Archive for the ‘inauguration’ Category

Obama Has Failed To Spell Out His Vision

March 14, 2009

President Obama has failed to lay out an integrated, realistic and comprehensive vision for his presidency, despite his inaugural address, a “state of the union” like opportunity before a joint session of Congress, and innumerable major policy speeches on health care, the economy, education et al.

And maybe he likes it that way.

Forget about any vision spelled out by Obama during the campaign for the White House — all those promises have either evaporated, been disarded or swepts aside by Obama himself, by the pratical applications of the presidency or by the economic “catastrophe”  — so named by Obama himself.

Transparency turned out to be opaque, lobbyists did get jobs and on and on.

American foreign policy is already adrift, with inept liaisons between Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, a severe challenge to the freedom of the seas by China and a rattling of sabers by North Korea that only Japan has accepted as a real problem.

Obama has lost a key airbase in Kyrgyzstan that could impair allied efforts in Afghanistan, which could ultimately go down the drain along with its neighbor Pakistan.

And the legal wrangling over Gitmo, the use of terms like “terrorism” and “enemy combatant” is taking us where?

Where and how are the questions.  Where is U.S. foreign policy headed and how does Obama propose to get there?

If these questions are not answered, and soon, we can likely expect a reactive rather than a proactive U.S. foreign policy, which we have had for at least eight years and perhaps many more depending upon one’s point of view.  The Bush Administration, despite its trumpeting of the Bush Doctrine, largely reacted to 9-11 and other real world events.

Will Obama do the same?

And on domestic policy, there is a growing sense of discord between those that want the economic ills solved before we dive into overhauling health care, education, the environment and our national energy system and thioose like Obama who say this is exactly the right tme to overhaul everything.

Obama crammed the stimulus through a frightened congress without hearings and followed that with an omnibus packed with pork earmarks that he pledged to eliminate during the campaign and this week promised to eliminate next year.

There is no now in explaining the truth in this Administration so far, only fear and we have to do it all without worry about the cost and the debt.

Where’s the blueprint?  Where’s the roadmap?

The only roadmap so far is to look at the proposed spending.  This is the administration of spending without apparent planning.  And the very fact that commentators are asking about socialism shows the theme one gets from looking at the spending.

Maybe Obama believes this is the ONLY time to move his domestic agenda along — during a period of crisis with a Democratically controlled congress with little analytical effort, a willing public, and an Obama swallowing media….plus a lot of voters who will profit from all this spending.

That’s socialism.


By Sean Wilentz

The president did an excellent job explaining how the federal government has spurred economic growth in the past, but, historian Sean Wilentz asks, when is he going to lay out a specific vision for America’s future?

It’s been nearly a decade since the country has heard a vibrant, full-throated Democratic speech from a president of the United States. President Obama gave one tonight. In presenting his budget priorities to the Congress and the American people, he provided a clear defense of the federal government’s historic role as a catalyst for economic growth and the nation’s welfare. From the Transcontinental Railroad to the Interstate Highway System, he explained, private wealth has always expanded with the help of the national government. And with that, the president exorcised the political spirit of Ronald Reagan from Capitol Hill.

Energy, health, education—these are at the top of the administration’s agenda. If nothing had happened last September, when Lehman Brothers was allowed to collapse, these policies also would have been at the top. But a great deal has changed since the Democratic convention ratified the party’s platform, with these same priorities. The country and the world have plunged into the greatest economic crisis since the Depression. And that must be the president’s chief preoccupation.

Read the rest:


By Ted Anthony, AP

“He sees this emergency as a time to reshape the country,” says Theodore Sorensen, one of Kennedy’s top advisers who was instrumental in shaping the famed 1961 inaugural address that defined the mission of the New Frontier.

Sorensen was struck by Obama’s use of the economic crisis to open channels to other issues — from the imperative of education as a patriotic duty to universal health care and a recalibration of environmental issues. Ultimately, each impacts the economy.

Finding the right fit

To frame his goals, Obama invoked the always appealing image of Americans dreaming big and having their biggest achievements ahead of them. Trouble is, his next steps, as outlined, are far too interventionist for Republicans’ comfort.

Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz, whose latest book chronicles the age of Ronald Reagan, says Obama, with Tuesday’s address, “exorcised” Reagan.

Just as Reagan articulated decades-old GOP principles in his own way, so, too, did Obama synthesize varied progressive principles into his plan of action.

“We’re getting an update of Democratic ideals,” Wilentz says. “The age of Reagan is over. Republicans … have nothing. Ideas that once commanded the heights of national politics 30 years ago are now in disarray….

Read the rest:

Obama Could Lose Afghanistan, Pakistan

Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

 Obama Backs-Off On Human Rights Issues: Economy is That Important

“we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt, both as individuals and through our government, than ever before.”  Barack Obama said this during his joint session of congress speech but now is adding even more debt…..

Obama speech, Feb 24, 2009:

“In other words, we have lived through an era where too often short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity”

What is the stimulus and the omnibus spells long-term prosperity?


Obama: No Vision as Foundation to Spending; Except Maybe Socialism

February 11, 2009

This might be all there is.  There is no vision.  There is no bipartisanship.  There is no “Hope” for the best America can be: there is only pork crammed down some throats in hopes that other throats will crow.  And reelect him.

There is Schurmer saying Americans don’t care:
Schumer Says Americans Don’t Care About Pork Spending

Schumer was only a mirror for Barack’s honesty: there is no new intellectual vision here; no real “hope,” as some expected.

Too bad.  On Day One this President had the entire country behind him and a huge crowd on the Mall in a worship-like mood.  There were Messiah jokes and true believers.

Now there is only the right and the left, the Democrats and Republicans, the haves and the have-nots.

This is now a president of implementing old Democratic ideas about income redistribution; and there is no real “vision,” as I was seeking on Inauguration Day.

There is no “New Deal,” no “Great Society,” no JFK urging us onward to the moon.

No Lincoln.

There is only more government.

In a famous movie line, a girl says, “You had me at hello.”

I was hoping on Inauguration Day that Obama would turn everyone who voted for McCain into an Obama believer. He’d have them at hello.

But he didn’t.  He wouldn’t.  He couldn’t spin that great a lie because he knew what his task ahead would entail. He knew the plan.

So now, with the Wall Street Journal carrying a headline that we may be facing a “Lost Decade,” and the Financial Times asking “Has the Obama Presidency Already Failed?” we are doing what? 
Now we are adding a mountain of debt without any sure knowledge that “it’ll work.” — No intellectual underpinning and no vision.

Instead of FDR’s “day of infamy” and “nothing to fear but fear itself”” we have Obama’s “catastrophe” now repeated over and over.

The president said Monday night,  “the federal government is the only entity left with the resources to jolt our economy back into life.”

Now we’re using “federal government” and my life too closely in the same sentence.

We are as far away from “Government is the problem” of the Ronald Reagan days as we can get.  Now I cannot survive this catastrophe without government.

I’d rather be on the Titanic.  At least I’d have a chance at a life boat.


From my Inauguration Day posting:

My expectations for Barack Obama starting on this Inauguration Day could not be higher.

He’s a gifted public orator with a huge election win under his belt and “political capital” like few ever before him.  As the throng on the mall this morning shows, people from all over America love this man and expect greatness from him.

He has to deliver.

He has to change the nation’s course and perhaps that of the world.

I want to hear his real vision.  Not rhetoric.  I want to hear a master plan from a Harvard educated black man that has risen as high as any American can go.

I want to hear “We Americans are no longer the land of pork barrel spending, party divisions, racial strife and discord.  We will meet any challenge, climb any mountain….”

He needs to state a vision that is more than “hope” and less than a blueprint.  He needs to make me think all the talk in Congress on “infrastructure” in the stimulus is just a bunch of pigs talking pork.  I want President Obama to say, “Listen up.  There is a new law in town and in America and in the world…..”

(This was published on Inauguration Day)
Obama: Nation’s Hopes Never Higher, Times Seldom Tougher, Give Us Your Highest Vision


Today from Michael Gerson:

Obama: Pragmatism Without Vision

Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?

Dems Already Have Excuses for Economic Failure

Obama Redistribution of Wealth In High Gear

Stimulus Makes Sure Feds Watch Your Doctor’s Medical Solutions For You

Wave To Obama Costs a Man His Job

January 28, 2009

After an Ohio man was een on TV waving to President Obama during the inauguration parade, he was suspended which created a local TV news furor.

Now he has resigned because the attention was too intense.

Good thing the man didn’t give the President the finger.  The Secret Service would have him in Gitmo.

Free expression run amok?


President Obama: Expect The Unexpected, Avoid Contrivance

January 25, 2009

When President-elect Barack Obama phoned Yo-Yo Ma and invited him to “perform” at his inauguration, he probably had no idea that would cascade into a pre-recorded gig with space heaters.

“Performance” became contrivance.

And when the Chief Justice of the United States raised his right hand for the oath of office, soon to be President Obama probably never dreamed that John Roberts would flub the big moment, necessitating a re-do.

And when the media wasn’t invited to the do-over, probably nobody expected a flap.

These are small things but these are the easy to manage small things.

The Presidency is about eliminating the easy to manage small things, that are not expected by some people,  and managing well the unexpected big things….

The president has a big staff and a big administration to manage the routine routinely and to get past the flaps without flapping.

President Obama stuck with his script this week with few surprises.  He signed a Gitmo proclamation, and sent money to abortions.

But there are plenty of unexpected big things yet to manage; so now is the time to get the entire administration team performing like a Super Bowl winning team.

Last minute pre-recordings and do-overs won’t do from now on.  The Presidency is mostly “live”….


Obama’s First Few Days: Scripted With Few Surprises

From Fox News

In the highly scripted first days, Obama clearly aimed to show that he was making good on his promise to bring change.

“What an opportunity we have to change this country,” the Democrat told his senior staff the day after his inauguration. “The American people are really counting on us now. Let’s make sure we take advantage of it.”

On Thursday and Friday, Obama, with an executive pen in his left hand, overruled eight years of Bush administration policies, signing several executive orders on national security and abortion funding. 

Obama also focused on fixing the economy, repairing a battered world image and cleaning up government.

Yet domestic and international challenges continue to pile up, and it’s doubtful that life will be dramatically different for much of the ailing country anytime soon.

The biggest agenda items — stabilizing the economy and ending the Iraq war — are complex tasks with results not expected this week, let alone this month. Obama’s move to reverse Bush’s policy on the treatment of detainees and interrogation techniques still leaves unanswered or unresolved questions, including how he will close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for suspected terrorists.

In other cases, Obama set out new policy, only to signal it could be applied selectively.

Read the rest:

Fixing America: Obama Challenges us To Beat Back Raging Consumerism and Metastasizing Celebrity Culture

January 25, 2009

Feckless as it was for Bush to ask Americans to go shopping after 9/11, we all too enthusiastically followed his lead, whether we were wealthy, working-class or in between. We spent a decade feasting on easy money, don’t-pay-as-you-go consumerism and a metastasizing celebrity culture. We did so while a supposedly cost-free, off-the-books war, usually out of sight and out of mind, helped break the bank along with our nation’s spirit and reputation.

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

We can’t keep blaming 43 for everything, especially now that we don’t have him to kick around anymore. On Tuesday the new president pointedly widened his indictment beyond the sins of his predecessor. He spoke of those at the economic pinnacle who embraced greed and irresponsibility as well as the rest of us who collaborated in our “collective failure to make hard choices.” He branded as sub-American those who “prefer leisure over work or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.” And he wasn’t just asking Paris Hilton “to set aside childish things.” As Linda Hirshman astutely pointed out on The New Republic’s Web site, even Obama’s opening salutation — “My fellow citizens,” not “fellow Americans” — invoked the civic responsibilities we’ve misplaced en masse.

Read the rest:

Yo-Yo Ma Pre-Recorded for Inauguration; Military, College, High School Bands Live

January 24, 2009

It’s only because some mainstream media gave Yo-Yo Ma a caring and forgiving shoulder to cry on, including CNN complaining of the inaugural’s “bitter cold,” that we remind folks that several thousand music makers (and many others) performed live without complaint during President Obama’s Inauguration.

Yo-Yo Ma and his fellow musicians planned in advance for the cold.  They were sitting in a heated area with a digital recording of their music ready to go.

The title prima donna seems well earned?

The Manning High School Band from South Carolina played live for the inauguration. 

Above: The Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) band practices before the inauguration.  Alexa Tarbona, the first female drum major of the Virginia Military Institute’s Regimental Band, leads the band onto the parade grounds. The band marched in the inaugural parade in the bitter cold  on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, 100 years after their first inaugural appearance for President William Howard Taft’s swearing-in parade. (Pat Jarrett/The News Leader, SC)

The Mountain Ridge High School band played live.  And they have no cold experiece because they represent Glendale near Tucson, Arizona.

Even Barack Obama’s own High School band, from Punahou High School in Hawaii, played live.  I’ll bet they were cold.

Every band of the Armed Services played live: The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps bands.

In fact, some 13,000 (maybe more) marchers, twirlers, drum majors, cheer leaders in mini-skirts, musicians and honor guards braved the cold. Plus police, escorts, and the massive audience.  Some were in the cold for many hours.

Poor Yo-Yo Ma and his fellows.  They we electrically heated and digitally mastered for the inauguration.  They were in what CNN called “bitter cold.”  So it was O.K. for Yo-Yo Ma to pull a fast one….

And Americans weren’t told until it was all over…..

 Faux Pas Yo-Yo Ma: China Has Outlawed Lip Synching, But The U.S. Stretches the String

Yo-Yo should re-read the “We the people” part; and the part about “All men are created equal…”

Violinist Itzahk Perlman, left, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform ... 
Violinist Itzahk Perlman, left, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform in the bitter cold during the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Obama’s Inaugural Speech: No Razzle Dazzle, No Promise of the Moon

January 23, 2009

Fascinating speech. It was so rhetorically flat, so lacking in rhythm and cadence, one almost has to believe he did it on purpose. Best not to dazzle on Opening Day. Otherwise, they’ll expect magic all the time.

By Charles Krauthammer
The most striking characteristic of Barack Obama is not his nimble mind, engaging manner or wide-ranging intellectual curiosity. It’s the absence of neediness. He’s Bill Clinton, master politician, but without the hunger.

Clinton craves your adulation (the source of all his troubles). Obama will take it, but he can leave it, too. He is astonishingly self-contained. He gives what he must to advance his goals, his programs, his ambitions. But no more. He has no need to.

Which seems to me the only way to understand the mediocrity of his inaugural address. The language lacked lyricism. The content had neither arc nor theme: no narrative trajectory like Lincoln’s second inaugural; no central idea, as was (to take a lesser example) universal freedom in Bush’s second inaugural.

Read the rest:

Faux Pas Yo-Yo Ma: China Has Outlawed Lip Synching, But The U.S. Stretches the String

January 23, 2009

In China, since last summer’s Olympics, lip synching at a public event is criminal activity.  In the U.S., the use of a CD to cover a faked ‘live” performace is now “Presidential.”

For the first time in my memory, the Presidential Inauguration ceremony featured a musical interlude.

Yo-Yo Ma Pre-Recorded for Inauguration; Military, College, High School Bands Live

And it was faked.  Rather, it was taped.  Or pre-recorded.

The Chinese caught hell for using a pretty little girl in TV images during the Olympics, lipsynching, while a rather homely girl with a good voice did all the work in a pre-recorded song.

And Ashlee Simpson was caught lip-syncing her “live” performance on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Critics were not amused.

Milli Vanilli also heard from an unhappy artistic America for his faux pas.

Now it is Faux Pa Yo-Yo Ma.

They should “string up” everyone involved.

China controls the media: so one should expect a certain amount of chicanery.  President Barack Obama has taken the oath of “transparency.”  How about “audio honesty”?

Massachusetts cellist Yo-Yo Ma was not playing his cello during Barack Obama’s televised inauguration. Complaining that it was “wicked cold,” the musician and sex symbol opted instead to pretend to perform while piping in a prerecorded track. The New York Times, which broke this story, neglected to provide the names of any of Ma’s “colleagues,” save Itzhak Perlman says the Boston Sympahy Orchestra web site.

Above: Ashlee Simpson performs during the Radio Music Awards show. (Ethan Miller – Reuters)

Now Yo-Yo Ma and his fellow Yo-Yos have insulted all America and Americans and along with their producer, Barack Obama, they deserve our scorn and derision.

This wouldn’t rub me the wrong way, no matter how much resin was used,  except that the President has floated the idea that the United States should have a Minister of Art and Culure.

Maybe such a Minister need only be available  on CD.

Yo-Yo said it was too cold for a proper performance.  CNN said the legendary singer/songwriter Aretha Franklin sang “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at the inauguration Tuesday also complained of the cold.  But she delivered a wonderful live performance.

And Aretha didn’t demand a recording session…..

Aretha Franklin says cold weather affected her voice during her performance at the inauguration on Tuesday.

Above:  Aretha Franklin says cold weather affected her voice during her performance at the inauguration on Tuesday.

Maybe I am strung too tight.

What else in the inaguration was faked, phoney or botched and had to be redone besides the oath and the music?

Now China is claiming the moral high ground over the U.S…..

Way to go, Yo-Yo.

Violinist Itzahk Perlman, left, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform ... 
Violinist Itzahk Perlman, left, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform during the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“No one’s trying to fool anybody,” said Carole Floman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. “This isn’t a matter of Milli Vanilli.”




From The Times of London:
It’s not exactly Watergate but Barack Obama’s inauguration was back in the dock today after it emerged that the quartet of classical musicians who ushered him on to the steps of the Capitol were faking it.

In a report headlined “The Frigid Fingers eere Live, but the Music Wasn’t”, The New York Times said that the four, including the violinist Itzhak Perlman, had already recorded their contribution two days earlier and played along just for show.

A spokeswoman for the congressional committee, which organised the inauguration, the biggest and most costly in history, told the newspaper that the musicians could not have played live in Tuesday’s sub-zero temperatures because of the risk of broken piano strings and cracked instruments.

Read the rest:


From The Washington Post:

A call for President-elect Barack Obama to give the arts and humanities a Cabinet-level post — perhaps even create a secretary of culture — is gaining momentum.

By yesterday, 76,000 people had signed an online petition, started by two New York musicians who were inspired by producer….

Read the rest:

Mayoral But Maybe Immoral and Illegal?

January 22, 2009

More than a year after denying it, the newly elected mayor of Portland has admitted having a sexual relationship with a male teenager in 2005.

This derailed his trip to Washington DC for Barack Obama’s inauguration.  He needed to find more lawyers.

The Oregon Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation.

Sam Adams, who is openly gay, acknowledged the relationship in a statement Monday, after the Willamette Week newspaper broke the story on its Web site.

“I want to apologize to the people of  Portland for my dishonesty and for embarrassing them,” the mayor said this week. “This was a serious error that happened about four years ago. My job now is to come clean — I mucked it up — and to press forward.”

CNN has a report:

"This was a serious error that happened about four years ago," Portland Mayor Sam Adams tells reporters.

“This was a serious error that happened about four years ago,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams tells reporters.

 Obama, Biden: Fight Scandal, Corruption, Bad Government Please….
 Obama’s Ethical Government: It’s Your Call

Fool Chief Justice Gets “Do Over” With President; Treasury Nominee “Do Over” With His Taxes and Nation’s Economy

January 22, 2009

Chief Justice John Roberts, who botched his single minute (actually more like 25 seconds) in the national spotlight, got another try Wednesday.  He re-administered to oath of office to President Barack Obama.

I don’t think John Roberts is a fool.  But he made a damned fool mistake when he went to the inauguration without a cue card.  Having given many oaths of office myself, I never went without a 3×5 index card with the oath typed upon it.  Roberts should have asked an expert, like a police officer, about how best to administer an oath….

John Roberts: go stand over in the corner with the President’s designated Treasury nominee who failed to properly pay his taxes….Timothy F. Geithner.

“Careless mistakes,” Geithner said.  “Careless” like Mr. Roberts.  I don’t like it.

I like guys that get the simple things right.  Roberts has four years to get ready for the next one.  In my view, Geithner should be sent home and never allowed to supervize the IRS that will roast me for the same fool thing he’s done….

Geithner’s “next one” is the saving of the American economy.  And his work record to date, even excusing his tax lapses, isn’t spectacular, unless you got some of the government give away money….

Geithner and Roberts are both fools.  But at least Roberts appears to be an ethical fool….

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

The Senate will probably confirm the President’s Traesury nominee…

Michelle Malkin thinks the tax caper is a show stopper….


“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Obama said.

Among other things, Obama said he would issue a pay freeze for his senior staff.

How about for tax evasion, Mister President?

Obama Stresses Transparency, Ethical Conduct to New Administration
Read the rest:
Obama, Biden: Fight Scandal, Corruption, Bad Government Please….

 Democratic Scandals Boring, Less Sexual, But Genuine

Carville’s 2009 Predictions: Stand By For More Democrat Scandals

Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee ...
Fool Timothy Geithner testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on his nomination to be US Treasury Secretary at the Dirksen Senate office Building in Washington, DC. Geithner apologized Wednesday over past tax transgressions….  He wants to run the IRS so he can make sure you pay your taxes….”I was careless”….(AFP/Mandel Ngan)


From the New York Times:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administered the oath to Mr. Obama on Wednesday evening, one day after the two men stumbled over each other’s words during the inauguration ceremony at the Capitol.

For their do-over, the two men convened in the White House Map Room at 7:35 p.m. for a brief proceeding that was not announced until it was completed successfully.

“Are you ready to take the oath?” Chief Justice Roberts said.

“I am,” Mr. Obama replied. “And we’re going to do it very slowly.”

Read the rest:

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. re-administering the oath of office to Barack Obama on Wednesday in the White House.  Pete Souza/The White House