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Tag Archives: Obama

Obama Failed to Appoint Railroad Chief

Government spending boosters using the Philadelphia train derailment tragedy to demand more money for Amtrak might want to ask the White House why President Obama has failed for 127 days to even nominate an administrator for the Federal Railroad Administration, instead leaving in charge as “acting” chief a 37-year-old Obama loyalist who reportedly has little substantial railroad experience.

Running the agency is Sarah Feinberg, who was a close aide to Rahm Emanuel when he was White House chief of staff and who was married to former top Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer, though they have separated, according to a report.

Whatever her credentials and abilities – Feinberg is respected in Washington and, if she can survive working for Rahm, must have some degree of talent and tenacity – her role as “acting” chief limits her ability to get things done, according to Politico:

President Barack Obama has failed to nominate a leader for the Federal Railroad Administration for 127 days and counting, a vacancy that experts say could hamper the federal response to the accident that killed eight people and injured more than 200 others.

“Career employees who have been here before this administrator and will be here after this administrator know that an acting administrator has less authority,” said Peter Goelz, a former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, which has issued the FRA a flurry of recommended safeguards over the years that the agency has yet to implement. He said the lack of a permanent leader can only be a “detriment.”

The agency’s acting chief, Sarah Feinberg, is a former Facebook executive and ex-aide to Rahm Emanuel who has close ties to the White House and much popularity on the Hill — but little substantial railroad experience. And as only an interim boss, she faces obstacles in even attempting to make the changes that FRA critics want to see at the agency, which some lawmakers have lambasted as too slow to regulate and too cozy with the railroads it oversees.

The agency also hasn’t had a deputy administrator since September.

The White House praises Feinberg’s performance, which has included an aggressive outreach to Congress that won over some of the agency’s harshest critics. This week, she briefed more than a half-dozen lawmakers about the Amtrak crash and spent two days near the scene in Philadelphia, where sources say she headed barely 15 minutes after Tuesday night’s accident.

Still, the White House is showing no signs it plans to fill the slot anytime soon, let alone put her in it. And with lawmakers already pointing fingers in the wake of the crash, and reform proposals already being floated, experts said the FRA needs a permanent head who has the credibility that comes with Senate confirmation and is less immune to the political forces that will shape the response to the safety crisis.

If Feinberg is being road tested for the job, and Obama things she’s right for it, it’s time to install her. Or, perhaps better, put someone in the position who knows something about trains.

Democrats Get the Alinsky Treatment and THEY DON’T LIKE IT!

Aww. This is really breaking my heart.

Faced with opposition from within their own ranks, President Obama and the White House are ladling out some of the same nasty invective they routinely slather on Republicans, and all of a sudden Democrats are getting all sensitive and everything.

You probably are by now aware of the Saul Alinsky Rule for Radicals #12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” It’s a phrase the Obama people would affix to every doorpost of the West Wing like Mezuzahs if they could.

And now with this trade bill, Obama is reflexively using such tactics – because he doesn’t know how else to operate – on the home team.

He uttered that poor Elizabeth Warren is just “a politician like everybody else” and “her arguments don’t stand the test of fact and scrutiny.” Meanwhile, as for the rest of the Democrats, “They’re just wrong,” Obama exlaimed.

And liars, suggested White House press Secretary Josh Earnest.

“There is no need for this false criticism that members of Congress aren’t aware of what’s being negotiated,” Earnest said Monday in response to criticism that the deal was being kept secret. The unsecret deal is in a secret room, and they can go in there and read it, and if they don’t, they are irresponsible. “If they’re not aware of what’s being negotiated, it’s because they have failed to take the responsibility to read the document,” Earnest said.

According to The Hill, this is really hurting everyones feelings and could cause Obama to lose votes for the fast track trade bill in the House:

“You and I can disagree about policy, but I can’t call you a bad person or impugn your motives or anything else — except at great risk,” Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.), a liberal Democrat who’s undecided but leaning against the trade bill, said Wednesday. “Civility in this business is important.”

Now they tell us! I thought civility was only for Republicans when the gun issue pops up.

Appearing Wednesday on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” program, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) offered a similar critique, saying he was “disappointed” that Obama adopted an “insulting” tone toward Warren, while “acting like she has no legitimate point of view.”“If I was trying to persuade a friend, I wouldn’t start out by saying how deficient they were,” said Ellison.

Well that’s exactly right, Mr. Ellison. Please go tell this to the White House to help them understand one reason why they get so little done with Republicans.

Obama’s Liberal Certitudes

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough Thursday morning put his finger squarely on the most astonishing and dismaying thing about this president, which is that he is fully vested in the prosaic, anti-intellectual liberal trope that conservative thinking isn’t actually thinking at all.

It’s what every conservative has experienced at one time or another with your random liberal: that other viewpoints simply are not to be tolerated and are informed either by stupidity or malice.

Scarborough was riffing on President Obama’s comments the other day – during what was supposed to be a bipartisan “conversation on poverty” – in which Obama suggested Fox News describes the poor as “leeches” and that better news reporting might make his political opponents – and “the body politic” – see the light of truth that only he and others of the enlightened Left can perceive

Scarborough said:

Barack Obama says, if we are to change the way that John Boener and Mitch McConnel think . . . change the way they think? Is he really the sole arbiter of what is right and just? Is he the only one who cares about the poor?

The arrogance of it all is staggering. People have disagreed in this country since Goerge Washington had Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton together in the same Cabinet. You work out differences. It’s a creative friction. It’s not “Im’ right, you’re wrong.”

President Obama doesn’t know much about friction. He knows better about proclamations and executive orders.

At least Obama shifted the conversation from race to “class,” saying, “what used to be racial segregation now mirrors itself in class segregation and this great sorting that’s taking place.” I give him credit for backing off the unhealthy over-focus on race that he’s been conducting as of late.

And while I don’t agree that class bias is the central problem for the poor, I accept that he thinks this and understand he has a reasonable argument to make.

And I believe, as an irretrievably unreformable optimist, that I might be able to present arguments that would alter his views, even if just a bit. But I don’t believe that more-accurate reporting will change what he thinks. That there is some sacred text of infallible thinking that would make him tearfully embrace my vision of the truth.

Obama thinks

It’s profoundly discomfiting to have a leader of a country with such a dismal, uninformed view of the philosophy held by his opponents and tens of millions of people around this nation. In fact, 38 percent of Americans consider themselves conservative, compared to 34 percent who say they are moderate and just 24 percent who are liberal, according to Gallup.

Maybe Obama needs to watch a little less sports and read some John Locke, some Friedrich Von Hayek, or some Milton Friedman.

Imagine how relaxing that would be on a Saturday afternoon instead of golf?

Obama Gets Second Chance: Senate Reaches Trade Deal

President Obama will get another vote on fast track trade authority, as it appears Democratic progressives backed down from their insistence that legislation they back be considered together with the bill.

From The Hill:

The Senate will vote at noon Thursday on a stand-alone customs and enforcement bill that includes currency manipulation language and a stand-alone package of trade preferences for sub-Saharan Africa, according to a Senate aide. Both measures will require 60 votes to pass.

Democrats earlier this week asked for both proposals to be combined with fast-track, or trade promotion authority (TPA), as it’s also known, and Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), a program for helping displaced U.S. workers.

After the Senate votes on the customs and Africa trade measures, Democrats have agreed to begin debate on a package consisting of TPA and TAA. It would be subject to an open-amendment process, giving senators broad opportunity to vote on changes.

Defending Obama Against the Sensitivity Police

I’m glad President Obama got a taste of the left’s own medicine after committing the putatively sexist crime of referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Conn., as “Elizabeth.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, from whom the White House today said it expects an apology, suggested it was sexist. National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill actually said it was sexist.

Well, it’s a bit ironic to defend Obama against such silliness, given that he is the instigator of so much of his own unprovoked, vitriolic nonsense against the legitimate views of opponents. And the White House wants my help as much as it wants a chimpanzee to redecorate the Blue Room.

But, hey, he’s my president too. And when the goons come for him, I’ll defend him.

So here is Obama using the first name basis with a few of his male colleagues. Just a couple out of tons of examples:

From remarks a Beverly Hills Democratic fundraiser in November 2013:

Now, I understand Harry Reid was here, but Harry left. But I’ll tell you what, although Harry may not win sort of any contest for best sound bite on CNN — (laughter) — if you’re in a fight, you want Harry Reid in your corner. And nobody has fought harder for the American people and for working families in this country than Harry — (applause) — with the possible exception of the person who has been one of the finest Speakers that we’ve ever had and who I intend to see Speaker once again, Nancy Pelosi. (Applause.)

And at another fundraiser in New York City in September 2014, referencing Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York City:

You may not have heard of Chuck because he doesn’t really do a lot of media — (laughter) – but he is tireless and incredibly effective. And one of the best young public servants that we have in our country who has the thankless job of being the head of the DSCC — the Senator from the great state of Colorado, Michael Bennet . . . And so the reason that I’m working so hard on behalf of the DSCC is because of what Chuck represents and what Michael represents and what the Senate Democrats represent is an acknowledgement that we have to grow, and we grow best when everybody is part of the deal.

It’s also worth pointing out that Sen. Warren is one of the senators Obama personally knows best, having appointed her to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau before she became a senator, and so a first-name reference would seem even more natural.

What also angered some people was Obama’s shocking revelation that Warren is “a politician like everyone else,” suggesting a little bit of presidential pique.

I agree with an assessment I heard Rush make today, that he’s probably jealous of her. I mean, she’s stolen his mantle as the post-political crusader for all that is moral and good.

Gosh, if only Obama had permitted his operatives to tell the world in 2008 that he too was just “a politician like everyone else.” The nation might have been spared lot of trouble.

Obama: Fox News Describes Poor as Leeches

President Obama in remarks Tuesday at Georgetown University:

I think that the effort to suggest that the poor are sponges, leeches, don’t want to work, are lazy, are undeserving, got traction . . .

If you watch Fox News on a regular basis, it is a constant menu. They will find folks who make me mad. I don’t know where they find them. They’re all like, “I don’t want to work, I just want a free Obamaphone.” And that becomes an entire narrative that gets worked up. Very rarely do you hear an interview of a waitress, which is much more typical, who is raising a couple of kids and doing everything right but still can’t pay the bills.

And so if we’re going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we’re going to have to change how the body politic thinks, which means we’re going to have to change how the media reports on these issues.

Democrats Hand Obama a Blistering Trade Bill Defeat

Updated 5:53 pm ET

President Obama was dealt a devastating blow by his own Party Tuesday as a motion to move the fast track trade bill to the Senate floor for final consideration failed by eight votes, garnering only 52 of the 60 votes needed to end debate.

Forty five senators backed the motion, including only one Democrat. All other Democrats voted against.

Fast track is needed not only to allow consideration go Obama’s Trans-Pacific trade agreement, but to enable negotiators to complete the agreement itself. Our trading partners have indicated they will not sign a deal unless fast track, which would prevent Congress from changing the provisions, is passed by Congress.

I can’t remember ever seeing a president so thoroughly rejected by his own Party on a major portion of his agenda.

Obama is a man for whom the essence of democratic – small “d” – politics is alien: building relationships, negotiating, bargaining, and so forth. He does not have strong ties to lawmakers on either side of the aisle. He is close to his inner circle, and that’s pretty much it.

The president was even tone deaf enough to get himself accused of sexism for singling out Elizabeth Warren.

“The truth of the matter is that Elizabeth is, you know, a politician like everybody else,” Obama said.

“Yes, I think it is sexist. I think the president was trying to build up his own trustworthiness on this issue by convincing us that Sen. Warren’s concerns are not to be taken seriously,” said National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill in The Hill. “But he did it in a sexist way, saying, ‘The truth of the matter is, Elizabeth is a politician like everybody else . . . I think it was disrespectful.”

Nice to see a leader of the bias grievance crowd getting a bit of their own medicine.

Obama doesn’t particularly care about Congress, not compared to the other two president’s I’ve covered. Senators in the past haven’t even been aware of who Obama’s chief White House legislative liaison is.

The Senate was supposed to be easier to get this bill through than the House. The White House will keep trying, with another vote likely next month. If Obama caves to Democratic demands for changes, he’ll lose Republicans. And they, of course, like him even less.

UPDATE: After coming under heavy criticism for rebuking the president, Democrats have agreed to stage another vote.

 

Mrs. Obama’s Comments on Race

So I will say a couple of things about this, from First Lady Michelle Obama’s commencement speech Saturday at Tuskagee University. First, here are her remarks. Or you can watch the video below. The road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’veContinue Reading

White House: No Saudi King? No Problem!

The White House Monday pushed back hard on the notion that Saudi King Salman’s abrupt cancellation of his participation in a meeting and summit with President Obama this week is a “snub,” insisting that other high level Saudis who will be in attendance – including the crown prince – ensure the “right” people will be onContinue Reading

Obama Slammed for Self-Indulgent Kenya Trip

One of the nation’s leading Africanists is assailing President Obama’s upcoming July trip to Kenya as a “dumb idea” that will confer legitimacy on its corrupt leadership, stoke divisions within the country, and unnecessarily endanger his own life. Robert I. Rotberg is a fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center, the founding director of Harvard KennedyContinue Reading

Really? Obama Has “Scratched and Clawed” for the Middle Class?

One moment of unintended – and unnoticed – levity occurred near the end of the White House briefing Tuesday, when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed that President Obama has been “a president of the United States that for the last six and a half years has scratched and clawed to protect the interestsContinue Reading