Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Protecting Israel's "Back" 

Early last week I went up to Capitol Hill and met with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) at his request. Senator Graham was reaching out to pro-Israel leaders to seek support for a strong, bi-partisan resolution he has introduced in the Senate to pressure the Obama Administration to be more aggressive in confronting Iran's nuclear weapons program. The resolution does not have the force of law, but it sends a clear signal to our enemies and to Israel's enemies. 

One year ago today President Obama said during a speech to the annual AIPAC conference, "So there should not be a shred of doubt by now: when the chips are down, I have Israel's back." To most people that statement means that Obama will stand with Israel in a fight. But this White House has shown far more interest in reaching out to Iran than in protecting Israel's back. 

Just last week Secretary of State John Kerry was talking about renewed dialogue with Iran. He also said, "Iran is a country with a government that was elected and that sits in the United Nations." Most Americans will remember that Iran's last election was marred by rampant fraud. The results were highly suspect, leading to rioting and a brutal crackdown by the Islamist regime against pro-democracy advocates. 

While we can debate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's legitimacy, what is not debatable is that Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is calling the shots, and he wasn't elected by anybody. 

White House Focused On Winning, Not Governing 

Ever since President Obama won reelection last November, numerous commentators have remarked that he never stopped campaigning. In Friday's press conference, Obama revealed what drives his decision making -- his desire to destroy his opponents in Congress. 

Here is what he said: "What I can't do is force Congress to do the right thing. The American people may have the capacity to do that." In other words, Obama is looking to the next election for the voters to give him a Congress that will pass his agenda. 

Over the weekend, the Washington Post published a detailed story about the White House's aggressive political agenda and its goal of having both the House and the Senate after next year's congressional election. Solving the country's problems appears to be a distant priority. 

The last time the left had complete control in Washington, liberals rammed through Obamacare. If it happens again, the Post reports that the left will "push forward with a progressive agenda on gun control, immigration, climate change and the economy." 

Sequester Scare Tactics 

The sequester is a perfect example of the left's obsession with politics. The idea for the sequester came from the White House, but President Obama denied it. Stuck with it now, the apparent goal is to make the 2.5% cut as painful as possible in the hope that the public will punish conservative lawmakers in 2014 for making "draconian" cuts to key public services. 

So the president led his cabinet officials in making questionable statements about the sequester in a series of campaign rallies designed to scare the public into going along with his big government, tax and spend agenda. In his press conference Friday, President Obama implied that conservatives were more interested in protecting "tax loopholes for the well-off and well-connected" than in preventing hard-working Americans from getting hurt by the sequester. Here's what President Obama said about Capitol Hill janitors: 

"Starting tomorrow, everybody here, all the folks who are cleaning the floors at the Capitol -- now that Congress has left, somebody is going to be vacuuming and cleaning those floors and throwing out the garbage -- they're going to have less pay. The janitors, the security guards, they just got a pay cut, and they've got to figure out how to manage that."

Capitol Hill janitors have taken a pay cut lately, but it wasn't due to the sequester. Like every other hardworking American, they got hit by higher payroll taxes when the president signed the tax-hiking fiscal cliff deal into law. 

President Obama's alarmist claims had Capitol Hill officials scrambling. Numerous emails were sent throughout the day reassuring nervous workers that their paychecks would not change again. TheWashington Post's fact checker gave the president "Four Pinocchios" -- it's worst rating -- for his remarks, concluding, "nothing in Obama's statement came close to being correct." 

Is The Public Catching On? 

The latest Gallup tracking poll finds that the public is evenly split on President Obama's job approval -- 46% approve and 46% disapprove. But at the beginning of last week, 51% approved of the president's job performance and 43% disapproved. That represents an 8-point swing in a very short period of time. 

The daily countdown to the sequester dominated the headlines last week. It appears as though the public does not appreciate the overhyped rhetoric on sequestration and is unconvinced that it is impossible for the federal government to take a 2.5% cut after years of massive spending increases.