Nickel Ranttm:
Yes We Can Waffle!

by Edgar J. Steele

February 10, 2009

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"If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."
--- Yogi Berra

President Barack Obama held his first press conference last night.  Thirteen questions from the press corps, albeit some of them compound.  Thirteen chances to impress us with his promised transparency and forthrightness.  Bottom line:  We lost. 

This guy quite simply does not know where he is going, though he does convey the self-confident aura of one who does know the road ahead.  I like to think that Bush, at least, knew he was clueless.  I'm not sure which is worse.

The easiest question, by far:  "With your new promised transparency, Mr. President, will you rescind the Pentagon policy concerning the flag-draped coffins of our sons and daughters killed in the Middle East; namely, that of flying them back to America in the dead of night and denying us photos of their arrival?"  This was a softball of the puffiest kind. 

A simple "yes" would have gone far toward underscoring this young President's willingness to do the right thing by those who have given everything for America's highly questionable cause in the Middle East.  Obama's response?  He would have to "consult" with his Pentagon and Defense Department advisors.

Excuse me?  "Consult?"  What in the hell is that all about?  Consult?  Just exactly who is in charge, anyway?  Consult?  Isn't Obama the Commander in Chief, after all?  Can you say "waffle," boys and girls?  I knew you could!

Obams Away!

I was paying close attention.  I took notes.  I am no dummy.  The closest thing I heard to a direct answer of substance during the entire conference was to an implication contained within a question concerning Obama's promised widening of the Afghanistan war:  Though he didn't say so in as many words, Obama assured us that he would continue bombing Pakistan.  He called the areas we would concentrate upon "the border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan," as though some sort of buffer zone has been established.  It hasn't.  What he meant was Pakistan, of course, though he couldn't bring himself to come right out and say it.

Pakistan ostensibly is our ally.  Pakistan has told us to knock it off.  Pakistan has the bomb.  Do the math.

Oh, about getting out of Afghanistan?  No timetable.  Instead, said Obama:  "No attacks on our homeland by Al Qaeda or the Taliban will be tolerated."   As though Arabs had bombed Omaha last week.  No discussion about getting out of Iraq.  Of course, that is irrelevant since Obama previously made clear that American troops simply will be moved from Iraq to Afghanistan.  But, then, I guess that is getting us out of Iraq ... sort of.  Puts me in mind of Bill Clinton defining the word "is."


Lessee now, Obama was elected primarily on his promise to get us out of Iraq.  Now, not only is Obama reneging on his implicit promise thereby to get American troops out of all conflicts in the Middle East, but he has begun covertly to bomb targets in Pakistan.  Make no mistake:  This bombing of Pakistan is a war crime.  Already, Obama is a war criminal.  What do you suppose the chances now are that Obama will pursue anybody in the Bush administration for their war crimes?

I recall another President who twice was elected on a promise to disentangle America from Viet Nam, yet who escalated that war and then widened it by secretly bombing neighboring Cambodia.  What is it they say about history rhyming?  President Richard Nixon later was to resign in disgrace, of course.  Nixon required a declaration of amnesty from Gerald Ford to short-circuit then-pending prosecutions.

During last night's press conference, the redoubtable Helen Thomas was given the chance to ask if any Middle-Eastern country had nuclear weapons, an obvious reference to Israel, which has, depending upon whom you believe, the third, fourth or fifth largest nuclear arsenal in the world.  Obama's single clear response to that question:  "No Middle-Eastern nuclear arms race will be allowed to take place."  Make of it what you will.  I know full well what Obama meant, as does every Israeli and every Iranian who heard his words.

The Newer Deal

Obama seemed most interested in discussing economics, provided you already support his proposed stimulus package, that is.  "If you want government to do something, we have something to talk about," he said.  "If you don't, then we don't."  Well, that settles that, doesn't it?  So much for Obama's pledge to be a President for all of us. 

The very guys who got us into this mess in the first place - the guys with whom Obama now has surrounded himself - are the ones engineering the current "solution."  It is no option to consider discontinuing government meddling and manipulation. 

Obama seems to see himself as the second coming of (wait for it) ... Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Just as did FDR, Obama seems destined to deepen and widen our current economic troubles with a Newer Deal, leading inevitably to a world war.  Problem is, we got out of Depression I by winning WWII.  We won't be winning any more wars.

At least Obama seems to have some appreciation for the gravity of the situation now confronting America:  "This is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," he said.  "We have lost 3.6 million jobs in the last three or four months, which shows that things are getting worse."  Then Obama showed just how lost we really are:  "Doing nothing is not economically sound."


"Mr. President," asked one correspondent, "How will you ensure that the next bank bailout will result in actual loans being made to businesses, unlike the last bailout, which failed?"  Obama's response?  He will have to "consult" with his Treasury Secretary.  There's that C-word again.  Consult?  About what?  Obama curtly cut off that questioner and moved on.  Can you say, "waffles," boys and girls?  I knew you could!

Obama began the economic discussion by noting his priorities: 

1.  Four to six million American jobs must be created or saved.  (How?  He never discussed that.)
2.  The current credit crisis must be averted with credit expansion taking place.  (Well, we all know how that routine goes.)
3.  "Something" must be done about America's housing crisis.  (What?  Who knows?)

That's about it.  More waffles.  Plain.  No butter.  No syrup.  You didn't miss much.  We are so screwed.

New America.  An idea whose time has come.


Copyright 2009 Edgar J. Steele

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