Let the PIGS Get Slaughtered

Will all those PIGS in Europe get what they deserve? And if they do, should we care?
Sadly, the answers are, probably not. And yes, we should, because what happens there will have a significant impact on those of us here in the good ol’ USA.

First, who are these PIGS (sometimes written as PIIGS and occasionally even as PIIGSTY)? Basically, they are some of the socialist countries in Europe that have gotten their budgets caught in a wringer. They’re facing all sorts of financial problems at home. And unfortunately, their habit of spending money they don’t have is having bad consequences for them… and for us. If that sounds familiar, it should.

The acronym PIGS stands for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. You can add Ireland to the longer version; and Turkey and Yugoslavia to the longest one. Right now, all of the attention is on Greece, so let’s begin there.

And let’s start with a dirty little secret no one wants to admit: When Greece was admitted to the European Union (EU) a while back, everyone involved knew that Greek authorities lied about the fiscal situation in their country.

Let me repeat that, to make sure you understand: Greece didn’t come anywhere close to meeting the incredibly lax fiscal requirements to become a member of the EU. The powers-that-be in that socialist consortium wanted Greece in; the socialists in Athens who ran the country wanted Greece in; and all of the kept media in Europe wanted Greece in. So everyone agreed to keep silent about the actual facts. With a wink-wink and a nod-nod, Greece was accepted.

If there was anyone bold enough to say that this emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes, his remarks were drowned out by the litany of “hoorahs!” from all the people who were oh-so-eager to get Greece on board. You can’t build the socialist super-state of Europe, otherwise known as the European Union, without them, you know.

So what happened? Remember the old axiom, if you want more of a particular behavior, reward it. If you want less of something, punish it. (Pardon an aside here, while I note that it has been the official policy of the United States government for most of my lifetime to reward laziness and incompetence, and to punish hard work and success. Guess which one we’ve been getting more of. Any wonder we’re in the mess we are?)

But back to our favorite baklava makers. Greece’s admission to the EU meant that her citizens and her government could go on the greatest spending binge they’d ever seen. Grab it while you can, guys! The money is free, free, free! We’ll worry about paying the piper when the time comes. If we’re lucky, maybe we can do what our cousins in the U.S. have done and foist all the bills off on our grandchildren.

Sorry, guys. We can do it, but you can’t. The boss of our central bank, otherwise known as Helicopter Ben Bernanke, can print or borrow all the money he wants. Heck, last year alone he created more than $2 trillion out of thin air. And you know what? The world still stands in line to loan Uncle Sam all the money he needs.

But Greece isn’t the U.S. and the drachma isn’t the dollar. Your day of reckoning can’t be put off forever. In fact, it’s here now. Nobody wants to loan you money anymore.

As a member of the EU, Greece was required by law to keep any deficits to an absolute maximum of 3 percent of GDP. This year they’re running four times that amount, with a deficit totaling 12.7 percent of GDP. No wonder cautious lenders are charging them more than double what Germany must pay to borrow money. That’s what happens when your creditworthiness stinks—as our leaders in Washington may soon find out.

For the past week, the biggest question in the international financial community has been who will bail out Greece? I’m betting it will be Germany. The reason I say so is that German officials have officially denied that they will do it at least three times. When government officials are this adamant about not doing something, I know it’s almost a sure thing. (Who was it who said, “Never believe a government policy change until it’s been denied at least twice”?)

If Greece gets bailed out, you can count on seeing a lot more PIGS line up at the public trough. Remember, what this is really all about is building a socialist New World Order. That was the modus operandi behind the creation of the EU in the first place. It is why every participant country was required to abandon their own currency in favor of something called the Euro. And it is why the standard for admission to the EU keeps slipping lower and lower.

By the way, that is also why you can expect to see Barack Obama start arm-twisting the State Department and Congress to “come to the aid of our Greek friends.” We’ve got it; they don’t; and in BO’s curious worldview, that’s all the justification he needs for taking your money and giving it to others. “From each according to his ability” (that’s you and your hard-earned assets, my friend), “to each according to his needs.” Anybody recognize the quote?

Yes, Barack Obama honestly believes that someone else’s need—even someone you’ve never met, living half a world away, and guilty of the most profligate misuse of what little assets he had—is a legitimate claim on what you have. It’s called socialism, my friend. Get enough important people to support it and you can call it something that sounds a lot better—like international assistance, or maybe the New World Order.

I could go on for pages, but I think you get the point. Just in case you don’t, let me end this diatribe with a very interesting quotation that reveals exactly what our financial masters have in mind for us.

This one comes, believe it or not, from the Wall Street Journal a couple of weeks ago. The editors gave Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton and one of Washington’s ultimate Insiders, nearly 200 inches of prime editorial space to tell us dummies what is really going on. Here’s what the stalwart Keynesian had to say:

“Look at President Obama’s budget proposal, spending freeze, jobs bill, stimulus, tax hikes on upper-income individuals, and proposed deficit commission. Also take a look at the fees he wants to impose on the biggest banks and his proposed regulation of Wall Street. Look at his stalled trade agenda. Now, explain the big picture.

“If you’re about to write, ‘more taxes and more spending,’ you’re either not thinking hard enough or you’re a Republican running for office this November.’”

Or, Bob (do you mind if I call you Bob?), you could be a Straight Talk reader who sees through all of your eloquent BS. You may be smart as a whip. But you’re not so clever that we can’t spot the baited hook that comes next:

“To see the big picture, you need to keep your eye on three big things. The first is the extent of government spending needed to offset the continued reluctance of consumers and businesses to spend.”

To read the rest of this folderol, see the complete article in the Feb. 5 issue of the Journal. Somebody in the editorial section must have a pretty good sense of humor, because the piece right next to Reich’s ramblings had the headline, “Washington vs. ‘Common Sense.’”

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about all of this in subsequent columns because the news won’t be good, my friends. The people who make monetary policy in the EU, like the ones who control the purse strings here, believe they have been endowed by their creator with the unalienable right to take your money to spend on projects they want, but know you abhor.

Welcome to the Brave New World of the socialist utopians. All it will take to make it work is your freedom and your wealth. Forgive me for pointing out that Barack Obama and his progressive friends think that’s a very reasonable price to pay.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

The Internment of the Japanese Americans

This is a very black week in the history of a country that prides itself on protecting the rights of its citizens. On Feb. 19, 1942, more than 120,000 Americans lost theirs, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066.

The order directed the United States military to remove every person of Japanese ancestry from within 100 miles of the west coast of the U.S. The military then moved them to 10 “internment camps” and kept them there for the duration of World War II.

Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt, who directed the operation, testified before Congress, “I don’t want any of them here. They are a dangerous element. There is no way to determine their loyalty…. We must worry about the Japanese all the time until he is wiped off the map.” They even rounded up orphaned infants; Gen. DeWitt said his target was anyone “with one drop of Japanese blood.”

One of the country’s fiercest conservatives, J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), testified against the measure. But a famous liberal, California Governor (and later Supreme Court Chief Justice) Earl Warren defended the mass incarcerations. Hoover said the Japanese Americans posed no significant threat to the country’s security. Supporting his position is the fact that the government never charged a single detainee with spying for Japan, or doing anything else to support our wartime enemy.

In 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion, removal and detention of tens of thousands of Japanese, without permitting them any legal appeals or procedures. The court stated (in a ruling that has never been overturned) that it is permissible to curtail the civil rights of a racial group when there is “a pressing public concern.”

In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation apologizing to detainees on behalf of the U.S. Government. And in 1990, some reparations were paid to some survivors of the camps. Can you say “too little, too late”?

—Chip Wood

Barack Obama, Deficit Peacock

I’m a deficit hawk. I hope you’re one as well.

If you are it means you want to see our gargantuan government put on a strict diet. You want to force it to live within its means, rather than borrow trillions of dollars to spend on programs we don’t want or need.

(As one crazy example, we just agreed to borrow a billion dollars from China so we can send it to Brazil to bribe them stop cutting down trees. That’s just one of the Administration’s new “ecology” programs.)

Deficit hawks are sick and tired of the way deals are done in our nation’s capitol (and far too many state capitols). We get angry knowing that our representatives use our money to bribe other voters so they can play “Big Spender” in Washington. We’re seriously afraid that our leaders will destroy our currency and bankrupt our country.

That’s what the phrase “deficit hawk” means. What does that make our president? I know President Barack Obama, and I can assure you he’s no deficit hawk. Despite all of his talk about cutting spending, trimming needless programs and being as frugal as possible with our money, he’s more like a deficit peacock.

By that I mean he’s much more concerned about how he looks and sounds than believing what he says. I’m sorry to have to say this, but our president is living proof of the old cliché about how you know a politician is lying (answer: his lips move).

I’m beginning to believe that the narcissistic egomaniac who occupies the Oval Office actually believes his own rhetoric. How else could our Teleprompter in Chief sound so sincere and convincing when he gets in front of a microphone to ‘splain things to us?

Here’s the Straight Talk rule for deciphering a politician’s rhetoric: Forget about what he says. Instead, watch what he does. What Barrack Obama has done is promote a spending spree that would make a drunken sailor jealous.

Obama has taken federal spending to a whole new level. If you thought George Bush, with his “guns and butter” social conservatism was irresponsible, W was a miserly skinflint compared to the smooth-talking sugar daddy who replaced him.

Immediately after taking office Obama increased discretionary domestic spending by 8 percent. That was for the second half of fiscal 2009. In fiscal 2010, he and his staff increased it by another 12 percent. Taken together, that’s a 24 percent increase in federal spending since George Bush’s last full year in office. And that total doesn’t even include Obama’s $787 billion “stimulus” package—or the new one he wants.

Now our Dissembler in Chief has promised to cut discretionary spending by 1 percent. As my grandkids would say, “Big whoop.” Let me tell you what’s not included in this so-called spending freeze:

  • Various government entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • The half-trillion in “stimulus” money that hasn’t been spent.
  • Foreign aid.
  • Pet federal education programs.
  • All of the various “greening” programs.

Bottom line? The anticipated savings from Obama’s so-called “freeze” amount to less than 1 percent of this year’s deficit—and that’s if Congress doesn’t add any pork or earmarks to the plan. Want to bet on that?

In his speech, Obama said, “I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans.” I can only admire the restraint of everyone in the audience; not a single person blurted out, “You lie!”

Last Sunday President Obama released the Federal Budget for fiscal 2011. It projects that federal spending will rise to $3.72 trillion in fiscal 2010, then climb to $3.83 trillion in fiscal 2011.

The projections include a deficit of $1.56 trillion this fiscal year and an additional $1.27 trillion next year. Then the numbers are supposed to start coming down.

Don’t believe for a second that they will. One of the key assumptions in the Obama budget is that inflation will be half the average rate it has been for the past 100 years. Does anyone anywhere really believe that?

Since they took over Congress the Democrats have increased non-defense spending by an astronomical $1.4 trillion. Under the new budget the national debt will triple by 2020.

During the past 15 months, our profligate government has amassed $1.8 trillion of new indebtedness. Believe it or not, Obama’s boys ran a deficit each and every month, including the tax-collection month of April. (While no one likes to mention it, the government normally enjoys a surplus in April. In fact, it has done so each and every April for the past 26 years. Then Mr. Obama took over.)

To help put that $1.8 trillion in new debt in perspective, consider this: That is more than double the total debt that this country accumulated during the first 200 years of its existence. Our debt load did not crack the $1 trillion mark until 1980.

To put it another way, today our dangerously profligate government racks up as much debt in six months as we did in our first 200 years.

And that’s why I say Barrack Obama and his cohorts in Congress are deficit peacocks.

They strut around Washington pretending to care about deficits… pretending they want to balance the budget… pretending they’ll help freeze spending.

Their strategy is simple and their audacity is amazing: Promise spending cuts in the future while going on a spending spree today. And this with money stolen from us in taxes or, even worse, stolen from our unborn heirs in the form of inflation.

That’s what deficit peacocks do. Nearly 50 years ago one of Lyndon Johnson’s cronies bragged about the strategy: “Tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect—the public is too damn dumb to understand.” The big-spending liberals haven’t changed a thing since then. Frankly, they haven’t needed to.

I wish I could claim credit for that marvelous descriptor, “deficit peacocks.” But I first heard it from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy group in Washington. I may not like your recommendations, fellows. But I love your phrase.
There is an epic battle going on in this country between the people who earn the money and the people who want to spend it—or even worse, want it spent on themselves. The pendulum is currently at the half-way point. Fifty percent of the population pays more than 97 percent of the taxes. We’re the ones who fill the trough. The other 50 percent get to eat there.

Is there any way to beat them? Yes. All we have to do is work harder to get decent people elected to office.

Hey, we already work a lot harder than they do in our jobs, our lives, our charities, our churches. Why can’t we work harder to defeat them at the polls?

As the voters in Massachusetts just proved, we can. So let’s do it.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Thoughts on the Super Bowl, A Good Suggestion and a Tea Party

*Three Super Bowl victories. Congratulations to all the fans of the New Orleans Saints ,who finally saw their team win the Super Bowl after a 42-year drought. Congratulations, too, to everyone who believes, even a tiny bit, in “the Super Bowl predictor.” This one says that if one of the original NFL teams wins the Big Game, the stock market will go up for the year. (Don’t scoff; it’s been right 79 percent of the time. How does that compare to your method?) And finally, congratulations to CBS for not buckling to pressure from NOW and other loony lefties to suppress that delightful ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mom. I loved it.

*Keep those cards and letters coming, folks. Well, actually I mean keep those emails coming. Don’t know if you read any of the correspondence at the end of my Straight Talk columns, but you should. Some of the observations and suggestions from you Dear Readers are a pure delight. I especially want to thank David J., who disagreed with a previous comment about Obama being a one-term president. His argument? “We should all mail the White House website and tell Obama to resign. We don’t need him as a one-term president. We need him as a 13-month president!” Glad you’re on our side, David.

*The Tea Party is our most popular. Here’s a stunner from a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. While 35 percent of Americans have a positive view of the Democrats and 28 percent say the same of the Republicans, 41 percent of us have a positive view of the tea party movement. Yup, those grassroots rebels are now more popular than either the Demopubs or the Republicrats. Good for them.

—Chip Wood

McCarthy Was Right!

On Feb. 9, 1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R.-Wisc.) gave a Lincoln’s Birthday speech in Wheeling, W.V., in which he asserted that scores of communists had infiltrated the U.S. State Department.

His charges, far from causing a nationwide fervor of anti-communist hysteria, as his critics have alleged, went mostly unnoticed at the time. Just two weeks earlier, Alger Hiss, then and now the darling of the left, was convicted of two counts of perjury for lying about being a spy for the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to life in prison.

We now know for certain, thanks to documents discovered in Moscow after the collapse of communism there, that McCarthy was, if anything, understating the case; and that Hiss was guilty of far more than perjury. He was a conscious and deliberate traitor to his country.

For nearly six decades, the left has conducted a relentless smear campaign against the junior senator from Wisconsin, making his name a symbol of irresponsible extremism. For an excellent account of what really did happen, get Blacklisted by History: The Untold Story of Senator Joe McCarthy and His Fight Against America’s Enemies, by M. Stanton Evans.

Truth may not forever be on the scaffold, nor deceit firmly on the throne. But for Joe McCarthy, who should be hailed as a genuine American hero, it certainly seems that way.

—Chip Wood

Obama’s Unjust Remarks

Is the State of the Union Address finally over?

Just kidding. I know it finally ended a few days ago. But golly, was that sucker l-o-n-g. If I were to dissect every bit of deceptive rhetoric in it, this column would be even longer. That’s not going to happen. But there was one section that I found particularly outrageous.

Before I get to it, however, I want to mention the folks who were sitting behind our Dissembler in Chief. Every time the camera showed Obama, there was Vice President Joe Biden behind his right shoulder and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi behind his left. Those two got to spend the entire evening staring at the President’s back. What fun.

I have to say Joe was the absolutely ideal audience. Every single expression that crossed his face—his smiles, his frowns, his chuckles, his glee—seemed perfectly timed to match to the script Obama was following. It was almost as though the Veep was an audioanimatronic creation of the Disney imagineers. Joe, you were perfect!

I can’t say the same thing about Madame Speaker, though. For much of the President’s speech, Nancy Pelosi looked as though her mind was elsewhere… and she wished her body was, too. I had to wonder what thoughts were troubling her stern visage. Maybe she knows that her dreams of presiding over the socialization of America are over. Maybe she realizes her record and her reputation are heading straight for the dumpster. Whatever the reason, she looked nervous to me. Good.

Now, on to the speech itself. Anyone expecting a milder, more conciliatory approach from the president had to have been disappointed. There were very few mea culpas in his 70-minute address. Instead, his basic message seemed to be that anyone who doesn’t support his programs just doesn’t understand them. So he’s going to ‘splain it all again. It reminded me of Desi talking to Lucy, but without the Cuban accent.

The weekend before SOTU (that’s an abbreviation of State of the Union, in case you saw the acronym and wondered what it meant), Valerie Jarrett, one of Obama’s top advisers, appeared on Meet the Press. Asked if losing a super-majority in the Senate would change the president’s strategy, she replied, “He is going to fight for what he’s always been fighting for… We’re not hitting a reset button at all.”

Even more telling was the president’s decision to bring David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager, into the White House. Plouffe immediately said that he’d be working to pass healthcare reform legislation “without delay.” His message for his fellow Democrats? “[Let’s] prove that we have the guts to govern. Let’s fight like hell.”

Doesn’t sound very conciliatory, does it?

It’s got to be tough to be a conservative back-bencher at one of these performances. All of the president’s allies fill the first half of the House chamber. And by tradition, they’re supposed to cheer like crazy for every rhetorical flourish that comes out of his mouth, no matter how wrong or ridiculous it is.

But the group I really felt sorry for this time were the six members of the U.S. Supreme Court who were in attendance. There they were, dressed in those flowing black robes and seated front and center, directly below the president.

By tradition, the members of this august body are supposed to sit there looking straight ahead. They are not supposed to show any expression, no matter what the president says and no matter what the sycophants in the audience do. Under the best of circumstance, it’s got to be tough to sit there for an hour-plus without moving a facial muscle.

But these weren’t the best of circumstances, because right in the middle of his speech the president lambasted them. The justices had to have been absolutely stunned to hear the president say: “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests—including foreign corporations—to spend without limit in our elections. Well, I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

Even before he finished urging Congress to right this terrible wrong, hundreds of Democratic senators, congressmen and cabinet officers had jumped to their feet, cheering and applauding the president’s remarks.

Talk about being blind-sided. As law professor Randy Barnett observed in The Wall Street Journal, “the head of the executive branch ambushed six members of the judiciary, and called up the legislative branch to deride them publicly.”

But there was something worse than the president’s bad manners. It’s that his remarks weren’t true; the Supreme Court ruling had done no such thing. Yes, in a landmark case known as Citizens United, the Court had the previous week reversed a 1990 ban against political advertising by domestic corporations and labor unions. But it left standing a 100-year-old ban on foreign entities doing so.

Yes, Barack Obama—an honored graduate of Harvard Law and one-time professor of Constitutional Law—had his facts wrong. Apparently, among the several dozen people who vetted the State of the Union Address, not a single one bothered to check the facts of the matter. While that’s awfully hard to believe, it’s better than the alternative—that Obama knew what he would say was false, and he just didn’t care.

The television coverage of that part of his speech got played over and over again on national TV. In numerous broadcasts, the scene was darkened so only one face showed clearly—that of Justice Samuel Alito. As the camera slowly focused on him, he could be seen shaking his head from side to side and mouthing the phrase, “not true.”

But it could have been worse. He could have emulated Joe Wilson and shouted, “You lie!”

Oops, we’ve run out of room for this week. I’ll have to save the rest of my remarks about POTUS’ SOTU for next week. So be sure to be back here next Friday morning, when we discuss the president’s jobs-creating and deficit-fighting promises.

If you think we’ve seen some fairy-tale forecasting before, folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Until then, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

The Ratification of 16th Amendment and the Assault on Freedom

I don’t want to worry you, but historically this is a bad week for freedom.

Among the worst events, 97 years ago this week a progressive income tax was made possible in the United States. Prior to this time the Federal Government paid all of its bills (including the salaries of congressmen, presidents, federal judges, et al) from the levies and duties it collected. There was no tax on individual citizens.

For more than 150 years the country was spared a progressive income tax because (a) the Constitution specifically forbade one and (b) the courts upheld the Constitutional prohibition.

But neither was able to deter the domestic advocates of this plank right out of the Communist Manifesto forever, unfortunately, and on Feb. 3, 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. A federal income tax and the authority to enforce it—the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—soon followed.

Today, almost a century later, the average American toils for nearly five months to earn the money to pay the federal behemoth. It’s still not enough to balance the books, however, as the national debt is growing by $1.4 trillion a year.

—Chip Wood

Tiger, Super Bowl Tickets, the Tax Code and Presidential Pandering

*Tiger replaced by a… frog? Accenture, one of Tiger Woods’ major sponsors, announced that the golfing legend would be replaced in their future advertising by a surfboard-riding elephant, a leapfrogging frog and other computer-generated animals. This time their $50 million annual budget will be spent on images they can control. Can’t say I blame them.

*Does that include a private jet? The Wall Street Journal ran a feature last week on how much it would cost to nab a seat at this year’s Super Bowl. In their research, bidding site eBay.com scored both the cheapest resale (still a hefty $1,750) and the most expensive package—a private box whose “buy now” price was a staggering $373,750. And no, it did not include transportation to the game by a private jet.

*Even the IRS commissioner needs help. This shouldn’t surprise you, but in a recent interview, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Douglas Shulman says he doesn’t even try to fill out his own tax return. “I find the tax code complex,” Shulman said. When asked why he didn’t help make the tax laws less complex, the commissioner put the blame on Congress. “I don’t write the tax laws,” he replied.

*Barack Obama’s populist pandering. No doubt the president’s promise to “tax those darned banks” will get the support of many voters. But consider: Many of his targets, such as HSBC, never took any bailout funds. Others, such as Wells Fargo, only accepted because they were forced to… and paid back every penny as soon as they could. Of course, such political favorites as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the auto companies—which were the largest recipients of government funds—will be exempt from the special tax.

Chip Wood

The Death of Obamacare

Well, how about those voters in Massachusetts? They just elected a Republican as the new senator from the Bay State. Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley for the seat Ted Kennedy held for more than 40 years. Brown’s victory has the left stumbling like a punch-drunk fighter who’s taken one too many hits to the head.

There goes the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. There goes Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) ability to bribe and bluster his way to getting healthcare passed. There goes Barack Obama’s plan to socialize the rest of the United States economy that Uncle Sam doesn’t already control.

And in all probability, there goes Obamacare.

To all of my friends and colleagues on the right, go ahead and gloat a bit. You deserve it. And it’s been a long time since you could.

Massachusetts has long prided itself on being one of the bluest of the blue states. Barack Obama defeated John McCain there by a 26-point margin. Democrats outnumber Republicans in the Bay State by almost three-to-one.

Ah, but independents in the Bay State are the ones who determine political victory. And like a majority of voters in the rest of the country, they are sick and tired of growing government, massive deficits, a sick economy and politicians who lie to them.

There has been a boatload of explanations offered for what happened and what it means. Some on the loony left even insist that Brown’s victory—and his campaign promise to help kill the healthcare bill—shouldn’t make any difference. They insist the Democrats still have enough votes to pass a healthcare bill on a “reconciliation” vote.

In case you’re not familiar with this parliamentary maneuver, essentially it’s a gimmick by which a simple majority in the House and Senate can approve the final version of two similar bills which were previously approved by both branches of Congress.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Committee, has been quoted as saying, “Even before Massachusetts and that race was on the radar screen, we prepared for the process of using reconciliation.”

Frankly, I’d like to see them try. If you think there’s a lot of anger at Congress in the country now, just wait until you see what would happen if they forced Obamacare into law. The uproar would be so loud and long I doubt if many who voted “aye” would dare show their faces in public for months.

In the face of Scott Brown’s stunning victory, many Democrats are reconsidering their positions. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), an ultra-liberal congressman, says bluntly that Congress “will have to start over on healthcare.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who once claimed that everything was “on course” for a speedy passage, now says she doesn’t have the votes to get the Senate’s healthcare bill approved.

Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), whose anti-abortion plank was crucial to getting Obamacare passed in the House, showed he looks at his mail when he declared: “Sweetheart deals and backroom negotiations may have secured 60 votes in the Senate, but it has left the American public disillusioned.”

Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has warned his fellow democrats that ignoring the lessons from Massachusetts will “lead to even further catastrophes” for their party. “There’s going to be a tendency on the part of our people to be in denial about all of this,” Bayh said. Then he added, “If you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope of waking up.”

Speaking of denial, here’s the most incredible comment on the Massachusetts election I’ve heard yet: “Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country: The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept [Barack Obama] into office.”

If you find that almost laughably absurd, wait until I told you who said it. Here’s a hint: Instead of “[Barack Obama]” in the sentence above, substitute the word “me.” Yes, it was none other than our illustrious president, in a recent interview with George Stephanopoulos.

As unbelievable as that statement was, listen to the excuse that followed: “We were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us,” the president explained, “that I think we lost some of that sense of speaking directly to the American people about what their core values are and why we have to make sure those institutions are matching up with those values.”

The problem is that the president hasn’t communicated enough with the American people? Give me a break. The Obama Administration is the most media-obsessed group ever to occupy the White House. CBS News ran some statistics revealing just how much time our Teleprompter in Chief has spent in front of an audience since he took office:

  • In his first 365 days in office, Obama made more than 400 public speeches. Some 52 of them were devoted to healthcare.
  • Obama has held 42 press conferences, four of them in prime time and broadcast on national television. That’s twice as many press conferences as George W. Bush held in his first year.
  • Thus far, Obama has given 158 exclusive interviews to various reporters, far more than any of his predecessors in the White House.
  • Plus, the president has conducted an additional 23 town hall meetings around the country to drum up support for his programs.

As anyone who can count past three could easily tell, the problem isn’t that we’ve heard too little from the president. The problem is that he’s tried to do too much that most Americans don’t like.

We were promised “hope and change.” Instead, we got a bait and switch, with every single proposal coming out of the White House costing more money and building more government than Americans wanted.

Will the President now shift to the right? His State of the Union message will contain some clues. I have to submit this column before I’ll get to hear it, however. So look for an analysis in this space next week.

Five months ago, I wrote a Straight Talk column predicting that the public would get fed up with the President’s radical effort to push this country to the left. The title of that Sept. 4 article was “How Barack Obama Will Destroy Liberalism.” In it I said, “To put it as succinctly as possible, Barack Obama seems determined to preside over the most radical transformation of the Federal Government this country has ever seen. And the American people don’t want it.”

Then I added, “I think we are witnessing the beginning of the end of liberal domination in Washington. I think Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Barack Obama have badly underestimated the American people. They lied about what they’d do and they badly misjudged how much we would endure. The counter-revolution has begun.”

And I concluded by saying, “Yes, the era of big government will soon be over. And we’ll have Barack Obama and all of his over-reaching cronies to thank for it.”,

Thanks to the people of Massachusetts for bringing that time one day closer.

Until next time, keep some powder dry.

—Chip Wood

Bailing Democrats, Fed Secrets, China’s Cars and the War on Poverty

*Bailouts I can believe in. In one short 24-hour period this month, four top Democrats have bailed out of their reelection campaigns. Leading the list was Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who was running so far behind three likely Republican opponents that he decided surrender was preferable to defeat. North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan has also announced he won’t run again. In Colorado, incumbent Governor Bill Ritter decided not to seek reelection. And in Michigan, Lt. Gov. John Cherry says he won’t be the Democratic nominee for governor.

*Why won’t they tell us? Two media organizations—Fox News and Bloomberg News—have filed suit against the Federal Reserve to learn which banks have received discounted loans from the Fed and other measures to beef up their balance sheets. The Fed has refused several requests under the Freedom of Information Act to divulge the information, claiming that releasing it could damage the banks’ reputation.

*China is now the world’s top car market. For the first time in history, citizens of another country purchased more automobiles in the past year than buyers in the United States. Chinese car sales surged 46 percent in 2009, to a total of 13.6 million vehicles. Meanwhile, just 10.4 million light vehicles were sold in the U.S.—the lowest total since 1982.

*Remember the War on Poverty? Every Wednesday I write a short tidbit called “This Week in History” for Personal Liberty Alerts. If you haven’t seen it before, check out some past issues under the Chip Wood Archives. And look for it next Wednesday at the bottom of the page. It was 46 years ago this month that President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty. In case you didn’t notice, poverty won.

—Chip Wood