Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

If you missed the debate …

October 5, 2012

Here’s a 90 second recap that tells you all that you need to know …

click to view

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Spanked! … Here’s why.

October 4, 2012

It was was fun watching the MSNBC post-debate show last nite.  No tingle up Chris Matthews’ leg.

CNN ran a “scientific poll” of debate watchers … Wolf Blitzer squirmed to rationalize the 67 to 25 Romney win.  Their panel’s  best excuse: “Must have over-sampled Republicans.”

Hmmm.

Suddenly over-sampling matters.

Both CNN and MSNBC were asking: “Why didn’t Obama bring his “A” game tonite?”

First, I think he did … but, for the sake of argument,  I’ll give the benefit of the doubt.

Still, I think pundits are missing the likely “why?”

My take: 3 things took Obama off the game his loyalists expected:

1. Benghazigate … while the topic wasn’t on the docket, I gotta believe that –- behind the scenes – that’s using up a lot of Obama’s energy.  Foreign policy in flames, caught lying, forced to play down nailing Bin Laden, CNN broke media ranks and started reporting the cover-up.  That’s gotta be taking a toll

2 Hampton speech … the Tuesday release of the factually flawed and racially divisive speech Obama gave in 2007 took “47%” off the table … if he had hit Romney with that, it would have opened the floodgates for a stream of dot points re: how Obama has been dividing the country … I bet Romney regrets that Obama didn’t bring it up.

3. $17,000 deduction cap … great play by Team Romney on Tuesday … sent Team Obama scrambling, diffused the “get specific” line, and left Obama with a weak argument: “Create jobs by taxing the rich”.

Collectively, I think that – behind the scenes – Obama was more focused on these 3 “distractions” than on the debate … and it showed.

* * * * *

For the record, I think Obama did bring his A game … he was holding a bad hand, being forced to defend his record … he wasn’t going head-to-head with the ladies of the View … and he had to go without his crutch …

As Bill Maher tweeted: “Maybe the guy does need a teleprompter”.

Michael Moore tweeted:“This is what happens when u pick John Kerry as your debate coach.”

Bottom line: The Emperor just wasn’t wearing any threads…

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Shocker: Profs shell out $$$ … got Obama.

September 25, 2012

No surprise that liberal university profs support Obama.

What may be surprising is that they’re throwing money into the pot … in a big way.

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According to the Washington Times

Professors are stocking Obama’s campaign war chest.

The elite fundraising committee through which President Obama solicits his largest campaign donations relied overwhelmingly on professors from equally-elite universities last month.

The top donors, measured by frequency of donation, were Duke University, the University of Michigan, University of California, University of Washington and Stanford University, and Mr. Obama’s alma maters of Columbia and Harvard.

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Flashback: About those 47% who don’t pay income taxes …

September 24, 2012

Romney sure caused a stir with his remark that 47% don’t pay Federal income taxes.

Well, the Homa Files was on this case over 4 years ago !

This analysis was originally posted on July 31, 2008 during the run-up to the election. It proves the point (ahead of its time) that less than half of all voters pay any income taxes now that “Make Work Pay” has been enacted (as part of the stimulus program). Think about it: the majority gets to demand more government programs that they don’t pay a cent towards. I think that’s scary. Very scary..

It’s the HFs post that continues to get the most hits, and the topic is ‘hot’ this week because of Mitt’s smokin’ gun video.

So, here’s a flashback …complete with numbers and sources.

* * * * *

Despite the drumbeat of warnings from various sources, the prospects that a minority of voting age Americans will be paying Federal income taxes under the Obama tax plan doesn’t seem to arouse much visible public anxiety.

Why?

First, for those in the emerging majority that won’t pay any income taxes – or may even be getting government checks for tax credits due – the deal is almost too good to be true. To them, Obama’s plan must make perfect sense. So, why rock the boat?

Second, some people argue that low-earning people who don’t pay income taxes shoulder a regressive payroll tax burden to cover Medicare and Social Security. Yeah, but these programs – which are most akin to insurance or forced savings plans — offer specific individual benefits that are directly linked to each wage earner’s contributions.and the benefits phase down quickly as qualifying income increases. That is, they’re not as regressive as many people argue.

Third, most of the energetic criticism of Obama’s plan has centered on its redistribution intent — taking over $130 billion of “excess” income from undeserving rich people, and giving it directly to those who earn less and need it more.

Fourth, most folks just don’t believe that the numbers will really shift enough to create a voting majority of citizens who don’t pay income taxes. They’re wrong. Very wrong.

Here are the numbers … and why they should bother you.

* * * * *

Today, 41% of voting age adults don’t pay Federal income taxes

Based on the most recent IRS data, slightly more than 200 million out of 225 million voting age Americans filed tax returns. That means that 25 million adults – presumably low income ones – didn’t file returns and, of course, didn’t pay any income taxes. See notes [1] to [4] below

Of the 200 million voting age filers, approximately 68 million (33% of total filers) owed zero income taxes or qualified for refundable tax credits (i.e. paid negative income taxes). [5]

Add those 68 million to the 25 million non-filers, and non-payers already total 93 million – 41% of voting age adults.

* * * * *

Obama’s Estimates – Make that 49%
Not Paying Federal Income Taxes

Obama says (on his web site) that he will give tax credits up of $1,000 per family ($500 per individual) that will “completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans”. And, he says that he will “eliminate income taxes for 7 million seniors making less than $50,000 per year.” [6]

Taking Obama’s estimates at face value, the incremental 17 million that he intends to take off the income tax rolls will push the percentage of non-payers close to 49% of voting age Americans — within rounding distance to a majority. [7]

* * * * *

And, Obama’s estimates are probably low,
so make the number 55% (or higher)

Since Obama’s basic proposal is for tax credits ($500 per person or $1,000 per family) – not simply deductions from Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) — they will have a multiplier impact on the amount of AGI that tax filers can report and still owe no taxes.

For example, a childless married couple that files a joint return can currently report about $17,500 in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and owe no income taxes. [8]

Under the Obama Plan, that couple’s zero-tax AGI is bumped up to $27,500 since their new $1,000 tax credit covers the 10% tax liability on an additional $10,000 of AGI. And, married couples filing jointly can keep adding about $10,000 to their zero-tax AGI for each qualifying dependent child that they claim. [9]

click table to make it bigger

click table to make it bigger

Based on the 2006 IRS data, approximately 25 million tax returns were filed that reported AGI less than $27,500 (the post-Obama zero-tax AGI) and required that some income taxes be paid. [10]

Assuming that 45% of those were for couples filing jointly, they represent over 22 million adults. For sure, these 22 million will come off the tax rolls – and they alone will be enough to create a non-taxpayer majority (51% of voting age adults),

click to make table bigger

And, there are more folks being pushed off the tax rolls. About 4.7 million childless individuals earn less than $13,750 (the post-Obama zero-tax AGI for childless individuals), and currently pay some Federal income taxes. This group will shift to non-payer status.

So would several million joint filers who can take advantage of the Child Tax Credit to report more than $27,500 and not pay Federal income taxes.

And, some portion of the 7 million Seniors that Obama says will have their taxes eliminated — that is the Seniors couples earning more than $27,500 (but less than $50,000) — and Senior individuals earning more than $13,750 (but less than $50,000).

So, post-Obama, the percentage of non-taxpayers will easily exceed 55% of voting age adults — a solid majority. It won’t even be close.

* * * * *

The Bottom Line – Why You Should Worry

An income tax paying minority of voting age adults isn’t just a possibility. Under Obama’s plan, it’s a virtual certainty. Based on the hard numbers, Obama’s plan will create a new majority — a powerful voting block: non-tax payers. UH-OH.

Again, for those in the emerging majority that won’t pay any income taxes – or may even be getting government checks for tax credits due – the deal is almost too good to be true. To them, Obama’s plan must make perfect sense. Count on their perpetual support for the plan.

But for those in the new minority, watch out if the new majority decides that more government services are needed, or that $131 billion in income redistribution isn’t enough to balance the scales.

The Tax Foundation — a nonpartisan tax research group – has repeatedly warned that “While some may applaud the fact that millions of low- and middle-income families pay no income taxes, there is a threat to the fabric of our democracy when so many Americans are not only disconnected from the costs of government but are net consumers of government benefits. The conditions are ripe for social conflict if these voters begin to demand more government benefits because they know others will bear the costs.” http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/1111.html

* * * * *

Sources & Notes

[1] The Census Bureau reported 217.8 million people age 18 and over; as of July 1, 2003.
http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/population/001703.html

http://www.census.gov/popest/national/files/NST-EST2007-alldata.csv

[2] The IRS reported 138.4 million personal tax returns filed in 2006.
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06in11si.xls

[3] The IRS reported that in 2006, approximately 45% of filed returns were by married couples filing jointly (i.e. 2 adults per return); 55% for individual filers (including ‘married filing separately’ and ‘head of household’). http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06in36tr.xls

[4] Calculation: 138.4 million returns times 1.45 (adults per return) equals 200.7 million adults represented on filed returns

[5] http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06in01fg.xls http://ftp.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06inplim.pdf

[6] http://www.barackobama.com/issues/economy/#tax-relief

[7] Analytical note: 93 million plus 17 million equals 110 million divided by 225 million equals 49%.

[8] Analytical note: $17,500 less a $10,700 standard deduction, less 2 exemptions at $3,400 each, equals taxable income of zero – so no federal income taxes are due.

[9] Analytical note: $27,500 less a $10,700 standard deduction, less 2 exemptions at $3,400 each, equals taxable income of $10,000, which at a 10% rate is a $1,000 tax liability that gets offset by the $1,000 Obama credit, reducing the tax liability to zero.

[10] http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/06in11si.xls

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Picture of the week: Remember the Somalian pirates?

September 21, 2012

Well, apparently they’ve taken their game up a notch.

But, we can all relax … the President is dishing his charm to get the pirates under control.

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Photo courtesy of Obama-Biden 2012

You just can’t make this stuff up.

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Reprise: Who do income tax payers support – Obama or Romney?

September 19, 2012

We posted this last week, ahead of the curve …

Since the bruhaha erupted when Carter’s grandson leaked the pirated tape of Romney speaking to donors, I thought a repost was in order …

Bottom line: It’s not 100% taxpayers for Romey; 100% non-taxpayers for Obama … but there is a statistically significant difference.

* * * * *

Who do tax payers support – Obama or Romney?

That’s an easy one … but, the latest CNN poll was the first I spotted that divides the population along those lines … or, at least, sorta does.

CNN breaks the sample by those earning less than and more than $50,000 .

$50,000 is about the point where folks have to start paying Federal income taxes.*

No surprises in the data.

Romney has the edge among Federal tax payers.

Obama gets those who don’t pay Federal income taxes … by a whopping 57% to 42%.

Uh-oh.

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* P.S. Yeah, yeah, yeah about payroll taxes … but they are “insurance” payments with directly associated benefits.

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Re: Woodward’s book … save your $$$ … here’s my synopsis.

September 17, 2012

Given Woodward’s rep,  the pre-release hype, and anticipation of some good dirt on Obama …. I downloaded the Kindle version as soon as it became available.

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I thought it was tedious with relatively little new news … reminded me of most movies: all the good parts are in the 2-minute trailer … rest of the movie is filler.

The broad theme – wisely reported —  is that Obama is clueless re: how big organizations run, what  a CEO does, how a CEO should act, and generally, how to implement ideas.

That shouldn’t surprise anybody since Obama  hadn’t run anything before becoming President, hadn’t been exposed to any effective big organization leaders and openly despises CEOS (except the late great Steve Jobs and Warren “Please Tax Me More” Buffett).

Verizon CEO Seidenberg “worried that Obama did not appreciate the importance of business. Sure, he understood it intellectually, but did he really admire the guts and instincts that made corporations succeed, hire workers, and grow America?” 

Here’s what caught my eye …

* * * * *

Obama is broadly disrespected by Congressional leaders (both House and Senate, both parities) … and his own staff.

  • Boehner ignored phone calls from Obama …  and hated “ …going down to the White House to listen to what amounted to presidential lectures.”
  • Pelosi hit the mute button and kept working when Obama would call and pontificate
  • Reid allowed a staffer to dress down the President for not having a plan … and confidentially encouraged GOPers
  • Staffers (e.g. Summers, Orzag) observed “no adult in charge” … “It was increasingly clear that no one was running Washington. That was trouble for everyone, but especially for Obama.”
  • Van Hollen: “The administration didn’t seem to have a strategy. It was unbelievable. There didn’t seem to be any core principles.”

Ken’s Take: I was a bit surprised that even Dems  think he’s a tool … they buy in to his ideology, hoped his charisma would make him a good front man – but have been disappointed, and are left trying to cover for his inadequacies.

* * * * *
Woodward presents a comparatively favorable picture of Dems: Biden, Reid, Pelosi, Van Hollen

  • Biden is presented as a savvy legislative pro who builds relationships and tries to work towards solutions … not the bungler he plays in public … McConnell: “ … a man I’ve come to respect as a straight-shooting negotiator.”
  • Reid and Pelosi come across as more thoughtful than their public personas …  effective leaders of their caucuses … cagey working the back channels with GOP leaders … generally trusted by GOP despite policy disagreements.
  • Van Hollen gets points for being a details man re: policy who’s willing to pitch and defend his points

* * * * *
Obama fails at basic CEO stuff … much like a freshly-minted MBA whose first job is running GE … 
 “When you don’t know what you don’t know, it gets you in big trouble.”

  • Disrespects people and their ideas and then expects them to support his ideas … “The polls are pretty good for me right now.”, “Do you think Ronald Reagan sat here like this?”, “I won, you lost”, “This isn’t negotiable” … surprised when folks don’t rally for him when he’s in a bind … “when you need friends, it’s too late to make them.”
  • Unable to separate the important from the incidental … “All we were going to do was nick everybody and irritate everybody and not accomplish anything.”
  • “There was no agility in the White House, no ability to get organized and move fast on critical issues”
  • Absolutely no comprehension of the difficulty of syndicating and implementing decisions … thinks agreements in meeting are the end, not the beginning of the process.
  • “Obama had no chief operating officer, no COO to implement his decisions.” … (you know, a Dick Cheney or Hillary Clinton)
  • Poor staffing choices … goes for comfort level over effectiveness … only yes-men need apply … notice how the entire economic team has turned over?
  • No structure or processes … “Any good manager, any good leader, has a team around him and a structure around him for making things work and making things happen. I never got the slightest clue that there was a structure there.” … ”The place [White House] is dysfunctional.”
  • No contingency planning … no anticipation of 2nd order effects … no Plan Bs
  • Poor negotiation skills … Coburn: “it showed how inexperienced a negotiator Obama was.”
  • No sell-in of ideas … just brute force … expects the power of his idea to carry the the day … Cantor: ”… not on the same page, not in the same book, or even the same library.”
  • Poor communications …“Most extraordinary was the repeated use of the telephone for critical exchanges. Especially baffling was President Obama’s decision to make his critical request for $ 400 billion more in revenue in a spur-of-the-moment phone call. The result was a monumental communications lapse between the key parties”
  • Poor listening skills … “Obama talked, then seemed to listen — but … was really just waiting to talk again, to make his points, to win the argument.”
  • “The president talks a good game, but when it comes time to actually putting these issues on the table, making decisions, he can’t quite pull the trigger.”
  • “How badly the White House had played what should have been a winning hand.”
  • “It was a failure of presidential leadership. He was not Reagan. He was not Clinton.”
  • “Obama really doesn’t have the joy of the game.”

* * * * *
Obama was (and is) is totally obsessed with 2 things …

  • Getting re-elected … e.g. Pushing big decisions past the 2012 election
  • Raising taxes on the top 2% … seems to be his driving mission in life

Ken’s Take:  Does Obama really think the world will change much if and when he gets his white whale?

* * * * *
A few Congressional and business leaders mused: “We were here before him and we’ll be here after him”  … 

  • Implication #1: We’ll have to live with this stuff when he’s gone … “Whatever the Congress decided could be undone by a future Congress anyhow.”
  • Implication #2: All we have to do is drag our feet and outlast him … “Guys like me can hunker down and wait you out.”

* * * * *
Best Teaching Point

Barney Frank’s advice to Paul Ryan:

Ryan sat down at one point with Representative Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat known for his biting wit and powerful intellect.

Though they were ideological opposites, Frank gave him what Ryan considered the best advice he got about how to be an effective congressman.

Be a specialist, Frank told him, not a generalist.

Focus on one set of issues.

Get on the committee that you care about, and then learn more about the topic than anybody else.

Talk to all the experts you can find … and read everything you can.

Know these things inside and out.

* * * * *
Some factoids

  • Internal Revenue Service data shows that the current tax system produces about 85 to 86 percent of what it’s supposed to … i.e. 15% non-compliance
  • 51 percent of all federal employees, including uniformed military, were at the Department of Defense.
  • Pell college grants, a Democratic and Obama favorite aimed at assisting college students, because the annual cost was now more than $ 20 billion.

* * * * *
Some random snippets

  • Golf, a game of recovery. A bad or unlucky shot wasn’t fatal. Follow it up with a good second or third shot, and you could still find yourself on the green with a chance at par, or even better. .
  • Politics meant sitting across the table from people you might not like or who were annoying. Keeping cool was essential.

* * * * *
Final note:  Woodward’s book would have been a big deal last week … Woodward caught a bad break since the Libya assassination and mid-East uprisings pushed his book out of the news coverage … .

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Who’s viewed more favorably – Obama or Romney? Biden or Ryan?

September 5, 2012

Well, well, well.

According to the most recent CNN poll, more likely voters (53%) view Romney favorably than view Obama favorably (51%).

And, more view Obama unfavorably (48%) than view Romney unfavorably (43%).

BTW: Ryan is viewed way more favorably than Biden

Think the mainstream media will pick up on these poll results?

I’m betting not.

* * * * *

CNN Question #4:

We’d like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say  if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people.

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Eastwooding.

September 4, 2012

Last Thursday nite I was dismayed to watch Clint Eastwood live delivering his now infamous chat with Obama-the-empty-chair.

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I thought the skit diminished the prime time pitches by wasting valuable time and setting, setting a wrong tone, and potentially monopolizing the next day news cycle.

Maybe I was wrong …

I think the GOP lucked into something.

First, the Eastwood pitch went viral … landing some grand symbolic punches on Obama (emperor has no clothes, empty suit, etc.) …. and coining a new pop culture expression: “Eastwooding” .

Just Google the word and you’ll see what I mean.  It was most-Googled over the weekend.

Here are  my favorite web posts … and the White House’s response.

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I guess, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than to be smart.

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Tread marks: NEWSWEEK throws Obama under the bus!

August 20, 2012

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Here’s the picture; below are a couple of snippets; click to read the whole article (a must read!).

Couldn’t have said it better myself …  send to friends.

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Snippets

The question confronting the country … is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises. And the sad truth is that he has not.
 

In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.

Welcome to Obama’s America: nearly half the population is not represented on a taxable return—almost exactly the same proportion that lives in a household where at least one member receives some type of government benefit. We are becoming the 50–50 nation—half of us paying the taxes, the other half receiving the benefits.

The president has done absolutely nothing to close the long-term gap between spending and revenue.

After all, it’s the president’s job to run the executive branch effectively—to lead the nation. And here is where his failure has been greatest.

Larry Summers told Orszag over dinner in May 2009: “You know, Peter, we’re really home alone  …  I mean it. We’re home alone. There’s no adult in charge.  … You can’t just march in and make that argument and then have him make a decision … because he doesn’t know what he’s deciding.”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 did nothing to address the core defects of the system: the long-run explosion of Medicare costs as the baby boomers retire, the “fee for service” model that drives health-care inflation, the link from employment to insurance that explains why so many Americans lack coverage, and the excessive costs of the liability insurance that our doctors need to protect them from our lawyers.

The president just kept ducking the fiscal issue. Having set up a bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, headed by retired Wyoming Republican senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles, Obama effectively sidelined its recommendations of approximately $3 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in added revenues over the coming decade

For me the president’s greatest failure has been not to think through the implications of these challenges to American power. Far from developing a coherent strategy, he believed—perhaps encouraged by the premature award of the Nobel Peace Prize—that all he needed to do was to make touchy-feely speeches around the world explaining to foreigners that he was not George W. Bush.

America under this president is a superpower in retreat, if not retirement. Small wonder 46 percent of Americans—and 63 percent of Chinese—believe that China already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower or eventually will.

It is a sign of just how completely Barack Obama has “lost his narrative” since getting elected that the best case he has yet made for reelection is that Mitt Romney should not be president. In his notorious “you didn’t build that” speech, Obama listed what he considers the greatest achievements of big government: the Internet, the GI Bill, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the Apollo moon landing, and even (bizarrely) the creation of the middle class. Sadly, he couldn’t mention anything comparable that his administration has achieved.

Ken’s Take:

There’s not much new news in the article’s content … all of it has been said before somewhere … much has been said here in the HomaFiles.

The news is that a liberal magazine has thrown Obama under the bus.

Newsweek, by breaking from the left-ranks, may have given permission to other media to at least jump off the bus and start reporting squarely.

OMG.

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Did the Supreme Court help Obama or Romney ?

August 17, 2012

Pundits – all of whom mis-predicted the Supreme Court decision – were largely split re: whether the decision would boost Obama’s or Romney’s Presidential chances.

Well, based on this week’s NYT-CBS poll, the SCOTUS decision was a boost for Romney:

28% said they were more likely to vote for Romney … only 13% said that they were more likely to vote for Obama … that’s more than 2 to 1.

Fair to say that the SCOTUS decision was a force boosting Romney into a dead heat in the election poll.

 

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* * * * *

SCOTUS & Politics

From the same poll, a majority felt that  the SCOTUS decision was based on personal or political views rather than the law.

That can’t be good …

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A good day for Team R&R …

August 16, 2012

On Monday, I laid out the Brer Rabbit strategy that I thought Team Romney was implementing.

Note: Pundits are now calling it “Political Jujitsu”

The essence: name Ryan and lure Team Obama into the Medicare trap … get them to repeat their claim that Ryan wants to throw granny off a cliff … and then bang …  counter attack and put ObamaCare on the table.

Team Romney probably didn’t expect help from others , it got some.

First, a video of Erskine Bowles – you know, of Simpson-Bowles fame – went viral.

The video shows Bowles (a Democrat) praising Ryan and his budget.

“Have any of you all met Paul Ryan? We should get him to come to the university. I’m telling you this guy is amazing. … He is honest, he is straightforward, he is sincere. And the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit just like we did, by $4 trillion. … The president as you remember, came out with a budget and I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously. The Senate voted against it 97 to nothing.”

click to view vid
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* * * * *
On cue, the Dem talkers started ripping on Ryan.

As soon as they did, Team Romney launched the counter-attack …  reminding folks that Medicare funds were being raided to pay for ObamaCare … taking Medicare funds away from seniors and sprinkling them to others.

click to view vid

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* * * * *

On cue, the Dem talkers denied that Obama would ever consider raiding Medicare.

Oops.

Tape on file shows Pres. Obama telling Jake Tapper of ABC that he would, he did, and he’d make it stick.”

TAPPER: One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it — one third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “Right.”

TAPPER: Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?
OBAMA: Yes.

click to view vid

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* * * * *
That’s called “hoisting yourself by your own petards.”

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Trick question: Did employment grow faster under Bush or Obama?

August 12, 2012

Team Obama says “Bush’s failed policies of tax cuts to the rich got us into this problem”.

Oh, really?

Team Romney says “The worst recovery ever”.

Oh really?

Let’s cut to the chase.

First, I assert that the housing crash was a bi-partisan effort brewed over several decades … hard to say that it was caused by Bush’s tax policies.

Second, I’ll give Obama that he inherited a mess … and, I’ll start counting from the trough.

Well, well, well.

Turns out that – with the above assumptions — the growth in employment under Bush and Obama (to date) is pretty much equal … at about a 1% compound annual rate.

Hmmm.

On one hand, Obama got handled a financial collapse … not just a garden variety business cycle recession.

On the other hand, Obama continued the Bush tax rates … and he (and the Fed) have expended trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus.

But, Obama continues to run around saying that the Bush tax rates are the cause of all evil … and eliminating them for the wealthy will get us out of this mess.

Oh, really?

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“Our plan worked” … say, what?

August 7, 2012

A picture is worth a thousand words.

So, here’s a picture.

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Source: AEI

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The “top box effect” … measuring folks with strong feelings.

August 6, 2012

Last Friday’s Rasmussen Report paints an interesting picture.

Disclaimer: yes, Rasmussen tends to lean right.

I’ve always been a proponent of the “top box effect” …  i.e. focusing of folks who either strongly approve or strongly disapprove of a product … or a candidat.

Well, Rasmussen reports that President Obama’s “Presidential Approval Index” – the strongly approves minus the strongly disapproves – is now 23 points underwater.

And, the number of folks who strongly disapprove outnumber the total number who approve (strongly plus somewhat) … 45% to 44%

Those are what’s called statistically significant numbers !

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Attention Golfers: New Federal rules … level the course, increase “fairness”.

July 27, 2012

While it may have gotten lost in the “You didn’t build it” melee, new Federal golf rules will be in effect beginning Jan 2013.

Please share with fellow golfers.

By Executive Order, President Obama appointed a Golf Czar and ordered major rule changes in the game of golf,

The rules  will become effective January 1, 2013.

The complete rule book is over  1,000 pages.

Here are a few of the changes.

Golfers with handicaps:

  • below 10 will have their green fees increased by 35%.
  • between 11 and 18 will see no increase in green fees.
  • above 18 will get a $20 check each time they play.

The term “gimmie” will be changed to “entitlement” and will be used as follows:

  • handicaps below 10, no entitlements.
  • handicaps from 11 to 17, entitlements for putter length putts.
  • handicaps above 18, if golfer’s ball is on the green, no need to putt, just pick it up.

These entitlements are intended to bring about fairness and, most importantly, equality in scoring.

In addition, a golfer will be limited to a maximum of one birdie or six pars in any given 18-hole round.

Any excess must be given to those fellow players who have not yet scored a birdie or par.

Only after all players have received a birdie or par from the player actually making the birdie or par, can the par-birdie player begin to count his pars and birdies again.

The current USGA handicap system will be used for the above purposes, but the term “net score” will be available only for scoring those players with handicaps of 18 and above.

These rule changes are intended to “re-distribute” the success of winning by making sure that in every competition; the above 18 handicap players will post only “net score” against every other player’s “gross score”.

These new Rules are intended to positively change the game of golf.

Golf should be about Fairness.

It should not be about ability, hard work, practice, and responsibility.

Importantly, these rules will not apply to President Obama, Congress or Democratic bundlers.

Thanks to JWC for feeding the lead.

>> Latest Posts

The grammar of “You didn’t build that” …

July 26, 2012

Geez, I’ve been getting emails from folks explaining what the Orator-in-Chief meant by “You didn’t build that” …  all essentially repping the Obama Truth Team’s talking point:

“The President’s full remarks show that the ‘that’ in ‘you didn’t build that’ clearly refers to roads and bridges–public infrastructure we count on the government to build and maintain.”

Please.

image

Let’s drill down.

Remember, it was Obama himself who lectured the world that “They’re not just words. Words have meaning”.

So, let’s look closely at an analysis of the words:

The word “business” is more proximate to the pronoun “that” and therefore its more likely antecedent.

“Roads and bridges” is plural; “that” is singular. If Obama was talking about roads and bridges in a grammatically correct way, he would have said, “You didn’t build those.”

I know, cut him some slack … it was only his second campaign event without using his trademark teleprompter.

No.

No slack.

Why”?

Because he self-proclaimed that he has a “gift” for oratory.

In an  interview with CNN , Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid discussed a 2005 encounter with then-Sen. Barack Obama.

Reid had praised Obama for a speech he had just given.

The  newly-elected senator declared to Reid, “I have gift.”

As the WSJ quipped

Barack Obama is supposed to be the World’s Greatest Orator, the smartest man in the world.

Yet his loyalists want us to believe he is not even competent to construct a sentence.

Hmmm.

* * * * *

P.S. Remember a couple of weeks ago when Obama kept up the Bain outsourcing riff even after the Wash Post gave his claims 3 Pinocchios?  For somebody who dishes it, he seems to have very thin skim.

>> Latest Posts

Tell my dad that he didn’t build this company …

July 25, 2012

The Orator-in-Chief is getting hammered for his remark “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

It didn’t take long for Team Romney to pounce on the red meat.

I think the commercial is pretty well done …

       click to view

>> Latest Posts

“Don’t tell me me that words don’t matter”

July 24, 2012

The Orator-in-Chief is getting hammered for his remark “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

The Dem party line is that he’s being taken out of context and may have mis-spoke.

In effect, they’re saying that words don’t matter.

Hmmm.

Remember when Obama lecture us – using a speechjacked from  Mass Governor Deval Patrick – that words do matter?

My, how times have changed.

   click to view

>> Latest Posts

Julia, meet Henry … a High Earner (who’s) Not Rich Yet … sound familiar?

July 23, 2012

A couple of months ago, the Obama campaign unveiled its “Life of Julia,” a website detailing “how President Obama’s policies help one woman over her lifetime” … by showering her with the benefits of the entitlement state, from Head Start to student loans to Obamacare.

In response, the Weekly Standard has resurrected H.E.N.R.Y. —  marketing slang, first used in Fortune in 2003, for High Earners who are Not Rich Yet.

Henrys run households with annual incomes between $100,000 and $250,000.

There are about 21 million of them.

Henrys make up the overwhelming majority of affluent consumers, who account for 40 percent of consumer spending — which in turn is 70 percent of economic activity.

Without the Henrys’ getting and spending, the U.S. economy would be much poorer.

One can find Henry and his family in the affluent suburbs and exurbs surrounding cities like Washington, D.C., New York, and Los Angeles, or in the counties of suburban Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Raleigh, and Philadelphia.

He owns his house. He plans to send his children to college. He shops at Target, Saks, Coach, Restoration Hardware, Banana Republic, and, on special occasions, Tiffany.

The Obama years have not been kind to Henry.

His economic fortunes have bobbed up and down.

He’s never been flush, but he’s never been broke, either.

So much to him seems dependent on forces outside his control — whether the Fed engages in another round of quantitative easing, whether the eurozone survives for another week.

Henry is the true swing voter in this Presidential election.

Read more about Henry

>> Latest Posts

But, they still like him … not.

July 19, 2012

Couple of questions from the NYT/CBS poll caught my eye …

First, keep in mind that NYT/CBS bends left … and is known to oversample Dems.

The conventional wisdom is that folks may not like Obama’s policies, but that they like him as a person.

I’ve always thought that conclusion was overstated since there’s survey because of social forces and resulting survey bias …

Recently, Obama has been quite visible on the campaign trail … with negative attacks on Romney … sometimes repeating accusations that have been discredited by fact-checkers.

Well, guess what?

In the latest NYT?CBS poll, Obama is viewed UNFAVORABLY by 48%only 36% view him favorably … that’s only 4 points higher than Romney.

Perhaps negative campaigning isn’t as effect as the pundits have been saying,

 

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>> Latest Posts

Great moments in leadership: Obama ditches the prompter for note cards …

July 18, 2012

This is too good to believe …

The Hill reports that last week in Pennsylvania & Virginia — to “up the tempo” at campaign events” — President Obama switched  from using a teleprompter to using note cards.

Hmmm.

Isn’t that when Obama went on his impromptu rant about how government, not entrepreneurs  build businesses?

This will be fun to watch.

* * * * *
Flashback

This news flash provides an archives opportunity.

Remember when O’s prompter failed at a White House event?

click to view
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>> Latest Posts

He wasn’t in MY class … lucky he’s not a CEO or a football coach.

July 11, 2012

Remember when Yahoo canned its CEO for “mis-stating his academic record” — claiming to have scored a computer science course that he hadn’t taken?  … or George O’Leary getting fired as Notre Dames football coach for for over-stating his academic credentials?

That’s fatal for CEOs and football coaches, but …

According to World News Daily the intrigue around President Obama’s college background continues …

Two separate database reports from the National Student Clearinghouse have contradicted President Obama’s claim he attended Columbia University for two years.

The reports have added to the intrigue generated by Obama’s unwillingness to discuss his time at the Ivy League institution, his refusal to release educational records, and the fact that many political science students and faculty there in the early 1980s say they don’t remember him.

More specifically …

Henry Franklin Graff, professor emeritus of history at Columbia for 46 years, has cast doubt on claims Obama attended classes at the New York City university.

I have no recollection of Barack Obama at Columbia, and I am sure he never attended any of my classes,” Graff says.

“For 46 years, I taught political history, diplomatic history and one of the pioneering courses on presidential history, and every future politician of note who went through Columbia in those years took one or more of my classes – every one, that is, except Barack Obama.”

Graff further says that no professor he knew could remember having Obama as a student at Columbia.

Nobody I knew at Columbia ever remembers Obama being there,” Graff insists.

Who cares?

I do, for 3 reasons:

(1) I’m amazed at how Obama has been immunized to vetting … even vetting of basic facts … like when & where did he go to college.

(2) I want to see if his GPA was higher or lower than George W. Bush’s … since the press says Obama is a genius and Bush is a dunce.

(3) I want to know if Obama has ever taken a course in economics or business … I’ve bet the under on that one and want to collect

>> Latest Posts

What are you going to believe, the facts or our rhetoric?

July 9, 2012

Reported by Chris Moody of Yahoo News

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the nation’s latest national employment last week, the Obama administration stressed that people should not “read too much” into the data.

Mitt Romney’s campaign pounced, and flagged the fact that the White House has repeated that same line nearly every month since November 2009.

See below for the roundup of articles from WhiteHouse.gov that Romney’s campaign posted on its site. In many of the posts, the authors for the administration do acknowledge that they repeat themselves:

June 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

May 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

April 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

March 2012: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.” (LINK:)

February 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.”

January 2012: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report; nevertheless, the trend in job market indicators over recent months is an encouraging sign.”

December 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

November 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

October 2011: “The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

September 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

August 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

July 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

June 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

May 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

April 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

March 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

February 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

January 2011: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

December 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

November 2010: “Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

October 2010: “Given the volatility in monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

September 2010: “Given the volatility in the monthly employment and unemployment data, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

July 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.  It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.”

August 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

June 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

May 2010: “As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

April 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

March 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

January 2010: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

November 2009: “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative.”

In other words, it’s important not to read too much into the Obama administration’s past 3-1/2 years of performance.

So much for accountability …

Thanks to SMH for feeeding the lead

>> Latest Posts

Hmmm … some interesting polling results.

July 5, 2012

The most recent CNN/ORC Poll results caught my eye.

Specifically, the demographic breakdown of President Obama’s job approval – disapproval.

Overall, CNN says that 51% approve of the job Obama is doing; 47% disapprove.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

90%  of Dems approve; 85% of GOPers dis-approve

75% of non-whites approve; 58% of white dis-approve.

62% of urbanites approve; 55% of rurals dis-approve.

57% of folks under 50 years old approve;  55% of the over 50s dis-approve.

55% of folks making less than $50k approve;  50% of those making more than $50k dis-approve.

54% in non-battleground states approve; in battleground state, 52% dis-approve

44% of independents approve; 53% disapprove

So, the Obama composite: young non-white urbanites making less than $50k.

The dis-approvers: older non-urban whites making more than $50K.

Hmmm …

>> Latest Posts

Campaign 2012: Awakening a sleeping giant?

July 5, 2012

I understand that Team Obama wanted to make contraception a wedge issue, but it’s not obvious to me why they chose to give the Catholic Church’s a stick in the eye.

I guess that they just assumed Church leaders wouldn’t have much staying power.

I would have bet with them on that one.

But, it appears that Catholic groups are. in fact, rising up.

Our local church staged a Fortnighi to Freedom rally this week … reminding parishioners that the Feds are stepping in to dictate actions and restrict religious liberty.

And, some  Catholic lay groups have  produced slick ads that are starting to go viral.

Here’s one called “Test of Fire”.

My bet: These guys may not be as impactful as the Swift Boaters … but they aren’t  going away …

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>> Latest Posts

A preview of the 2012 campaign ad wars …

June 30, 2012

Remember the “Chinese Professor” commercial that ran during the 2010 elections cycle?

               click to view
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It was generally considered to be a very effective execution.

The GOP’s stated strategy for 2012 is is to use President Obama’s own words and actions against him.

“Operation Hot Mic” is the work of American Crossroads — Karl Rove’s Super Pac.

I think the commercial is very well crafted … it combines the feel of “Chinese Professor” with the guts of “Own Words”.

Worth watching whether conservative or liberal …

              click to view
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Thanks to JC for feeding the lead

>> Latest Posts

Obama DECIDES to up the unemployment rate … really!

June 20, 2012

I’m ambivalent about Obama’s decision to, in effect, implement the Dream Act despite it’s rejection by Congress.

I’m ok with parts of it — like legalizing those who serve in the military —  but I’m not that keen on presidents completely ignoring the Constitution.

Immigration politics aside, I’m interested in the statistics … specifically, the impact of Obama’s move on the BLS’ reported unemployment rates.

Most sources are estimating that just short of 1 million illegals fall into Obama’s stick-around policy — over 16 years old, younger than 30.

Those people now — by the stroke of Obama’s pen — qualify as “in the American labor force” … the denominator of the unemployment rate calculation.

Let’s do some simple math …

The BLS says that there are currently 155 million people in the labor force … according to the last BLS report, 142.3 million were employed … 12.7 million unemployed … for an 8.2% unemployment rate.

What happens when the 1 million newly minted legals get thrown into the statistical mix?

Worst case: if all are currently unemployed … then the unemployment rate jumps to 8.8% … 13.7 unemployed divided by 156 million in the labor force.

Best case: if only 11% are unemployed — the current UE rate for Hispanics … then the unemployment rate increases slightly to about 8.25% … 12.81 unemployed divided by 156 million in the labor force.

Most like (statistically): somewhere between the best and worst cases … probably a 25% unemployment rate for the new legals … bumping the UE rate by about .1/10th of a percentage point.

Most likely (politically): the BLS will “forget” to add the new legals to the labor force until, say, January 2013.

That’s the case that I’m betting on … watch the labor force numbers to see if I’m right … they should bump up a million when June numbers get reported … but they won’t!

>> Latest Posts

150 and counting …

June 14, 2012

According to Michael Barone, writing in RCP:

President Obama recently attended his 150th fundraiser.

That’s more than the number attended by the last four presidents put together.

Imagine the upside if the guy focused on doing good, on attacking the country’s real problems …

You know, on being president instead of just running for president.

If he wants the job so badly, why doesn’t he try doing it?

>> Latest Posts

Flashback: Why private sector jobs won’t be coming back any time soon

June 5, 2012

The chickens came home to roost last Friday when the BLS had to gulp and (1) revise downward March and April jobs data, and (2) boost their count participants to the job market — the statistical aberration that was making the unemployment rate look like it was going down

Last Friday’s dismal jobs report shouldn’t have been much of a surprise to loyal readers.  As we’ve said often,  CEOs are dismayed by Team Obama’s economic, regulatory and pro-union policies and won’t do any serious hiring while Obama is in power. Period.

For the record, the Homa Files pitched this case over 2 years ago in a post titled: “Why private sector jobs won’t be coming back any time soon … Hint: it’s called passive aggressive resistance” … the punch lines:

Given the Administration’s anti-corporate rhetoric, actions, and proposed game-changing rules, I doubt that many CEOs will be taking on added costs and risks to boost the administration.

More likely, they will let unemployment continue to creep along, and will slow roll the process of rehiring.

Corporate chieftains will sit back and watch the President squirm and spin his “4 million jobs – saved or created”. As Rev. Wright would say “the chickens will have come home to roost”. Passively aggressive resistance at its very best.

Unfortunately, that means we’ll be seeing high unemployment for some time – at least through the 2012 Presidential elections.

The full original post is worth another read !

* * * * *

Ken’s current take:

Certainly there won’t be any meaningful hiring until the 2012. elections are in the book.

CEO heels are dug in. I’ve heard cocktail party chatter like “Each job added is a vote for Obama … Fool me once, shame on you … fool me twice, shame on me”

CEOs started to relent a bit when the Congress tilted GOP and Obama extended the Bush tax cuts. (Whatever happened to Immelt’s job creation task force?)

But, recent moves – e.g. stopping Boeing’s move to South Carolina, stumping again for higher taxes, especially on off-shore profits – have more than offset any momentum.

We’ll be stuck with unemployment in the 8s until 2013 … or until there’s a substantial policy roll-back .

And, the latter just ain’t gonna happen …

>> Latest Posts

Do your part: Buy a thingamajig

June 4, 2012

Not to worry about the economy … President Obama has a Plan B.

His response to the bump in the unemployment rate: everybody should “buy a thingamajig for their furnace”  … in June, no less.

                                            click to view

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You can’t make this stuff up.

I love it when the economist-in-chief talks off-the-cuff without his teleprompter.

Now, about those transcripts …

>> Latest Posts

Perhaps, the sloppiest analysis ever …

May 30, 2012

Well, maybe that’s hyperbole, but it’s certainly a candidate.

Last week, some jabrone named Rex Nutting blogged in MarketWatch that the “Obama spending binge never happened”.

Nutting cooks some CBO numbers to conclude that “under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s.”

Oh really?

The crux of his argument is that all the surge in Fed spending occurred in FY2009 — the last year of the Bush presidency.

Barack the Austere has just been treading water.

image

Hmmm.

Apparently Nutting wasn’t aware that Fed fiscal years run from Oct to Sept, so FY2009 was 3/4s Obama … and included about $1 trillion of his Stimulus and bailouts.

So, the real story is that Obama uber-boosted spending to try to stimulate the economy and had has kept spending at that higher level.

Hardly belt tightening.

Nutting’s analysis was so bad that the pro-Obama Washington Post gave it 3 Pinnochios … for “significant factual error and obvious contradictions.”

That didn’t stop the President from repeating the bogus conclusion in his campaign speeches yesterday.

Shame, shame.

P.S. The entire Wash Post fact-checker article is worth reading … an example of a good analysis .. with links to a couple of other pretty good analyses.

>> Latest Posts

A couple of great quotes …

May 25, 2012

Free Stuff
Think Facebook, “free” email services …

“If you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold”.  Source

* * * * *
The Economic Recovery
Team Obama would like you to think we’ve turned the corner, but…

“Calling our current economic status a recovery is like calling the product of a Kim Kardashian wedding a marriage.”   Source

* * * * *
Obama on Taxes

“Over the past three years, Obama has pursued the goal of higher tax rates as relentlessly as Captain Ahab pursued the great white whale.”  Source

>> Latest Posts

Thanks, Oprah … but, no thanks.

May 24, 2012

Gotta admit that I have never paid much attention to Oprah Winfrey … admired her media success … but it just didn’t matter much to me.

That’s ok, because I’m definitely not in her target market.

But, a couple of articles caught my eye last week.

The first was one of many that broadcast an excerpt from the book “The Amateur” that claimed that Oprah — despite her impactful endorsement of Obama — has been largely shunned by the Obamas.

Why?

Gossipy reports say that Michelle feels threatened by powerful women around Barack, and — according to Oprah herself — “Michelle hates fat people and doesn’t want me waddling around the White House!’

Ouch.

Regardless of cause, nobody seems to dispute that Oprah hasn’t been in view around the White House … or on Obama’s campaign bus.

* * * * *
A second article in the NRO chronicled Oprah’s decline as a mega-media powerhouse.

She’s still a big deal … just not as big as she used to be.

One theory of the case is that lost the hearts of many of her followers when she dissed Hillary — the woman candidate — and endorsed Obama:

Oprah had chosen the less-qualified, less-experienced black man over the more-qualified, more-experienced white woman.

It didn’t take long for Oprah to feel the backlash.

Hell hath no fury like millions of women scorned.

Even the major media outlets couldn’t ignore the firestorm Oprah had ignited by choosing one part of her identity over another.

One ABC News headline said it most plainly: “Women Angry Over Oprah-Obama Campaign.”

Of course, there’s more to the story than that …. Oprah also blew off the mass media networks for her own cable network and Ellen Degeneres caught fire.

Still, an interesting connection, right?

>> Latest Posts

What do Mitt Romney and Steve Jobs have in common?

May 23, 2012

I love the irony when it’s revealed that a villain and a hero are found guilty (innocent?) of similar deeds.

Past couple of weeks, Team O has been pouncing on Mitt & Bain for the evil done by private equity firms.

And, for years, Steve Jobs has been revered for his magic at Apple.

Here’s an interesting snippet from an NRO article: Praise Private Equity

Just months before Romney’s career at Bain Capital became controversial, Americans mourned the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

And yet when Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, Jobs returned as an angel of destruction. He fired over 3,000 employees, a move that helped swing Apple from a $1.05 billion annual loss to a $309 million profit.

He shut down Apple’s manufacturing facilities and outsourced almost every aspect of production.

He swung the axe pitilessly, since he was convinced that survival requires leanness.

And in the 14 years after Jobs returned, employment levels at Apple soared.

Apple’s manufacturing work force was eventually replaced by engineers, support staff, and — in a move that would have surprised many in 1997 — a vast army of retail employees.

The destruction was a prerequisite for the creation, and for the transformation of a wounded technology firm into one of the world’s most valuable public companies.

And, oh yeah, Apple is insanely profitable … and pays no Federal income taxes.

Jobs is good; Romney is bad.

Hmmm …

>> Latest Posts

Gallup: “National Mood a Drag on Obama’s Re-Election Prospects” … say, what?

May 23, 2012

According to Gallup :

Some six months before voters head to the polls to choose the next president of the United States,

Gallup finds several indicators of the economic and political climate holding steady at levels that could be troublesome for President Barack Obama.

According to Gallup polling in early May, Obama’s approval rating is below 50%, Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the country is barely above 20%, and the economy remains a dominant concern.

Talk about a juxtaposition of cause & effect …  perhaps, its President Obama who is responsible for the country’s lack of confidence … rather than the lack of confidence causing headwinds for the President.

* * * * *

Side Note

41% of the country was  “satisfied with direction of the U.S.” when Bush was vying for re-election.

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>> Latest Posts

Senate throws a shutout … Obama’s faux-budget still on the snide.

May 18, 2012

On the wire

For the 2nd year in a row, the Democratic-controlled Senate unanimously rejected President Obama’s budget submission.  This year’s vote: 99 to 0.

Coupled with the House’s rejection in March, 414-0, that means Mr. Obama’s budget has failed to win a single vote in support this year.

Team O had been saying – with a straight face, no less – that the President was offering up a “balanced approach” to begin reining in deficits., even though it It would add $6.4 trillion in new deficits over the next 10 years.

* * * * *

Ken’s Take: Amazing that the county’s CEO and top-lawmaking body are unwilling to develop an operating budget … for the 3rd year in a row. 

No company that I know of operates that way.

>> Latest Posts

Obama: “I was for it before I was against it … but now, I’m for it … unless the polls go against me.”

May 17, 2012

Unless you were on Mars last week, you know that President Obama – inadvertently coaxed by bumbling Joe Biden – announced his support for gay marriage.

Not much surprise there, but the revelation sparked some interesting politics.

Quick out of the chutes, Newsweek – the reliably liberal news mag – hit the stands with a very controversial cover announcing Obama as the first gay president … apparently a play off of Bill Clinton’s old claims that he was the first black president.

My bet: it’ll be the highest selling issue of Newsweek ever … with most of its distribution in early November … used by both the far left left and the far right to rally their bases.

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* * * * *
Interesting Twist

On the heels of the Newsweek feature article, a New York Times survey reported that 2 of 3 people saw through Obama’s “evolution” as being more politically expedient than morally driven.

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* * * * *
The political motives

Consistent with the NY Times survey, the Newsweek article outlined the political rationale:

There was, of course, cold politics behind it.

One in six of Obama’s fundraising bundlers is gay, and he needs gay’s money.

When Obama announced recently that he would not issue an executive order barring antigay discrimination for federal contractors, the gay donors all but threatened to leave him high and dry.

If money was one factor making the move necessary, the youth vote — essential to his demographic coalition and overwhelmingly pro–marriage equality — clinched the logic of it. The under-30s were looking worryingly apathetic, especially compared with 2008. This would fire them back up.

The latest Gallup poll, moreover, offered another incentive.

Marriage equality is now supported by half of Americans in polls.

Independents favor gay marriage by 57 percent.

So it’s been confirmed: gay rights is indeed a wedge issue.

* * * * * *
Another plot twist

Newsweek’s political logic makes sense, except…

The New York Times/CBS News poll indicates that most respondents said that the president’s position (on gay marriage) will not impact how they vote.

But among those who say it will influence their choice, 26 percent said they are less likely to vote for Obama as a result, while 16 percent say they are more likely to.

Hmmm.

Doing the arithmetic, that means a net loss of 5% (25% minus 16% = 10% times 50% = 5%) voting for Obama in what’s generally considered a 50/50 race.

* * * * *
Dissing the media

To close the loop, Obama campaign deputy manager Stephanie Cutter went on MSNBC to dismiss the CBS/New York Times poll as “flawed”.

Note that we cited Newsweek, the NY Times, CBS and MSNBC … not FoxNews or the WSJ …  wow.

Stay tuned, this political saga isn’t over.

>> Latest Posts

“You PE guys are a bunch of vampires … have any loose change?”

May 16, 2012

Monday was a great  day in the rough & tumble day in the world of presidential politics and candidates’ hypocrisy.

* * * * *
Monday morning

President Obama’s campaign launches an ad, “Steel,” attacking Mitt Romney’s record on job creation.

The two-minute ad focuses on GS Technologies, a steel mill in Kansas City that was bought by Romney’s private equity firm Bain Capital and went bankrupt soon after.

According to the Washington Post, the ad paints Romney as out of touch with the needs of the local workers and concerned only with Bain’s own profits.

“We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer … a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.”

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* * * * *
Monday afternoon

In rapid response mode, the Romney campaign also released its own web ad, “American Dream,” focused on a successful steel company invested in by Bain:

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Monday evening

According to the Weekly Standard, President Obama attended a fundraiser Monday evening in New York City  hosted by Hamilton E. James, the chief operating officer and president of Blackstone —  “one of the world’s largest private equity fund businesses”

This fundraiser-of-the day had a particular irony to it since earlier in the day Obama criticized private equity investors as vampires.

* * * * *

You just can’t make this stuff up …

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What’s up with women leaving the labor force ?

May 14, 2012

Last week, we were fast out of the blocks posting about the drop in the labor force participation rate: How to make 11% unemployment look like 8.1% 

The essential points raised:

  • Since President Obama was inaugurated, the U.S. working age population has increased by roughly 8 million people.
  • During that same period the U.S. labor force – folks either holding or looking for jobs – stayed roughly constant at about 154 million.
  • So, it arithmetically follows that the labor force participation rate declined … from about 66% to 63.5%

Here’s the money chart from last week’s post:

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The long view

Some analysts have seized on the fact that  324,000 Women Dropped Out of Labor Force in Last Two Months.

Are women really leaving the labor force in droves? ?

Let’s start with the long view:

Back in 1960, women’s labor force participation rate was below 40%.

Over the next 40 years, it bumped up about a point a year, hitting 60% in 2000.

The demographics are well known.  More women chose to pursue careers and some families needed 2-wage earners in the family in order to make financial ends meet.

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* * * * *
The Shorter View

But, the long view masks what’s been happening the past couple of years.

Let’s shorten the time frame back to only 1990, and increase the granularity of the charting scale.

During the Clinton Era, women’s labor force participation rates continued to climb at the historical rate and reached a historical peak a bit above 60%

The participation rate fell back slightly during the eight Bush years … from 60% to about 59.5%

During the 3+ years since Obama’s inauguration, the women’s labor force participation rate dropped 2 points from 59.5 to 57.5%

Hmmm.

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* * * * *

So, what’s going on?

Pundits are serving up a few explanations:

1. The labor market has absorbed the historically pent up supply of women wanting to work and able to find jobs.

2. Some women have discovered what many me have know for centuries – work often isn’t as fulfilling and rewarding as it’s made out to be.

3. Some women have done the math and figured out that compensation levels are sometimes inadequate to fully cover the costs of work clothes, commuting, child care, etc.

4. As government benefits have increased, some women at the lower rungs of the economic ladder have concluded that they’re better off not employed than to take a low paying job. 

Regarding the last pint, according to the WSJ, in some high-benefit states women need to earn $30,000 or more to compensate for the benefits they lose if they get a job.

Considering that a full-time minimum wage job only pays about $20,000  [ 2,000 hours times $10} …  at least part of the explanation for declining labor force participation rates may be purely rational economics …

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NY Times: “An aging rock star” … ouch!

May 10, 2012

The NY Times reported on President Obama’s campaign rallies over the weekend:

The atmosphere at both college  rallies was buoyant and the crowds were sizable, though in Columbus the turnout did not fill the Ohio State University’s 18,300 seat arena.

At times, the rallies had the feeling of a concert by an aging rock star.

A  few supporters were wearing faded “Hope” and Obama 2008 T-shirts, and cheers went up when the president told people to tell their friends that his campaign was “still about hope” and “still about change.”

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OMG.

And, that’s from the NY Times …

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Prepping for the jobs report this Friday …

May 3, 2012

A couple of data points …

The BLS weekly new unemployment claims averaged 363,000 in March … they’ve been just short of 390,000 the past couple of weeks.

* * * * *

Challenger  reported an increase in job cuts — vs. last month and vs. same month last year.

U.S.-based employers announced planned job cuts totaling 40,559 during the month of April.

That is a 7.1 percent increase from  job cuts announced in March.

April job cuts were up 11.2 percent from the same month a year ago.

So far this year, employers have announced 183,653 job cuts, 9.8 percent more than the job cuts by this point in 2011.

* * * * *

Gallup’s daily tracking of unemployment has been running between 8.3% and 8.4% for the past week or so.

* * * * *

Yesterday, ADP reported that the private sector added just 119,000 jobs in April

Private-sector employment increased by just 119,000 in April, according a report from ADP that puts a dent into the notion that the jobs market is on the path to a solid recovery.

The report was well below forecasts of 170,000 and comes after a string of stronger numbers.

ADP said service-sector jobs rose by 123,000, but construction fell by 5,000

* * * * *

Let’s see: unemployment claims are up, Gallup says 8.4%, ADP reports a slowing of job growth (below what’s need to keep pace with typical labor market growth).

So, what’ll be the BLS unemployment number?

My bet: the mysterious seasonal adjustments coupled with more discouraged workers no longer looking for work will keep the unemployment rate at 8.2%

We’ll see.

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John “The Plumber” Lovitz rants on Obamanomics… ouch!

April 25, 2012

Former SNL comedian John Lovitz voted for Obama in 2008.

Now, he’s expressing his disappointment in a very “colorful” way.

The essence of his rant goes to the core of what bothers many besieged taxpayers.

“I voted for the guy and I’m a Democrat.

First they say … ‘You can do anything you want. Go for it.’

So then you go for it, and then you make it, and everyone’s like, ‘F— you’ … give me half … no, that’s not enough, give me more than half.

This whole thing with Obama saying the rich don’t pay their taxes is f—ing bulls—.”

Worth listening to the whole thing … if you don’t mind a few bad words … and want a few yuks

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Some economic statistics that’ll ruin your day … and, maybe your week.

April 23, 2012

Mort Zuckerman — head of U.S. News, not the Mark Zuckerberg, the guy at Facebook — was an Obama supporter in 2008.

Suffice it to say that he’s disappointed with the President’s accomplishments re: the economy.

His article President Obama’s Economic Programs Have Failed is worth reading in its entirety.

Here are a couple of data points from it …

  • The pool of unemployed Americans is 15 million  — that’s roughly equal to the entire population of the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Arkansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma.
  • 25% of households include someone who is unemployed and looking for work.
  • Among the jobless, a staggering 42% of the unemployed are long-term unemployed, without jobs for six months or longer.
  • Since 2008, some 3 million people have dropped out of the job market. If they hadn’t, the unemployment rate would be about 10.8%.
  • So-called structural unemployment has risen from 5 percent before the crisis to close to 7% today …. if so, many lost jobs that cannot be restored by boosting demand.
  • Hiring today is at about 70% of the 2006 level … so, job seekers are only about one third as likely to find work as in 2006.
  • Layoff announcements have risen 18% from a year ago, and hiring plans have dropped 82%.
  • The U.S has lost 6 million blue-collar manufacturing jobs.
  • 70% of job openings have been in mostly low-wage sectors, including healthcare, leisure, hospitality, and retail.
  • Some 7.7 million workers are stuck in part-time jobs, with pay inadequate for entry into the middle class.
  • 67% of the meager employment growth rate has been in the 55 and older age cohort.
  • The jobless rate for workers ages 20 to 24 is over 13%; teenagers, 25%; Hispanic teenagers, 30.5%; and black teenagers, 37.9%.
  • People with a college education face unemployment rates of about 4.2; those with a certificate from a community college or at least some college coursework have a jobless rate of 7.5%.
  • People who did not finish high school have it worst at almost 13%.
  • Two thirds of our employment is concentrated in 6 million small and medium-size businesses.
  • The U.S. needs 1 million new businesses every year to keep us on the right track. Instead we have only about 400,000 firms starting up.
  • Real per capita disposable income — adjusted for inflation — is down to  $32,600 now versus $34,641 back in 2006.
  • The ratio of total household debt to after-tax earnings is 117% — down from last year’s peak peak of 131%, but is still above the pre-bubble rate of 70%.

Zuckerman concludes: We are still in an era of deleveraging, rising savings rates, home price deflation, and squeezed real income, all of which will continue to affect consumer spending.”

Have a nice day …

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Presidential “piggybacking” … your tax dollars at work (but only if you pay taxes)

April 19, 2012

In an earlier post “Government Gone Wild?”, I said:

If the President takes day trips on Air Force One to campaign, why shouldn’t GSA folks take day trips to Hawaii for ribbon cuttings?

A loyal, left-leaning reader (maybe now a former left-leaning reader) challenged the Homa Files fact-checkers as “just plain wrong” since:

The campaign reimburses the federal gov’t for the usage of Air Force One and costs associated with protection of the POTUS directly related to campaigning.

My immediate reply:

There is partial reimbursement …. the campaign pays for “incremental costs not related to official business” …. it’s not prorated …. when he gives a 30 minute Buffett Rule speech and does 3 hour long fund-raisers, the campaign doesn’t pay for 75% (or 85%) of the cost of the trip.

Just to sure, we doubled back on the facts.

Landed on a point-on article by ever right-wing ABC: Presidential Piggybacking: Obama Trips Combine Official, Political Business

The act of presidential piggybacking — coupling official duties, in this case a speech on the economy, with political fundraising — was not pioneered by Obama but is prominently on display this year.

The president’s jet-setting has raised the curiosity and questions from taxpayers about who bears the sky-high costs.

Official presidential travel has traditionally been paid for by taxpayers as part of executive branch operations, while political trips and events are to be covered by a candidate’s campaign committee.

On the occasions that they mix, the costs are to be split.

“Most presidents have doubled up on trips and said they followed the law, which is a complex formula no one really understands. At the end of the day the Federal Election Commission has not been abundantly clear about how the costs of mixed purpose travel should be paid for”

As a rule of thumb, an incumbent president’s campaign is expected to reimburse the government the cost of a first class commercial airline ticket for each person riding Air Force One to or from a political event.

But the amount doesn’t come close to covering the proportional operating cost of Air Force One, or the army of Secret Service agents, White House advance teams, the fleet of Air Force cargo planes transporting the presidential motorcade or the helicopters that often ferry the president from an airport to a remote site.

Air Force One alone cost $179,750 per flight hour in fiscal year 2012.

That figure includes fuel, flight consumables, depot level repairs, aircraft overhaul and engine overhaul. Pilot and airmen salaries are not included because they are paid regardless of the plane’s use.

On a recent three-day, three-state swing that included two official events and eight fundraisers, netting more than $8 million, incurred flight costs alone of $2.1 million, based on the Air Force figure and flight times gathered from press pool reports.

The Obama campaign has reimbursed more than $1.5 million for travel so far this election cycle, according to FEC records.

Read that last paragraph carefully.

80% of the “stops” of the cited trip were campaign-related.

And, just the cost of AF One were over $2 million.

So, you’d expect that the Obama Campaign would have picked up at least $1.6 million of the costs — just for AF one, just on this one trip.

But, according to ABC, the Campaign has only picked up $1.5 million in total, for the entire campaign cycle so far.

C’mon man.

I say to the GSA guys: Go cut some ribbons” … Why not?.

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Government gone wild?

April 16, 2012

The past week has been like a bad reality show: “Government gone wild“.

We’ve had — in chronological order —  the GSA scandal mocking government controls on spending, Demster Hilary Rosen whacking away at Ann Romney,  and the Secret Service “incident”.

Though I’m a b-school prof and I worked in the real world for a couple of decades, I don’t claim particular expertise in  management leadership or ororganizational behavior. 

That’s ok, because this one is so obvious …

Organizations observe their leaders – what they do, not what they say – and act accordingly.  Consider …

  • If the President wastes billions on shovel ready projects (“ha ha”), why should the GSA squeeze every dime?
  • If the President shovels billions to his bundlers (think Solyndra), why shouldn’t the GSA buy a couple of iPads for each other?
  • If the President takes day trips on Air Force One to campaign, why shouldn’t GSA folks take day trips to Hawaii for ribbon cuttings?
  • If the first lady parties with the girls inVegas,why shouldn’t the GSA party in Vegas? 
  • If the President mocks folks for their “guns and bibles”, why shouldn’t Hilary Rosen mock Ann Romney for “never working a day in her life”?
  • If the President has a constant stream of rock stars to the White House for private parties, why shouldn’t his Secret Service entourage have some party girls over every now and then?
  • If the President openly disrespects our higher institutions (think Supreme Court), why shouldn’t the Secret Service disrespect our higher institutions (think, the Presidency)?

Obama should take the last point most seriously.  He’s the role model and sets the tone for government employees.

Maybe, his “people” are just acting  the way he’s acting

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Polls: the ‘normal’ biases are back … whew!

April 16, 2012

A month ago — in a post titled  Head-scratching polling results — we pointed out:

… right-leaning FOX News has Obama +2 in approval, Rasmussen and Bloomberg — also usually a bit to the right — have him +1.

But, left-leaning Gallup has Obama down 7 points.

Far left-leaning CBS/NYT and ABC/Wash Post have him down 6 points and 4 points, respectively.

I thought those results were quite curious.

Well, I’m happy to report that the planets are back in alignment.

According to RCP, right-leaning Fox has Obama 6 points under water.

Left-leaning CNN, ABC, and Washington Post have him 5 to 6 points above water.

We’re back to the old normal … whew.

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Obama: A brand in search of a slogan …

April 13, 2012

Everyone knows that Barack Obama’s campaign slogan was “Hope & Change” in 2008.

But, according to left-leaning Politico:

No one seems to know what it will be for 2012.

The White House has been cycling through catchphrases since announcing his reelection bid a year ago:

  • Winning the Future
  • We Can’t Wait
  • An America Built to Last
  • An Economy Built to Last
  • A Fair Shot.

And, my favorite:

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Remember the funky ABA basketball? … Well, Team Obama tops it.

April 11, 2012

The American Basketball Association (ABA) was a professional basketball league founded in 1967.

To compete with the NBA, the league copped some top players (think Pistol Pete and Dr. J.) and introduced some game innovations, including the 3-point line and and a red, white and blue basketball.

Note: The ABA became defunct when it  merged with the NBA in 1976.

 

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Well, Team Obama has gone retro and “personalized: the ball.

When you play some hoops at the White House you get to play with an Obama ball.

And, I bet that for a statistically significant donation, you can bring one home for the kids.

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Noonan: The case for (and against) Barack Obama … then and now.

April 3, 2012

Flashback to October 31, 2008.

At the time, political observer Peggy Noonan gushed in the WSJ  about presidential candidate Barack Obama:

Obama and the Runaway Train The race, the case, a hope for grace.

Here’s the case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes:

He has within him the possibility to change the direction and tone of American foreign policy, which need changing;

His rise will serve as a practical rebuke to the past five years, which need rebuking;

His victory would provide a fresh start in a nation in which a fresh start would come as a national relief.

He climbed steep stairs, born off the continent with no father to guide, a dreamy, abandoning mother, mixed race, no connections.

He rose with guts and gifts.

He is steady, calm, and … shows good judgment in terms of whom to hire and consult, what steps to take and moves to make.

Now, fast-forward to 2012 … last Friday in the WSJ:

Not-So-Smooth Operator

Obama increasingly comes across as devious and dishonest.

The level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.

What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who’s not operating in good faith.

And it’s his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it’s a big fault.

The shift started on Jan. 20, with the mandate that agencies of the Catholic Church would have to provide birth-control services the church finds morally repugnant.

Faced with the blowback, the president offered a so-called accommodation that even its supporters recognized as devious.

Not ill-advised, devious. Then his operatives flooded the airwaves with dishonest — not wrongheaded, dishonest — charges that those who defend the church’s religious liberties are trying to take away your contraceptives.

Events of just the past 10 days have contributed to the shift.

There was the open-mic conversation with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in which Mr. Obama pleaded for “space” and said he will have “more flexibility” in his negotiations once the election is over and those pesky voters have done their thing.

On tape it looked so bush-league, so faux-sophisticated.

It was all so . . . creepy.

Next, a boy of 17 is shot and killed under disputed and unclear circumstances. The whole issue is racially charged, emotions are high, and the only memorable words from the president’s response were,

“If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.”

Suddenly there were death threats and tweeted addresses and congressmen in hoodies.

At the end of the day, the public reaction seemed to be: “Hey buddy, we don’t need you to personalize what is already too dramatic, it’s not about you.”

Now this week the Supreme Court arguments on ObamaCare, which have made that law look so hollow, so careless, that it amounts to a characterological indictment of the administration.

The constitutional law professor from the University of Chicago didn’t notice the centerpiece of his agenda was not constitutional? How did that happen?

The high court’s hearings gave off an overall air not of political misfeasance but malfeasance.

From the day Mr. Obama was sworn in, what was on the mind of the American people was financial calamity — unemployment, declining home values, foreclosures.

But the new president wasn’t thinking about that. All the books written about the creation of economic policy within his administration make clear the president and his aides didn’t know it was so bad, didn’t understand the depth of the crisis, didn’t have a sense of how long it would last.

He presided from his hermetically sealed inner circle, which operates with what seems an almost entirely abstract sense of America.

They know Chicago, the machine, the ethnic realities. They know Democratic Party politics. They know the books they’ve read, largely written by people like them — bright, credentialed, intellectually cloistered.

As a former president he’ll be quiet, detached, aloof.

He’d make speeches and write a memoir laced with a certain high-toned bitterness.

It was the Republicans’ fault. They didn’t want to work with him.

My, how times change …

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