Tag archives: President Obama

Escaping History Not an Option

by Rob Schwarzwalder

September 1, 2010

On the credenza behind his Oval Office desk, President Obama has placed a bust of Abraham Lincoln.

This is admirable, in that Lincoln represents the very definition of American greatness. Perhaps, though, Mr. Obama might take some time to ponder something the 16th President wrote in an 1862 message to Congress: We cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us.

That was true during the Civil War, and it remains true today, which is why the image Mr. Obama used last night that we have now turned a page in Iraq is unsettling.

In the sense that our combat operations have been completed, he is right. And as the President said, our Armed Forces have fought with valor and tenacity, and deserve the gratitude and honor of a proud and thankful nation.

However, it is noteworthy that President Obama opposed the war in Iraq from its inception and, as a Senator, voted against the surge that enabled American forces to quell the rising militancy of Iraqs Islamist terrorists.

This should be said, not to encourage contempt for the Commander in Chief but because it calls into question his strategic judgment. No one is right all the time, and Mr. Obamas placement of a major new combat force in Afghanistan under General Petraeus was a brave choice, one opposed by the Presidents left-wing base.

It is when his judgment is driven by his statist impulses that our eyebrows should raise. Mine did when, last night, Mr. Obama called upon America to tackle (our) challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad.

This calling is wholly unrealistic domestic needs never animate national will with the same intensity as does a military crisis. Part of the reason is that we presume prosperity; for most Americans, its always just around the corner, and thus fighting for energy independence, as Mr. Obama called for last evening, will never produce a martial spirit.

Another reason is that a military adversary is tangible and visible. Our enemies have faces. Things like deflation, unemployment, energy production, and technological innovation do not. They are concepts, not targets.

No national calling can ever be created similar to that inspired by immediate and serious threats to our survival as a people threats like al-Qaeda and Nazism.

As troubling, if not more, was the Presidents inference that we can now afford the luxury of turning inward, as if the cessation of American combat operations in Iraq means we can shift our gaze more exclusively to our own economic needs.

Mr. Obamas penchant is to transform America, as he said repeatedly during his presidential campaign. Mr. Obama and his colleagues on the Left view the national landscape as a gigantic machine with which they can tinker and to which they can make whatever improvements they wish in some sort of domestic bubble. Make the World Go Away is, for them, less an Elvis Pressley anthem than a political demand.

Mr. Obama is bright and sophisticated. He is mindful of the realities of a grim world. Still, he seems dragged into global leadership with a grudging sense of duty, not a mature understanding that to be the American President is to lead freedoms march, not merely walk with it. He must remember, as Lincoln did, that we cannot escape history.

Another young President understood this well. Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities.

Theodore Roosevelt saw international leadership not as a burden to be born but an opportunity to be greeted with resolve and optimism. May Barack Obama learn from his example.

Left Waitin at the Station

by Robert Morrison

August 19, 2010

The National Portrait Gallery, across from my office in Washington, has a fine poster of President Barack Obama. He is shown wearing a rumpled fedora, riding in an open car, smiling that dazzling smile of his, and clenching a cigarette holder in his teeth at that same jaunty angle that was familiar to millions of Americans as that of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Every Democratic president tries to recap FDR.

I thought about that poster today as word of President Obamas most recent misery spread. It seems he has folks in Los Angeles in a fury about his recent fund-raising trip to the City of Angels. His motorcade held up traffic for hoursthe one thing you definitely do not want to do to harried California commuters.

This great city ought to be Obamas oyster. After all, he carried California by three million votes in 2008. But the president is increasingly getting raspberries wherever he goes.

Just last Friday night, he was speaking at an iftar dinner in the White House to a group of his Muslim admirers. I didnt even know they had iftar dinners in the White House. But he began his remarks in that deep and resonant tobacco baritone of his: Let me be clear… He proceeded to offer a very clear endorsement of building a mosque near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan. His dinner guests applauded enthusiastically.

Next morning, the president began backpedaling furiously. He was not commenting on the wisdom of putting the mosque near the place where 3,000 Americans were murdered on 9/11, only on the Muslims constitutional right to build it. In other words: Let me be less clear. Let me try to lay down a smokescreen and beat a hasty retreat.

I can imagine Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) burning up the wires to the White House political operation after hearing that one. He is his partys campaign chairman for this fall. Are you trying to lose control of the House of Representatives, Van Hollen might have said.

The mosque at Ground Zero issue is a 70%-30% split. By a commanding margin, Americans do not want a mosque built near the site of the bloodiest attack yet on our homeland. Public officials who defy the people so heedlessly can expect to feel their wrath in the voting booths come November.

I have a recommendation for our beleaguered president: Do what FDR did. Show less of yourself. Yes, I know that was before the TV era. But Roosevelt knew that the mystery and aura of the presidency was enhanced by making presidential speeches and appearances less frequent. President Obama, like Bill Clinton before him, cannot resist being in our faces 24/7. Hasnt he ever heard the old saw familiarity breeds contempt?

One of my favorite political photographs is on sale at the store of the New York Times. Notice how the people are gathered on the train platform in Warm Springs, Georgia. Franklin D. Roosevelt is nowhere to be seen in this classic black and white picture. But his presence is felt.

Those hopeful, expectant Americans are excited at the prospect of seeing their elected chief.

Like all conservatives, I have serious questions about FDRs economic policies. And detailed study has shown me how seriously Roosevelt misjudged the threat of Communism. Still, as a political actor, he had no rivals.

An unapologetic Christian, Roosevelt never neglected religious minorities in this country. He faced down the bigots of his day who said his New Deal was actually a Jew Deal. FDR regularly worshiped in his Episcopal Church and his administration was not afraid to express an openly religious sentiment when fighting the Nazi menace.

The U.S. Government published this poster showing Nazis trying to destroy the Christian Bible. The Obama administration is afraid even to mention jihadist terrorists or speak of Muslim extremists.

The hope for change expressed by that Obama-as-FDR poster at the National Portrait Gallery seems to have faded. Now, the only common tie between our 32nd and 44th presidents is the cigarette smoke. And, tragically, that smoke probably killed Franklin Roosevelt.

President Roosevelt: The Hand that Held the Dagger

by Robert Morrison

June 11, 2010

The marvels of the Internet continue to stun us. We now have at our fingertips the power to reach deeply into our own past and to pull it into our own day. We can access the spoken words of our long-dead leaders and compare them with what we hear today.

And we can visit the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. There, we will have a chance to smile, perhaps to laugh, at the parody magazine cover theyve displayed. It shows President Barack Obama riding in an open car, a battered fedora atop his head, his head thrown back, and his dazzling smile radiating throughout the room. In his brilliant teeth is clenched a cigarette holder, held at a jaunty angle.

Its a sight gag. Its a throwback. Its a pose so familiar to older Americans that its instantly recognizable.

Franklin D. Roosevelt died when I was still in my mothers womb. Still, I grew up with stories about him. His voice was familiar in our home—if not on records, certainly from TV documentaries of World War II. My relatives would delightedly mimic his head-tossing delivery and his stentorian eloquence.

Now, you can hear him, too. The Miller Center at the University of Virginia has archived many original recordings. Included in their collection is President Roosevelts great speech from June 10, 1940, delivered seventy years ago this week to the graduating class at U.Va.

For context, you must realize that the British Expeditionary Force, the main British army, had just been evacuated from the beaches at Dunkirk, France. The French army was in a state of stunned collapse, reeling from the powerful blows of German panzers rolling swiftly through Northeastern France and strafed from above by Nazi Stukas. Hitlers Luftwaffe chief, the hugely menacing Marshal Goering, had fitted sirens to the wings of his dive bombers for the express purpose of terrifying the women and children upon whom their wicked fury was wreaked.

The peoples of the Americas looked on as newsreels and newspaper photos showed fleeing refugees. These refugees—old men and women and little children crowded the roads and market squares of quiet Belgian, Dutch, and French villages. French reinforcements couldnt get to the scene of the battle.

It would not have been surprising if young people in America—those like the U.Va. Class of 1940 —felt that the world was just too threatening a place and retreated from it.. But that is not how they reacted. Despite the terrors of war—in the air, on the seas, under the oceans—the reaction of President Roosevelts audience that day was strong, thunderous, and like Roosevelt himself, confident.

He had the gift of putting the great conflicts of his day into the perspective of Americas long struggle for freedom. He summoned the heroes of the past to give courage to the people of his own time. Soon, all too soon, they would be called upon to prove themselves heroic. And led by FDR, they would.

The Presidents words of scorn for the duplicity, the treachery, of Italys self-annointed Duce, Benito Mussolini, are unforgettable. On that very morning—June 10, 1940, despite his protestations of peace, and only when he saw that Hitler had struck the killing blow, the jackal Mussolini attacked France from the South. The hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor. In FDRs Hyde Park accent, that came out nay-bah. Stirring stuff.

Our current President has a young speech writer, Jon Favreau, who is not yet thirty.

Mr. Favreau has no sense of Americas storied past, no feeling for what the National Archives calls the glory and romance of our history. He does not reach back to Jamestown or Plymouth Rock. Nor does he evoke the trials of Valley Forge, the landscape turned red at Antietam, or the sands of Iwo Jima.

Does Jon Favreau even know that Americans walked on the Moon and through the Brandenburg Gate? He churns out words for President Obama that are sonorous and silky, but which evaporate upon contact with the hard and cold reality of the world.

Heres a challenge: Try to recall even one line from President Obamas Normandy speech of just one year ago. Can even Jon Favreau do it?

If the President is really convening a committee of experts to tell him whose a— to kick, I have a suggestion: Jon Favreau.

If President Obama really wants to connect with the American people, its time he learned something of how we got here. It is this failure to form a bond of the heart with Americans past, present, and future, that led the Wall Street Journals Dorothy Rabinowitz to call him the Alien in the White House.

No one—no matter how much they hated his gaudy guts—could ever have said that about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Unless President Obama learns—and learns quickly—how to make this vital connection with the people he hopes to change, that failure will doom his presidency.

International Disorder and the Security of the United States: A Response to the Presidents Speech

by Family Research Council

May 28, 2010

President Obamas just-issued National Security Strategy has, like most heavily nuanced Obama documents, something for everyone. What is given with one hand is seized by the other, in near-predictable cyclical fashion.

There are stout affirmations of Americas need for a strong defense extensively qualified by even more dogmatic commitments to a new international order. According to the President, we must (renew) American leadership so that we can more effectively advance our interests in the 21st century while shaping an international order that can meet the challenges of our time.

So … is there ever a time when American leadership means standing alone? Is that not, by definition, what leadership sometimes is?

Mr. Obama says, within two paragraphs, that military force, at times may be necessary to defend our country and that the use of force is sometimes necessary (emphasis mine). Maybe, is, could be, sometimes there might be a certain trumpet in there somewhere, but I have yet to find it.

Mr. Obama then lurches into Wilsonian utopianism: His new strategy reaffirms Americas commitment to pursue our interests through an international system in which all nations have certain rights and responsibilities. This rings of Wilsons infantile Fourteen Points, through which an arrogant American president tried to impose a new international order on a world that didnt want one.

Then: When force is necessary, we will continue to do so in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, and we will seek broad international support, working with such institutions as NATO and the U.N. Security Council.

You tell em, Mr. President. Im sure the worlds dictators are trembling with terror. No doubt Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have by now jettisoned their nuclear arms programs, Vladimir Putin is relaxing his authoritarian grip on Russia, and China will allow representative democracy - all in light of your vacuous commitment to international bloviation.

Just to be sure theres no confusion, the President then says: The United States must reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend our nation and our interests, yet we will also seek to adhere to standards that govern the use of force.

Got that? First, he has so qualified this assurance through the repetitive emphasis on international order, cooperation and making nice with friends and enemies alike that it is little more than a throw-away line. Still, one inference is clear that at times, we have violated our own principles.

In a fallen world and yes, Mr. President, it really is imperfectable no nation constantly lives up to every one of its principles all the time. America has done so better than any other, and rather than continuously if tacitly admitting our failures, perhaps a word about all we have done to better the life of the world, at great sacrifice of blood and treasure, might be advised. But thats just me.

In a preview of todays statement, the President spoke at West Point this past weekend. There, he said:

So we have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation. We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well, including those who will serve by your side in Afghanistan and around the globe. As influence extends to more countries and capitals, we also have to build new partnerships, and shape stronger international standards and institutions.

Insulting Israel and her Prime Minister, treating Poland and the Czech Republic with contempt by suddenly canceling long-negotiated anti-missile system agreements, giving the Queen of England recordings of ones own speeches is this what Mr. Obama means by strengthening old alliances? Playing-up to the autocratic (and ruthless) bully Vladimir Putin, apologizing to China CHINA! - for Arizonas new immigration law, failing to approve the Columbia free trade agreement: Are these and similar misadventures what Mr. Obama would call shaping stronger international standards and institutions?

This engagement is not an end in itself. The international order we seek is one that can resolve the challenges of our times - countering violent extremism and insurgency; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and securing nuclear materials; combating a changing climate and sustaining global growth; helping countries feed themselves and care for their sick; preventing conflict and healing wounds.

Well might Mr. Obama seek this kind of international order, but he will never find it. Such an order implies an overarching international governmental regime to which to belong intrinsically would compromise the independence and security of the United States. And an informal order of this type will never work, because it presupposes that regulatory constraints (e.g., economic sanctions) and enlightened self-interest will drive policy. Consider the United Nations, which has been such a roaring success. Just ask the victims of Pol Pot, the residents of Darfur and the brutalized people of the Congo.

These assumptions are so naive as to evoke visions of sugar-plums. Dictators, totalitarians, oligarchs, and corrupt, venal and creatively evil leaders of all types understand consistency and force, nothing more. The threat of military intervention must always lurk behind any effort to negotiate agreements favorable to the vital security interests of the United States. For such a veiled threat to be realistic, it must also be understood that America will act alone, for its own sake, whenever necessary.

Mr. Obama has taken this option substantially off the table and thereby hobbled the United States with the imponderable burden of international approval for future military engagement.

During his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in Oslo, Mr. Obama said, As a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation … I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people … To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism - it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.

Amen. But to this should be added, Thus, while we will never act cavalierly, when necessary America will act unilaterally to protect itself from any form of aggression against its people and vital interests.

Mr. Obama has now subsumed Americas compelling and sometimes urgent need for solitary action under the broad umbrella of an amorphous international order composed of who knows what and whom. While he professes to understand the need for force and the intransigence of evil, he fails to grasp something unique and essential: He is the President of the United States, the sole exceptional nation that alone can animate just alliances and confront regional and international evil.

The irony is that for any sustained and honorable order to exist, America must always be willing to stand apart and act alone. Without this underlying commitment, our enemies will not tremble nor our friends be at rest. In denying this principle, Mr. Obama has set in motion the very disorder of which he warns.

George Washington wrote that “There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness.

A reputation for exactly that is being hard-won by a President and Administration that disregard our allies, caustically attack our friends and obsequiously fawns over our adversaries.

The rank of which President Washington spoke is diminished. We are at risk of losing it altogether.

Hospital Visit Horrors? Heres the Rest of the Story

by Peter Sprigg

April 21, 2010

On April 15, President Obama issued a memorandum to the Secretary of Health and Human Services instructing her to prepare regulations that will protect the right of homosexual partners (and other non-family members) to visit their loved ones in the hospital.

In a series of interviews the next day, I emphasized that the Family Research Council does not have any objection to such visitation in principle, as long as it is premised on the patients personal choice rather than on a redefinition of family or marriage. However, I also pointed out that the main reason this is even a topic of discussion is because it is used as a political talking point by the advocates of same-sex marriage, who see it as a golden opportunity to tug at peoples heartstrings and generate emotional sympathy for their cause.

I further asserted my belief that the frequency with which homosexuals are barred from visiting their partners in the hospital is grossly exaggerated. As I pointed out in an online chat on the Washington Post website,

The idea that homosexuals are regularly denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital is one that has only one source—homosexual activists who want to change the definition of marriage. Where are the media surveys of hospital administrators to determine how many hospitals actually have such restrictive policies?

In the reporting on the Obama memorandum, however, many media outlets cited the case of Janice Langbehn, a lesbian who sued a Florida hospital claiming that she was denied the right to visit her partner Lisa Pond when Pond was dying from an aneurysm. Langbehns story is apparently a familiar one in the homosexual activist community, thanks in large part to a sympathetic New York Times article last year.

In fact, Langbehns story was instrumental in moving Obama to act. According to the Washington Post:

Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side. Obama called Langbehn on Thursday evening from Air Force One as he flew to Miami, White House officials said.

The New York Times story last year did report that the hospital disputes some of Langbehns charges, but media reports on the Obama memo last week, like that in the Post, did not even bother mentioning that. They were content to repeat the storyline of the homosexual activists verbatim, without even stopping to ask if there was another side.

There is, however, another side. On the website of the Miami Herald, I discovered that the hospital which Langbehn accused of mistreating her has sent its own letter to President Obama. Here is part of what the hospital said:

We would also like to take this opportunity to provide you with some clarification on the allegations being made by Janice Langbehn, whose partner was treated at Jacksons Ryder Trauma Center in 2007. From the beginning, JHS has vehemently denied that Ms. Langbehn was denied visitation due to her sexual orientation. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida dismissed Ms. Langbehns lawsuit against Jackson Memorial Hospital in September 2009.

Ms. Langbehns allegations and those made by published articles, blogs, etc., are inaccurate and have damaged the reputations and deeply hurt the feelings of the personnel in our trauma center. They have devoted their careers to all who come through our doors, from all walks of life.

JHS grants hospital visitation to all individuals equally, regardless of their relationship to the patient, as long as doing so does not interfere with the care being given to the patient or other patients in the area. With that said, our first priority when a patient is brought to our trauma center is always to stabilize the patient and save their life. As the only adult and pediatric Level 1 trauma center in Miami-Dade County to support a population of more than 2.3 million people, our facility is one of the busiest and most renowned in the nation.

The Trauma Resuscitation Unit in Ryder Trauma Center, where Lisa Pond was treated when airlifted to Jackson, is more like a large operating room with multiple beds separated by glass partitions rather than a traditional hospital floor. Sometimes, visitors are not able to see a loved one in the trauma bay as quickly as they would like or they may have to wait until the patient is moved to the ICU or to another area of the hospital that is better suited for visitation. This all depends on the circumstances of the situation, how busy the unit is at the time and the medical conditions of the patients in the unit at the time. The patients in this area are facing life-threatening injuries or illnesses and are extremely vulnerable.

The most important piece of information to consider from our side of this story is that the charge nurse on duty the night Ms. Pond was in our care and the person who made all visitation access decisions that evening is herself a lesbian with a life partner. In addition, numerous members of the medical team working in our trauma unit are openly homosexual. We can assure you that Ms. Langbehn was not treated differently because of her sexual orientation.

When homosexuals complain that they are denied the right to visit their partners in the hospital, they may give some people the impression (I suspect deliberately) that in some hospitals they are never able to visit their partners, simply because they are not legally recognized as family members. I pointed out that for ordinary patients in ordinary hospital rooms (the vast majority of hospital patients), there are few if any restrictions on visitation. You dont go through security, no one checks your IDyou just walk up to the room and visit. Some hospitals have even done away with the tradition of visiting hours, and instead allow visitors to come in at any hour of the day or night.

I did acknowledge that there might be exceptions to these liberal visitation policies, such as when a patient is in intensive care. But there was one point so obvious that I did not bother making it (until now)and that is that in situations of emergency, trauma, or intensive care, hospitals may sometimes keep away all visitors from a patient for medical reasonsnot for reasons of discrimination. If the hospitals account is accurate, that is what happened to Janice Langbehn.

Is the thought of a person dying without their loved ones at their bedside an agonizing one? Of course. But it is an agony that is probably experienced by many people, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, every day, for one simple reasontheir beds are surrounded by doctors and nurses fighting to save their lives.

Obama’s Dangerous Irony

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 13, 2010

Two decades after the end of the Cold War, we face a cruel irony of history,” said President Obama today in a major foreign policy address. “The risk of a nuclear confrontation between nations has gone down, but the risk of nuclear attack has gone up.

The President was speaking to the assembled leaders of 47 countries, gathered in Washington, DC to discuss ways of averting nuclear terrorism. His point is a good one: There’s a lot of nuclear material floating around, and it’s imperative that for the security of the United States and our allies America take the lead in preventing it from falling into the hands of terrorists and evildoers generally.

Yet the President, who said last year in Prague and reaffirmed today that he wants to rid the world of nuclear weapons, seems unmindful of two salient facts:

(1) We cannot dis-invent nuclear weapons. The technology exists. It is fairly simple to obtain. Thus, we will never rid the world of nuclear weapons any more than we will rid the world of sin. We must therefore remain vigilant, never - ever - relaxing the exhausting, expensive and intensive efforts of our intelligence agencies and armed forces to prevent the spread and use of nuclear devices.

(2) By cutting too deeply into our nuclear arsenal, we invite the very thing we wish to avoid: Nuclear confrontation. As former UN Ambassador and distinguished security policy expert John Bolton has noted, “President Obama has to date failed to articulate any coherent strategic rationale for the substantial cuts in nuclear weapons and delivery systems he agreed to … with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Instead, Mr. Obama has eliminated the leading-edge F-22 aircraft, limited funds to test our existing nuclear weapons and eliminated the missile defenses both Poland and Czechoslovakia had agreed to host on their soil.

Wishful thinking is no substitute for sound policy. Although Mr. Obamas efforts at this weeks conference might be noble, the extent to which they are uninformed by wisdom makes them all the more dangerous for the security and vital interests of the United States.

Words and Deeds at the National Prayer Breakfast

by Robert Morrison

February 4, 2010

President Obamas powerful words at todays National Prayer Breakfast were rightly examined by my dear colleague, Cathy Ruse. How can the same man who wants to force us to pay for the slaughter of innocents seem so convincing? He is surely right to say we must see the face of God in our fellow human beings. We must. Does he?

Abraham Lincoln said it well in 1858. He said the Founders believed that nothing stamped in the divine image was sent into the world to be trod upon. Our question to President Obama, with all due respect, is: Are not unborn children so stamped? Can we not see the face of God in their faces?

Lincoln condemned no one in his Second Inaugural, but he said it must seem strange for anyone to ask the help of a just God in wringing his bread from the sweat of another mans brow. Then the President quoted Scripture: Let us not judge lest we be judged. So we must not judge.

Mother Teresa was the 1994 honored speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. I remember when the leaders of FRC came back from that event. They told us the marvelous reaction of the multitude when Mother Teresa pleaded for the lives of unborn children. She described the killing of the unborn as the greatest threat to the peace of the world. The greatest threat.

This winner of the Nobel Peace Prize had worked her entire life among the outcasts of Calcutta, the poorest of the poor. President Reagan had called her the Saint of the Gutters. Many a dying Indian had been cared for by Mother Teresa and her loving Sisters of Charity.

On that day, dais was filled, as it is today, with the rich and the powerful. President Clinton, Mrs. Clinton, Vice President Gore, Mrs. Gore were in attendance then. When this frail but fearless little woman strode to the microphone, she had to stand on tiptoe to reach the microphone. But her unforgettable words were greeted by thunderous applause. It came in waves.

The Clintons and the Gores did not applaud. They sat there as if frozen. They appeared to have been turned to stone, like the great statues on Easter Island. None of these rich and powerful people seems to have been affected by the words of the Saint of the Gutters.

But those words were heard on high. They resound with us still. As the Russian proverb has it: One word of truth can move the world.

The Wave and the Rock

by Robert Morrison

February 2, 2010

Last year, it was as if we had all been inundated by the great Wave. Barack Obama as candidate said he felt a righteous wind at his back. For many of us, though, his support—so broad, so overpowering, so irresistible—was a force of nature.

That great Wave threatened to sweep all before it. The work of decades would be undone. The people had spoken. For many in this democratic republic, the voice of the people is the voice of God. To say no to anything President Obama wanted was to risk being called an obstructionist, a blinkered reactionary, or worse, a racist, a terrorist.

Mr. Obama took the advice of those who specialize in doing things the smart way. If youre going to do something many of the people might not like, do it fast, do it early, and give them time to forget about it.

Its the same cynical advice these smart types gave to John Edwards. Wait until an earthquake happens in Haiti, or a revolution occurs in Massachusetts, before you admit paternity, before you stop your relentless lying. And then hope nobody notices. The roar of the Wave might mask whatever you say.

So, President Obama very quickly cast down the Mexico City Doctrine of Ronald Reagan. That policy was duly reaffirmed by both Presidents Bush. Who cares about this stuff, anyway? Wingers? Thumpers? People who are, in the dismissive words of the Washington Post, poor, uneducated, easy to command?

The Mexico City Doctrine meant that the United States taxpayers would not have to pay for the slaughter of innocents abroad. It was the overseas equivalent of the Hyde Amendment at home. It had the support of people who, though they might differ on whether abortions should be legal or not, at least could agree that pro-choice and pro-life Americans should not be taxed to pay for this.

In that sense, Reagans Mexico City Doctrine is that common ground middling folks say they are always seeking. So where was their outcry when the Wave swept it away? Im still waiting.

But those who caught the Wave forgot about the Rock. The Rock is often out of sight, often submerged. It is that hard conviction that America is indeed a special land, that Americans are, in Lincolns words, an almost Chosen People, that our Declaration of Independence spoke an eternal truth when it said our rights are inalienable. These rights, said President Kennedy, come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God. This great truth is the Rock.

In the past year, we were told by Newsweek that President Obama hovered over the nations, like sort of a god. That was at Normandy. Then, we were told that he had become the Bringer of Peace. That was at Oslo. Finally, he told us he would be the one who would cause the oceans to cease to rise.

The ocean has ceased to rise. His Wave ebbed. And then receded. What the Wave left on the shore is a lot of flotsam and jetsam, the wretched refuse of broken dreams and deflated ideology. Its not just a lowered approval rating. Those measures could not begin to gauge what really happened.

What weve seen is a great iconoclasm—the breaking up of an image or images. The images broken in this year represented the idea that we could bring material prosperity through profligate waste, that we could become healthier while massively dealing in death, that we could heal the planet through human effort alone with no regard for the One who made the earth and loved it.

So now, as the low moan of the receding tide is heard, as Mr. Obamas fellow party members are surging and seething and sounding on each other, the Rock has re-emerged.

Americans have not given up their convictions. When candidate Obama said he wanted to reduce the number of abortions, no one in the press, no one in the debates challenged him. How can you make them fewer by making them free? If abortion is a fundamental right, as your campaign and your party say it is, why should we have fewer of them? If abortion is just a tonsillectomy, as leading members of your congressional wing say it is, why shouldnt it be covered in your health care plan? If you think not paying for abortions is part of a tradition in Washington, then what has become of your promise of change? And if federal funds dont pay for abortion-on-demand, what about your pledges to Planned Parenthood? If youre really not in favor of forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions, why wont you accept the Stupak Amendment, which makes that ban explicit?

If it were not for the pro-life movement in this country, ObamaCare would already have been signed. The pro-lifers are not the Rock. Truth is the Rock. The Wave broke on the Rock but the Rock remains.

Climate Talks Blow More Hot Air

by Tony Perkins

December 3, 2009

In December, more than 170 countries are meeting in Copenhagen to talk about a world treaty to cut greenhouse gasses. (A conference, ironically, thats estimated to create 40,584 tons of carbon emissionsroughly the same amount that the entire country of Morocco generated in 2006). Liberals are hoping to put the environment on the front burner before Denmarkbut that might be difficult considering the political climate in America.

A recent Pew poll found that Americans dont think global warming is a serious problem. The number that do fell sharplyfrom 44% last year to 35% now. Others are skeptical that climate change was even a problem to begin with! That percent is bound to double or triple after scientists at the University of East Anglia admitted to throwing away raw temperature data to support their claim for global warming. According to the U.K. Times, The CRU is the worlds leading center for reconstructing past climate and temperatures. Climate change skeptics have long been keen to examine exactly how its data were compiled. That is now impossible. This news, combined with ClimateGate and Americans doubts, should be more than enough to put off any international agreements on global warming indefinitely. President Obama has agreed to make the trip to the conference to lobby for cutting emissions by 17% in 2020. Given the revelations of disagreement in the scientific community and the growing skepticism in the public, the President should back away from a treaty that will cut U.S. jobs and raise energy costs for families.

Obama the Unready

by Robert Morrison

November 20, 2009

President Obama is said to be taking his time, carefully weighing all alternatives, calibrating our response to the situation in Afghanistan with precision and judgment. The point of all these statements is to reinforce the Obama administrations theme that George W. Bush rushed off pell-mell and did not assess the situation properly before committing U.S. troops.

Not since the famed King Ethelred the Unready have we seen such a long, drawn-out, and public process of decision-making. Despite his name, however, this ancient English king was not called the unready because he was unprepared. The word comes from Middle English and means he was ill-advised.

That appellation certainly fits today. We have seen a succession of unconfirmed, unconfirmable czars comes and go. The latest departure has been Anita Dunn, White House Communications Director. She cited Mao Zedong as her favorite political philosopher. If any adviser in any conservative administration had listed some notorious mass murderer as a political model, the roof of the press room would have fallen in.

Now, part of President Obamas delay must be attributed to the kind of advisers he has chosen and the kind of advice they are giving him. One of these, Bruce Riedel, recently spoke at Tel Aviv University. Riedel is a senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institute and a former CIA official.

Riedel is telling the President that we are fighting a losing battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan and that with our forces bogged down there, we are incapable of responding militarily to the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon. Israelis need to understand that there’s going to be a huge drain on resources, attention and capital [in Afghanistan], and that will have implications, Reidel said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post.

Well. One has to wonder if Bruce Riedel has ever read U.S. history. In World War II, there were many who thought—for less than 24 hours—that we had too much on our hands fighting Japan to enter into a war with Nazi Germany. President Roosevelt responded with speed not just to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, but also to Hitlers subsequent declaration of war on the U.S.

To meet those combined threats, the United States had to resort to a draft. We eventually put in uniform one in every 11 Americans. (Today, that figure is less than one in two hundred.) Americas industrial capacity made us the Arsenal of Democracy. During the war, Britain tripled her output, excelling both Germany and Russia, who merely doubled theirs. Japan, incredibly, saw a four-fold increase in production. And America? The United States increased its war production twenty-five times.

Does Bruce Riedel, or any of President Obamas timorous advisers, have any idea of the capacity for greatness that this country possesses? My diplomatic history prof, Norman A. Graebner, used to tell standing room only lecture halls that the United States was like the great boxer, Joe Louis.

We had power to spare.

If this nations life is threatened by murderous mullahs in Tehran, or by Al Qaeda harboring Taliban in Afghanistan, we can do what we have to do. Who else will protect us? The UN?

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