When the scandal broke in January of that year, Dowd was initially sympathetic to Lewinsky and damning of an administration that rushed to smear her in a bid to cover its own ass. “Inside the White House, the debate goes on about the best way to destroy That Woman, as the President called Monica Lewinsky,” Dowd wrote. “Should they paint her as a friendly fantasist or a malicious stalker? … At least some of the veteran Clinton shooters feel a little nauseated this time around, after smearing so many women who were probably telling the truth as trashy bimbos. … It is probably just a matter of moments before we hear that Ms. Lewinsky is a little nutty and a little slutty.” Dowd also had words for feminists who were eager to throw Lewinsky under the bus to save their Democratic overlord: “[O]nce you decide it’s O.K. to sacrifice individual women for the greater good, you set a dangerous precedent,” Dowd wrote. “The revolution always eats its own.”
And how! It didn’t take long for Dowd to buckle under the power of the Clinton narrative and join the pile-on herself. By February, she was calling Lewinsky “a ditsy, predatory White House intern who might have lied under oath for a job at Revlon” and “the girl who was too tubby to be in the high school ‘in’ crowd.” At first, Dowd attempted to pass this nastiness off as a sly, satirical commentary on the caricature of Lewinsky that the Clinton administration had painted in the press. But soon, the artifice disappeared, and Dowd devoted her column to arguing that, come to think of it, Lewinsky was both nutty and slutty.
President Obama showed off his grooviest ‘dad dancing’ on Tuesday night as he got down to the best of Memphis Soul at a White House show.
The President enjoyed a star-studded concert celebrating the sound of Soulsville as he and wife Michelle belted out the classics performed by artists including Queen Latifah, Booker T. Jones, Cyndi Lauper and Justin Timberlake.
He was also joined on the front row by daughters Malia and Sasha who giggled and shook their heads at their dad’s dance moves.
Timberlake leaned in and serenaded the first couple from the stage with his version of the Otis Redding classic (Sittin’ on) ‘The Dock of the Bay accompanied by legendary guitarist Steve Cropper.
Sometimes, that perception cuts to the core. Like when President George W. Bush stopped playing golf in 2003, at the height of the Iraq War.
“I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal,” he said years later. “I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”
That’s also why Mr. Bush did two other things, without fanfare or praise. First, he never headed home to his Texas ranch until after Christmas, instead going to Camp David for a few days. That way, the hundreds of people revolving around him at all times — White House staff, Secret Service agents, reporters, photographers, all the others — could spend the holiday with their families in and around Washington, D.C. No one ever reported that — until this column.
Second, he rarely attended sporting events, although he once owned a baseball team and was a self-confessed stats junkie. His thinking there was the same: If he went to a baseball game (right down the street from the White House), his mere presence would mean hours and hours of extra security for fans. He once stopped off at the Daytona 500 and the metal detectors through which every fan had to pass left thousands outside in line when the green flag fell; he didn’t attend many sporting events after that.
But something remarkable has happened with these occupants of the White House: Neither President Obama nor first lady Michelle appear to give a damn about perception. They won the White House and, by God, they’re going to enjoy their time there, no matter the cost. And who cares what you think, anyway?
How else to explain the nonstop vacations the pair keep taking during what Mr. Obama calls the “worst financial crisis since the Great Depression”? In 2013, the First Family has already enjoyed three vacations — that’s one a month. (Sorry, Joe America, you might have to forget your week at the beach again this year, but make sure you get those taxes in on time!)
Since last weekend, Mr and Mrs Regular Citizen have been denied the access people used to be granted to tour the White House, purportedly because of the clampdown on federal spending since the “sequester” that imposed cuts across the board.
These tours, most recently guided by volunteers though monitored by paid Secret Service staff, have been an American tradition since John and Abigail Adams, the first White House residents, personally hosted receptions for the public.
And their cancellation is an austerity measure that saves a pittance, while more frivolous taxpayer funding for items like the White House dog walker continues.
Meanwhile, noble Americans can buy time with the president for a suggested donation of $500,000 to his new campaign group, Organising for Action.
Yes, the announcement offering access to the president for cold, hard cash was made openly and with total transparency. But it was also made without shame.
Woodward, almost 70, is Washington’s Reporter Emeritus. His facts stand up to scrutiny. His motivations withstand the test of objectivity. Sperling obviously assumed that Woodward wouldn’t take offense at the suggestion that he not only was wrong but was also endangering his valuable proximity to power.
He assumed, in other words, that Woodward would not do his job. This was an oversight.
This is no tempest in a teapot but rather the leak in the dike. Drip by drip, the Obama administration has demonstrated its intolerance for dissent and its contempt for any who stray from the White House script. Yes, all administrations are sensitive to criticism, and all push back when such criticism is deemed unfair or inaccurate. But no president since Richard Nixon has demonstrated such overt contempt for the messenger. And, thanks to technological advances in social media, Obama has been able to bypass traditional watchdogs as no other president has.
The more I learn about Lincoln, the more I admire him. My libertarian friends may disagree, of course, but all evidence is that his humility, faith, and vision increased while he was in office. While he occasionally used questionable presidential powers, in general he did so for the right reasons. He was the right man at the right time.
There is no one whose statecraft more vividly illustrates the style of constitutional leadership better than Abraham Lincoln. He stated the problem of constitutional leadership with uncommon clarity in his Special Message to Congress of July 4, 1861. “Must a government, of necessity,” he asked, “be too strong for the liberties of its own people or too weak to maintain its own existence?”
As Lincoln understood, the most essential feature of constitutional leadership is self-restraint. Constitutional government is, by definition, limited government. Governments may be limited either with respect to their means or with respect to their ends. Constitutional government is both. It deliberately leaves some things outside the parameters of political control. Our government, for example, respects the individual’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These belong to the discretion of the individual, and it is the task of government to fulfill the function of protecting the exercise of each person’s right to use or misuse their freedom as he sees fit. A government that seeks to supervise every aspect of its citizens’ private lives is on the way to the destruction of constitutionalism.
The self-restraint imposed by the doctrine of consent was the opposite of the doctrine of “popular sovereignty” proclaimed by Lincoln’s great rival, Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas had argued that it was the right of every state or territory to decide for itself whether or not to permit slavery — a case of simple majority rule. What the majority of people wanted within a designated territory was sufficient to decide the problem. Thus Douglas could declare that it was a matter of “indifference” to him whether slavery was voted up or down.
For Lincoln, however, the doctrine of unlimited majority rule violated the principle of constitutional government. Constitutions are devices for restraining power, whether this be the power of a king or a popular majority. If slavery is a good, Lincoln enjoyed chiding his audiences, then it is a good that no man has ever chosen for himself. It is consent that forms the essence of constitutional government.
The finger-pointing began during the third presidential debate last fall, on Oct. 22, when President Obama blamed Congress. “The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed,” Obama said. “It is something that Congress has proposed.”The White House chief of staff at the time, Jack Lew, who had been budget director during the negotiations that set up the sequester in 2011, backed up the president two days later.“There was an insistence on the part of Republicans in Congress for there to be some automatic trigger,” Lew said while campaigning in Florida. It “was very much rooted in the Republican congressional insistence that there be an automatic measure.”The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev.. They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.Nabors has told others that they checked with the president before going to see Reid. A mandatory sequester was the only action-forcing mechanism they could devise. Nabors has said, “We didn’t actually think it would be that hard to convince them” — Reid and the Republicans — to adopt the sequester. “It really was the only thing we had. There was not a lot of other options left on the table.”A majority of Republicans did vote for the Budget Control Act that summer, which included the sequester. Key Republican staffers said they didn’t even initially know what a sequester was — because the concept stemmed from the budget wars of the 1980s, when they were not in government.
Yes. Next question.
“One is forced to asked the question: Is the President just another Ivy League A**hole shredding civil liberties and due process and sending people to die in some sh*thole for purely political reasons?” asked actor John Cusack in a recent piece published yesterday on TruthOut.org.
Cusack was sharply critical of President Obama’s decisions to continue President George W. Bush’s drone program and continuing the war in Afghanistan.
Referring to a speech given by the president at West Point in May 2010, Cusack noted that “the Christian president with the Muslim-sounding name, would heed the admonitions of neither religion’s prophets about making war and do what no empire or leader, including Alexander the Great, could do: he would, he assured us ‘get the job done in Afghanistan.’”
Back in 2000, the FAA handled 23% more air traffic with fewer flight controllers than it employs today, according to the Department of Transportation’s own inspector general, who added this raises “questions about the efficiency of FAA’s current controller workforce.”
Either air traffic controllers have gotten far less efficient over the past 13 years, or the FAA could get by with about 3,400 fewer of them — without affecting the quality of air travel one bit. Cutting out those excess controllers would get LaHood more than halfway to the $600 million he has to cut from the FAA’s budget.
And while LaHood ominously talks about closing 100 control towers, what he doesn’t say is that these towers should have been closed long ago.
In fact, Bloomberg News reports the FAA itself identified more than 100 “zombie towers” that handle so few flights they should be cut back or closed.
Then there’s the fact the administration has more flexibility in dealing with the sequester cuts than LaHood, or anyone else working for Obama, is willing to admit.
As the fact-checking site PolitiFact.com points out, “within the specific programs targeted for cuts, federal managers have a fair amount of discretion about what to reduce.”
So, as NBC News’ Michael Isikoff reports, according to an Obama/Holder Justice Department memo, it’s okay for the U.S. government to authorize the extrajudicial killing of American citizens who are believed to be senior operational leaders of al-Qaeda, even if there’s no intelligence that they’re involved in an active plot against the U.S. According to Jay Carney, such killing is “legal, ethical, and wise.”
On the other hand, it’s inarguably torture and a war crime to waterboard a non-citizen who’s the confirmed No. 2 leader of al-Qaeda and who actually planned the most horrific terrorist attack in American history. CIA officers involved in enhanced interrogations are kept in fear of possible criminal prosecution for years by the same Obama/Holder Justice Department. The author of memos on the legality of enhanced interrogation (the felicitously named “torture memos”) is the subject of endless vitriol and opprobrium from the Left. Leftist foreign leaders call for the arrest of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld as war criminals. And if you depict waterboarding in a movie without explicitly condemning such waterboarding as torture most heinous, you don’t get an Oscar.
Got it. When engaged in wet work, make sure it’s the permanent kind. And that the rest of your policies are favored by the Left.