Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Are POTUS Obama's Winning Ways Being Sidetracked by the Predominantly Left-of-Center Ideology of His Staff?

Jonah Goldberg at the Los Angeles Times has a useful scribble on the Obama Presidency which hits upon two key points (winning and transformation - highlighted below).

At the extreme, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who want to be right, and those who want to win. We have always gauged Obama to be a winner who does what it takes to win and is willing to CHANGE, as required, if he sees that what he is doing is not winning. A leader must be as transformative as the change that he requires from the citizens. How else do you get elected as POTUS - President of the United States - as a black man (well, half-black)? You have to be SMART and VERY ADAPTABLE.

Accordingly, we were somewhat taken aback by this article as Goldberg writes that Obama's winning ways may be being sidetracked by the left-of-center ideology of the people with whom he is surrounded. If true, an ideological foundation rather than a winning philosophy for Obama would be a great mistake. To quote Goldberg:
"[Dana] Milbank wrote a column Feb. 21 arguing that all the president's problems ... can be attributed to a single factor ... because he didn't follow his chief of staff's advice on crucial matters" ... referring to Rahm Emanuel...."

If reports are to be believed, Emanuel wanted Obama to be less ambitious ideologically but more aggressive politically. Emanuel likes winning, and so he thinks the president should pick battles he can win. Emanuel opposed the idea of shutting down Guantanamo Bay within a year. He argued that Obama should have gone for a smaller, more digestible healthcare bill that expanded coverage and attracted bipartisan support. He offered similar advice on a cap-and-trade bill. But on these and other issues, Obama opted to follow the lead of ideologically committed House liberals.

[Obama] wants to be 'transformative'.... But such a transformation requires an electorate capable of being transformed. Obama and his acolytes misread the public, thinking voters were as worshipful as they were."
As a political centrist and as supporter of "Realpolitik", we hope that the reality is otherwise and that winning is still Obama's dominant theme.

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

You've Got to Sleep Somewhere: Not Heartbreak but Harvard Hotel?

Harvard Looks to Hotels - Developments - WSJ

Supreme Court lets stand order to remove Ten Commandments monument / The Christian Science Monitor -

Supreme Court lets stand order to remove Ten Commandments monument / The Christian Science Monitor -
"The US Supreme Court declined on Monday to take up a dispute over the placement of a Ten Commandments monument on the lawn outside a county courthouse in Oklahoma.

The justices dismissed the case in a one-line order without comment.

The action lets stand a ruling by a federal appeals court and clears the way for the display to be removed from public property....

A panel of the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals ... ruled that the display was an endorsement of religion and thus violated the First Amendment’s prohibition on excessive church-state entanglement. "
The case is clear as a matter of law. If people would put up a monument which listed the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution, for example, that would be fine, but putting up religious rules on state property - from any religion - is a violation of the Constitutional requirement that Church and State be separate. See Separation of church and state in the United States.

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