Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Personal Asides: Obama’s Strange Fixation With Healthcare…David Brooks Cosmetician for the White House…WTTW Needs State Grant for Viewers Like You: Huh?

                                                            Feast of St. Scholastica* 
                                      Obama Focuses on Process. 
             Yesterday in his news conference, Barack Obama proved again he doesn’t get it.  He said the American people were turned off by “the process” of passing health care…by which he means the Louisiana Purchase, the Nebraska exemption for Medicaid reimbursement…the Connecticut hospital for good ol’ Chris Dodd.  This is similar to the way he explained Massachusetts: Voters are angry at delay, angry at Bush so they elected a Republican senator.  
        Bill Clinton got it after  HillaryCare failed when he gravitated over to the center which was his natural inclination.  But Obama can’t do this because he is a man of the Left. He cannot fathom that the polls certifying a great preponderance of the American public is against doing health care now: so he posits that the reason is they were turned off what was really Rahm Emanuel’s work to get it passed by bribing key senators: as old a device as the legislative process itself. 
         What we have here is what we have never had in the presidency: an ideologue-in-chief. FDR and Reagan, the two successful presidents of the 20th century in getting their programs passed and winning public acceptance were basically legislative realists. Obama is not.  His concentration on health care now is a case in point.  Remember after Massachusetts when he said the next focus would be on jobs-jobs-jobs?  That was evidently just a charade.  His main focus has never switched: to nationalize health care and make the U.S. consonant with the strongly Left social democracies of Europe.   
          So yesterday he announces a Blair House “bipartisan” conference, supposedly to get Republicans to share.  To share what? The 2,300-page monstrosity passed by the Senate?  The 1,345-page encyclopedia-sized bill passed by the House. Where do you suggest input in those huge volumes? The way to get bipartisanship is to start over.  This he rejects.  
           This is not to say Obama doesn’t have talent. It lies not in erudition nor his philosophy but his charm. He has exerted sufficient personal charm to make voters ignore the gaps in his biography: why his grades, his academic papers have not been released…his membership in the Hyde Park United Church of Christ for 20 years which was presided over by a raving white-racist pastor…his stridently Left-wing work as a “community organizer”…his supposedly off-the-record talk in San Francisco during the campaign about Americans who “cling to guns and religion.” his egregious failure  to understand even the cardinal fact of jurisprudence: how you can guarantee a fair trial for terrorist war combatants by insisting, as did his attorney general, that all is o.k. because the defendants will be found guilty and executed—before their trials have even begun.  
          For the love of God, doesn’t he understand that when you certify that those who are tried will be found guilty and executed, he gives terrorists the case that we run kangaroo courts akin with those of Nazi Germany and the USSR?  
           Personal charm can carry one only so far. FDR had it in abundance but learned that much more is required to get his programs enacted. Reagan had it in abundance and learned he would have to rise above charm to attain his goals.  Obama is a Hard-Head… the only 4-star  ideologue ever to serve in the presidency: which will guarantee that he will continue to be…as he is now…a spectacular  failure as  president. Even now the American people are wising up to this fact. A recent poll showed that if 2008 were to be re-run today, he would lose in a landslide. In essence, it is the greatest anomaly that the one president who in modern times was regarded as an “intellectual,” has been in-educable.  
                            Come to Brooks’ Cosmeticians Shop. 
           When I became a press secretary to a governor I had to adapt from being a journalist to becoming a political cosmetician: seeking to find journalists to paint favorable portraits of my boss.  Most were not so inclined—but every so often you’d find a sympathetic soul whereupon I would pounce and unload on this guy favored tidbits which he would dutifully report in return for more tidbits.  You’d  call such uncritical reporters “pigeons” and every AM we’d siphon the favorable news and dish it up to the grateful pigeons.  Soon the pigeons would get wise and determine not to be fed with such handouts. 
            But the real triumphs would come when you convinced…through hard logic and an abundance of fact…a reporter who was determined not to be a pigeon but who would come to a conclusion probably fairly near to our own.  By and large, house pigeons in journalism don’t attract much of a following anyhow.  But they still exist. 
           One such national house pigeon is David Brooks, late of Chicago, a faithful feeding member of the roost of New York Times -Obama pigeons who nibble from the extended hand of the feeder.  Brooks is celebrated in the mainstream media as a thoughtful guy…and for that reason he is also featured on the main pigeon roost of Obama’s most popular feathered friends:The PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer or as the Brooklyn-accented voice-over guy says “Jim Lairaaa-rah.”   (Digression: Lehrer comes from Kansas where they pronounce his name with full emphasis on the `r’s’ but he has become so much a fixture of the East now that Lehrer himself says “Lairaa-rah”). 
           Yesterday’s Brooks column further validates him as a pigeon and guarantees much further service with Jim Lairaaa-rah.”  
            He paints the White House as “the House of Tranquility.” You can imagine, can’t you, the White House which has lost health care, lost damn near everything, won’t call up Cap & Trade because it will lose, has been out-bluffed by Iran, has lost three straight vital state elections in a row including supposedly solid Massachusetts is jitter free?  Everyone knows Rahm Emanuel is under the gun, having been rebuked roundly by his own party’s congressional people for disgracing the process on health care.  But to Brooks: “The uninformed float rumors that Rahm Emanuel is on the outs.  Yet the atmosphere in the White House appears surprisingly tranquil. Emanuel is serving as a lighting rod [he means lightning rod] for the president but remains crisply confident…”  
      God, in the White House where there is all too little to laugh at, Emanuel and Axelrod must have doubled up with mirth at this poor pigeon’s nibbling out of the feeder’s hand.  Here is a guy, Emanuel, who has to apologize to Sarah Palin and the nation and to, of all people, a Shriver for supposedly demeaning the retarded—a Shriver of all things…with ties to the Kennedys whose late duenna Eunice, JFK’s sister, started the Special Olympics. 
       (Actually, let me be so politically incorrect as to state that “retarded” is not a term of opprobrium.  The politically correct would have us say “intellectually challenged”—but that would be confusing. Obama himself is “intellectually challenged” in that he refuses to see the truth: that socialized medicine is a no-no.  Are we to imply he is retarded?  I say no! 
       (What bothered me was not Emanuel’s use of the word “retarded” but his usage of an obscenity as an adjective: “f*****g retarded.” But no one has objected to the adjective born of a particularly obnoxious reference to the act of human reproduction.  So to liberals it was not the “f” word but the “r” word). 
        Back to Pigeon Brooks: Did you know that there is a wonderfully smooth relationship between Joe Biden and Obama? Yes indeedy.
”…[I]n recent months, Obama has found a way to use Biden’s skills while Biden has found ways to be of use.” 
Well, the reasonable way is to utilize him as class clown with cap and bells.  But get this: Biden “seems to know every player in Iraq down to the alderman level…” The alderman level. That makes sense: Biden would in fact be likely to refer to members of the Islamic republic’s Council of Ministers as “aldermen.”                 
                                 Essential Funding for WTTW-TV. 
           Illinois is what?...$12 billion in debt? That means normally the budget should be cut to the bone.  But what’s more natural in the Pat Quinn administration than continuing the taxpayer largesse to WTTW-TV Chicago’s Window to the World (Wilmette talking to Winnetka) where there is no danger of conservative thought permeating the tight little video world managed by Mary Field, presided over by Cardboard Man, with intermediate questioning rigidly Leftwing by Nurse Ratched and also by Overage College Girl with the burnt umber hair?  But one very powerful newsletter on government and politics yesterday dismissed the Illinois Policy Institute a think tank’s criticism of grants to public TV. 
           The IPI says it is entirely reasonable for so-called “public TV” to go to the public for its entire funding—the way other groups do. Do you know the Moody Bible Church’s 24-hour-a-day radio broadcast on WMBI –FM  is paid entirely by donors?  Why can’t `TTW do this…or are the viewers in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Inverness, and the lakefront so impoverished they have to ask Illinois’ taxpayers for help?  
         Comment from the liberal Newsletter  Editor concerning the prospect of  setting WTTW free:  “This is more than just a debatable point.”  That’s about as abjectly redistributive as it can get—but he means the issue is un-debatable: raise taxes which will worsen the economic climate, tend to drive business’s away…but what the hell: just so we elites can get the public purse to pay for our purely liberal propaganda which we’re too tight to pay for ourselves…let the taxpayer do it. 
         On another issue: cutting state aid to nurses.  The IPI makes the valid point that penury which is where the state finds itself would warrant cutting the $75,000 for nurses’ tuition assistance and fellowships of $150,000 saying nurses make on average $62,000 plus which is higher than the state earning average.  Oh, says the Newsletter editor. The IPI is talking only about registered nurses (true).  But nurses’ aides make only $24,000 plus, and nurses’ aides only $24,000 plus. Which means of course that this guy is a redistributionist. Put everybody on the state payroll.  And he’s supposed to be an analyst of Illinois’ public obligations?  That’s the way with all redistributionists. Spread the wealth around as The Messiah has said to Joe the Plumber.   
          A question for him: Your newsletter is very valuable for its insights into politics, legislative actions etc. You get something in the neighborhood of $350 a year from individuals for it.  Have you ever thought of making it available FREE to some anti-poverty groups that could use it? Or, what the hell, free generally!  It’s all too easy to play bleeding heart with taxpayers’ money.    
    *: St. Scholastica [Circa AD 543]. The twin sister of St. Benedict who became the first Benedictine nun.  After Benedict moved to Monte Cassino she settled at Plombariola in the same area, founding a convent five miles south of Benedict’s monastery. The two were deeply spiritual but lived such a separate but restrictive life that by common consent they would only meet once a year...she not going inside his monastery, he not going inside her convent—so they met at a house halfway between each with monk and nun companions in accordance with the Benedictine Rule. St. Gregory who knew them both recounts that after they passed a day in conversation and meditation, Scholastica had the premonition that this would be the last time she would ever see her brother. She asked him to delay his return to the next day but he refused—strict in observance as always—saying that under his Rule monks could not spend a night away from the monastery but for the most serious of reasons. 
       Whereupon Scholastica, according to Gregory (in his Dialogues), laid her head down on her hands and prayed God to interpose on her behalf.  When Benedict rose to leave, a violent storm with flashes of lightning occurred outside. Benedict then exclaimed: “God forgive you, Sister, what have you done?” She replied: “I asked a favor of you and you refused it. I asked it of God and He has granted it.”  They spent most of the night conversing and praying. The next day Benedict left and three days later Scholastica died.  Alone in his cell at prayer, Benedict lifted his eyes and soul her soul ascending to God.  He sent a monk to fetch her body  which he placed in the tomb he had prepared for himself.  Gregory: “So it happened to these two whose minds had ever been united in the Lord that even in the grave their bodies were not separated.”  Her relics along with those of Benedict were transferred to France in the 7thcentury and deposited at Le Mans.

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