Posts Tagged ‘blank screen’

Think Of Obama As Drano, And The Democrat Party As The Nasty Mess Plugging Up The Toilet

September 23, 2010

Ba-rock Obama that’s the name
And there go Democrats down the drain

I remember not all that long ago when Obama was saying:

“I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.”

But for all of his incredible personal arrogance and narcissism – and for all of his false promises to transcend and heal the political divide when he would actually become the most polarizing and divisive president in American history (see also here) – that wasn’t what “the moment” actually has come to represent, was it?  Rather, the Obama presidency “was the moment” that the entire Democrat Party began to sink to the bottom of the ocean (which is the definition of “a good start”) pretty much like a brick tied to an anchor.

A Failing Presidency and a Broken Party
Peter Wehner – 09.21.2010 – 2:15 P

This heartfelt comment and question, the first one President Obama received at a CNBC town hall gathering yesterday, may well become emblematic of the first half (at least) of the Obama presidency.

Ms. Velma Hart — middle class, a wife and the mother of two, a veteran, and an African-American Obama supporter — said this:

Quite frankly, I’m exhausted – I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for, and deeply disappointed with where we are right now. I have been told that I voted for a man who said was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I’m one of those people and I’m waiting, sir. I’m waiting. I don’t feel it yet. And I thought while it wouldn’t be in great measure, I’d feel it in some small measure.  I have two children in private school and the financial recession has taken an enormous toll on my family. My husband and I have joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot dogs and beans era of our lives, but, quite frankly, it’s starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we’re headed again, and, quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly. Is this my new reality?

This was a very bad moment for the Obama presidency because it was such an honest and representative one.

Velma Hart is obviously no Tea Party activist. The town hall audience was undoubtedly vetted by the White House in advance of the event. So for Ms. Hart to frame the question she did, in the manner she did, was fairly extraordinary. And she was not the only person who asked searching questions of Mr. Obama. A recent law school graduate, Ted Brassfield, told Mr. Obama that he had hoped to pursue a career in public service, like Obama himself, but said he could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family. “I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought,” Brassfield said, “and that inspiration is dying away. And I really want to know, is the American dream dead for me?”

Having worked in the White House, I can assure you this is not what Obama and his team of advisers wanted to hear — certainly not from a hand-picked audience at an economic town hall forum that is being broadcast on television six weeks before a crucial midterm election.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a contributor to CONTENTIONS wrote this cautionary note regarding the new president-elect:

Sooner than he might imagine, and certainly sooner than he might wish, the responsibility for how America is performing will fall to him and his Democratic colleagues in the House and the Senate. A year from now, it won’t be enough to blame the problems on others. He and other Democrats ran and won on the promise that they would turn things around, and do so quickly. Those promises can’t be reeled back. Obama in particular has set a very high bar. Indeed, the expectations for “change”–in policies, in performance, even in the way we conduct our politics–is as high as I can recall … For understandable reasons, many people are being swept up in this remarkable American moment. But reality will intrude soon enough, and Barack Obama will face the same standards that every other President has faced. Incantations of “hope” and “change” can work in a campaign. They are virtually useless when it comes to governing. Barack Obama is about to enter the crucible. We’ll see how he performs.

President Obama has, so far at least, performed rather dismally. He set super-human expectations for himself — including his pledge to slow the rise of the oceans and begin to heal the planet, his commitment to resist the temptation to “fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long,” and to “transform” America at what he called a “defining moment.”

In some respects, of course, President Obama has transformed America — but in ways many American find alarming. What we are seeing all across our land is an extraordinary, organic movement rising up against Obamaism. If you go to the heart of this effort, beyond even the policy differences themselves, what you will find is an effort to restore America. It is a direct, energetic, and sometimes rambunctious response to the president’s transformational project, to his effort to remake America in his own liberal image and conforming to his own liberal views and values.

As we saw yesterday, at the economic town hall meeting, the hope and promise of Obama has collided with, and is being shattered by, reality.

Barack Obama is, right now, the architect of a failing presidency and, soon, a broken party.

I guess if termites, fleas, mosquitoes and cockroaches have a place in God’s creation, then so also must Barack Obama.  It appears that Obama is serving the role of the nasty, sticky, corrosive enzyme that dissolves rotting carcasses that would otherwise eternally pollute the system.

Democrats were skilled demagogues who – allied with the equally skilled propagandists of the mainstream media – knew how to propagate a lot of myths that continue to replace the truth a full decade later.

Democrats have had total control of both the House and the Senate since January 2007.  The last time the Republicans passed a budget (the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, passed in 2006), it had a deficit of $160 billion.  The very next year, Democrats passed a budget with a deficit of $459 billion – which was nearly three times the Republican mark they had attacked as “fiscally irresponsible.”  Now we’re looking at $1.6 TRILLION dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, and Democrats in Congress aren’t even bothering to pass budgets anymore.

In other words, “What were the old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats.”

And, of course, the other major myth that Democrats and their media propagandist allies have used to great success was that the Republicans were to blame for the economic collapse in 2008.

But Democrats weren’t held to account for any of their previous sins.

They were, rather, rewarded for their policies.  Because they could always blame the results of their disasters on Republicans, or on Bush.  And the media would always report the lies and partial truths as if they were actually true.

They’re still trying to do that now, of course, but, having complete control of the government now, that fecal matter simply isn’t sticking to the wall anymore.

Obama fearmongered a massive stimulus through Congress that is now widely recognize to be just as massive of a failure as it was massively expensive.  It was so wasteful that examples of disaster abound, such as the case in Los Angeles where $111 million in stimulus created a mere 55 jobs.  The Obama administration claimed that the porkulus would prevent unemployment from going above 8%, which is now known to have been a complete load of crap, and Obama turned away from jobs and the economy as though he’d crossed those items of the list.   And then he turned to imposing his even more disastrous and wildly unpopular ObamaCare on an American people who NEVER wanted it.

Jimmy Carter overloaded Congress with legislative proposals his first year in office, and Obama has been nothing if not the reincarnation of Jimmy Carter’s failed presidency (and see also here).

Obama said of himself, “I serve as a blank screen, on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

But you’re not able to project whatever people want to hear anymore, Obama.  Unlike before – simply on account of the fact that you had no meaningful experience whatsoever – you’ve got an actual record, and we know who you are.  And we’re rejecting you by the millions.

And you’re taking the Democrat Party right down the drain with you.

Cloward-Piven Alive And Well: Progressives CONTINUE To Push For Destruction Of U.S. System

March 3, 2010

The next time you see a progressive liberal, realize that there is a good chance that they would love to see you in a soup line – helpless, hungry, desperate, and ready for “change.”

Back in August of last year, I wrote an article entitled, “Politico Article Reveals Obama’s Cloward-Piven Strategy Backfiring.”  I pointed out quite a few facts of history which I believed were important.  For example, I cited an article that defined the radical leftist Cloward-Piven strategy:

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.

Does that sound like something you’d like to see happen?  I hope not!  But you can bet that there are a lot of people on the political left right now who would love nothing more than having a crack at reshaping American society in their own image.

I cited the words of top Democrats like Obama’s chief of staff who said:

EMANUEL:  “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.  What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.  This is an opportunity….  And this crisis provides the opportunity for us, as I would say, the opportunity to do things that you could not do before.”

And of course, you have Obama saying “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Change it exactly how, Barry Hussein?  And what about those of us who liked the United States of America our founding fathers gave us who don’t want it “fundamentally transformed”?

We haven’t known exactly what Obama meant by that. Because Obama turned himself into a “blank screen” while he was running for president:

I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

As I pointed out in a recent article:

A politician who has Obama’s ostensible verbal skills is, quite simply, not a “blank screen” unless he wants to be one.

Obama did not want us to know who he was, because we would have rejected him as our leader if we knew.

The more we finally learn about who Obama really is and what he really wants to do, the less we are going to like it.

We’re seeing more and more now.  The man has a record.  And sadly, it is a record of filling his administration with far leftist radicals – even with outright self-described communists (e.g., Van Jones, Mark Lloyd, Anita Dunn, Carol Browner, Ron Bloom, Andy Stern) – and of pursuing government takeovers of one sphere of our economy (e.g., auto manufacturing, banking industry, financial sector, health care system) after another.

For the life of me, I can’t understand why a man who professes himself to be a free market president would appoint a man who would sayWe know that the free market is nonsense” as his manufacturing czar.  Ron Bloom is a man who said:

“We know this is largely about power, that it’s an adults only no limit game. We kind of agree with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun. And we get it that if you want a friend you should get a dog.”

You’re a “free market guy” who appoints a man who thinks the free market is “nonsense” and agrees with Mao to restore our incredibly important manufacturing sector?

For the life of me, I can’t understand how a man who says he’s a “free market guy” would appoint Andy Stern to his fiscal commission given statements such as the following:

- “Because workers of the world unite, it’s not just a slogan anymore.”

- “We like to say: We use the power of persuasion first. If it doesn’t work, we try the persuasion of power.”

This same Andy Stern – whom Obama has invited to visit the White House more than ANY other person – described Obama’s “free market” program this way:

We now have a new metric. The president says he wants to judge the new economy whether it increases the number of people in the middle class. Whether we have shared prosperity, not just growth. Which is a fundamental different philosophy then what we’ve seen in this country to date. Now how do we distribute wealth in this country … clearly government has a major opportunity to distribute wealth - from the EITC, from tax policies, from minimum wages, from living wages – the government has a role in distributing wealth and social benefits. We are at historic crossroads … in terms of what our new president is trying to do and a different way we are going to try and evaluate the economy. And so all of sudden we are witnessing the first new American economic plan led by the government, not necessarily by the private sector.

(Video available here).

You’re a “free market guy” and you appoint a massive big government Marxist to figure out how to reduce government spending???  You’re a “free market guy” and you’re pushing a “fundamentally different philosophy” than anything this country has ever seen?  You’re a “free market guy” and you want to redistribute the wealth at the expense of growth?  You’re a “free market guy” and you have an economic plan led by the government, and not the private sector?

Really?

And, of course, for the life of me, I can’t understand how Barack Obama would have installed a man (i.e., Van Jones) who routinely said things like this -

  • I met all these young radical people of color — I mean really radical, communists and anarchists. And it was, like, ‘This is what I need to be a part of.’”
  • How’s that capitalism working for ya?
  • And the white polluters and the white environmentalists are essentially steering poison into the people-of-color communities.
  • “This movement is deeper than a solar panel! Deeper than a solar panel! Don’t stop there! Don’t stop there! We’re gonna change the whole system! We’re gonna change the whole thing!

- to be his Green Jobs Czar!

“Free market guy”?  Really?  And I’m not supposed to be either rolling on the floor laughing or barfing in a giant bucket WHY?

Obama told us that he chose his friends carefully, and “carefully” chose to be friends with “Marxist professors” and Marxist terrorist-bombers.  The problem is that he’s STILL choosing to surround himself with Marxists.

Obama says his administration has a “fundamentally business- friendly” agenda and are “fierce advocates” for the free market.

But fully 77% of American investors understand Barry Hussein very, very differently:

Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — U.S. investors overwhelmingly see President Barack Obama as anti-business and question his ability to manage a financial crisis, according to a Bloomberg survey.

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.

To summarize to this point, “Mr. Blank Screen,” who wants to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” by “never letting a serious crisis go to waste,” calls himself a “free market guy” while repeatedly appointing communists to important “free-market”-positions.  But more than 3/4ths of American investors who earn their bread and butter from the aforementioned free market think he’s full of crap.

With that foundation, let us get back to the strategy of Cloward and Piven.

The following comes from a member of the leftwing in very good standing.  He’s written and worked for LeftTurn, Political Affairs, and Monthly Review according to his Wikipedia entry.  He lives in Chicago (Barry Hussein’s hometown), where he founded Youth Against Apathy.

I instantly hearken to Michelle Obama’s saying of her husband: “He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism.”

At a recent Brecht Forum, event, Jed Brandt said the following:

JED BRANDT, COMMUNIST: “We have to help bring this government down, we have to help destroy this system and that requires increasing the alienation that working class and oppressed people feel. The way change is going to happen in this country is through the destruction of what we call the United States of America.

I’m opposed to white supremacy not because it’s white people involved. I am opposed to the system we traditionally call imperialism and the idea that some people have rights and privileges that are not granted to all human beings. And the solution to that problem is called communism and socialism and we should put it in our mouths. We should say it when we say what is your politics? I am a socialist. I demand that we have health care for people and it’s not a demand that’s negotiable with health insurance companies.

We will take your insurance companies; we will take the farms in this country; we will shut down the military apparatus in this country and I am tired of being told to stuff my anger back in my pants.

[Youtube]:

Compare that to what Cloward and Piven were saying needed to happen way back in the 1960s:

Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands

Am I the only one who finds it interesting that the man who says “The way change is going to happen in this country is through the destruction of what we call the United States of America” is demanding that ObamaCare be passed in his very next breath?

I mean, if the Democrat talking points had any validity, wouldn’t this guy be who wants to see America destroyed be saying, “I want health care that features tort reform, competition across state lines, and all the other elements of the Republican plan???

This is where articles such as  Cloward-Piven Crisis Care should start making sense.  I myself offered my own article, “ObamaCare Is Cloward-Piven Strategy In Microcosm” to establish this connection well before hearing Jed Brandt make the connection.  I cited the world famous Mayo Clinic as pointing out that ObamaCare represents the idea of:

accelerating the financial ruin of hospitals and doctors across the country

I cited the Wall Street Journal which pointed out that:

Once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable

I pointed out that the Dean of the Harvard Medical School said that:

while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system—now with many more participants.

I pointed out the fears of the California Medical Association that ObamaCare:

would increase local healthcare costs and restrict access to care for elderly and low-income patients.

As we speak, we are talking about the destruction of America by means of a political technique that the Democrats themselves called “the arrogance of power,” “majoritarian absolute power,” “the precipice of a constitutional crisis,” “the abandonment of the concept of check on power,” and “a naked power grab.”

My favorite description and prediction comes from Max Baucus, who is now pushing for the very thing that he said would be “the way Democracy ends. Not with a bomb but with a gavel.”

I think that last is correct.  ObamaCare, forced down the throats of Americans by the unAmerican nuclear option, will indeed be the way Democracy ends.

ObamaCare – by whatever name it is called – will be the ultimate actualization of the Cloward-Piven strategy.  It will in short order overwhelm and collapse our social support network just as leftists have been dreaming about for decades.

As one Democrat said, “Never mind the camel’s nose; we’ve got his head and his neck in the tent.”

There’s your REAL “hope” and “change.”  Too bad it doesn’t represent your hope, and too bad it is change that you most certainly don’t want.

What’s Happened To Obama’s Chicago-Way Thug-Style ‘Hope And Change’?

February 11, 2010

One of the things that was truly amazing during the 2008 campaign is that the mainstream media were hyper-eager to gather in droves over Sarah Palin’s and then Joe the Plumber’s trash cans for any dirt they could find, but utterly refused to examine Barack Obama’s record in the most politically corrupt city in America.

This is why Obama was able to say, “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”  He could be whatever he wanted to depict himself, because the mainstream media wasn’t going to challenge anything he said.

Americans are finally beginning to understand who Mr. “blank screen” really is – and they are rejecting him in droves.  The pity is that they should have had an opportunity to learn who he was before they elected him.  But the dishonest ideologically-biased mainstream propagandists were not about to tell us anything they thought we might not want to hear.

The mainstream media have long held a “gatekeeper” mentality to the news, which is to say that they only told you what they wanted you to know, while holding back what they didn’t want you to know.

And they didn’t want you to know how Obama’s Chicago past would influence or even dictate his presidency: what happens in Chicago stays in Chicago.

But, inevitably, the American people were going to see the “Chicago side” of Barry Hussein.

From the Los Angeles Times blog:

President Obama Day 386: What’s happened to him?
February 9, 2010A favorite story about Chicago politics involves Roman Pucinski, who served six long terms of political apprenticeship in the Washington minor leagues of the U.S. House of Representatives before the Windy City’s vaunted Democratic political machine allowed him to step up and serve on the City Council.

The late Pucinski then served for 18 years as a loyal operative assigned to the 41st Ward (of 50).

It’s always useful for Chicago pols to have White House connections if, say, they’d like to dispatch someone famous to fly off to Copenhagen to lobby the International Olympic Committee for their city’s 2016 summer games bid.

But the Chicago Daley machine, which is actually a ruthless coalition of urban Democratic factions united by the steel reinforcing rods of self-interest, didn’t much care about this Barack Obama fellow before, as long as he was quiet, obedient and headed on a track out of town. How he acquired a reform label coming out of that one-party place is anyone’s guess.

But now that the sun has risen on the 386th day of the Obama White House, many political observers are coming to see that the ex-state senator from the South Side is running his federal administration in Washington much the way they run things back home: with a small….

…claque of clout-laden people from the same school who learned their political trade back in the nation’s No. 3 city, named for an Indian word for a smelly wild onion.

That style is tough, focused, immune to any distractions but cosmetic niceties. And did we mention tough. A portly, veteran Chicago alderman once confided only about 40% jokingly, that he had taken up jogging to lose weight but quickly gave it up as boring because “you can’t knock anyone down.” That’s politics the Chicago way.

For instance, remember how much we heard all last year about the need for healthcare legislation before early August, before October, before Thanksgiving, before Christmas, before the State of the Union? And how spanked the White House was by the Massachusetts Senate upset that Obama said his laser-vision for 2010 was on jobs and the economy?

So, what did he announce during a Super Bowl interview? More healthcare meetings, designed to politically box Republicans into the No-Nothing corner.

In the last few days at least three major outlets have published well-informed evaluations of Obama’s first year in office.  All are well worth reading.  The dominant themes: disappointment and disillusionment with the Chicago way.

In one respect it’s not surprising that a capitol city with its own style of take-no-prisoners politics should find a professed outsider’s style of smoother-spoken take-no-prisoners discomforting.

But now, no less than the Huffington Post headlined its Obama evaluation by Steve Clemons: “Core Chicago Team Sinking Obama presidency.”

The devastating Financial Times report by Edward Luce: “A fearsome foursome.”

And the Washington Post story by Ann Gerhart: “A year later, where did the hopes for Obama go?

The Post story focuses on a handful of Obama supporters, so fiercely motivated and hopeful in 2008 and through the inauguration, now largely drifting back to normal lives lacking fulfillment of so many promises.

The other two fascinating accounts examine Obama’s close-knit team of Chicagoans: confidante Valerie Jarrett, who’s so intelligent she once hired Michelle Obama; Rahm Emanuel, the diminutive, acid-tongued chief of staff with overwhelmAxelrod and Obamaing energy and ambition; David Axelrod, the ex-Chicago Tribune politics reporter-turned-consultant who’s been coaching Obama forever; and Robert Gibbs, who isn’t from Chicago but that’s OK because he’s only the mouthpiece and the others keep a close eye on him.

Clemons focuses on how dead-on the Luce piece is and how the FT Washington bureau chief had to assiduously hide his sources as everyone was properly so fearful of retribution from the quartet around the mayor, er, president.

And Clemons attributes the lack of online link love to the Luce item Monday to the same fears among D.C. journalists dodging disfavor from the same four.

Quoting “administration insiders,” Luce says “the famously irascible Mr Emanuel treats cabinet principals like minions. ‘I am not sure the president realises how much he is humiliating some of the big figures he spent so much trouble recruiting into his cabinet,’ says the head of a presidential advisory board who visits the Oval Office frequently.”

And both articles note, accurately, how savvy cabinet secretaries like Kathleen Sebelius at Health and Human Services and Ken Salazar at Interior have been marginalized because putting a media face on the Obama Oval Office can only be entrusted to the likes of Gibbs and Axelrod.

Another Luce source talks about the difference between campaigning, which is easier, and governing, which is the ultimate goal but takes a more refined skill-set:

‘There is this sense after you have won such an amazing victory, when you have proved conventional wisdom wrong again and again, that you can simply do the same thing in government,’ says one. ‘Of course, they are different skills. To be successful, presidents need to separate the stream of advice they get on policy from the stream of advice they get on politics. That still isn’t happening.’

Also noted, how most everything coming out of the executive office is filtered through a political prism above all. i.e. the Afghanistan troop surge speech that touched all the political bases in 4,582 words without once saying “victory.”

Warning that Obama needs to take action quickly, Clemons adds that needed advice from a broader range of advisers “is getting twisted either in the rough-and-tumble of a a team of rivals operation that is not working, or is being distorted by the Chicago political gang’s tactical advice that is seducing Obama towards a course that has not only violated deals he made with those who voted him into office but which is failing to hit any of the major strategic targets by which the administration will be historically measured.”

David Gergen, who helped guide Bill Clinton out of not dissimilar troubled waters, tells Luce: “There is an old joke. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? Only one. But the lightbulb must want to change. I don’t think President Obama wants to make any changes.”

– Andrew Malcolm

Mark Steyn reminded viewers of Obama’s horribly botched pronunciation of the Navy Corpsmen who save the lives of wounded Marines, and then referred to “the four corpse men of the Obamaclypse.”  That’s quite accurate, as it turns out.  and these four corpse men are riding America into apocalypse right along with Barack Obama’s and the Democrat Party’s political future.

It’s scary to think that we have a preening peacock campaigning and campaigning with absolutely no idea how to actually govern.

Since the FT article is hard to obtain, and since I am all about preserving a record of the facts, here is the Luce article:

A Fearsome Foursome
By Edward Luce

At a crucial stage in the Democratic primaries in late 2007, Barack Obama rejuvenated his campaign with a barnstorming speech, in which he ended on a promise of what his victory would produce: “A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”

Just over a year into his tenure, America’s 44th president governs a bitterly divided nation, a world increasingly hard to manage and an America that seems more disillusioned than ever with Washington’s ways. What went wrong?

Pundits, Democratic lawmakers and opinion pollsters offer a smorgasbord of reasons – from Mr Obama’s decision to devote his first year in office to healthcare reform, to the president’s inability to convince voters he can “feel their [economic] pain”, to the apparent ungovernability of today’s Washington. All may indeed have contributed to the quandary in which Mr Obama finds himself. But those around him have a more specific diagnosis – and one that is striking in its uniformity. The Obama White House is geared for campaigning rather than governing, they say.

In dozens of interviews with his closest allies and friends in Washington – most of them given unattributably in order to protect their access to the Oval Office – each observes that the president draws on the advice of a very tight circle. The inner core consists of just four people – Rahm Emanuel, the pugnacious chief of staff; David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett, his senior advisers; and Robert Gibbs, his communications chief.

Two, Mr Emanuel and Mr Axelrod, have box-like offices within spitting distance of the Oval Office. The president, who is the first to keep a BlackBerry, rarely holds a meeting, including on national security, without some or all of them present.

With the exception of Mr Emanuel, who was a senior Democrat in the House of Representatives, all were an integral part of Mr Obama’s brilliantly managed campaign. Apart from Mr Gibbs, who is from Alabama, all are Chicagoans – like the president. And barring Richard Nixon’s White House, few can think of an administration that has been so dominated by such a small inner circle.

“It is a very tightly knit group,” says a prominent Obama backer who has visited the White House more than 40 times in the past year. “This is a kind of ‘we few’ group … that achieved the improbable in the most unlikely election victory anyone can remember and, unsurprisingly, their bond is very deep.”

John Podesta, a former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and founder of the Center for American Progress, the most influential think-tank in Mr Obama’s Washington, says that while he believes Mr Obama does hear a range of views, including dissenting advice, problems can arise from the narrow composition of the group itself.

Among the broader circle that Mr Obama also consults are the self-effacing Peter Rouse, who was chief of staff to Tom Daschle in his time as Senate majority leader; Jim Messina, deputy chief of staff; the economics team led by Lawrence Summers and including Peter Orszag, budget director; Joe Biden, the vice-president; and Denis McDonough, deputy national security adviser. But none is part of the inner circle.

“Clearly this kind of core management approach worked for the election campaign and President Obama has extended it to the White House,” says Mr Podesta, who managed Mr Obama’s widely praised post-election transition. “It is a very tight inner circle and that has its advantages. But I would like to see the president make more use of other people in his administration, particularly his cabinet.”

This White House-centric structure has generated one overriding – and unexpected – failure. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Mr Emanuel managed the legislative aspect of the healthcare bill quite skilfully, say observers. The weak link was the failure to carry public opinion – not Capitol Hill. But for the setback in Massachusetts, which deprived the Democrats of their 60-seat supermajority in the Senate, Mr Obama would by now almost certainly have signed healthcare into law – and with it would have become a historic president.

But the normally liberal voters of Massachusetts wished otherwise. The Democrats lost the seat to a candidate, Scott Brown, who promised voters he would be the “41st [Republican] vote” in the Senate – the one that would tip the balance against healthcare. Subsequent polling bears out the view that a decisive number of Democrats switched their votes with precisely that motivation in mind.

“Historians will puzzle over the fact that Barack Obama, the best communicator of his generation, totally lost control of the narrative in his first year in office and allowed people to view something they had voted for as something they suddenly didn’t want,” says Jim Morone, America’s leading political scientist on healthcare reform. “Communication was the one thing everyone thought Obama would be able to master.”

Whatever issue arises, whether it is a failed terrorist plot in Detroit, the healthcare bill, economic doldrums or the 30,000-troop surge to Afghanistan, the White House instinctively fields Mr Axelrod or Mr Gibbs on television to explain the administration’s position. “Every event is treated like a twist in an election campaign and no one except the inner circle can be trusted to defend the president,” says an exasperated outside adviser.

Perhaps the biggest losers are the cabinet members. Kathleen Sebelius, Mr Obama’s health secretary and formerly governor of Kansas, almost never appears on television and has been largely excluded both from devising and selling the healthcare bill. Others such as Ken Salazar, the interior secretary who is a former senator for Colorado, and Janet Napolitano, head of the Department for Homeland Security and former governor of Arizona, have virtually disappeared from view.

Administration insiders say the famously irascible Mr Emanuel treats cabinet principals like minions. “I am not sure the president realises how much he is humiliating some of the big figures he spent so much trouble recruiting into his cabinet,” says the head of a presidential advisory board who visits the Oval Office frequently. “If you want people to trust you, you must first place trust in them.”

In addition to hurling frequent profanities at people within the administration, Mr Emanuel has alienated many of Mr Obama’s closest outside supporters. At a meeting of Democratic groups last August, Mr Emanuel described liberals as “f***ing retards” after one suggested they mobilise resources on healthcare reform.

“We are treated as though we are children,” says the head of a large organisation that raised millions of dollars for Mr Obama’s campaign. “Our advice is never sought. We are only told: ‘This is the message, please get it out.’ I am not sure whether the president fully realises that when the chief of staff speaks, people assume he is speaking for the president.”

The same can be observed in foreign policy. On Mr Obama’s November trip to China, members of the cabinet such as the Nobel prizewinning Stephen Chu, energy secretary, were left cooling their heels while Mr Gibbs, Mr Axelrod and Ms Jarrett were constantly at the president’s side.

The White House complained bitterly about what it saw as unfairly negative media coverage of a trip dubbed Mr Obama’s “G2” visit to China. But, as journalists were keenly aware, none of Mr Obama’s inner circle had any background in China. “We were about 40 vans down in the motorcade and got barely any time with the president,” says a senior official with extensive knowledge of the region. “It was like the Obama campaign was visiting China.”

Then there are the president’s big strategic decisions. Of these, devoting the first year to healthcare is well known and remains a source of heated contention. Less understood is the collateral damage it caused to unrelated initiatives. “The whole Rahm Emanuel approach is that victory begets victory – the success of healthcare would create the momentum for cap-and-trade [on carbon emissions] and then financial sector reform,” says one close ally of Mr Obama. “But what happens if the first in the sequence is defeat?”

Insiders attribute Mr Obama’s waning enthusiasm for the Arab-Israeli peace initiative to a desire to avoid antagonising sceptical lawmakers whose support was needed on healthcare. The steam went out of his Arab-Israeli push in mid-summer, just when the healthcare bill was running into serious difficulties.

The same applies to reforming the legal apparatus in the “war on terror” – not least his pledge to close the Guantánamo Bay detention centre within a year of taking office. That promise has been abandoned.

“Rahm said: ‘We’ve got these two Boeing 747s circling that we are trying to bring down to the tarmac [healthcare and the decision on the Afghanistan troop surge] and we can’t risk a flock of f***ing Canadian geese causing them to crash,’ ” says an official who attended an Oval Office strategy meeting. The geese stood for the closure of Guantánamo.

An outside adviser adds: “I don’t understand how the president could launch healthcare reform and an Arab-Israeli peace process – two goals that have eluded US presidents for generations – without having done better scenario planning. Either would be historic. But to launch them at the same time?”

Again, close allies of the president attribute the problem to the campaign-like nucleus around Mr Obama in which all things are possible. “There is this sense after you have won such an amazing victory, when you have proved conventional wisdom wrong again and again, that you can simply do the same thing in government,” says one. “Of course, they are different skills. To be successful, presidents need to separate the stream of advice they get on policy from the stream of advice they get on politics. That still isn’t happening.”

The White House declined to answer questions on whether Mr Obama needed to broaden his circle of advisers. But some supporters say he should find a new chief of staff. Mr Emanuel has hinted that he might not stay in the job very long and is thought to have an eye on running for mayor of Chicago. Others say Mr Obama should bring in fresh blood. They point to Mr Clinton’s decision to recruit David Gergen, a veteran of previous White Houses, when the last Democratic president ran into trouble in 1993. That is credited with helping to steady the Clinton ship, after he too began with an inner circle largely carried over from his campaign.

But Mr Gergen himself disagrees. Now teaching at Harvard and commenting for CNN, Mr Gergen says members of the inner circle meet two key tests. First, they are all talented. Second, Mr Obama trusts them. “These are important attributes,” Mr Gergen says. His biggest doubt is whether Mr Obama sees any problem with the existing set-up.

So you learn that Obama is all fluff and no substance (i.e., all campaign mode and no actual governing mode), and that Obama has to rely on his “Chicago fearsome foursome” the way he relies on his teleprompter: ubiquitously (as in even in sixth grade classrooms!!!).

And you should think long and hard about the profound comparison of Nixon’s tight (and tightly wound) inner circle and Obama’s same same.  A tight, insular circle that answers to no one and keeps its counsel secret is a frightening thing in any republic.

Here’s another comparison between Obama and his alter ego.  And realize that for a CHICAGO POLITICIAN to say, “I am not a crook,” is pretty much like a Chicago politician saying, “I am not a Chicago politician.”

Everything is politics for Obama.  Political posturing, political preening, political hatchet jobs.  Nothing else matters.

It is frankly amazing to me that such a hypocritical and cynical man as Barack Obama was ever elected president.  He constantly lectures Republicans (and even Democrats when it suits him) to “rise above petty politics” when the very construction of his administration is completely about politics.

I have on several occasions compared Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain.  Both men were utterly ruthless (there’s your ‘Chicago Way’) in pounding head after head to achieve their signature domestic issues, and both men became utter failures as they attempted to have their personal domestic agenda at the expense of everything else.

People are starting to learn that the “blank slate” may well be blank because the man behind the grand facade has no soul.


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