Obama administration

A unified theory of Obama’s domestic bullying and international fecklessness

Featured image Dana Milbank, the Clown Prince of the Washington Post, argues that conservatives are inconsistent when they accuse President Obama both of grabbing power domestically and being ineffectual on the international front. The argument is silly even by the Clown Prince’s standard. Milbank concedes that “in theory, it is possible for Obama to rule domestic politics with an iron fist and yet play the 95-pound weakling in foreign affairs.” He adds, »

Obama’s “stop America before my successors sin again” imperative

Featured image As Scott points out below, Chuck Hagel announced yesterday that the Obama administration plans to shrink the Army to its lowest troop levels since before World War II. What are we to make of this? Peter Wehner provides the correct answer in the title of a post called “Obama Consciously Engineering America’s Decline.” As Wehner explains: [Obama] views the weakening of American power as a downright positive thing, as a »

In search of antithesis

Featured image Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that the Army is to shrink to its lowest troop levels since before World War II under the budget proposed Monday. The budget contemplates the mothballing of hundreds of aging aircraft and warships. If the budget is approved, the Army would drop from today’s active-duty force of 522,000 soldiers to between 440,000 and 450,000 over the next three years. “Since we are no longer »

Jeh Johnson gets a few things right

Featured image Jeh Johnson, who recently became Homeland Security Secretary, has delivered his first policy address. He devoted part of his speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center, to pushing for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The fact that the implementation of immigration reform legislation would, in no small measure, be in the hands of a left-liberal partisan like Johnson provides additional reason, if any were needed, »

Is Obama About To Be Sacked?

Featured image That is the implication of this Michael Ramirez cartoon. It is, of course, a consummation devoutly to be wished, and with the Super Bowl a recent memory, the metaphor is apt. Click to enlarge: A couple of cautionary notes are in order. Obama has been a veritable Fran Tarkenton as an escape artist (apologies to Tarkenton, a solid conservative), and he has a powerful offensive line, the news media, running »

Theory of the new leisure class

Featured image Thorstein Veblen made a name for himself with the publication of Theory of the Leisure Class in 1899. In a democracy, how can the rich distinguish themselves? Veblen came up with the notion of “conspicuous consumption” geared to the display of social status. The notion has long survived Veblen and the evidence for it seems to be all around us. (Digression: Charlotte Hays works the other side of the street, »

Obama ties military’s hands by reading al Qaeda out of Benghazi

Featured image Katherine Zimmerman of AEI, whose work we have highlighted before, wrote an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post about the need to formulate a reasonable definition of al Qaeda. The whole column is worth reading, but I was struck most by her explanation of why the military won’t take action against the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack: Here’s the problem: According to recently declassified testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of »

Keystone Tea Leaves Today? (Updated)

Featured image Lots of “folks” (as Obama quaintly calls his fellow citizens) have puzzled over the language of Obama’s State of the Union speech—especially its omissions—to try to get a clue about what he may be thinking about the Keystone pipeline.  Canada is increasingly public in its fury about the delay in the decision, and when soft-spoken Canadians are publicly complaining, you know they’re really really angry. Ben Geman, a solid environmental »

A seminal nominee

Featured image I’m pretty sure that if George Tsunis were the ambassadorial nominee of a Republican president, you’d know his name by now. As it is, he is the nominee of Barack Obama to represent the United States as ambassador to Norway, and you probably have never heard of him. Tsunis’s sole qualification for the job is quantitative. He contributed large sums to the Democratic Party and Democratic causes; he also bundled »

Obama’s new plan — no more Mr. Nice Guy

Featured image Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that President Obama plans to bounce back from his rotten 2013 mainly by pursuing his agenda through executive action rather than by working with Congress. The idea is that given the problems the country faces and the fact that Congress has become a hopeless bottleneck, Obama needs to use executive power — mainly in the form of executive orders — to get the country moving »

Another reason to miss President Bush

Featured image John Rizzo spent 34 years as a lawyer at the Central Intelligence Agency. The memoir of his service between 1976 and 2009 — Company Man — has just been published. It was the subject of a harshly negative review by Fred Kaplan in the New York Times Book Review a few weeks back. By contrast, in a review behind the Wall Street Journal’s loosely guarded paywall (you can dig it »

He’s talking as fast as he can

Featured image Senior presidential advisor Dan Pfeiffer turned up on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this morning in advance of Obama’s state of the union address this week. I give Pfeiffer credit for showing up. Wallace quizzed Pfeiffer on the weakness of the economy as measured by factors with which we have all become too familiar. In the video clip below, Pfeiffer claims some victories that he attributes to Obama and »

As State of the Union Approaches, Americans Are Deeply Pessimistic About the State of the Union

Featured image Harris surveyed 2,047 adults between January 17 and 21, 2014, on the current state of the American union. The results, I think, are stunning. It would be interesting to compare the numbers to prior, similar surveys; I can’t imagine that there have been many times in our history when Americans have been so glum. Here are the key results. Before you talk about poll responses, you have to be sure »

Obama’s complexity complex

Featured image If there’s one thing President Obama wants readers of the New Yorker to know, it’s that he’s comfortable with complexity. That’s a good thing for Obama to want them to know, since New Yorker readers no doubt fancy themselves comfortable with complexity too. “I am comfortable with complexity,” Obama assured David Remnick in his New Yorker interview. Remnick was convinced. He gushed about Obama’s “archetypal habit of mind and politics, »

Of jayvee terrorists. . . and presidents [UPDATED]

Featured image In his recent interview with The New Yorker, President Obama referred to today’s al-Qaeda fighters as the “jayvee” team. Obama stated: The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. It’s not surprising that Obama takes this position. As Steve Bucci of the Heritage Foundation reminds us, before Benghazi, Obama claimed that »

Is Obama’s NSA plan a non-starter?

Featured image President Obama’s idea of ending the government’s role in gathering the phone records of Americans is probably unworkable according to various U.S. officials contacted by the Washington Post. Obama’s idea is to transfer control of the NSA’s massive database of phone records to telephone companies or some kind of independent board. But the phone companies do not want this responsibility and, according to the Post, no one has come up »

The Hell of Gates

Featured image So the first of what has become a pastime of recent two-term presidencies is out today: a critical memoir from a senior cabinet official.  Former defense secretary Bob Gates has a memoir coming out that looks to be very hard on Obama, but perhaps even harder on Obama’s would-be successors Joe Biden and Hillary. Of Slow-Joe Biden, Gates writes that “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major »