July 4th, 2010
Ragged Old Flag
Morning Bell: Slouching Towards Irrelevance
Posted By Conn Carroll On May 25, 2010 @ 9:33 am In American Leadership, Protect America | No Comments
Earlier this month while in Brussels, Vice President Joe Biden told  the European Parliament that while “some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, DC as the ‘capital of the free world’ … it seems to me that this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title.” How revealing.
The European Union is a profoundly anti-democratic institution, created and forced on member states by internationalist leftist elites despite widespread public disapproval . It should be no surprise that the same administration that can’t bring itself to enforce our laws and protect our borders  would give such strong support to an institution that has so undermined national sovereignty in Europe . And given that the EU’s unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy  employs more people than the entire British Army  it is no wonder that NATO member nations have been unwilling/unable  to pull their weight  in the Long War.
One might hope that the Obama administration would look at the path Europe has gone down (a bloated welfare state  that saps economic growth  and bleeds military spending ) and decide to change course. But President Barack Obama’s speech at West Point  on Sunday quashed any such hopes. Speaking to graduating Cadets, President Obama laid out the increasingly identifiable pillars of the Obama Doctrine : greater reliance on international institutions; substituting soft power for hard power; and a more subdued and less self-reliant America – a scheme designed more to manage American decline than to ensure its people remain safe, free and prosperous.
Last Friday Charles Krauthammer gave us a whirlwind tour  of what the Obama Doctrine has looked like in action: failed engagement with Iran, surrender to Russia on missile defense, appeasement of Syria, support for pro-Chavez leftists in Honduras, and a gratuitous slap at Britain over the Falkland Islands. And what has it secured? A completely fake deal between Turkey, Brazil and Iran that will do nothing to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons program but has already made new meaningful sanctions next to impossible .
Instead of cutting domestic spending and reining in entitlements, President Obama passed a $862 billion failed stimulus and created a brand new health care entitlement all while laying the ground work for future cuts to our nation’s defenses . As Krauthammer wrote Friday: “This is retreat by design and, indeed, on principle.”
Perhaps, the worst thing  about the speech was that the President made it in front of the men and women who will have to live with the immediate consequences of his actions. The Obama Doctrine will put them in harm’s way without the modern equipment they will need; with allies who will increasingly doubt our resolve; and at the mercy of an international order that will value their lives for less than the power which the White House wants to put in their hands.
The current debate over financial reform demonstrates what happens when political leaders react to a crisis with a raft of new regulations. First off, the people involved in writing government regulations are often lobbyists from the very industry that the new laws are supposed to regulate, and that’s been the case here. It should surprise no one that financial lobbyists are flocking to DC this week. Of course, the big players who can afford lobbyists work the regulations in their favor, while their smaller competitors are left out in the cold. The result here are regulations that institutionalize the “too big to fail” mentality.
Moreover, the financial reform bill gives regulators the power to pick winners and losers, institutionalizing their ability to decide “which firms to rescue or close, and which creditors to reward and how.” Does anyone doubt that firms with the most lobbyists and the biggest campaign donations will be the ones who get seats in the lifeboat? The president is trying to convince us that he’s taking on the Wall Street “fat cats,” but firms like Goldman Sachs are happy with federal regulation because, as one of their lobbyists recently stated, “We partner with regulators.”
They seem to have a nice relationship with the White House too. Goldman showered nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions on candidate Obama. In fact, J.P. Freire notes that President Obama received about seven times more money from Goldman than President Bush received from Enron. Of course, it’s not just the donations; it’s the revolving door. You’ll find the name Goldman Sachs on many an Obama administration résumé, including Rahm Emanuel’s and Tim Geithner’s chiefs of staff.
We need to be on our guard against such crony capitalism. We fought against distortion of the market in Alaska when we confronted “Big Oil,” or more specifically some of the players in the industry and in political office, who were taking the 49th state for a ride. My administration challenged lax rules that seemed to allow corruption, and we even challenged the largest corporation in the world at the time for not abiding by provisions in contracts it held with the state. When it came time to craft a plan for a natural gas pipeline, we insisted on transparency and a level playing field to ensure fair competition. Our reforms helped reduce politicians’ ability to play favorites and helped clean up corruption. We set up stricter oversight offices and ushered through a bi-partisan ethics reform bill. Far from being against necessary reform, I embrace it.
Commonsense conservatives acknowledge the need for financial reform and believe that government can play an appropriate role in leveling the playing field and protecting “the dynamism of American capitalism without neglecting the government’s responsibility to protect the American public.” We’re listening closely to the reform discussion in Washington, and we know that government should not burden the market with unnecessary bureaucracy and distorted incentives, nor make a dangerous “too-big-to-fail” mentality the law of the land.
– Sarah Palin