The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

January 18, 2013

Ivory-tower Obama can’t abide views he doesn’t share

To judge from his surly demeanor and defiant words at his press conference on Monday, Barack Obama begins his second term with a strategy to defeat and humiliate Republicans rather than a strategy to govern.

His point blank refusal to negotiate over the debt ceiling was clearly designed to make the House Republicans look bad.

But Obama knows very well that negotiations usually accompany legislation to increase the government’s debt limit. As Gordon Gray of the conservative American Action Network points out, most of the 17 increases in the debt ceiling over the last 20 years have been part of broader measures.

Working out what will be in those measures is a matter for negotiation between the legislative and executive branches. That’s because the Constitution gives Congress the power to incur debt and the president the power to veto.

Obama supporters like to portray Republican attempts to negotiate as hostage-taking or extortion. But those are violent crimes. Negotiations – discussions attempting to reach agreement among those who differ – are peaceful acts.

What we do know, from Bob Woodward’s “The Price of Politics,” is that Obama is not very good at negotiating. He apparently can’t stomach listening to views he does not share.

Perhaps that is to be expected of one who has chosen all his adult life to live in university communities and who made his way upward in the one-party politics of Chicago. Thus on the fiscal cliff he left the unpleasant business of listening to others’ views and reaching agreement to Joe Biden.

Obama has laid down another marker in his puzzling nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense.

As the Washington Post editorial writers pointed out, Hagel – though a nominal Republican – has stood way to the left of Obama on whether a military option to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program is feasible.

Obama has said repeatedly that that option, however risky and unpalatable, is on the table. Hagel has said it shouldn’t be.

It’s not at all clear that Hagel has the experience and temperament to head the Pentagon. His vocal defenders tend to concentrate on attacking his detractors rather than make the affirmative case for his qualifications.

Hagel seems likely to be confirmed given his endorsement by Sen. Charles Schumer yesterday. But it’s interesting that no Republican senators have spoken up for him and that liberal Democratic senators like Bob Menendez and Ben Cardin have declined to do so.

As defense secretary, Hagel seems likely to cut military personnel and capabilities. There’s undoubtedly some detritus that can be swept away. But his nomination seems less aimed at managing the military than tormenting the Republicans.

Then there is gun control. Some recent media polls show majority support for further restrictions on guns. If you phrase the question the right way, you tend to get that kind of response, especially after a horrifying crime like Newtown.

But new restrictions are unlikely to have any significant practical effect. The ban on assault weapons – a category defined mostly by cosmetics – certainly had none in the 10 years it was in effect.

The fact is that we have many more guns and many fewer murders than we did 20 years ago. Allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons, as most states do, has not resulted in the street shootouts some predicted.

Strict state gun control laws did not stop the carnage in Newtown or the frequent killings on the streets of Chicago. The push for gun control is more a symbolic gesture than a serious attempt at governing.

Something better can be said about Obama’s call for immigration law changes. The need for some change is clear.

That was also true in Obama’s first two years, when he did nothing to advance legislation on the subject when Democrats had a solid majorities in Congress.

The question is whether Obama wants legislation or to stick it to the opposition. Many Republicans, like Sen. Marco Rubio, are ready to support legalization of those brought here as children but not immediate legalization for all 11 million illegals.

Negotiations and compromises will be needed to get a bill through Congress. A president interested in governing would not insist on getting his way 100 percent. Whether Obama is such a president is far from clear.

© 2013 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort

    Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery

    Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
    We simply don’t get out much after we’ve used up the movie gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas. That means we mostly go to the movies to avoid guilt trips because our kids do work hard for their money.

    February 20, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results