“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Did Obama Snooker the Republicans?

The audio improves after two minutes.


  1. In response to Mike Pence's question re: Tax cuts, Obama has spent a lot of time making the case that 2.5 millions jobs were lost before his administration got going good.

    Warren Buffet and Wall Street can forget about tax cuts.

  2. "Most of the increases in last year's budget came about as automatic result of the recession." Obama, "I didn't do it."

    Repubs wants spending cuts and a line item veto. I missed his response.

    On the coal industry, he wants a comprehensive energy policy so that coal is phased out. He uses the argument that even if you don't believe in AGW, going green makes economic sense.

  3. He signals that coal is going to be phased out but talks about clean coal technology. He wants to incentivize new technology.

    He argues that all credible voices caution against significant spending cuts or tax increases.

    Pence countered that the 84% spending increase came from discretionary spending. Obama said we'll talk about it later.

    On the line item veto:
    "There's not a President out there who would not loved to have had it." He says that earmarks come from both parties but will cooperate with the effort to achieve a line item veto.

    When called out on the lack of bipartisanship and across the hall outreach, Obama responded:
    "The majority of the health care process was on C-Span, but he accepts responsiblity for not controlling the process."

    With respect to earmarks: "We didn't have earmarks in the Recovery Act." In the midst of the economic meltdown he didn't want to fight earmarks from both parties.

    He says, " administration has been tougher on lobbyists. We have very consistent on eliminating the influence of lobbyists."

  4. In a word:
    He lies!

    ...or as Alito would say:
    "That's not true."

  5. President Obama slams obstructionist Republicans at GOP issues retreat

    WASHINGTON - President Obama dove headfirst into the belly of the GOP beast Friday - and left the not-so-loyal opposition bleeding on a Baltimore ballroom floor.

    He skewered Republicans for obstructionist tactics, dubious facts and a lack of civility in opposing his domestic agenda, especially health care reform.

    "If you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you'd think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot," Obama told the GOP issues retreat after unveiling a proposal for $33 billion in small-business tax incentives.

    House Republican leaders had tried to score political points by inviting Obama to their lair. Problem was, he showed up.

    "You've given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you've been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that's going to destroy America," Obama said, his face appearing to tighten in anger.
    Naw, putting businesses under DC's thumb, and spending us into oblivion, is gonna strengthen America!

  6. He says he has already embraced some Republican health care reform ideas such as Insurance companies operating across state lines. "If you can show me and I get confirmation from experts, ways to reduce premiums and make insurance affordable, I'm game." Some of the provisions got "snuck in."

    You guys made the health care plan look like a "Bolshevik plot. The plan is pretty centrist. We've got to close the gap between rhetoric and reality. You've given yourself very little room to work in a bipartisan way. My side has done it, too."

  7. Obama seemed to say, "I've looked at some Republican proposals and adopted them, so don't oppose me when I propose them."

  8. He was asked if he is willing to work with Republicans on things like Free Trade Agreements, even if his party is not.

    "Both sides can take some blame for a sour climate on Capitol Hill. I can try to foster better communications. On trade, there are conflicts within the Democratic party...We are trying to make the enforcements tight."

  9. Did Obama Snooker the Republicans?

    Snooker may not be the right word, but he certainly did go into their forum and turn it to his advantage.

    Republicans seemed petulant about being left out and igonored. Obama lectured them on being partisan and poltical without proposing serious verifiable answers.

    So, yes he did!

  10. Echoing my thoughts:

    3. RPD:

    They say “gridlock” like it was a bad thing.
    Jan 29, 2010 - 2:06 pm


  11. That the Federals are interfering in the economy, business, doug, is a given.

    The fact is that Obama's lack of progress on the "big issues", why, it is often touted here. That reality flies in the face of the argument that he is destroying the US.

    As lineman remarks, there is gridlock, in DC. There has been little "revolutionary" change. Little incremental change, either.

    Just more of the same, along familiar trend lines.

  12. That those trend lines seem dour and distressful, not all Obama's fault. Not at all his fault, really.

    That no one has a plan or program to reverse that trend line of ever greater Federal centralization, a reality as well.

  13. The Dems spending puts even the GWB Pubs to shame.

    Pure nonsense to claim that Nancy, Harry, and BHO have changed nothing.

  14. Nationalizing Corporations and setting salaries not exactly business as usual, either.

  15. Can we spell Amtrack?


    No, doug, the nationalization of US industry did not start with Obama.

    Not even close.
    He is just continuing, pushing full ahead, maintaining the course and speed of our Ship of State.

    But has not altered the course, not by a degree.

  16. Good thread and observations from Whit.

    I think Obama did himself a lot of good. The Democrats could save themselves if they did one hour per week of "Prime Minister's Questions" in Congress, by inviting Obama to Congress to do a public back and forth.

    It would serve the process well.

  17. Can we spell Amtrack?

    Apparently not. :-)

  18. By the way, it is Amtrak. There is no "C".

  19. See!
    They have even subverted the language, to solidify control of the debate.

  20. But then again, my spelling skills have never been a strong point.

  21. Did I tell you all that a week ago when I was in the car dealership, I walked headfirst in a glass wall. Kaboom! echoed throughout the showroom as I broke my nose. Judging by the cut on the bridge and the bloody nose, you would think that things got down and dirty and the salesman beat me up pretty good. Actually, the deal went down beautifully, the salesman and his manager were great to work with.

    It was a good experience until Kaboom!

  22. Well, Rat, so far you've admitted to problems with decimal points, and spelling.

    If we find out you're a "drinker," and a "womanizer" we might have to reconsider your membership. :)

  23. Ok Rufus, then what are you going to do if you found out he did a sex tape video?

  24. Not much of a drinker, any more, rufus.

    As to womanizing, ...

    The couple of women that I know, whom I'd consider izing with, they have their own izers, already.

    Then there are the unintended consequences of izing with someone other than the wife.

    Or the intended consequence, but I'm not there, yet. Having already taken the financial hit equivalent to a divorce, but retaining the wife.

    Family values still prevail.

  25. If I had a video, deuce, it'd be streaming, 24/7.
    Me and Paris, fer sur.

  26. Soft on Terror
    Islamist terrorism is not a law-enforcement issue.

    The real scandal surrounding the failed Christmas Day airline bombing was not the fact that a terrorist got on a plane — that can happen to any administration, as it surely did to the Bush administration — but what happened afterward when Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was captured and came under the full control of the U.S. government.

    After 50 minutes of questioning him, the Obama administration chose, reflexively and mindlessly, to give the chatty terrorist the right to remain silent. Which he immediately did, undoubtedly denying us crucial information about al-Qaeda in Yemen, which had trained, armed, and dispatched him.

    We have since learned that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab had been made without the knowledge of or consultation with (1) the secretary of defense, (2) the secretary of homeland security, (3) the director of the FBI, (4) the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, or (5) the director of national intelligence (DNI).

    The Justice Department acted not just unilaterally, but unaccountably. Obama’s own DNI said that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by the HIG, the administration’s new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.

    Perhaps you hadn’t heard the term. Well, in the very first week of his presidency, Obama abolished by executive order the Bush-Cheney interrogation procedures and pledged to study a substitute mechanism. In August, the administration announced the establishment of the HIG, housed in the FBI but overseen by the National Security Council.

    Where was it during the Abdulmutallab case? Not available, admitted National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, because it had only been conceived for use abroad. Had not one person in this vast administration of highly nuanced sophisticates considered the possibility of a terror attack on American soil?

    It gets worse. Blair later had to explain that the HIG was not deployed because it does not yet exist. After a year! I suppose this administration was so busy deploying scores of the country’s best lawyerly minds on finding the most rapid way to release Gitmo miscreants that it could not be bothered to establish a single operational HIG team to interrogate at-large miscreants with actionable intelligence that might save American lives.

    Travesties of this magnitude are not lost on the American people. One of the reasons Scott Brown won in Massachusetts was his focus on the Mirandizing of Abdulmutallab.

    Of course, this case is just a reflection of a larger problem: an administration that insists on treating Islamist terrorism as a law-enforcement issue.

  27. but I'm not there, yet. Having already taken the financial hit equivalent to a divorce, but retaining the wife.

    Family values still prevail.
    ...The best of all possible worlds.

  28. Having already taken the financial hit equivalent to a divorce, but retaining the wife.

    It's good to know that I'm not the only one.

  29. Pence effectively calls Obama out on the party of no assertion.
    Obama's reply is dissembling and dishonest.
    What else is new?

  30. We took no hit in this affair.

    In a previous life, I took the financial and emotional hit of a divorce and remained married!

    Can we spell Glutton for Punishment?

  31. From Drudge: Justice Dept.: Obama administration may take action on BCS

    Being in favor of a playoff system, I have to admit, I would like to see where this goes.

  32. Ok Rufus, then what are you going to do if you found out he did a sex tape video?

    Probably call an "Exorcist" for my laptop. :)

    Then, have a drink. A real "Tall" drink.

  33. Transcript Here

    CONGRESSMAN HENSARLING is worth reading.

  34. The rules were no followups on Obama’s answers!

  35. Congressman Tom Campbell:
    A two thousand nine hundred page Healthcare Bill,
    Obama's argument is that he can cite 50 pages that the
    Pubs would agree with, thus they should vote for the Bill!

  36. Is it mere conincidence that

    "Rufus" rhymes with "Dufus?"

  37. :-)
    (love to laugh at my own cleverness, does not impress wife)

  38. ...but I can ignore feedback here at will.
    Bliss, it is.

  39. THAT'S IT!!

    I'm going back to bed. Doug's "cleverness" has overwhelmed my meager brainpan.

    Rendered me comatose, it did.

  40. Sex Tape:

    Dufus does Rufus.

    (answer to
    "why did Rufus go back to bed")

  41. When do you know Obama is lying?

    When his lips move....

    Every passing day the people's trust diminish of him, this of course, will not effect his core

    the real question WHO is his core?

  42. TPM LiveWire:

    Former vice presidential candidate and current Fox News contributor Sarah Palin said last night that the Republican Party should merge with tea partiers.

    Fox's Greta Van Susteren asked if tea party candidates would end up siphoning votes from GOP nominees, or if the movement will "merge with the Republican Party."

    "They need to merge," Palin said. "Definitely, they need to merge. I think those who are wanting the divisions and the divisiveness and the controversy -- those are the ones who don't believe in the message. And they're the ones, I think, stirring it up."


    I saw Palin on Fox post-SOTU. It's apparent that she's not a politician anymore. Politicians have a certain manner of speech, body language, facial expression, etc. Political commentators (even political commentators cum fundraisers) have their own and that's what she conveyed. What a difference a year - and a television news contract - make.

    It's a helluva route to discovering one's calling, as it seems quite likely to be, but there you have it.

    Sorry to hear about your nose, whit.

    My husband broke his as a teenager, driving his mother's station wagon into a tree one snowy night. Ever since the incident people have just assumed he's Jewish.

  43. Trish; My husband broke his as a teenager, driving his mother's station wagon into a tree one snowy night. Ever since the incident people have just assumed he's Jewish.

    Yea, I get that too, it's a known fact Jews cant drive station wagons ;)

  44. Long having a thing for Jewish men, I married perhaps the only Congregationalist that can easily pass for one.

  45. trish said...
    Long having a thing for Jewish men, I married perhaps the only Congregationalist that can easily pass for one.

    I always knew you were a class act....

  46. Trish, the bracing cold air seems to agree with you.

  47. Had I been a single woman living in Bogota I would have been hanging around the entrance to the synagogue at the end of my street and quite probably attending services on any given Holy Day.

    "Bracing" i'nt quite the word for it. It's INSANELY cold here in the Republic of Reothlisberger. Overlook Hotel cold.

    If Spring does not come early down in DC I may just have to move in temporarily with relatives in the Florida panhandle or fly back to Bogota and impose myself on any number of friendly embassy rats.

    Gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.

  48. Currently, in the panhandle:
    Broken Clouds
    Feels Like: 66°
    Wind Chill: 66° Ceiling: 1700
    Heat Index: 66° Visibility: 10mi
    Dew Point: 66° Wind: 9mph
    Humidity: 100% Direction: 240° (WSW)
    Pressure: 29.8" Gusts: NA
    Report Text: KTLH 301503Z 24008KT 10SM FEW008 BKN018 BKN022 19/19 A2979 RMK AO2 $

  49. Someone on my husband's side - Spanish professor and wife, I believe - has a condo in Costa Rica.

    They'd be delighted to take me in for a couple of months, I'm sure.

    Husband has to report to and actually work, but not me, baby.

    My services, such as they were, are happily done with.

  50. 66 degrees! My God, that would be a most welcome heatwave right about now.

    Relatives live near Destin. Charming couple, very convivial. And plenty of room to spare.

  51. My parents have a hot tub outside their bedroom. Should be ideal but it's too damn cold to even stand there, disrobed, for a couple of seconds before getting in and after coming out.

  52. I forgot the Friday night Banking report:
    Regulators shut down banks in 5 states
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators shut down a big bank in California on Friday, along with two banks in Georgia and one each in Florida, Minnesota and Washington. That brought to 15 the number of bank failures so far in 2010 atop the 140 shuttered last year in the punishing economic climate.

    The failure of Los Angeles-based First Regional Bank, with nearly $2.2 billion in assets and $1.9 billion in deposits, is expected to cost the federal deposit insurance fund $825.5 million.

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the bank as well as the others: First National Bank of Georgia, based in Carrollton, Ga., with $832.6 million in assets and $757.9 million in deposits and Community Bank and Trust of Cornelia, Ga., with $1.2 billion in assets and $1.1 billion in deposits; Florida Community Bank of Immokalee, Fla., with $875.5 million in assets and $795.5 million in deposits; Marshall Bank of Hallock, Minn., with $59.9 million in assets and $54.7 million in deposits; and American Marine Bank of Bainbridge Island, Wash., with $373.2 million in assets and $308.5 million in deposits.

    First Regional Bank's collapse followed the shutdown of several large California banks in the last months of 2009. California was one of the states hardest hit by the real estate market meltdown, and many banks there have suffered under the weight of soured mortgage loans. Last year saw the failure of 17 banks in the state.

    First-Citizens Bank & Trust Co., based in Raleigh, N.C., agreed to buy the deposits and $2.17 billion of the assets of First Regional Bank. The FDIC retained the remaining assets for later sale. In addition, the FDIC and First-Citizens agreed to share losses on $2 billion of the failed bank's loans and other assets.

    Community & Southern Bank, also based in Carrollton, Ga., agreed to assume the deposits and assets of First National Bank of Georgia.

    SCBT, a national bank based in Orangeburg, S.C., is assuming the assets and deposits of Community Bank and Trust. United Valley Bank, based in Cavalier, N.D., is buying the assets and deposits of Marshall Bank.

    Miami-based Premier American Bank, N.A., a new bank with a national charter set up last week, is buying the deposits and $499.1 million of the assets of Florida Community Bank. The FDIC will retain the remaining assets for later sale. In addition, the FDIC and Premier American Bank -- owned by the investment firm Bond Street Holdings -- agreed to share losses on $305.4 million of Florida Community Bank's loans and other assets.

    Columbia State Bank, based in Tacoma, Wash., is assuming the assets and deposits of American Marine Bank.

    The two shuttered banks in Georgia followed 25 bank failures there last year, more than in any other state.

    The government's resolution of First National Bank of Georgia is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $260.4 million. That of Community Bank and Trust is estimated to cost $354.5 million. Florida Community Bank's resolution is expected to cost the fund $352.6 million and Marshall Bank is expected to cost $4.1 million. The hit to the fund from American Marine Bank is estimated at $58.9 million.

  53. That's just effing demented, whit.

    New Englanders got no sense. Go ahead, you can Google it.

  54. "Ever since the incident people have just assumed he's Jewish."
    Yeah, like Billy Joel:
    What is it that causes the magnetic attraction between stationary objects and Joos behind the wheel?

  55. 76, overcast, light drizzle here.
    Cold Front, don'tcha know. Global Climate Change, of course.