Jobs report a nightmare for Obama progressivism

By George F. Will

Concerning the job numbers from May, one can almost echo Henry James’s exclamation after examining letters pertaining to Lord Byron’s incest: “Nauseating perhaps, but how quite inexpressibly significant.” Except that the May numbers’ significance can be expressed: A theory is being nibbled to death by facts.

Private-sector job creation almost stopped in May. The 41,000 jobs created were dwarfed by the 411,000 temporary and low-wage government jobs needed to administer the census. Last year’s stimulus having failed to hold unemployment below 8 percent as predicted, Barack Obama might advocate another stimulus — amending Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, which mandates a census every 10 years. If it were every year, he could take credit for creating 564,000 — the current number of census takers — permanent jobs.

May’s 41,000 jobs were one-fifth of the April number and substantially fewer than half the number needed to keep pace with the normal growth of the labor force. This is evidence against the theory that a growing government can be counted on to produce prosperity because a government dollar spent has a reliable multiplier effect as it ripples through the economy from which the government took the dollar.

Today’s evidence suggesting sluggish job creation might give pause to a less confident person than Obama. But pauses are not in his repertoire of governance. Instead, yielding to what must be a metabolic urge toward statism, he says the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is yet another reason for yet another explosion of government’s control of economic life. The spill supposedly makes it urgent to adopt a large tax increase in the form of cap-and-trade energy legislation, which also is climate legislation, the primary purpose of which is, or once was, to combat global warming, such as it is.

At any time, some economic conditions would be better than others, but the more certainty about conditions the better. Today investors and employers are certain that uncertainties are multiplying.

They are uncertain about when interest rates will rise, and by how much. They do not know how badly the economy will be burdened by the expiration, approximately 200 days from now, of the Bush tax cuts for high earners — a.k.a. investors and employers. They know the costs of Obamacare will be higher than was advertised, but not how much higher. They do not know the potential costs of cap-and-trade and other energy policies. They do not know whether “card check” — abolition of the right of secret-ballot elections in unionization decisions — will pass, or how much the economy will be injured by making unions more muscular. They do not know how the functioning of the financial sector will be altered and impeded by the many new regulatory rules and agencies created by the financial reform legislation. The economy has become dependent on government stimulation of demand, and no one knows what will happen as the stimulus spending wanes.

Uncertainty is a consequence of hyperkinetic government, which is a consequence of the governmental confidence that is a consequence of progressivism. The premise of progressivism is that all will be well if enough power is concentrated in Washington, and enough Washington power is concentrated in the executive branch, and enough really clever experts are concentrated in the executive branch. This is why the government’s perceived impotence concerning the gulf oil spill is subversive of the Obama administration’s master narrative.

Obama is the first president whose presidential campaign was his qualification for the office he sought. He almost said so on Sept. 1, 2008, as a large hurricane made landfall on the Gulf Coast. Megan McArdle of the Atlantic has resurrected Obama’s answer when he was asked whether could handle such a crisis.

Using perhaps the royal plural — a harbinger of grandiosity to come — Obama cited the size, cost and complexity of his campaign: “Our ability to manage large systems and to execute, I think, has been made clear over the last couple of years,” and “indicates the degree to which we can provide the kinds of support and good service that the American people expect.”

Progressives generally, and Obama especially, encourage expectations as large as the 1,428-page (cap-and-trade), 1,566-page (financial reform) and 2,409-page (health care) bills they churn out as “comprehensive” solutions to this and that. For a proper progressive, anything short of a “comprehensive” solution to, say, the problem of illegal immigration is unworthy of consideration. For today’s progressive president, the prospect of a jobless recovery is a comprehensive nightmare.

An Opinion On The Iran Sanctions

Posted At Great Satan’s Girlfriend

Well, well, wail!

Those magical stunning sanctions were to be like, super “crippling,” “biting” “smart,” and “targeted” sanctions

In reality, however, the best adjective to describe the new sanctions is “ineffective.”

“…Although the paltry effect of the new U.N. sanctions might not have much of an impact on Iran, it could spur the U.S. Congress to implement unilateral sanctions on Iran’s petroleum exports, which the Security Council’s resolution does not address.

…”Congressional sanctions probably will not change Iran’s strategic calculation either, but supporters can plausibly argue that they could choke off the money that pays for Iran’s nuclear program. The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates that oil sales comprise as much as 76 percent of the regime’s revenues.

Whoa!

While the wicked SA 300 Air Defense System is untouched by the sanctions – Great Satan’s right of interdiction is sweetly intact – consorted into the mix

“A very strict regime of inspections of potentially contraband cargo going to and from Iran that could — that would violate sanctions. So, states would be asked and required to inspect, on their land, in their ports, on sea, such cargo that may be suspicious.”

Tough to believe these – or any sanctions will reinforce desired behavior in Mullahopolis’ behaviour nuclear – and containment is more like wishful thinking than a policy

Essentially – Great Satan “…has already “checked the box” to show that engaging Iran doesn’t work. Now she’s has started the process of “checking the box” to show that the “broadest and toughest” sanctions ever imposed on Preacher Command don’t work.

And that leaves 44’s Admin’s Charade in the unenviable (for them anyway) sitch

“… with no other options except formal adoption of regime change as the explicit goal of its Iran policy—and/or military strikes…”

Pic “Sanctions aren’t a strategy! They’re a tool for achieving the strategic objective of preventing Iran becoming a nuclear weapons state!” with the Stunners

ACORN employees tell FBI of deliberate election fraud, according to new documents

By Matthew Vadum – The Daily Caller

The radical activist group ACORN “works” for the Democratic Party and deliberately promotes election fraud, ACORN employees told FBI investigators, according to an FBI document dump Wednesday.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, are FBI investigators’ reports related to the 2007 investigation and arrest of eight St. Louis, Mo., workers from ACORN’s Project Vote affiliate for violation of election laws. All eight employees involved in the scandal later pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud.

Project Vote is ACORN’s voter registration arm. Project Vote continues to operate despite the reported dissolution of the national structure of ACORN.

The handwritten reports by FBI agents show that ACORN employees reported numerous irregularities in the nonprofit group’s business practices.

One employee told the FBI that ACORN headquarters is “wkg [working] for the Democratic Party.”

According to one report, an ACORN employee said the purpose of “[f]raudulent cards” was “[t]o cause confusion on election day to keep polls open longer,” “[t]o allow people who can’t vote to vote,” and “[t]o allow to vote multiple times.”

Another report quotes an employee saying, “Project Vote will pay them whether cards fake or not – whatever they had to do to get the cards was attitude.” Project Vote pays based on the number of cards and “that’s why they were so reckless,” the report says.

A report quotes an employee saying, “I don’t like our system. I don’t think we should do voter registration.” The report also notes that employees were “[c]onstantly threatened” and that the staff were “instructed on what to say to FBI.”

Another report indicates an employee told the investigator, that ACORN “[t]old employees not to talk to the FBI.” The FBI is “‘trying to intimidate you.’”

“These documents show the need for a national criminal investigation by the Obama Justice Department into ACORN,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch.

“Is Attorney General [Eric] Holder doing nothing because of Obama’s close connections to ACORN and Project Vote? The information in these new documents has national implications that cry out for further investigation,” Fitton said.

President Obama’s ties to ACORN go back to the 1980s.

“ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project,” according to Toni Foulkes, a former member of ACORN’s national board. From 1985 to 1988 Obama ran the Developing Communities Project from an office located in Chicago’s Holy Rosary Church.

Boris Johnson tells Barack Obama: Stop bashing Britain

Under fire: BP's Tony Hayward has received a tough stance from Barack Obama

Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent

Senior Tories today warned Barack Obama to back off as billions of pounds were wiped off BP shares in the row over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Mayor Boris Johnson demanded an end to “anti-British rhetoric, buck-passing and name-calling” after days of scathing criticism directed at BP by the President and other US politicians.

Former Conservative Party chairman Lord Tebbit branded Mr Obama’s conduct “despicable”. And with the dispute threatening to escalate into a diplomatic row, Mr Johnson also appeared to suggest that David Cameron should step in to defend BP.

He spoke as the US onslaught against the firm became a “matter of national concern” — especially given its importance to British pensions, which lost much of their value today as BP shares plunged to a 13-year low.

Asked on BBC Radio 4’s Today whether he thought the Prime Minister should intervene, Mr Johnson said: “Well I do think there is something slightly worrying about the anti-British rhetoric that seems to be permeating from America. Yes I suppose that’s right.

I would like to see cool heads and a bit of calm reflection about how to deal with this problem rather than endlessly buck-passing and name-calling.

“When you consider the huge exposure of British pension funds to BP and its share price, and the vital importance of BP, then I do think it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great UK company is being continually beaten up on the international airwaves.

“OK, it has presided over a catastrophic accident which it is trying to remedy but ultimately it cannot be faulted because it was an accident that took place. BP, I think is paying a very, very heavy price indeed.”

Downing Street steered clear of criticising Mr Obama’s conduct but in an apparent reference to concerns over UK pensions highlighted the “broader impact” of the spill and the need to deal with it swiftly. British business chiefs are alarmed that tough talking by Mr Obama and other US politicians is undermining the battered oil giant

BP’s shares fell by 12 per cent at one point today on the London market, after hitting their lowest level since 1997 in New York trading overnight, amid intensifying political attacks in the US. Their price dropped to 345p in early London trading before recovering to 370p — still down five per cent.

The slump means the firm’s share price has almost halved since the spill started in mid-April, when a well ruptured and the rig exploded, killing 11 workers.

Mr Cameron is due to speak to Mr Obama at the weekend over the issue. Among the President’s criticisms of BP was his suggestion that chief executive Tony Hayward would have been axed if he had been working for him.

BP said its latest effort to capture oil from the leak with a cap was now collecting about 15,000 barrels a day.

Mexican Teen Killed on Border Was ‘Known Juvenile Smuggler,’ Sources Say

Fox News

The 15-year-old Mexican boy who was shot dead by a Border Patrol agent as U.S. authorities came under attack along the border Tuesday was known to authorities as a juvenile smuggler, sources close to the investigation told Fox News.

Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereka was shot once near the eye as U.S. Border Patrol agents on bicycles were “assaulted with rocks” as they tried to detain illegal immigrants on the Texas side of the Rio Grande.

Huereka was charged with alien smuggling in 2009, according to sources who requested anonymity. Further details were not immediately available.

“He is a known juvenile smuggler,” a source told Fox News. He was also on a “most wanted” list of juvenile smugglers compiled by U.S. authorities in the El Paso area, sources said.

Heureka’s death marked the second time a Mexican citizen has been killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent in as many weeks, stoking tensions along the border between the nations.

Roughly 30 relatives and friends gathered late Tuesday to mourn the boy, who died on the Mexican side of the river.

“Damn them! Damn them!” the boy’s sister, Rosario Hernandez, sobbed at a wake in the family’s two-room adobe house on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez.

“There is a God, so why would I want vengeance if no one will return him to me. They killed my little boy and the only thing I ask is for the law” to be applied, said the boy’s father, Jesus Hernandez.

His mother was less hopeful. “May God forgive them because I know nothing will happen” to them,” Maria Guadalupe Huereka said.

Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor Ramiro Cordero said preliminary reports indicate that U.S. officers on bicycle patrol were “assaulted with rocks” by an unknown number of people before Herueka was shot.

“During the assault at least one agent discharged his firearm,” Cordero said. “The agent is currently on administrative leave. A thorough, multi-agency investigation is currently ongoing.”

A U.S. official told the Associated Press that video of the incident shows the Border Patrol agent did not enter Mexico.

The unidentified official said the video also shows what seem to be four Mexican law enforcement officers driving to the edge of the muddy bed of the Rio Grande, walking across to the U.S. side, picking up an undetermined object and returning to Mexico near the area where the boy’s body lay. Like their U.S. counterparts, Mexican law officers are not authorized to cross the border without permission.

A Mexican migrant, Anastasio Hernandez, 32, died less than two weeks ago after a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer shocked him with a stun gun at the San Ysidro border crossing, which separates San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico. The San Diego medical examiner’s office ruled that death a homicide.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Tuesday that his government “will use all resources available to protect the rights of Mexican migrants.”

The government “reiterates its rejection to the disproportionate use of force on the part on U.S. authorities on the border with Mexico,” the president added in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

New Jersey Towns Raising Property Taxes Above Christie’s Proposed 2.5% Cap

By Dunstan McNichol

Robbinsville, the central New Jersey town where Governor Chris Christie appeared last week to promote his plan to cap annual property-tax increases at 2.5 percent, won approval yesterday to raise its tax bills by 29 percent.

The $2.3 million increase will boost the average homeowner’s municipal tax bill to $2,000 from about $1,600, Mayor David Fried said during a hearing before the state’s Local Finance Board in Trenton. It is the result of a 2007 reassessment that prompted warehouse owners such as closely held Matrix Development Group to file successful appeals that are costing the community more than $1 million, Fried said.

Fried was among 57 mayors Christie listed on a May 26 press release as supporting his plan to impose a 2.5 percent limit on annual property-tax increases. Christie was in Robbinsville June 3 for the fourth of several town hall meetings he is holding to talk about his proposal, aimed at controlling growth in New Jersey’s property taxes, which are the highest in the nation.

“We have done everything we possibly can,” Fried said during testimony on his tax increase. “It’s a very good question how we’re going to get to 2.5 percent.”

New Jersey’s property-tax bills averaged $7,281 per household last year, according to the state Department of Community Affairs. The levy has climbed 72 percent since they averaged $4,239 in 1999.

Over The Limit

Robbinsville is among 26 communities to seek approvals this year for property-tax increases in excess of the current cap of 4 percent that was put into place through legislation in 2007 by former Governor Jon Corzine, according to Local Finance Board records.

Fried said he averaged tax increases of 2.75 percent annually for the past six years. In an interview after the meeting, he said he can stick to Christie’s proposed limit as long as accompanying changes to public employee contracts are enacted.

Christie, a 47-year-old Republican who took office Jan. 19, is pressing lawmakers to approve his 2.5 percent cap by early August, in time for it to appear as a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. He has said Corzine’s 4 percent limit allows for too many exemptions. Under Christie’s proposal, local governments and schools would only be able to exceed the cap through public referendums or to cover debt- service payments.

“Right now we have a very leaky cap,” Christie’s spokesman, Mike Drewniak, said in a telephone interview yesterday. “It is our goal to get a hard cap in place.”

Cost Control

Thirteen towns won approval yesterday to exceed the cap, including the Essex County town of Montclair, where the median income is almost double the U.S. level, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Mayor Jerry Fried, 52, said he had no choice.

“A cut of this magnitude would be devastating,” Fried told the Local Finance Board in defense of a 10 percent tax increase worth $1.1 million. The average Montclair homeowner last year paid $15,585 in property taxes, which also includes school and county levies, state data show. Fried didn’t have an estimate of how much more bills would be.

Montclair’s credit rating was downgraded one step today to Aa3, the fifth highest, from Aa2 by Moody’s Investors Service, which cited declining state aid and imbalanced budgets. Moody’s called the township’s application for the property-cap exemption “evidence of continuing financial stress.” Fried didn’t immediately respond to telephone and e-mail requests for comment on the downgrade.

Pool Delay

Fried said residents were already outraged by a one-month delay in opening the municipal pool, a $90,000 cut in preschool subsidies and a $500,000 reduction in aid to the local library.

“Anything beyond that would be jeopardizing public safety and public support for the budget,” he said.

Christie has proposed a 33-point package of bills aimed at helping the state, municipalities and school districts control their costs. His plan would allow local governments to opt out of civil-service laws and cap public-employee raises and benefits at 2.5 percent a year.

Drewniak declined to comment on the situation in Robbinsville or other communities, saying they might be anomalies.

Why Obama doesn’t dare become the ‘angry black man’/You Must Be Kidding????

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) — Here’s proof that President Obama has indeed ushered in a new era in race relations.

Who would have ever expected some white Americans to demand that an African-American man show more rage?

If you’ve followed the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, you’ve heard the complaints that Obama isn’t showing enough emotion.

But scholars say Obama’s critics ignore a lesson from American history: Many white Americans don’t like angry black men.

It’s the lesson Obama absorbed from his upbringing, and from an impromptu remark he delivered last summer. Yet it’s a lesson he may now have to jettison, they say, as public outrage spreads.

“Folks are waiting for a Samuel Jackson ‘Snakes on the Plane’ moment from this president as in: ‘We gotta’ get this $#@!!* oil back in the $#!!* rig!’ But that’s just not who Obama is,” says Saladin Ambar, a political science professor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Some of the same people crying for Obama to show more emotion would have voted against him if he had displayed anger during his presidential run, says William Jelani Cobb, author of “The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress.”

“It would have fed deeply into a pre-existing set of narratives about the angry black man,” Cobb says. “The anger would have gotten in the way. He would have frightened off white voters who were interested in him because he seemed to be like the black guy they worked with or went to graduate school with — not a black guy who is threatening.”

Obama ready to kick butt?

Now some critics say that Obama should be a little bit more threatening.

On Monday, Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” told Obama that critics don’t want him to react to the oil disaster by meeting with experts and being calm. They want him to “kick some butt.”

Obama responded by saying he talks to experts “because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose ass to kick.”

Obama’s tough talk comes after criticism mounted over his response to the oil fiasco.

During a White House press briefing last week, a reporter told Obama’s press secretary that most people haven’t seen rage from the president. (That led Obama’s press secretary to say he had seen an enraged Obama’s “clenched jaws” in meetings.)

Obama’s cool temperament even prompted black filmmaker Spike Lee to tell CNN that for at least one time, Obama should “go off.”

Why Spike Lee thinks this is the time for Obama to go off

But Obama has “gone off” before and that didn’t work too well for him, says Ambar.

During a news conference last summer, Obama casually said that police acted “stupidly” when they arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates in his home for disorderly conduct after a confrontation with a white police officer.

Obama’s comments infuriated many white people, and even some black supporters. Obama had to have a Beer Summit to calm the public uproar.

“He flashed genuine anger,” says Ambar. “At that moment, when he touched on the issue of race, he spoke frankly and passionately about what he felt and it got him into a big deal of trouble.”

Evoking the specter of the angry black man almost cost Obama his shot at the White House, says Paul Street, an author and political activist who worked with Obama in Chicago.
Folks are waiting for a Samuel Jackson ‘Snakes on the Plane’ moment from this president.
–Saladin Ambar, political scientist

Street says videos of Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily condemning America were so dangerous to Obama’s campaign because it hinted that Obama may have been an angry black man behind closed doors.

“Rev. Wright almost cost him his run for the presidency because of fears of the angry black man,” says Street, author of the upcoming book “The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power.”

“What was Rev. Wright but the ultimate symbol of the angry black man who is going to take revenge,” Street says.

That symbol is hardwired into American history and popular culture. It’s Nat Turner, the slave who inspired a bloody 19th-century uprising. It’s Malcolm X, the black militant who denounced “blue-eyed devils.”

It’s the hip-hop and rap artists who populate contemporary radio.

Why Obama can’t get angry if he tried

Obama, though, has spent a lifetime trying to rewrite that script, says Street, who says he worked with Obama in Chicago.

“He is Mr. Equanimity and Mr. Consolation,” says Street. “That’s how he negotiated his way through multiple worlds, and reached out across bridges.”

In his 1995 memoir, “Dreams of My Father,” Obama explained why he thought such negotiation was necessary when he met white people as a young man growing up in Hawaii.

“People were satisfied so long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. Such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry.”

If Obama wants to go down as a great president, though, he may have to discover the political value of rage, others say.

Franklin Roosevelt was such a president, historians say. During the Great Depression, he went after business leaders who opposed his New Deal policies. Roosevelt once said that he “welcomed the hatred” of the economic elites.

Could Obama become a 21st-century version of Roosevelt, not only in taking on the oil companies but big bankers as well?

Ambar, from Lehigh University, doesn’t think so. Obama doesn’t share Roosevelt’s elite background, which inoculated him from charges of being anti-American. Roosevelt came from a prominent, and wealthy, American family.

“It’s easier to do it if your name is Roosevelt,” Ambar says. “No one questions your love of capitalism or your patriotism.”

Obama’s challenge ahead

The BP oil spill, though, goes beyond race. It is so egregious that Obama now has permission to stoke some “pitchfork, populist” anger, says Street.
Rev. Wright almost cost him his run for the presidency because of fears of the angry black man.

“He’s now in danger of being perceived as being too soft and conciliatory and too much in the bed of corporations,” he says.

Some forms of rage remain a potent political weapon, says John Baick, an associate professor of history at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Tea Party organizers; Democratic leader Howard Dean; former presidential candidate Ron Paul — all used rage as a powerful organizing tool, Baick says.

“Rage can provide answers to murky questions, rage can provide passion for the dispirited, rage can provide focus,” Baick says.

But race-specific anger is off-limits, Street says.

“He would be politically dead; it would be over,” Street says.

Yet the call for a black man to show more emotion on subjects outside of race is still a healthy development, says Ambar, from Lehigh University.

“I take it as a sign of progress that people are calling for Obama to be angry, an almost impossible sentiment a decade ago,” he says.

Still, Obama must be careful about getting in touch with his inner-Samuel Jackson, others say.

Just as gushing oil lurks below the Gulf’s surface, all sorts of ugly, racial undercurrents exist beneath the surface of American politics, Baick says.

“Our commander in chief has many burdens, and among them is our history and culture,” Baick says. “Compared to the weight of that, the current BP crisis and the years of environmental damage and cleanup must seem transient.”

———————————————————————————————————

In all honesty; how does crap like this get published? I am surprised CNN is still in business.—

–U.S. Constitutional Free Press

Taliban hang 7-year-old boy

BY Sean Alfano

A 7-year-old boy accused of being a spy was hanged by Taliban militants, according to published reports Thursday.

The child was allegedly put on trial by the militant group and later found guilty of working for Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s government, reports the Daily Mail.

Karzai called the act a “crime against humanity.”

“I don’t think there’s a crime bigger than that that even the most inhuman forces on earth can commit,” Karzai said.

The child was publicly hanged in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand province, a local official told The Associated Press.

“A 7-year-old boy cannot be a spy,” Karzai added. “A 7-year-old boy cannot be anything but a seven-year-old boy, and therefore hanging or shooting to kill a seven-year-old boy… is a crime against humanity.”

Violence is on the rise in June as the U.S. prepares a major summertime operation to cleanse the region of Taliban commanders.

Obama and the Trouble With Voting ‘Present’

By KARL ROVE

When Barack Obama announced he was running for president in February 2007, Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report wrote “Obama’s history of voting ‘present'” in Springfield, Ill.—even on some of the most controversial and politically explosive issues . . . raises questions . . . Voting ‘present’ is one of the three options in the Illinois Legislature (along with ‘yes’ and ‘no’) but it’s almost never an option for the occupant of the Oval Office.”

Mr. Gonzales’s words were prescient. Barack Obama may now be president, but at times he appears to be merely present. That has been the case with his response to the environmental catastrophe unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. The president was late recognizing the disaster’s magnitude, late in visiting the region, late in approving requests by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and late in feigning outrage. He has never offered an independent plan to stop the leak.

Mr. Obama also seems disinterested in hearing from experts about the spill. The White House’s “Deep Water Horizon Response Timeline” doesn’t list a single meeting between Mr. Obama and industry experts, though he did send Energy Secretary Steven Chu and others to Houston May 12 to meet with BP and others.

Yet while the president says his Noble Prize-winning energy secretary has been “examining every contingency,” Mr. Chu was clueless about BP’s plans to install a cap over the well to funnel oil to a vessel on the surface. As the New York Times reported last Saturday, “After the cap was successfully placed, Mr. Chu wondered aloud why oil was still spewing.” BP engineers had to explain that oil was still coming from vents that “would be closed very slowly to ensure that mounting pressure would not force the cap off.”

Even now, Mr. Obama looks like a spectator, albeit an angry one, barking at White House aides to “plug the damn hole” (now that’s a good idea no one has thought of) and telling NBC’s Matt Lauer he’s in search of an “ass to kick.”

But the main political behind that’s being kicked is Mr. Obama’s. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll says Americans give the federal government a 69% negative rating for its handling of the spill, compared to a 62% negative rating for Washington’s handling of Katrina in August 2005.

This pattern of being merely present has been apparent almost since the first days of the Obama presidency. He may unveil his mighty teleprompter to help pass what Congress has drafted, but this White House seems strangely disconnected from crafting legislation.

For example, last year’s stimulus was largely drafted by House Appropriations Chairman David Obey of Wisconsin, one of Congress’s most liberal members. As a result, what passed was a wasteful spending bill rather than an economic growth package.

And faced with a growing mountain of debt, Mr. Obama passed the issue off to an ineffectual commission whose report is due after the election. After growing the size of the federal government by a quarter in just over a year, he now says he’d like agencies to try to find 5% cuts in their budgets.

On other controversies—the attempt of high-ranking aides to entice candidates not to challenge incumbent Democratic senators, the details of cap-and-trade legislation, the resolution of big conflicts between the House and Senate versions of financial regulation, and the drafting of comprehensive immigration reform—Mr. Obama appears to be removed, distant and detached, unwilling or unable to provide the adult supervision Washington requires.

The result is that he receives a 38% approval and 52% disapproval rating on his handling of the economy in the latest Economist/YouGov poll. The GOP enjoys a nine-point lead over Democrats in Rasmussen’s latest generic ballot.

This is causing the public to revisit concerns it’s had about Mr. Obama since he clinched the Democratic nomination in March 2008. Then the ABC/Washington Post Poll reported that 46% of Americans found him too “inexperienced” to be an effective president, the highest number ever for a major party presidential nominee. In October, just before the election, ABC/Washington Post asked the question again: 44% called Mr. Obama too inexperienced. On issue after issue, Mr. Obama is providing plenty of evidence to validate those concerns.

Americans might hope the president’s diffidence when it comes to the hard work of government might mitigate his more extreme liberal tendencies. No such luck. Mr. Obama is an odd mixture of passivity and radicalism. He’s happy to be a cheerleader for policies (like nationalizing health care) that many Americans find dangerously liberal.

The country has had another president both weak and radical at the same time: Jimmy Carter.

Sarah Palin: Please Endorse Rob Simmons

by Ann Coulter

Sarah Palin endorsed three dark-horse candidates in Republican match-ups this year, and all three won their primaries yesterday: Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Carly Fiorina in California. No wonder Sarah’s being stalked by Joe McGinniss.

Now, she’s got to endorse Rob Simmons for U.S. Senate. Otherwise, Republicans can kiss the possibility of a major upset in Connecticut goodbye.

I wouldn’t ask, but the country is at stake. We have a mere 100 senators; only 16 Senate seats currently held by Democrats are up this year; and only about six of those could possibly go Republican, even in Newt Gingrich’s wildest fantasies.

Republicans have done a fantastic job predicting a landslide in the November elections, but not such a good job of doing anything that will actually help them achieve victory.

Which may explain why Connecticut Republicans rolled the dice and said: Let’s run a professional wrestling “impresario” for the U.S. Senate! … You never know.

Except in this case, you know. Running a professional wrestler in the richest, most highly educated state in the nation is going to force voters to hold their noses and vote for the Democrat, Richard Blumenthal (who’s already been endorsed by a leading group of Connecticut men who lied about serving in Vietnam).

Until recent revelations about Blumenthal’s boasting of his nonexistent service in Vietnam — and the Harvard swim team — Republicans didn’t have a snowball’s chance to pick up Chris Dodd’s old seat anyway.

But now The New York Times has splashed on its front page the news that Blumenthal has been lying about his Vietnam War service. Even knee-jerk Democratic partisans, such as Chris Matthews and Bill Press, refused to defend him.

Blumenthal immediately resigned and pulled out of the Senate race … ha ha, just kidding! That man will never voluntarily stop annoying us. Blumenthal is so churning with ambition that he probably had his first ulcer at age 9.

But no matter how much the local press flacks for Blumenthal, people won’t soon forget that he lied about his Vietnam service. It’s like finding out he likes to wear diapers or he cheated the Girl Scouts out of cookie money — but enough about Frank Rich.

Connecticut Republicans have done nothing to deserve this gift. All they need to do is field a candidate who isn’t inextricably linked to professional frigging wrestling.

Instead, last month, a majority of Republican caucus-goers voted for professional wrestling impresario Linda McMahon, based on her offer to spend “up to” $50 million of her own money on the campaign.

McMahon would be a fantastic choice if money were associated with electoral victory. But it’s not.

We know this because rich dilettantes are constantly thinking to themselves: “I have $300 million, I’ve bought everything I can buy … I think I’d like to be a senator!”

In 1994, Michael Huffington spent $30 million in his bid for a Senate seat from California against Democrat Dianne Feinstein. He lost.

In 2002, Tom Golisano spent more than $74 million of his own money running for governor of New York. He received 14 percent of the vote. That same year, Democrat Tony Sanchez spent $60 million of his own money trying to become the governor of Texas — and lost to Rick Perry.

In 2004, John Kerry spent $6.4 million of John Heinz’s money on his presidential race, and still lost.

Last year, Jon Corzine, then-governor of New Jersey, spent about $24 million of his own money trying to hold onto his job. Despite outspending Republican Chris Christie 3-to-1, Corzine lost 49 percent to 44 percent. (Corzine also out-slimed Christie in that race by an whopping 106-to-1.)

In all, 20 candidates for the House or Senate in 2002 spent at least $1 million of their own money on their campaigns; 19 of the 20 lost, generally to more experienced candidates.

Even in the rare cases when the deep-pocket candidate wins, it’s not a novelty candidate — unless it’s Minnesota. Michael Bloomberg, the sitting mayor of New York City, spent an astronomical $100 million last year just to win his own office back, outspending his opponent 15-to-1. He squeaked in with 51 percent of the vote — and that was only after Bloomberg passed a massive new tax on voting for his opponent.

So Republicans better have a more impressive reason for picking Linda McMahon than “She’ll spend up to $50 million of her own money.”

But they don’t.

Any half-wit knows Connecticut will not vote for a professional wrestling “impresario” for the U.S. Senate. So unless Republicans have secret information that Blumenthal does enjoy dressing up in diapers, Republicans are forfeiting a Senate seat for no reason.

By contrast, Rob Simmons, who recently suspended his primary campaign against McMahon for lack of money, is a Haverford College graduate, a former Yale professor and an Army colonel. Unlike fantasist Blumenthal, Simmons really did serve in Vietnam, coming home with two Bronze Stars.

And Simmons, who remains on the Aug. 9 primary ballot, can win even in moderate-Republican Connecticut. He’s good on taxes, he’s good on defense — and he’s the best Connecticut is ever going to get.

Simmons was elected to Congress three times from a very liberal Connecticut district, beating an incumbent Democrat in his first run. As a result, he had the distinction of representing the largest number of Democrats of any Republican in the House of Representatives. Even in the dark Republican year of 2006, Simmons lost to his Democratic challenger by only 83 votes.

Instead of sitting around, idly predicting massive Republican landslides this fall, how about Republicans work on running candidates who might actually win?

If only we had some popular former governor, preferably a moose-hunter, whose endorsements are gold … Then we’d show ’em.