Friday, February 27, 2009

When it will REALLY be all over

You know, I was one of the people who actually thought that President Obama would move cautiously in his first 100 days in an effort to appear moderate. Once he hit a couple "middle-of-the-road" themes right off the bat, then he could go about a radical makeover in earnest, probably even with the overwhelming support of the country.

I was wrong.

And all the indications were there for him to do EXACTLY what he has done--I just didn't think he'd be so. . .audacious.

Well, he is. And there's no reason to think it will stop anytime soon.

And I'm not a big fan. Not. . .a. . .fan!

But do you know when I start getting really worried?

When he lets his "bipartisan" mask slip and just goes about reshaping this country, consequences be damned.

Like he just did regarding the economy.

I am convinced that this administration cares not hoot one about keeping capitalism alive in this country. Why can I say that? Well, if you want to keep capitalism alive, you don't let Joe Biden anywhere near the wheel of the economy. (Seriously, what in his background gives him even a shred of expertise on economic matters?)

If you want to keep capitalism alive, you don't "soak the rich" with taxes.

And if you want to keep capitalism alive, you don't keep handing out taxpayer money to businesses that follow failing models or to special interests that produce diddly-squat.

No, this administration is 100% anticapitalism. And the mask has already slipped.

It's only a matter of time--probably in the not too distant future--until designated mouthpiece Robert Gibbs starts being unapologetic for the performance of the market . Something like "we're facing such unique times that you can't use traditional metrics to measure progress." You know, utter nonsense.

Like all the rest of the administration's economic plans.

That day is coming. Mark my words.

Prosperity, we hardly knew ye!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

lack of vision equals lack of results

Before I begin with this admittedly negative-toned article, let me first say that I have a great deal of respect for the men and women of our armed forces who have performed in any capacity to help bring about REAL "hope and change" in Iraq. Indeed, I think the remarkable turnaround there is proof that an invested, supported American fighting force can accomplish just about anything.

Now, with that on the table as my baseline statement, let me turn the other way and get all doomsday-y on you:

American forces will likely be ordered home from Afghanistan long before stability is brought to that nation.

My fear has NOTHING to do with the quality of man and woman on the front lines. Nothing.

Rather, my belief of a likely outcome in Afghanistan is a direct indication of my lack of faith that this administration has the fortitude for waging difficult policies.

So far, it has been easy for Obama to follow his campaign rhetoric vis-a-vis Afghanistan. He talked about the need for increased troop presence there, a policy that has a majority of support in the electorate after a similar move yielded such grand results in Iraq. Lo and behold, 17,000 additional troops are heading to Afghanistan.

And those troops will be wise in the way of building-to-building combat, so fresh are lessons that we learned in Iraq.

But here's the problem: it wasn't JUST more troops that led to a change in Iraq. It was a new strategy.

Troops alone are NOT a strategy. Especially in Afghanistan--just ask the Soviet Union. Oh wait, you can't--they're dead. (or is it just mostly dead?)

And about that strategy in Iraq: how does it apply to Afghanistan? The military is always accused of being perfectly ready to fight the last war. Since there's no reason to think the same isn't true now: how do you clear and hold the mountains?

There's no easy or clean way to do that--unless, of course, you just air-raid the region.

But then isn't that exactly what Obama said we CAN'T do? (Oct 2007: "We’ve got to get the job done there, and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there." as reported in the USA Today)

Now listen, I am all in the belief that GIVEN ENOUGH TIME, someone will develop the right strategy to help produce a victory in Afghanistan. It took about 3 and a half years of fighting the insurgency in Iraq before we developed a good manner in which to deal with the problems in that country. Given that same time--or maybe even something significantly shorter than that--I bet that the lightbulb is going to go off somewhere.

But our efforts in Iraq had one unquestionable foundation: we weren't going to start pulling the plug on that operation until at least November of 2008.

I don't think ANYBODY in the current administration would be willing to provide the same long-term foundation for the operations in Afghanistan. And it's that lack of definitive support that is going to doom our efforts.

You see, right now Afghanistan is the cause celebre on the left (inasmuch as any military action can ever garner support from those ranks). What better way to separate yourself from the policies of the last 8 years than to take a successful fight to the "right" country?

But let us not forget where Obama's "war" support comes from: from the anti-war crowd, which will eventually not be so muted as the sons and daughters of America are asked to march to another far-off land to fight for a reason that isn't easy to understand.

How do you characterize the war in Afghanistan? We aren't fighting a war on terror anymore, right? (To say such would be to validate Bush's war, which we know this administration will go out of their way at every stop NOT to do) So WHAT ARE WE FIGHTING FOR IN AFGHANISTAN??? And is that mushy target (that's all you'd get from a mouthpiece in the administration) worthy of more American treasure? Really? (Think leftist now, not moderate. Spreading democracy is NOT a good answer, and, by corollary, neither is stabilizing the region)

Eventually, the difficulty with explaining our goal in Afghanistan is going to weigh too heavily on Obama's administration, probably regardless of whatever success we actually have on the ground.

And when operations there prove to be difficult--when, unfortunately but inevitably, some of those additional troops pay the ultimate sacrifice--I just don't think Obama will have the strength to fight "his" public.

First to go will be Secretary of Defense Gates, who is just the nearest man to the hatchet when the pressure gets too much for the President.

I wouldn't be surprised to see NSA Jones follow next.

And with those two men gone, Obama will play to the left with his nominees. And the advice he will receive: get out of Afghanistan.

I give it until about this time next year.

I hope I'm wrong. (And if you read this blog, you know that I frequently am totally wrong--hello, Mike Shanahan)

And may God bless every person called into the theater to support our actions there--I hope you are given a winning, employable strategy, and that you return home safely.

And hopefully with your head held high, with memories of victory in your mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nothing original to see here

Two quick thoughts, both of which have probably been expressed better somewhere else but that won't keep me from writing:

1) Given that a lot of "experts" (see Powerline, Yahoo, and Hugh Hewitt for interviews with real experts) are blaming today's 4% stock market drop squarely on Treasury Secretary's Geithner's "presentation" of the next TARP, I wonder when voices on the left are going to start calling for his head? This was the height of incompetence: poor details, unnecessary rush to publication, and right on the heels of a pretty big financial dust-up from which the ground hadn't even stopped rumbling. This from the "only guy who can do the job"??? Seriously, anybody who is paying attention right now is wondering what kinds of morons the President insists on surrounding himself with if the guy who hatched this briefing today is the best person for one of the most important jobs in the country right now?

2) I didn't watch the President's press conference last night, but I imagine at some point in time he called for "us" to "set aside our differences and do what's best for the country". (boilerplate cliches; the exact words probably didn't make the final copy, but I'm sure at some point he spoke to the theme). Well, now could be the time for someone very important to listen to that message: if Speaker Pelosi can just see the virtue of putting aside the minute differences between the Senate bill and the special interest-induced bill she got rushed through the House, she will simply put the Senate version of the bill on the table tomorrow. . .meaning this crap sandwich will be delivered for signature to President Obama by Friday, bow tie and all. Will she do it?

I'm hoping not, for two reasons: a) the country needs more time to digest this bill, and Pelosi forcing another Senate vote would probably guarantee that nothing is done until next week. Who knows what else is going to be discovered in this bill by then???; and b) if Obama can't even get one of his own to put aside entirely minute differences for the good of their party (forget country--that's a step that most of these people don't even begin to comprehend), why should ANYONE expect the GOP to just rollover because he has commanded it?

But on another note: what an awesome opportunity for Obama. Last night, he took to the cameras to urge quick action on this bill--and that quick action is within his reach IF he can get Pelosi to play ball. All he HAS to do is call her and tell her that she needs to put the Senate version to a vote immediately or else there will be. . .consequences. I know she's physically incapable of blinking, but would she dare play chicken with the monster that she helped create? The irony would be delicious. And the beauty is that it works for my interests two ways: if Pelosi caves and puts the Senate bill up for a vote AFTER being urged by Obama, this becomes entirely Obama's bill, marginalizing Pelosi's import for the rest of the term; if she doesn't cave, then Obama CANNOT fail to follow through on his threat--which would undoubtedly leave Pelosi's version of the bill in the scrap heap eventually, and the country fully aware that this is a mess entirely of the Democrats' making.

Which leads me to a great question I hope someone asks tomorrow: did Obama, feeling that this is a vital bill for his administration, try to influence Speaker Pelosi into putting the Senate's bill to a vote in the House so that the country can move forward from this debate? Doesn't that seem like the MOST IMPORTANT question to ask the White House tomorrow?

Yeah, I don't think I'll hold my breath, either.

Monday, February 09, 2009

longing for the impossible. . .

. . .at least for today.

Headline on FoxNews this morning: "Obama holds town hall meeting to drum up support for stimulus".

Yes, that's right: our President, who has an office in DC, when faced with legislative trouble FROM Senators in DC, decided he will fix the problem. . .

. . .by going on the campaign trail.

I guess when you elect someone who has never done anything other than campaign. . .well, you don't get much more than a campaigner.

On the verge of a "catastrophe", he heads out of his office.

Don't get me wrong, I love that he thinks he needs to talk to the citizens of this country. But he also needs to LISTEN to the citizens of this country, and that doesn't happen much on the campaign trail.

I guess I should be happy that at least it's a town hall. Maybe someone will ask a good question of him.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Patriotism defined

It is going to happen at some point in the next 4 years, guaranteed. Those of us on the right who decry the folly of the Democrat's governance will be called unpatriotic. Heck, it may have already happened indirectly from no less of a place than the Oval Office (when Obama called some of the more pliable GOP Senators to thank them for saving his bacon, he acknowledged their efforts as patriotic. . .the implication being, of course, that those Senators who were not so eager to make a deal were unpatriotic). SO, to get this out there first long before it becomes too easy to make the charge, here is MY non-definition of patriotism:

-- it is non-defined, by the way, because it is too hard for a man of my meager talents to describe. I know it when I see it. . .and I also know when it is being thrown around haphazardly;

-- rarely do patriots speak of patriotism themselves. It's just something that they do, normally with such humility that they will not associate that noble word with their actions;

-- paying taxes is NOT patriotic. . .although if it was, I guess all debates over which party is more patriotic would just about be over now, right?;

-- Senators working on legislation is NOT patriotic. Not even country-altering legislation is patriotic. The last time I checked, Congress is a club, nothing more, nothing less. Granted, a highly powerful club that mostly operates above accountability for their job--but a club nonetheless.;

-- a physical risk to your life is not necessarily a prerequisite for patriotism;

-- a deep love of the work of our founding fathers IS a prerequisite for patriotism;

-- seeking office. . .gaining office. . .even dutifully serving in that office is NOT patriotic in and of itself. Now, doing something with the opportunity and the fame that you gain--that CAN BE patriotic.

More on this later. . .after I place a personal over-under on how long it will take the press to ask the One what he meant by implying that the majority Senate GOPers was not patriotic.