Posted on April 24, 2009. Filed under: News And Politics... |

While some news articles paint Obama in a bright light, this story dims it somewhat.  I offer my comments throughout this story…

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama, at Georgetown University last week, has many wondering what he will fight for.

The New York Times
April 19, 2009
Washington Memo

Despite Major Plans, Obama Taking Softer Stands

WASHINGTON — President Obama is well known for bold proposals that have raised expectations, but his administration has shown a tendency for compromise and caution, and even a willingness to capitulate on some early initiatives.

It was inevitable that Mr. Obama’s lofty pledge to change the ways of Washington would crash into the realities of governing, including lawmakers anxious to protect their constituents and an army of special-interest lobbyists.

Mr. Obama has not conceded on any major priority. His advisers argue that the concessions to date — on budget items, for instance — are intended to help win the bigger policy fights ahead. But his early willingness to deal or fold has left commentators, and some loyal Democrats, wondering: where’s the fight?

“The thing we still don’t know about him is what he is willing to fight for,” said Leonard Burman, an economist at the Urban Institute and a Treasury Department official in the Clinton administration. “The thing I worry about is that he likes giving good speeches, he likes the adulation and he likes to make people happy.”   This is what I’ve been saying all along.  He’ll do whatever it takes to help his approval ratings soar.  Look at what he’s doing in foreign countries?  Apologizing and cowering to other countries like a dog who just pooped on the carpet.  As a result, America is now in deep poop, trying to evade the Obama crap.  Never once did he stand up and remind these countries of what America has done for them all throughout the years.  America has helped everyone, yet Obama feels that we owe the world an apology?  For what?  This is not the proper actions of a president from a country that has helped so many people.  Obama, in his neverending quest to be at the top of the popularity chart, feels the need to bend over backward…and forward…where he shouldn’t.  This shows just how soft and clueless he is.  After two years on the campaign trail and 94 days in office, you would think we’d know him by now, but we don’t.  There’s a dark side to him that’s yet to be revealed.

So far, he said, “It’s hard to think of a place where he’s taken a really hard position.”

In some of his earliest skirmishes, Mr. Obama eventually chose pragmatism over fisticuffs.

Congressional Democrats effectively killed his proposal to slash farm subsidies by nearly $1 billion a year, and forced him to retreat partially on a plan to require private insurers to pick up more of veterans’ health costs.  Obama caused a lot of veterans to protest against this issue.  He and his administration are alienating the very brave people who are fighting for our country’s freedom.  This is the ultimate betrayal against our military who put their lives on the line every day for our country.  If it’s one thing I have no problem paying for, it’s their medical care, especially when it’s a service-related injury.  That is the very least we can do.  How despicable that they fight for the country they love, and then have to fight for medical assistance when they return home.  Here is a story that CNN ran about one vet’s story, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Only then, did Obama back off.  Army vet billed $3,000 for war wounds – CNN.comThey also got him to shelve the idea of a commission to buttress Social Security’s finances.

And Thursday, Mr. Obama suggested that he would not fight in Congress to renew an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. It was the latest example of the pragmatic approach he adopted after winning the presidency by promising to challenge entrenched interests and put the public good ahead of political expedience.  I’ve got to tell you, the way Obama’s been flip-flopping on all issues in spite of his "promises", I can’t take him at his word…never have, never will. 

Mr. Obama’s top aides dismiss suggestions that he has shied from confrontation, saying they ignore his achievements, the need to move quickly to address economic woes and the fights he has picked against some big interest groups in Washington, including components of the Democratic base, like organized labor. What are they talking about?  Obama shies away from news reporters when they don’t ask the questions he wants to answer.  Another thing…what achievements?  All he has been doing since in office is damage control against the very damage he caused in the first place!

Pragmatism, they add, is an Obama hallmark, and among the changes he promised — and has delivered — is a break from his predecessor’s often uncompromising style. How is that a good thing?  What they are saying is that Bush stood his ground, and by doing that, has kept us safe for 8 years.  Unlike Bush, Obama bends with the wind…the higher the wind, the deeper the bow.

The extent to which he is willing to yield to lobbyists, Congressional committee leaders and interest groups, however, will be determined as the White House tackles health care and other big issues on a list that seems to grow: immigration, for instance, is now in the mix.

“We’re not taking on a fight; we’re taking on a multiple-front fight because we’ve taken on a series of entrenched interests across the waterfront — from education to health care, and the defense industry, and the lobbying industry as a whole,” the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said. “There will be a scorecard at the end of which ones we won and which ones we didn’t, but every one of those policy challenges have been initiated by us.” And all the problems we are facing have been initiated by you as well.

Mr. Obama’s allies point to his winning the second $350 billion in financial bailout money from a reluctant Congress; a pay-equity law for women; expanded government health insurance for children, including — at his insistence — legal immigrant children; and the $787 billion economic recovery bill that reached his desk, as demanded, by mid-February. Oh, did that bailout money really help?  Tell that to the millions of people who are still losing their jobs from the very companies Obama "helped" with TARP funds.  Some of the very companies who received our hard-earned dollars are now filing Chapter 11.  Expanding government and out-of-control spending—that’s what Obama has "won".

All that may end up looking easy compared with the fight on health care, which will most likely require him to stand up to hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and their patrons in Congress. He might have to finance the plan in a way that raises costs for the middle class, perhaps by taxing employer-provided health benefits — an idea he attacked in the campaign.  The only people in the health care industry he will help are the very ones who helped him buy the White House.  Like I said many times before, he is paying back all his supporters.

Facing Democratic opposition in Congress, the White House seems prepared to give up on several tax proposals, including a limit on deductions that the wealthiest taxpayers can claim for charitable donations and state and local taxes, which was supposed to help pay for health care legislation — raising doubts about how the president will finance it. The only reason he gave up on limiting tax deductions on the wealthy is because the wealthy have helped tremendously with charitable contributions, and the outcry from charities pushed this along.  How stupid to put a cap on charitable donations.  Who, in their right mind, would do that?  As far as state and local taxes, they have been going up every year regardless of the old government rhetoric of "lower taxes".  It’s a fact that Democrats are tax happy.  Here in Massachusetts, we are looking at a 6% to 7% sales tax (up from the 5% we now have)—that’s a 20% to 40% hike!  This is courtesy of Obama’s buddy, Deval ("Devil", as I call him) Patrick, the Obama wanna-be governor we are stuck with because clueless people voted for this idiot.  There will always be bigger government, higher taxes and more laws when you have a Democrat in power.

Wider Democratic majorities in Congress, while beneficial to the White House agenda, also mean a wider range of demands to be met. You can safely bet they’re all "pay-back" pork projects.

Representative Charlie Melancon, a Louisiana Democrat and leader of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog coalition, praised the president’s willingness to make concessions. “If you go into the budget, you’ll see there were concessions that were agreed to by the White House that were allowed to be put in by the Blue Dogs,” he said. “There was a little pushback, but they understood.”

Experts on the presidency say that Mr. Obama, after promising profound change during the campaign last year, may have no choice but to continue talking big. Of course!  He’s always talking big…he’s all talk.  And change?  Yes, he touted change, change, change.  What he didn’t tell us is what kind of change, which we’re now seeing, aren’t we?

“If Obama is too timid, if the White House is too cautious,” said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian, “it is going to make him look too opportunistic. He made all these promises during the campaign, he talked so boldly, he stirred all our hopes, and now he is not following through.” I used that same word to describe Obama in a previous post…opportunistic, and he is.  Talk is cheap, and you will notice that his words are as empty as his campaign promises.  Obama is soft, and this is leaving the door wide open to attacks on the United States.  Like I said…Obama bends with the wind…the higher the wind, the deeper the bow. 

On complex issues like health care, Mr. Dallek said, there is advantage in angling for the final say.

“It’s kind of a technique to keep power in your hands,” he said. “Let these guys in the House, let the folks in the Senate battle with one another, battle it out. They are going to have to come to the president and have him adjudicate.” How can Obama judge on anything?  He is nothing more than a Democratic puppet; one who is easily manipulated.

Administration officials say the approach to the economic stimulus bill is likely to be a model for dealing with Congress and interest groups, reflecting a style that fits the president’s temperament and a West Wing with deep experience on Capitol Hill. Even before Mr. Obama took office, the stimulus started with a draft in the House that reflected his bottom line, his spending priorities and more tax cuts than many liberal Democrats wanted. Harder negotiations occurred in the Senate, where Democrats remain short of the votes needed to overcome Republican filibusters. Obama has flipflopped on many issues that he campaigned on.

In the end, there was no grandstanding about big ideas. Instead, Mr. Emanuel and the budget director, Peter R. Orszag, set up shop in the office of the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and worked through the final demands to get the votes to clinch an agreement.

The administration seems content to let Democrats like Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a moderate to conservative, and Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California liberal, take the lead on health care, knowing that Mr. Obama can flex his political muscle later. Wrong!  They’re taking the lead because Obama is clueless in this area.  This is just another area where Obama is their puppet.  He is in the White House physically; the rest of the Democrats are in the White House mentally, tugging at Obama’s strings every time they want to manipulate the next move he should take.  As far as "flexing his political muscle".  The only time Obama flexes a political muscle is when he takes a bow…




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