Political guru Dick Morris predicted Saturday that the White House will announce an “October surprise” — a deal with Iran over nuclear inspections before the Nov. 6 election.
Citing an Internet report on WorldNetDaily, a conservative website, Mr. Morris said a deal between the White House and the Iranian regime is in the works to ease sanctions on Iran in return for concessions on the Iranian nuclear program.
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By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
Barak Obama faces about the same problem that confronted Bill Clinton in 1994 when he lost control of Congress. In both cases, the Democratic presidents had alienated moderate and conservative voters and found themselves increasingly isolated with a political base of liberals and minorities. In each instance, the president worried that off-year election turnout among their base would be attenuated both because it always is in non-presidential years and because their policy failings had reduced the enthusiasm they found among their base voters. And both men found themselves forced to escalate their rhetoric and move their ideological positions to the left in order to try to drum up the kind of turnout they needed to keep power in Congress.
Clinton failed and Obama will too.
When President Clinton asked me to help him to move to the center to win re-election in 1996, he said “I’ve moved so far to the left that I don’t even recognize myself.” At heart a moderate while Obama is, at core, a leftist, Clinton was alluding to the positions he had to take to keep the support of his liberal House majority. Obama — for whom the further left he drifts the better — has no such qualms but the political impact of his move to the left will be just as fatal for his Congressional majority as it was for Clintons’.
When a president moves leftward, a vicious cycle begins to set in. Driven to raise the intensity of his rhetoric and to take positions further to the extreme, he alienates more and more centrists and moderates, forcing himself to rely more and more on left wing voters. This reliance, in turn, fuels an ever more pronounced leftward drift until he ends up with a vastly diminished political base.
In Obama’s case, his reliance on minority voters adds to the difficulty as he drives racially fair whites to see him as governing primarily in the interests of minority voters.
Obama’s decision to have his Justice Department sue Arizona over its immigration law — despite the fact that American voters back the statute by 2:1 — is the latest illustration of that leftward drift. So is Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision not to prosecute the Black Panthers who posted themselves at a mixed-race polling place in military uniform with clubs to deter white voters.
The further Obama moves to the left, the more he has to move to the left. And the worse it is for his ability to control Congress.
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
It’s one thing to say that Obama’s Administration showed its ineptitude and mismanagement in its handling of the Gulf oil spill. It is quite another to grasp the situation up close as I did during a recent visit to Alabama.
According to state disaster relief officials, Alabama conceived a plan – early on – to erect huge booms off shore to shield the approximately 200 miles of their state’s coastline from oil. Rather than install the relatively light and shallow booms in use elsewhere, the state (with assistance from the Coast Guard) canvassed the world and located enough huge, heavy booms – some weighing tons and seven meters high – to guard their coast.
So, Alabama decided on a backup plan. It would buy snare booms to catch the oil as it began to wash up on the beaches.
But…the Fish and Wildlife Administration vetoed the plan saying it would endanger sea turtles that nest on the beaches.
So, Alabama – ever resourceful – decided to hire 400 workers to patrol the beaches in person scooping up oil that had washed ashore.
But…OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Agency) refused to allow them to work more than twenty minutes out of every hour and required an hour long break after forty minutes of work so the cleanup proceeded at a very slow pace.
The short answer is that every agency – each with its own particular bureaucratic agenda – was able to veto each aspect of any plan to fight the spill with the unintended consequence that nothing stopped the oil from destroying hundreds of miles of wetlands, habitats, beaches, fisheries, and recreational facilities.
Where was the president? Why did he not intervene in these and countless other bureaucratic controversies to force a focus on the oil, not on the turtles and other incidental concerns?
According to Alabama Governor Bob Riley, the Administration’s “lack of ability has become transparent” in its handling of the oil spill. He notes that one stellar exception has been Obama aide Valerie Jarrett without whom, he says, nothing whatever would have gotten done.
Eventually, the state stopped listening to federal agencies and just has gone ahead and given funds directly to the local folks fighting the spill rather than paying attention to the directives of the Unified Command. Apparently, there is a world of difference between the competence of the Coast Guard and the superb and efficient regular Navy and military.
Now, the greatest crisis of all looms on the horizon as hurricanes sweep into the Gulf. Should one hit off shore, it will destroy all the booms that have been placed to stop the oil from reaching shore. And there are no more booms anywhere in the world according to Alabama disaster relief officials. “There is no more inventory of booms anywhere in Earth,” one told me in despair.
The political impact of this incompetence has only just begun to be felt. While Administration operatives are flying high after a week in which the president’s ratings rebounded to 49% in Rasmussen after his firing of General McChrystal, the oil is still gushing and the situation is about to worsen.
The obvious fact is that Obama has no executive experience nor do any of his top advisors. Without a clear mandate from the top, needed efforts to salvage the situation are repeatedly stymied by well meaning bureaucrats strictly following the letter of their agency policy and federal law. The result, ironically, of their determined efforts to protect the environment has been the greatest environmental disaster in history. But some turtles are OK!
by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
To the left, the oil spill is not an index of presidential competence or an issue in the political sphere. It is a daily gushing of poison into the Earth’s waters as a direct result of the president’s failure to stop it. They blame BP. But they already hate oil companies. And they blame Obama, too. And they are coming to dislike him.
When Obama attempts to recoup this damage to his political base by pushing new legislation on the environment or by resurrecting his cap-and-trade legislation or by bringing criminal charges against BP or by setting up a liability fund for the spill’s victims, it does not solve his political problem. With each day, 60,000 gallons gush into the Gulf of Mexico, Obama’s equivalent of the body count in Iraq that caused the left to loathe George W. Bush. Rhetoric or programs or visits to the gulf or posturing won’t assuage the negatives. Only plugging the hole in the bottom of the ocean can do it.
The right and center of American politics turned off Obama over health care. And now the left is leaving him over the oil spill.
Why can’t Obama plug the hole?
Because he has no administrative experience. I often saw Bill Clinton, as governor and as president, call in experts and ask the tough questions when he faced a new disaster. In Arkansas, it was tornadoes or floods or fires. In Washington, it was Oklahoma City. But, each time, he thoroughly familiarized himself with all the technical issues. He took a bath in the science and substance of the hazard and became as knowledgeable as those who had spent a lifetime studying it. So he knew what questions to ask.
Any CEO or COO or manager has similar experience. But a community organizer, law professor, state senator, U.S. senator and president doesn’t have the requisite experience. He doesn’t know not to trust his own bureaucracy. He hasn’t been burned enough to realize that he needs to intervene to waive restrictions, set aside regulations and open up the process to new solutions. He’s like JFK during the Bay of Pigs. He doesn’t know how to avoid being betrayed by his own bureaucracy and the industry it’s supposed to regulate.
Why did he not waive the Jones Act (he still hasn’t) to allow foreign vessels to ply our waters to clean up the spill? Not because he was against it. He couldn’t have been against so obvious a course as waiving it. It was likely because nobody told him about it, and he never knew to ask.
Why did he let the bureaucracy use only U.S. contractors to dredge the Gulf and build the berms that Lousiana wanted? Why did he spurn the offer of Dutch assistance (half the country has been dredged from the sea and is below sea level)? Not because he wanted the jobs to go to Americans. That would have been an insane consideration in the face of this crisis. It is probably because he never realized that our capacity for dredging needed augmentation. Because he never asked.
To the right and the center, these failings show that Obama is in over his head. But to the left, which bleeds for each drop of water in the gulf and cries over every turtle or shrimp or sea bird, it is an unpardonable sin.
It is the nature of things that presidential mistakes metastasize into presidential character flaws. Bush’s inaction over Katrina comes across as insensitivity. Now Obama’s incompetence and inexperience is causing liberals to see him as arrogant, aloof, removed, conceited, suspicious of outside advice and even lazy. Long after the oil has stopped spilling, these supposed character defects will haunt the president, just as Jimmy Carter’s reputation of timidity and inability lasted long after the Iran hostages came home. These defects will last until 2012 and beyond.
By Dick Morris And Eileen McGann
There are howls of outrage coming from the liberal community in Alberta, Canada. It seems that some doctors, desperate to protect their patients from the overcrowded and failing socialized medical system in their country, have set up private clinics to treat them. To circumvent Canadian laws, which prohibit charging for medical care, they have set up private, membership clinics where, for $2,000 a year, patients can access well staffed and equipped clinics and avoid the long waits and compromised care of the public system.
The leading Canadian newspaper, the Globe and Mail, reports that “critics say that the clinics are taking physicians away from the public system making it even harder…to find a family doctor.” David Eggen, executive director of a group that supports the Canadian socialized system, Friends of Medicare, said that it’s already hard to find a family physician in Canada and that clinics like these, springing up in several Canadian cities, could make it even harder.
It does not seem to have occurred to defenders of socialized medicine that the system itself is causing the doctor shortage. Cuts in medical fees, overcrowding of facilities, shortages of equipment and space, and bureaucratic oversight have all combined to drive men and women out of family medical practice. Now, with a critical shortage looming, those who can afford to pay for adequate care are opting out of the public system and, literally, taking their lives into their own hands.
But it is illegal to make patients “have to pay a fee to gain access to health services” that are provided free by the government system. So patients and doctors are forming membership-only groups to avoid the legal penalties that could potential stop them from getting or giving the care that they need.
This is where the United States is headed. Socialism dries up the supply of medical care and forces ever stricter rationing of the available resources. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, “Eventually socialism runs out of other peoples’ money.”
With the full implementation of Obamacare and its likely cuts in physician reimbursement, more and more doctors will choose to opt out of Medicare and charge their patients for their care. The elderly who need specialized care will have no choice but to take out insurance, not to fill gaps in Medicare coverage, but to overlay the system with private coverage so they can get the care Medicare now provides to all seniors. If you want to see a family doctor, it will be rough unless you are paying for the care privately. And to see a specialist, at the low reimbursement rates afforded by the program in the future, will be well nigh impossible.
Medical care for the elderly will become like public housing or public education in the inner city. Those who can afford to go elsewhere will. Those who can’t will be left to fend for themselves in overcrowded public facilities that will be, at least, free.
And then, as in Canada, liberal critics will rail, not against the system that dried up the resources in the first place or against the socialist rules that drove doctors out of medicine, but against the private clinics for resources from the public sector.
By plunging our excellent medical care system into this new world of regulation, fee cuts, and care rationing, the U.S. is going down the disastrous road Canada has taken.
Unless we can elect a Republican majority in November and a GOP president in 2012, this is our future.
By Dick Morris
The inevitable outcome of the Greek financial crisis – soon to be followed by comparable events in Portugal, Spain and probably Italy – will be the collapse of the Euro and a sharp halt in the momentum for European integration.
Ultimately, there is only one nation in Europe that investors trust – Germany. And they will only support the Euro and treat the southern European nations (now called Club Med) as credit-worthy if Germany backs up the debt. The current $1 trillion fund is a palliative that will not satisfy the market once the larger obligations of Spain ($1.6 trillion) and Italy ($2 trillion) come into question.
Germany will have to buy the southern European debts and assume national responsibility for their repayment. But while her leaders may be willing to do it, I doubt that her voters will acquiesce. German nationalism – the force that dominated Europe for one hundred years – will not take kindly to paying the bills for their profligate neighbors to the south.
While conservatives are quick to blame the social welfare policies of Greece and the other Club Med nations for their deficits, the fact is that this increasing level of debt is what inevitably happens when a nation is not allowed to use monetary policy to counter economic downturns. With the German-dominated European Central Bank in charge of interest rates, Club Med nations did not have the zero interest option the Fed embraced in this country. So the only way out of recession was through fiscal policy which led to deficits that are out of control and a debt that cannot be repaid.
But unless Germany steps up and assumes responsibility for these debts – something its voters likely will not permit – the Euro is dead. Some have spoken about creating a two tier Euro, one backed by Germany and a softer currency that would not be. But this is merely a euphemism for the end of the single currency for the continent.
Ultimately, those who wanted to broaden the European Union will have trumped those who sought to deepen it and blocked the path to total political unity, at least on a continent-wide basis.
This does not mean that trade barriers will return to Europe and it does not preclude deeper ties among the well-behaved nations of northern Europe. But it does mean that the United States of Europe will not come to be.
Those who value freedom should heave a sigh of relief at this prospect.