SEX-STUDY ‘STIMULUS’ Just gets worse by the minute

SEX-STUDY ‘STIMULUS’

By GEOFF EARLE

August 24, 2009

WASHINGTON – The stimulus package is living up to its provocative name by funding a bacchanalia of behavioral sex research, a Post analysis reveals.

The next fiscal year is set to be one of the friskiest ever in the nation’s science labs, as researchers probe the ins and outs of sex patterns among humans and even some of our four-legged friends.

Among the most titillating grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health are studies that would:

* Examine “barriers to correct condom use” at Indiana University, at a cost of $221,000.

* Study “hookups” among adolescents at Syracuse University. Study’s cost: $219,000.

* Evaluate “drug use as a sex enhancer” in an analysis of “high-risk community sex networks” at the University of Illinois, Chicago. That study will cost $123,000.

* Study how methamphetamine, thought to produce an “insatiable need” for sex among users, “enhances the motivation for female rat sexual behavior.” Some $28,000 has been awarded for the University of Maryland at Baltimore study.

Jesse Kelly Tuscon AZ NOT A RINO We Need Candidates Like This

Obama White House v. CIA; Panetta Threatened to Quit

Obama White House v. CIA; Panetta Threatened to Quit

Tensions Lead to CIA Director’s “Screaming Match” at the White House

By MATTHEW COLE, RICHARD ESPOSITO and BRIAN ROSS

August 24, 2009—

 

A “profanity-laced screaming match” at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC News.com.

Amid reports that Panetta had threatened to quit just seven months after taking over at the spy agency, other insiders tell ABCNews.com that senior White House staff members are already discussing a possible shake-up of top national security officials.

“You can expect a larger than normal turnover in the next year,” a senior adviser to Obama on intelligence matters told ABCNews.com.

Since 9/11, the CIA has had five directors or acting directors.

A White House spokesperson, Denis McDonough, said reports that Panetta had threatened to quit and that the White House was seeking a replacement were “inaccurate.”

According to intelligence officials, Panetta erupted in a tirade last month during a meeting with a senior White House staff member. Panetta was reportedly upset over plans by Attorney General Eric Holder to open a criminal investigation of allegations that CIA officers broke the law in carrying out certain interrogation techniques that President Obama has termed “torture.”

A CIA spokesman quoted Panetta as saying “it is absolutely untrue” that he has any plans to leave the CIA. As to the reported White House tirade, the spokesman said Panetta is known to use “salty language.” CIA spokesman George Little said the report was “wrong, inaccurate, bogus and false.”

 

 

 

Investigation by CIA Inspector General

Another source of contention for Panetta was today’s public release of an investigation by the CIA inspector general on the first two years of the agency’s interrogation and detention program. The report has been delayed by an internal administration debate over how much of the report should be kept secret.

One CIA official said colleagues involved in the interrogation program were preparing for a far-reaching criminal investigation.

In addition to concerns about the CIA’s reputation and its legal exposure, other White House insiders say Panetta has been frustrated by what he perceives to be less of a role than he was promised in the administration’s intelligence structure. Panetta has reportedly chafed at reporting through the director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, according to the senior adviser who said Blair is equally unhappy with Panetta.

“Leon will be leaving,” predicted a former top U.S. intelligence official, citing the conflict with Blair. The former official said Panetta is also “uncomfortable” with some of the operations being carried out by the CIA that he did not know about until he took the job.

Other Candidates for the Job

The New York Times reported Thursday that the CIA had planned to use the private security contractor Blackwater to carry out assassinations of al Qaeda leaders.

Six other current and former senior intelligence officials said they too had been briefed about Panetta’s frustrations in the job, including dealing with his former Democratic colleagues in the House of Representatives.

One of the officials said the White House had begun informal discussions with candidates who were runners-up to Panetta in the CIA director selection process last year.

One of the candidates reportedly has begun a series of preparatory briefings.

“It would be a shame if such as talented a Washington hand as Panetta were to leave after one year,” said Richard Clarke, an ABC News consultant who worked on the national security team for the Clinton and Bush administrations and served as an adviser to President-elect Obama.

“It takes that long for any senior bureaucrat to begin to understand what needs to get done and how to do it, “said Clarke. “The CIA needs some stability.”

 

The thrill is gone for Obama and the media

The thrill is gone for Obama and the media

By: Chris Stirewalt
Political Editor
August 24, 2009

 

There’s nothing like a summer vacation to rekindle a romance. So maybe a week on Martha’s Vineyard can bring back some of the magic between the Obama administration and the media.

Before White House press secretary Robert Gibbs left town, he tried to clarify President Barack Obama’s comment that “everybody in Washington gets all wee-weed up.” Gibbs explained to reporters that what the president meant was that they were a bunch of bed wetters who made too much out of the implosion of the White House health care strategy.

Gibbs has grown more sardonic and patronizing as the summer wears on and Obama’s poll numbers wilt.

The press secretary has lectured reporters on the nature of their jobs — apparently to defend the administration against “misinformation” rather than asking impertinent questions like “How will you pay for it?”

When asked recently about the administration’s endless evasions on the public option, Gibbs instead opted to define a monopoly.
“If you had one place to eat lunch before you came to the briefing, do you think it would be cheap?” Gibbs demanded of CNN’s Ed Henry.

Henry should have asked Gibbs to define monopsony: a market in which one buyer is so large that it can control suppliers and ruin competitors. Henry could then explain he’d rather pay too much for the sandwich he wanted than have to eat at a government chow line opened across the street to encourage “competition.”

Gibbs is so crabby because, incredibly, the administration blames the media for the president’s problems.

It tried blaming Republicans, but the GOP is too far out of power. When the leader of the free world is complaining about a posting on the former governor of Alaska’s Facebook page, he’s got problems.

Team Obama tried blaming special interests, but that was a bust too. The president’s deal with the pharmaceutical industry gets him $150 million worth of ads to boost his plan, whatever it is.

The same people who bombard us with ads for products that promise to prevent hardened arteries or encourage hardening elsewhere will soon be selling you Obamacare.

“If you experience doubts about the plan lasting more than four hours, seek immediate help from Organizing for America.”

Democrats tried blaming the “mobs” of “un-American” protesters and “evil mongers” who were giving raspberries to members of Congress at town halls.

That flopped too, leaving the administration to blame the messenger.

And one can understand why Gibbs would be a bit shocked by the slightly less accommodating tone of the media.

Reporters who traveled with the Obama campaign tell horror stories about the organization — dishonesty, rudeness and abysmal access. But those reporters still served up the glowing coverage.

Obama was the hottest news story of their generation. Rather than covering the long-shot freshman senator who would be crushed in February, Obama campaign reporters experienced the reflected glory of being along for a historic journey. There was plenty of motivation to keep that journey going.

Conversely, Obama making a hash out of health care provides plenty of good copy for the White House press corps. And because Obama fatigue has set in with the reading and viewing public, skeptical stories match the national mood.

Some are still in the tank for Obama. But many liberal reporters think the president is blowing the Left’s big chance.

In talking about how everything got so “wee-weed up,” Obama observed that in August of 2008 the media predicted doom because John McCain began to close the gap after picking Sarah Palin.

In trying to explain that the president was talking about media incontinence, Gibbs referred to August and September of 2007, when most predicted Hillary Clinton would roll to victory in Iowa.

So not only are Obama and his people still reliving the campaign, they’re drawing the wrong lessons from it.

At this point in 2007, Obama was coming up in the polls, making Iowa a three-way race with Clinton and John Edwards. Now, the president’s numbers are sinking.

And if the trend line in the late summer of 2008 had held, Obama would have lost. It took a tsunami of bad economic news and the McCain campaign’s mishandling of it to put Obama back on top.

But there is no opponent here other than public opinion and no finish line other than the end of his term.

With only the steady breeze of favorable coverage of a typical Democratic president instead of the gale of positive press that once helped drive Obama to victory, it’s going to be a very long journey.

Chris Stirewalt, The Examiner’s political editor, can be contacted at  cstirewalt@washington examiner.com. His column appears on Monday and Thursday, and his blog posts appear on ExaminerPolitics.com.

Obama Czars on You Tube

Limbaugh Takes on White House for VA ‘Death Book’

 
 

Limbaugh Takes on White House for VA ‘Death Book’

by Connie Hair (more by this author)

Posted 08/24/2009 ET
Updated 08/24/2009 ET

 

On Friday, radio talk show king Rush Limbaugh was on fire over the content of the Veterans’ Administration “Death Book” (pdf), the “end of life counseling” the VA now inflicts on our veterans.

RUSH: “Page 21 from the Death Book, from the VA, reinstated by Obama. ‘What makes your life worth living? Instructions: This exercise will help you think about and express what really matters to you. For each row, check one answer to express how you would feel if this factor by itself described you,’ and there are, you know, A through S here. Here’s A. ‘I can no longer walk but get around in a wheelchair.’ Life like this would be: ‘difficult, but acceptable; worth living, but just barely; not worth living; can’t answer now,’ and the people reading the book are supposed to check off which of these things apply. So, ‘A. I can no longer walk but get around in a wheelchair.’ Eh, difficult. I could take it. ‘It’s worth living, but just barely. Not worth living.’

“‘B. I can no longer get outside — I spend all day at home.’ Can you…? You’re asked to say, you know, to hell with it. I don’t want to live that way. It’s the it’s not worth living if I can’t leave my house. Hell! ‘C. I can no longer contribute to my family’s well-being.’ Eh, that’s not worth living. ‘C. I am in severe pain most of the time. E. I have severe discomfort most of the time (such as nausea, diarrhea, or shortness of breath).’ My God, that can happen when you’re constipated! So you’re sitting here saying, ‘Okay, I’m constipated. Life’s not worth living.’ Well, you don’t have diarrhea when you’re constipated until you do the fix. ‘F. I rely on a feeding tube to keep me alive.’ Eh, that’s not worth living. ‘G. I rely on a kidney dialysis machine to keep me alive. H. I rely on a breathing machine to keep me alive. I. I need someone to help take care of me all of time. J. I can no longer control my bladder. K. I can no longer control my bowels. L. I live in a nursing home.’ I live in a nursing home. Yeah, that’s difficult but acceptable. ‘Worth living but just barely. Not worth living. M. I can no longer think clearly — I am confused all the time.’ That describes half the population. ‘N. I can no longer recognize family/friends.’ That sometimes could be a blessing.

“‘O. I can no longer talk and be understood by others. P. My situation causes severe emotional burden for my family (such as feeling worried or stressed all the time). Q. I am a severe financial burden on my family. R. I cannot seem to ‘shake the blues,’ and then there’s a section, ‘S. Other (write in).’ Here are the instructions: ‘To help others make sense out of your answers, think about the following questions and be sure to explain your answers to your loved ones and health care providers. If you checked ‘worth living, but just barely’ for more than one factor, would a combination of these factors make your life ‘not worth living?’ If so, which factors? If you checked ‘not worth living,’ does this mean that you would rather die than be kept alive? If you checked ‘can’t answer now,’ what information or people do you need to help you decide?’

“What makes your life worth living, and here are the things they want you to assess in the VA Death Book, and Obama has the audacity to say that in his health care plan — and he reinstated this. Bush killed it. Obama reinstated it. He has the audacity to say that there aren’t anything called death panels or such things in his health care plan, and he’s asking veterans to basically say, ‘You know what? I want to check out. To hell with this! I live in a nursing home. Screw it! Pull the plug. Where is Dr. Kevorkian?’ This thing is obsessed with death. It’s obsessed with you deciding, or maybe some influence, that your life isn’t worth living. There’s nothing positive in this.

“It’s not, ‘In these circumstances, what would it take to make you want to live?’ Nothing. It’s all about: ‘What’s it gonna take for us to get rid of you, with you making the decision?’ And, by the way, regardless of your decision, we’re going to be making it for you because of money. You’re going to become a budget statistic. People’s fears are justified. You know, this is simple. This is not a complicated thing for people to understand, and that’s why he’s having major problems with this. The VA Death Book brought back to life by President Barack Obama.”

The Obama cabinet was all over the Sunday talk shows yesterday trying to explain this away. They failed.

Townhall Attendees Still Showing Frustration

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) held a town hall meeting last week after calling some of his constituents “brownshirts” in early August. Video out on Saturday shows Baird being confronted by a fed-up Marine veteran, David William Hendrick. In the video, Baird at first denied calling his constituents brownshirts, then he said he apologized.

Hendrick was one of 38 people called on at random from what he estimates as 3,000 people who attended. He doesn’t shout (they don’t cut off his microphone), he doesn’t lose his temper. He just speaks truth to power.

Semper Fi, Marine.

Democrats are really struggling to justify their highly-unpopular plan for the government takeover of America’s health care system.

Only 35% of voters told Rasmussen in an August 15 report that passing the current House bill would be better than passing nothing at all. 54% say passing the House bill would be worse than doing nothing.

The House and the Senate have two more weeks at home before reconvening Tuesday, September 8, the day after Labor Day.

Obama Approval Rating Again Sinks to New Lows

In a telephone survey of 500 likely voters with a rolling three-day average, the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday reveals that only 27% of the nation’s voters strongly approve of Barack Obama’s performance as President. A whopping 41% strongly disapprove which gives Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14. This is the lowest level yet recorded for Obama.

Zogby’s latest polling effort on Friday have Obama’s overall approval rating at a dismal 45%. Likely voters disapprove of the President’s performance by a stunning 51%.

Obama’s sinking numbers reflect growing voter resistance to the government healthcare takeover as well as frustration with Congress. Much of the anger at the Bush administration for not listening to voters — which catapulted Obama from senate obscurity to the White House — is now apparently flowing to him.

And it’s not helping his lapdogs, either.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), up for re-election next year, is on the short end of new polling released yesterday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In a state with more registered Democrats than Republicans, Reid is losing to both of his possible Republican challengers, Danny Tarkanian and Sue Lowden.

Tarkanian, a former University of Nevada Las Vegas basketball star, is favored over Reid 49% to 38%. Lowden, who has not begun a campaign but is exploring the option, is the chair of the state Republican Party. Lowden is currently preferred over Reid 45%-40%.

Reid’s approval rating is even lower than Obama’s at a bleak 37%.

Connie Hair is a freelance writer, a former speechwriter for Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and a former media and coalitions advisor to the Senate Republican Conference.

So much for the Greatest Transition in World History

So much for the Greatest Transition in World History

By Michelle Malkin  •  August 24, 2009 08:56 AM

A New York Times headline yesterday read: “Obama’s Team Is Lacking Most of Its Top Players.”

Yes, so much for the Greatest Transition in World History (a point expounded on in the introduction to Culture of Corruption, where I note that for all the hype about Obama’s brilliant, efficient, amazingly genius transition team, Obama failed to beat the pace of the Reagan White House, which had 73 officials confirmed by Day 100 compared to Obama’s 65 — and which avoided the bungles and baggage that Obama’s botched nominees brought with them.)

The bottom line so far, the NYT now reports:

As President Obama tries to turn around a summer of setbacks, he finds himself still without most of his own team. Seven months into his presidency, fewer than half of his top appointees are in place advancing his agenda.

Of more than 500 senior policymaking positions requiring Senate confirmation, just 43 percent have been filled — a reflection of a White House that grew more cautious after several nominations blew up last spring, a Senate that is intensively investigating nominees and a legislative agenda that has consumed both…

…Measuring the progress in appointments depends on what positions are counted and who is doing the counting. The White House Transition Project counts 543 policymaking jobs requiring Senate confirmation in four top executive ranks. As of last week, Mr. Obama had announced his selections for 319 of those positions, and the Senate had confirmed 236, or 43 percent of the top echelon of government. Other scholars have slightly different but similar tallies.

The White House prefers to include ambassadors, United States attorneys, marshals and judges, who are also subject to Senate votes but are not counted by the scholars. By that count, Mr. Obama has won confirmation of 304 nominees, compared with 301 for Mr. Bush, 253 for Bill Clinton and 212 for the first President George Bush at this point in their administrations.

If lower-ranking senior executive service officials and political appointees who do not require Senate approval are counted, the White House said it had installed 1,830 people, at least 50 percent more than any of the last three presidents had at this stage.

No matter how the counting is done, though, hundreds of senior positions remain empty with 15 percent of Mr. Obama’s term over.

Blame is tossed around by partisan Democrats who assail the “intrusive” vetting process and obstructionist Republicans.

But even liberal bloggers are rejecting the lame spin. From commenter Bart DePalma at left-wing Balkinization:

Sandy, this is completely a failure of the Obama Administration and no one else.

Nearly ten months after his election, Obama has failed to even nominate 224 out of 543 or 41% of all positions. (Although he has found time to appoint over two dozen unaccountable “czars.”)

Of the 319 folks Obama find time to nominate, less than a handful have holds. The Senate has not confirmed them all because many have only just been nominated half a year after Obama took office.

The whine that Team Obama is having a hard time finding folks who have not committed felony tax evasion like many of is original nominations is, shall we say, less than sympathy inducing.

This is what you get when you elect an utterly inexperienced President with less executive experience than a certain ex-Alaska governor backed by a Chicago based team that has never run anything apart from a campaign.

And from commenter Brett:

It’s a fair point Bart is making: The remnant of Republicans in the Senate might be able to, thanks to Senate rules, block a few nominations from coming to a vote. But they can’t be blamed for nominations never made.

Well, yes they can. Team Obama always find a way to redistribute away the blame.

Politicization of the Obama Justice Department

Politicization of the Obama Justice Department

Ed Lasky
First the nod and wink that permits the New Black Panther Party to escape from penalties for intimidating voters during last year’s election. Now we have Obama’s Justice Department choosing to use its time to investigate acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marr Jr. for his comments regarding corruption in New Jersey, a heavily Democratic state whose Democratic governor, Jon Corzine, faces political problems.

Donald Lambro of the Washington Times reports:

Reports that President Obama’s Justice Department has begun an “internal ethics investigation” into acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra Jr.’s remarks about the root causes of corruption in New Jersey raised suspicions in certain political circles last week.

Associated Press reported that the department’s obscure Office of Professional Responsibility was investigating comments made by Mr. Marra about the depth of corruption in the state that some officials think may have crossed the line into politics. But some outside observers think it may be the department’s actions that were motivated by politics.

Mr. Marra is continuing the sweeping federal corruption investigation that late last month led to the arrests of 44 people, 29 of whom were elected or public officials. The arrests were part of a long-term anti-corruption crusade begun by U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie, who resigned his post in December to run against embattled Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

Official corruption in the state has become a huge political issue that threatens Mr. Corzine’s bid for re-election to a second term in November. Polls show Mr. Christie, who convicted 130 public officials over his seven-year tenure, has been leading him by double digits for months.

Mr. Corzine’s problem is how to defuse the corruption issue. Enter the Justice Department, which AP says has launched an investigation into Mr. Marra “over public comments that may have helped his ex-boss’ campaign for governor,” referring to Mr. Christie. The AP story is based on Justice Department officials “who spoke on condition of anonymity.” The department itself refuses to comment on it one way or the other.

Politicizing the justice Department? Where is the outrage?

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/08/more_politicization_of_the_oba.html at August 24, 2009 – 09:53:32 AM EDT

How about corruption reform first?

How about corruption reform first?

By Bob Weir

Before we implmement any sweeping changes of the American political system, how about cleaning up corruption first?

In November of 2007, while campaigning for president, John Edwards, the former North Carolina Senator, said: “Washington is awash with corrupt money, with lobbyists who pass it out and with politicians who ask for it,” adding, “This election is the great moral test of our generation.” About a year later he was being investigated for use of PAC money for personal use, his once-prominent political career was buried and the turmoil of his marriage was playing out in public.

Now, the wealthy trial lawyer, who made his fortune by suing physicians and health care insurance companies, is facing a federal inquiry. Edwards’ political action committee is alleged to have paid more than $100,000 for video production to the firm of the woman with whom Edwards had an affair and a child out of wedlock. When word of the affair became public, Edwards convinced an aide to take the rap for him and say that he was the father of the child. This is the guy who built a lucrative career by ostensibly; “fighting for the little guy,” while simultaneously  enriching his personal bank account and helping to bankrupt the health care industry. However, the Edwards odyssey is merely a tiny ripple in a vast ocean of corruption that has been bilking the American people for generations. 

 

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t read about politicians getting their grubby hands into another pile of pilfered pelf. Last month, the mayors of two New Jersey cities and a state legislator were arrested in connection with a major corruption and international money-laundering conspiracy probe. Some of the suspects were also allegedly involved in an illegal human organ-selling ring. Among the approximately 30 people arrested were Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, who had been in office only 23 days (talk about your fast learners), Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Jersey City Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini and an assortment of other light-fingered lawmakers. In recent years, New Jersey has seen more than 130 corruption-related convictions of public officials.

 

Then there’s former Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, who, earlier this month was found guilty by a federal jury of 11 corruption charges including bribery and other crimes. The verdict comes four years after the August, 2005 raids of Jefferson’s homes in New Orleans and Washington, D.C., in which the FBI found $90,000 in bribe money hidden in the freezer of his D.C. home. 

 

But Jefferson was a piker compared to California Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who resigned in disgrace in 2005 after pleading guilty to bribery of at least $2.4 million, from 3 defense contractors, in exchange for his influence in military contracts. The ethically-challenged lawmaker had used the bribes to make extravagant purchases such as a yacht, a Roll Royce, a suburban-D.C. condominium and a mansion. While he was heading for 8 years in federal prison, Cunningham earned the dubious distinction of being the subject of a book, subtitled, “The most corrupt congressman ever caught.”

 

Democrat Rod Blagojevich, the 40th governor of Illinois, took office in 2003, succeeding George Ryan, a Republican. That same year, Ryan was indicted on 22 counts including racketeering, bribery, money laundering, extortion, and tax fraud. He is scheduled to be released from prison in 2013. Meantime, Blagojevich is awaiting his trial, set for June 2010, on federal racketeering charges of scheming to sell or trade President Obama’s U.S. Senate seat and pressuring potential campaign contributors to donate money to the “Friends of Rod Blagojevich campaign fund.” If he goes to prison, as expected, one state will have 2 former governors in the hoosegow.

 

And who can forget the notorious Edwin Edwards, the four-term Louisiana governor who was indicted by the feds in 1998 and found guilty of racketeering, money-laund… (Well, you know the drill). His release date is scheduled for July 2011. (When Attorney General Eric Holder said recently that the prisons are overcrowded, I didn’t realize it was because so many former elected officials had taken up occupancy.)

 

The list goes on and on, including many who were caught with their hands in the till, but will probably never do time. New York Congressman Charlie Rangel has spent close to a million dollars on attorneys as he tries to fend off charges that he failed to pay taxes on 4 rent stabilized luxury apartments in Harlem and a villa in the Dominican Republic. The Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee is a fierce proponent of raising taxes on working people, but, as is often the case with these mountebanks, is less ardent about paying his own taxes. With all these greedy, self-absorbed reprobates making decisions about our future, is it any wonder that people are terrified of handing health care reform to them?

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/08/how_about_corruption_reform_fi.html at August 24, 2009 – 09:50:58 AM EDT

A Presidential Learning Moment

A Presidential Learning Moment

By Lee Cary

The chaos surrounding proposed healthcare legislation offers President Obama the opportunity for a learning moment. The question is: What insight, if any, will he glean from it?

 

Barack Obama is educated in the street skills of an inner city community organizer.  In that venue, he didn’t focus on the plight of a particular constituency in distress — not on the male alcoholic street people, not on the drug addicted, nor on abused women, nor unwed teenage mothers without shelter. Instead he aimed to organize a community to push for asbestos removal, to advocate a local job-training office, to push for potholes to be filled and stop signs put up. The scope of his focus testifies to a fundamental naïveté, perhaps attributable to his youth. Aim small, hit small. Aim wide, miss wide. His disappointment was inevitable.

 

In 1985, Obama was hired as a 23-year-old community organizer in Chicago. According to a March 30, 2008 Chicago Tribune article, “The more Obama worked as an organizer, the more he became convinced that the most serious problems he confronted couldn’t be solved on the local level.” He bailed out and went to Harvard.    

 

Five years later, Obama was the subject of a February 6, 1990 New York Times article (available only through the paper’s archives) that profiled the 28-year old, newly-elected president of the Harvard Law School Review. According to the article, Obama said, ‘I personally am interested in pushing a strong minority perspective. I’m fairly opinionated about this. But as president of the law review, I have a limited role as only first among equals.'” He told the Times that, after graduation, he planned to spend two or three years in private law practice and then return to Chicago to reenter community work, either in politics or in local organizing. He chose politics.

 

Back in Chicago, he went to work in a law firm owned by Allison Davis. The firm specialized in providing legal services for those who contracted with the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) to provide housing for Chicago’s poor. More than one of the firm’s clients matched the description of a slum landlord.

 

Eventually, Obama became an Illinois State Senator. His efforts to use his office to alleviate the plight of those in his district who lived in deplorable housing projects were conspicuous by their absence. On June 27, 2008, the Boston Globe quoted Jamie Kalven, “longtime Chicago housing activist,” as saying, “I hope there is not much predictive value in his (Obama’s) history and in his involvement with that (public housing developers) community.”  His involvement in public housing was focused on building support among those who profited from constructing and managing public housing projects. Antoin “Tony” Rezko was just one such person.

 

Obama’s sights were set on rising to a higher plain where he could practice community organization on a national scale. Maybe even global. 

 

His opportunity to make a significant impact on the serious problems he saw as a 23-year old community organizer came seven months ago. Today, he’s already well on the way to blowing it. Here’s why.

 

President Obama continues to act like the powerless community organizer he once was. He knows how to push. That’s what community organizers do. But he doesn’t know how to lead. And leadership is the one essential skill required to govern effectively.  

 

That doesn’t mean intimidation can’t play a productive role in effective leadership. Lyndon Johnson was a master at twisting arms, often to the breaking point. But he mostly did it in private where intimidation can, when done artfully, be necessary and effective. But, when done in full view, it can be seen as heavy-handed bullying, and be perceived as mean and little.  

 

Obama’s community organizing tactics are beginning to wear thin with a majority of the American public, whatever their partisan persuasions. Some, who still feel warm toward him as a person, are growing cold to his leadership style.

 

To a community organizer in an impoverished and powerless neighborhood, agitation and confrontation can be effective tools for those without access to power dependent on money. Appeals to the better angels of our nature only go so far on the dark streets. Confrontation, though, can tap its own power source. At some point, dealing with aggravation becomes more of a hassle than the cost of placating the source. Squeak loud enough and some grease usually comes.

 

As President, Obama’s default tactics are those of a street-level community organizer.  He says, “But I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.” The short version, addressed to those who oppose him, is “Shut up and step aside!  I won the election.” Problem is, that approach only throws gasoline on the fires of opposition. Obama should have learned that lesson from his community organizing days. But then, maybe he never got close enough long enough to the heat back then to carry scars from the learning.    

 

President Obama has surrounded himself with political operatives who share an affinity for agitation tactics. His chief political strategist, David Axelrod, recently called Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, a “pile driver.”  Representative Darrell Issa (R.-CA) described Emanuel as “a brass-knuckle Chicago politician.” Emanuel’s deputy, Jim Messina, told Senate Democrats facing resistance to Obamacare that, “If you get hit, we will punch back twice as hard.” This is motivational bravado when spoken by a community organizer. It’s arrogant intimidation when it comes out of the mouths of those representing a nation’s political leadership.   

 

The major difference between brass-knuckle Chicago politics and the street-level agitation of a community organizer is the size of the fist and the hardness of the brass. In both cases, it’s fundamentally about intimidation.

 

When used against those who are easily intimidated, either because of their lack of power or lack of courage, it works. After all, it worked on the leadership of General Motors and on the Chrysler bondholders. It worked on several large banks. It worked on the large pharmaceutical companies that have become acquiescent to Obamacare. It’s being tried now on the CEO’s of health insurance companies. The diminutive Congressman from California with the trademark moustache and the elf-like ears sent the CEO’s an intimidating letter full of demands. Intimidation works on the weak. Weak people. Weak organizations. Weak nations.  

 

It’s long worked in Chicago politics where opposition to the Democratic Party machine doesn’t reach the level of weak.

 

But it will not be an effective leadership style when governing the United States of America. Weakness does not abound here. On balance, intimidation will be ultimately counterproductive.

 

The sooner President Obama experiences that learning moment, if he’s able, the better off we’ll all be. And the much less painful the next three years will be. For us all. 

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