Posts Tagged ‘thug’

AP-Reported FACT: U.S. Economy The Worst Since The LAST Time We Let A Socialist Run It

July 11, 2011

The Los Angeles Times print edition ran this story on July 2 under the considerably more Marxist headline, “Wealthy benefit from recovery as workers struggle“:

U.S. Recovery’s 2-Year Anniversary Arrives With Little To Celebrate
First Posted: 07/ 1/11 05:33 PM ET Updated: 07/ 1/11 05:33 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — This is one anniversary few feel like celebrating.

Two years after economists say the Great Recession ended, the recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s.

After previous recessions, people in all income groups tended to benefit. This time, ordinary Americans are struggling with job insecurity, too much debt and pay raises that haven’t kept up with prices at the grocery store and gas station. The economy’s meager gains are going mostly to the wealthiest.

Workers’ wages and benefits make up 57.5 percent of the economy, an all-time low. Until the mid-2000s, that figure had been remarkably stable — about 64 percent through boom and bust alike.

[…]

But if the Great Recession is long gone from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms, it lingers on Main Street:

Unemployment has never been so high — 9.1 percent — this long after any recession since World War II. At the same point after the previous three recessions, unemployment averaged just 6.8 percent.

The average worker’s hourly wages, after accounting for inflation, were 1.6 percent lower in May than a year earlier. Rising gasoline and food prices have devoured any pay raises for most Americans.

The jobs that are being created pay less than the ones that vanished in the recession. Higher-paying jobs in the private sector, the ones that pay roughly $19 to $31 an hour, made up 40 percent of the jobs lost from January 2008 to February 2010 but only 27 percent of the jobs created since then.

[…]

Hard times have made Americans more dependent than ever on social programs, which accounted for a record 18 percent of personal income in the last three months of 2010 before coming down a bit this year. Almost 45 million Americans are on food stamps, another record.

[…]

Because the labor market remains so weak, most workers can’t demand bigger raises or look for better jobs.

“In an economic cycle that is turning up, a labor market that is healthy and vibrant, you’d see a large number of people quitting their jobs,” says Gluskin Sheff economist Rosenberg. “They quit because the grass is greener somewhere else.”

Instead, workers are toughing it out, thankful they have jobs at all. Just 1.7 million workers have quit their job each month this year, down from 2.8 million a month in 2007.

The toll of all this shows in consumer confidence, a measure of how good people feel about the economy. According to the Conference Board’s index, it’s at 58.5. Healthy is more like 90. By this point after the past three recessions, it was an average of 87.

How gloomy are Americans? A USA Today/Gallup poll eight weeks ago found that 55 percent think the recession continues, even if the experts say it’s been over for two years. That includes the 29 percent who go even further — they say it feels more like a depression.

Allow me to start with the second paragraph in the story:

“Two years after economists say the Great Recession ended, the recovery has been the weakest and most lopsided of any since the 1930s.”

The weakest and most lopsided of any recovery since the 1930s, you say???

WHO WAS PRESIDENT IN THE 1930s?  WHICH PARTY DOMINATED BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE IN THE 1930s?

And next let me ask you, “Are there any similarities between socialist Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt and socialist Democrat Barack Hussein Obama???  And the answer is, “HELL YES THERE ARE!!!”:

Which is to say, “This is the worst the U.S. economy has ever been since the LAST time we had a socialist just like FDR – and the mainstream media proudly hailed Obama as FDR and Obama’s as a NEW “New Deal.”

But here’s the truth:

FDR prolonged — not ended — great depression

Two UCLA economists say they have figured out why the Great Depression dragged on for almost 15 years, and they blame a suspect previously thought to be beyond reproach: President Franklin D. Roosevelt. After scrutinizing Roosevelt’s record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.

”Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump,” said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA’s Department of Economics. ”We found that a relapse isn’t likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies.”

In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

[…]

”The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes,” Cole said. ”Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened.”

And of course all the “experts” the mainstream media love to trot out have all bought hook, line and sinker the notion that capitalism is something to be loathed and feared.  So they demand that America pursue asinine government stimulus policies that fail even by the “experts'” own standards, and then these same “experts” proceed to argue that the economy failing to recover somehow is proof that more of the same thing that already failed is necessary.

These “experts” whom the mainstream media give a loud microphone to to espouse their socialist views are pathologically incapable of seeing this connection between socialist policies and an economy in the doldrums.  Every bit of negative economic news is invariably “unexpected” (liberals favorite adjective to wave a hand at bad economic developments whenever a Democrat president is in charge), because these “experts” cannot separate the inevitable results of their ideology from their terribly failed ideology.  There has to be a disconnect, or more commonly, a scapegoat.

I can simply re-cite my conclusion from a previous article to find a particularly laughable example of this phenomena:

I think of the Soviet Union, which literally blamed the total failure of their entire political philosophy and the ruinous policies that philosophy entailed by claiming that their agricultural output had been adversely affected due to 72 years of bad weather.  And the Soviet Union has gone the way of the Dodo bird for that very reason.

Is America under Obama the next Dodo bird to fall apart while we’re assured that everything is fine while some suitable scapegoat bears the blame for every failure that can’t be ignored???

It couldn’t be the fact that socialism is nothing more than state-planned economic failure.  It had to be something else, ANYTHING else.

The Big Brother from the novel 1984 had Emmanuel Goldstein.  The Big Brother who is now occupying our White House has George W. Bush.

The next obvious question to ask and answer is, “Why are the wealthy benefitting while the workers struggle?”

The answer is twofold: 1) because when you attack the employers, the first thing to go is the employees and 2) because that’s exactly how crony capitalism works.

There is a magnificent book entitled, New Deal Or Raw Deal?  How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America, which should be required reading.  Burton Folsom Jr. points out that when FDR structured his many policies and regulations that strangled economic growth, he did so in such a way that favored the big crony capitalist corporations at the expense of the smaller businesses that could no longer compete given the costly regulatory requirements.  The smaller businesses were forced out of the market while the big businesses protected themselves with insider deals based on access to and influence with the government that only they could afford.  And there is no question whatsoever that – even as FDR employed the class warfare of socialism – the rich got richer while the poor got poorer.  Income tax revenues plunged as the wealthy sheltered their wealth from the high tax rates and the poor paid an increasingly high overall percentage of tax revenues via excise taxes.  Regulations mandating higher pay for workers priced those workers right out of their jobs.  Folsom provides the official data to back it up.

Check out this fact from page 127 of New Deal or Raw Deal?:

In 1929, prior to FDR demonizing the rich, income taxes accounted for 38% of total revenue collected, and corporate income taxes accounted for 43%.  Excise taxes which burdened the poor only counted for 19% of revenues.  By 1938, the rich and the corporations had protected themselves from FDR’s demagogic tax policies (but the poor couldn’t), such that the only 24% was collected in income taxes (versus 38%) and only 29% from corporate income taxes (versus 43%).  Meanwhile the poor-punishing excise taxes (e.g. gasoline tax) soared from 19% to 47% of the total taxes collected.  Meanwhile, when income taxes were kept low, the wealthy invariably paid FAR MORE in the total tax revenue as they put their money out to invest in and expand the economy in pursuit of the profits.  And they created millions of jobs in doing so.

And guess what?  Regulations mandating higher wages are STILL killing jobs now that Obama is doing it.

And the exact same mindset is yielding the exact same results ALL OVER AGAIN.  Obama has put the fear of God (actually the fear of the Soviet-style STATE) into the wealthy and the corporations.  They keep hearing Obama demagogue them, and they keep sheltering their money.  And they will CONTINUE to keep doing that until the threat of Obama is gone.  Just like they did with FDR.

Here we are today, with “the New FDR,” Barack Obama.  Who is the top dog on Obama’s economic team?  Why lo and behold, it is none other than GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, crony capitalist extraordinaire whose big corporation has REPEATEDLY benefitted from a cozy insider relationship with big government.  And consider how Obama literally took big auto makers GM and Chrysler away from their legitimate shareholders and gave them to big unions.

Regarding “crony capitalism,” I made a sweeping statement in a previous article:

That said, there is also a deliberate and fundamental misunderstanding of fascism by the left.  If you read leftists, you come away thinking that somehow “fascism” is the takeover of a state by corporations. But stop and think: Hitler, Himmler, Eichmann, Hess and all the other key Nazis WEREN’T corporate CEOs who took over the state; THEY WERE SOCIALIST POLITICIANS WHO TOOK OVER THE CORPORATIONS.  They usurped the corporations and FORCED them to perform THEIR agenda.  They either performed the Nazis’ will or they were simply taken away from their rightful owners and nationalized.

And to the degree that German crony capitalist corporations helped Hitler in his rise to power, THEY WERE JUST MORE USEFUL IDIOTS.

The same sort of takeover of German corporations by socialists is building in America.  Take Maxine Waters, a liberal Democrat, as the perfect example.  What did she say of the oil companies?

“This liberal will be all about socializing … uh uh … would be about … basically … taking over … and the government running all of your companies.”

THAT’S what Hitler did, too.  Hitler got this power through regulations that required corporations to do his bidding, just like Obama has now REPEATEDLY done.

And then consider how willing Maxine Waters used “crony capitalism” (which is the essence of developing fascism) to directly personally benefit even as she shaped the banking industry.

The Democrat party is the party of socialism.  It is the party of Marxism.  It is the party of fascism.

I stand by that sweeping statement.  People need to realize that “Nazi” stood for “National SOCIALIST German Workers Party,” and that both Nazi socialism and Soviet socialism were big government socialist tyrannies that failed their people.  As to our own experiment with socialism here in the USA, I point out in an article that explains how “Government Sponsored Enterprises” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac policies led us into economic implosion in spite of warnings for YEARS prior to the 2008 economic collapse:

But rigid opposition from Democrats – especially Democrats like Senator Barack Obamawho took more campaign money from Fannie and Freddie and dirty crony capitalism outfits like corrupt Lehman Bros. than ANYONE in his short Senate stint – prevented any “hope and change” of necessary reform from saving the US economy.

The timeline is clear: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were giant behemoths that began to stagger under their own corrupt weight, as even the New York Times pointed out:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are so big — they own or guarantee roughly half of the nation’s $12 trillion mortgage market — that the thought that they might falter once seemed unimaginable. But now a trickle of worries about the companies, which has been slowly building for years, has suddenly become a torrent.

And it was FANNIE and FREDDIE that collapsed FIRST before ANY of the private investment banks, which collapsed as a result of having purchased the very mortgaged backed securities that the Government Sponsored Enterprises SOLD THEM.  It wasn’t until Fannie and Freddie collapsed that investors began to look with horror at all the junk that these GSE boondoggles had been pimping.

The man who predicted the collapse in 1999 wrote a follow-up article titled, “Blame Fannie Mae and Congress For the Credit Mess.”  It really should have read, “Blame DEMOCRATS.”  Because they were crawling all over these GSEs that they had themselves created like the cockroaches they are.  But Wallison is nonpartisan

Barack and Michelle Obama have a documented personal history of crony capitalism:

The Chicago way is a very, very ugly way.  And Obama has been in it up to his eyeballs.  Chicago is a dirty place filled with dirty politicians – and Obama was perfectly at home with all the dirt.

That Chicago corruption extends right into Obama’s home, by way of his wife Michelle.  This is a woman who sat on high-paying boards in direct quid-pro-quo consequences of Obama advancing in public office.  And in some of those boards, she participated in the worst kind of hospital patient-dumping.

Here’s a video of Michelle Obama you ought to watch – if you can stand the revelations:

Too bad we voted to nationalize the Chicago Way.

I also pointed out that when you attacked employers, the ones who would be hit the most and the hardest would be EMPLOYEES.

Take a look at what’s happening to small businesses, which create at least half of all the jobs in America, under Obama.  How about the fewest new business startups since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking it:

Through the 12 months ended in March of last year, 505,473 new businesses started up in the U.S., according to the latest data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the weakest growth since the bureau started tracking the data in the early 1990s. It’s down sharply from the record 667,341 new businesses added in the 12 months that ended in March 2006.

And we can tie this right back to crony capitalism, as Obama has created a system in which larger businesses are protected against the threat of competition from smaller businesses:

Many times large corporations will even lobby for more regulations  for their  own industry because they know that they can handle all of the  rules and  paperwork far easier than their smaller competitors can.   After all, a  large corporation with an accounting department can easily  handle filling out a  few thousand more forms, but for a small business  with only a handful  of employees that kind of paperwork is a major  logistical nightmare.

When it comes to hiring new employees, the federal government has  made the  process so complicated and so expensive for small businesses  that it is  hardly worth it anymore.  Things have gotten so bad that more  small  businesses than ever are only hiring part-time workers or  independent  contractors.

So what we actually have now is a situation where small businesses  have lots of incentives not to hire more workers, and if they really do need some extra help the rules make it much more profitable to do  whatever you can to keep from bringing people on as full-time   employees.

And who do all these rules and regulations hurt the most but the very people Democrats cynically and deceitfully claim they are trying to help?  Meanwhile, who does it help the most but the crony capitalist corporations who DON’T do most of the hiring in America who can profit from Obama’s war on business that results in the destruction of their small business competition.

A recent report by the National Federation of Independent Business points out that small businesses are planning to SHRINK rather than EXPAND their payrolls under Obama.  From the New York Times:

A Slowdown for Small Businesses
By CATHERINE RAMPELL
Published: June 14, 2011

In the latest sign that the economic recovery may have lost whatever modest oomph it had, more small businesses say that they are planning to shrink their payrolls than say they want to expand them.

That is according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group that regularly surveys its membership of small businesses across America.

The federation’s report for May showed the worst hiring prospects in eight months. The finding provides a glimpse into the pessimism of the nation’s small firms as they put together their budgets for the coming season, and depicts a more gloomy outlook than other recent (if equally lackluster) economic indicators because this one is forward-looking.

While big companies are buoyed by record profits, many small businesses, which employ half of the country’s private sector workers, are still struggling to break even. And if the nation’s small companies plan to further delay hiring — or, worse, return to laying off workers, as they now hint they might — there is little hope that the nation’s 14 million idle workers will find gainful employment soon.

“Never in the 37-year history of our company have we seen anything at all like this,” said Frank W. Goodnight, president of Diversified Graphics, a publishing company in Salisbury, N.C. He says there is “no chance” he will hire more workers in the months ahead.

“We’re being squeezed on all sides,” he says.

So let me ask again the question that the Los Angeles Times phrased: “Why are the wealthy benefitting from the ‘recovery’ as workers struggle?

And the answer is simple: because Barack Obama and the Democrat Party are socialist who have destroyed the engine that creates the jobs that workers depend upon to flourish.

An interesting fact is that businesses are now forced to spend $1.7 TRILLION a year in regulatory compliance costs.  That is a massive hidden tax on their viability; it exceeds the overt income taxes businesses have to pay, and it most certainly exceeds their profits.  And right now Obama is attacking them via the Dodd-Frank regulatory legislation, via the EPA, via OSHA, via ObamaCare and via the ridiculous actions of the NLRB in addition to their tax burden.  Just to name a few.  The result is businesses terrified to expand and further place their necks under Obama’s axe blade.

Meanwhile, Obama’s socialist policies have not only devastated the worker by destroying his jobs, but they’ve ruined America on numerous other levels, too.  Take the housing crisis – which was THE cause of the economic implosion of 2008.  Did Obama make it better?  Well, here’s a headline for you from CNBC: “US Housing Crisis Is Now Worse Than Great Depression.”  Which is to say that Democrats – who first created the housing crisis by refusing to allow the regulation of their pet socialist wealth redistribution agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – took something awful and turned it into an American Dream-massacring nightmare.

The latest job figures simply further document my point: Obama is destroying America job by job.  Not only did the unemployment rate go up to 9.2% (Obama promised the American people that the unemployment rate would be 7.1% by now if he got his massive government-spending stimulus); not only were the previous two month figures adjusted DOWNWARD by some 45,000 jobs; not only have a third of the unemployed been unemployed for at least a YEAR with fully half of the unemployed having been unemployed for over six months (which is unprecedented); not only did the economy create an incredibly dismal 18,000 jobs (versus the 100,000 the economists naively expected); but a quarter million more people simply walked away from the workforce entirely – abandoning any hope that Obama will do anything more than crush their hopes of finding a job.

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The Untold Story Of How A Man And His Gun Saved The Day During Tucson Shooting

January 12, 2011

One of the most heroic stories during the horrific shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and many others is the story of Joe Zamudio:

Joe Zamudio was buying a pack of cigarettes nearby when the first shots were fired. “I ran out the doors and there is a man running and he says, ‘Shooter. Shooter. Get down,'” says Zamudio.

John Blackstone: “You heard the shots and you went running toward the shots?”

Zamudio: “I know. That’s pretty crazy, huh?”

Well, certainly pretty incredible, anyway.  Just imagine yourself running – completely unarmed – toward a mass-murdering shooter.

Would you do that?  I sure don’t think I would.

Ah, but it turns out that neither did Zamudio.  Pay particular attention beginning at 4:39 in the Youtube video:

A transcript of the most relevant moment of the interview:

Ed Shultz: “Did you ever think of drawing your firearm or did you make the determination that you didn’t have to?”

Joe Zamudio: “Sir, when I came through the door I had my hand on the butt of my pistol and I clicked the safety off.  I was ready to kill him.  But I didn’t have to do that and I was very blessed that I didn’t have to go to that place.”

Schultz:  “You would have used that firearm?”

Zamudio:  “You’re damn right!”

And pardon my saying so, but damn right he was damn right.

But it’s important to recognize that Joe Zamudio did NOT run unarmed toward a killer who was gunning unarmed people down.  Joe Zamudio was armed himself.  Rather than being a helpless target, Joe Zamudio was a warrior who ran toward a shooting scene because he knew that he could fight the slimebag on his own terms.

Had he not been so armed, the events would almost certainly have been very different – and far more tragic.

It’s still not clear exactly what happened immediately before Joe Zamudio ran onto the scene and put the forces of light over the top in a deadly battle with the forces of darkness.

The man who started the takedown of monster Jared Loughner was a 74 year-old retired Army colonel named Bill Badger (and thank God for a soldier to have been in the right place at the right time) who had been shot in the head and bleeding heavily.  Somehow even though seriously wounded he managed to grab Loughner by the wrist and took the killer down to the ground.

Here’s the basic account from the Washington Post:

TUCSON, Ariz. — Three people helped subdue a gunman accused of attempting to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six people at a political event in Arizona.

Pima Co. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says Patricia Maisch (MAYSH) was waiting in line with her husband to get a photo with Giffords. When the shooting started, she ran up to the suspect and grabbed the empty magazine, then grabbed a full magazine as he was loading it into the gun.

Two men helped subdue the suspect – Roger Sulzgeber (SULZ-gay-ber), who was also in line, and Joseph Zimudie (Zah-MOO-die), who was at a nearby Walgreens and heard the shooting.

Maisch says she believes the two men got to the gun the same time she got to the magazine.

And here’s the account of 61 year-old heroine Patricia Maisch:

Ms Maisch told Channel 4 News that she had been waiting in line to meet the Congresswoman when she heard what she realised was a gunshot.

“In that split second I had to make a decision whether to run or to lay down on the ground,” she told our Washington Correspondent, Sarah Smith.

“I decided I would be a target if I ran because the gunman was now just steps from me and I lay down.”

A teenage girl next to her – being shielded by her mother – was shot three times.

“I was laying there on the concrete wondering how bad it was going to be and how it was going to hurt,” she said.

“And, instead of a gunshot , the shooter was now on the ground just on top of me nearly – and there were two gentlemen on top of him.

Somebody said ‘get the gun’, and I was already up on my knees and over his waist. The gun was out of my reach, but he was reaching into his pocket with his left hand and pulling out a magazine, which fell on the sidewalk.

“I managed to get the magazine before he could get it. I got it secure in my hand.”

While Ms Maisch knelt on the gunman’s legs and ankles to stop him flailing, she noticed that one of the men also helping hold him down was bleeding from a head wound

You get a sense of just how critical the moment was that Joe Zamudio sprinted onto the scene.  Patricia Maisch was lying on the ground waiting to die when all of a sudden a heroic struggle began to take place.

But just how long was a seriously wounded and bleeding 74 year-old man going to be able to take on and control a 22 year-old psychopath?  Not very.

Had Joe Zamudio not arrived at the moment he did, a terrible and tragic scene would have been at least TWICE as terrible and tragic.  Police were still minutes away.

And Joe Zamudio was able to race toward the gunfire when everyone else was literally running away from it because he was armed.  With a gun.

Now, allow me to digress for a moment to point out that most mainstream media accounts make out Patricia Maisch to be the hero who disarmed the shooter.  Why?  Well, because the colonel is a military man – and the left despises the military.  And Joe Zamudio (more about what the left says about him in a moment) was carrying a gun.  Which means he’s clearly a villain.

This is what we’ve got from ABC’s “The View” regarding what they think about Joe Zamudio – a guy who only selflessly raced from safety to confront a killer, turn the tide and saved a whole bunch of lives:

“Looks like white trash, talks like white trash and for all intents and purposes, IS WHITE TRASH. This thug said he “carries” a gun and unlocked the safety and was “ready to kill” (in his words). He later went on to say he was “blessed” that he didn’t have to. Can we say oxymoron here? Sickening.”

You and I have a very different notion of what is “sickening,” you slimeball.  Tag, you’re it.

I took a screenshot of ABC’s website, because you know this is going to be taken down – liberals and “moral courage” go together like peanut butter and spinach – and liberals will be denying that, yes, they really ARE this amazingly vile and loathsome:

[Click on image to enlarge]

How many times do I have to say this?  If you are a liberal, you ought to be ashamed.  Just ashamed.

And the above gets right to the heart of why I got into blogging: because while I haven’t had to display the courage of Joe Zamudio, I’ll be damned if I’m going to do nothing and allow depraved moral idiot liberal slimeballs like our example above to spew his filth.

The mainstream media leftists are going to tell this story in their own image, but the fact of the matter is that if it hadn’t been for that “white trash” “thug” Joe Zamudio and his gun, no rational mind even wants to think about how many more innocent people would have been murdered or terribly wounded.

There’s an interesting thing about such shootings involving crazed psychos: the degree of carnage is directly related to how long it takes before another gun shows up. The cities and states with the most restrictive gun control laws have the highest levels of gun violence because criminals don’t care about laws.

White House Implosion Approaching

March 8, 2010

We’re seeing growing sings that all is most certainly not well in the Camelot Part Deux that liberals wanted to recreate in the Obama White House.  Obama himself is cracking under the stress, smoking too much and drinking too much.  I think we’d all like it if the man who had the responsibility of imposing his will on an Iran determined to develop nuclear ICBMs had at least enough willpower to impose his will on the next pack of cigarettes.  Meanwhile, Obama’s Chicago-thug “fearsome foursome” who form his paranoid inner circle are taking all kinds of heat – and showing signs of meltdown from all the gear-clashing.

Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel – Mr. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste” himself – has been under fire from liberals who want to blame him for the near-total failure Obama’s first year has been.  But Emanuel has some allies in the press as well, who have come out to make a strong defense (mayhap with Rahm’s help?) at the direct expense of Obama.  I mean, the mainstream media is blaming the failure of the Obama administration on Emanuel’s lack of discipline and management skills, while other parts of the mainstream media argue that Rahm Emanuel is the only thing preventing Obama from ending up worse than Jimmy Carter.  I mean, you know there are a lot of hurt feelings and dead bodies in closets at the White House with this stuff going on.

And now we see the glue is coming off the veneer of David Axelrod, too.

March 6, 2010
Obama Message Maven Finds Fingers Pointing at Him
By MARK LEIBOVICH

WASHINGTON — David Axelrod was sitting at his desk on a recent afternoon — tie crooked, eyes droopy and looking more burdened than usual. He had just been watching some genius on MSNBC insist that he and President Obama’s other top aides were failing miserably and should be replaced.

Typical Washington junk we have to deal with,” Mr. Axelrod said in an interview. The president is deft at blocking out such noise, he added, suddenly brightening. “I love the guy,” he said, and in the space of five minutes, repeated the sentiment twice.

Critics, pointing to the administration’s stalled legislative agenda, falling poll numbers and muddled messaging, suggest that kind of devotion is part of the problem at the White House. Recent news reports have cast the White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, as the administration’s chief pragmatist, and Mr. Axelrod, by implication, as something of a swooning loyalist. A “Moonie,” dismissed Mr. Axelrod’s close friend, former Commerce Secretary William Daley. Or as the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, joked, “the guy who walks in front of the president with rose petals.”

Still, it is a charge that infuriates Mr. Axelrod, the president’s closest aide, longest-serving adviser and political alter ego. “I guess I have been castigated for believing too deeply in the president,” he said, lapsing into the sarcasm he tends to deploy when playing defense.

No one has taken the perceived failings of the administration more personally or shown the strain as plainly as Mr. Axelrod, who as White House senior adviser oversees every aspect of how Mr. Obama is presented. As such, Mr. Axelrod, the president’s mustachioed message maven, has felt the brunt of criticism over what many view as the administration’s failure to clearly define and disseminate Mr. Obama’s agenda and accomplishments for the country.

“The Obama White House has lost the narrative in the way that the Obama campaign never did,” said James Morone, a political scientist at Brown University. “They essentially took the president’s great strength as a messenger and failed to use it smartly.”

Mr. Axelrod said he accepts some blame for what he called “communication failures,” though he acknowledges bafflement that the administration’s efforts to stimulate the economy in a crisis, overhaul health care and prosecute two wars have been so routinely framed by opponents as the handiwork of a big-government, soft-on-terrorism, politics-of-the-past ideologue.

“For me, the question is, why haven’t we broken through more than we have?” Mr. Axelrod said. “Why haven’t we broken through?”

That question has dogged Mr. Axelrod in recent months and has preoccupied Mr. Obama’s inner circle, fueling speculation that the vaunted “No Drama Obama” team might be fracturing. Not surprisingly, the White House has no patience with the notion.

“You guys want to fit people into boxes and categories that are just not accurate,” Mr. Emanuel said.

Mr. Axelrod would not discuss what counsel he offered to Mr. Obama, though he denies any “fissure with my buddy Rahm” and any charge that he is too infatuated with the president to recognize the political risks of his ambitious agenda.

“Believe me, if we were charting this administration as a political exercise, the first thing we would have done would not have been a massive recovery act, stabilizing the banks and helping to keep the auto companies from collapsing,” he said. “Those would not even be the first hundred things he would want to do.”

But Mr. Axelrod argued that the president, confronted with “breathtaking challenges,” did not have the luxury of moving more slowly or methodically.

In a lengthy interview in his office on Wednesday, Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a “flying” expletive “about what the peanut gallery thinks” and did not live for the approval “of the political community.” He denounced the “rampant lack of responsibility” of people in Washington who refuse to solve problems, and cited the difficulty of trying to communicate through what he calls “the dirty filter” of a city suffused with the “every day is Election Day sort of mentality.”

When asked how he would assess his performance, Mr. Axelrod shrugged. “I’m not going to judge myself on that score,” he said. But then he shot back: “Have I succeeded in reversing a 30-year trend of skepticism and cynicism about government? I confess that I have not. Maybe next year.”

The criticism of the administration’s communication strategy — leveled by impatient Democrats, gleeful Republicans, bloggers and cable chatterers — clearly stings Mr. Axelrod, as well as the circle of family, friends and fans he has acquired over three decades in politics as a consultant and, before that, a reporter for The Chicago Tribune.

“Every time I hear that the White House is getting the message wrong, it breaks my heart,” said Mr. Axelrod’s sister, Joan, an educational therapist in Boston. “I know he agonizes.”

Ms. Axelrod says that while her brother is devoted to Mr. Obama, he is not a sycophant. She paused when asked whether he admired the president too much. “He is very, very loyal, sometimes to a fault,” she said.

Added Mr. Gibbs: “The list of people who have to deliver bad news to the president is very small, and David is first on that list. I’m probably second.”

Mr. Axelrod’s friends worry about the toll of his job — citing his diet (cold-cut-enriched), his weight (20 pounds heavier than at the start of the presidential campaign), sleep deprivation (five fitful hours a night), separation from family (most back home in Chicago) and the fact that at 55, he is considerably older than many of the wunderkind workaholics of the West Wing. He wakes at 6 in his rented condominium just blocks from the White House and typically returns around 11.

Unlike other presidential alter egos, Mr. Axelrod is not viewed as a surrogate “brain” (like Karl Rove), a suspicious outsider (like Dick Morris in the Clinton White House) or a co-president (James Baker in the first Bush White House). Sometimes portrayed as a bare-knuckled Chicago operative, he is also a bantering walrus of a man in mustard-stained sleeves who describes himself as a “kibbitzer,” not a “policy guy.”

Sitting at his desk next door to the Oval Office last week, he was tearing into a five-inch corned beef sandwich on rye with a Flintstone-size turkey drumstick waiting on deck. “I am the poster child for the president’s obesity program,” he said.

A few minutes later, Mr. Obama walked in unannounced, scattering two aides like startled pigeons. “Hey,” Mr. Axelrod said by way of greeting (no “sir” or “Mr. President.”) Mr. Obama surveyed the spread on Mr. Axelrod’s desk with a slight smirk.

“What is this, King Arthur’s court?” he asked, then pulled Mr. Axelrod aside to talk about a health care speech he was about to deliver.

Mr. Axelrod is often at the president’s side; he sits in on policy and national security meetings and is routinely the last person he talks to before making a decision. He directs every aspect of the administration’s external presentation, overseeing polls, focus groups and speeches and appearing on the Sunday shows. Mr. Emanuel describes Mr. Axelrod as “an integrator of the three P’s” — press, policy and politics — “and how they make a whole.”

White House officials describe Mr. Axelrod’s focus as big themes rather than day-to-day sound bites. There has been no shortage of Democrats willing to second-guess his messaging approach.

“They made a big mistake right out of the box with the Inaugural Address,” said former Senator Bob Kerrey, adding that a president pledging bipartisanship should not have disparaged the previous administration in his speech, as many listeners believed Mr. Obama did.

Read the rest at the New York Times.

Of course, they are continuing to make the same mistake of blaming Bush over and over and over again on a daily basis over a year later.

And that does go to the core of the Obama failure: the inability to match his rhetoric with reality, or even his rhetoric with his own rhetoric.

The man who pledged bipartisanship and a transcendent ability to reach across the divide and bring the country together has blamed and demonized the Bush administration and the Republican Party every single time he “reached.”

The man who promised transparency, who promised repeatedly to open up the entire “bipartisan” health care negotiations on C-SPAN, has not never even bothered to try to do so (and dang I wish I could have seen the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, Gator-Aid, and various other acts of illegal political patronage being negotiated), but has routinely had closed door meetings which were not open to the press, the public, or certainly the Republicans.  Meanwhile, the Democrats have been so byzantine, so secretive, so wheeling-dealing, that even senior Democrats have had to acknowledge they were completely in the dark as to what in the sam hill was going on.

And of course now we have the same Obama who basically said that reconciliation was a totalitarian act of “simply majoritarian absolute power” that was both unconstitutional and as partisan and evil as Karl Rove is, now saying that it’s okay as long as he’s doing it “to maintain his strong presidency.”

That’s just health care.  You can take almost any other issue and find the same thing with Obama.  Foreign policy?  Take Renditions.  Take Eavesdropping programs.  Take the Patriot Act.  Take  Gitmo.  Take the surge strategy.  Take the Iraq War.  Take the  Iranian nuclear threat.  And now, take military tribunals.  In every single one of these cases Obama personally demonized the Bush position, and then did the same thing himself without ever once having the integrity to say that George Bush had been right and he had been wrong.  Energy policy?  Obama so completely abandoned his own stated energy policy promises that a senior Democrat was forced to say that Obama “is beginning not to be believable to me.”

I have to say I feel sorry for the messengers who are being hounded for not being able to get the White House message out: it’s full of lies and deceit; how do you make all the Obama lies look good without telling a whole bunch of other lies?

Then you’ve got the fact that a whole bunch of Democrats across the spectrum are just furious with the Obama administration for massively expensive policies that didn’t work and for sheer flagrant incompetence.

How do you make a turd look good?

The one word that most accurately frames this piece is, “Wah.”  The people who most successfully demagogued mainstream media narratives when it came to George Bush and Republicans are the biggest bunch of thin-skinned whining crybabies I’ve ever seen.  Someone else is ALWAYS to blame with these people.

And when they demonize Republicans for their criticisms when the Obama team has done nothing BUT demonize Bush and Republicans, it is beyond disgusting and even beyond despicable.

What couldn’t be more obvious about Obama’s inner circle – political rather than policy experts all – is that all they can do well is campaign.  So they constantly campaign in campaign mode, and then cry the moment anybody suggests they’re doing anything because of “politics.”  I mean, think about it: the same man who lambasts the press for their “every day is Election Day sort of mentality,” is the guy who is closer than anyone to Obama – and  who spends all his time as the “integrator of the three P’s” — press, policy and politics — “and how they make a whole.

I mean, how DARE you people accurately describe us as what we are, and consider policies from the same uber-political perspective that WE consider them.  HOW DARE YOU!

The Obama inner circle lives in a bunker and embraces a “bunker-view mentality” to the world.  In contradiction to their statements to the contrary, they are hyper-hyper sensitive to any skepticism at all.  And their growing problem is that the nastiest skepticism of all isn’t coming from “the right” or from Fox News, but from their very own left and from media that should be in their pockets.

I don’t know how long it’s going to take before it happens, but this president and this inner White House circle are heading for a meltdown of epic proportions.