Extraordinary Irresponsibility

Published August 9, 2014

In yet another uninspiring performance by our unengaged and unengaging president, this time a press conference at the end of a three-day U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama discussed, among other things, the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas which, according to The One, “we” have achieved.

It’s not entirely clear just how “we,” meaning the president, his feckless Secretary of State John Kerry, and his utterly incompetent foreign policy team (but at least they’re loyal — the most important characteristic for employees of any petty dictator), helped achieve anything other than the emboldening of Hamas, which led to the death of many more of Hamas’ human shields. Obama further asked how “we build on this temporary cessation of violence.”

It is unclear whether Hamas will go along with Israel’s offer to extend the ceasefire beyond its original 72 hours, which will determine how they who are actually fighting might or might not “build on” anything. As for what “we” might do, well, Martha’s Vineyard is very nice this time of year.

Showing his further detachment from reality on the subject — or more likely his ingrained anti-Israeli bias — Obama claimed (twice!) “I have no sympathy for Hamas.”

Well, isn’t that special?

The nominal leader of the free world needs to tell us (twice!) that he doesn’t feel sympathy toward a universally-acknowledged terrorist organization that is bringing intentional death and mayhem on the citizens who gullibly elected them. (We Americans, suffering through a second Obama term, know how gullible voters can be.)

But wait, there’s more! The president also generously offered that Hamas has acted “extraordinarily irresponsibly.” As Ron Fournier, no right-winger he, put it, “Frat boys are extraordinarily irresponsible. Hamas is a terrorist organization that’s killing people. Words matter when you’re trying to lead a country and trying to lead a world. I’m stunned by how poorly he uses them.”

The president, about to head off to another extended vacation in another multi-million dollar home (because the $7 million home he stayed in on Martha’s Vineyard last summer wasn’t fancy enough), made one thing extraordinarily clear: Vladimir Putin, Hamas, even the Ebola virus, are annoying little distractions against the real enemy: the Republican Party. And therefore, it is an unmistakable sign to Putin, to fanatical Islamists, and would be to Ebola if it were smarter than Rep. Hank “Guam Might Tip Over” Johnson (D-CA) — normally an easy hurdle for almost any life form — that bad behavior will go unpunished, at least unless that bad behavior involves sneaking across our border.

Speaking of sneaking across the border, Walgreens, the well-known pharmacy and retailer, announced Tuesday that it would buy the rest of the Swiss company Alliance Boots — which is in substantially the same business — but that, unlike many other recent “tax inversions,” Walgreens would keep their corporate headquarters and therefore their tax jurisdiction in the United States.

Walgreens caved in to two things: Fear that the left would stoke backlash against the company if it moved its tax domicile and fear that politicians would allow and instruct the IRS to move aggressively to disallow tax benefits from these completely legal transactions.

Those tax benefits, which many investors were anticipating, were estimated at a few hundred million dollars a year, or nearly 15 percent of the company’s current gross profit. And thus, markets often demonstrating a rather mathematical nature, Walgreens’ stock plunged by just over 14 percent on Wednesday, showing not just investor dissatisfaction with the decision but perhaps also concern about the quality of the company’s management.

One can’t entirely blame WAG’s directors for not wanting to take on a lawless administration that has proven itself willing and able to use the power of government to attack its political enemies.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has demanded a “new sense of economic patriotism,” terminology that the president has also used. And loyal leftist lapdog Jonathan Alter recently penned a truly disturbing piece entitled, “The United States Needs Corporate ‘Loyalty Oaths.'”

Alter, who admits that “oaths and pledges are a little creepy,” nevertheless urges companies to sign “non-desertion agreements” that they must honor if they are to be eligible for federal contracts, not to mention the tremendous reward of “a tiny American flag or some other Good Housekeeping-type seal in their corporate insignia for all to see.”

I wonder if Alter realizes the many thousands of American jobs that would disappear along with all of that income tax, sales tax, and property tax revenue, if his moronic and un-American idea were to take hold. Actually, I don’t wonder. Alter is the poster child for Bastiat’s paradigm of the bad economist who is completely unable to conceive of the secondary impacts of a policy. But among liberal pundits, that doesn’t make him unusual.

Speaking of bad ideas, Colorado Democrats are just full of them. Vulnerable Senator Mark Udall (D-War on Women) released an ad saying that his Republican challenger, Congressman Cory Gardner, “would ban birth control.” I predicted last month that due to the demise of immigration (and tangentially of race) as a trump card for Democrats in 2014, the “War on Women” is all they have left — especially for someone like Mark Udall who has accomplished precisely nothing during his time in the U.S. Senate (though I did appreciate his standing up against NSA spying on Americans). Udall is proving me right very quickly. Watch the ad and consider my July prediction: “And that’s why this campaign will be all contraception all the time, with sprinkles of rape thrown in for added spice.”

One wonders whether Colorado’s women are stupid enough to believe a claim as outlandish as Udall’s. Frankly, I’m unsure of the answer, not least because many “low information voters” remember the at least superficially “anti-woman” and undoubtedly ignorant gaffes of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock that ended those men’s quests for higher office.

And then there’s Congressman Jared Polis (a friend of mine despite his being a liberal Democrat from Bouder) who really stepped in it with an effort to fund ballot initiatives that would have had the impact of limiting, and in many cases banning, fracking across the state of Colorado. His efforts ended earlier this week in what can only be considered a political disaster for Polis.

My guess — Jared hasn’t told me — is that he massively miscalculated, thinking he could boost his street cred among the wacky green left without having any “equal and opposite reaction.” When the energy industry went into full gear to stop the madness, that was bad enough, but when Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper opposed the measures, it turned the whole thing into a Democratic circular firing squad — a formation usually reserved for Republicans.

Polis understands the economic benefits of fracking yet supported measures that he knew were intended to be used to ban it. The initiatives’ supporters offered protestations that they were basically minor tweaks for safety and moves toward “local control.” (Q: How do you know if a liberal is lying about local control? A: If he says he’s for it — because liberals want government as large and far away as possible.)

It was not just bad policy, potentially sacrificing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of tax revenue at the altar of virginal Gaia, and not just base-pandering politics of the worst sort; for a smart man — which Polis certainly is — it was very poorly thought out and executed and ended up hurting just about everybody Jared normally supports or is supported by.

The “compromise” worked out between Rep. Polis and Gov. Hickenlooper — the latter roughly tied in polls against former Congressman Bob Beauprez who is taking a second shot at the governor’s race — demonstrates that “Hick” was scared to death that Polis’s ballot measures would even further energize disgusted Republicans and moderates in November. And so they have been put on ice, but not killed, with Polis suggesting that 2016 will offer a better electoral environment for harmful liberal policies.

What the compromise really does, and whether it’s binding on pro-fracking groups that have their own ballot measures ready to go, remains somewhat murky. A New York Timesreporter tweeted about the Polis-Hickenlooper presser that it was a “thing where you leave a press conference with more questions than you had before it.”

The part of the deal that is most troublesome is that Hick agreed to drop a lawsuit against the City of Longmont for passing a local fracking ban even though a judge already ruled that the ban is illegal because it conflicts with and harms the whole state’s economic and regulatory interests. The judge stayed her ruling pending appeal. One wonders where the case goes if the governor caves in on pursuing it — and whether the Republican Attorney General could proceed to defend the state even if the governor won’t, much the same way that a Republican governor in Texas is defending the state even if the president won’t.

From President Obama on down, the parade of liberals’ “extraordinary irresponsibility” is a marvel to behold. Given their total lack of accomplishment and the real harm from their many failures, despite pleas of how much “we have achieved” (or at least would have achieved without those obstructionist Republicans), in November I expect Democrats to learn from voters what the real meaning of “I have no sympathy” is.


[Originally published at the American Spectator]