Words from President Obama

Jan 242010

President Obama seems to be confused by the Supreme Court ruling.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday strongly criticized a Supreme Court ruling removing limits on corporate donations for political campaigns, saying it was a major victory for banks and oil and health insurance companies.

Yes, it is a victory for those entities, but part of the President’s job is to look out for the legal rights of those entities. It’s a victory for those of us who aren’t banks and oil and health insurance companies, too. It’s a victory for all of us.

“With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics,” Obama said in a statement.

Which is as it should be. There are many special interests in this country, and all of them should have a right to spend their money to speak out and influence the political process. What’s bad is when no interests except governmental interests get the right to speak out, as happened in the takeover of GM and Chrysler.

“We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.”

I presume we shouldn’t take the President to have meant the term “forceful” to be taken literally. Given the way he has dealt with banks and automakers, it’s hard to say. But if by forceful he means legal and constitutional, that could be a good thing.

Now about that term “public interest,” I hope he realizes that there are and should be many public interests, many of them at odds with each other. There is not just one public interest. That’s why this ruling that ensures a voice for the many of the special interests in our society is a good thing.

Jan 082010

Yes! That’s what we’ve been lacking to keep our country safe. We’ve been lacking a “fresh and penetrating look.”

If you think the CDN story is intended to make President Obama look like Dilbert’s boss’s boss, read the directive from the White House. You’ll see it could have been worse. The White House could have been allowed to write the story itself. My guess is that Scott Adams and the staff of the Onion were hired as consultants on this project, and CDN was merely trying to do damage control.

Oct 282009

President Obama says he will not rush the decision to send more soldiers into harm’s way. I believe him. This time he has made a promise he will keep.

We can believe this promise, even though everything else he wants (e.g. stimulus funding, health care takeover) is an urgent necessity that requires immediate action to avert catastrophe. Now is not the time to debate whether we are sending health care into harm’s way. Now is not the time for delay on that front. But now is the time to consider, very carefully and slowly, what we should do with Afghanistan.

And we can believe this promise even though his delays are putting those soldiers who are already in harm’s way in the way of even greater harm.

I can appreciate his quandry. There is no good solution. Not that that is going to stop him from invading and conquering our health care system.

Sep 242009

And to think, Gibbs works for the guy who is asking for the power to shut down the internet in case of emergency. He tells people what information sources they shouldn’t use.

“I think this is media generated,” Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One. “Stop reading those London tabloids.”  [URL here.]

There are lots of things politicians can say to deflect issues (or non-issues) like that. Maybe Gibbs ought to try a wording that’s a little less thuggish given the sensitivity about Obama’s attitude toward free speech.

Sep 212009

This could end up being the equivalent of Jimmy Carter’s rabbit.   I literally LOL’d when I got to this part.

Mr. Obama: “George, the fact that you looked up Merriam’s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now. . . .” (URL)

Aug 082009

Usually when politicians talk out of both sides of their mouths, they don’t do both sides at the same time. But here’s what one of our country’s political leaders said in a campaign speech last Thursday, as reported by the AP. This must be what he meant when he said, “I have a gift, Harry.”

Appealing across party lines, Obama told the Democratic audience that leaders must listen to their opponents and disagree with civility. He pointed to Virginia’s two most recent governors, Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, the former now a senator and the latter Obama’s hand-picked Democratic National Committee chairman.

“We want to make sure that we listen to other people’s ideas. We’re going to bring labor and business together,” he said….

He pointed to massive financial challenges and an exploding deficit he said he inherited from Republican President George W. Bush.

“That was gift-wrapped and waiting for me,” Obama said. “I don’t want the folks who created the mess do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.”

Last I heard, there was a bit of disagreement on just who created the mess and how. But it’s not clear whether that part of that disagreement is one where we want to listen to other peoples’ ideas or where we want them to shut up and not do a lot of talking.

Aug 052009


Obama was in Wakarusa today, declaring victory. (“In Indiana, Obama declares stimulus is working“) It kind of reminds one of George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech.


The first part of the week we had been staying in Nappanee, 6 miles to the south, and at breakfast someone had mentioned that it was hard to get around up there because the President was coming. If I had arranged another day of vacation it would have been nice to ride my bike up there with some protest signs and then listen to leftwing operatives explain where I come from. (Read the memo. I did.)

Who are these people? The people who show up are far right-wing ideologues recruited by paid organizers. Much of this recruitment and organizing is funded by industry lobbyists and public relatgions firms to engage radical right-wing groups. Many of these groups are motivated by far right ideology in general – not by health care as an issue. They are held together by a common vision of the world that centers on defeating Obama and his agenda. We can expect to see anti-abortion groups, pro-gun groups, insurance company employees (mandated by employers to come out), militia groups, and anti-immigration groups.


But instead I did a 76 mile ride to Hamilton, to the site shown above, and from there we drove home. Besides, I’ve ridden my bike to Wakarusa before — stopped there to get a bite to eat on my way elsewhere. It got me thinking, though, about how I could deck out my bicycle with some protest signs where I would usually mount panniers. And then there is the question of what to put on them. One bumpersticker slogan I found on the net a few days ago: “Please don’t tell Obama what comes after a trillion!”