Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cruising the Web

The President figures that we're all too dumb to realize how well the country is doing.

And the FBI thinks we're plenty stupid and can't figure out that there is a connection between radical Islam and the beheading in Oklahoma despite having a Facebook postings admiring ISIS and bin Laden and cheering the murders on 9/11. But then this has been a trend by law enforcement and this administration. And why is the man who threatened to behead a coworker being charted with terrorism and the guy who actually beheaded a coworker isn't?

But then depending on the stupidity of Americans is rather a staple of this administration's approach to policies. Josh Kraushaar, no conservative ideologue, writes at the National Journal, no conservative rag, about what he calls "Obama's Pass-the-Buck Presidency."
In attempting to downplay the political damage from a slew of second-term controversies, President Obama has counted on the American people having a very short memory span and a healthy suspension of disbelief. The time-tested strategy for Obama: Claim he's in the dark about his own administration's activities, blame the mess on subordinates, and hope that with the passage of time, all will be forgotten. Harry Truman, the president isn't. He's more likely to pass the buck.
Obama's tendency to blame others for his own mistakes isn't limited to his failure to understand the threat from ISIS.
The elements of the administration's blame, deny, and wait-it-out communications strategy has been front and center amid all the recent controversies. When the administration badly botched the launch of the health care exchange website, Obama said he was "not informed directly that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to." This, for his signature achievement in office. Blame was later pinned on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who left the administration in April.

When officials at the Internal Revenue Service improperly targeted conservative outside groups for scrutiny, Obama first feigned outrage, saying he had "no patience for" the misconduct. But months later, as the public's anger subsided, Obama said there "wasn't even a smidgen of corruption" at the agency, and the administration has done little to hold anyone accountable since.

After CNN reported that Veterans Affairs Department offices covered up long wait times at several of its facilities, former Obama press secretary Jay Carney said, "We learned about them through the [news] reports." Long wait times were hardly a secret, with Obama himself campaigning on VA reform as a candidate. To his credit, Obama signed legislation reforming the VA and replaced embattled Secretary Eric Shinseki. But the president himself escaped much of the blame, even though he was clearly familiar with the long-standing problems that the agency faced.

The administration's approach to controversies was best crystallized by former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor, who deflected criticism about allegations that talking points on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were altered for political reasons. "Dude, this was two years ago," he told Bret Baier of Fox News. The remarks were perceived as flippant, but they underscored the success of the administration's public-relations strategy. Buy enough time, and inevitably problems tend to go away—especially in today's attention-deprived environment.

The difference between bureaucratic incompetence and not being fully truthful with the American public is a big one. In the aftermath of scandal, it's easy to understand why the administration, when choosing between portraying the president as disconnected or dissembling, has chosen the former. But throughout his presidency, Obama has acted far from detached. In his second term, he's relied increasingly on loyalists who are less likely to push back against the president's wishes. It's hard to square a president who reportedly is micromanaging airstrikes in Syria with a president who was unaware of the growing threat from Islamic extremists, which had been increasingly trumpeted on the network news.

Roger Simon expands on this theme by writing how many educated liberals are actually on low-information voters."
There are a number of people who are at least somewhat cognizant of quantum mechanics to whom the details of the issues of the day are just as unfamiliar — the modern liberal intelligentsia. I’m not talking about the punditocracy here, the Thomas Friedmans of the world, who are certainly aware of the issues (well, more or less) even if they evaluate them in peculiar ways. I’m talking about the workaday liberal, the well-educated professionals who are our friends, relatives and neighbors. They are, increasingly, low information voters, living in willful or perhaps willed blindness.

Jay Cost is also zeroing in on the Democrats' dependence on hoping that voters are ignorant. He discusses the two models of representation: delegate and trustee. For the delegate model, voters send someone to the legislature to vote the way the constituents want. For the trustee model, voters trust their representatives to use their own good judgment when voting since their constituents don't have the time or inclination to stay informed about issues. As Cost writes, the Democrats have a new model.
It seems that the Democrats have been developing a third model of representation of late: Call it the “sneak it past the rubes” theory. Under this approach, you pre-sent yourself to your constituents as an independent voice, not in hock to the national Democratic party, so as to get elected. Then the national party allows you generally to vote with your constituents, on the understanding that when the chips are down you will vote with the liberal leadership. Then you hope that the “rubes” back home can be sufficiently distracted by the “war on women” or some other phony issue that they’ll return you to office. And if they choose not to, there will be a consolation prize: a cushy, well-connected job as a lobbyist (Blanche Lincoln) or law firm adviser (Byron Dorgan) or association CEO (Ben Nelson) or strategic adviser in PR (Kent Conrad) in Washington, where you are more at home anyway, or even a job out of town as an ambassador (Max Baucus).
Cost then applies this model to what the Democrats are hoping will happen in Kansas when they persuaded their own nominee to drop out and make the race between Pat Roberts and a supposed independent, Greg Orman.
Over the last decade, Orman has contributed overwhelmingly to Democrats, he briefly ran in 2008 as a Democrat to try to unseat Roberts, and a perusal of his positions—especially on abortion—suggests he is to the left of the average Kansas voter. Perhaps needless to say, he will not commit to repealing Obamacare.

Bottom line: Greg Orman is a Democrat running as an independent. So this is a variant of the game Democrats have been playing for years now, with an extra layer of deception: Find a candidate who can win over Republican voters in red states by talking about his independent-mindedness, and when he gets to Washington he’ll be there when you really need him. It’s “sneak it past the rubes” minus the party label.
If the Democrats get away with this "sneak it past the rubes" tactic this year in states like Kansas or North Carolina or Louisiana, they'll keep on trying it.

This is why the White House should stop using the term ISIL.

Victor Davis Hanson explains the real damage Eric Holder had done to the nation.
he will be known mostly for re-teaching Americans to think of race as essential, not incidental, to our characters.

He accomplished that unfortunate legacy in a number of ways. Holder waded into the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown fatal shootings before all the facts were known in a manner no local public prosecutor would dare do so. He claimed that the unpopularity of Barack Obama was due to racial animosity, apparently forgetful that not long ago, in the era of Bush Derangement Syndrome, novels and movies were published and produced fantasizing about the assassination of George W. Bush, who was compared to Nazis and fascists, by everyone from Al Gore to John Glenn. I assume Holder was then quiet about such alarming disparagement of his president; and also I assume that when Obama in 2009 had near 70% approval ratings, for Holder the nation was anything but cowardly.

Of course, Holder infamously called Americans “cowards” for not being as obsessed in the same way with race as he was. He referred to African-Americans as “my people,” a sloppy aside that might have gotten any other attorney general fired for such cheap ethnic chauvinism — except that his own boss had once called for Latinos to punish “our enemies” and on the campaign trail had talked of “typical white person.” Holder chose to drop the New Black Panther case in a way that highlighted racial matters — apparently coming armed with clubs to a voting precinct is hardly unusual — in the same way that he suggested that those states that might require an ID to vote (in the manner we produce IDs to write a check or use a credit card) were racist, in the same way that he suggested that states like Arizona that wanted federal immigration law enforced were acting out of racialist motives.

In other words, in the reprehensible vision of Eric Holder, how we look governs who we are.

Our brilliant State Department scheduled a White House dinner to honor Indian Prime Minister Modi while he's in the middle of a religious fast. And the hapless Department spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki had to defend this mess.
State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki was forced to defend the decision to hold the dinner on the holy day.

“I’m just wondering if anyone thought it was really that much of a good idea to host and dinner and lunch for the visiting president who is the middle of a fast,” asked Associated Press reporter Matt Lee.

“We certainly understand that and recognize it and respect it, his fast. It’s a way of honoring an individual,” Psaki responding.

“Are these people going to be actually eating in front of him?” Lee followed up.

“I don’t have the menu in front of me, Matt,” Psaki said.

Lee explained that the optics could be offensive.

“So he’s going to be sitting there drinking his water or lemon flavored water and everyone else is going to be chowing down on a four course meal in front on him?” the reporter asked.

“We can check and see what the menu is if it’s of interest to you,” Psaki replied.

“Is there actually going to be food served?” pressed Lee. “It seems a little impolite if someone can’t eat because they’re doing a religious [fast]. You wouldn’t invite a practicing Muslim to lunch in the Middle of Ramadan would you?”

“It seems kind of odd they would choose an event and then a lunch with someone who can’t eat,” Lee said.

Psaki responded that the overarching goal of the meals are to “to honor the visit” by Modi.
Why can't they just admit that they did something idiotic and that they'll reschedule the dinner? I guess this administration just won't ever acknowledge that they made mistakes.

Don't hold your breath for Boehner to be ousted by a coup from the right.

The Swiss voted overwhelmingly
against moving from private health insurance to a state-run scheme. Wouldn't it have been nice to have had a referendum on Obamacare instead of the corrupt process that was used to force it through?

The Kurds are not happy with U.S. airstrikes against ISIS. They think we're not going at it hard enough. That might help explain why ISIS has advanced to the outskirts of Baghdad. Bryan Preston links to a CNN interview with a defector from ISIS who agrees that our attacks aren't doing all that much damage to ISIS. And they're borrowing a tactic from Hamas by hiding weapons among civilians.

So if the intelligence community made a mistake, as Obama claims, about the rise of ISIS, does that mean that "they lied and people died?"

Members of the intelligence community are not happy about being dossed under the bus. There were plenty of public statements by members of Obama's intelligence team early this year warning about ISIS. Of course, this wasn't in accord with Obama's claim that the "boundless war on terror" is over or that we were withdrawing from Iraq in 2011 and "leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq."

And Lee Smith asks a pertinent question: If the intel was so bad on ISIS, can we trust it on Iran as the President basically gave up on any attempt to stop Iran from going nuclear?

OUr wonderful representatives in Congress are regularly missing about 2/3 of their committee meetings. Maybe those meetings are a waste of time, but I bet they'd never admit that.

It's not going to help Iowa Democratic senatorial candidate Bruce Braley tout his record on veterans when voters learn that he missed 79% of the hearings on the VA. It's not going to be defense to say well, other representatives miss their meetings also.

Advertising online may be more determinative this year than TV advertising.