sacrifice, you have demanded more sacrifices at every successive disaster.”

He elaborates: “You have sacrificed justice to mercy.” (For example, calls to make homeownership “accessible” to those who could not afford it and then bailouts and foreclosure freezes to spare them when they couldn’t pay.)

“You have sacrificed reason to faith.” (For example, attempts to prevent stem cell research on Biblical grounds, or blind faith that Mr. Obama’s deliberately empty rhetoric about hope and change will magically produce prosperity.)

“You have sacrificed wealth to need.” (For example, Bush’s prescription drug benefit and Obamacare, both enacted because people needed “free” health care.)

“You have sacrificed self-esteem to self-denial.” (For example, attacks on Bill Gates for making a fortune; applause when he gives that fortune away.)

“You have sacrificed happiness to duty.” (For example, every president’s Kennedyesque exhortations to “Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”)

The result? “Why . . . do you shrink in horror from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality . . .”

This is what "Atlas Shrugged" is asking us to question: our ideals. Rethink our convictions and philosophy of life from the ground up. Without doing so, it argues, we won’t escape further crises.

Strike, the book urges us, but intellectually, since to strike means to reject the fundamental terms of your opponents and assert your own.

This kind of thinking is difficult, Rand held, but necessary to enter the Atlantis depicted toward the end of the novel.

"If Atlas Shrugged" has been on your list of books-I’ve-been-meaning-to-get-to, then consider finding out for yourself how a story published in 1957 so eerily captures the world we live in today and so beautifully presents a road to a brighter future.

Postscript: And if you’re like the millions who prefer reading e-books, I highly recommend the just-released Atlas Shrugged app for iPad: it includes the unabridged text of the classic novel, and offers a glimpse into the backstory of the book and sketches out the essentials of Rand’s original philosophic system, Objectivism.

Dr. Onkar Ghate is a vice president and senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. He teaches at the Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center, speaks on philosophy and Objectivism across North America, and publishes scholarly articles on Ayn Rand’s fiction and philosophy. Recently he wrote "A Teacher’s Guide to 'Atlas Shrugged,'” a classroom resource published by Penguin.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Doorbell

Power Line Blog held a prize competition for $100,000 for whoever can most effectively and creatively dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis. Any creative product was eligible: videos, songs, paintings, screenplays, Power Point presentations, essays, performance art, or anything else.


Several entries have gotten a lot of attention and a lot of views or listens. But unquestionably, the one that has most gone viral so far is Doorbell.


video
 



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