OPINION | Staff is overloaded, insular, short on gravitas and hostile to outside advice.
President Obama's proposed policy "fix" may ultimately fix little in the mess the Affordable Care Act has created, but his concessions Thursday nonetheless made history.
In my column "Obama, JFK, Reagan" I suggested that President Obama's policy toward Syria is in line with the national security strategies of President Kennedy and President Reagan: the threat of force combined with diplomacy.
What is the alternative policy of politicians, columnists and cable commentators who casually criticize Obama? In most cases they have none. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher would be appalled by the weakness, confusion, and partisanship of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Those who say Obama has no policy are transparently wrong. Obama has a clear policy. First, Congress should grant him the authority to use force if necessary while he negotiates for the removal of chemical weapons through diplomacy. Second, if diplomacy fails, employ targeted military strikes aimed at reducing Syrian President Bashar Assad's capacity to use chemical weapons. Third, provide military aid to factions resisting Assad within Syria that are pro-democracy.
Obama can be fairly criticized for taking long to arrive at this policy and appearing tentative at times in pursuing it. But he has a policy. It is the right policy. Most of his opponents, by contrast, offer no policy, only platitudes offered from the sidelines.
President Obama doesn't enjoy politics or governing, but he sure likes to give a speech. In the last few years he has tried to use speeches to sell policies or address crises, and he has been criticized for this habit time after time.
But facing the strong opposition to a military strike in Syria, Obama is now being told by Republicans and Democrats alike that he needs to address the nation. With days left before Congress votes on a resolution to authorize military force in Syria, short of another chemical attack there, a speech may be the only way Obama can change enough minds.
The American people don't support strikes, so a majority of their representatives in Congress don't either. But if Obama has a case to make, he is running out of time to make it. Making the case won't be easy for Obama, who wouldn't have trapped himself if he wasn't so conflicted.
The next weeks and months could determine President Obama's legacy.
The United States Department of Labor has stumbled upon a secret: Construction jobs are good. And as part of a never-ending quest to create equality in the workplace, a senior civil rights adviser with the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has penned an instructive article with this fact as its launch point.
In fact, the opening paragraphs should be required reading for every single member of the Obama administration, especially those deciding whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to cross the U.S.-Canada border.
Whether the pipeline will create 5,000-6,000 construction jobs as the State Department estimates, or as few as 2,000 as President Obama opined recently, it can’t be denied that creating thousands of construction jobs can only be good for both individual families and the economy as a whole.
Obama the demagogue: Obama is a speechifier and his recent talk has descended into demagoguery. He does not know how to do practical things and neither does the State Department.
America has been a curse abroad since Clinton’s Oslo Accords. Now there is nothing left but speechifying. In the last few weeks, Obama pitted black against white and poor against rich, hoping to bond the middle class with the poor in opposition to the “working rich.” This is the tradition of Trotsky and Malcolm X.
He thoroughly misunderstands Roosevelt as being in this demagogic tradition. But Roosevelt knew what it would take to rebuild: war. Summer reading for Obama might be Human Smoke: The Beginnings of WW II, the End of Civilization by Nicholson Baker, a detailed day-by-day account of Roosevelt’s return to prosperity not by speeches but by returning to war. And where is Obama's buddy Bill Ayers when he needs a demagogue?
Israel rises: To understand Israel today look to two people: Israeli columnist Caroline Glick, who has a blog under her name, and Israeli radio commentator Tamar Yonah.
"If Trayvon Martin was of age and was armed, could he have stood his ground on that sidewalk?" "If the answer to that question is at least ambiguous, then it seems to me that we should examine those laws." So said President Obama on Friday in an unusual appearance at the White House press briefing room podium.
The answer is yes. If Trayvon Martin was legally armed, and if (and this part is pivotal) he had been attacked physically, he could have stood his ground, according to Florida law, regardless of his race. However, the president would have us all believe otherwise.
He artfully ignored the fact that the "stand your ground" defense was not utilized in the George Zimmerman defense. He not-so-artfully ignored the fact that like him, Zimmerman was mixed race. To suggest that a jury of six women also ignored those points is an insult to thinking Americans.
If the IRS Tea Party scandal is at all reminiscent of the Watergate debacle that brought down a president in 1974, we may have just discovered the latter-day G. Gordon Liddy, the man who oversaw the chain of events that led to Nixon’s resignation.
Who would that be? Well, a good guess would be William Wilkins, chief counsel to the Internal Revenue Service. More and more evidence is sucking his office into the maelstrom of the IRS/Tea Party scandal.
Let’s take a look at him.