Obama's Greatest Failing of All?

Ross Mackenzie

3/17/2011 12:01:00 AM - Ross Mackenzie

Takes on items in the news -- mostly about Barack Obama and his administration....

--Will the President's passivity regarding Libya -- his refusal at least to declare a no-fly zone so those hungering to rid the place of mean-street Qaddafi might compete in a fair fight -- rank among his greatest failings of all?

--Celebrity shootings often lead to demands from the usual suspects that guns be banned, or private ownership by the law-abiding proscribed, or gun shows de-loopholed, or ammunition controlled -- or whatever. The generally better response is stricter enforcement of multiple laws already on the books. So it's a pleasant surprise to learn, in the aftermath of the nuclear facility meltdowns in Japan, that President Obama is batting away pleas for the feds to freeze U.S. nuclear power-generation plants at their current number.

--Speaking of the usual suspects, who can be surprised at the leftist views of the two (now) former muckety-mucks at National Public Radio? Really. Scratch a moderate's veneer and too often you'll find a leftist. One at NPR termed Teapartiers racists; he conceded NPR "would be better off in the long run without federal funding." The other fired Juan Williams for comments made on Fox News about feeling nervous in the company of garbed Muslims on airplanes. Time's up. Game's over. Good-bye.

--Yet the linchpin issue regarding NPR is not so much its deep-running leftism (all networks except Fox are leftist) as its subsidization by the taxpayers. In a highly competitive media environment, what on earth is the defensible purpose of government radio or TV? Said South Carolina's Sen. Jim DeMint, perceptively: "The issue about taxpayers funding public broadcasting isn't about who gets hired or fired. It's about two simple facts: We can't afford it and they don't need it." Government-funded networks have little legitimate role in a free society.

--And who is surprised at the views of Hillary Clinton's State Department spokesman for describing the detention conditions of Bradley Manning, a top Wikileaks suspect (housed at the Quantico, Virginia, Marine base), as "ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid"? Could the ideology of the (now) departed spokesman be similar to the one that, for instance, blamed Teapartiers and Sarah Palin for the shootings in Tucson?

--As the manned space program concludes, by direction of the president of the United States, the space shuttle Discovery has made its final flight. With man once poised to leap beyond the beyond, Americans now will be confined to near-Earth orbit. The next strides on the Moon and other extraterrestrial orbs likely will be taken by...Chinese.

--With states facing budget deficits, pension shortfalls, unfunded Medicaid mandates, vast new costs related to ObamaCare, and blue-sky demands by unionized public employees, some applause please for state senator Chris Steineger of Kansas. Last month, he submitted a bill to reduce the Kansas legislature from 165 members to 120. Among the seats abolished might be his. "Every legislator thinks he or she is so important that we could not possibly get by with fewer of us," Sen. Steineger says. "You just simply don't need this many people to make the decisions we make." Amen to that, bro'.

--With "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) now effectively dead, will Yale and other self-important colleges -- their sensibilities so offended by DADT -- restore ROTC to their campuses? There hardly has been a rush to do so, yet Yale is, you know, thinking about bringing ROTC back after a four-decade absence. From, you know, a diversity aspect -- offering students a full menu, even it means a soupcon of military. Says the undergraduate dean, "At this point, we are in a really energetic data-gathering phase."

--Where does the administration get off with not enforcing the law? (a) The Justice Department has declared it thinks the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- signed by Bill Clinton -- which defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman, is unconstitutional and so will not defend it. (b) Despite knowing that it needed to, Justice failed to appeal Federal District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling that ObamaCare is unconstitutional -- until Judge Vinson essentially ordered it to do so.

--Campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama insisted he would close Guantanamo in the first year of his administration; later, he said he would close it in the second year. In this his third year, he has lifted his January, 2009, freeze on new military trials of Islamists at Guantanamo, and adopted the prior (Bush) policy of indefinite detention of prisoners unfit for trial yet too vicious for release.

--So much for that campaign pledge. Maybe Obama's reversal on Guantanamo derives in part from taking to heart -- at last -- a September 15 report by a 19-member panel of national security experts urging his administration to abandon its posture that Islam is not linked to terrorism. The panel added that radical Muslims are using Islamic (Shariah) law to subvert the United States. As recently as last summer, White House counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan stressed his disagreement with the argument that "there is an Islamic dimension to terrorism." Maybe the change on Guantanamo implies a delayed recognition by Obama that, as the panel noted, proponents of Shariah are Islamofascist "supremacists" waging "civilization jihad."