I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hypocrisy, Is It The New Kool Aid Flavor?

Over the past few weeks I have focused on the hypocrisy of President Obama and the rest of the political class in Washington DC. After reading the responses I have come to an interesting conclusion. There is just as much hypocrisy among his breathless devotees. Before I begin to detail the duplicity of those experiencing chills running up their legs, allow me to explain that not all of those who support the President’s socialistic agenda are hypocrites. There are some that support Obama and his misguided policies because they truly believe that socialism, for the first time in human history, will actually work. There are others, those of which I am referring to as hypocrites, which were vehemently opposed to various policies under the Bush administration, but are jumping to their feet to applaud the very same policies under an Obama administration.

During the summer of 2007, President Bush and members of both political parties were pushing for “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” that would grant amnesty to more than 12 million illegal aliens. The public outcry against the ill-conceived legislation was swift and fierce. Congress quickly folded under the public pressure and defeated the measure. The opposition to the amnesty bill was made up of conservatives, liberals, and moderates. Last week President Obama spoke of the need for immigration reform that would again grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Yet the silence from the Kool Aid drinking followers of the President was deafening. Why would someone oppose amnesty when proposed by Bush but yet support it when proposed by Obama?

During the 8 years of the Bush presidency, the screams against deficit spending came again from both conservatives and liberals alike. Conservatives railed against foolish legislation that added to the deficit spending. We opposed the expensive Medicare Prescription Drug plan because of the outrageous cost of the measure. We opposed the reluctance of Bush to veto any spending measure sent to his desk from Congress. Now that President Obama is in office, the some of the same people screaming at Bush’s deficit spending are strangely silent about President Obama’s budget plans that will increase the federal deficit by 4 times to $9.3 trillion. Why is it evil when Bush spends more than the government collects in tax revenue, but it is perfectly fine when Obama quadruples the deficit spending in his first 8 weeks in office?

When the news reports came out about the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the outrage at Bush was immense. The anger was aimed at Bush because of the treatment of our country’s bravest men and women. President Obama even campaigned on better treatment for our veterans. Unfortunately this was yet another campaign pledge that was nothing more than empty campaign rhetoric. Last week the leaders of the American Legion reported on the President’s proposal to force the private insurance companies of combat injured veterans to pay for the medical costs associated with treating their combat related injuries. Again there was no cry from the swaying masses of the Obama acolytes. Why would they not care about the treatment of veterans by the Obama administration?

The answer to the above questions is obvious to anyone with an ounce of intellectual honesty, hypocrisy. If you have the courage of your convictions, it will not matter who is proposing a policy. If the policy is at odds with your core beliefs then you will oppose it regardless of which political party is proposing it. I have been accused of being blinded by my partisanship, but if you read anything I wrote over the last year it would become obvious that my conservatism has remained steady. If a Republican, such as Bush, proposed something with which I disagreed, I voiced my opposition. On the same token, when Obama has said or done something with which I have agreed, I voiced my support. The only question that I have for those incapable of being honest with themselves is what flavor is the Obama Kool Aid?

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hypocrisy Reigns Supreme In Washington DC

In September of 2008, the Federal government orchestrated an $85 billion bailout of the insurance company American International Group, better known as AIG. The move was part of an effort to shore up the faltering financial sector. At the time, conservatives blasted the bailout as an expensive, foolish, and meddling experiment to “fix” the economy. Now that 6 months have passed since the initial round of bailouts, we can plainly see the folly of such an experiment. To make matters worse, AIG has just paid out millions in bonuses to many of their executives. This obviously touched off a flurry of hearings and press conferences in Washington D.C. to enable the politicians to feign their moral outrage over the payment of bonuses.

The news out of DC this week has been a constant drumbeat of anger, and calls for the names of the executives to be made public. The House has even voted to tax the bonuses at an outrageous rate of 90%. As a side note, does anyone honestly believe that Congress will stop at the selective bonuses of these executives? When does Congress ever abolish a tax? They more often than not simply expand the tax to include more taxpayers. When Congressman Barney Frank pompously pontificated about his desire to make the names of those receiving bonuses public, AIG CEO Ed Liddy responded by cautioning Frank about the danger of publicizing the names. He then read a couple of recorded death threats aimed at the executives of AIG, to which the “omniscient” Frank replied that he would take it under advisement. Sadly, for Frank and many other politicians, the visions of headlines cloud the very real possibility of bodily injury to the executives.

The hypocrisy of the politicians reigns supreme in Washington. Last month, the “stimulus” bill was pushed through Congress without any chance for real debate. It was rushed through so hurriedly, that the majority of Congress did not even have the chance to read it. Maybe if they had read the bill, they would have noticed a small addition to the bill that stated that any contractual bonuses that were promised before February 11 of this year, would be allowed to be paid out. Who added this tiny amendment to the bill? Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut was the author of the amendment. Please allow another side not here as well. The 2 top recipients of campaign donations from AIG last year were Senator Chris Dodd and Senator Barack Obama. Dodd admitted that he had added the amendment to the bill, but that an administration official had applied pressure to ensure that it did get added to the final version of the bill. So Congress passes a bill that specifically allows these bonuses to be paid, and then when it becomes public knowledge that the bonuses are being paid, the same congressman arrogantly declare their moral outrage.

The White House was questioned about how could they allow these bonuses to be paid out. Their response was that the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, had only learned of the bonuses last week and was working to prevent them from being paid. The truth is that Geithner had known for at least 2 weeks, and AIG had been working with Federal officials for at least the past 3 months on these very same bonuses. Either the Federal government does not pass along information to the Treasury Secretary, or they knew about it and waited for it become public knowledge to milk every last ounce of political capital out of the outrage that they created.

President Obama was elected on a platform of hope and change. He swept into office with the promise to reform Washington and to work on a bipartisan basis to save the economy. This “crisis” was a manufactured crisis to allow the government to feign their surprise and anger to snatch more of our freedom away from us. One other piece of news released this week that has gotten little to no coverage was that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are poised to pay out their own share of bonuses to their top executives. Will Congress and the White House put on just as big of a show for these 2 government-controlled agencies? If the past 6 weeks have shown us anything, they have shown us that the mantra of “Hope and Change” should be changed to “Hypocrisy and Cronyism”.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Obama's Hypocrisy On Earmarks

During his Presidential campaign, President Barack Obama promised to end the era of earmarks in Washington. Sadly for the American taxpayer, his promise has turned out to be nothing more than empty campaign rhetoric.

After Congress passed the $787 billion “stimulus” bill, President Obama stood before a joint session of Congress and proclaimed, “I’m proud that we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks, and I want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities.” Either Obama suffers from short-term memory loss or his understanding of what constitutes an earmark is severely warped.

One of the many spending measures in the “stimulus” bill was $1 billion measure for one specific “zero emissions power plant” in the former Senator’s home state of Illinois. The same power plant was removed from a program last year because after years of government funding it had produced no results. After several years of trying to capture carbon emissions and turn them into liquid to return to the earth, and $1.8 billion, they were unable to show any progress. Instead of spending taxpayer money on a project that might actually stimulate the economy, Congress and the President saw fit to waste approximately 1/18th of the amount spent on all earmarks last year on a proven failure.

Next came the $400+ billion Omnibus spending measure that was pushed through Congress last week. This bill contained more than 8000 separate earmarks from members of both political parties. President Obama tried to deflect the criticism by saying that this bill was actually drawn up before he was inaugurated. The truth is that it was written back in December before Obama became the current resident of the Oval Office, but a deeper look shows that Obama is far from innocent on the earmark case in this bill. The former Senator had submitted his own earmarks that were included in the Omnibus.

For my readers who are intellectually challenged, the timeline is as follows: Obama campaigns on ending earmarks, he gets elected in November, in December the Omnibus bill is written including his earmarks, he becomes President and signs the “stimulus” bill and the Omnibus spending bill, he then proclaims his pride that they were able to pass the recovery measure without any earmarks.

After the political fallout started to become clear to the White House, the President claimed that they would be fiscally responsible in the future. He went on to say that they would make it clear who had requested the earmark and where the money would go. With his stellar record of the truth on earmarks, I suppose we are expected to take him at his word. After his drunken spending spree is completed, all we will have left is his word. Maybe I am just cynical, but that doesn’t give me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Rookie Mistakes By An Inexperienced Politician

As I begin to write this week’s article, I can already hear the cacophonous cries from my left leaning friends that we just need to give the new President a chance, a chance for his policies to work, a chance for him to show the world how he will lead. After all, he has only been in office about 45 days. How could we possibly know what direction he will take our country?

If we look at what he has accomplished over the past 45 days it provides part of the picture. He has pushed through an earmark laden $800 billion “stimulus” package, all the while claiming that there were no earmarks in the bill. He has nominated several tax cheats to high-level cabinet positions, including the current Treasury Secretary. His administration has attacked members of the media who have questioned his policies. They have thrown money at virtually every area of government with the promise that this will fix the economy, while claiming that they will control spending.

If we examine what he has proposed the picture becomes a bit clearer. He has proposed the largest increase in spending in the form of a federal budget at the cost of $4 trillion. He is proposing a government take over of the health care system. He is proposing drastic cuts in funding for our military and the research programs that help keep them alive. He has proposed to end the development of any type of missile defense system to prod Russia into working to end Iran’s nuclear ambitions; after all, Vladimir Putin is exuding honor and trust.

Finally an inspection of the results of his accomplishments and proposals will bring the entire picture into focus. The President has said that he does not pay any attention to the “gyrations” of the stock market. His belief is that it is akin to a daily tracking poll. If that is the case, a drop of more than 33% since the election should show weakening confidence in his administration’s ability to lead us out of this recession. I know he has only been in office since January, but investors are not going to invest in the stock market if they are not confident that the government will stay out of the way of the private sector. Every company that the government has “bailed” out is doing worse now than before the government opened their coffers to “help”. Citibank, GM, and AIG, to name but a few, have all seen a continual slide since the government stepped in to help. Obama and his team believe that we need to continue down the same failed road.

In the past 45 days, Obama has shown his true liberal colors in the form of spending like a drunken sailor on a 24-hour shore liberty. Along the way he has even managed to disrespect our closest ally. When a foreign leader visits the White House for the first time after a new President is inaugurated, the 2 leaders exchange gifts that portray a mutual respect. When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown visited the White House, he brought with him a first edition biography of Winston Churchill and a penholder made from the timbers of the HMS Resolute, the same timbers from which the desk in the Oval Office was made. Obama’s gift to Brown was a set of 25 DVD’s of Classic movies. This is on top of returning a bust of Winston Churchill that was presented to President Bush by the British government after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

It has been a fast and furious 6 weeks since the transition of power took place and the pace at which the new administration has spent taxpayer money and destroyed wealth has taken many by surprise. Now that the true socialist colors have been shown, many of his one-time supporters are starting to protest. The question is, will there be any economy to turn around by the time the full effect of the failure of his policies is known?

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