- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009

OBAMA’S EARMARK

“Congress will scrub President Obama´s name from a list of earmark co-sponsors in the $410 billion omnibus spending bill,” Jonathan Allen reports at www.cqpolitics.com.

“The reason: Whether Obama co-sponsored the earmark depends on what the definition of earmark is and when an earmark becomes an earmark, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“The provision itself is still considered an earmark, and it´s staying in the bill (HR 1105) - but it´s losing the Obama brand.

“As of Thursday, Obama´s name appeared along with three dozen other senators as a co-sponsor of a $7.7 million line item for vocational training at two schools run by American Indian groups in New Mexico and North Dakota.

“The White House objected to the characterization of the provision as an earmark - a sensitive topic, given that Obama said he didn´t request any earmarks in 2008.

“Subsequently, Senate Appropriations Committee spokesman Rob Blumenthal said Obama´s name would be removed from future versions of the congressional report identifying earmarks and their sponsors. Other senators listed with him as co-sponsors will be judged on a case-by-case basis.”

WHATEVER

Matt Welch, editor-in-chief of Reason magazine, was astonished by the contradictions in President Obama’s address to Congress.

” ‘But I also know,’ President Barack Obama said [Tuesday] night, in his typically self-referential fashion, ‘that in a time of crisis, we cannot afford to govern out of anger, or yield to the politics of the moment. My job - our job - is to solve the problem. Our job is to govern with a sense of responsibility.’

“It was a pleasingly presidential sentiment for a subdued, not-quite-a-State-of-the-Union speech. Unfortunately for Obama - and us - it was also contradicted, and blatantly so, not four paragraphs prior, by a guy named Barack Obama. ‘This time,’ the president warned us the minute before, while giving that stern schoolmaster look of his, ‘CEOs won’t be able to use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet. Those days are over!’ Democrats leaped to their feet.

“Obama aims to be the president of all Americans, a position that appears to be sincere. But I wonder whether in the process he might also want to consider appointing himself chief executive of his own head. All night long, with equally sonorous vigor, he served up confident assertions, only to state moments later, with equal conviction, their near opposite,” Mr. Welch said at www.reason.com.

” ‘We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,’ Obama crowd-pleased near the beginning, in the slot normally reserved for lines like ‘the state of our union is strong.’

“Not long after, though, Americans learned that our very ‘survival depends on finding new sources of energy.’ Also, ‘there will be no real recovery unless we clean up the credit crisis … our recovery will be choked off before it even begins,’ and if we don’t do whatever Obama wants us to do about the banking system, ‘it could result in an economy that sputters along for not months or years, but perhaps a decade.’ Better! Stronger! Crippled for a decade!”

STRAW MEN

President Barack Obama reveres Abraham Lincoln. But among the glaring differences between the two men is that Lincoln offered careful, rigorous, sustained arguments to advance his aims and, when disagreeing with political opponents, rarely relied on the lazy rhetorical device of ‘straw men,’ ” Karl Rove writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“Mr. Obama, on the other hand, routinely ascribes to others views they don’t espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates,” Mr. Rove said.

“On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama told Congress and the nation, ‘I reject the view that … says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.’ Who exactly has that view? Certainly not congressional Republicans, who believe that through reasonable tax cuts, fiscal restraint, and prudent monetary policies government contributes to prosperity.

“Mr. Obama also said that America’s economic difficulties resulted when ‘regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.’ Who gutted which regulations?

“Perhaps it was President Bill Clinton who, along with then-Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, removed restrictions on banks owning insurance companies in 1999. If so, were Mr. Clinton and Mr. Summers (now an Obama adviser) motivated by quick profit, or by the belief that the reform was necessary to modernize our financial industry?

“Perhaps Mr. Obama was talking about George W. Bush. But Mr. Bush spent five years pushing to further regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was blocked by Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank. Arriving in the Senate in 2005, Mr. Obama backed up Mr. Dodd’s threat to filibuster Mr. Bush’s needed reforms.”

BURRIS AND DURBIN

Sen. Roland W. Burris serves “a valuable purpose,” the Chicago Tribune said Thursday in an editorial: “His tainted tenure, for however long it lasts, will remind all of us of how badly Democratic leaders in Washington and Springfield botched the filling of President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat.

Sen. Dick Durbin has not-so-subtly tried to distance himself from this expanding fiasco. Durbin laments, with innocent exasperation, that the citizens of his state are ‘bone-weary’ of ‘the Blagojevich burlesque.’

“Not so fast, senator. This burlesque has more than one high-stepping dancer.

“We’ll grant that then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich outmaneuvered his fellow Democrats, even with that squad of FBI agents tied behind his back. Blagojevich must have anticipated that his fellow Dems’ desperate desire to keep the seat Democratic - during a Democratic scandal - would cloud their judgment. …

“But as Burris nestles in and as the 2010 election cycle approaches, remember this, little voter: The game you’re witnessing has been all about the Democratic leaders’ best interests, not about yours. Example: When is the last time you heard Durbin repeat his Dec. 9 call for a special Senate election in Illinois - an election his party might lose.

“The 12 million-plus of us who’ve been elbowed aside by the Democratic swells in Washington and Springfield need to burn this into our memories:

“Roland Burris? He’s all theirs.”

• Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or e-mail Greg Pierce.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide