Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coming Soon: Back to the Future — Our ‘Rendezvous with Destiny’

Forty-six years ago today on October 27, 1964, Ronald Reagan gave his now-legendary "Time for Choosing" speech. Next Tuesday, you and I have our own "rendezvous with destiny" as well.

October 27, 2010 - by Mary Claire Kendall

Many say next Tuesday’s election will be a referendum on President Barack Obama and that it will register epic disapproval, its feel and impact not unlike a Hawaiian tsunami, usually unexpected by the victims, triggered by earthquakes and then the eruption of a volcano.

This is true. Mount Voter Anger & Frustration, it seems clear, is about to erupt and give Obama the shock of a lifetime — perhaps the spanking he never got as a child in Hawaii. Enough with the European socialism! Spank! Enough with unaffordable cradle-to-grave health care and other entitlements we can’t afford! Spank! Focus on jobs, glorious jobs, so we can afford to take care of ourselves! Spank! Spank! Spank!

Three numbers point to the coming tsunami: 64% now think the country is on the wrong track; nearly 50% have disapproved of Obama’s performance since the summer of 2010 when he assumed ownership of the bad economy (W’s recession was deemed officially over in June 2009); and less than 40% of independents support Obama as of the summer of 2010, abandoning him in droves starting in the summer of 2009 when he failed to compromise on his excessive health care plan which translated into greater independent support for Republicans in the midterms.

Of course, Democrats are now already figuratively speaking “underwater” (many selling short), a reality they will confront on November 2, when Obama’s reduced value is finally known — likely eyepopppingly less than in 2008, when they bought his “hope and change” rhetoric. All indicators are it won’t be pretty. That’s what makes American democracy so great — and entertaining. Politicians tell voters what they think they’re worth — Obama gave himself a B+ — and voters tell them to go “shove it.”

But next Tuesday’s election — more than signaling what voters don’t want — will signal what voters want.

In this regard, it seems more and more clear that November 2 will be a referendum on the wisdom of Ronald Reagan from which we have veered in recent years.

Reagan’s “Time for Choosing” speech, which he gave 46 years ago today on October 27, 1964, honed in on the essence of what has made America so exceptional and so great, electrifying Americans of all stripes.

Ronald Reagan — then, ironically, a General Electric spokesman poised to embark on a political career that his good friend, Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, rightly predicted then would take him to the White House — asked in this famous speech whether “we still know the freedoms intended for us by the Founding Fathers.” He compellingly highlighted the very challenges we confront today, namely: “Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

The Republican Study Committee has artfully interspersed this speech with remarks made by the current crop of Democratic leaders, including Obama, in a video (“Those Voices Don’t Speak for Us”) as a closing argument for the midterms. It includes Reagan presciently noting self-government’s perennial threat:
A government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew, those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector
of the economy.
Fasten your seat belts: it’s time for another “rendezvous with destiny.”
Mary Claire Kendall's articles have appeared in the NY Daily News, New York Post, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, Human Events Online, the Daily Caller, Big Hollywood, On Patrol (USO magazine) and VFW Magazine, among many other publications. Visit her Website at
This piece first appeared in Pajamas Media at .

Friday, October 22, 2010

The madness of Barack Obama

By Mary Claire Kendall

They say history repeats itself.

On July 2, Dave Bossie of Citizens United and writer-director Steve Bannon of Victory Productions began discussing a short "closing argument" video - with a working title called "Bill of Indictment" - for release Oct. 1, about the leftist agenda that, since January 2009, Barack Obama and his Capitol Hill allies have imposed upon unwilling Americans.

Artwork used in print version of commentary, replicated at
On July 2, 1776, 234 years earlier, Thomas Jefferson had just crafted his Declaration of Independence - a bill of indictment on the "Madness of King George III." (A 1994 film captured that year's revolution.)

By July 4, "Battle for America" was fully conceptualized, with Dick Morris, Newt Gingrich and Lou Dobbs coming on-board immediately. "We were able to do an 80-minute feature documentary, soup to nuts, in 90 days," Mr. Bannon said.

But they got lots of help from San Francisco liberal Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and company.

The three-act film, far from preaching to the choir, Mr. Bannon said, is directed at independents and Reagan Democrats. It's a "Greek tragedy" complete with a Greek chorus, led by Mr. Morris and including Ann Coulter, Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Dobbs and others who guide the audience through a collection of sound-off videos from Mr. Obama and fellow liberals so that, in line with Mr. Bannon's vision, they are "hoist(ed) with their own petard."

Their powerfully arrayed words and actions drive home the point that they have executed and presided over the systematic transformation of America into a European socialist state that Americans didn't vote for and don't want - including cradle-to-grave health care courtesy of trillions of dollars' worth of Chinese renminbi and government control of private businesses like GM, reducing American competitiveness and jobs. As many as 100 House Democrats stand to lose their seats because they voted for Obama health care, disapproval of which tops 60 percent in the latest Rasmussen poll.

As a prototypical independent constituent told Rep. Dan Lungren, the California Republican related in the film, "I voted for Barack Obama, but I did not vote for this madness,."

Ready or not, here comes a second American Revolution.

"We are carpet-bombing this film," said Mr. Bannon, including this weekend at the 3,000-strong Virginia Tea Party Convention, and "Battle for America" will play at theaters in areas chock-a-block with independents and Reagan Democrats who have had it.

Mr. Morris predicts Nov. 2 will dramatically check Mr. Obama's "madness."

Asked if Mr. Obama may be crazy like a fox, fancying himself like Bill "Clinton the Triangulator," Mr. Morris told me, "He might try to, but our politics [have] moved so far to the left that what used to be the right is now the center." No tax increases, no social engineering on health care, no state bailouts with federal money are all "centrist" positions now. "So, I think he'll try to move from what used to be the left to what used to be the center. But, that will only mean moving from the extreme left to the far left."

All of which means he's got a way to go before he reaches the sane center, promising what Mr. Morris believes will be an earthquake on Nov. 2.

Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based writer.

Originally published at:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Obama’s Political Tin Ear

by Mary Claire Kendall

When it comes to President Barack Obama’s political tin ear and inability to feel voters’ pain, truly it’s an embarrassment of riches.

The federal deficit, well in excess of $1 trillion, speaks volumes; but it lacks the immediacy of, say, last May’s Gulf Coast scenes of Obama, alone on the beach, limply picking up tar balls, as BP’s burst oil well was gushing and ruining lives; or the First Lady’s luxurious vacation in Spain this summer.

And now we have the very relatable Oval Office redecoration, costing tens of thousands of dollars, at a time when the federal budget is drowning in red ink and most Americans would be hard-pressed to replace carpets and sofas still having good wear left in them, let alone buy fancy wallpaper from the Hamptons.

And while the work was paid for by the White House Historical Association, it’s naïve to think the “quid” for the “quo” of an Oval Office makeover will cost taxpayers not a dime. But even positing utmost rectitude, the lack of frugality when America is approaching bankruptcy is incomprehensible.

Bill and Hillary Clinton already spent an estimated $337,000 in the 1990s to refurbish the Oval Office — along with the East Room, Blue Room, State Dining Room, Lincoln Bedroom, and Lincoln Sitting Room, with the assistance of Arkansas decorator Kaki Hockersmith.

This work, also paid for with private money, required counsel’s approval, given obvious conflict of interest concerns, and, in fact, as the New York Times noted back then, generated an angry letter [1] from then Deputy Counsel Vince Foster to the White House Usher’s Office on what he believed was the unfair politicization of the cost, shortly before he was found dead at Fort Marcy.

But then redecorating the White House has generated controversy since the dawn of the republic — now more than ever given our nation’s extreme indebtedness.

And just what should our national priorities be? Since Obama is so inept at properly projecting them, it’s helpful to consider remarks by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), poised to be next speaker of the House, to the American Legion.

After noting our nation, particularly our troops, have paid dearly during nine years of war, Boehner reflected: “We have serious decisions to make regarding our path forward, and these decisions will be made in an environment in which we borrow 41 cents of every dollar we spend. This means we must focus on working together to identify our national security priorities and ensure our continued military and economic superiority.”

Quite simply, the test for spending, knowing it puts America more deeply in debt, making us correspondingly more vulnerable to our enemies, should be: Is this spending essential to national security? Fancy new Oval Office digs clearly don’t qualify.

As Obama himself said in February 2009, upon release of his first budget: “There are times where you can afford to redecorate your house, and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding the foundation.”

If only they had stuck to Michelle’s organic garden, including beehives installed on the South Lawn, a White House first, to supply organic produce and honey. Instead, they’ve supplied rich material for comedians and bloggers (Arianna Huffington dubbed the first family’s redecorating efforts “The Audacity of Taupe [2]” recently). Not to mention both Republican congressional candidates and Democrats in hyper-distancing mode.

Article printed from Pajamas Media:
URL to article:
URLs in this post:
[1] generated an angry letter:
[2] The Audacity of Taupe:

Copyright © 2010 Pajamas Media. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer of Discontent

As the oil began gushing out of the BP Deep Horizon well, many questioned the wisdom of drilling a mile below the ocean's surface, apparently to satisfy environmentalists. So the contingency plan if/when the oil well blows one mile below the ocean's surface? Deploy sophisticated technology designed to stop the gusher? No, it doesn't exist.  Fallback plan, if all else fails: relief wells that take a few months to build, while the oil gusher continues to whack away at livelihoods, ways of life, and much of Louisiana's natural beauty.

Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS) provided more context on This Week, a few days later on Sunday, June 6.  He explained that 30,000 deep water oil drills had been approved since Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas gave the OK to deep water oil drilling, and that this Deep Horizon/BP disaster is the only such one. Most of the accidents, he said, have occurred with tankers, and that if we ceased our deep water oil drilling, we would be importing that much more oil, increasing the likelihood of tanker accidents.

Deepwater oil drilling, he stressed, is a big source of jobs and revenue.

The deep water oil rigs, he said, would not go out of commmission but would simply move to other parts of the world -- off the coast of Africa, Indonesia, etc. -- again making us progressively more dependent on the rest of the world for our oil, thereby further undermining our national security and that of our allies since so much of the oil profit would go into the hands of our enemies.

Now, this disaster has certainly put into the sharpest focus possible the need to have tighter safety regulation -- and to impose stiff penalties when greasing politicians hands' undermines saftey. Also, we need to have a better contingency plan should, God forbid, the unthinkable happen again. The irony is, as Gov. Barbour noted, such technology already exists -- the product of American innovation, which the Chinese and others are making use of it. Furthermore the technology exists to avoid such catastrophes in the first place -- technology which the Chinese and others are availing themselves of.

But, as Gov. Barbour suggests, if unwise policies are implemented, it would only compound the disaster the Gulf states are now reeling from.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The electronic run on banks nobody seemed to notice

By Mary Claire Kendall                          
Sixteen months after the 11 a.m. simultaneous withdrawal of billions of dollars out of money market accounts in the aftermath of Lehman’s demise a few days earlier, no one seems to care about the dimensions of this event.

After all, this catastrophic event did not have quite the physicality of say an actual bank run. 

George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart,
in It's A Wonderful Life (1946), confronting the run on
the Building and Loan, RKO Pictures
There were no investors standing in line waiting to take their money out for Americans to see just who they were—from what country, wearing what kind of clothes, honest or squirrelly looking, working in tandem with each other? Just computer generated orders simultaneously withdrawing billions of dollars adding up to $550 billion within about an hour.

And, certainly, if it were an act of economic terrorism, which no one seems to have the imagination or cojones to raise, the visual is not there. No Boeing 737 ramming into the Twin Towers, bursting into flames, innocent victims burning alive jumping out the windows to their death, prior to the buildings’ collapse into rubble.

But, make no mistake, this electronic run on the banks of Sept. 18, 2008, was every bit as catastrophic, with numerous victims.

Sure, it could be pure coincidence that exactly at 11 a.m. a wave of concerned investors all decided it was time to electronically withdraw their funds thus creating this crescendo drawdown effect setting in motion a worldwide panic.It could be coincidence. But, it’s doubtful.

The fact that the identities of those who simultaneously decided to withdraw their money at 11 a.m. on Sep. 18, precipitating this panic, were never released, does lead one to question whether or not something sinister was at work.

Is there no one else with even the vaguest curiosity to ask if it was a coincidence or not? And, to suggest maybe an investigation is in order to deliver that vaunted “transparency” that voters seemed to believe they would get after the 2008 elections.

If nothing sinister was at work, then why so much secrecy concerning the destination of this $550 billion in money withdrawn on Thursday, Sept. 18, and those responsible for redirecting these funds out of the U.S. money markets.

Surely the money didn’t go back into the American economy.

No, $550 billion was drained away from the American economy, the consequences of which we suffer to this day.

The exact contours of this event were described by Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) on C-SPAN on Wednesday, Feb. 11, the day before the 200th anniversary of Abe Lincoln’s birth.

An enraged caller had just erupted over the ill-advised $700 billion bailout a few months earlier and Rep. Kanjorski felt pressed to reveal what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke had told Congress behind closed doors, which so shocked them into supporting this mind-bogglingly huge bailout.

“On Thursday [Sept. 18, 2008] at about 11 o’clock in the morning,” Kanjorski began, “the Federal Reserve noticed the tremendous drawdown of money market accounts in the United States to the tune of $550 billion dollars being drawn out in a matter of an hour or two. The Treasury opened up its window to help. It pumped $105 billion in the system and quickly realized that they could not stem the tide.”

At that point, officials realized, Kanjorski relates, “We were having an electronic run on the banks.”

Depositors lining up outside the Building and
Loan in It's A Wonderful Life (1946), RKO Pictures

In response, Kanjorski continued, “They decided to close the operation, close down the money accounts and announce a guarantee of $250,000 per account so there wouldn’t be further panic out there and that’s what actually happened.”

And, if nothing had been done, Kanjorski revealed, “their estimation was that by two o’clock that afternoon, five and 1/2 trillion dollars would have been drawn out of the money market system of the United States, would have collapsed the entire economy of the United States and within 24 hours the world economy would have collapsed (which would have meant) … the end of our economic system and our political system as we know it.”

Kanjorski concluded, “Someone threw us in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a life raft. And, we’re trying to determine which is the closest shore, and whether there’s any chance in the world to swim that far. We don’t know.”

But why is no one in the least bit curious to know who that “someone” is who “threw us in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a life raft”—the consequences of which have so damaged our economy’s job-creating engine?

This writer, for one, would like to know.

Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington-based journalist and screenwriter.

Originally published in The Daily Caller on January 15, 2010, after which it went viral on the Internet, posted at various sites including Free Republic and Defense of the Republic among many others.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Time to channel Honest Abe to fix Obama’s rhetoric/reality gap

By Mary Claire Kendall

President Barack Obama’s challenge to House Republicans in Baltimore to “close the gap between rhetoric and reality”—at the first of what the White House hopes will be monthly confabs, cameras rolling—seems more the product of “projection.” In psychological terms, this means someone who complains about another’s defect is, in reality, only projecting their own shortcomings.

His response to Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) was particularly telling. Price essentially said ‘Republicans have a health care plan (i.e., Price’s plan), yet you say otherwise, most recently in the State of the Union; so what am I supposed to tell my constituents?’ Obama first said, ‘No I didn’t say that; I said this’ in what amounted to a distinction without a difference. Then, Obama further clarified, Republicans need ideas that work and can’t say tort reform is all that’s needed to reform health care. That assertion, of course, does not even vaguely resemble Republicans’ actual legislative proposals.

The State of the Union, as Price hinted, was a veritable treasure trove [1] of Grand Canyon-sized whoppers bearing little resemblance to reality.

Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi “mocked Obama [2] for suggesting that the two measures (House and Senate health bills) are 90 percent similar,” noting they are only “75 per cent the same.” (Washington Post, January 29, 2010)

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) in interviews with local California TV stations following Obama’s State of the Union also honed in sharply on this rhetoric/reality gap, highlighting its flights of “fantasy.” Nunes found the image Obama drew of job creation, given the larger picture of job distress, particularly striking.

“You can see the results,” Obama boasted, “of last year’s investments in clean energy… in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.”

Yes, but what, Nunes asks [3], about the over 30,000 residents of his San Joaquin Valley district deprived of their livelihood because of Obama administration environmental policy. In the town of Mendota, alone, joblessness stands at 40 percent. Water in the Central Valley was shut off in early 2009 to save the three-inch long delta smelt, a bait fish, now happily swimming around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, while thousands of California farmers, and so many others impacted by lost agricultural production, languish without work. That’s the not-so-sunny side of Obama’s handiwork.

Or consider the issue of curbing lobbyist influence. Obama’s State of the Union rhetoric made it seem he’s wearing the white hat. But, since his Inauguration, he’s issued more waivers than ever for “revolving door” candidates and lobbyists.

Then, there’s Obama’s free-trade obfuscation. “We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are,” said Obama. “If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores.” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said in Baltimore, if allowed to pass, these free-trade agreements would instantly generate good paying jobs; but that the Democrat majority has bottled them up for years. Yet, Obama conveniently forgets to mention his party’s primary role in depriving Americans of desperately needed FTA-generated jobs.

That glaring oversight makes the blame Obama heaps on Republicans for the nation’s plight as well as less-than-candid representations about so much else, e.g., budget, economy, taxes, all the more stunning—like a gong bell incessantly going off, a bell that sounded loud and clear this week when Obama released his $3.8 trillion FY 2011 budget. As Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), ranking Republican on the House budget committee, said, its “few cosmetic budget maneuvers… give the illusion of restraint.” But the reality is far different: more spending, taxes, deficits ($1.3 trillion in 2011) and debt.

One can only wonder what Honest Abe must think of the man so many breathlessly compared him to not so long ago.

Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and screenwriter.

Article originally published in The Daily Caller on Friday, February 5, 2010.

URLs in this post:
[1] treasure trove:
[2] mocked Obama:
[3] asks:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Real Clear Politics' average of polls...

... shows more Americans disapprove than approve of Barack Obama's performance...  Rasmussen has him down by 11 points... ... For consolation, he might check out Congress' rating... 26% favorable vs. 66.2% unfavorable...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A missed opportunity on health care reform

By Mary Claire Kendall

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) must be smarting now that Democrats are talking about pulling the plug on the “deal” they crafted just for him and his State of Nebraska as the price of his support for Obamacare, now polling at W’s lows and and threatening the loss of Ted Kennedy’s seat—a provision that would exempt Nebraska from paying for the Medicaid expansion designed to cover currently uninsured low-income folks.
“Get as much gunk out of the Senate bill as possible. That Nebraska thing is really hurting us,” Bill Clinton told House Democrats in a closed-door speech during their annual “retreat” this year at Capital Visitor Center, far from the spa resort in colonial Williamsburg they usually decamp to. (Washington Post, 1/16/10)
Before they cut that deal, the White House brazenly threatened to hurt Nelson, a coalition of physicians [1] allege in a lawsuit, by putting Offutt Air Force Base on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) list, slating it for closure, unless Sen. Nelson voted the right way.

Offutt AFB, Strategic Air Command headquarters, employs approximately 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. (So, Americans might not have jobs—either by an Act of God, an Act of Obama, or an Act of Financial Recklessness, if you don’t believe Lloyd Blankfein’s version of events—but they’ll have health care to deal with the resulting ulcers.)

Nelson’s was just one of many tailor-made deals that—Clinton’s right—are patently unfair to everyone else not in on the fix. Sen. Nelson, recognizing the obvious injustice, now says he wants to scratch the Nebraska provision but then replace it with a much more expensive provision that would exempt every state from the costs of expanded Medicaid coverage.

Problem is, Obama’s contention that health care reform would save money would then, finally and irrevocably, be exempted from reality, since Nelson’s “solution” to other states’ legitimate grumbling would explode costs, making former Comptroller of the Treasury David Walker’s quip at the budget commission’s opening hearing last month that “Harry and Louise” have morphed into “Thelma and Louise” a fitting summation of the year-long health care “debate.”

And, to think, the mess Democrats find themselves in was all so unnecessary.

If they had taken a cue from the Republicans, who contrary to repeated false assertions by Democrats that they were only obstructionists, did, in fact, offer an excellent alternative: It’s called the Patients’ Choice Act (PCA)—co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)—that in contrast to the Democrats’ Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, would achieve universal coverage and create a true insurance market, thus removing anti-competitive inequities currently plaguing the system.

And, most brilliantly, it transforms Medicaid from its current third-rate status to a first-class, stigma-free health care system for low-income, making it the natural corollary to Republican-crafted welfare reform Bill Clinton smartly co-opted in one of the crowning achievements of his presidency. Plus, it saves money and tackles health care’s structural deficiencies [2] by realigning “how nearly $1 trillion, currently assumed under law, is spent by involving individual beneficiaries in a way that decelerates the healthcare spending growth rate, through a carefully calibrated template and formula that emphasizes health outcomes…”

States would save $1 trillion and the federal government $300 million, thus responding to voters’ most pressing concern—to contain exploding health care costs.

Not only that, Democrats could have counted on Sen. Nelson’s vote without resorting to such unseemly tactics. And, today’s effort, sailing in the perfect storm to save Ted Kennedy’s seat, wouldn’t seem like Mission Impossible.

Mary Claire Kendall is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and screenwriter.

I wrote this piece as Democrats were heading into the "perfect storm" in Massachusetts in their ultimately fruitless attempt to retain the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy... Scott Brown ran as the 41st vote against Barack Obama's costly yet ineffective healthcare legislation... when groundbreaking legislation is contemplated, steamrolling support is never the way... This article, first published in Daily Caller, was posted at , Congressman Devin Nunes' blog.