Please join us for another scintillating edition of "The McLaughlin Group" this weekend. Check your local listings for time and channel, or visit www.McLaughlin.com for more information.
The United States is facing some very serious problems---catastrophic debt, destructive spending, nearly non-existent economic growth, high unemployment, super-high gas prices, a stalemate despite our military engagement in Libya, the Middle East in flames, complete with tyrant-directed slaughters and the rise of the Islamists, Iran's continued march toward nuclear weapons, the growing assertiveness of China----all of which I discuss here, on television, and on my radio program.
These issues are only getting worse and creating ever-more dire circumstances for America. They must be dealt with urgently and seriously by urgent and serious people. Oh yes, we've got a dearth of those. Add "lack of serious, thoughtful leadership" to that list above.
But every once in a while, you've got to check out: see a movie, read a good novel, watch reality TV. You've got to do something other than ruminate on our problems to give your brain, heart, and soul a break. To recover and rest for the battles ahead. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, it's hugely healthy.
That's why I think the royal wedding today of Prince William and Kate Middleton was marvelous. The Prince has been in the public consciousness for nearly 3 decades. Most of us remember when his parents married in a most glamorous affair, although it turned out that the affair was really taking place between Prince Charles and another woman. The fact that the marriage of Diana and Charles collapsed most spectacularly has a lot of us rooting for his son and his new bride. Kate is adorable, and the two of them look like they really are marrying for love and not for some palace-directed purpose.
There is a lot of hate flying around these days. It's nice to see some true love once in a while. It exists. It was on our televisions (very) early this morning. President Obama once talked of "hope and change." I think William and Kate represent it more truly: hope that their union survives and thrives, and a generational change to a hopelessly stuffy monarchy.
Government spending, debt, weak economic growth, Middle East crises: they'll all be there tomorrow. Today, let's escape into a little storybook romance.
It was a beautiful dress, wasn't it?
The U.S. economy is moving sideways. While there are some signs of life, the most important indicators are very weak. Economic growth slowed to a 1.8% annual rate in the first quarter of this year, down from 3.1% of last year's 4th quarter. If you exclude inventories (which picked up), the economy actually only grew by an anemic .8%.
Yesterday the Federal Reserve acknowledged the slower growth (duh) and trimmed its growth estimate for the year to between 3.1 to 3.3%. It's going to take an economic miracle to get us back to those levels, given high gas prices and rising inflation.
More bad news: new claims for unemployment benefits ROSE last week to their highest level since January. They jumped to 429,000. This does not indicate economic health. The jobless situation is also the most politically toxic element for the President. That, combined with high gas prices eating into every American's income, is driving great dissatisfaction with Obama (among many other things.)
"Where are the jobs, Mr. President?"
That question was asked by one Nancy Pelosi of President Bush in 2003.
And when gas hit $4 a gallon in 2008, Pelosi pinned it on Bush and Cheney, saying, "The price of oil is... is attributed to two oil men in the White House and their protectors in the United States Senate."
What do you say now, Mrs. Pelosi? Oh right: nothing.
The truth is that if the Left would get out of the way by allowing lower taxes, eliminating suffocating regulations, repealing ObamaCare and reforming other massive entitlements, and allowing drilling, permitting, and exploration, we could get on a glide path to real economic recovery. But the Left is determined to block common-sense solutions to these issues because of their total commitment to their failed and destructive ideology. Unfortunately, the Left controls the White House and the Senate. We got rid of Pelosi and her "leadership" based on lies this time. Up next: the rest of them.
During the 2008 campaign, candidate Barack Obama was referred to by his staff as "No Drama Obama." He demanded tight discipline, no leaks, no gossip. No drama. He demanded only focus on getting the Big Prize: the presidency.
It turns out that No Drama Obama is actually quite the Drama Queen.
For over 2 1/2 years, questions have been raised about Obama's origins and background. He was never properly vetted by an adoring press corps, so outstanding concerns existed about his birth certificate (the long-form of which he had never released), where he grew up, his family's religious background, his parents' political beliefs, how he got into top schools such as Columbia and Harvard Law, how he paid for his education, what his grades were, etc. The questions were and are legitimate, and yet were never fully answered. In fact, anyone daring to ask them was painted as a fringe moron at best and racist at worst.
Donald Trump has been flirting quite aggressively with a run for the Republican nomination for president. When reporters began poking Trump with questions about whether he'd like those questions answered, Trump replied with an unequivocal "yes." That sent the press---the same press that refused to investigate Obama's background---into a tizzy. The story took on a life of its own, Trump's poll numbers surged, and he did not back down.
This morning, we were treated to quite a spectacle. The president of the United States---in office for over 2 years now---released the long-form birth certificate that he's kept hidden under wraps for years.
Then Trump went before the cameras---in New Hampshire!---and proclaimed victory. He rightly said that only he was able to get Obama to do what no one else---including the formidable Clintons---was able to do. He also told Obama to "get off the basketball court" and get to work getting this economy and nation moving.
Those stunning comments were then FOLLOWED by the president, who while saying he was releasing the birth certificate, slammed into those who had raised questions about it, calling them "carnival barkers."
If the birth certificate were never a big deal, why did No Drama Obama wait nearly 3 years before releasing it? Why endure and stoke all of the drama? To make those raising legitimate concerns about his origins and policies look like kooks? Maybe.
The fact that Trump got to the cameras BEFORE Obama did shows that he's no chump, especially when it comes to managing the media. He knows EXACTLY what he's doing. Dismissing him is foolish.
Obama clearly did not want to do this today, but he did because Trump forced his hand. Now everyone can put the issue behind them and move on.
But not without racking up an initial score: Obama 0, the Carnival Barker 1.
We've been hearing about an array of fights being waged across the country: over the budget, entitlement reform, taxes, the debt ceiling, the deficit, spending cuts, government unions, pension reform, the Fed's policies, and the 2012 presidential election. All of these fights are critically important, of course. But they are all part of an even bigger, more profound fight over what the American future will look like.
Over the past week or so, we've gotten two major warnings that the United States is not what it once was: Standard and Poor's lowered our credit outlook from "stable" to "negative" because of our leaders' unwillingness to deal head-on with our unsustainable debt, and the IMF predicted that the Chinese economy would overtake ours in 5 short years, leading quickly to the end of the "Age of America."
Now it's one thing for green eyeshade number crunchers and foreign bureaucrats to proclaim that we're in decline. It's another thing when our own President embraces it as true---and inevitable.
The notoriously liberal New Yorker has a lengthy piece this week about President Obama's foreign policy. It's a deeply unsettling picture. And given that it's written by an author and published by a magazine sympathetic to Obama, the situation is worse than we thought.
Toward the end of the piece, writer Ryan Lizza quotes an Obama advisor as saying that on Libya, the president is "leading from behind."
Here is the exact passage:
"Obama may be moving toward something resembling a doctrine. One of his advisers described the President's actions in Libya as "leading from behind." That's not a slogan designed for signs at the 2012 Democratic Convention, but it does accurately describe the balance that Obama now seems to be finding. It's a different definition of leadership than America is known for, and it comes from two unspoken beliefs: that the relative power of the U.S. is declining, as rivals like China rise, and that the U.S. is reviled in many parts of the world. Pursuing our interests and spreading our ideals thus requires stealth and modesty as well as military strength. "It's so at odds with the John Wayne expectation for what America is in the world," the adviser said. "But it's necessary for shepherding us through this phase."
"Leading from behind." Of course, that phrase makes no logical sense, but what has in this administration? "Leading from behind" springs from several beliefs in Obama's head:
1. America is in decline.
2. Since that's inevitable, he will simply manage it. Help it along.
3. We are being replaced globally by China. Might as well help that along too.
4. Every other nation hates us. Therefore, we shouldn't do anything to make them hate us more.
Most importantly, Obama believes that we've surrendered our leadership role in the world, and since we've been such a force for ill, we don't deserve it anyway.
Obama may have thought he had a free hand to manage our "decline," but he forgets about the American people. We don't take well to being #2. We don't take well to being in decline, being weak, powerless, ineffectual, and worse, being mocked or disregarded as irrelevant.
We hire leaders to KEEP us #1: strong, powerful, effective, prosperous. When that is true, it's good for America and it's good for the world. Because when America doesn't lead, bad things happen: the dark forces of evil advance, the good guys get clobbered, destruction occurs, wars blow up, people die. When the U.S. is not perceived as strong, capable, and willing to act on behalf of our interests, the wheels come off the world. We've seen it happen several times in the 20th century. We're seeing it happen now, in the 21st.
Americans elect leaders to keep us strong, prosperous, vital. We don't elect leaders to take us down. And if we're perceived as growing weaker or less powerful, we want our leaders to stand up and STOP IT dead in its tracks. We want any "decline" arrested and reversed. We want our leaders to say, "American decline? Hell to the NO!"
We don't expect our leaders to be all mealy-mouthed and wimpy and weak and just resign themselves that America is losing it. No. We want our leaders to FIGHT. To FIGHT for America's greatness. Not to give in. FIGHT to restore America's strength and power and influence. FIGHT for it!
That's what Ronald Reagan did in 1980. That's what we need now. We need the message, and we need the messenger. Who will step up, and FIGHT? Who will say a resounding NO to "leading from behind" and have the United States, once again, lead from the front?
We just got four swell pieces of information.
The First: The Supreme Court refused to accept an expedited review of ObamaCare. The Justices don't seem to think that this unconstitutional horror show and its attendant hijacking of one-fifth of the U.S. economy is worth taking a quicker look at. They are A-OK with letting it just meander through the appellate court process as if it were some garden-variety case.
This is madness. And since it's madness, it's also a win for the Obama administration and the Democrats. Why? Because the longer this thing drags on, the deeper ObamaCare's tentacles can go into American health care, and the more difficult it will be to detach them. Team Obama WANTS to slow-walk ObamaCare through the courts for 2 reasons: 1. They front-loaded this monstrosity with "goodies"---such as the pre-existing condition exemption and kids being allowed to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26---to get people addicted to the new entitlement. The longer that can go on, the more people might warm to it. (Although that hasn't happened yet. A clear majority still favors complete repeal.) And 2. If Justice Elena Kagan recuses herself from the case (as she should since she argued on behalf of ObamaCare as Solicitor General), there might be a hung Court: a 4-4 decision. In that event, the ruling of the lower Appellate Court would stand. Team Obama is playing the odds that a left-wing Appellate Court will uphold it.
By not fast-tracking the case, the Supremes just did every American a grave disservice. Everybody and their momma knows that the case is going to end up there anyway. Why prolong the pain? The only reason is to help the unpopular policy out politically. Pathetic.
The Second: The International Monetary Fund announced that according to its latest forecasts, China's economy is set to surpass America's economy in just 5 short years. The "Age of America," they say, will soon be over. Now, they may just be a bunch of international bankers and bureaucrats looking to score some rhetorical points against the United States. Or they may be correct. Given our oppressive and unsustainable debt, weak growth, and high unemployment, my guess is the IMF is closer to being right than wrong. After all, they're not alone: Standard and Poor's just downgraded our credit outlook from "stable" to "negative." If Obama's plan is to take American down a notch or two, it's working.
The Third: You know Obama is a disaster when he loses the support of a man he so clearly and openly supported: Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas went public with his disappointment and contempt for Obama: "It was Obama who suggested a full settlement freeze," Abbas said, referring to the Israeli construction that was a sticking point in peace talks. "I said OK, I accept. We both went up the tree. After that, he came down with a ladder and he removed the ladder and said to me, jump. Three times he did it."
That's what you call a DISS of epic proportions. It takes a lot for a foreign leader to slam the President of the United States publicly. Saudi King Abdullah has been doing it in private---and obliquely in public. Other leaders have been either rolling their eyes or, tired of waiting for the administration to take action here or there, are doing it themselves. Many of them wonder whether Obama is either completely incompetent or stoking chaos for a more sinister purpose.
The Fourth: The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, warned that the war in Libya (meant to prevent an imaginary slaughter) is headed quickly toward "stalemate." Meanwhile, the White House released a statement "strongly condemning" the actual slaughter being carried out by the terrorist Syrian regime against its own people. It's a moral relativity extravaganza!
Everywhere you look, proclamations are being made that America is in decline, losing its global leadership role through fiscal irresponsibility at home and breathtaking weakness abroad. We can turn this around, but we're going to need a real president in 2012 and a real Republican party. So far, we haven't seen many signs of either. One thing's for sure: we are Americans, and Americans don't stand for weakness, collapse, and being second best. Our leaders might, but we don't. So once again, our leaders are going to have to gangway so we the people can save the country.
For years, the Left loved it when protesters got in the faces of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and others in the Bush administration. They relished the idea of Cindy Sheehan perpetually reclining on her lawn chair near the Bush ranch. They ate it up when Code Pink stormed Secretary Rice at a Congressional hearing. They guffawed when Bush got called a "war criminal," "Hitler," and "evil" while being hung in effigy.
One of the lessons in life is that what goes around usually comes around. President Obama doesn't seem to have gotten the memo.
Thursday morning, he spoke at a high-end fundraiser in San Francisco. A group of radical leftwingers bought their way in, and then proceeded to hijack the event. Here is the pool report. I have capitalized the particularly hilarious details:
Protesters hit high-end Obama fundraiser...
Thurs April 21 2011 12:52:09 EDT
Motorcade left the Intercontinental Hotel at 9 am local and arrived at the St. Regis for President Obama's last Bay area fundraiser. A couple dozen demonstrators are on a corner across the street from the hotel. They have signs - "YES WE CANNIBIS" - and are chanting something your pooler couldn't make out. One of them also has sign of Uncle Sam's face with "LIAR" written on his hat.
About 200 donors were at the breakfast fundraiser, per a Democratic official. Your pooler counted 15 tables with 10 chairs each, however, NOT ALL THE TABLES WERE FULL, including one in the back where Valerie Jarrett, Jay Carney and Patrick Gaspard sat with two other people. Tickets are $35,800 each.
POTUS was introduced by Nancy Pelosi. "We can thank him for bringing HOPE where there was despair for some," Ms. Pelosi said. POTUS, she said, was a JOB CREATOR from the start. "His re-election is absolutely essential to our country's future," Ms. Pelosi said. POTUS spoke with a handheld mic. "I'LL ADMIT THAT I SORT OF SLEPT IN," POTUS said.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Lt Gov. Gavin Newsom was seated front, former Mayor Willie Brown, "no matter how hard I try, Willie is still better dressed than me - although I'm still getting used to the NO MOUSTACHE thing." POTUS called Ms. Pelosi one of the GREATEST SPEAKERS in history. He started to launch into his stump speech when MS. PELOSI INTERRUPTED to say Gov. Jerry Brown had been there.
Mr. Obama was in the middle of his remarks when a woman in a white suit stood up and said, "Mr. President we wrote you a song." POTUS tried to get her to wait until later, but she persisted and the table of 10 broke into a song that pointed out they'd just spent $5,000 donating to his campaign and went on to protest the treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning. The woman stayed standing as they sang. OBAMA LOOKED TO MS. PELOSI AND ASKED, "NANCY, DID YOU DO THIS?" MS. PELOSI HAD A LOOK ON HER FACE THAT DEFINITELY SAID SHE DID NOT. The song talked about Bradley Manning and how he is "alone in a cell..."
The 10 singers then passed around signs that said "Free Bradley Manning" or had a photo of him. Then the woman in the white suit STRIPPED OFF HER JACKET to reveal a black T-shirt that said Free Bradley Manning, with an image of him. US Secret Service and WH staff had moved near the table at this point. The woman was escorted out. As she left, she said, "Free Bradley Manning. I'm leaving. I HOPE I DON'T GET TORTURED IN JAIL."
"That was a nice song," a DISPLEASED Mr. Obama said. "Now where was I? THAT DIDN'T BREAK MY FLOW."
For your enjoyment, here are the lyrics to the song with which they serenaded Obama:
Dear Mr. President we honor you today sir
Each of us brought you $5,000
It takes a lot of Benjamins to run a campaign
I paid my dues, where's our change?
We'll vote for you in 2012, yes that's true
Look at the Republicans - what else can we do
Even though we don't know if we'll retain our liberties
In what you seem content to call a free society
Yes it's true that Terry Jones is legally free
To burn a people's holy book in shameful effigy
But at another location in this country
Alone in a 6x12 cell sits Bradley
23 hours a day is night
The 5th and 8th Amendments say this kind of thing ain't right
We paid our dues, where's our change?
It was all fun and games when it happened to Bush. Now, it's not so amusing, Mr. President, is it? (Yes We Cannabis!)
President Obama has made quite the rhetorical metamorphosis.
He made his national debut during the 2004 Democrat National Convention, where he gave a well-received speech in which he insisted on an America without racial, ethnic, ideological, or class boundaries, where "there is no red America or blue America, only a United States of America."
And yet, Obama has never legislated or governed as the kind of unifying, "one America" guy he pretended to be that day. In fact, he has always been a divider, a pol who gained more by leveraging those divisions than by trying to close them. He has always been a master of crass political cynicism.
In the words of his former pastor and spiritual adviser, Rev. Jeremiah Wright: "He ain't no Messiah. He's just another politician."
The soaring "one America" claptrap we got seven years ago has evaporated, replaced by what Obama truly believes, which is that the so-called "rich" in America must be ostracized for being evil capitalists who hoard money, and they must be punished for their success by having the government confiscate that money and redistribute to those the government thinks are more worthy of it.
Obama played a good game of BS in the last election. No one knew who he was (we still don't) and he had no real record of anything to run on, so all voters could do was listen to his glistening speeches and take him at his word that he'd be "Transcendent Guy" who would bring us all together. Enough people bought that snake oil, and here we are.
He knows that he's got no chance to be re-elected without getting hip-deep in class warfare. That's why he keeps pounding the "rich" and demanding that they pay ever-more taxes. He doesn't care that if he taxes the "rich"---also known as the job creators---there will be fewer jobs created and unemployment will stay high and economic growth and increased tax revenue will be non-existent. No one ever got a job from a poor man. But that's his point: he WANTS high unemployment because it drives bigger government and the ever-expanding welfare state.
This week, he said something stunning in its audacity, even for him.
"We can't just tell the wealthiest among us, 'You don't have to do a thing. You just sit there and relax, and everybody else, we're gonna solve this problem,' " Obama told a crowd of mostly students at a town-hall-style event in suburban Virginia.
Note a few things: 1. His smears of the "rich" are getting uglier. 2. He has now added insult to class warfare injury. 3. If the "wealthy" "just sat there and relaxed," they would not have become wealthy in the first place. 4. The top 5% of earners pay 60% of all federal income taxes. 5. The crowd was made up of his most important base: the kids. College students who, for the most part, have never paid a dime of taxes in their lives. But they're a guaranteed cheer-machine (maybe because they've never paid a dime of taxes!).
He also said this: "If we're asking community colleges to sacrifice, fewer services in their 'hoods, then we can ask millionaires and billionaires to make a little sacrifice," he said.
Did the President of the United States just refer to "the hood?" We're being led by Suge Knight.
This president is a shameless punk. His class warfare is disgustingly anti-American. And then he wonders why people question his origins. His policies and rhetoric look like they came out of the Soviet Union, circa 1953.
I'm sure that the so-called "rich" in this country---mostly the small business owners and others who bust their tails 24/7 to keep their businesses running---are delighted to know that their president thinks they're "not doing a thing." That they're "just sitting there, relaxing."
Now they know that Obama thinks they're evil AND lazy!
No wonder he keeps arranging speeches in front of the non-taxpaying kids. Everyone else thinks that HE'S "not doing a thing"---except ruining the nation.