Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

How Barack Obama spends his leisure time is the least of our worries

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 1.42 pm

This week’s column is born out of frustration with seeing otherwise thoughtful, reasonable libertarians and conservatives alike wasting their breath on stuff which really doesn’t matter. Who cares how often the President golfs?! Let’s look at how often he hand-picks people to die, instead.

I don’t know if it’s a longstanding American tradition to waste political discussion on topics that really don’t matter, but in the last decade or so, we seem to have really honed this skill:

  • The frequency and cost of President Obama’s golfing trips is a favorite topic.
  • Apparently he doesn’t lift heavy enough weights at the gym.
  • Any time the Obama family takes a vacation, the rumblings of criticism instantly begin, with left and right constantly quibbling over whose President took pricier trips.
  • Michelle Obama, too, is a frequent target of criticism. Her dresses cost too much. She eats her food too quickly.
  • And earlier this month we hit a new low, with multiple nationally-known commentators tactlessly suggesting (based on her appearance) that the First Lady is actually a man.
  • There were even complaints when Michelle Obama Skyped into the Oscars, despite the fact Laura Bush and Ronald Reagan both participated in Oscar ceremonies during their own time in the White House.

The current obsession is President Obama’s decision not to visit the United States’ southern border to—let’s be realistic—do photo ops while making some vague comments about immigration policy.

Now, I’m far from a fan of the President—but this critique just doesn’t make sense. It especially doesn’t make sense after all the aforementioned complaining about the cost of his other trips.

Ironically, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who did go to the border, managed to squeeze in an awful lot of photo ops despite declaring, “I’m not interested in photo ops.” He even tweeted the photos…on multiple Twitter accounts. If that’s not a photo op, I don’t know what is.

But here’s the thing: None of this truly matters.

And spending time talking about this kind of frivolous stuff distracts from the very real abuses of liberty and power the Obamas impose on us when they’re not on vacation.

Honestly, I’d like to see the President on vacation more often. At least when he’s on the golf course, he can’t completely override the rule of law with his pen and his phone! Let him vacation all day, every day if it means he’ll stop expanding the size and scope of government at home and abroad. Maybe if he’s occupied elsewhere, the rest of us can get busy actually making our communities and the world more prosperous, safe, and free.

Read the whole thing here.

3 out of 4 of Americans oppose re-invading Iraq because it is a really stupid idea

Posted on June 23, 2014 at 11.39 am

This week’s article is about the bipartisan push for a re-invasion of Iraq:

In the last two weeks, a terrorist group too radical even for Al-Qaeda to support, the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL), has swept through the Iraq, taking city after city en route to Baghdad.

This new round of chaos has been a dog whistle to the always eager interventionists. Suddenly, hawks like Dick Cheney, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham are booking interviews like it’s 2003, and they all have the same message: America has to go to war again to fix this mess.

Meanwhile, though President Obama initially said there would be “no boots on the ground,” he’s backtracked on that promise in record time. Servicemen are already on their way to Iraq, and drone strikes (which are a terrible option) have been suggested as well. (To his credit, Obama is at least speaking in more cautious terms than his neoconservative counterparts, though it remains to be seen if his actions will be similarly restrained.)

Obama, Cheney, and pals may be ginning up a new push for war, but most Americans have very different ideas. A recent poll shows that a whopping 74% of Americans oppose sending combat troops to Iraq, and a mere 16% are for it.

This is consistent with poll after poll in the last few years that show Americans are overwhelmingly sick of war and tired of our government’s refusal to mind its own business abroad. This desire for peace spans partisan lines, and it definitely includes rejecting of re-invasion of Iraq.

So why the huge difference between what most Americans want and what Washington is trying to force on us? Well, it’s simple: Most Americans are willing to admit how awful U.S. foreign policy has been for the last decade plus and the Washington establishment is not.

The same poll which showed that 3/4 of Americans don’t want more war in Iraq also found that “more than two-thirds say the renewed violence in Iraq is a result of a centuries-old conflict that was worsened by the 2003 invasion launched by President George W. Bush.”

In other words, the people who opposed invasion the first time around were right—and people like Cheney and, now, Obama who want to continue and expand our involvement, have been proven wrong.

As Ron Paul put it, it doesn’t make any sense to listen to the people who got Iraq and America into this mess to begin with: “They cannot admit they were wrong about the invasion being a ‘cakewalk’ that would pay for itself,” and their foreign policy advice isn’t exactly credible anymore.

That’s not to suggest that Saddam Hussein was a good guy, or that Iraq would be a paradise today if the Iraq War had never been started by President Bush and continued by Obama. But it is to point out that al-Qaeda, which spawned this chaos-wreaking ISIL group, did not exist in Iraq before the 2003 invasion. The war our government started under glaringly false pretenses literally created a multitude of new terrorists, and it is that intervention which is a direct cause of Iraq’s current disaster.

Read the whole thing here.

Somebody buy the President some watercolors

Posted on April 10, 2014 at 11.10 am

bush

Of all the things I ever imagined happening after George W. Bush left office, this is not it — and I love it.

I love it partly because these paintings really are oddly earnest; and they are not very good; and for reasons totally unknown, Bush has decided to exhibit them in public places while his wife talks about his work with just a hint of condescension.

But I mainly love it because this whole painting project is so very un-presidential. While many post-presidency activities try to perpetuate the glory of the ex-President’s time in office, this does not. Presidential libraries, speaking tours, charitable activities — all of these things are designed to bolster the former Presidents’ prestige (and sometimes their bank accounts), adding to the personality cult that surrounds the White House.

And while I understand a desire for our head of state to have some degree of pomp and circumstance, a healthy cut-back in the celebrity that the Oval Office brings is much overdue. The President is not our national dad or the “boss of the country,” as some have bizarrely suggested, and his job ought to be one of public service. Yet America too often maintains an obsession with the presidency which isn’t conducive to reasoned critiques of any administration’s policies.

And that brings me back to Bush and his paintings (especially the bath and shower self portraits). He signs them “43” — as in 43rd President — and they are not exactly commanding of respect. But where Bush’s paintings may indeed excel is in diminishing the cultural power of the presidency.

I only wish he’d starting sharing them a few years earlier…and I wish someone would buy Barack Obama a set of watercolors.