President Obama's fiercest obstacles as chief executive are neither recalcitrant Republicans nor the increasing complexity and demands of the job; they are his ideology and his political allegiances.
Newsweek sees it differently. In its latest issue, it laments: "The presidency has grown, and grown and grown, into the most powerful, most impossible job in the world. ... The issue is not Obama, it's the office. ... Can any single person fully meet the demands of the 21st-century presidency?"
If preliminary rumblings from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform's upcoming report are accurate, I'm afraid the conservative agenda — though overwhelmingly victorious in last week's elections — might be against the ropes again, especially with GOP congressmen praising the report.
Our astronomical deficits are the result not of low taxes, but of profligate spending. So why do we accept the premise that the starting point for deficit and debt reduction discussions must be various tax hikes, tolerating unacceptably high levels of spending, and seeming to take off the table the eradication of programs the government was never intended or constitutionally authorized to establish in the first place?
Many commentators are speculating whether President Obama will move to the center or "triangulate" in order to salvage part of his agenda and increase his chances for re-election. I don't believe he has either the inclination to move or the political skills to successfully pretend to (or otherwise outmaneuver Republicans), which leads me to conclude his re-election will depend less on his shenanigans and more on how the GOP acquits itself.
Dick Morris recently argued that Obama will not be able to move to the center or triangulate "because — even if he wanted to — he can't. The issues today are very different from those that separated the parties in 1994 and do not lend themselves to common ground." I agree with Dick but also think there's more to it.
I take no great pleasure in having been correct in predicting Barack Obama's reaction to his Tuesday "shellacking." To borrow his terminology, he is wired not to hear the American people's opposition to his radical agenda, as painfully demonstrated in his postelection news conference.
Unhappily, Obama's answers showed even deeper intransigence than I had thought he would be willing to reveal. He is every bit as committed to his destructive agenda as he was Nov. 1 and, despite his claims, is not looking for "common ground."
He said that every election "is a reminder that in our democracy, power rests not with those of us in elected office, but with the people we have the privilege to serve." But if anyone needs to be reminded of that, it is he, because he crammed through Obamacare and other offensive agenda items against the express will of the people.
Why were liberals were so insanely paranoid about the alleged nefarious activities of President George W. Bush? Projection, anyone? They were mortified at Bush's alleged encroachment on our individual liberties, but now that they're in control, we see where liberty ranks on their list of priorities.
We've always known that the term "liberal," in modern parlance, is an oxymoron. Today's liberals are the exact opposite of the classical liberals of yesteryear, who actually believed in limited government and free markets.
Liberals have been seducing Americans out of their liberties for decades with false promises of security. Prior to Obama, we were on a slow march toward statism, but now we are on a rapid gallop.
Many are preoccupied speculating about the magnitude of the impending Republican electoral victory, but I don't think it's putting the cart before the horse to caution that we also ought to be concerned — now — about what Republicans will do if they do recapture control.
The Republicans' power will obviously be limited, even if they emerge with majorities in both chambers, because Obama will remain in charge of the coequal executive branch. So how should the GOP proceed?
The reflexive Beltway response is that it ought to compromise with Obama to produce legislation. But there are a number of problems with that premise.
Contrary to his self-portrayal as post-partisan, Obama is a dogmatic ideologue who is so determined to "fundamentally change" America that he will remain on point, even if it means relegating himself to one term. He might pretend to move to the center, but his life's mission, from which he will not be deterred, is to move America way leftward.
It is interesting and disappointing that so many politicians treat "faith" — at least the Christian faith — as a poison pill they cannot touch, much less swallow. Republicans often run from it because of PC intimidation, and Democrats because it's in their DNA to do so.
Just in case anyone mistakenly believes Obama has heard (or gives a rip about) the loud voice of the American people rejecting his socialism, appeasement, unconstitutional abuses of power and unpresidential combativeness and divisiveness, let me share a few tidbits.
--After House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, issued a damning critique of Obama's economic policies, the administration's economic philosopher Joe Biden issued a rebuttal, assuring us it was their predecessor who got us into this mess. That's novel.
--Obama renewed his war on Fox News, saying it is a "destructive" force in American society, while the White House lauded MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow as providing "an invaluable service" to America.
--Rep. Paul Ryan reports that Obama's latest "fiscal year ends in fiscal failure." Congress broke for recess, "prioritizing election over stopping looming tax hikes." It failed to complete any of the 12 annual appropriations bills, pass a budget resolution and stop the tax increases.
I find these daily investigative forays into Judge Roberts' decades-old work product amusing, until I consider that those writing these stories must truly be serious.
Check out this story in the Washington Post today titled, "In Article, Roberts' Pen Appeared to Dip South." It seems that when Roberts was "ghostwriting" an article for President Reagan for the National Forum journal on "The Presidency: Roles and Responsibilities," he left a handwritten, self-editing trail, as I suppose he frequently did -- as did Reagan himself, as we know.
Now, here's the big scoop. In one section of the draft, he began a sentence with the words, "Until about the time of the Civil War." Then, according to the Post, he "scratched out the words, 'Civil war' and replaced them with 'War Between the States.'"
The New York Times relates a touching story in an editorial about a lady (Victoria Ruvolo) who not only forgave, but powerfully comforted a man who had nearly killed her (Ryan Cushing) when the two met face to face outside the courtroom where Cushing had just entered his guilty plea.
Cushing tossed a turkey through Ruvolo's car windshield last fall. She "needed many hours of surgery to rebuild her shattered facial bones."
According to the Times, Ruvolo cradled Cushing's head as he sobbed and begged for her forgiveness. She told him, "It's O.K.; it's O.K. I just want you to make your life the best it can be."
Curiously couched in the middle of this otherwise fine editorial was this gratuitous paragraph:
Though this little incident happened a few days ago -- Wednesday -- seeing David Gregory's name in a post today triggered my memory and I decided to post an entry on it. Subbing for Chris Matthews on "Hardball," Gregory was interviewing Katherine Harris, who has declared her candidacy for the Senate.
First, I must confess that I was disappointed in Katherine Harris's performance and I say this with reluctance, because I like and admire the woman. I continue to be impressed with her courageousness and tenacity during the 2000 Florida ordeal. But I wish someone would talk to her handlers. From beginnning to end, her interview with Gregory appeared to be a canned, forced, annoyingly unresponsive and programmed campaign harangue. No matter what Gregory asked her, she would briefly respond, if at all, and then immediately launch into generalities about her excitement to be in the race and working for the people, etc. I acccept all that as true, but she really didn't come off well in doing this.