Yesterday Obama’s proposed the lame idea of a comission on fiscal responsibility afterthe November elections. Apparently this idea was treated with a great deal of scorn because he’s back today with a decent idea—a spending freeze:
President Obama plans to announce a three-year freeze on discretionary, “non-security” spending in the lead-up to Wednesday’s State of the Union address, Hill Democratic sources familiar with the plan tell POLITICO.
The move, intended to blunt the populist backlash against Obama’s $787 billion stimulus and an era of trillion-dollar deficits — and to quell Democratic anxiety over last Tuesday’s Massachusetts Senate election — is projected to save $250 billion, the Democrats said.
The freeze would not apply to defense spending or spending on intelligence, homeland security or veterans.
The proposal is in line with a plan floated by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), a fiscal hawk, who told Bloomberg’s Al Hunt last week that there was a “fighting chance” Obama would propose a freeze in most discretionary spending by the federal government as part of his address.
Two days after Inauguration Day, Obama apparently thought it would get his Administration off to a good start by announcing that he was going to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay without one year. I assumed, (incorrectly it turns out) that his Administration had a plan for doing this. I didn’t think this was necessarily a bad move. I don’t agree with Obama on much, but I thought he had some common ground on Gitmo. I’m not sure we do.
A year has gone past and Guantanamo is still open. And for good reason. We need some place to keep people who we arrest on battlefields, but aren’t affiliated with a country. Also, for these enemy combatants, there are good reasons to keep them outside of the United States. I don’t have a problem with Guantanamo being open for these reasons, but that was never my problem with Guantanamo.
My problem with Guantanamo is that people are kept there without a trial. How in the world can we keep people detained for year after year without trial? I’m not arguing they should be given full Constitutional rights, but they deserve a trial. I just wish Obama understood the most important issue at Gitmo and would have made sure people got trials.
Trying to win the votes of fiscal moderates, President Barack Obama formally endorsed legislation Saturday creating an independent commission with the power to force Congress to vote on major deficit reduction steps this year, after the November elections.
Obama’s statement gives new momentum to efforts in the Senate now to attach such legislation this coming week to a pending debt ceiling bill. But the endorsement comes so late that it risks being seen as just a ploy to win over swing Democratic senators whose votes the White House needs to lift the federal debt ceiling.
Unlike Obama, fiscal moderates would like to see something done about record deficits now, not 10 months from now. Why would Obama think this would change anyone’s mind that he promises someday to care to about the deficit?
I am afraid there has been a misunderstanding since that election in 2008, during which 66,882,230 Americans cast their votes for you. Perhaps one of your trusted advisors has given you bum information. Maybe they told you that we voted for you — walked, marched, prayed, fund-raised and knocked on doors for you — because we hoped you would try to reunite the country. Of the total votes cast that long-ago November day, I’m guessing that about 1,575 people wanted you to try to reconcile the toxic bipartisanship that culminated in those Sarah Palin rallies.
The other 66,880,655 of us wanted universal healthcare.
So nearly everyone that voted for Obama wants Obamacare? That is a lame, lame argument. There were many reasons people voted for Obama—he was charismatic, he wasn’t George Bush, he didn’t choose Sarah Palin as his running mate, he promised an open and transparent government, he promised to close Gitmo, he wasn’t George Bush, he promised to get the soldiers out of Iraq, etc. It is the height of silliness to write that every singe (except for 1,575 people) who voted for Obama actually want whatever plan comes out of Congress.
Things change and many people who supported Obama’s health care reform efforts will not support the actual plan. It’s one thing to support “doing something” about healthcare. It’s another when people get to see what is actually involved in the real plan.
Ten months ago, when Obama was elected, who would have thought that the conservatives would be the ones believing in personal power. Just look at the health care debate. It’s an example of how quickly political winds can change.
And who knows, maybe the political winds will be blowing for Obama soon.
As reported by the LA Times, the picture of the left was created by a 20-year-old college student from Chicago named Firas Alkhateeb. Flickr decided to pull the picture from Alkhateeb’s photostream because of “copyright-infringement concerns.” Flickr didn’t have the same reservations when it came to President Bush (here, here, and here).
The White House has responded to the video which shows Obama and his allies stating they want single-payer health care. If Obama were truly committed to keeping private insurance you would think the White House would do a better job than this at explaining his “real” position. Has he changed his mind or what? The White House doesn’t explain. Instead, they offer up this video:
“Hi. I’m Linda Douglass. I’m the communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform, and one of my jobs is to keep track of all the disinformation that’s out there about health-insurance reform. And there are a lot of very deceiving headlines out there right now, such as this one — take a look at this one. This one says, ‘Uncovered Video: Obama Explains How His Health Care Plan Will Eliminate PRIVATE Insurance.’
“Well, nothing can be farther from the truth. You know the people who always try to SCARE people whenever you try to bring them health-insurance reform are at it again. And they’re taking sentences and phrases out of context, and they’re cobbling them together to leave a VERY false impression. The truth is that the president has been talking to the American people a LOT about health-insurance reform and what is at stake for them.
“So what happens is that because he’s talking to the American people so much, there are people out there with a computer and a lot of free time, and they take a phrase here and there — they simply cherry-pick and put it together, and make it sound like he’s saying something that he didn’t really say.”
Note that she doesn’t refute Obama and his allies previous statements. She didn’t refute the fact that Obama said that he wants “a single payer health care plan, a universal health car plan.” Here’s more from Obama:
I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America, the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14 percent of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out. A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. But as all of you know, we may not get there immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, and we have to take back the House.
"I am now the target of the most powerful man in this country, with an army of aides whose major responsibility today seems to be to attack me and get rid of me," Walpin said.
Facing bipartisan criticism for the firing, Obama sought to allay congressional concerns with a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday evening explaining his decision. In the letter, White House Special Counsel Norman Eisen wrote that Walpin was "confused" and "disoriented" at a May board meeting, was "unduly disruptive," and exhibited a "lack of candor" in providing information to decision makers.
"That’s a total lie," Walpin said of the latter charge. And he said the accusation that he was dazed and confused at one meeting out of many was not only false, but poor rationale for his ouster.
"It appears to suggest that I was removed because I was disabled — based on one occasion out of hundreds," he said.
"I would never say President Obama doesn’t have the capacity to continue to serve because of his (statement) that there are 56 states," Walpin said, adding that the same holds for Vice President Biden and his "many express confusions that have been highlighted by the media." Obama mistakenly said once on the campaign trail that he had traveled to 57 states.
Tonight Saxby Chambliss crushed Jim Martin to win the Senate seat in Georgia. A win in Georgia and a win in Minnesota would gives the Democrats a filibuster 60-seat majority in the Senate. But Obama’s coattials do not transfer to people not named Obama.
According to Boston.com, “Martin is cloaking himself in as much Obama as he can find. He is running ads with footage of Obama’s victory address in Chicago, and has begun interpolating lines from Obama’s speeches into his own.” Obama recorded radio and robocalls for Obama as well. But this didn’t help Martin. In fact, it might have hurt Martin.
Unlike Palin who rallied the troops for Chambliss, Obama didn’t go down to Georgia. There only plausible reason seems to be that he didn’t expect Martin to have a chance.
Obama only lost 44% to 51% to McCain, but Martin, who tried to tie himself to Obama was crushed by 14% (as of this writing). Obama attacts people to him, but you have to wonder whether his popularity will help anyone else.
Recent there were stories how Obama’s BlackBerry addiction and how he will likely give it up, as President Bush did when he became President. Bruce Schneier writes in the WSJ why Obama should keep his Blackberry because it will help protect liberty. Schneier writes:
Subjecting the president’s communications to eventual public review increases liberty because it reduces the government’s power with respect to the people. Subjecting our communications to government review decreases liberty because it reduces our power with respect to the government. The president, as well as other members of government, need some ability to converse ephemerally — just as they’re allowed to have unrecorded meetings and phone calls — but more of their actions need to be subject to public scrutiny.