A Populist CPAC, but where are the ideas?

Bookmark and Share Meeting Donald Rumsfeld today, the man who knows his knowns from his unknowns, he saw my media badge saying WhiteHouse12 and asked me “You’re from the White House?” I explained I was not, and we are a website covering the election, but I can’t be sure whether he was disappointed or not.

Being an election year, you would expect CPAC 2012 to be a populist fest of election themes, peppered with attacks on the Obama administration, and today’s line-up did not disappoint on that front. The worrying thing is that the slate of speakers, while inspiring the crowd, did not have ideas to inspire the folks with outside the conference hall. The speakers were long on broad principles but short on specifics.

CPAC 2012 Kicked off with a populist energy, but are speakers offering enough?

Marco Rubio got the crowd all whipped up, ready to be severely unwhipped by a windbag speech from Mitch McConnell. The House Senate Majority leader did the math well when he said that if you lose your job in the Obama economy it will take you 40 weeks to find a new one. However, his math failed him when he exceeded his 10 minute slot by some 20 minutes. Some disciplined editing down to 10 minutes would have given him a better speech. When he got a cheer at the end I couldn’t work out whether it was for his message or the fact that he had finished.

The schedule ran 30 minutes late for the rest of the day, and Michele Bachmann followed. Her speech was probably the most detailed of the day, focused on the series of foreign policy failures by the Obama administration. The former candidate launched a sustained attack on the policy failures, and blasted the president for not backing Mubarak, saying “Obama failed to stand by Mubarak and that helped fuel the revolution in Egypt … The president spurned the President of Egypt when he took his first foreign trip to Cairo. In an absolutely shocking move, he invited the Muslim Brotherhood to hear his speech when Mubarak’s policy was to keep the Brotherhood at arm’s length.”

Bachmann attacked the president for not standing by Israel, “Before Obama was elected, no one had ever heard of a United States president saying to the world that the United States is not a judeo-christian nation.  I am here to say we are.” She concluded “The president’s foreign policy does change the history of the world, which is why Barack Obama cannot have a second term as president.”

Rick Perry got the crowd going as well, focusing on the economy he said “Success on Wall Street shouldn’t come at the expense of Main Street.” With the crash on the way, Perry said “Folks on Wall Street who saw it coming, they made millions; folks who didn’t see it coming, they got bailed out.” His parting shot was intended to strike an ominous note, saying “I’m fearful of what the score’s gonna be if we let the president start the second half as a quarterback.”

More populist notes were struck by Herman Cain, who told CPAC “A lot of people thought that after the character assassination that was launched against me that Herman was going to shut up and sit down and go away… Ain’t going to happen.” On his 9-9-9 plan, Cain told conservatives to press candidates for federal office to embrace his flat-tax solution before they are elected. He also invited “Joe The Plumber” Samuel Wurzelbacher, who is running for Congress in Ohio’s 9th District, to take a bow.

None of the main speakers offered endorsement messages for the 2012 GOP nominees, preferring instead to talk more generically about the need to stop a second Obama term. A late addition to the speaker slate was Rand Paul who arguably matched, perhaps exceeded, the rapturous applause received by Cain. Paul asked if the President hated rich people and poor people with jobs, but then went on to state “The president doesn’t really hate all rich people, just those who don’t contribute to his campaign.” He then rallied “If you’re a crony, if you’re a buddy, just stop by the White House.”

Paul rightly reminded attendees of Ronald Regan’s “optimism,” a president who he said “turned a whole generation of Democrats into Republicans.” His parting shot was “Who will be that next Ronald Reagan?” This gets to the heart of what folks are feeling, which ran though this whole first day, feeling the need for inspiration, the need for a positive approach, the need for American exceptionalism.

What was lacking was any real depth to the conservative messages today, and it will take more than the invocation of the name of Ronald Reagan and repeating the wrongs of the incumbent to put a conservative into the White House. Reagan brought more than sunny optimism to the White House, he brought some strong and deep ideas on the economy and foreign policy as well. I didn’t hear the equivalent depth of ideas today.

Tomorrow will see Gingrich, Romney and Santorum take the stage, but will they bring any more than today’s speakers? I may not know the knowns or unknowns of what tomorrow holds, but I know I won’t be holding my breath.

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Will Obama’s Cozy Crony Capitalism with Solyndra and LightSquared be His Undoing?

Bookmark and Share    LightSquared is just the latest example of questionable conduct which tears down the façade of transparency as well as the political and legal integrity of President Obama and his Administration. Evidence from the Pentagon in regards to a new wireless project by LightSquared, a satellite broadband company based in Virginia, has been raising questions about a new crony capitalism crime involving the Administration. This latest scandal comes on the heals of the Solyndra scandal which saw Democrat donors with Obama administration ties, secure a $500 million loan for the solar energy firm right before it went bankrupt. In the case of LightSquared, in order to help that corporate intersts, a firm owned by Democratic donor Philip Falcone, it seems that the Obama Administration asked Air Force General William Shelton to alter testimony that he presented in a classified briefing to members of Congress.

The testimony was called for after the Pentagon raised concerns that LightSquared was embarking upon a new wireless project which preliminary tests indicated would create a significant disruptions to the military’s use of critical Global Positioning System technology, which among other things, controls missile targeting.

When questioned extensively by members of Congress, General Shelton admitted that the White House pressured him to alter his testimony in order to make it more favorable for the Democrat donor’s company to move ahead with the project, despite how much it could possibly alter the military’s effectiveness. It is further alleged that the original testimony was leaked to LightSquared in advance of its delivery to the congressional panel it was meant for.   Such a leak was a total breach of protocol in a process that only included the White House, the Office Management and Budget, and the Department of Defense .

This blatant attempt to influence Shelton’s original testimony and to involve LightSquared in the process in order to produce biased testimony designed to benefit another Democrat donor, is further evidence of the type of corruption that the Obama Administration is consistently engaged in. This time though, its crony capitalism went so far as to tamper with our nation’s defense capabilities. Such recklessness is more than just unforgivable, it is life threatening. But the Obama Administration seems not to have any regard for anything but its own political survival.  And their history of politics before policy and campaign contributors before national concerns is extensive.

Who can forget the strange case of the Deep Water Horizon environmental disaster in the Gulf.?

After the President received more campaign donations from Bristish Petroleum than any other candidate in the nation he granted BP’s Deepwater Horizon a waiver that sheltered them from regulatory requirements.  The Administration subsequently honored the  Deep Water Horizon with a safety award. Now after hundreds of millions of gallons of oil have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico, the federal government is blaming the operators of the Deep Water Horizon  for cutting corners that led to the disaster.  Ironically, the Bush Adminstration which was accused of being in the pocket of big oil interests, cited the Deep Water Horizon 6 times for safety violations.

Still though, President Obama likes to wage class warfare and hold oil companies up as greedy enemies of the people, and to claim that the big, bad Republicans are in bed with them. He loves claiming that Republicans are for big business while suggesting that he is not. Yet whose Administration is risking lives, the economy, and the environment for big business in return for big money contributions to his reelection effort?

Until now, President Obama’s Administration has escaped any aggressive scrutiny of its illegal conduct. The Democrat controlled Senate and House that he enjoyed for the first two years of his term, failed to thoroughly investigate any of the many puffs of smoke that indicated the fires of Obama related corruption. President Obama failed to face proper scrutiny in the case of BP. He failed to be properly investigated when his Administration was found to have been offering Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestack a job in turn for not challenging Senator Arlen Specter in a Democratic primary, or even when his Justice Department refused to investigate charges of black on white racism. These are just a few of the examples of corruption that has been ignored by the political establishment but this President has been virtually immune from the law in regards to a long list of other illegal activity. Such as:

  • Seizing control of GM and Chrysler without proper authorization from Congress.
  • Firing whistle-blower Gerald Walpin for doing his job as the Inspector-General in charge of investigating corruption, waste, and fraud in government programs.
  • Collecting data on fellow Americans who oppose healthcare reform with flag@whitehouse.gov and now, through a new Obama campaign website, again collecting data on fellow Americans who disagree with the Administration
  • Placing the U.S. Census Bureau under the supervision of the White House Chief of Staff, by law the Department of Commerce.
  • His Justice Department’s smuggling of weapons, that the President signed off on funding for.
  • Manipulating jobs by hiring and rehiring Census workers.
  • Creating false districts and assigning stimulus funds to those districts.
  • Violating tax codes by releasing private tax details to the public when attacking Koch Industries.
  • Creating a taxpayer-funded position, Director of Progressive Media & Online Response, to promote Obama’s incumbent candidacy, in violation of the Hatch Act.
  • Obama’s filming of a campaign ad in the White House in violation of FEC laws.

Now as the 2012 election begins to ramp up, any attempts to investigate the President’s questionable acts and his Adminstaration’s conflicts of interest, will be written off as politically motivated, Republican campaign tactics. In all honesty, such investigations would indeed be a distraction from the issues. But Republicans do not need to try and win in 2012 by creating any distractions from the issues. Right now, on the issues of most importance to voters, Republicans win. That is however a fact that the left will ignore when the “Solyndra” hit’s the fan. It is also a fact that should really not play a role in whether or not questionable conduct by the Obama Administration should be investigated.  The law is the law and political considerations should not determine the level of scrutiny that legally questionable conduct is given. Not unless unbeknownst to me, there has been a constitutional amendment passed which grants a Commander-in-Chief immunity from such things as the Hatch Act, or tampering with sworn testimony.

Of course the President will defend his Administration by try to claim such things as being among the most transparent executive branches in history because of new procedures he enacted that releases the White House visitors logs and meeting with lobbyists to the public. But the loopholes in this policy are big enough to  fit an undetected army of liberal interest groups though.

First of all, these logs are not made public until four month’s time has passed.

Then there are also reports of Administration officials scheduling meetings in the White House Conference Center which is conveniently not covered by the Worker and Visitors Entrance System (WAVES System) that collects the data for these logs. Furthermore, the White House‘s attempt to achieve “transparency“ through the WAVES System does not include records of meetings with lobbyists in coffee shops and restaurants near the White House.  All of this essentially circumvents sincere disclosure laws and policies.

For those reasons, Congress should look into the passage of new lobbying disclosure regulations that have real teeth and are capable of exposing government influence of Congress and the White House in real-time.

In the meantime, President Obama is getting away with murder and while the G.O.P. does not need to take President Obama down via a scandal, they also have a responsibility to not cover-up the White House cover-ups.

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