Launched November 23, 2008, this blog is devoted to tracking the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of the United States.
He is the first African American to hold the office, as well as the first president born in Hawaii. Obama previously served as the junior United States Senator from Illinois from January 2005 until he resigned after his election to the presidency in November 2008.
Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.
Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, Obama ran for United States Senate in 2004. During the campaign, several events brought him to national attention, such as his victory in the March 2004 Democratic primary election for the United States Senator from Illinois as well as his prime-time televised keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He won election to the U.S. Senate in November 2004.
He began his run for the presidency in February 2007. After a close campaign in the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries against Hillary Clinton, he won his party’s nomination. In the 2008 general election, he defeated Republican nominee John McCain and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009.
The inauguration and the following celebrations cost taxpayers $49 million – triple what taxpayers spent at Bush’s first inauguration.
The Harbingers from California
California’s 2002 gubernatorial primary occurred in March 2002. Governor Gray Davis, seeking his second term, faced no major competitor in the primary and won the nomination.
Davis’s moderate record made it difficult for him to appeal to any core constituency of the Democratic Party. During the recall, Davis failed to gain the full support he needed from his more liberal Democratic base.
Davis’s second term, which lasted only ten months, was dominated by the recall election. Davis signed into law several controversial measures during the closing weeks of the recall campaign, including :
- granting drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants
- signed legislation requiring employers to pay for medical insurance for workers
- legislation granting domestic partners many of the same rights as married people
- legislation giving illegal immigrants free tuition for community college
Many of Davis’s opponents were furious over the signings of these measures during the final weeks of the Davis administration. Some political observers saw these efforts as an attempt to reinforce support from Hispanics, labor union members, and liberal wing Democrats. Ultimately, Davis did not have as much support from Hispanics and union members in the recall election as he did in his 2002 re-election.
Davis’s election results recalled
In July 2003, a sufficient number of citizen signatures were collected for a recall election. The initial drive for the recall was fueled by funds from the personal fortune of U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican who originally hoped to replace Davis himself. The 2003 California recall special election constituted the first gubernatorial recall in Californian history, and only the second in U.S. history.
On October 7, 2003, the results of Davis’ second election was recalled with 55.4% of the votes in favor of the recall, and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected to replace him as governor. The Bay Area was the only region in California to vote no on the recall: San Francisco rejected the recall by a 4 to 1 ratio. Davis joined Lynn Frazier of North Dakota, who was ousted in 1921, as the only governors in American history to be recalled.
During the recall, Davis blamed some of the state’s problems on his predecessor Pete Wilson.Davis claimed that he would have rather raised taxes on the upper tax brackets instead of restoring vehicle registration fees and college student tuition.
Representative Maxine Waters
May 2008 – For hints as to what lies before an unwary America, we only had to pay attention to comments of Representative Maxine Waters, D-California, and to her comment of May 2008 when she states to Shell Oil president John Hofmeister of her desire to nationalize America’s oil companies.
Waters challenges the president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, to guarantee the prices consumers pay will go down if the oil companies are allowed to drill wherever they want off of U.S. shores. Hofmeister replied:
“I can guarantee to the American people, because of the inaction of the United States Congress, ever-increasing prices unless the demand comes down. Paying $5 at the pump will look like a very low price in the years to come if we are prohibited from finding new reserves, new opportunities to increase supplies.”
Waters responded, in part,
“And guess what this liberal would be all about. This liberal will be about socializing … uh, um. …”
(The congresswoman paused and sputtered to collect her thoughts. She is actually searching for the word “nationalization” or “nationalizing”.)
“…would be about, basically, taking over, and the government running all of your companies. …”
The oil executives responded, according to Fox News, by saying they’ve seen this before, in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.
Taking lessons learned by watching our government give money to failing industry and force policies upon them, the sincerity of Maxine Waters demands serious attention. Once viewed as unlikely if not impossible, the gas in the tank of my new government designed car could come from soon-to-be nationalized oil companies (overseen by Maxine Waters).
Something Socialist This Way Comes
“There is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments.” — Obama during the campaign.
February 4, 2009
Senator Debbie Stabenow (Democrat of Michigan) told radio host and WorldNetDaily columnist Bill Press, when asked whether it was time to bring back the Doctrine, “I think it’s absolutely time to pass a standard. Now, whether it’s called the Fairness Standard, whether it’s called something else – I absolutely think it’s time to be bringing accountability to the airwaves.” When Press asked if she would seek Senate hearings on such accountability in 2009, she replied, “I have already had some discussions with colleagues and, you know, I feel like that’s gonna happen. Yep.”
February 16, 2009
Obama’s signature $787 billion economic stimulus bill, his first major piece of legislation, was passed by a vote of 60-38, barely reaching the minimum number of 60 votes needed to make the bill a law. Only three Republican senators voted for the measure. Shortly before the Senate vote, the US House of Representatives approved of the stimulus by a margin of 246-183, with all 176 Republicans and seven Democrats voting against the bill.
The Senate vote was delayed until night so that Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown could fly back from Ohio, where his mother had recently died. He cast the final and decisive sixtieth vote in favor of the stimulus bill.
President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, February 17.
Described by Obama as an “historic step” and “a major milestone on our road to recovery” 64% of the stimulus package is intended for spending and money for social programs, while another 34% is devoted to tax cuts. The plan also limits cash bonuses and incentive compensations for Wall Street executives. Over $48 billion of the stimulus has been reserved for transportation projects, such as high-speed rail, road, and bridge construction. Tens of billions more will be used for funding states to prevent any cuts that they would otherwise be forced to make to aid local governments and schools.
Democrats say that the plan will help create three and a half million jobs, and that the plan’s tax cuts will help 95% of all US residents, mainly with the use of $800 breaks for couples and $400 for individuals. Those who do not earn enough money to pay income taxes will also be eligible for the breaks. Additionally, breaks will be given to first-time homebuyers and car buyers, in an effort to give a boost to two industries badly affected by the recession.
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said that the stimulus package was the most important legislation that he had ever worked on.
“The country is in trouble and we’re so fortunate we were able to get it passed. It’s going to give this country a shot in the arm.”
Others, however, such as Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, are highly critical of the plan.
“This isn’t Monopoly money. It’s real. It adds up, and it has to be paid back, by our children and by their children,” he said, adding that it “is unlikely to have much stimulative effect. The bill that was about jobs, jobs, jobs has turned into a bill that’s about spending, spending, spending,” said House Republican leader John Boehner from Ohio, throwing a copy of the bill on the floor in protest.
By this time, the total amount given out to various firms and programs is over $12.8 Trillion USD. Obama asks his Cabinet to cut costs in their departments by $100 million — a whopping .0027%.
“Obama criticized pork barrel spending in the form of ‘earmarks,’ urging changes in the way that Congress adopts the spending proposals. Then he signed a spending bill that contains nearly 9,000 of them, some that members of his own staff shoved in last year when they were still members of Congress. ‘Let there be no doubt, this piece of legislation must mark an end to the old way of doing business, and the beginning of a new era of responsibility and accountability,’ Obama said.” — McClatchy, March 11, 2006
Insurance company AIG receives $173 billion stating they are simply too big to fail. Shortly after, AIG executives send themselves to luxurious spas and golf outings and give themselves $165 million in bonuses from the billions of tax-payer dollars given to them.
The public is outraged. In response the House of Representatives passed a bill that would impose a 90 percent retroactive tax on those bonuses. The bill failed.
Eleven of the individuals who received “retention” bonuses of $1 million dollars or more have resigned, including 1 executive who received $4.6 million. These bonuses made more than 73 millionaires of executives who work in AIG. In a feeble attempt to justify this insanity, government-appointed AIG boss Edward Liddy told Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner that the bonuses were necessary to retain “the best and the brightest talent” – the same bright talent that lost so much money it brought the company to bankruptcy forcing the taxpayer bailout. In the end, the U.S. government managed to end up owning nearly 80 percent interest in the firm.
“For months, the Obama administration and members of Congress have known that insurance giant AIG was getting ready to pay huge bonuses while living off government bailouts. It wasn’t until the money was flowing and news was trickling out to the public that official Washington rose up in anger and vowed to yank the money back.” — Associated Press, 3/18
Over 70 billion dollars is given to General Motors and Chrysler serving only to delay an inevitable bankruptcy. As predicted, facing the bankruptcy they hope to avoid and before the eyes of a disbelieving public the leaders of these firms ask for more. In response, Mr. Obama acts quickly and forces the resignation of Rick Wagner, the longtime head of General Motors. General Motors is expected to soon file for bankruptcy while the Feds force Chrysler to accept a merger with Italy’s Fiat.
At the end of the day Mr. Obama has potentially saved the labor union’s contract – almost the largest single reason GM and Chrylser failed to be a viable company in the first place. The heads of these labor unions remain in their offices.
“The United States government has no interest in running GM. Your [GM] warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it’s ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.” — Obama
March 16, 2009
“You all worked for change. You wanted to see change. Well, that wasn’t a hard thing to try to communicate to the American people. Obviously, obviously, we needed a change almost no matter who was running.” — Vice President Joe Biden offering faint praise to his own Democratic presidential ticket with Barack Obama, during a Democratic National Committee thank-you event at Washington’s Corcoran Gallery of Art.
April 3, 2009
“In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe’s leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” — Obama in Strasbourg, France
April 23, 2009
“The GAO study asserts that officials from most of the states surveyed ‘expressed concerns regarding the lack of Recovery Act funding provided for accountability and oversight. Due to fiscal constraints, many states reported significant declines in the number of oversight staff — limiting their ability to ensure proper implementation and management of Recovery Act funds.’ ” — ABC News
President Obama’s bare-knuckled political attacks against Fox News and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are causing some distracting collateral damage. The media has turned on his singling out of their Fox colleagues, and many Democrats and independent voters are alienated by a White House using Nixonian tactics.
GLENN BECK ON: BAD ECONOMIC PREDICTIONS
“Ten days before his inauguration, the President’s chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Rohmer, released a report describing what to expect economically during the first 100 days and beyond. It presented two starkly different scenarios: one good (if the stimulus were to be passed), and one terrifyingly bad (if we did nothing). Amazingly, the report estimated that if the stimulus package were to pass, the unemployment rate would not go above 8% at any time until at least 2014.
“It’s already at 8.5%.
“In fact, while there is an acknowledged level of uncertainty, the projections estimated that the unemployment rate would be lower today if we had done nothing at all. This suggests one of two things: either the administration misjudged the seriousness of our economic problems, or the stimulus plan is actually making things worse. I suspect it’s a little of both.
“Remember, when the President’s budget was released, he was roundly criticized for his never ending deficits, even under his own optimistic scenarios for growth. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected deficits that were even uglier. But, if the President and his economic planners were this far off, this soon, how much worse does the future look now?
“The election was supposed to bring ‘change,’ but I was hoping for more than the letter after the President’s name, the positivity of the media coverage, and the hypoallergenic qualities of the White House puppy. President Obama didn’t get us into this situation, but so far he’s doubling down on the same spending philosophy that did. Common sense tells us that new debt is not the cure for old debt. No matter what the slogans say, that won’t change in 100 days or 100 years.” — Glenn Beck is the host of the “Glenn Beck” show, weekdays at 5 p.m. on Fox News.