Forums / Political & Legal / Charles Krauthammer - The Fierce Urgency of Pork

5 years 27 weeks ago, 10:03 AM

samD

samD's picture

Rank:
President
Points:
15597
Join Date:
Aug 2008
Location:
Green Valley, Free State of Arizona, United States

by Charles Krauthammer

-- President Obama, Feb. 4.

Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared "we have chosen hope over fear." Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn't understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn't what's illegal, but what's legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

He'd been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he's not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don't get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal's private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he'd come to Washington to upend.

And yet more damaging to Obama's image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama's name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

It's not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It's not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

It's the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus -- and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress's own budget office says won't be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Not just to abolish but to create something new -- a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the "fierce urgency of now" includes $150 million for livestock (and honeybee and farm-raised fish) insurance.

The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington . By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports the Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits that would yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting to change a single phrase in one provision. Substituting "planted" for "ready to market" would mean a windfall garnered from a new "bonus depreciation" incentive.

After Obama's miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell -- and that this president told better than anyone.

I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.

p.s. The new prezs correct name is used in this article, edited by samD!

5 years 27 weeks ago, 2:01 PM

clintlebo

clintlebo's picture


Rank:
General
Points:
2309
Join Date:
Aug 2008
Location:
land, of confusion, United States
editing question

samD,
what did you edit in Charles article? You mentioned: "p.s. The new prezs correct name is used in this article, edited by samD!"

Charles is awesome. I always look forward to his interpretations and observations.

clint

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin & Hobbes)
5 years 27 weeks ago, 2:59 PM

samD

samD's picture

Rank:
President
Points:
15597
Join Date:
Aug 2008
Location:
Green Valley, Free State of Arizona, United States

I have it put in Hussein! LOL I submitted the wrong copy. It's hell getting old. My intentions were good...

5 years 27 weeks ago, 4:05 PM

Pkato

Pkato's picture

Rank:
General
Points:
3348
Join Date:
Aug 2008
Location:
Fort Walton Beach, Florida, United States
Change baby!

Change change change...I call Obama 360 degree Change...back to where it all started!!!

PKato

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
5 years 27 weeks ago, 4:11 PM

Eturnit3

Eturnit3's picture

Rank:
Lieutenant General
Points:
798
Join Date:
Dec 2008
Location:
Grass Valley , CA
Change

Im not sure anyone saw this but thought it was, again, appropriate.
http://www.gunslot.com/pictures/i-couldnt-resist

The time is coming when those who kill you will think they are offering service to God. Jesus - (John 16.2) A penny saved is a government oversight.
5 years 27 weeks ago, 1:05 AM

runawaygun762

runawaygun762's picture

Rank:
Vice President
Points:
8929
Join Date:
Nov 2008
Location:
Richland, MO, United States
More of the same

Obama is no different than any other politician. They are all corrupt scum. It doesn't matter whether the stimulus is good or not. It buys more votes. FDR's New Deal bought democratic rule for decades. Obama will do the same. He knows the true repercussions of this won't be felt until after he's gone, so he gets the second term and damn what history says about him afterwards

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.

Who's Online

Guns Lot Activity
Users
Currently Active Users: 978 (0 members and 978 guests)

Guns Lot Statistics
Stats Topics: 8,649, Comments: 161,034, Members: 23,517
Welcome our newest member: Hank6046

Recent Activity