Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Archive for the ‘National Politics’ Category

National campaigns and issues other than presidential race.

Obama Owns It

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 10, 2014

Colin Powell was right when he said, “If you break it you own it.” We could have an endless discussion on whether or not we should have broken Saddam’s Iraq. (I think it was the right decision with poor planning on controlling the result.) However, when our current Commander-in-Chief took office in 2009, he inherited from President Bush a relatively stable Iraq. It still needed a residual coalition force (Yes, Bush went to Congress and the UN asking for support to remove Saddam plus he put together a coalition of nations to do the job.) to protect and further stabilize Iraq. Unfortunately, President Obama fulfilled one campaign promise and pulled out of Iraq lock, stock and barrel. We are seeing the result of his decision now and Obama owns it.

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It’s Obama’s Fault This Time

Posted by Warren Peterson on June 16, 2014

George W. Bush was rightly faulted for not anticipating the chaos that followed the fall of Saddam. He invaded Iraq with enough military force to overwhelm the Iraqi army but not enough to maintain order until a new government could be established. The result was a bloody campaign to regain the upper hand. It concluded with a gutsy decision by Bush to insert more troops (the Surge) which successfully turned the tide in our favor. With the presidential election in 2008, he turned over to Obama a country that still had a chance to seed democracy in the Middle East but it needed support and yes, pressure on the Iraq government and leadership from the United States.

Obama, probably the most inexperienced presidential candidate ever elected, took office in 2009 based on public frustration with Bush, soaring rhetoric (…”this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”), and a litany of promises that mostly turned out to be empty of truth. One of the promises he did keep was ending American involvement in Iraq. The last American troops left Iraq in mid December 2011. Iraq was on its own; no US air power, no US ground forces, no residual US military period. Obama failed to negotiate a Status of Forces agreement, assuming he ever seriously wanted one, to allow some level of US military to remain in Iraq as a stabilizing force and deterrent to exactly what is happening now. He’s repeating his mistake in Afghanistan by telling the Taliban when we are departing and leaving an inadequate force in country insufficient to stabilize or deter. The Taliban cannot help but notice how quickly the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria insurgents took advantage of the power vacuum resulting from the end of US involvement in Iraq. One cannot say a continued military presence in Iraq would solve all issues but it could have checked the current crisis.

Obama’s leftist ideology and inexperience will snatch defeat from victory and possibly lead to a regional war. Shiite Iran is making noises about helping fellow Shiites in Iraq defeat the ISIS. Imagine, the potential nuclear armed enemy of the United States pulling our bacon so to speak out of the fire. Could anyone mishandle this crisis more than Obama? Maybe he will break out some of his famous “red lines” or have Michelle start a hashtag campaign, #Iraq for Iraqis – more “leading from behind.” 

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Transparency in Congress

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 25, 2014

I am not a supporter of Rand Paul for president but his short speech on the floor of the United States Senate should be required viewing for all voters regardless of political party. Congress could raise its dismal approval ratings just by eliminating the hypocrisy called out in this You Tube video.

To view the video, click: HERE

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A Must Read Book

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 14, 2014

Just finished Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s book, “Things That Matter -Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” which has been on the New York Times best seller list for weeks. He graduated from McGill University in Canada and went on to Oxford but left to attend Harvard Medical School. Despite becoming a wheel chair bound quadriplegic from a diving accident, he obtained his MD degree in psychiatry and may well have made medicine his career but in a series of “pure blind luck” events he left medicine for writing, including a stint as a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale. Today, a liberal Democrat turned conservative, Dr. Krauthammer pens a weekly syndicated column for the Washington Post and appears frequently on Fox news. His book is a compilation of columns and essays he authored running from the eighties through 2013. Regardless of your own political leanings. you will find him entertaining, challenging and on solid intellectual ground. “Things That Matter’ is a must read.

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Texas Holdem – Putin vs President ….

Posted by Warren Peterson on March 3, 2014

Obama: Putin has aces in the hole with two aces showing on the flop. As the last two cards are dealt, Obama, with nothing, bluffs. Putin takes the pot.

Reagan: Putin has kings in the hole with two kings and two aces showing. Reagan goes all in. Valdimir folds.

Know your opponent.

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Solving the ObamaCare Fiasco

Posted by Warren Peterson on October 23, 2013

Short of those living in a survivalist cave in Idaho, everyone is aware that the launch of ObamaCare has been less than sterling. The question is what to do about it?

Set the scene, a nationally televised Obama news conference to announce the President’s solution. The TV broadcast opens with the cameras peering down a long red-carpeted hallway in the White House. After a pause of anticipation, the far doors open and President Obama strides confidently toward the golden dais. After surveying the assembled press corps and checking the teleprompter, he starts his comments.

“Thank you. As you know the implementation of the Affordable Care Act has not gone as smoothly as I expected. No one is madder than me that a Canadian contractor with a record of failures screwed up my website. This combined with the 16 day Republican shutdown of the government negated the four years we had to develop a workable system.

In search of a solution to this crisis before next year’s election, I believe a bipartisan plan is needed so I have decided to go with a suggestion from a Republican blogger in Seattle. I am today appointing a person with a reputation as a problem solver, knowledgeable about providing health care and honest to a fault to head a Save My Health Care Commission. A man who needs no introduction, the savior of the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, the grandfather of ObamaCare, former Massachusetts’s governor, Mitt Romney.

Mitt’s task will be to conduct a performance audit and draft legislation to fix my health care plan. Congress will have to make a no amendments, up or down vote on the legislation. I want it on my desk by December 25, 2013 and I will sign it.

The beauty of this plan is if the Romney reforms work, I can take the credit. If they fail, I’ll blame the Republicans.

I’ll refer any questions to Governor Romney. Meanwhile, I have to go. Joe Biden and I have a tee time.”

President Obama turns off the teleprompter, steps off the golden dais and walks back down the red-carpeted hallway once again above the fray, leading from behind.

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Syria Mess, Bush’s Fault?

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 13, 2013

The chief flack for the Left, James Carville, set the table and President Obama served the meal. Yes folks, the Syria mess is Bush’s fault. Nothing is ever Obama’s fault. It’s enough to make one wish George W. Bush was still Commander and Chief. Just think.

If W drew a red line on Syrian use of weapons of mass destruction (poison gas counts) and threatened swift and massive retaliation if they crossed it, Assad’s regime would think more than twice before using them.

Would you rather have French-speaking John F. Kerry negotiating with the Russians from a position of weakness or Bush’s Russian speaking Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice going one on one with Putin? She would not have to worry about President Bush pulling the rug out from under her. They would be on the same policy page. One almost feels sorry for Kerry when his strong call for action is immediately contradicted by a faint of heart President Obama.

A popular bumper sticker shows a picture of G. W. Bush with the words, “Miss me yet?” Yes!

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Syria and Changing One’s Opinion

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 6, 2013

A former co-worker sent the below e-mail. Rather than comment on it or the articles he recommended, I decided to just pass it on verbatim. I read both the article from the “Atlantic” magazine and the one titled, “The Backfire Effect.” They are both interesting, thought provoking and in this age of Internet information overload, just a little bit scary. Take the time to read them, “you will not regret it.”

Friends and Family,

This article seems straightforward, thorough, and objective. It was written by William R. Polk, introduced and annotated by James Fallows. Both these gentlemen are Democrats, both fairly liberal, HOWEVER (before my conservative friends automatically hit the [reject] button), both men have a long history of reasonable discourse, both have impeccable credentials (knowledge and experience) concerning the middle east, and both are opposed to Obama’s stated objective of attacking Syrian government facilities.

The article provides an array of background to the current situation — historical, religious, geopolitical, even climactic. The questions asked are the right ones, and the answers display a clarity and logic that I find unassailable. I sincerely wish all our US Congressmen and Senators would read this, especially the knee-jerk war-hawks. That’s unlikely, I know…and even if they did read it, their preconceptions and convictions would likely only grow stronger and more ingrained (read about the Backfire Effect, as described by David McRaney, http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect// ).

But you, gentle readers, if you currently support Obama’s adventuristic aims on Syria, perhaps, with sufficient logical argument, you could be persuaded to change an opinion…right? Or maybe you are already convinced that any attack on Syria at this point would be an excursion into Hell, but would like some supporting data/info. Either way, please find the time to read this article. I promise, you will not regret it.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/09/your-labor-day-syria-reader-part-2-william-polk/279255/

Jim

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Killing ObamaCare

Posted by Warren Peterson on July 30, 2013

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, does not cover 100% of citizens, is too expensive and too bureaucratic. It passed without a single Republican vote and remains unpopular in the polls. Nancy Pelosi famously said, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it.” Each passing day, more and more people are learning what’s in it and they don’t like it.

Republicans in Congress have a golden opportunity to kill ObamaCare or at least slow its implementation. A group of GOP senators plan to do just that by using the coming debt limit and budget battles to de-fund the law. They are willing to shut down the government if necessary to do it. There are at least two concerns with their effort.

First, Republican experience with the last government shut down during the Clinton administration was less than positive. Second, even if they could get a de-fund bill through Congress, Obama would veto it and Democrats would launch a hate campaign like no other: Republicans want to take affordable health care away from children, seniors and the poor. They only want to protect the high salaries of insurance company CEOs. We’ve seen it before along with weak responses from GOP leadership.

This does not mean Republicans should shy away from hardball but they do need to be smart about it. When ObamaCare first became law, Republicans cried “Repeal and replace.” We’ve heard a great deal about repeal, it was a major theme of the Romney campaign. The replace part never made the spot light. This time it should.

Instead of directly using the debt ceiling/budget legislation as the horse to ride, propose a sense of congress resolution that sets forth a contract with America on health care. It should call for a two-year suspension of implementation of ObamaCare to provide time to develop truly bi-partisan, transparent health care legislation. During the two-year hiatus, keep in place the popular extension of children on parent’s health policies and preexisting condition provisions. The contract should contain specific principles, set goals and recognize the need for reform. An example of the need for reform, we have the world’s finest medical services but they are delivered unevenly and at high cost. Another is our legal system that drives costs up. Republicans need to champion reform.

Properly promoted, a health care sense of Congress resolution could be attractive to Democrats who could see it as a way to take credit for forcing the subject into the national debate but accepting the fact that ObamaCare is a “train wreck” and needs serious change, a start over. For Republicans, it would provide an opportunity to unify a divided caucus. If a contract with America on health care passed with a large bipartisan vote, implementing it would lessen a veto threat, show the public that Congress can accomplish something worthwhile and give Republicans a positive issue to run on in the 2014 mid-term elections. If Republicans stick solely with repeal, they run a high risk of losing. A loss of the House in 2014 would open the door to a Canadian style single payer system, the Democrat’s answer to the “train wreck.”

Posted in National Politics | 2 Comments »

Obama Apologizes for Speaking the Truth

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 7, 2013

At a California fundraiser, President Obama called the Golden State’s Attorney General Kamala Harris brilliant, dedicated and tough. But then his inner Bill Clinton added, she’s also “the best looking attorney general in the country.” Back home in D.C., he called Ms. Harris and apologized for stating the obvious. In politically correct land, one does not publicly complement a woman on her looks even if every man there (well almost every man, it is California after all) thinks she’s hot. This prohibition mainly applies to women in politics and business but not so much in the media and entertainment arenas. Yet one study claims that Republican women in politics tend to be more attractive than their Democrat compatriots. And as to the media, Austin Cunningham’s song, “The Girls on Fox News,” pretty much says it all.

It is an issue for discussion – how can a woman be respected for her brainpower regardless of her physical appearance? Obama at least kicked off days of talk radio and pundit ink keeping those folks employed but in light of the problems piling up on his desk, less time at fundraisers and more contemplation on the meaning of leadership seems in order.

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