- The Washington Times - Monday, March 9, 2009

‘ENEMIES LIST’

“He hasn’t called anyone an ‘evildoer’ or denounced an ‘axis of evil.’ But make no mistake: President Obama is putting together an enemies list,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“Strangely, though, those on it are not terrorists or foreign dictators. They are mostly Americans lucky enough to have succeeded through capitalism and democracy,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“In the President’s words, they are guilty of being ‘special interests’ and ‘lobbyists.’ The Bush-era tax cuts were merely ‘an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy,’ and he will bring fairness by raising taxes on “the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.’

“His barbs flow almost daily, faulting corporate leaders for ‘greed’ and shirking ‘a sense of responsibility.’ And sometimes he suggests the problem is criminal, as when he defended his plan for an expanded government push into health insurance as necessary ‘to keep the private sector honest.’



“Less than half-way through what should be a 100-day honeymoon, the Obama administration is on a war footing. Make that a class-war footing.

“Sometimes the targets are critics, including two TV commentators singled out by press secretary Robert Gibbs for faulting the president’s bailout plans.

“Sometimes the targets are Republicans, like conservative talker Rush Limbaugh, the focus of a plan led by chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to divide the GOP and score points with the Democratic base.

“But the tone of the president’s own attacks on industry and his spending and tax policies are increasingly worrying Wall Street and much of the business world.”

ON THE MENU

Jim Rogers is not happy with the Obama administration. Ever since the White House unveiled its costly climate program, the CEO of Duke Energy has been arguing the proposals amount to nothing more than a tax. Indeed,” Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberley A. Strassel writes.

“Mr. Rogers belongs to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, about 30 companies that decided they were going to dance with the U.S. government to the tune of global warming legislation. The group demanded a ‘cap-and-trade’ system, figuring they’d craft the rules so as to obtain regulatory certainty, with little upfront cost. At the time, Mr. Rogers explained: ‘If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’ll wind up on the menu.’

“Duke sat, yet it and its compatriots are still shaping up to be Washington’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Obama plan will cost plenty, upfront, which will be borne by Mr. Rogers’s customers. The Duke CEO tells me that he still sees opportunity to change the proposal: ‘This is not my first rodeo, in terms of working with the legislative process.’ There nonetheless may be a lesson here for companies that invite the U.S. government to saddle them with huge, expensive regulations,” the writer said.

” ‘People are learning,’ says William Kovacs, vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which has been cautious about embracing a climate plan). ‘The Obama budget did more to help us consolidate and coalesce the business community than anything we could have done. It’s opened eyes to the fact that this is about a social-welfare transfer system, not about climate.’ ”

SEEDS OF FAILURE

President Obama isn’t riding as high as he thinks,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“He’s popular, though no more than is usual for a new president. His party is in charge on Capitol Hill, but its command of the Senate is fraying. And just last week, the faint outlines of a center-right coalition in opposition to Obama’s policies - and increasingly to Obama himself - began to emerge. It’s an embryonic grouping that may prove to be ephemeral. But maybe not,” Mr. Barnes said.

“Obama’s situation is the same as Bill Clinton’s in 1993. Clinton had run for president as a moderate, just as Obama ran as a pragmatic, rather than an ideological, liberal. But both turned sharply liberal once in the White House. Clinton alienated the political center by promoting a government-run health care plan, gays in the military, and midnight basketball as a crime-fighting tool. Obama is doing the same - at least he’s starting to - with his bid to enact the most far-reaching and costly set of liberal programs since the New Deal.

“If the political attitudes of Americans have been propelled to the left by the Obama campaign and the economic slump, as many liberals insist, the president should have little to worry about. But if America is still predominantly a moderate-to-conservative country, as I believe it is, then Obama may be fostering a stronger and more united gathering of opponents than he and his strategists imagine. …

“Obama hasn’t failed. He’s been in office less than two months. But he is sowing the seeds of failure, both economically and politically. He doesn’t quite own the economy yet, but he does own the stock market. It’s a bet on the future. And so far the stock market has registered a resounding vote of no confidence in Obama’s economic policies.”

OVEREXPOSED

Barack Obama is ubiquitous,” Steven Stark writes in the Boston Phoenix.

“In his first six weeks in office, he’s given an inaugural address, a State of the Union-like speech to a joint session of Congress (since new presidents don’t really report on the state of the union), and an hourlong press conference. He’s also made several campaign trips and has been a daily fixture on magazine covers and the news shows. He’s talking to us all the time,” Mr. Stark said.

“Yes, he’s an intriguing and appealing figure. But you don’t have to go out on a limb to surmise that he may be risking overexposure - which often leads to failure.

“This is not an argument about the longevity of political popularity. Rather, it has to do with Obama’s creating what political scientist Theodore Lowi called ‘a personal presidency,’ in which one unreasonably exaggerates the power of a president to influence events - especially economic ones. Going down that path, warned Lowi, is a sure road to political failure. …

“A long line of skilled politicians have managed to wear out their political welcome with their sheer omnipresence. Take Jimmy Carter, who was wildly popular in his first few months in office. By the end of only one year, Russell Baker wrote in the New York Times: ‘If the Carter administration were a television show, it would have been canceled months ago.’ ”

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

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide