Obama administration

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 »

Obama at war — first with the Little Sisters of the Poor, now with the Fraternal Order of Police

Featured image President Obama has nominated Debo Adegbile to be Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. Adegbile is best known for heading up the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s race-based assault on the integrity of a dead Philadelphia police office in a quest to get his murderer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, off of death row. Adegbile is thus the perfect nominee to serve in the position held during most of the Obama administration »

Obama: yes to terrorism abetter, no to little sisters of the poor

Featured image After five years of an increasingly radical presidency, it comes to this: the Obama administration has released Lynne Stewart, convicted of abetting a notorious terrorist, but is litigating in order to coerce a group of nuns who embody compassion. Isn’t this what Communists used to do when they came to power — release the “political prisoners” and harass the deeply religious? President Obama’s supporters say he’s not out to get »

The new Dodd-Frank rules — modern liberalism in a nutshell

Featured image The almost non-stop stream of Obamacare twists and turns should not divert our attention from radical new regulation of mortgage financing that will take effect, pursuant to Dodd-Frank, on January 10, 2014. Diane Katz of the Heritage Foundation has the details. As Katz points out, Washington’s response to the financial crisis of 2008 rests on the premise that the housing bubble and subsequent crash were the fault of unscrupulous mortgage »

Obama’s national security cop-out

Featured image A reader with first-hand knowledge about national security and intelligence issues, as well as the Obama administration’s policies relating thereto, has written to me about my two recent posts on NSA surveillance. The essence of my posts is that the Obama administration hand-picked a left-leaning panel to report on surveillance policy because it wanted a highly critical report to use as the basis for cutting back substantially on electronic surveillance. »

Rigged report on NSA paves way for Obama to take a powder

Featured image Yesterday, I suggested that the report on NSA surveillance by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies delivered just what President Obama hoped and expected it would — a document that would pull the rug out from under his own surveillance policies. You don’t appoint a strongly left-leaning panel unless you want such a document. The president’s conduct at his press conference today tends to confirm my assessment. »

Whatever happened to the Constitution? cont’d

Featured image The Progressive assault on the Constitution of limited government and divided powers succeeded in the creation of the apparatus of the administrative state. In the administrative state, executive branch agencies exercise judicial and legislative powers. The assumption of royal or dictatorial powers by the president has grown up along with the administrative state. President Obama has accelerated the process and aggravated the phenomenon. We have previously quoted Professor Jean Yarbrough: »