Memorial Day Weekend Opinion Roundup

>> Tuesday, June 1, 2010

He Was Supposed to Be Competent
--Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Jounal

I don't see how the president's position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president's political judgment and instincts.

There was the tearing and unnecessary war over his health-care proposal and its cost. There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration. And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity. I don't see how you politically survive this.

The president, in my view, continues to govern in a way that suggests he is chronically detached from the central and immediate concerns of his countrymen. This is a terrible thing to see in a political figure, and a startling thing in one who won so handily and shrewdly in 2008. But he has not, almost from the day he was inaugurated, been in sync with the center. The heart of the country is thinking each day about A, B and C, and he is thinking about X, Y and Z. They're in one reality, he's in another.

A Stranger in Our Midst
--Robert Weissberg, American Thinker

As the Obama administration enters its second year, I -- and undoubtedly millions of others -- have struggled to develop a shorthand term that captures our emotional unease. Defining this discomfort is tricky. I reject nearly the entire Obama agenda, but the term "being opposed" lacks an emotional punch. Nor do terms like "worried" or "anxious" apply. I was more worried about America's future during the Johnson or Carter years, so it's not that dictionary, either. Nor, for that matter, is this about backroom odious deal-making and pork, which are endemic in American politics.

After auditioning countless political terms, I finally realized that the Obama administration and its congressional collaborators almost resemble a foreign occupying force, a coterie of politically and culturally non-indigenous leaders whose rule contravenes local values rooted in our national tradition. It is as if the United States has been occupied by a foreign power, and this transcends policy objections. It is not about Obama's birthplace. It is not about race, either; millions of white Americans have had black mayors and black governors, and this unease about out-of-synch values never surfaced.

Will journalists wake up in time to save journalism from Obama's FTC?
--Mark Tapscott, Washington Examiner

Release of the Federal Trade Commission's working paper on "reinventing journalism" makes it clear that there is no more time for diplomacy about this issue: President Obama is determined to federalize the news industry just as he has banking, autos, and health care.

Everybody who wants independent journalism had better wake up to these three facts about what is going:

* Journalists must understand that there is no way the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press will survive if the federal government regulates the news industry as envisioned by the FTC. Those who accept at face value protests to the contrary or the professions of pure intentions by advocates of government takeover of the news business are, at best, incredibly naive.

* Journalists who remain silent or apathetic about what is being prepared by the FTC for their profession become unintentional accessories in the strangulation of independent journalism.

* Journalists who support or assist, for any reason, the FTC process are accomplices in the strangulation of independent journalism.

Those in the administration who clearly view independent journalism as an obstacle to "change we can believe in" and their numerous allies in the old media, non-profit, and academic communities who either share a similar ideological vision or see the FTC process as their salvation against the Internet, will no doubt dismiss my assertions as extemism or alarmism.

Fine, call me whatever, but what they cannot deny is what is clearly written in the FTC document and what it reveals about the intention behind the initiative, which is to transform the news industry from an information product collected by private individuals and entrepreneurs as a service to private buyers, to a government-regulated public utility providing a "public good," as defined and regulated by government.

We’re too broke to be this stupid
-Mark Steyn

In any advanced society, there will be a certain number of dysfunctional citizens either unable or unwilling to do what is necessary to support themselves and their dependents. What to do about such people? Ignore the problem? Attempt to fix it? The former nags at the liberal guilt complex, while the latter is way too much like hard work: the modern progressive has no urge to emulate those Victorian social reformers who tramped the streets of English provincial cities looking for fallen women to rescue. All he wants to do is ensure that the fallen women don’t fall anywhere near him.

So the easiest “solution” to the problem is to throw public money at it. You know how it is when you’re at the mall and someone rattles a collection box under your nose and you’re not sure where it’s going but it’s probably for Darfur or Rwanda or Hoogivsastan. Whatever. You’re dropping a buck or two in the tin for the privilege of not having to think about it. For the more ideologically committed, there’s always the awareness-raising rock concert: it’s something to do with Bono and debt forgiveness, whatever that means, but let’s face it, going to the park for eight hours of celebrity caterwauling beats having to wrap your head around Afro-Marxist economics. The modern welfare state operates on the same principle: since the Second World War, the hard-working middle classes have transferred historically unprecedented amounts of money to the unproductive sector in order not to have to think about it. But so what? We were rich enough that we could afford to be stupid.

Obama at the Bat


Dan Trabue June 1, 2010 at 10:50 AM  

For my part, I don't see how the GOP could possibly survive this gulf oil spill. "Drill, Baby, Drill" and the mocking and belittling and demonizing of any and all opposed to offshore drilling, the belittling of "big gov't" oversight and regulation, the attempts at gutting corporate regulation... these are ALL laid soundly at the feet of the GOP and its supporters.

This disaster belongs to us all, but it especially belongs to the "Drill Baby Drill" Party. How anyone could ever vote GOP short of serious repentance on their part and owning up to this mess, I can't see.

Mark June 1, 2010 at 11:57 AM  

That's because you're an idiot, Dan.

ELAshley June 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM  

You're brainwashed, Dan. The Obama admin gave this rig a passing grade just weeks prior to this disaster. This is clearly on Obama's plate. On top of this is Obama (again, just weeks prior to this disaster) publicly announcing his own version of 'Drill, Baby Drill,' by allowing an expansion of offshore drilling.

But here's something you and yours fail to consider: there have been two major disasters in the last 25 years. Making our track-record per no. of wells in action pretty damn good. And this disaster wouldn't be the disaster it is if government hadn't bowed to the insane environmentalist Left. Had this well been in shallower water, like say, 1,000 feet, this well would have been plugged by now.

This is Obama's (indirectly, in terms of policy; directly in terms of lame inaction) Bay of Rigs.

ELAshley June 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM  

Had the waters only been 6-700 feet, divers could have capped this in a matter of days.

But back to your initial comment, Dan. Obama is playing both sides. He's a cheat. First he wanted to 'Drill, Baby Drill' then he turns to mocking them when disaster strikes... on his watch... after HIS team approves the well just weeks before.

Your lack of intellectual honesty here, Dan, is astonishing. You are not usually THIS obtuse and sheepish. You have managed to plumb new depths here.
[pun intended]

ELAshley June 1, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

And, for the record, the deepest dive made by a Navy diver, using their new Atmospheric Diving System (hardshell) is only.... ONLY... 2,000 ft. (2007). Still not deep enough to work at the depths to which Leftist Environmentalists have forced the oil industry to work.

We should be drilling both in ANWR, and closer to shore.

ELAshley June 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

Then again, retreating to a statement from a previous post, The Issue Is Not The Issue to those leftists who disagree with anything someone on the right says. Rather than honestly debate Obama's failings in the oil disaster, the left instead resorts to obfuscation and subject change.

Jim June 1, 2010 at 5:46 PM  

Peggy Noonan's column is pure nonsense. Simply absurd!

Health Care reform was a political disaster? It passed and he got a lot of the credit for it passing.

There was his day-to-day indifference to the views and hopes of the majority of voters regarding illegal immigration.

This is simply baloney and not supported in any way.

And now the past almost 40 days of dodging and dithering in the face of an environmental calamity.

Although this characterization is simply false, Obama's administration has mis played this PR wise.

he is chronically detached.

This is perception and not reality. Call it what you know is true, Peggy, not what you think is true.

Mark June 1, 2010 at 7:29 PM  

...says the brainwashed, brainless Liberal fool.

BenT - the Unbeliever,  June 2, 2010 at 7:56 AM  

I go back to the Ixtoc Oil well spill in 1978. That spill - of a similar size to the Deepwater Horizon leak - gushed for 10 months before relief wells stemmed the flow. It was in 160 feet of water. Shallow water would not have made this particular problem a snap, but the depth of the current spill does add it's own challenges.

Here's a list of over 30 major ocean oil spills since 1967.

And as a final note President Obama in his press conference was rather definite when he said that he accepted the responsibility for not reforming the Minerals Management Service promptly.

ELAshley June 2, 2010 at 8:41 AM  

1. 1978 - Technology has greatly advanced since 1978

2. Mexico - Mexico is a mess today: corruption, incompetence. What was it like then?

3. AMERICANs set foot on the moon in 1969. AMERICANs, in 1978, could have plugged a well at 160 feet in a fraction of the time it took Mexico.

As to your link. A little false advertising on your part. It is not a list of '30 major OCEAN oil spills'...

Beginning with the 1978 Ixtoc spill, 8 of the cited spills occurred on land or as an act of war; one was not a spill at all but rather the collapse of a hotel that killed oil workers. Also, beginning with the 1978 Ixtoc spill, 22 incidents were the result of ships/tankers rupturing, sinking, capsizing, etc.

Of all the incidents listed, from Ixtoc on, only 2 were the result of oil rigs: Persian Gulf (Iran) 1983, and last month's Deepwater Horizon.

The two MAJOR incidents in the US are the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon, only one of which was an oil rig.

Seems to me that the transportation and storage of oil is more dangerous to human and animal life, and the environment at large, than oil rigs.

Of all those disasters listed, since the '78 Ixtol spill, only three of the cited disasters were oil rigs: Again, Iran 1983, North Sea (off Scotland) 1988, and last months Deepwater Horizon..... only one of which is a US disaster.

ELAshley June 2, 2010 at 9:05 AM  

Obvious mistake in my last comment.... but corrected in the last paragraph. Sorry 'bout that.

ELAshley June 2, 2010 at 9:15 AM  

Now, as a list of 'oil disasters' the list is somewhat impressive. But when you figure that only ONE of those disasters involving a rig was an American disaster... well! I'd say our track record with oil rigs is QUITE impressive. Only ONE major spill by Americans, in American waters on that entire list. AND... the Ixtol spill, according to the list:

"Although it is one of the largest known oil spills, it had a low environmental impact."

I believe the Deepwater Horizon is on track to have a much larger environmental impact than Ixtol. Were WE allowed to drill in 500 feet of water, accidents like the Deepwater Horizon could be quickly plugged. With minimal impact... compared to what we're currently in store for.

Granted, 'closer to shore' means a more immediate impact. But look at how much oil has spilled so far in Gulf. On the news this morning FOX super-imposed outlines of West Virginia and Vermont over the current size of this oil spill.... That's a lot of oil. It's taking longer for all that oil to make landfall, but when it does the impact will be greater than if it took a week to plug a shallow water well.

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Barry Obama : The Young Turk

Young Turk:
Date: 1908
Function: noun
Etymology: Young Turks, a 20th century revolutionary party in Turkey
:an insurgent or a member of an insurgent group especially in a political party : radical; broadly
:one advocating changes within a usually established group.

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