Big Red Car here. Beautiful day in the ATX and a day to count our blessings. Thank you, God. Thank you, Texas.
So The Boss is chatting with one of his VMI classmates who is running for Lt Gov in Virginia and that gets him thinking about the quality of leadership and the dangers of learning on the job — OJT.
When the United States hired Barack H Obama for the job as President, he was admittedly a bit light on leadership and executive experience on his resume. America thought — well, this guy’s smart as Hell and he gives a great speech and he has an engaging and winning personality — maybe we can take a chance on his learning on the job.
Good gamble or not?
During the campaign, Candidate Obama time and again decried the “style” of the Bush administration and posited that his more amiable and winning personality would create a font of goodwill that would overcome many of the challenges facing America.
President Obama: “Hey, I’m just a nicer guy and other countries are just going to like me better and everyone is going to just get along better and it’s all going to be OK.”
The electorate: “OK, Barack, we believe you. Well, we want to believe you. OK, you’ve got us snookered but we want to be snookered.”
And, so, Candidate Obama became President Obama. So, now with the passage of almost five years how has this gamble worked out?
What have been the touchstones of foreign affairs in the first Obama administration? Nuclear proliferation — North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, Russia
1. North Korea has become infinitely more belligerent lobbing missiles across the Pacific, conducting nuclear tests, exporting nuclear technology and now capable of reaching Hawaii and Alaska.
2. Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than ever before, has been unfazed by countless “tough” sanctions and the world is very close to accepting a nuclear Iran sure to set off a Middle East arms race and won’t that be fun? Worse still the Israelis — themselves a nuclear power — may take unilateral action.
3. Pakistan, which already possesses nuclear weapons and has been a huge exporter of nuclear technology, is more unstable than ever before and whatever stability the US presence in Afghanistan exerted is getting ready to evaporate. The potential for the loss of control of these nuclear weapons in a country that harbored Osama Bin Laden is frightening.
4. Russia has effectively backed down the US as it relates to ICBM countermeasures of all kinds in western Europe thereby exposing the US as a paper tiger. Russia has resumed aggressive aerial and submarine patrolling along America’s coasts even putting a “Boomer” in the Gulf of Mexico undetected.
That Boomer — a nuclear attack submarine capable of launching up to 144 warheads at the US from the proximity of the Gulf preventing timely US detection of countermeasures effectively sacrificing 144 American cities — is not a triumph of a resurgent American-Russian “reset” or the product of enhanced “flexibility”.
The Middle East
The Middle East is more unstable and volatile than at any time since World War II. The confusion from a policy perspective — the new Secretary of Defense could not even get right during his hearing whether our policy toward Iran was containment or prevention — is beyond comprehension.
1. The Arab Spring has become a maelstrom of wildfires in which governments are being overthrown with worse governments waiting in the wings. We are leading from the side. We are leading from the back. We are not leading. We have enshrined the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The same Muslim Brotherhood which provided two infantry divisions to Hitler’s Waffen SS in World War II, has promised to eliminate Israel from the Earth and which was the guiding hand on the career of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — the mastermind of the Twin Towers murders.
2. Our ally Israel — our only trustworthy ally in the entire region — stands confused and bewildered as to our intentions when we deliver 200 Abrams main battle tanks and F-16 fighters to Egypt. Or more accurately — the Muslim Brotherhood. Who are the Egyptians likely to use those tanks against? Who?
We have been unable to provide a clear signal to Israel as to our role in the event an attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is necessary.
3. The Iraq withdrawal has delivered the country into the hands of sectarian violence which resulted in the deaths of 55 today alone. We have left chaos in our prop wash.
4. With over 4 years to sort out an energy policy to diminish the importance of Middle East oil to the American economy and the tactical necessity to keep the Straits of Hormuz open, we have accomplished nothing. Nothing.
Perhaps no part of the President’s duties has produced more troubling results than the economy. The worst aspect of it all is the absence of even the semblance of a real plan, the President having completely abrogated his duty to even produce a budget for any of his years in office.
1. We stand today with no real improvement in the unemployment situation.
2. The spending continues out of control and the President has announced he see no real problem with the absence of a budget, spending, deficits, national debt or the future of the economy. He just lusts after even more revenue and spending. Revenue by the by is at an all time high per the CBO — to reach levels not seen since 2007.
3. We have created a dependency culture in which unemployment, disability, food stamps and government largess of all kinds is also at an all time high.
4. Corporate tax rates are at an all time high and the highest in the world.
5. Tax rates on the most productive members of society have been increased and their progressivity has been expanded dramatically. The top 10% of all earners (only $112,000 in earnings and above) provide 71% of all tax revenue while the bottom 50% pays less than 3% with many not only paying $0 but actually receiving a check from the government. And still this is not enough.
6. The creation of jobs in the US has been reduced to a trickle that barely meets the needs of new entrants into the workforce.
7. The lies of U-3 and the reality of U-6 and U-7 are harsh, apparent and obvious. We continue to mislead ourselves as to the dire nature of the current jobless recovery.
8. The announced anemic rates of recovery are within the chalkstripe of measurement error. When the economy grows at an annual rate of just 1% it is difficult to know whether we are inside or out of the rounding error.
9. The price of gasoline — a cynical tax on all individuals and businesses — has doubled during the Obama administration while the level of exploration, discovery, production and refining have all been unfavorably impacted. This failure to provide for America’s energy independence while force feeding unrealistic alternative energy boondoggles — while completely ignoring nuclear energy — has had both economic and national defense implications.
Only results count
In the end, only results count. So how has the OJT program worked out thus far?