Patterico's Pontifications


Rick Santelli Not Welcome at the White House

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 11:32 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In February 2009, CNBC business reporter Rick Santelli vigorously objected to Obama’s “spread the wealth” policies in a rant that many believe inspired the Tea Partiers:

“On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Feb. 19, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter, along with several traders, expressed his outrage about President Barack Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth” for people that didn’t deserve it. He said a stimulus should go to people who live responsibly rather than some sort of housing bailout to people that lived irresponsibly.

“I tell you what, I have an idea,” Santelli shouted. “The new administration is big on computers and technology – how about this, President and new administration? Why don’t you put up a Web site to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages, or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a change to actually prosper down the road and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water.”
According to the CNBC reporter, if a stimulus was given to people who lived responsibly, the economy would run more efficiently and that’s would helped the troubled economy start moving again.

“I know this might not sound very humanitarian, but at the end of the day I’m an Ayn Rander,” Santelli continued. “It’s all about efficiency. If you want the economy to work, maybe we should give these perks to people who will carry some water down the road.”

In an interview today, CNBC reporter John Harwood asked White House Press Secretary about Santelli. Remarkably, Gibbs responded that while he had previously invited Santelli to the White House for coffee to discuss the subject, the Secret Service probably wouldn’t allow Santelli to come now:

Objecting to the President’s policies can put an American on a Secret Service ban list? Amazing.


Oregon Football Player Suspended for Season

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 10:50 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Oregon tailback LeGarrette Blount has been suspended for the season for punching a Boise State player in the jaw after Oregon lost to Boise State:

The video shows Blount was shockingly out-of-control after the punch. I can see why Oregon made the decision to suspend him.


Unbiased Media Quote of the Day

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Great quotes from two TV anchors (I believe they are from CNBC but I’m not certain) commenting on Press Secretary Robert Gibbs’ explanation regarding why the White House uses a pre-selected list of reporters to be called on at Obama press conferences instead of taking random questions:

Anchor 1: “I do think Gibbs is right, though. They do notify some people to be in their seats so they can get called on, but I do not believe they pre-vet any of these questions. I don’t think reporters lack the integrity so that they would let the White House vet these questions.”

Anchor 2: “Agreed.”

Here’s something else reporters agree on:

White House reporters stand for President Obama but not for President Bush.

Isn’t it nice that the media agrees how unbiased they are and which President to respect?


Van Jones: A very special kind of crazy

Filed under: General — Karl @ 2:01 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Sure, you have heard that Pres. Obama’s “green jobs” czar is a communist-sympathizing 9/11 Truther who belongs to the “Free Mumia” school.

But wait… there’s more!

I cannot imagine why Jones was not selected for a job requiring Senate confirmation.   Mickey Kaus claims the bus is warming up for Mr. Jones.  The faster, the better for the Obama administration… and America.


AP Publishes Photo of Dying Marine (Updated x2)

Filed under: Media Bias,War — DRJ @ 1:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The AP has published a photo taken August 14 of Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard after he suffered severe leg injuries from a rocket propelled grenade during a firefight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bernard died a short time later on the operating table. The photo was released despite objections from the Secretary of Defense and Bernard’s family:

“The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.

The AP defended publication because it shows the “the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it” and released the photo over the family’s objections and after receipt of this letter from Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed.”

“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”

The AP decided to add to this family’s pain for a “higher” purpose — to show
the grimness of war. Now we know how far some in the media will go to get America out of Afghanistan.


UPDATE 1 — MSNBC publishes the rules for publishing photos agreed to by media embedded with the military:

“The rule regarding coverage of “wounded, injured, and ill personnel” states that the “governing concerns” are “patient welfare, patient privacy and next of kin/family considerations.”

“Casualties may be covered by embedded media as long as the service member’s identity and unit identification is protected from disclosure until OASD-PA [Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs] has officially released the name. Photography from a respectful distance or from angles at which a casualty cannot be identified is permissible; however, no recording of ramp ceremonies or remains transfers is permitted.”

Images of U.S. soldiers fallen in combat have been rare in Iraq and Afghanistan, partly because it is unusual for journalists to witness them and partly because military guidelines have barred the showing of photographs until after families have been notified.

Jacobson, who was crouching under fire, took the picture from a distance with a long lens and did not interfere with Marines trying to assist Bernard.

The AP waited until after Bernard’s burial in Madison, Maine, on Aug. 24 to distribute its story and the pictures. An AP reporter met with his parents, allowing them to see the images.”

Here is a link to the photographer’s journal.

UPDATE 2: The AP is right that war is grim, and not just foreign wars. AP: Where are the photos of people who jumped from the Towers on 9/11?

Diagnosing Obama’s problems is not rocket science

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:22 am

[Posted by Karl]

Charlie Cook writes that Pres. Obama and the Democrats are “bleeding independents,” with potential effects on the 2010 midterm elections:

Listening to two briefings — one by a Democratic pollster who had just conducted a survey for a group favoring health care reform, the other by a Republican pollster more skeptical of the reform plans — I felt as if I were hearing a pair of reports by the National Transportation Safety Board on the same plane crash. But in sorting through the problems facing President Obama and congressional Democrats, focusing too narrowly on their disastrous handling of health care would be a mistake.


…[L]ate last year many moderates and independents who were already frightened about the economy began to fret that Washington was taking irreversible actions that would drive mountainous deficits higher. They worried that government was taking on far more than it could competently handle and far more than the country could afford. Against this backdrop, Obama’s agenda fanned fears that government was expanding too far, too fast. Before long, his strategy of letting Congress take the lead in formulating legislative proposals and thus prodding lawmakers to take ownership in their outcome caused his poll numbers on “strength” and “leadership” to plummet.

This is not surprising. Only 50 days into his administration, Pres. Obama was facing — and rejecting — criticism that he was trying to do “too much, too soon.” At that time, I wrote:

That President Obama seems to be following the “too much, too soon” path of Carter and Clinton should not be a big surprise. Obama’s election continues a 16-year cycle favoring relatively inexperienced Democrats preaching the gospel of Hopenchange. Victory apparently breeds hubris in such presidents that causes them to ignore the lessons of history — or get just plain get them wrong.

Pres. Obama’s problems with Congress were also predictable. On this point, I’ll reprint at length from something I wrote on July 9, 2008:

* * *

As a political analyst, Dick Morris is a great pollster. However, it is worth considering his forecast of what an Obama administration would face from a Congress that will in all likelihood be more progressive, with more Democrats than it has now:

Faced with the same situation in 1993, as he took office as president, Bill Clinton found no alternative but to move dramatically to the left, shelving for the moment his promises of a middle-class tax cut and welfare reform. He had no choice. The Democratic majorities in both Houses served him with notice: Either you stay within the caucus and not cross the aisle in search of support for centrist policies, or we will do unto you what we did to Jimmy Carter when Tip O’Neill turned on him and made his life miserable. Clinton was forced to emphasize healthcare reform over welfare changes and to go with a liberal economic stimulus package capped by big tax increases. The liberal stain sank so deeply into the fabric of his presidency that it caused him to lose Congress in 1994, and almost to lose the 1996 election.

I am again reminded of the 16-year cycle of “change” elections the US has tended to have since WWII:

Once in office, JFK, Carter and Clinton all had difficulty moving their agendas through Democratic Congresses. And they were perceived as weak by our foreign adversaries, with serious consequences for US foreign policy that often outlasted their terms in office.

Morris here adds the interesting wrinkle that such presidents can find themselves hobbled by a Democratic Congress, regardless of whether they fight Congress (as Carter did) or become hostage to it (as Clinton did). An Obama administration would have to Hope that Congress would Change its expectations.

* * *

My Dad recently mentioned that it may seem smarmy when I quote or link myself as I have just done (and he’s probably right). However, the point of revisiting these points is not to claim that I am some sort of oracle. To the contrary, I revisit these points to demonstrate that what is happening now was eminently foreseeable by anyone. A little bit of political science and history — or a willingness to do an hour or so of work with a search engine — is enough to do the trick. Charlie Cook and the pollsters he consulted — people paid to do this sort of thing — could have seen this coming as easily as some pseudonymous blogger. Had he done so, Cook might have conceded that he is being a bit ungenerous to Pres. Obama, as history suggests he would have had problems with a Democratic Congress regardless of his level of engagement.


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