Patterico's Pontifications

3/11/2010

Which President Doesn’t Care What People Think?

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 8:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Despite declining poll numbers in both the Rasmussen (44% approve-54% disapprove) and Gallup (46%-45%) polls, President Obama says he is not concerned:

“This president, who started his term with a 69-percent approval rating in the Gallup track, has confronted more than a year of tough economic times and equally challenging politics — the economy is turning around, by the measure of the Gross Domestic Product, though unemployment still hovers near 10 percent, and now, after more than a year of pressing for healthcare reform, the president is pressing for an “up or down vote” on legislation that the public appears largely wary about.

“That’s okay. Because my job is not being popular,” Obama said last night at a fundraiser for a Democratic senator in St. Louis. “My job is solving problems for the American people. I’ve got a greater responsibility. I’ve got a deeper mission. (Applause.) I’m looking at 10 years from now, will you look back and say that what he did made sense for the American people; not whether tomorrow people are going to be looking and saying, that made him popular..”

I agree there are times Presidents need to worry more about policy than public opinion, although that argument falters in domestic matters where the public is well-equipped to judge for themselves. But how sweet the irony of watching President Obama discount the importance of polls, while supporters like the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen were not as charitable with President Bush when he took a similar position in his final days in office:

“HE DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH….

Chatting with CNN’s Larry King this week, George W. Bush was asked about his weak public support. “I don’t give a darn,” the president said, adding, “Look it, these opinion polls are nothing but a, you know, a shot of yesterday’s news.”

Here’s the thing: I don’t believe him. Or more accurately, I don’t think Bush believes what he’s saying at all.

Think about how many “exit interviews” the president has done in recent weeks. And the reports every cabinet agency has put together to spin the administration’s record in the most positive light possible. And the very existence of the “Bush Legacy Project.” We’re to believe the president has been working overtime to put his best foot forward because he doesn’t care what we think?

All of this will, of course, be punctuated with a prime-time farewell this evening. I’m sure Bush is going to these great lengths because he doesn’t “give a darn” what we think.

Maybe he just loves spending time in front of cameras, answering questions, and reflecting on his service. Yeah, that’s it. Nothing to do with public opinion at all. Perish the thought.”

It didn’t seem to occur to Benen that, regardless of public opinion, President Bush wanted to set the record straight before he left office.

Wikipedia describes Benen as the Washington Monthly’s lead blogger and a frequent guest on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program. I’m searching for his column that explains why President Obama’s love affair with public appearances casts the same doubt on Obama’s motives that Benen attributed to President Bush.

— DRJ

Immigration vs Health Care

Filed under: Health Care,Immigration — DRJ @ 8:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Immigration amnesty advocates from the left and the right are putting pressure on Obama’s health care initiative. From the left:

“A group of Hispanic lawmakers on Thursday will tell President Barack Obama that they may not vote for healthcare reform unless changes are made to the bill’s immigration provisions.”

Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham is making a related argument from the right (I’m using that term loosely):

“Graham to Obama: If you use reconciliation on health care, it’ll kill amnesty.
***
“I expressed, in no uncertain terms, my belief that immigration reform could come to a halt for the year if health care reconciliation goes forward. For more than a year, health care has sucked most of the energy out of the room. Using reconciliation to push health care through will make it much harder for Congress to come together on a topic as important as immigration,” Graham said in a statement.”

My guess is the group from the left wants the White House to make immigration its Next Big Issue. I’d like to think Graham has a more complex motive but he could also be worried amnesty is headed up under the bus.

— DRJ

9th Circuit: Pledge Of Allegiance is OK After All

Filed under: Law,Religion — DRJ @ 5:18 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed itself today:

“A divided federal appeals court Thursday reversed itself, ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance doesn’t violate the constitutional prohibition against state-mandated religious exercise even though it contains the phrase “one nation under God.”

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in 2002, which deemed that requiring students to recite the pledge violated their rights to be free of religious indoctrination by the government, was one of the most controversial to come out of the court that is second only to the U.S. Supreme Court in its power to determine law for nine Western states and two Pacific territories.”

Judge Stephen Reinhardt again found his way onto the panel and was the lone dissenter. The Court also rejected a challenge by the same plaintiff, Michael Newdow, to the phrase “In God We Trust” printed on the national money.

I’m glad these opinions weren’t issued on April 1st.

— DRJ

Judge Dismisses ACORN Lawsuit Against Investigative Journalists

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:37 pm

Ben Sheffner has the news. The suit was dismissed for failure to serve the defendants:

It was with great fanfare that ACORN, along with two recently-fired employees of its Baltimore office, sued last September over the surreptitious taping of the employees advising O’Keefe and Giles on running a prostitution business out of a house. ACORN’s general counsel, Arthur Schwartz, told the Washington Post at the time that the defendants, young filmmakers O’Keefe and Giles, plus Andrew Breitbart’s Breitbart.com LLC, which disseminated the videos, had committed “clear violations of Maryland law” against audio recording without consent from all parties. But ACORN appears to have lost interest in the case since filing it, confirming my suspicion that it was little more than a press release on pleading paper.

It’s not as if Breitbart, Giles, or O’Keefe are hard to find. ACORN didn’t serve them because ACORN didn’t want to. As Ben explains at the link, the lawsuit was a loser legally. But it was great P.R. And that was always the only reason for this abusive lawsuit brought in bad faith.

ObamaCare: Vultures suddenly appear

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:54 am

[Posted by Karl]

Last month, Cato’s Michael F. Cannon observed:

A good way to tell when ObamaCare is all dead is when Democrats start picking at the carcass for pay-fors.

As Cannon notes, Democrats have a ginormous agenda. With deficit spending unpopular (at least in the abstract), and broad tax hikes generally unpopular, palatable spending cuts are a valuable commodity.

Yet this story from The Hill went largely unnoticed yesterday:

Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.), the acting chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said a House-Senate conference might be needed on the $138 billion tax extenders bill being debated in the Senate.

One reason would be differences between the House and Senate over how the legislation should be paid for, Levin said Tuesday.

The Senate bill is partially paid for, but uses offsets included in President Obama’s health care proposal. Since offsets can’t be used in two bills, that’s a problem.

It’s more than a problem. It is likely a conference can find other pay-fors on this (relatively) smaller bill. But the Senate’s raid on ObamaCare pay-fors may suggest a certain lack of confidence in ObamaCare’s chances of passage. The vultures are not committed to picking at the carcass, but they seem to be eyeing a potential meal.

–Karl

Report: New O’Keefe Tapes May Show Government Corruption

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:00 am

Noah Shachtman at Wired reports that he has seen portions of James O’Keefe’s newest set of videos:

Late last year, O’Keefe and fellow activist Joe Basel went into the Detroit and Chicago offices of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with a hidden camera. They pretended to be scam artists, asking employees there to participate in a complex kickback scheme involving federal incentives for first-time home buyers. In the excerpted footage shown to me by O’Keefe, the staffers seemed only to happy to comply.

The law says that the tax credit maxes out at $8,000 for an $80,000 home. On the tape, O’Keefe asked a staffer, “What if I bought a place for $50,000, but the seller and I agreed to write down $80,000 as the purchase price?”

“Flip it any way you want,” the staffer replied.

What if the place is worth much less — like only $6,000?

“Yup, you can do that.”

Leftists are doubtless already furiously researching HUD’s defense. Did O’Keefe violate any laws in these tapes? Because we all know that’s what sounds like the real story here.

Don’t worry. Even if O’Keefe didn’t break any laws, the leftists will make something up. You read it here first.

They always do.

SPEAKING OF LEFTISTS MAKING THINGS UP: My next installment of How the Left Lies to You About ACORN shows how Brad Friedman’s blogger Ernie Canning completely rewrote history regarding Giles and O’Keefe visit to ACORN Baltimore. I’m still working on it, but the wait will be worth it. Trust me. The level of shameless dishonesty displayed by Canning is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It just takes time to explain.

Stay tuned.


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