Obama and the Copenhagen Syndrome–It’s dangerous to believe in your own miracles.

Obama and the Copenhagen Syndrome

It’s dangerous to believe in your own miracles.

  • By BRET STEPHENS

Stockholm Syndrome: “A term used to describe the positive bond some kidnap victims develop with their captor.”

Copenhagen Syndrome: The peculiar psychology of Barack Obama’s first year in office.

Let’s expand on that a bit. In September, Mr. Obama paid a semi-impromptu visit to Copenhagen to make a personal appeal for Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid. It failed. The nice way to think about it: The president was trying to win one for Team America. Less nice: It was a feckless and unpresidential errand on behalf of the Chicago political machine to which he remains beholden.

And then there’s the possibility that Mr. Obama really believed that he alone could pull the rabbit out of the hat. Not Dick Daley, not the First Lady. This one would require the full Barack abracadabra.

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Associated PressIt’s dangerous to believe in your own miracles.

Mr. Obama was back in Copenhagen a couple of months later, this time for the U.N.’s climate summit. It was a chronicle of a fiasco foretold. In the run-up to the conference, dozens of press accounts noted the gaps between the otherworldly idealism of “Hopenhagen” boosters and the calculated realism of China and India. A politically rational president would either have stayed away or made an appearance at the beginning of the conference, so as to be far from the scene of the crime when it ended.

Instead, the president chose to raise expectations by showing up at the end of the conference, as if he were sure that the magic would not fail him twice. It did. “The debacle of Copenhagen is also Barack Obama’s debacle,” editorialized Der Spiegel, a left-of-center publication. No points in old Europe for the old college try.

In fact, Mr. Obama’s first year in office amounts to a long parade of rebuffs. His inaugural address famously offered the world’s dictators an outstretched hand in exchange for an unclenched fist. From North Korea, he got missile and nuclear tests. From Iran, he got a contemptuous rejection of his extraordinary offer to enrich uranium for it. From Cuba, Fidel Castro said last month that “the empire’s real intentions are obvious, this time beneath the kindly smile and African-American face of Barack Obama.” From Venezuela, Hugo Chávez is now comparing Mr. Obama to the devil, a shtick he first tried out on George W. Bush back when liberals thought it was kind of funny.

Of course these are America’s enemies, so we probably should not have expected better even if Mr. Obama seemed to believe we might. What about our (ostensible) non-enemies? The president pre-emptively conceded the Czech and Polish missile-defense bases to Russia in hopes of getting Moscow to take a tougher line on Tehran’s nuclear programs. The Kremlin isn’t biting. Neither is China, never mind Mr. Obama’s gratuitous snub last year of the Dalai Lama.

As for the Muslim world that Mr. Obama has been at such pains to court (the Cairo and Ankara speeches, his opposition to Gitmo and the war in Iraq, etc.), the 2009 Pew Global Survey that measures opinions about the U.S. finds as follows: Turkey, 14% favorable views of the U.S.; Palestinian territories, 15%; Pakistan, 16%; Jordan, 25%; Egypt, 27%. Granted, this is up slightly from the last year of the Bush administration, but only by a couple of percentage points on average. So that’s the great Obama perception dividend?

And then there are America’s friends. Hondurans will not soon forgive the administration’s efforts to shove ex-president Manuel Zelaya down their throats. Among Israelis suspicion of Mr. Obama is pervasive. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy wonders aloud, “Est-il faible?” (Is he weak?)

Now the same question is being asked in the U.S. in the wake of Scott Brown’s Senate victory in Massachusetts. The president from Oprah Nation, says Newsweek, suffers from an “inspiration gap”; the prevailing wisdom is that he’s too cool and detached for his own political good. Are they kidding? Should the president now take squealing lessons from Howard Dean?

Mr. Obama’s real problems are of a different stripe. It’s not as if he lacks for charisma. It’s that he believes too much in the power of charisma itself and specifically too much in his own.

He seems to have come to office believing that America’s problems abroad could mainly be put down to the rough-edged persona of his predecessor. Change the president, change the tone, give magnificent speeches, tinker with the policy, and the world would revert to some default mode of liking America and wanting to work with it. It doesn’t work that way. Nor does it work in domestic policy, where personal salesmanship has failed to overcome the defects of legislation. Americans still generally like Mr. Obama, or at least they’d like to like him. It’s the $12 trillion deficit and Rube Goldberg health schemes that rub them wrong.

So what’s Copenhagen Syndrome? It is a belief in your own miracles. It is thinking that those who crowned you king actually knew what they were doing. It is buying into your own tulip bulb mania. It is the floating evanescent bubble of self. God help you when it bursts.

The state of Obama’s dis-union

Michelle Malkin 

Lead Story

The state of Obama’s dis-union

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 27, 2010 09:49 AM

My syndicated column today torches President Obama’s fiscal freeze follies. A new CBO reports says the year-old Porkulus will now cost $75 billion more than originally estimated. Which is why the White House is scrambling to de-emphasize its spending discipline pose and talk about something else. Anything else. Like new legislation “restricting foreign corporations from getting involved in federal election.” More money for schools. Bio-terrorism. The teleprompter will roll and Obama will try and muster up a “new tone.” But no matter how many times he recites his rote promise to “fight for you,” it’s obvious Obama has lost his “swagga.” He’s only one year into his tenure and already musing openly and repeatedly about being a one-term president — a rhetorical crutch that’s even annoying his ideological bedfellows on the Left. What should the GOP do? Many think he deserves praise for paying cynical lip service to cutting spending and reducing the size of government. As I note in the column below, I’m in the “bury” camp.

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The Spender-in-Chief’s fiscal freeze follies
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

There are more loopholes in President Obama’s proposed “spending freeze” than in an Olympic volleyball net. Gargantuan government entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) are exempt. A half-trillion in unspent stimulus money is exempt. Foreign aid is exempt. The Democrats’ proposed $154 billion jobs bill (Stimulus II) is exempt.

Pet federal education programs will be exempt (including $4 billion for the White House “Race to the Top” standards initiative and an additional $1.35 billion he just requested in the 2011 budget). Green jobs spending will be exempt (Obama proposed $10 billion in new clean energy spending earlier this month). Electorally-driven tax credit expansions will be exempt. The health care takeover plan is not included. As even the New York Times reported, the “estimated $250 billion in savings over 10 years would be less than 3 percent of the roughly $9 trillion in additional deficits the government is expected to accumulate over that time.”

Which amounts to a molecule in a drop of the ocean of red ink in which American taxpayers have been drowning.

The current Spender-in-Chief unveiled details of this lofty new work of political fiction on Monday with more fanfare than a new Twilight title. It was supposed to be the centerpiece of the State of the Union address. But by Tuesday morning, President Obama’s illusion of fiscal discipline had been shredded left, right, and center. By Tuesday afternoon, irritated White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was already downplaying the gimmickry. It’s just something Obama will “mention,” Gibbs bristled.

After campaign videos of Obama repeatedly deriding “hatchet”-wielding spending freezes spread like Kudzu across the Internet, official White House blogger Jared Bernstein tried to control the widespread hypocrisy charges:

“During the campaign, you may recall that John McCain touted option 1 – the hatchet approach of an across-the-board freeze. The President was critical of that approach then, and we would be critical of it now. It’s not what we’re proposing. To the contrary, the entire theory of the President’s proposed freeze is to dial up the stuff that will support job growth and innovation while dialing down the stuff that doesn’t. Under our plan, some discretionary spending will go up; some will go down. That’s a big difference from a hatchet.”

…President Obama deeply understands the various imperatives of this moment in time, even if they don’t always point in the same direction.

So, he had a hatchet on Monday when he wanted headlines praising his return to austerity in the wake of the GOP’s Massachusetts Senate victory; a scalpel on Tuesday when he needed to mollify the big government Left. What will he wield at the State of the Union address on Wednesday night? A variable-speed Dremel rotary tool?

Some conservative Beltway analysts are cheering Obama’s fiscal freeze follies as a step in the right direction, a rhetorical victory, and a “good start.” Pardon me for not joining in the standing ovation for the latest performance of White House Kabuki theater. Praising the president for carrying on the charade of budget reform because a few piddly cuts are real is like complimenting the Naked Emperor’s fingernails: So, he didn’t have any clothes. At least his cuticles were real. It’s a start!

Moreover, who believes this freeze will last for the entire, cynically-timed three-year period that the White House announced less than 72 hours ago? McDonald’s French Fries have a longer shelf life than Obama’s pledges of fiscal accountability. All it’ll take is one more bad jobs report, one Chicken Little Congress-induced panic, to drop the budget restrictions faster than reality dad Jon Gosselin’s ex-girlfriends.

One year after riding into town on a wave of adulation and ambition, Obama has lost his “swagga.” His pre-State of the Union appearances have been listless and perfunctory. His dependence on a teleprompter – even for a standard, 6-minute stump statement at an elementary school — is now the butt of universal mockery. And his political machine has been forced to lay down enough fake Astroturf support to cover a football field. This is the time to nail the phonies in the White House, not to beg for meetings in hopes of bipartisan problem-solving. There’s little triumph in Obama’s empty “concessions” on the need to cut spending. They are fueled not by sincere commitment to reining in Washington’s appetites, but by craven political self-preservation. The president has lately regressed into his “I will fight for you” campaign sloganeering — by which, of course, he means, “I will fight for me.” There will be no hands reaching across the aisle. Obama’s too busy using them to point fingers at everyone else for his own political meltdown.

Obama vows to alleviate ‘assault’ on middle class

Obama vows to alleviate ‘assault’ on middle class

January 26th, 2010

by Stephen Collinson, AFP

 Is he going to change his anti-entrepreneurial stances?

President Barack Obama vowed Monday to save US middle classes from an “assault” from falling incomes and rising insecurity, previewing highlights of this week’s crucial State of the Union address.

Obama unveiled a series of tax breaks and other measures to spur retirement saving and to ease pressure on working families, as he seeks to calm public rage over the economic meltdown and improve his own political prospects.

“Creating good, sustainable jobs is the single most important thing we can do to rebuild the middle class and I won’t rest until we’re doing just that,” said Obama, ahead of his prime-time address to Americans on Wednesday.

“But, we also need to reverse the overall erosion in middle-class security, so that when this economy does come back, working Americans are free to pursue their dreams again.”

The new White House plans will see the White House double a child care and dependent care tax credit for people earning less than 85,000 dollars a year and provide an extra 1.6 billion dollars for child care funding.

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Obama Gets ‘F’ on Stopping Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Obama Gets ‘F’ on Stopping Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction

January 26th, 2010

By Judith Miller, Fox News

Obama’s appeasement is not helping

A bipartisan, independent commission on stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction says that the Obama administration has failed in its first year in office to do enough to prevent a germ weapons attack on America or to respond quickly and effectively should such an attack occur.

In a 19-page report card being published Tuesday, the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism, chaired by former Senators Bob Graham, a Democrat from Florida, and Jim Talent, a Missouri Republican, gives the new administration the grade of “F” for failing to take key steps the commission outlined just over a year ago in its initial report.

Specifically, the commission concludes that the Obama administration, like the three administrations before it, has failed to pay consistent and urgent attention to increasing the nation’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to a germ attack that would inflict massive casualties on the nation.

The commission repeated its warning that unless nations acted decisively and urgently, it was more likely than not that a WMD will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013, and that the terrorists’ weapon of choice would be biological, rather than nuclear.

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Spending Freeze: The Cartoon

Spending Freeze: The Cartoon

January 27th, 2010

Obama On Brink Of Crackup

Obama On Brink Of Crackup

January 27th, 2010

BY FRED BARNES, The Weekly Standard

 Obama is ignoring the clear message of voters in NJ, VA & MA

In the new movie The Young Victoria, the mother of Victoria and her chief overseer meet with the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, to discuss what role they’ll play now that Victoria has become queen of England.  They’ve waged a fierce struggle to retain control over Victoria.  Suddenly Melbourne cuts off the chatter and bluntly explains the situation.  “You lost,” he says.

That’s the situation that faces President Obama and his White House advisers.  Months of polls on the president and his policies, the Virginia and New Jersey governor’s elections, then last week’s momentous Massachusetts Senate race – all have sent the blunt message to Obama that, for now, he’s lost.  But Obama and his team insist on pretending it’s not true.

This is a bad sign.  One of the important tests of a president, especially a relatively new one like Obama, is how he deals with a serious setback.  Does he respond rationally and realistically?   In Obama’s case, the answer is no.

The president’s first response was to claim voters who elected Republican Scott Brown to fill the Senate seat held for decades by Teddy Kennedy were in some mysterious way actually backing Obama.  “The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“People are angry and they’re frustrated,” Obama said.  “Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”  He didn’t explain why, if the Brown voters were his people, why he’d campaigned for Democrat Martha Coakley, Brown’s opponent.

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Mr. Freeze? Hardly. The Fake Spending “Restraint” of Obama

Mr. Freeze? Hardly. The Fake Spending “Restraint” of Obama

January 27th, 2010

By Ryan Ellis, Americans for Tax Reform

 Obama’s faux fiscal conservatism is disingenuous

The political media is awash in news that President Obama will propose a freeze in non-defense, non-security discretionary spending over the next three years.  This will reduce the spending baseline by $250 billion over the next decade.

A few thoughts:

Welcome to the fiscal responsibility party, Mr. President.  After a year of trillion-dollar bailouts, trillion-dollar stimulus bills, and trillion-dollar healthcare plans, it’s nice to see at least a rhetorical nod toward sanity coming out of the White House.

One little problem: CBO was actually projecting a decline in non-defense discretionary spending over the next few years (from $682 billion in FY 2010 gradually down to $640 billion in 2014).  It’s right there in Table 3-1 of the CBO report.  The reason is all the “temporary” spending programs that were enacted the first year of the Obama Administration.  This is like the weatherman taking credit for a sunny day–it was happening anyway.  In fact, freezing this spending is actually a hike in projected spending over the next several years.

The spending “restraint” is a drop in the bucket.  Let’s take the White House claim on its face–that this measure will reduce total spending over the next decade by $250 billion.  CBO says that under current services, the federal government will be spending $42.9 trillion.  So even if this “freeze” is followed through on by the Congressional appropriators, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid regime will still be spending 99.42% as much as they were planning to, anyway.  Big deal.  It’s like if you were planning on spending $100 on groceries this week, and instead spent only $99.42.

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