The Administration

The Tao of Wesley K. Clark

Read this morning with interest an interview with Harvard’s Steven Pinker in “Global Briefs” titled “On the State and Future of Violence,” in which questions were asked like “How violent is the today’s world?” Not much, the answer. For which we are all grateful. And as much as I have appreciated Pinker’s outlook for what it does, his interview brought to mind Francis Fukuyama’s famous essay with the fairly astonishing title: “The End of History and the Last Man” in 1992. Which, if I recall correctly, was extended by Charles Krauthammer to an essay titled “The End of Time.”

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Obama's military prowess

I have been very critical of this president. Across the board, I often find myself in 180-degree disagreement with him and his administration's policies. Among those disappointments have been his handling of Iraq and the sheer demagoguery he displayed regarding the war on terror, beginning with Iraq and certainly including issues such as Guantanamo Bay.

But I have to admit, he gets credit on his handling of one area specifically — the use of the military's special forces.

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President Obama takes charge

It is a great week for the president and a terrible week for the Republicans running against him. The president addressed the nation to wage his fight for American jobs for American workers, while the Republican candidates called each other vulture, influence-peddler, and liar.

The president's call for American jobs hit the spot, while the commander in chief who ordered the demise of Osama bin Laden gave the command, with Defense Secretary Panetta, for a heroic rescue mission that succeeded bravely and brilliantly.

The president was the big winner after the GOP debate and the State of the Union.

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The state of our ‘union’

We will see if his aspirations are more successful in the next 10 months. But the contrast between the president's State of the Union speech last night and the endless round of Republican debates was remarkable. It was Obama at his best — earnest, high-minded and hopeful (despite three years of evidence suggesting the contrary) for a union of interests.

The president also was political, outlining the themes of what will be his campaign later this year, drawing lines of ideological and programmatic interests, suggesting some specific areas of reform — pointed, not transformational, as circumstances required. He'll need a better Cabinet to carry out his proposals, especially Messrs. Geithner and Holder, if his reforms are to materialize.

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SOTU response

Once again President Obama’s style was polished; yet his substance was tarnished.

In what felt like a rerun of last year’s SOTU, in which the president portrayed himself as a free marketer while championing more top-down, big-government spending projects, the president again spoke out of both sides of his mouth.

As in the past, Obama talked about the value of the individual over the government. In fact, he went so far as to quote Abraham Lincoln: “That government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” To demonstrate his point, he insisted on the need to streamline the bureaucratic state, which he acknowledged is “inefficient, outdated and remote.” He spoke of “clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects” and “getting rid of regulations that don’t work.”

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‘No juice’ Obama

I have to hand it to President Obama, he talks a good game. That teleprompter can help a man work wonders with the spoken word.

It's evident I don't care much for the president's policies, but there's good reason. And nowhere is that more evident than with Obama's approach to energy.

Last night, the president revisited the importance of home-grown energy, beginning with renewables. That's just not smart policy, and he knows it. We are sitting on a massive gold mine that the Keystone project could tap, and he ignores it in the name of what — some untapped, underdeveloped, lesser sources in the form of wind and switchgrass? C'mon.

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4 chiefs of staff in under 3 years?

President Obama announced his fourth chief of staff in his less than three full years in office. Who is the lucky person who is next on the chopping block?
 
Jack Lew, the just-getting-his-feet-wet Office of Management and Budget head, is the next contestant in the new D.C. game show — "Clean up Barry’s Messes."
 
The Obama chief of staff turnover is indicative of a failed management style at the top that sends the most skilled Washington operatives scurrying for the exits as soon as they can find the door, and if similar dysfunction had occurred during the W administration, headlines would have blared: "White House Adrift — 4 Chiefs in 3 Years? Prez can’t get along with anyone."

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Prelude to the fall of the Obama White House

President Obama's White House is in disarray.

Can any business executive have conflict with Obama's confidante, Valerie Jarrett, and survive? Thus far Jarret is 10- 0 versus her rivals.

With the departure of Bill Daley, we are witnessing five chiefs of staff in less than four years.

We are now observing the collapse of a desperate administration that accurately and logically are concluding it has little or no chance for reelection.

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For Obama, an actual good week

For the first time in a while, President Obama is enjoying a pretty good week.

The jobs picture brightened slightly Friday, and though 200,000 new jobs still aren’t enough to keep pace with population growth and a healthy number of the unemployed have stopped looking for work, brighter beats darker any day. The full picture of forecasts for growth, particularly in the critical housing industry, remains worrisome and weak. But politically the metric for the public, and for Obama's political fortunes, is the unemployment number, and this month that number went down to 8.5 percent for the first time in three years. He can and will call it progress.

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Supercommittee hidden agenda

Some people seem surprised that the "supercommittee" has failed to achieve its goal, but it should not come as a shock. The Republicans are committed to not raising taxes, which the president certainly knows, and the Democrats are not committed to reducing out-of-control entitlements. It was quite predictable that an agreement would not be reached, which is why candidate Gingrich called the panel the silliest thing he has ever heard of.

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