Did Barack Obama Allow Ebola Into the U.S.?

That’s what Laura Ingraham thinks. Britain and France stopped flights from African countries afflicted by the disease some time ago, but the Obama administration declined to do the same. Now the first confirmed ebola case is in Dallas, having recently arrived from Liberia. Laura comments:

President Obama said it was “unlikely” that ebola would break out in the United States, but he was wrong. So, where do we go from here? The Hill reports that the Obama administration does not intend to impose travel restrictions, even after ebola arrived via airplane from West Africa:

The White House said Wednesday it will not impose travel restrictions or introduce new airport screenings to prevent additional cases of Ebola from entering the United States.

Spokesman Josh Earnest said that current anti-Ebola measures, which include screenings in West African airports and observation of passengers in the United States, will be sufficient to prevent the “wide spread” of the virus.

But they weren’t sufficient to prevent the first case from arriving in Dallas. As so often with Barack Obama, one wonders: of what country does he think he is the president?

Whom will Obama pick to replace Holder?

Eric Holder leaves the Obama administration with an approval rating of only 26 percent, according to a new YouGov poll. 37 percent disapprove of Holder’s performance.

It could have been worse. When Eric Shinseki stepped down as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, only 18 percent approved of his shambolic performance, compared to 40 percent who disapproved. Kathleen Sebelius was just as severely underwater (19 percent approval; 41 percent disapproval).

Who will Obama select to replace Holder? The latest speculation seems to be that he will select a U.S. Senator. Why? Because the Senate normally confirms Senators.

But I agree with Roll Call’s David Hawkings that ease of confirmation will not be the key factor in Obama’s decision. Holder is the darling of his leftist base, and Obama’s priority will be to find a replacement who will please the left. He will likely see this as all the more imperative now that the two other most visible cabinet members — John Kerry and Chuck Hagel — are helping to wage war (if you can our efforts against ISIS war).

With the filibuster eliminated for cabinet nominees, Obama can probably confirm nearly anyone he likes during the lame duck period, when Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, and the like can once again vote their liberal conscience.

What does this mean for the prospects that Obama will nominate a Senator? The three most prominently mentioned are Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

Would any of these three appease the Democratic left? It’s hard for me to say. From where I sit, Whitehouse and Blumenthal are strident kool aid drinkers. But I’m not a leftist.

Obama will not want to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate. Nominating Klobuchar would not be problematic from this point of view. Gov. Mark Dayton would appoint a suitably liberal replacement who would serve for two years.

However, in Rhode Island, the governor lacks appointment power, so Whitehouse’s seat would remain vacant probably until next spring, well after the new Senate is formed. And in Connecticut, an appointee’s term would expire after 32 weeks.

The only constraint on Obama’s ability to select a hard left successor to Holder is the November election. Obama presumably will not want to generate controversy before then. Doing so would only highlight the link between his unpopular administration and the Senate, at a time when key Democratic incumbents are trying to downplay the connection.

Obama could wait until the day after the election to make his selection. But this would limit the amount of time available in which to ram the nominee through.

The list of non-Senators Obama might select includes former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler and Solicitor General Donald M. Verrilli Jr. Neither, however, is likely to excite the left.

Thus, Obama might look to the likes of Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, who would become the first African-American woman to run the Justice Department; Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Dinesh D’Souza, who would be the first Indian-American member of the Cabinet; or Jenny Durkan, the former U.S. Attorney in Seattle, who would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary.

Tom Perez and Jeh Johnson, a pair of reliable leftists and Obamaites, are already in the cabinet, but should not completely be ruled out.

Any new Attorney General will probably enjoy a grace period simply by virtue of not being Eric Holder. But I hope the grace period will not be long. After all, Holder was a great favorite of Obama, and we can thus expect his successor to continue marching down the same lawless path.

Why The Secret Service Fiasco Shouldn’t Surprise Us

So Julia Pierson, the first female head of the Secret Service, is falling on her service revolver today and resigning as a result of the recent fiasco at the White House, in which an intruder got much further into the presidential mansion than any sensible person would think possible. You can understand how the Secret Service got lazy at the sight of unlikely intruders; after all, Obama made it much further into the White House than any sensible person would think possible.

Another Obama promise broken: The job obviously didn’t work out like the “Life of Julia” for Pierson. This Julia was brought in for politically correct reasons after some agents took their agency a little too far with hookers in South America a while back. I dissent a little from the outrage over this Omar Gonzalez fellow embarrassing the Secret Service, though it interesting to speculate whether the reaction would have ben different if Omar’s last name had been Abdullah or something. I suspect the rhetoric of reaction would have been more conflicted.

Two prior Secret Service lapses rank as much more serious scandals in my mind. First, the Secret Service told agents to “stand down” when some nut shot seven bullets into the White House a few months ago, and persisted in the fiction for several days that it was either a car backfiring, or crossfire from a gang shooting. Then we learn that the Secret Service allowed an ex-convict serving as an armed security guard at the CDC on to an elevator with the President. But if that wasn’t stupid enough, the agents involved apparently didn’t fill out an after-action report explaining the incident.

Why this ass-covering and slovenliness? Is it simply to be expected that every federal agency will sooner or later beclown itself? Possibly, but there may be another more fundamental reason. I suspect that one reason for the apparent decline in the performance and rectitude of the Secret Service may be related to its transfer from its historic home in the Treasury Department to the Department of Homeland Security. I hear stories that the culture of the Secret Service changed, and not for the better, after it was put inside a different—and highly problematic—bureaucratic structure. After all, DHS are the wonderfully bright people who bring you airport security lines. Has the Secret Service succumbed to the same “security theater” mentality as the airport directorate of DHS? It would explain a lot.

Prediction: Like airport security lines after the failed underwear bomber, the Secret Service is going to adapt in all kinds of stupid but visible ways to “show” that they’re being tougher on potential security threats to the President.  They’ll probably start by closing up Manhattan island completely next time Obama goes to a fundraiser.

Is Al Franken In Trouble?

As regular readers probably know, I have been skeptical of Republican Mike McFadden’s chances of unseating Al Franken in this year’s Senate race. This is not because Franken is invulnerable; on the contrary, Franken has never been very popular and has been a cipher during his six years in Washington. But an incumbent with a D next to his name is never an underdog in a state-wide race in Minnesota, and I hadn’t seen enough from McFadden’s campaign to suggest that he was likely to close the deal with voters.

Still, hope springs eternal. This morning Franken and McFadden held the first of their debates, in Duluth. The Minneapolis Star Tribune had two reporters live-blog the debate. While I don’t know the reporters personally, it is reasonable to assume that they are Democrats.

Their tweets indicate that they were underwhelmed by Franken’s performance. Some examples:

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Public polls have shown Franken with a double-digit lead, notwithstanding his lackluster performance in the Senate. The most recent poll, which evidently comes from a Republican source, has Franken up by only six points, 48%-42%. What is consistent about the polling is a lack of enthusiasm for Franken; I don’t think I have ever seen his re-elect percentage above 50. So, who knows? If McFadden continues to run an aggressive campaign, maybe he has a shot.

The Hinderaker-Ward Experience is scheduled to interview McFadden at 6:00 this evening. Assuming nothing goes awry, I will post that interview here, either later tonight or in the morning.

Michelle Obama event “creeps out” veteran reporter

Meg Kissinger, a veteran reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, was assigned to cover Michelle Obama’s speech in Milwaukee on behalf of Mary Burke, the Democratic candidate for governor of Wisconsin. As she has done for the past 35 years, Kissinger tried to talk to people in the crowd.

She was not allowed to do so. Kissinger stated on her Facebook page:

Assigned to cover Michelle Obama’s speech today and was told by a Mary Burke aide and one for the White House that I could not speak to the people in the crowd.

To say that I was creeped out is an understatement. This is what reporters do in America: we speak to people. At least that’s how I’ve been doing things — at all kinds of political events — since 1979.

In her story for the newspaper, Kissinger reported that, initially, there weren’t enough chairs for everyone in attendance and that an elderly woman using two canes complained that she couldn’t find a place to sit.

Is this why the Burke and Obama staffs didn’t want reporters talking to the crowd?

It doesn’t matter. This isn’t Gaza. In America, as Kissinger says, the political class has never been able to tell reporters with whom they can talk.

It is creepy, indeed, that Team Obama’s efforts to “transform” America apparently extends to limiting press access to the American public.

Via The Blaze.

Mary’s Prayer

Louisiana’s black citizens represent Mary Landrieu’s best hope for reelection to the Senate seat Landrieu holds. They are Mary’s prayer.

“I made such a big mistake when I was Mary’s prayer,” go the words of the Danny Wilson song. Bayou State Republican state senator Elbert Guillory has some powerful words for Louisiana’s black citizens in the video below. Don’t make the same mistake again!

Via Glenn Reynolds/InstaPundit.

Ain’t got time to PDB

With President Obama blaming his intelligence functionaries for his failure to anticipate the swift advances of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the intelligence community has responded in stories such as the Peter Baker/Eric Schmitt round-up yesterday in the New York Times (discussed by Paul here).

I think the fault for the ongoing catastrophes in Syria and Iraq lie with Obama’s worldview and his related action (and inaction). Nevertheless, in the context of Obama’s buck-passing, the Government Accountability Institute’s tracking of Obama’s attendance at his Presidential Daily Briefs takes on a heightened interest. The GAI has provided a timely update of Obama’s attendance to date during his first and second terms (through September 29, 2014). First term: 42.43 percent attendance rate. Second term: 41.26 attendance rate.

Pathetic.

The administration’s line is that Obama takes the PDB in writing via iPad. The PDBs have reportedly warned of the rise of ISIS since 2012, when Obama was touting the “decimation” (sic) of al Qaeda during the presidential campaign. House Intelligence Committee member Michele Bachmann made this point in her presentation to the Minnesota chapter of the RJC a week before Obama’s 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft. Breitbart’s Wynton Hall cites an administration national security staffer quoted to the same effect in the Daily Mail on Monday:

The Obama security staffer said the president’s PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.

“Unless someone very senior has been shredding the president’s daily briefings and telling him that the dog ate them, highly accurate predictions about ISIL have been showing up in the Oval Office since before the 2012 election,” the Obama security staffer told the Daily Mail.

Hall also recalls previous iterations of this issue:

This is not the first time questions have been raised about Obama’s lack of engagement and interest in receiving in-person daily intelligence briefings. On September 10, 2012, the GAI released a similar report showing that Obama had attended less than half (43.8%) of his daily intelligence briefings up to that point. When Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen mentioned the GAI’s findings in his column, then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney dubbed the findings “hilarious.” The very next day, U.S. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American staff members were murdered in Benghazi. As Breitbart News reported at the time, the White House’s very own presidential calendar revealed Obama had not received his daily intel briefing in the five consecutive days leading up to the Benghazi attacks.

As I say, I don’t think the problem is Obama’s inattentiveness. It’s not the demands of his golf game. It’s not his incessant fundraising. It’s his worldview. But his passing the buck to the intelligence community is galling in light of his treatment of the Presidential Daily Briefs documented by the GAI.