Although very likely we all hoped, sincerely had hoped, that it would be otherwise, President Obama could not find anything like grace, maturity, professionalism, magnanimity or humility when responding to the undeniable drubbing his party took — largely, it would seem, due to the weight of his own hubris-laden anchor — in yesterday’s election.
From all appearances Wednesday, the president won’t change—not his policies, not his style, not his staff, not nothing. Defiant and begrudging, the president said he would meet with GOP leaders, seek their suggestions for common ground, and maybe grab a drink with Senate Majority Leader-to-Be Mitch McConnell. Beyond that, meh.
Obama has always been a small man with thin-skin, boasting only a defensiveness that belied his superficial polish, and so little imagination that he believed the words “I won” constituted outreach to the loyal opposition.
This afternoon, the country that had just put “paid” to the realities of his brand of “hope-and-change” dared to hope — just one more time — that Barack Obama would act like a president instead of a spoiled prince-ling. And when he failed, again, there seemed to be a collective sigh of lost patience, full-disillusionment and, finally, disgust.
For anyone expecting postelection contrition at the White House or vows to change course after a disastrous election for Democrats, President Barack Obama had one message Wednesday: Think again.
A day after Democrats lost control of the Senate and suffered big losses in House and governors' races across the country, Obama struck a defiant tone. He defended his policies, stood by his staff and showed few signs of changing an approach to dealing with congressional Republicans that has generated little more than gridlock in recent years.
Rather than accept the election results as a repudiation of his own administration, the president said voters were disenchanted with Washington as a whole. And rather than offering dour assessments of his party's electoral thrashing, as he did after the 2010 midterms, the president insisted repeatedly that he was optimistic about the country's future.
"It doesn't make me mopey," he said of the election during a news conference in the East Room of the White House. "It energizes me because it means that this democracy's working."
The president's sunny outlook stood in sharp contrast to the gloomy electorate. Most voters leaving polling places said they didn't have much trust in government and felt the nation was on the wrong track. Those feeling pessimistic were more likely to vote for Republican congressional candidates, according to exit polls.
To some Republicans, the gulf between the public's mood and the president's outlook suggested a White House that's out of touch and refusing to recalibrate after getting a clear message from voters. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, wondered whether Obama was "detached or in denial."
"In word and tone, he refused to take responsibility or even express humility," Priebus said. "He seemed to suggest the only ideas he's willing to listen to are his own, old, failed ones."
Indeed, Obama spoke only broadly about the need to reassess as he heads into his final two years in office. He said it was "premature" to discuss overhauling his staff or shifting positions on policies. He reasserted his pledge to move forward with executive actions on immigration before the end of the year, despite strong opposition from Republicans. And he rejected the notion that his limited relationships with Republican lawmakers, including the likely Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would hamper potential compromise with the Congress.
I don't believe I could have a more visceral dislike of the man or what it is he stands for.
It is seriously depressing to think there are people who still support someone so loathful.
President Barack Obama on Friday turned to a trusted adviser to lead the nation’s Ebola response as efforts to clamp down on any possible route of infection from three Texas cases expanded, reaching a cruise ship at sea and multiple airline flights.
Facing renewed criticism of his handling of the Ebola risk, Obama will make Ron Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden, his point man on fighting Ebola at home and in West Africa. Klain will report to national security adviser Susan Rice and to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, the White House said.
Klain does not have a medical or a health care background.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., slammed the decision on Twitter.
“Worst ebola epidemic in world history and Pres. Obama puts a government bureaucrat with no healthcare experience in charge. Is he serious?” Harris tweeted.
This is the most unserious President ever elected. He has but one interest and his chosen Ebola czar is proof. He's not the President of these United States. He's the leader of ideologues hell-bent on making this country what it's never been before.
President Obama admitted today that his administration does not yet have a strategy to combat the militant Islamic group ISIS that has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria.
When the president was asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, he responded, "I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet."
"Some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we’re at than we currently are,” he added.
The president said he would consider his military options today with the National Security Council.
“The options that I’m asking for from the Joint Chiefs focuses primarily on making sure that ISIL is not overrunning Iraq,” Obama said during a news conference in the White House briefing room, using another acronym for the militant Islamic group ISIS.
Earlier this week, the president approved military surveillance flights over Syria, but air strikes in that country have not been authorized. U.S. military planes have carried out over 100 airstrikes in Iraq.
“As commander in chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people,” he said today. “Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL."
Obama said he is dispatching Secretary of State John Kerry to the area to work with allies, and ordered Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to prepare “a range of options” for dealing with ISIS.
“It also means that states in the region stop being ambivalent about these extremist groups,” Obama said. “This should be a wake-up call to Sunni, to Shia, to everybody that a group like ISIS is beyond the pale; that they have no vision or ideology beyond violence and chaos and the slaughter of innocent people."
I guarantee you that this guys has a strategy when it comes to golf, but when it comes to dealing with a potential threat to national security, he's got nothing, nada, zilch.
And isn't that call by the President for states in the region to stop being ambivalent about extremist groups so very telling? That coming from Mr. Ambivalence himself.
He is to ambivalence what Kim Kardashian is to big butts, what Miley Cyrus is to sleaze, what Harry Reid is to incompetence.
I still struggle with the fact that this man was not only elected but re-elected by a majority of Americans.
When Barack Obama first ran for president, he theatrically cast himself as the man alone on the stage. From his address in Berlin to his acceptance speech in Chicago, he eschewed ornaments and other politicians, conveying the sense that he was above the grubby political scene, unearthly and apart.
He began “Dreams From My Father” with a description of his time living on the Upper East Side while he was a student at Columbia, savoring his lone-wolf existence. He was, he wrote, “prone to see other people as unnecessary distractions.” When neighbors began to “cross the border into familiarity, I would soon find reason to excuse myself. I had grown too comfortable in my solitude, the safest place I knew.”
His only “kindred spirit” was a silent old man who lived alone in the apartment next door. Obama carried groceries for him but never asked his name. When the old man died, Obama briefly regretted not knowing his name, then swiftly regretted his regret.
But what started as an affectation has turned into an affliction.
A front-page article in The Times by Carl Hulse, Jeremy Peters and Michael Shear chronicled how the president’s disdain for politics has alienated many of his most stalwart Democratic supporters on Capitol Hill.
His bored-bird-in-a-gilded-cage attitude, the article said, “has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.”
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, an early Obama backer, noted that “for him, eating his spinach is schmoozing with elected officials.”
First the president couldn’t work with Republicans because they were too obdurate. Then he tried to chase down reporters with subpoenas. Now he finds members of his own party an unnecessary distraction.
His circle keeps getting more inner. He golfs with aides and jocks, and he spent his one evening back in Washington from Martha’s Vineyard at a nearly five-hour dinner at the home of a nutritional adviser and former White House assistant chef, Sam Kass.
The president who was elected because he was a hot commodity is now a wet blanket.
The extraordinary candidate turns out to be the most ordinary of men, frittering away precious time on the links. Unlike L.B.J., who devoured problems as though he were being chased by demons, Obama’s main galvanizing impulse was to get himself elected.
Almost everything else — from an all-out push on gun control after the Newtown massacre to going to see firsthand the Hispanic children thronging at the border to using his special status to defuse racial tensions in Ferguson — just seems like too much trouble.
There's a part of me that finds hope in this sort of thing. Finds hope in people recognizing what it is Obama stands for and who the man really is but... let's not kid ourselves.
There may be more now in the media who are recognizing what Obama is doing to the country but trust me when I tell you that they'll be the first to circle the wagons should it come down to it because, in the end, he's still a kindred spirit.
Maureen Dowd may be disappointed with Obama but let's not not be blind. Her worldview, her mindset, her ideology will continue to be a threat to what is right, pure, good and decent.
Two of my favorite Catholic bloggers/writers have must read items related to events in Iraq and Obama's handling of same and both include questions that beg for answers.
First up, Elizabeth Scalia, who notes the juxtaposition of Bishop Richard Pates' asking Susan Rice for humanitarian aid for beleaguered Christians in Iraq and Ms. Rice's asking Congress to repeal the war authorization in Iraq to ensure that no U.S. troops return to the country.
The repeal will also go far in giving ISIL confidence that ground forces will do nothing to impede their progress as they rumble through Iraq, then Syria, then…who knows…destroying ancient artifacts or any evidence of the people, themselves, and installing the new caliphate they have announced.
I choose to draw no conclusions at this time. If I permit myself to, they will be shameful ones I’d prefer not to entertain or give voice to. Perhaps our Kobe-Bryant-level-President has some very clever plan in store, one that is meant to check the progress of what he calls these “Junior Varsity” players, but first requires a public declaration that our military will not come to the assistance of anyone being brutalized and purged from the region of their ancestry.
That could happen, right?
Highly doubtful Elizabeth. Sadly, this President's cleverness is saved for fundraising speeches purposed in maligning his opponents or in finding ways to bypass the will of the American people.
More sadly however for Christians in Iraq is the fact that they've yet to be mentioned in any meaningful way by this President despite his many flowery words delivered in the past on behalf of those in Darfur, Rwanda, and the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, words noted beautifully by Tod Worner in this thoughtful piece asking why Obama is slighting the Christians in Iraq:
Now this piece is not written to say that the situation in Iraq is easy to solve. It’s not. It is not to advocate for a full-scale re-invasion of the country. And it is not to pick on Barack Obama. The foreign policy conundrums of Russia, Israel-Palestine, Syria and the Mexican-American border are enough to make even the brightest heads spin.
But let’s return to the original point: Where is President Obama’s excerpt on the plight of the Iraqi Christians?
There is none.
Or I have had a heck of a time finding it.
You see, for a man so gifted in oratory (see his 2004 DNC speech or the 2008 Iowa Caucus Victory speech), so interested in local injustices (consider Henry Louis Gates and Trayvon Martin), so attuned to the rights of women to employer-funded birth control/abortifacients, and so intent on smoothing over rough feelings (consider the “reset button” with Putin or the Cairo Speech), it is curious that he speaks of Iraq and its turmoil without clearly describing the blatant targeting of the Iraqi Christian community. I have read his comments and watched his press conferences. It. Just. Isn’t. There. And I don’t know why.
To truly understand a problem, it is important to articulate it. ISIS (aka the Islamic State) is one of the most ruthless movements on the world stage today. But to combat them with prayer, ideas and perhaps even might, it is important to know who they are and to speak very clearly about what they are doing.
To regain stripped dignity, we owe at least this one simple thing - the simple but irrefutable truth – to these victims. To the Jews, Rwandans, Darfurians and, yes, the Iraqi Christians. Yes, we are to never forget. Never. But first we must accept the truth that is worth remembering.
That’s not too much to ask.
For this President, yes... yes, it is too much to ask.
Russian separatists shoot down a civilian airliner resulting in the murder of nearly 300 innocents. Conflicts in the Middle East are on the rise, from the Gaza strip to Syria to Iraq. Our borders are porous and are encouraging an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Iran misses a negotiations deadline purposed in curtailing its nuclear ambitions. A United States Marine languishes in a Mexican prison, held against his will for making an obvious mistake. Muslim radical power is expanding in Africa and civilians are paying the price.
Lots going on in the world crying out for American leadership and resolve.
President Barack Obama plans to sign two executive orders Monday prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, without a new exemption that was requested by some religious organizations.
Obama’s action comes on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the Hobby Lobby case that allowed some religiously oriented businesses to opt out of the federal health care law’s requirement that contraception coverage be provided to workers at no extra charge. Senior administration officials said Friday that ruling has no impact on nondiscrimination policies in federal hiring and contracting.
While few religious organizations are among the biggest federal contractors, they do provide some valued services, including overseas relief and development programs and re-entry programs for inmates leaving federal prisons.
Clearly, there's no greater crisis needing the attention of this President than the crisis being faced by that vast number of LGBT individuals who are being threatened by the discriminatory policies being foisted upon them by federal contracting hiring managers.
It’s not a Declaration of Happiness or the pursuit of it. It’s not a Declaration of Do Whatever the Hell You Want. It’s a declaration of independence from tyranny. It’s this independence that is the cause of our joy. Our freedom as a nation, as free people, is the source of happiness.
It’s such an important document that Abraham Lincoln considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy. Lincoln thought the Declaration’s principles should be the same principles used to interpret the United States Constitution.
And yet most of never read beyond the first sentence and use it as their right to self indulgence.
To celebrate this Fourth of July let’s read on a little farther.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.“