The Day the Obama Presidency Stood
Man of Words Becomes Only That, Obamacare Loses its
Truth & Consequences
day the President’s legacy stood still was the day he exposed himself as a
man whose word was nothing but a sound.
It does not matter that the people wanted to hear his words. After all, they now had to know that they
were words without consequence.
Retreat from Consequential Words
headline on USA Today's front page on Wednesday, September 11, the day after
the President delivered his much anticipated address to the nation on Syria,
it foreign policy by gaffes?"
Of course, the question answered itself.
our last issue prior to the President’s retreat on Syria, we said we would
better predict the President's prospects of getting the Congress to back his
lawyerly request for a formal authorization for the use of military force
against the dictatorship of Syria. This
time we did not see it coming. Would
we live millenia, we still never would have come to
expect the U.S. Secretary of State, pushing the cause of a U.S. strike on
Syria, to tell everyone it would be "unbelievably small." Unbelievable.
did we then expect the President to clumsily present one of our harshest and
most sinister rivals the opportunity to take control of our foreign policy,
and (if we are to believe what the President himself so well explained to us
on Tuesday, September 10) our national security
We did expect the President to make a
sound and articulate case for why "Syria matters," and he did:
dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way
until those horrifying pictures fade from memory... This is not a world we
should accept. This is what's at stake...and that is why, after careful
deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of
the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons
through a targeted military strike.
the front-end of his speech was the the kind of
coherent articulation of a cause we have come to know he can deliver when he
is pressed. It would have bought enough votes in Congress, even with the
terrible mis-steps of the previous days. But his up-to-then salient words took a
surreal turn eleven minutes into his speech:
so I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize
the use of force... and we will work together in consultation with Russia and
China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council...
that in the end we will do absolutely nothing in a foreseeable future to
advance the cause so clearly just explained.
thus, in those few words, came to an end the Obama
presidency. Nothing of consequence
will come from him again – words or otherwise - even as it may very well turn
out that it will never have; and we stand in awe of his blundering willfull blindness.
Human Embrace of Plain Contradictions
would have liked to have rushed to publish our forecast on the speech no
sooner than he gave it; but with over two months passed (and this UWFR in drafting stages for the entire
period), we can say nothing has changed: catastrophic damage was done to his
presidential power and influence, and by consequence, (but less so) to
American power and influence.
was reminiscent of President Clinton's speech in 1993, in the wake of the killing
of Marines in Somalia, whereby the President in one sentence said America
must never withdraw in the face of such attacks, and in the next announced
the withdrawal of American forces from Somalia - as if no one would notice
human beings are funny creatures in that we will accept blatant
contradictions so long as at the near term, we get what we want. All of us to a person, to one degree or
another, accept deals that will ultimately cost us because the price is far
off, and the reward is immediate. We
charge up credit cards today, or stay in an abusive relationship, or continue
to support unsustainable trajectories of all kinds (GM, Detroit) because
changing what we are doing extracts an immediate price in exchange for a future,
nebulous payoff that is impossible to quantify, or even prove will come.
brilliant CEO's to humble street sweepers, we all do it in some sphere of our
lives, be it with small and manageable consequences, or with such that come
to leave awful wreakage and pain in our lives, or
even take us out completely. In the
end, we do arrive late, get fat, go bankrupt, lose our homes, end up lonely,
get beaten or killed by a lover, destroy our businesses, lose our children,
die of overdoses, abandon cities; and every century or so, we bring down a
whole nation or two. In the odd millenia, we do not stop indulging ourselves until an
entire civilization comes down. We
cannot help ourselves.
of us ever entirely can.
First Know the People, then What Must Be Done
President Clinton was right in that the contradiction and withdrawal would
not hurt him politically at home.
Neither did the withdrawal of American forces from Lebanon hurt
President Reagan over the long haul.
Americans wanted their soldiers home, as they always do, saw no
connection to the events in Somalia and Lebanon to their own lives, and never
took note of the rising death toll that followed each American withdrawal, or
any link between retreat and escalated aggression. Just like interest on a credit card is not
connected to any particular purchase, or any particular day of cowering is
not connected to a day of murderous reckoning at the hands of one unhinged
spouse - or one socio-pathic tyrant.
it should be noted that neither President Clinton or
President Reagan suffered long term political damage when they did use force
- successfully - even when Americans were weary. They merely had to endure the political
fallout during its deployment. In
fact, their later military success obscured their earlier retreats, and
enhanced their reputations as history now takes the longer look.
Leader Came to Know His People, then Did What Had to Be Done
2,500 years ago, a Greek politician by the name Themistocles warned the people of Athens that they needed to
invest in a navy to ward off an invasion from the Persian Empire. Athens was a wealthy and powerful
democratic city-state of the time. But
the people were not interested, and did not take seriously his admonitions. They wanted to spend their money on more
immediate benefits. Shrewdly, he changed his message
and pointed out the commercial benefits of building up their navy. They built the ships.
three years his wisdom and foresight would become jarringly evident as the
Persian army advanced on all of Greece, with one of the largest armies the
world had ever seen. Powerful as
Persia was, the largest empire of that place and time, Athens and its allies
were able to respond with a navy that in the end was key
to saving all of the mainland Greek city-states from losing their
freedom. Because of the vision and
certainty of course of one man, a whole people were spared the consequences
of their own narrow, parochial sights.
More than that, because this war ended the Persian attempts at
conquering Greece, and because of the pivotal role classical Greek
civilization came to later play in the development of our own Western
Civilization, not least the ideas of democracy, many historians credit this
Greek victory as one of the most important of human history.
not go along with what his people wanted.
He led them to where they needed to go.
Heard the People and Gave them All the Cake They Wanted
people did not want to be in Somalia.
They did not want to be in Lebanon.
They did not want to fight Nazi Germany or Japan. And, they do not want to go to Syria. Very understandable. People don’t want to spend money and risk
lives on fighting in faraway places.
And, it is very difficult to show the consequence of American power
and influence abroad and its correlation to the benefits in in our daily
lives at home. Like connecting one
cheese cake, one reckless credit charge, one more day of spousal abuse, to a
distant day of reckoning.
want things that make us more comfortable today: More free and subsidized healthcare, less
taxes, more subsidized education, less taxes, more free food and housing,
less taxes, more of everbody else’s toil, and less
toiling of our own.
Continued column 2 >
Ultrapolis World Forecast
Ultrapolis Project –
TIMES magazine cover of
September 16, featuring Putin Primacy in editions around the word, but
hidden from U.S. readers.
< From column 1
Meanwhile, the things that pay off in the more distant
future, like space exploration and the preservation of our national
architectural treasures, those we begrudge even a tiny fraction of our
wealth. We are a nation turning our
sights to immediate comfort and pleasure, and President Obama has obliged.
A Man of the Times
President Obama overrode almost all of his senior policy advisers
foreign policy in two major Middle East rebellions, the first
time being Libya, the second time in Syria. From Hillary Clinton, to Leon
Panetta, to Susan Rice to John Kerry, the President has gone his own
way. Clearly, the President does not
want American power projected elsewhere - period - and for him that happily
coincides with what most Americans want.
In September it was reported that Americans visited
twelve web pages on Miley Cyrus for every one page
on Syria. Granted, the period
surveyed was big for the little woman.
Others, however, like the Russians, the Iranians, and the Israelis
were not so distracted by the dancing naked female, with more of them
visiting pages on Syria than Cyrus.
President Obama is a man of the time. He does not transcend it. He reflects it.
While We Watched Videos…
We will not detail here all the reasons we find this turn of events
damaging to America's long-term welfare.
Others have made the case well enough. For a brief summarization, we suggest the
September 13, editorial "Putin
Rules" in the Wall Street Journal. For a more elaborate outline, we refer you to Fouad
Ajami's column in the same paper, same day "Obama
Is Lost in the Mideast Bazaar."
In the UWFR
of November 21 a year ago we said: “…and,
we pray that no military emergency calling for immediate, decisive action
comes our way.” Well it did. Now, the consequences of Syria will last at least until a new
president is inaugurated in 2016.
The Chinese, the Russians, the Saudi Arabians, the French, the
Israelis, the Syrians, the Libyans, the Egyptians, the Turks, et al, have
all since made very clear their contempt for President Obama (the man who
was supposed to enhance our standing around the world), in harsh and blunt
terms we have never seen before, not even during Jimmy Carter’s hapless
Most Americans simply do not appreciate how demeaning this process
was for the President and for the country – not even most conservatives. And they don’t want to know. Time Magazine knows what it is doing to keep its U.S. circulation
numbers (see caption and picture above).
But, the Syria retreat affected, and will continue to affect,
everything. Mostly abroad, but also
For this reason, in Iran, there will be not be any real progress in
stopping the Mullah’s nuclear bomb (see our companion
Even Obamacare Will Retreat
Oh, yes, what about Obamacare? Obamacare will
be rescued in some form, but not by President Obama. It will be rescued by bumbling Tea Party Republicans whose
every action gives the Obamacare supporters (Mr.
Obama is irrelevant now) another figleaf and
another crutch to keep the thing going; and by Democrats who realize that
were Obamacare to fail, it would leave the Obama
presidential legacy naked and
liberal-progressivism on the run.
That will not be allowed to happen.
But, any further efforts to save Obamacare
will be funneled thru Democratic leaders in Congress, not thru the President,
who will be increasingly told behind cosed doors
what he has to give up if he wants to save any part of his signature
Obama Electoral Influence
The President will have no influence in 2014. The 2014 elections will lean further to
the right than 2012, just as 2010 did, as voters continue to see-saw
between the two parties looking for someone who can really improve the
lives of Middle America. But the
margin will be closer than in 2010.
2016 will be open wide.
Partisanship will continue its growing polarization under the
President who promised a new era of bi-partisanship.
Reckoning at the Red Line
We said in our September
7 UWFR that the President would not escape responsibility for
whatever comes to Syria. In ways we
did not fully anticipate, this has come to pass. The President, like so many of his followers,
thought the world could be changed by the power of his words.
People will long talk about the Obamacare
debacle, and how the President began to lose respect for his word after
October 1. But, in our estimation of
history’s reckoning, September 10 will be the last day the President’s
words mattered, when at 9:12 PM EDST, the President stood still at his own
red line, turned back, and made his words cease to convey any consequence
to friend and foe alike.
In truth, it is fine and good to talk about how we can all push the
cart together; and it is all grand and swell to do this with eloquent words
that motivate us and get us to understand how important it is to push the
cart. Words do matter. But, at some point you actually have to
push the cart.
Siren Call for a Nuke Deal Legacy
North Korea Agreed Framework Redux
If Only Iranians
One wonders how
it is that liberal-progressive Democrats can be so stiff-spined with fellow Americans called Republicans, while simultaneously
entertaining all manner of concessions to the most regressive regimes on
earth. To many of the rank file,
Republicans who oppose paying for someone else’s contraceptives are the
worst evil to never be bargained with.
But the Iranian regime, known to have tortured and killed people for
merely voicing opposition and actually oppressing women as women, it is
merely misunderstood and worthy of equal-footing and trust at the negotiation
table. It is a perennial dichotomy
one can always count on.
President Obama’s eager surrender to Russia of bargaining power with Iran's
client state of Syria, his administration now seeks to follow the example
of Bill Clinton's 1994 "Agreed Framework" with North Korea. President Clinton's Secretary of State in
1994, Madeleine Albright, expressed in 2004 her surprise that the North
Koreans "cheated" and did not keep their promises, and the
much-hailed agreement did not stop North Korea from making nuclear weapons. If anything, it made it easier for them
to accomplish that goal, making the regime far more dangerous in a future
crisis (and there will be a future crisis), while limiting America's
options to respond. (In a TV
broadcast of Head to Head first
broadcast on May 10, 1994, we forecast the framework would not work, and
North Korea would violate the agreement, while our liberal-progressive
co-host predicted ‘peace in our time’).
Continued column 3 >
< From column 2
The forecast we
made in the UWFR issue of February 10, 2010, regarding Obama's
prospects in staving off a nuclear-armed Iran, remains firmly unchanged, for
reasons equally firmly secured in a philosophy that unwaveringly values any
paper agreement, however worthless and dangerous, over the pursuit of any
serious policy that might fail to deliver a signed piece of paper.
Socialists - yes, France’s Socialists – initially put the brakes on what
Obama's America was about to do, saying in 'diplomatese'
what translates to "are you crazy?" But this was only a momentary setback to
the Obama administration’s determination to secure an agreement.
Many are now
looking to see what else they can get while the U.S. appears unwilling to
do anything anywhere except talk.
Perhaps this is what led the Chinese to crudely test us this weekend
in the East China Sea. Fortunately,
it appears the administration has not completely lost its senses, and
called China’s bluff, as it HAD to.
We have been
steered into dangerous waters under the argument that any immediate peace
is better than any fight. And as we already
said in our headline column above, that is one argument the American people
on both sides of the political spectrum want to buy. We will pay for it with interest.
Switch & Bait (and Bait, and
Bait) on Zimmerman
New Arrest to Bring Shell Game
Arrest Backs View Left Was Wrong
Once again George
Zimmerman, the WHITE Hispanic who was accused of targeting a young black
male because of his race, has been arrested for another agressive
act, this time against his latest girlfriend. Even some previous defenders of Mr.
Zimmerman seemed to back track against their own positions arguing Mr.
Zimmerman's innocence of the crime of a racially-motivated assault.
No doubt, many
who strenously insisted, against all the
available evidence, that Zimmerman acted on racial motivation, will sieze on this latest episode as proof of their
position. In fact, it is the
opposite: the alleged victim of his latest encounter was his white
girlfriend, evidencing the equal-opportunity nature of his anger issues.
Backlog! of Comments
UWFR, Please Stay Above
Cheap Promotion! and other Sundry Comments
Pride & Prejudice
8/9/2013 on Zimmerman case] Love UWFR!
My take[,]…I think it was tragic, and Zimmerman should have
acted differently, but I don't think he broke the law, or profiled anyone.
I think the media ginned the race thing up, and Al Sharpton stepped in and
churned it. People wanted to believe there was racism, so they believed the
Promo Emails & Male Self Exams
[RE: UWFR 9/7/2013 on Obama Syria
Abdication pre-speech] Looking forward to reading your Syria writ [post
speech]. Curious to see if it will really be non
biased. That is so hard to do I have noticed.
I'm writing to
tell you to throw a statistic like 90% [in UWFR promo email] cheapens what I'm about to read because it
makes me believe you made that number up [regarding UWFR accuracy]. Maybe those sorts of
% claims are acceptable colloquialisms that the mathematician
in me doesn't recognize. But then I
won't believe other % quoted. Although I guess you will site sources for
I've so enjoyed
reading your analyses. I like grounded opinions. You are a bit braggy,
you might let the reader make the observations on your accuracy themselves!
Or maybe we need to form a praise coalition
to let you know we are impressed.
I really did
intend to be lauding you! The things I mentioned are but tiny perceived
flaws in a great ship.
[Regarding the UWFR 11/7/2013] - Love your work as
usual. I must admit I carefully watched the testicular exam exactly for
the wrong reason!, except that it was the reason
they were hoping for, I suppose.
statistic cited within a UWFR is vetted and cites or links to a
reputable source. The notification
or promotional / marketing emails follow a different standard: one just a
notch above that of the marketing departments of businesses and public
agencies - admittedly, a far lower standard.
Government Shutdown Posts
[RE: Twitter Posts on Shutdown in Oct.] I don't follow on Twitter, but I am o.k.
with the Republicans shouldering most of the blame for the moment. Our government seems to have limited
ability for bipartisan governing. I
say limit terms in the House and Senate...most of the time the House spends
planning their own re-election during their terms and seem to be unaware
that their business is to make decisions that are best for the country not
only special interest groups.
Zimmerman & Kennedy
[RE: UWFR 8/9/2013 on Zimmerman case] That [was] the best writing I've ever seen from you.
Clear, sober, realistic, well thought out.
And (if I may be so bold) correct.
(A few weeks ago I found the Department of (in)Justice's Twitter site where they were asking the
public for information on Zimmerman so that they can prosecute him. There
were 10,000s of responses. ALL OF THEM (!!!!!!!!!) were making fun of the
request and/or insulting the DOJ and Holder and/or stating the good things
that Zimmerman has done. I laughed my ass off. And I was very pleased. Apparently large portions of the American
public do NOT believe as the liberal media and this administration
[On the UWFR
11/22/2013 Kennedy Retrospective], Thank you. A beautiful tribute to JFK.
record cannot be beat. One can
follow the herd chasing the latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and
soon-forgotten micro-trend on Facebook and Twitter, or one can be wisely
and judiciously in front of it with UWFR.
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