As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Tag Archives: Obama

Obama: We Have Common Values with Brazil; Similar History

During his press conference at the White House Tuesday with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, President Obama asserted that Brazil and the United States are “similar.”

A lot of people wouldn’t have noticed this, but Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit did. And it’s a serious part of the problem with Obama.

He said:

Our common values, the strong people-to-people relations that we have, the fact that we are the largest countries in the hemisphere with similar histories — I think all that means that we should be very strong partners for years to come.

Similar histories? Does this sound like your history? From the New York Times’ “Brief History of Brazil:”

Pedro had ideas of his own: he proclaimed Brazil’s independence on September 7, 1822, and established the Brazilian empire. Nine years later, following a period of internal unrest and costly foreign wars, the emperor stepped aside in favor of his five-year-old son, Pedro II. A series of regents ruled until 1840, when the second Pedro was 14 and Parliament decreed him “of age.”

Brazil has spent its history rocking back and forth from monarchy to military juntas to a republic and back. For now, it’s a republic.

Sure, Obama was in part playing a little mood music to make Dilma think the American people love Brazil for something other than Pelé and Brazilian nuts, which aren’t particularly popular, BTW. But that he could even say such a thing speaks voluminously about his attitude toward his own country.

Obama Rousseff

Obama thinks our culture is malleable, changing all the time, moving forward, and so on and so forth. He had to force himself during his presidency to say he is an American exceptionalist, because actually he is not.

He thinks all cultures are basically equal and that ours has succeeded as much because of the evil within it – greed, oppression, etc. – as it has because of what’s good about it. Actually, he doesn’t really think ours has succeeded at all, because of income inequality. We neglect to spread the wealth around.

And of course, all cultures being equal, what harm can it do to permit millions of people from one country, Mexico, to flood into the America over just a few short years. Change is good!

Here are some of the similar Brazilian values to ours.

Uh, on second thought, it does look kind of like our culture.

Maybe it is in fact too late to preserve the Western Europe-based value system that guided this country to its preeminence. Sure, spiced up by other cultures, including that of my ancestors – Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.

But not supplanted by other cultures. And not even “similar” to them.

Video || Obama Jokes: “I Love Press Conferences”

Thought this was kind of funny.

Of course, he hates speaking to the press. George W. Bush, whom I also covered, didn’t like it either, and stayed away as often as he could.

Bill Clinton, whose last few years I covered, loved press conferences – except during the Lewinsky scandal, when he stopped talking to the free press – and was really good at them.

Because he loves attention. In fact, during the last years of his presidency, in the post-Monica era, I heard reporters complain that they couldn’t get away from Bill Clinton. He took questions every time he appeared in public. He’d drop by the press cabin during Air Force One flights and wear everyone out. There were times I was afraid people were going to run out of things to ask him.

And then there was George H.W. Bush, whom I didn’t cover. He held 56 solo press conferences in the first two years of his presidency alone, nearly three times as many as Obama during the same period and eight times as many as his son.

A lot of good it did him.

White House Bathed in Rainbow

The White House Friday evening was lit up in rainbow, the symbol of the gay rights movement.

white house colors 3

Addressing a heckler the other day, President Obama complained that he was being interrupted in “my house.” It is not his house. It is the people’s house. All the people. And it should not be used as a billboard for his agenda.

Obama has every right to his opinion on this matter. But for many people, the Supreme Court’s legalization of gay marriage is deeply traumatic. His decision, as president of everyone, to rub this Court ruling in their faces is simply despicable.

Obama: Prejudice “Still Infects Our Society”

President Obama Friday used the Charleston, South Carolina funeral of the murdered Rev. Clementa Pinckney to tie the problems of the black community to racism, indicting an American society he says continues to harbor deep prejudices and willingly ignores the hatred, to the detriment of African Americans.

Pinckney was the leader of Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he and eight other African Americans were slaughtered by a young white man during a bible study class.

Delivering the eulogy at times in the cadence of a black preacher, Obama went further than I’ve ever heard him casting problems in this country in racial terms. His commentary, while no doubt heartfelt, will regrettably focus the country more on its divisions and less on the solutions to the problems facing blacks, which today have little to do with prejudice and much to do with culture.

While Obama may well be correct that what ills the black community stems for the legacy of racism, severe prejudice is no longer widespread, and the problems for minorities and the divisions within society can only be stoked further by providing a false narrative that says others are now holding African Americans back.

Obama said Americans must not be complacent about the racism that exists among them and must combat it by making “lasting change:”

It would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again. (Applause.) Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on, to go back to business as usual — that’s what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society. (Applause.) To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change — that’s how we lose our way again.

Obama said the removal of the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s capitol was an expression of “God’s grace,” adding, “I don’t think God wants us to stop there.”

He then suggested a host of ills he indicated are related to racism and could be ameliorated, at least in part, by self-examination by those harboring bias:

For too long, we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present. Perhaps we see that now. Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career. (Applause.)

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we’re doing to cause some of our children to hate. (Applause.) Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system — (applause) — and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias; that we embrace changes in how we train and equip our police so that the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve make us all safer and more secure. (Applause.)

Maybe we now realize the way racial bias can infect us even when we don’t realize it, so that we’re guarding against not just racial slurs, but we’re also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview but not Jamal. (Applause.) So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote. (Applause.) By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what’s necessary to make opportunity real for every American — by doing that, we express God’s grace. (Applause.)

Gun control, too, would be an expression of “God’s grace.”

When eight of our brothers and sisters are cut down in a church basement, 12 in a movie theater, 26 in an elementary school. But I hope we also see the 30 precious lives cut short by gun violence in this country every single day; the countless more whose lives are forever changed — the survivors crippled, the children traumatized and fearful every day as they walk to school, the husband who will never feel his wife’s warm touch, the entire communities whose grief overflows every time they have to watch what happened to them happen to some other place.

The vast majority of Americans — the majority of gun owners — want to do something about this. We see that now. (Applause.) And I’m convinced that by acknowledging the pain and loss of others, even as we respect the traditions and ways of life that make up this beloved country — by making the moral choice to change, we express God’s grace. (Applause.)

The president thinks he’s in a position to interpret God’s will. He seems to be deploying the colloquial “What would Jesus do?” as a tool for making policy, and he is convinced he has the answer.

He doesn’t. But the belief that he does could prove an ominous sign for the remaining 18 months of a presidency increasingly marked by fiat and unilateral action.

And race is increasingly becoming the defining feature of a presidency that was supposed to usher in a “post-racial society.”

Obama Invokes Founding Fathers in Lauding Gay Marriage Ruling

In an emotional statement from the Rose Garden, President Obama Friday said the 5-4 Supreme Court decision ratifying gay marriage was borne of the principles undergirding the founding of our country.

Obama said:

Our nation was founded on a bedrock principle that we are all created equal. The project of each generation is to bridge the meaning of those founding words with the realities of changing times — a never-ending quest to ensure those words ring true for every single American . . .  today we can say — in no uncertain terms — that we’ve made our union a little more perfect.

Such ringing language comes from a president who until just a few years ago himself supposedly opposed gay marriage, though everyone knew that was just to get elected president.

Perhaps somewhat defensively, Obama recited a list of his actions on gay rights, including refusing to defend the “discriminatory” Defense of Marriage Act and ending “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which were policies of Bill Clinton.

“I know change for many of our LGBT brothers and sisters must have seemed so slow for so long,” he said, not acknowledging his own slowness to publicly endorse gay marriage. “But compared to so many other issues, America’s shift has been so quick.”

He added:

Progress on this journey often comes in small increments. Sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.

Obama acknowledged that some may oppose gay marriage based on “sincere” beliefs, and that those who held them were “Americans of goodwill.” But that seems hardly consistent with his casting of the issue as a moral and Constitutional imperative. What’s more, he called on advocates to “reach back” and help them change their minds:

I know that Americans of goodwill continue to hold a wide range of views on this issue. Opposition in some cases has been based on sincere and deeply held beliefs.  All of us who welcome today’s news should be mindful of that fact; recognize different viewpoints; revere our deep commitment to religious freedom.

But today should also give us hope that on the many issues with which we grapple, often painfully, real change is possible. Shifts in hearts and minds is possible.  And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them. Because for all our differences, we are one people, stronger together than we could ever be alone.  That’s always been our story.

Unity then, is a good, as long as everyone is united behind the president’s position.

Obama invoked Robert Kennedy as well, bringing the liberal spirit of the 1960s into the modern Rose Garden with him:

Folks who were willing to endure bullying and taunts, and stayed strong, and came to believe in themselves and who they were, and slowly made an entire country realize that love is love.

What an extraordinary achievement.  What a vindication of the belief that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.  What a reminder of what Bobby Kennedy once said about how small actions can be like pebbles being thrown into a still lake, and ripples of hope cascade outwards and change the world.

America today jettisoned millennia of thinking about what marriage is. Perhaps the leader of this nation should be a little less certain that he knows better than all who came before him. And a little less certain he knows better than the Bible. Neither he nor anyone else understands the consequences of such dramatic change, which Obama himself said, struck like a “thunderbolt.”

This Supreme Court decision will cause wrenching divisions related to individual and religious freedoms. The president of all of us today should be a little less of an advocate and a little more of a healer, and a leader.

Obama Heckled at White House LGBT Event

I’m not really sure I’ve ever seen a president heckled in the White House. And President Obama, quite properly, was having none of it.

Obama was speaking during a White House LGBT event when someone from the LGBTQ group Get Equal named Jennicet Gutierrez began interrupting him. Q, um, is for “questioning.”

She is described by ABC News as “transgender and undocumented” – uh oh, lots of possible angles here – and “shouting claims about bad detention conditions for LGBTQ immigrants in the United States.”

Obama handled the situation with aplomb. Sometimes he overindulges hecklers, IMO. But this time, he calmly but firmly had the person shown the door.

From the pool report:

The president seemed less patient than usual and quickly asked the heckler, who your pooler could hear but not see, to leave.

“Hold on a sec,” said Obama. “Ok. You know what. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. No, no, no, no. Hey, listen, you are in my house,” he added, to cheers from the audience.

“You know know what? It’s not respectful when you get invited to somebody [‘s house]. You are not going to get a good response from me by interrupting me like this. Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this.”

As the crowd also became impatient and began booing and sshing the heckler, Obama had the heckler removed.

“Can we escort this person out? Can we have this person removed please,” said the president.

“As a general rule, I am just fine with a few hecklers but not when I am up in the house,” he added to laughter from the crowd. “If you are eating the hors d’oeuvres, know what I’m sayin’?, and drinking the booze . . . I know that’s right.”

Frankly, I’m surprised the Secret Service wasn’t on this a little more quickly. Or maybe I’m not.

Here’s another angle.

Obama’s Contradictory, Appalling New Hostage Policy

President Obama Wednesday announced a new policy regarding U.S. hostages that is designed, albeit not purposely, to get more Americans kidnapped and killed. The policy, in short, is that while the government still may not ransom hostages, private citizens can – even though it’s against the law – and will be aided by the government… Continue Reading

Obama Says “We are not Cured” of Racism; Uses “N” Word

Dr. Barack Obama, in an interview released today, opined that the nation remains plagued with the malady of racism, despite some deceptive outward signs of health, like discontinued use of the “N” word. Obama offered his latest meditation about race on a podcast called “WTF.” He said: The legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution… Continue Reading

Obama Has Secret Dinner with Spielberg, Katzenberg

In a preview, perhaps, of the post-presidency lifestyle President Obama intends to lead, Obama had dinner Thursday with film moguls Stephen Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. No, the White House said, it wasn’t a shakedown for the DNC. “Just dinner with friends” that of course was not on the schedule or revealed to the press because “it was a private… Continue Reading

Obama Planning Weekend Golf Extravaganza

Man, the fun never stops. President Obama continues to cast a pall of unseriousness over his presidency, which was already of questionable seriousness, planning a weekend of golf out in California following two days of fundraising on the Left Coast. This just a week after throwing a White House bash for 500 of his closest friends.… Continue Reading