The most naive president in US History

April 12, 2010

The Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner give ten reasons why he believes Barack Obama surpasses even Jimmy Carter and Woodrow Wilson as the most naive American president, ever. Here’s the first:

1. Obama believes unilateral disarmament will achieve a nuclear-free world

The Obama administration may dream of a day when the world is free of nuclear weapons, but its lofty vision bears no relation to the realities of the modern world. Even the president of France believes that President Obama needs to live in the real world, not a virtual one, which is a rather damning indictment of US leadership. There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that Washington’s decision to cut its nuclear arsenal will encourage the likes of Iran and North Korea to disarm, and history has shown that a unilateral policy of disarmament will not prompt tyrannical regimes to change their behaviour.

Far from it. Self-abasement will only encourage international thugs.

Have a look at the rest. I find it hard to disagree with any of them.

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California can have jobs or high taxes, not both

April 12, 2010

From Reason.TV, a look at how California’s high-tax, no-cuts regime is costing the state jobs and driving businesses and residents elsewhere. The focus is on one business, Creator’s Syndicate, that may well leave not only because of high costs imposed by the state, but because the City of Los Angeles has lowered itself to legal theft to raise money:

Money quote from a consultant who specializes in business relocations:

“I would love to have companies calling me saying, ‘We’d like to move to California, can you help us with that relocation?’ I get none of those calls,” says business relocation coach Joe Vranich. “The calls I do get are, ‘Hello, we want to move out of California, can you help us do that?’”

Argh.  Doh


Iowahawk for Supreme Court

April 12, 2010

A campaign video for a SCOTUS seat? Why the heck not?

Forget Kagan or Liu. Forget Sunstein or Tribe or Clinton or the rest of those radicals. Iowahawk is the only one for the job who’s truly rad.


Disappointed in each other

April 12, 2010

Germany’s Spiegel magazine has an interesting article on the difficult relationship between German Chancellor Merkel and President Obama. Framed in Merkel’s love for America and “freedom,” it showcases both their very different styles and Obama’s disregard for European priorities:

American politics is a little like the film “High Noon.” It requires a protagonist, a few decent shootouts and, finally, a showdown on Main Street, one in which there is a winner and a loser. Although Obama spent a long time negotiating and making compromises to get his healthcare reform bill passed, he was still on pins and needles in the end, when it came down to the vote and he had no idea how it would turn out. He also accepted the fact that some would hate him for his policies.

A similar situation is inconceivable for Merkel. She would negotiate Main Street to death, and the combatants would eventually lay down their arms, half satisfied and half dazed. Not even during the election campaign, the classic dueling scenario in politics, did she step into the streets with her guns loaded. Instead, she continued to pursue her program to promote a general feeling of fatigue — which, unfortunately, also includes political fatigue.

(…)

Obama’s approach to politics is more individualistic. He too is dependent on an army of advisers, but when push comes to shove, his will and charisma are crucial to making decisions happen. Merkel takes a collectivist approach. She identifies the goals of other participants, blends them with her own needs and turns the whole thing into a fail-safe policy that allows her to remain popular.

There are a few odd moments in this article, probably stemming from seeing American politics through a German (and pro-Obama) lens. I’d hardly paint Obama’s victory passing health-care as a great win, given how bleak the opinion of it is among the general public and how strong a reaction it’s provoked against the President, Congress, and his own party. I’d also question how important his “will and charisma” (the latter increasingly in question, itself) are in national policy, since, in the health-care reform process, he largely ceded the initiative to Congress and, especially, Speaker Pelosi.

But what really struck me was the nuance behind the word “freedom.” The article describes Merkel’s lifelong admiration for American liberty and how she has seen this country as a bastion of “endless opportunity,” and yet she is irked that Obama has rebuffed German initiatives on anthropogenic global warming and tighter regulation of the financial markets.  That hints that she doesn’t quite get the fundamental connection between economic and political liberty, and that some chaos in the former is the price of guaranteeing the latter. Perhaps that’s not surprising, since she was raised in totalitarian East Germany, and she believes that we take it too far.

And, if it’s true that Obama has resisted efforts to bring EU-style statism here, then bravo, Obama. Somehow, however, if the article’s assertion is correct, I think it has to do with other reasons, not a resistance to economy-killing statism. Not when he’s been a big advocate of cap-and-trade.

Regardless, this article is worth reading. Given Obama’s difficult relations with the British Prime Minister, the French President, and now the German Chancellor, it leaves one wondering with just whom overseas he does get along. Oh, wait…


Taxes: the cost of compliance

April 12, 2010

Tax Day is coming, and in its honor we have another video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, in which Hiwa Alaghebandian discusses the enormous amounts it costs our economy just to comply with IRS regulations:

Either a flat income tax or a VAT as a replacement for the income tax seems more and more attractive all the time.

(via Dan Mitchell)

LINKS: More at Hot Air.