Thursday, January 09, 2014

Cruising the Web

President Obama really is ignorant about economics and how jobs get created. We saw this in his first year when he belatedly learned that shovel-ready jobs aren't as shovel-ready as he'd hoped. And he clearly had no comprehension about unintended consequences with Obamacare. And now he's claiming that extending unemployment insurance will actually create new jobs. But as, Guy Benson explains, this is the sort of delusions many Democrats labor under.

Chris Matthews become more unhinged every year.

It's ironic that the same week that I'm covering the nativism and anti-Catholicism of the Gilded Age that we'd see a major news magazine publish a very bigoted anti-Catholic rant against Sonia Sotomayor's rather standard decision to issue a temporary stay in the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor for each side to make their arguments. Jamie Stiehm writes in US News that Sotomayor's stay is basically due to her being Catholic and we have too many Catholics on the Supreme Court.
Et tu, Justice Sonia Sotomayor? Really, we can't trust you on women's health and human rights? The lady from the Bronx just dropped the ball on American women and girls as surely as she did the sparkling ball at midnight on New Year's Eve in Times Square. Or maybe she's just a good Catholic girl.

The Supreme Court is now best understood as the Extreme Court. One big reason why is that six out of nine Justices are Catholic. Let's be forthright about that. (The other three are Jewish.) Sotomayor, appointed by President Obama, is a Catholic who put her religion ahead of her jurisprudence. What a surprise, but that is no small thing....

The seemingly innocent Little Sisters likely were likely not acting alone in their trouble-making. Their big brothers, the meddlesome American Roman Catholic Archbishops are bound to be involved. They seek and wield tremendous power and influence in the political sphere. Big city mayors know their penchant for control all too well. Their principal target for years on end has been squelching women and girls – even when they should have focused on their own men and boys.
Notice how Stiehm doesn't undertake to examine the legal reasoning behind Sotomayor's stay. Instead Stiehm reaches immediately for anti-Catholic bigotry. The Anchoress has a very good line-by-line examination of all the idiocies contained in Stiehm's rant.

This is one of the Thomas Nast cartoons I'm going to be showing my American history students today as we talk about politics in the Gilded Age. It illustrates the fear that Catholic bishops would use Catholic parochial schools to attack innocent American children.
Stiehm might prefer an updated version where the Catholic crocodiles accompanied by the nuns of the Little Sisters of the poor are attacking abortion-seeking young women.

Frankly, I'm amazed that no editor at US News realized how tendentious and bigoted Stiehm's column was and just nixed the whole thing.

Perhaps it would be educational for Stiehm to read Ramesh Ponnuru's explanation of the history of the law that the Little Sisters of the Poor are claiming that the government has broken.

Victor Davis Hanson has a fine examination of all that is wrong with American universities today. I wouldn't go so far as to call our universities outlaw campuses, but he is right on target with the areas he describes needing reform.

Oh, the irony. The IRS is saying that they don't have enough funding to perform all the tasks given to it under Obamacare.

Edward Kosner, a former editor at several magazines and at the NY Daily News, writes today about how Americans would do well to look for future presidents who have some serious executive experience instead of someone like Barack Obama who clearly has no idea how to run a medium-sized business, much less the huge bureaucracy that is our federal government.
One of the oddities of America's cherished political system is that the job of chief executive of the most powerful operation in the history of the world requires no executive experience. Men who have done little more than publish a small-town newspaper or manage the staff of a U.S. Senate office find themselves in charge of a vast bureaucracy and all-powerful military. As often as not, they don't have a clue about how to run this monster.

It's often argued that the virtue of America's endless and gigantic modern presidential campaigns is to test not only the candidates' brains, character and stamina, but also their managerial talent. The winner, it's said, proves by winning that he (and soon enough, she) has the right stuff to be chief executive.

That's really not the case. In a presidential race, the candidate is the "talent" out on the campaign making speeches and debating; the show is actually run by the "suits"—the campaign managers, fundraisers and press secretaries. If their candidate prevails, they become the heroes of postelection books like "Double Down," Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's account of the 2012 presidential race. The talent spends most of the time in the traveling bubble taking direction from his handlers back at headquarters.
Barack Obama had the least magerial experience of all our presidents. And we are seeing the results now.
Given ObamaCare's complexity, a seasoned executive would have bird-dogged every stage of its creation and rollout, with obsessive attention to the testing of the sign-up computer programs, the public's first encounter with his signature initiative. There would be go/no-go inflection points and backup timetables, cold-eyed performance reviews and abrupt dismissals. And, in the worst case, a plan to put everything on hold for a year to sort out all the problems.

The Obama administration's backstage handling of the program has been so cloaked that it's impossible to know whether any of these routine management approaches were built in or ad-libbed when big trouble arose. But clearly, the chief executive's downcast proclamation that "I take full responsibility" is the lame refuge of the failed manager.
Chris Christie definitely has executive experience, but this story of his aides gratuitously punishing New Yorker drivers as some sort of silly revenge against aNew Jersey Democratic mayor who had the temerity to not support Christie's reelection campaign is a sign Christie's weak or politically corrupt leadership of his administration. James Taranto finds a dangerous comparison for Chris Christie.
Worse, the Christie administration's evident abuse of the Port Authority is reminiscent of the Obama administration's abuse of the Internal Revenue Service. Neither the governor nor the president has been shown to be directly involved, but each must bear a measure of responsibility for his subordinates' actions. One of Obama's worst traits is his unvarnished contempt for his political opponents. The new revelations from Trenton suggest that Christie's administration, if not the man himself, has a similar quality.

Its sheer pettiness is what distinguishes the GWB scandal from the ObamaCare and IRS ones. The ObamaCare fraud was in the service of an ambitious ideological agenda, and as we have argued, the 2012 election was close enough that it is possible the IRS's suppression of opposition was necessary to secure the president a second term. Christie, by contrast, is not much of an ideologue and was cruising to an easy re-election.