Thursday, December 31

4 decades



Forty years ago to the day and America is still the greatest country on Earth despite the Left's best efforts to undo what the Founding Fathers envisioned.

Happy New Year from the patriots @ RFL. God Bless America!

Tuesday, December 29

'soft talk'

Obama and his merry band of ill-equipped advisers and flunkees, led by the twit Janet Napolitano, badly bungled the response to Christmas Terror on Flight 253.

The proof? His full court press on the subject, giving briefings on two successive days after being completely stupid and silent for three successive days.

This administration is accustomed to being caught flat-footed because they never seem to be prepared for anything. Just like Carter and just like Clinton, it's all just a bunch of meaningless talk.

The pattern has been established. Whenever something bad happens, this White House pretends nothing happened on the first day. "No, no. Everything's fine." On the second day, they acknowledge something occurred but they say "Oh, it's no big deal." They finally are forced to trot Barry out on the third day for political reasons and when they do all the leader of the free world can usually muster is, "I'm just cleaning up the mess left behind by the last guy."

And true to form, what's beginning to be used as an excuse in the aftermath of the Christmas Flight 253 (and raised as a defense) is Obama's favorite: Blame Bush. "Hey, this stuff was all set up under the previous administration..."

Yes, but former President Bush invented the current policies fresh, from scratch. It was correctly expected that Bush's successor would IMPROVE on the Bush-era policies and STRENGTHEN them, not weaken them.

Indicting terrorists weakens national security. Interrogating terrorists strengthens national security. It's not hard to figure out. Obama and Holder are are terrorist sympathizers, giving them miranda rights, lawyers and criminal trials.

Holder's law firm even represents a lot of the Gitmo terrorists.

Monday, December 28

racially profile now

[Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, at age 19]

Obviously, the enemy is still plotting (and attempting) to hit us again.

What a shame that we have such a cowardly President. We have an administration that can't verbally acknowledge terrorism, won't even allow the phrase 'War on Terror' to be uttered and they handle cases like regular crimes.

Pre-9/11 mentality. Obama is Clinton, weak on national security, weak on terror, weak on threats to America. The world is a dangerous place. People don't like us. The Left doesn't get it, or they don't care. So much for that crap about Obama uniting the world.

The Feds indicted al Qaeda stooge Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab (above) on Friday after he attempted to detonate an explosive onboard the Amsterdam to Detroit Northwest flight 253.

Indicting Abdulmuttalab means he can't be interrogated. (Remember, Liberals are opposed to preventing terror attacks and saving lives. ) Information about terrorist networks and future terrorism cannot be gleaned from this terrorist thanks to the feckless Obama and his stupid Liberal friends.

This is exactly the type of guy President Bush would have ordered interrogated and sent to Gitmo. It was these types of actions that prevented further acts of terror on American soil 2001-2008.

Something else to think about: Abdulmuttalab studied Arabic and became radicalized in Yemen. What a coincidence. Yemen is where the Obama administration is sending former Gitmo detainees.

Bleeping brilliant. How dumb is this administration? But it gets better.

Instead of doing the right thing and RACIALLY PROFILING MUSLIMS, since THE MAJORITY OF TERRORISTS ARE MUSLIMS, the feckless and incompetent director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has created a bunch of new rules destined to make air travel even more unpleasant. "Okay, everybody, hands on knees and feet on the floor the last hour of each and every flight."

Racial profiling works for Israel. It would work for America, too. Screw CAIR.

Sunday, December 27

unmitigated disaster

Forget partisanship, forget Red states and Blue states, forget polling.

We're nearly a year into the Obama presidency and we can take the measure of the man and his White House by his support of two recent 'triumphs,' as George Will describes them.

1. Copenhagen. Global warming is a myth, a sham. Recent emails proved there is no 'consensus' on climate change. Instead, there is widespread collusion on the subject, with pro-warming scientists blocking the publication of opinions by dissenting scientists. Oh yeah, 'consensus.'

Yet, Obama went to Copenhagen and did... absolutely nothing about climate change. They made a list of stuff to do sometime in the future, but they completely punted on actual action. How is this an achievement? It isn't, in fact, it's testament to just how phony global warming actually is.

2. The Senate health care bill. Wildly unpopular, Obama set an Christmas deadline on passing the bill because he knew that if Senators had gone home for the holidays they would have come back to DC and voted no on the bill. This is an achievement in unconstitutional legislating, nothing more.

Barry's hanging his hat on debunked theories and unpopular, unnecessary legislation. What an unmitigated failure the thoroughly clueless Obama administration has been thus far.

Wednesday, December 23

kitchen tables



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Tuesday, December 22

backlash



Thank God Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) found language inserted into the Senate Health Care reform bill that makes certain provisions PERMANENT. Future Congresses cannot repeal parts of government run health care.

That's unconstitutional. As is the Health Care bill itself.

It's a bill none of the Democrats have even bothered to read, but they worship at the altar of Big Government and they want permanent power. Also unconstitutional.

The bill is full of pay-offs, bribes and exemptions for Nebraska, Michigan, Florida, Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Louisiana and others. Why should citizens in Texas or Colorado or Utah not be treated the same under Medicare as other states?

The Democrats are killing themselves ahead of 2010 and they don't even know it.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) is claiming that The White House and the so-called 'Democratic' leadership (think American terrorists Pelosi and Reid) are pressuring him to remain silent on abortion language in the Senate health bill.

That's unconstitutional. And completely un-Democratic.

Rep. Parker Griffith (D-AL) has said that "he can no longer align himself with a party that continues to pursue legislation that is bad for our country, hurts our economy and drives us further and further into debt," is switching to the Republican Party.

More Griffith:
“Unfortunately there are those in the Democratic Leadership that continue to push an agenda focused on massive new spending, tax increases, bailouts and a health care bill that is bad for our healthcare system,” Griffith said in a statement. “I have always considered myself to be an independent voice and I have tried to be that voice in Congress – but after watching this agenda firsthand I now believe that the differences in the two parties could not be more clear and that for me to be true to my core beliefs and values I must align myself with the Republican party and speak out clearly on these issues."
The Speaker of the House has said that she's willing to sacrifice the seats of moderate Dems to pass health care. The problem for her might be those very same moderate Dems. Pelosi is Speaker thanks to 49 other members who represent districts that voted for McCain in 2008.

Griffith might be just the beginning of the end of Nancy. Wouldn't that be a great day for America?

Monday, December 21

blue dogs & global warming

I'm completely disgusted by what's going on in DC. The pathetic Democrats continue to move toward ramming through the 'health care' legislation that is anything other than the 'health care reform' that they are calling it.

Of course, it's the fault of the GOP. Why? Because had old Jackass McCain given a damn and gotten up off his ass he might have fared better as a presidential candidate in 2008. I don't care what anybody says, Obama could have been defeated last year based on his questionable associations. He won because the Republicans didn't lay a glove on him. They were afraid to attack the black guy.

The dumb Democrats now are only doing what they promised to do: Pass a bunch of unconstitutional, anti-American legislation, designed to kill the economy and expand governmental control over every aspect of your life and mine. So much for the Blue Dogs.

Or maybe Rich Lowry is right? Maybe health care won't pass.

Funny that the East Coast is completely snowed under. It's perfect for Christmas. What did they get? Nearly 20 feet of fresh powder? What the hell happened to global warming?

Thursday, December 17

kill the bill


You may not ever agree with Howard Dean, but in a way you have to respect the man for his ideological purity. Whereas Obama is the ultimate calculating politician, guys like Dean and Dennis Kucinich (who is anti-war regardless of who is President) put their political philosophy ahead of party loyalty and political expediency.

Howard Dean has today dropped a bomb on the Left from the Left. And it is a far Left rebellion that is the only real obstacle remaining in front of Obama's and Nancy Pelosi's craven race to secure passage of any kind of bill whatsoever, slap the name health care reform on it and call it a victory. Neatly tied in a bow in time for Obama to tout in his upcoming State of the Union Address on January 20th but most of its ghastly effects, which Dean gets into below, not taking effect until safely after the 2012 elections when Obama is theoretically reelected before anyone gets a chance to see how bad this legislation is in practice.

I've said enough. Howard... take it from here.

"If I were a senator, I would not vote for the current health-care bill. Any measure that expands private insurers' monopoly over health care and transfers millions of taxpayer dollars to private corporations is not real health-care reform. Real reform would insert competition into insurance markets, force insurers to cut unnecessary administrative expenses and spend health-care dollars caring for people. Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these.

Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries -- in the range of $20 million a year -- and on return on equity for the company's shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.

From the very beginning of this debate, progressives have argued that a public option or a Medicare buy-in would restore competition and hold the private health insurance industry accountable. Progressives understood that a public plan would give Americans real choices about what kind of system they wanted to be in and how they wanted to spend their money. Yet Washington has decided, once again, that the American people cannot be trusted to choose for themselves. Your money goes to insurers, whether or not you want it to.

In Washington, when major bills near final passage, an inside-the-Beltway mentality takes hold. Any bill becomes a victory. Clear thinking is thrown out the window for political calculus. In the heat of battle, decisions are being made that set an irreversible course for how future health reform is done. The result is legislation that has been crafted to get votes, not to reform health care.

I have worked for health-care reform all my political life. In my home state of Vermont, we have accomplished universal health care for children younger than 18 and real insurance reform -- which not only bans discrimination against preexisting conditions but also prevents insurers from charging outrageous sums for policies as a way of keeping out high-risk people. I know health reform when I see it, and there isn't much left in the Senate bill. I reluctantly conclude that, as it stands, this bill would do more harm than good to the future of America.
" -Howard Dean

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Monday, December 14

inglorious bastard

Al Gore
Oh, crap. They've finally figured out I was lying.

grow business, not government

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Friday, December 11

actions, not words

Obama sounded like a neocon yesterday in Oslo. That's what bad poll numbers tend to do to Liberal presidents.

Yes, evil does exist in the world and it's nice to hear 44 say it at long last. American exceptionalism oozed out of O while accepting his Nobel. Good for him. He said the words all American Presidents should say.

He even sounded humble. That's what bad poll numbers tend to do to Liberal presidents.

But then I remember back to this past July and his weak-kneed negotiations with the Russians on START.

And then I think of the illogically stupid decision to bring al Qaeda terrorists to America for trial.

I remember quickly that Obama is no neocon. He's not even a good leader or a smart guy.

Thursday, December 10

harry reid is bad for america

Harry Reid (D-NV) is the worst Senate Majority Leader in American history.

www.Tark2012.com

corrupt democrats



Democrats are in charge...Ain't it wonderful? The Congressional Black Caucus squeezed Barney Frank for $6 billion in "financial reform" for black-owned businesses.

Maxine Waters, one of the biggest racist scumbags in Congress, already has locked down $12 million in TARP funds.

Even Clinton pollster Mark Penn snagged $6 million in 'stimulus' funds.

'simpleminded'

Former UN Ambassador and all-around-smart-guy John Bolton, on Obama's Nobel acceptance speech:
“He played to the crowd and filled the speech with clichés from the American and international left by saying ‘America cannot act alone’ and that he ‘prohibited torture.’ The speech was also typical of Obama in its self-centeredness and ‘something for everybody’ approach.”

“It was so diffuse that though I wouldn’t call it incoherent, it was getting close,” says Bolton. “It was a lot about him, again, especially with his comments about being at the ‘beginning, not end’ of his labors for the world.”

Obama made some “breathtakingly simpleminded statements in his section on humanity’s history of war and the ‘hard truth’ that war will not end in our lifetimes,” adds Bolton. “No kidding. I don’t know what that is supposed to prove.”
Bill Clinton was an arrogant bastard, but he's got nothing on Obama. No wonder 44% of Americans want President Bush back.

61%

A new CNN poll says that a whopping 61% of Americans don't like the Senate health 'reform' bill.

declining support

Public Policy Polling reports that 44% wish President George W. Bush was still in office. Only 50% prefer Obama over Bush.

Wednesday, December 9

in our best interest

I agree with Sarah Palin. Boycott Copenhagen.

Eschewing anti-American policies is most definitely in our national interest, Barack. Grow some stones.

worst ever

Barack Obama is officially the worst President ever, according to a new Gallup poll.

Obama's approval rating is 47%, the worst rating ever for a new President at this point in his first term.

Tuesday, December 8

incompetent

Obama is blaming the GOP for running up the deficit? That's hysterical.

This guy is even WORSE than Jimmy Carter. Carter didn't start blaming people until AFTER he'd been bounced from office.

And Liberals think Bush was incompetent?

So says the American Thinker:
"Obama is about as completely manufactured a political character as this nation has seen. His meteoric rise, without the inconvenience of a public record or accomplishments, and the public's willing suspension of critical evaluation of his résumé allowed his handlers and the media to project whatever they wanted to on his unfurrowed brow.

"After a year in the spotlight, Barack Obama, hailed as a brilliant man and a creature of destiny who would heal us all, is himself falling rapidly to earth. (Thankfully, his family life remains above suspicion.) The flaws that were airbrushed out of the candidate photos are becoming glaringly obvious under day-to-day scrutiny of his public performance in the White House.

"It matters a lot if the president is revealed to be an inexperienced, excessively ideological, and weak man who is naïve about the world and uncomfortable exercising American power during a time of war. It matters if nothing in his training would have equipped the president to understand what it takes to stimulate job growth, or ameliorate a recession, or to end an overseas conflict successfully. It matters that he is uninterested in the science behind global warming -- and wishes to use the issue to amass power and reorder society. It matters that he has no interest in the construction of policy.

"Barack Obama is not an exceptional, or even particularly competent, leader. But because so many politicians, interest groups and factions have an interest in his continued presence, no one is ready to reveal the man behind the curtain just yet.

"But many voters from both the center and the far left who believed in the Obama magic are increasingly dismayed by watching the human god fall to earth. This is a major problem because the impulse of the betrayed is to tear their fallen deities to shreds."
And did you hear about convicted bank fraud felon Robert Creamer? Obama wants him to oversee health care reform.

Monday, December 7

pros/cons


RCP's Jay Cost objectively discusses what an average voter, a centrist/moderate/independent swing voter thinks when considering the relative advantages and disadvantages of ObamaCare. "This is the sort of middle-of-the-road person who is going to swing (issues) such as this one way or another," he says.

You might think that the legislation having zero bi-partisan support would be enough to give people pause without getting into the weeds, but even when broken down like Cost has done here, you can see why public support for ObamaCare is cratering.

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harry reid is in trouble

Harry Reid is making a fool of himself again. He obviously doesn't have the votes on health care, so he's scared and lashing out.
"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all Republicans have come up with is this slow down, stop everything, let's start over," said Reid. "You think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, 'Slow down, it's too early. Let's wait. Things aren't bad enough.' When women spoke up for the right to speak up, they wanted to vote, some insisted, 'Slow down, there will be a better day to do that. The day isn't quite right,' " Reid said on the Senate floor.

"When this body was on the verge of guaranteeing equal civil rights to everyone, regardless of the color of their skin, some senators resorted to the same filibuster threats that we hear today," he continued. "History is repeating itself before our eyes. There are now those who don't think it is the right time to reform health care. If not now, when, madam president? But the reality for many that feel that way, it will never, never be a good time to reform health care."
Someone needs to tell Reid a Republican President named Lincoln abolished slavery. The Democrats were more than happy to keep blacks as slaves. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) was a member of the KKK. Give me a break.

Health care isn't going to pass because it's a bad bill. Democrats, with their plan, aren't insuring people and they aren't cutting costs. They are insuring fewer people and costing a lot more, adding to the already astronomical deficit.

Reid is hysterical because he knows that, according to polls, 81% of self-described motivated Republicans are planning to vote in 2010, versus only 56% of so-far unmotivated Democrats. Obama has been a giant disappointment.

Plus, Harry is locked in a tight re-election battle in Nevada. How great would it be if he lost to Danny Tarkanian?

it's over



Just a quick reminder why Mike Huckabee won't be missed as a future presidential contender. His inability to answer a simple question in this clip illustrates just how slimy and hard to pin down he is. He accuses others of lying yet he, during the campaign, demonstrably told lie after lie.

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Friday, December 4

enemies of the state

The dim-witted, money-grubbing House Democrats made the death tax permanent yesterday.

DC will continue to take the current 45% of all incomes once you die, even though your assets have already been taxed at the local, state and government level.

Complete lunacy. The Founders must be rolling over in their graves at the state of American decomposition.

The dim-witted, money-grubbing Senate Democrats voted to make $460 billion in Medicare cuts, while claiming that guaranteed benefits won't be affected.

Tell that to my 72 year old Mother. She doesn't believe it and neither do I.

The Democrats in Washington who vote for these things are the enemies of the state. They are domestic terrorists.

The real way to create jobs


Obama yesterday met with union leaders, educators, academics, and business people in order to try and figure out what the Federal Government can do to create jobs. "Job creation ultimately comes from the private sector," Obama proclaimed yesterday. I found it almost astonishing to hear him say that. Especially when considering the fact that everything that he has done so far belies this assumption. But if I'm to give him the benefit of the doubt, the White House might be starting to realize that blindly pushing forward with a job killing healthcare bill and a job killing cap and tax bill--and all the uncertainty that is caused by their irresolution-- is probably not helping the creation of jobs. Then again there's always the possibility that Obama doesn't actually believe that jobs come from the private sector, he just knows that he's supposed to say that. In any event, what he actually believes will likely be reflected by the solutions he will be proposing.

After all, prominent lefties like Arianna Huffington and Robert Reich are now finally advocating some common sense solutions such as a new employee tax credit whereby the Federal Government essentially pays businesses to hire people in the form of tax breaks. Reich and Huffington are also now finally calling for a payroll tax holiday, something I initially advocated back in February. They could use the unspent TARP money or the unspent "stimulus" money to fund these programs.

Obama should just forget the jobs summit and implement the following plan:

• Repair the stimulus. Freeze the funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect them to immediate, private sector job-creation priorities.

• Create tax incentives that promote business expansion and hiring. For example, install a robust investment tax credit, permit businesses to expense capital purchases made in 2010, and reduce payroll taxes. These will reignite construction, technology and a wide array of capital goods industries, and lead to expanded employment.

• Prove to the global investors that finance America's debt that we are serious about reining in spending and becoming fiscally prudent by adopting limits on non-military discretionary spending and reforming our unsustainable, unfunded entitlements. These are key to strengthening the dollar, reducing the threat of rampant inflation and holding down interest rates.

• Close down any talk of carbon cap-and-trade. It will burden consumers and employers with billions in new costs. Instead, greatly expand our commitment to natural gas and nuclear, boosting jobs now and reducing the export of energy jobs and dollars later.

• Tell the unions that job-stifling "card check" legislation is off the table. Laying new burdens on small business will kill entrepreneurship and job creation.

• Don't allow a massive tax increase to go into effect in 2011 with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The specter of more tax-fueled government spending and the reduction of capital available for small business will hinder investment and business expansion.

• New spending should be strictly limited to items that are critically needed and that we would have acquired in the future, such as new military equipment to support our troops abroad and essential infrastructure at home.

• Install dynamic regulations for the financial sector — rules that are up to date, efficient and not excessively burdensome. But do not so tie up the financial sector with red tape that we lose a vital component of our economic system.

• Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment.

• Stop frightening the private sector by continuing to hold GM stock, by imposing tighter and tighter controls on compensation, and by pursuing a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers. Government encroachment on free enterprise is depressing investment and job creation.

The above plan is that of Mitt Romney, from his recent USA Today op-ed. Here is Arianna Huffington's plan:

• Use Wall Street bailout funds left in the TARP program to hail out Main Street (via increased lending to small businesses and using money for public services being cut by states and cities).

• Enact a one-year payroll tax holiday (creating a moratorium on Social Security, Medicare, and FICA taxes will encourage businesses to hire new workers).

• Expand the Small Business Association's lending programs (45 percent of all job losses have been at small businesses).

• Offer businesses a tax credit for every new job created over the next 12 months, or have the government pay a portion of the salary of new workers hired over the same period.

And finally, Robert Reich's:

• A new jobs tax credit for any firm creating net new jobs.

• Lending directed at small businesses, which are having a hard time getting credit but are responsible for most new jobs.

• A one-year payroll tax holiday on the first, say, $20,000 of income – which would quickly put money into peoples’ pockets and simultaneously make it cheaper for businesses to hire because they pay half the payroll tax.

If Barack Obama is seriously looking for a way the Federal Government can create jobs then he should first get government out of the way by shelving healthcare reform and cap and trade. Second, he should implement the above ideas. This is not only a bi-partisan solution, this is the real way to create jobs.

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Thursday, December 3

pretending to go to war for 18 months

That's what this President and his administration does. They pretend. They pretend jobs have been created. They pretend there is a health care crisis. They pretend global warming exists. It's all very political.

President Obama failed to utter the words 'victory' or 'win' in his speech at West Point on Tuesday night. Instead, he spoke of 'transition' and 'transfer.'


Our troops deserve better than this. They deserve a winnable mission. They also need the manpower to get the job done. That means more, not less.

They don't deserve to be used as pawns in a political struggle. They don't deserve to be led by a dithering Commander-in-Chief who is more concerned with exit strategies than with a full and complete victory.

Is Afghanistan -- it's fair to ask -- 'winnable'? The Russians lost. Will America? That depends.

Can we fight cave-dwelling/hiding guerrilla warriors? Do we have the will to stay, fight and win or will we lose the stomach before the job is complete as we did in Vietnam and like we almost did in Iraq?

I take the Afghanistan war very seriously and it remains an open question to me whether or not it is winnable. It's going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, given the geographic realities.

That task is made even harder when the President of the United States doesn't talk about winning the war, wastes time and refuses to provide the resources the General wants. It's all symptomatic of a lack of desire to succeed or a lack of understanding of the conflict.

Wednesday, December 2

'the half-hearted surge'



Let's get one thing straight: I support the President sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, but after inexcusably dithering for three months there are a couple of big problems with his decision.

The first problem is that Obama is sending fewer troops than General McChrystal asked for. The second problem is he seems more concerned with the exit strategy and less committed to victory.

Telling the enemy America will begin to withdraw in July 2011 is self-defeating. It's illogical. Telling the enemy what you're going to do before you do it. That's not how you fight a war. It's tantamount to creating failure, nurturing and fostering a losing environment.

Even Europe is taking notice of Obama's fecklessness, i.e.,amateur hour at the White House and of the extremely cool reception he gets from America's military.

afghanistan duality theory


Barack Obama last night finally unveiled his strategy, if you can fairly call it that, for Afghanistan. Although I found hearing a Democratic President sending more troops to war a bit surreal, I am inclined to be supportive of a President sending troops into harm's way. Unlike the Left with Bush, I'm inclined to give the commander in chief the benefit of the doubt in matters of war. So even though I have been arguing that we get out of Afghanistan so long as we have a commander in chief who doesn't seem personally committed to victory, I feel more or less obligated to be generally supportive of what Obama was saying last night in as far as his assertion that an increase in troops, an escalation if you will, is now required. I'm proud of Obama for making what for him is a bold decision.

The reaction from the rest of the punditry and the political spectrum is decidedly more mixed, to put it kindly. The main criticism of the speech is as obvious is it is righteous. That we are adding more troops but we are also saying explicitly to our allies and enemies alike that we are leaving at a certain date in the future does seem like an extremely odd way to wage war. It also reveals that the speech last night was entirely political. And I don't mean geo-political. Everything from the West Point setting to the fact that it took this long to essentially restate existing strategy was geared towards an American political audience. Obama is seeking to, as usual, be all things to all voters. Satisfy the hawks with a troop surge, or at least a "surge-lite", but also placate the anti-war crowd by setting a date certain for withdrawal. The speech didn't seem to take into account the message we are sending both our Afghan and Nato allies but also our enemies. Who among the local Afghan population will be on board for a temporary alliance with us only to be thrown to the wolves in 18 months? And if you were making plans as our enemies, why not hunker down for a while and regroup for a massive counter offensive in 18 months?

In doing research for this post I read the basic New York Times column about the speech and was struck by some of the comments penned by the predominantly left leaning readership:

"This is such a bad idea, sending 30,000 more young men and women into harm's way. I have no doubt that 2011 will come and go, the military leadership will still be deeply mired in Afghanistan and will be requesting additional troops. This is Vietnam all over again, sans the tropical jungles. This will not end well. Afghanistan is a failed nation and no amount of foreign intervention can fix it. Just ask the Brits and the Russians."

"Apparently we will say, US to Afghani terrorists: Hide in Somalia for 18 months."

"President Obama is a the ultimate calculating politician. Instead of cutting our losses and making enemies by completely withdrawing, he wants to walk the middle line until a year before his next re-election campaign."

"Obama's leadership is frightfully naive. Although we shouldn't have expected much more from an academic with not even one term of national leadership experience. We get the president we deserve."

"The July 2011 drawdown is just a charade...Obama is throwing a bone to us dogs! He wants to keep his liberal base. Will we fall for this?"

"Hope the surge works. Otherwise President Obama has committed more US troops with an announced timetable for withdrawal. If the surge doesn't work, well President Obama has committed and increased number troops to a futile effort. Hope the surge works."


But the most devastating commentary comes from the left leaning Der Speigel from Germany. You see, these are the left leaning folks who aren't saddled with the fact that they voted for Barack so they must feel free to speak their mind, even though if they had had the chance they would have voted for Obama.

Gabor Steingart writes:

"One didn't have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama's speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan -- and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war -- and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate."


Steingart rightly points out the naked politics at play in the speech:

"For each troop movement, Obama had a number to match. US strength in Afghanistan will be tripled relative to the Bush years, a fact that is sure to impress hawks in America. But just 18 months later, just in time for Obama's re-election campaign, the horror of war is to end and the draw down will begin. The doves of peace will be let free.

The speech continued in that vein. It was as though Obama had taken one of his old campaign speeches and merged it with a text from the library of ex-President George W. Bush. Extremists kill in the name of Islam, he said, before adding that it is one of the 'world's great religions.' He promised that responsibility for the country's security would soon be transferred to the government of President Hamid Karzai -- a government which he said was 'corrupt.' The Taliban is dangerous and growing stronger. But 'America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars,' he added.

It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.
"

That Obama was channeling Bush begins to explain why I was inclined to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on this much in the same way I gave Bush the benefit of the doubt on matters of war. Obama used the same kind of rhetoric that Bush used to justify our military endevours. But, as Steingart point out, the speech was as equally Jeckyl as it was Hyde, for every hawkish statement there was an equal dovish statement: The cavalry are coming, but we'll be leaving in 18 months.

As Steingart concludes in his excellent piece:

"In his speech on America's new Afghanistan strategy, Obama tried to speak to both places. It was two speeches in one. That is why it felt so false. Both dreamers and realists were left feeling distraught.

The American president doesn't need any opponents at the moment. He's already got himself."

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