1. Obama made an ungracious joke about Nancy Reagan today in his press conference, for which he has since apologized. He has an odd juvenile streak, as when he scratches his face with his middle finger. I don't want to psychologize, but I have to wonder if these moments of inappropriate humor are expressions of a frightened little man, way in over his head, who does not want to be taken completely seriously.
2. How nice that Maya Angelou does not have to apologize for America any more. Unfortunately, the rest of us still must apologize for bad American poetry.
3. Imagine if the MSM had supported the Bush presidency. Imagine them not opposing everything Bush did, not searching for scandals in everything from Enron to Halliburton to torture to the Patriot Act. How different would the last eight years have been? We're about to see in the Obama presidency. Chris Matthews said his job is to help make the Obama presidency work -- not to judge it fairly or to examine it with an eye to keeping it honest, but to help make it work. I have never in my life heard a member of the media say something like this.
The danger here: an administration that knows the MSM will look the other way will have less fear of being caught in corruption.
4. Nancy Pelosi, in her first press conference after the election, warned of diminishing options.
Nancy Pelosi gave her first post-election press conference Wednesday, offering a sober analysis of the Democratic agenda in the near term.
“Many of our options have been diminished because of the downturn in the economy over the last couple months,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi said the economy is “the top item” on the agenda moving forward and said she plans to continue to push for a second economic stimulus package. She also mentioned a children’s health care bill and stem cell research legislation as key priorities in the short-term.
The speaker acknowledged the enormous expectations facing Obama after Democrats increased their majorities in both chambers, but warned that Democrats will face some tough decisions in the coming months.
“We have to choose our priorities very carefully according to what is achievable,” she said.
She also said Obama should govern from the middle. Why the caution? Democrats are in control of the Presidency, Senate and House; why don't they go all out?
The Speaker of the House counsels caution because things could go wrong and politicians are terrified of getting the blame for anything. They remember Clinton's first two years, which led to Newt Gingrich and the Republicans winning the House in 1994 with the Contract for America. (The Republicans collapsed like a cheap lawn chair during the budget battle of 1995, and have been a me-too big government party since, but that's a different story.)
Imagine if laissez-faire capitalists were in the Democrats' position. Would they fear going all out? Would they fear being blamed for failure? No, they would not, because they would know their policies are both moral and practical. They would know that dismantling the welfare state would generate tremendous wealth and increase every American's standard of living. They would know that repealing laws and regulations that violate individual rights is the moral thing to do. Just as a man cannot have too much health, a nation cannot have too much liberty.
The Democrats must proceed with moderation because they are dispensing poison. If they give America too much poison, it will die; they must temper their poison so that the state can ride the private sector as a parasite.
5. Don't be fooled by Obama's changing the wording of his national service plan from "require" to "setting a goal." Can you imagine how much intimidation an individualist student who refused to participate in the program would get from the thugs of the left? Service to the collective will be as voluntary as our tax system supposedly is.
6. There is a lot of talk that Republicans need another Great Communicator like Reagan.
Two related points: First, the Great Communicator was a smear created by leftists who thought Reagan fooled the American people into accepting what was bad for them -- you know, all that nonsense about the free market. The left painted Reagan as all style and no substance.
Second, GHW Bush, Dole, George W. Bush and McCain have all been lousy communicators because they had nothing to communicate. Pragmatism is not a banner to rally around. "I'm not as bad as a Democrat" does not give voters a positive value for which to vote.
Reagan was the last Republican presidential candidate who had something to say. He was indeed terribly flawed, but compared to his successors he had principles.
And remember, when Reagan developed an interest in politics he studied Austrian economics and was familiar with the Foundation for Economic Education. Although he was smeared as an "amiable dunce," he was actually the intellectual superior to most politicians these days. His effectiveness was tragically undercut by pragmatism and religious values, but he knew that government was not the solution, it was the problem.