Barack Obama

Obama is Over


When a president frames his speech around a call for a "year of action," you can safely bet that the next 12 months will be as action-packed as an afternoon nap. The subtext of last night's State of the Union address was that Obama's presidency is not just frustrated but tired; it's not only that he can't do much, thanks to Republicans in Congress, it's that he has so few remaining ideas about what to do. (Last night's most significant new ideas was a vaguely explained government-backed retirement savings program.)

Five years in, the Obama presidency has already been exhausted. And so Obama plans to ride it out, propping up the laws he has already passed, doing his best to stop Democrats from losing too many seats in 2014, and tweaking policies through executive action where he can. Yes, there will still be controversies surrounding his administration, and yes, the president will still be the center of considerable attention and controversy from both fans in critics—but mostly for what he's already done, not what he wants to do. He'll be in office for another three years, but he's already finished. Obama is over.

Meanwhile, as the Obama presidency grows stale, it's the once agenda-less Republicans and their conservative allies who are busy generating fresh new ideas. Obama has talked broadly about tax reform for years, but it's Republican Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) who recently put forth a big plan to overhaul the tax code. Obama last night challenged Republicans who oppose Obamacare to present some kind of alternative—but failed to acknowledge the three GOP Senators (Coburn, Hatch, and Burr) who did so just this week. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Marco Rubio have spent the last month talking up policies to address poverty. Lee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are amongst the nation's most aggressive champions of criminal justice reform. Obama's State of the Union rehashed old, flawed arguments about health care and education; Sen. Lee's response to the president's address highlighted a slew of Republican reform ideas from transportation to education to energy.

Meanwhile, small but influential journals like National Affairs provide a forum for right of center policy wonks to work through their ideas in detail, looking at both what to do and how to do it. The evidence suggests that at least some Republican politicians are listening.

You can see tensions, too. There's a push and pull at work, between technocratic conservatism and revivalist libertarianism, between those who are more concerned with, say, spending taxpayer money well and those more concerned with spending money less, between the party's individualistic impulses and its communalist concerns. There's still plenty left to work out.

But this is how a party develops an agenda. Not overnight, with a dictum from the top or the selection of a presidential candidate, but over time, through iteration and experimentation, and through a conversation with itself—and eventually with its critics as well. For too long, the right has lacked the infrastructure to start this conversation and the political will to carry it on. Its agenda has been opposition, and little else. But that's changing, in part because of the efforts of conservative reformers, and in part because the Obama agenda is so clearly nearing its end.

Not all of these Republican ideas are fully formed. Not all of them are practical, or politically feasible. And not every Republican is on board; party leadership is still far too hesitant to engage with the right's policy reformers. But Republicans are, finally, talking about what to do. Obama is stuck talking about what he's already done. 

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  1. “The Era of Big Government is over!”

      1. Truly one of the great moments in cinema.

      2. “Germans?”

        “Forget it, he’s rolling”

    1. “The Era of Giant Government is just beginning!”

      1. I think that’s what Clinton meant to say.

  2. I hope so.

  3. Repeal is an alternative to Obamacare. The status quo was surely fucked up before but a simple repeal is still an alternative.

    1. Gee, a lot of government regulation in the health care market really messed it up, so lets double down on failure!!

      When you have a stick in one eye the solution is not to push it in further. Unless it feels good.

      1. Apparently the solution is to put another stick in the other eye. Because, you know, equality.

  4. In lieu of the Obama presidency, please enjoy this Hillary campaign.

    1. Please no. NOT that. In the name of humanity. Can’t we just go strait to leftist hellhole branded as a utopia? Between wondering if we get team red statist douche or her Thighness I just as soon declare her victory.

  5. Five years in, the Obama presidency has already been exhausted.

    not nearly as exhausted as the American public.

    1. Which is even less exhausted than the American economy.

  6. But he promised to use executive powers as often as possible to do whatever he wants. Call me crazy, but I think he means it. NPR was cheerleading this point this morning. If you consider that Bush’s presidency lasted well into 2010-2011 I fear we may have Obama until 2018.

    1. Call me crazy, but I think he means it.

      Moreover, congress applauds it.

    2. I’m pretty sure Bush is still running the show according to Buttplug and Tony.

      1. Except that one day he got bin Laden. While Bush was in the bathtub painting his feet, Obama seized the opportunity to finally have things done his way.

  7. Remember that time a Republican wonk sent out an interesting memo on copyright and the Republican party said “Lo! We have a new good idea…let us move forward with that.”

    1. Look dude, I’m sure Team Red is at this very moment crafting a comprehensive and detailed strategy to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

      Step one is a message that people can get behind like “Americans don’t want to pay for free abortions for whores who can’t keep their legs closed.”

      1. If they want to get the libertarian vote they should really focus on how the republican plan will generate tons of new orphans what with all of the poor parents dying in the streets.

        1. Repeal child labor laws!

  8. So what’s wrong with gridlock?

    1. Nothing so long as you can’t skip it by executive order.

      1. dammit…and your faster fingers

      2. Ancient Rome experimented with this. It didn’t end well.

        1. They also experimented with extraordinarily absurd levels of power plays. Which contributed to their downfall more?

          1. It’s pretty difficult to quantify what actually contributed to Rome’s downfall. They were very unusual in that the empire, from the Gracchi brothers onward, lasted an absurdly long time given its size and all the political upheaval that took place.

            Even after the empire broke up into semi-feudal tribal principalities, outside of England the civic institutions that had been established survived more or less intact until the Muslim invasions and later Charlemagne.

            The US has survived a major Civil War in the 1860s and a minor one a hundred years later that was mostly cultural in nature. I suspect that even if some honest-to-goodness dictator came into power and/or the country ripped itself apart, most of the civic infrastructure would largely remain unless some outside invasion transformed it.

            1. The cultural revolution in the 60’s is not over. The cultural divide has only grown. The question will be which statists will win.

              In this corner we have Team Blue. They want to tell you what to smoke, control you healthcare and food, and wallet.

              In the other corner we have Team Red, they also want to tell you what to smoke, its just not the same stuff as Team Blue. Some of them appear to want to leave your wallet alone. But they have a huge interest in what you fuck, and if you decide to procreate. Also they are still thinking they can win the war on drugs.

              Both sides want an American Hegemony. You will not be able to stay out of the way. When it hits the fan Team Blue will have the police and Team Red will have Phil Robinson and his extended family.

              Good Luck.

        2. There should’ve been a /sarc tag there. I’m pro-gridlock/anti-executive-order.

        3. So did 20th Century Germany: Das Fuhrer Prinzip

    2. apparently nothing that a couple of executive orders can’t fix.

  9. Three more years of this clown doesn’t seem like “over”. His very existence in the position emboldens his retarded supporters far more than any actions by him (because inevitably his actions are retarded too).

    1. Another 11 trillion down the drain…

    2. Can I impeach him on my own? Isn’t there some kind of blackball or recall provision in the Constitution? Maybe written in secret ink?

      1. A constitutional equivalent to a “Friend of the Court”?

        1. “I hereby deem you remov-ed and anathema. Go and sin no more.”

      2. Just tax him out of office.

        1. “I hereby invoke my citizen’s right to Penaltax you into nonexistence.”

        2. It is not impeachment, it is a tax for remaining in office.

          Do you have a newsletter?

  10. Obama is Over

    Oh Yea???

    He looks like he’s going to use executive power more.

    1. He’s eating his seed.

  11. Unfortunately, we have to live with the pollution he left behind.

    1. Which is about 1/4 the amount of pollution the Bushpigs left behind.

      1. Most of which has not been discarded by Obama.

        The biggest stinker bush left us was the patriot act which has been completely embraced by Obama instead of allowing it to die.

        The list goes on and on.

        Go drink some bleach.

        1. Most of which has not been discarded saved and expanded upon by Obama.

      2. Tu quoque is still a fallacy, dude. Do you not get that?

        1. Leftists consider fallacies to be credible arguments. I mean, they feel like credible arguments, so how can they not be?

          1. Your comment just won the Internet. Again.

          2. It’s all about feelings.

        2. At this point the guy is indefensible. How do you defend blatant lying over major policy? You just can’t, which is why the media has to avoid it.

      3. Palin’s Buttplug|1.29.14 @ 2:22PM|#
        “Which is about 1/4 the amount of pollution the Bushpigs left behind.”

        Yeah, shitbag, the pile Obo kept and added to.
        Go fuck your daddy.

  12. With midterms coming up we can see more Democrats moving away from Obama. He has nothing to offer them.

  13. It’s nice that Coburn, Hatch, and Burr crafted a health insurance bill but they are about four years late on it.

    1. If Obamacare’s lessons of government hubris and overreach stick, it is actually perfect timing.

    2. Obamacare probably needed about 4 more years of work before being made law, if the results of its implementation are anything to go by.

    3. Boy you’re on a logical fallacy roll today Mr. Classical Liberal.

      Keep going.

    4. Palin’s Buttplug|1.29.14 @ 2:24PM|#
      “It’s nice that Coburn, Hatch, and Burr crafted a health insurance bill but they are about four years late on it.”

      Yeah, shitbag, they should have rammed something through that’s a major disaster, right?
      Go fuck your daddy.

  14. It was funny when he said Costco pays more and gets higher productivity as a result. Of course they do — the best workers go to where the pay is best. If you raise the minimum wage for everyone, Costco will have to pay even more. The minimum wage types at other stores will remain just as unproductive, and will be paid more for it.

    1. If you raise the minimum wage for everyone, Costco will have to pay even more.

      Not true. Costco pays more than what the new minimum will be, so they’re not affected.

      Only companies that pay less than the new minimum wage will be affected.

      So of course Costco supports raising the minimum wage. It forces the competition to raise prices!

      1. Costco pays more than what the new minimum will be, so they’re not affected.

        How will they not be affected by an increase in minimum wage?

        Or are you being sarcastic here? Hard to tell.

        1. If you pay your people $15/hr, and minimum is raised to $10/hr, your payroll remains unchanged.

          If the competition pays $9/hr, and minimum is raised to $10/hr, their payroll just went up.

          Your support for hiking the minimum wage makes you appear altruistic while also screwing the competition.

          Classic example of Bootleggers and the Baptists.

          1. I’m reasonably sure some Costco employee will see minimum going up but his/her salary staying stagnant as a sort of pay cut, a loss of buying power relative to what minimum used to be.

            1. I’m reasonably sure some Costco employee will see minimum going up but his/her salary staying stagnant as a sort of pay cut, a loss of buying power relative to what minimum used to be.

              It effectively will be a pay cut since the price of goods will necessarily rise because of it, whether you look at pay relative to what the minimum used to be or not.

            2. Hey! No dynamic scoring.

          2. A rise to $10 an hour from $7.50 raises up wages for everyone. The $7.50 guy, who is useless, which is why he makes $7.50, gets $10. Therefore, the guy he worked under, who is semi-useless, and previously made $10, will now have to go to $12, and so on up the line.

            Eventually it makes its way up to the CEO, who previously made $100 million, and now will want $125 million.

    2. Well, you’ll probably get some better employees working for the higher wage, but taken from other jobs. It’s why the $15 proposal is so ridiculous; I have a particular set of skills, but even I’d be tempted to go work at McD’s instead if I could get paid $15/hr manning the fries.

    3. Prices will just adjust so that the new minimum wage will have as much purchashing power as the old one.

      1. And accountants will make a killing adjusting the decimal points.
        Broken windows all around!

    4. What’s hilarious about Obama’s visiting Costco today is there are well known reasons why Costco pays better than traditional stores.

      And, yes, Costco would love to see minimum wages pushed up to just under what they pay in order to saddle their competitors with higher costs.

      1. Very good article. I will remember it next time my neighbors spin some bullshit tale about how we don’t want a Wal-Mart becuase it’s bad for The Poor about whom they care so much.

      2. “Costco has a tiny number of SKUs in a huge store — and consequently, has half as many employees per square foot of store. Their model is less labor intensive, which is to say, it has higher labor productivity. Which makes it unsurprising that they pay their employees more.”

        You can almost smell the wood burning in a progs brain trying to make sense of this.

    5. Costco being a bulk retailer that builds large stores in relatively affluent areas, means it has a different model.

      They do about 3-4 times more dollar sales per employee than WalMart does.

      You can’t compare the two. They are two different models using two different labor tasks.

      1. Even with the higher wage, Costco’s labor costs are a smaller percent of total cost than at other retailers.

    6. Actually, Costco also utilizes a business model that demands higher productivity. It’s a warehouse store. They pay more but have a lot fewer employees.

    7. This is not strictly true.

      Incentives matter and at a minimum a significant subset, possibly even a majority of Wal Mart employees would be more motivated and invested in their jobs if they were paid more. Of course they could probably get even better results if they changed the way they treated workers.

      The problem is the net effect of this would be a significant reduction in the total number of wal mart workers because you’d be increasing the productivity of those who were motivated by the higher wages and better working conditions without actually increasing the sales in the store so they could just lay off the dead weight.

      So realistically to some extent minimum wage employers like Wal Mart are in some sense just job programs for those whose job skills are so low they probably shouldn’t be employed at all.

      1. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Walmart has considered whether higher wages and productivity would help its business model and has decided that it has not. And that Obama and his sycophants are not in a better position to determine the benefit to Walmart of higher wages.

      2. :Incentives matter and at a minimum a significant subset, possibly even a majority of Wal Mart employees would be more motivated and invested in their jobs if they were paid more.”

        Someone who is a shitty employee at $10 an hour is also a shitty employee at $15 an hour.

        There are exceptions, as always, but that is a truism.

  15. Obama last night challenged Republicans who oppose Obamacare to present some kind of alternative?but failed to acknowledge the three GOP Senators (Coburn, Hatch, and Burr) who did so just this week.

    He wanted a real alternative!

    1. See if you can come up with something that sucks as much as the idea I had!

  16. (Last night’s most significant new ideas was a vaguely explained government-backed retirement savings program.)

    It’s been done.

    1. I’ve been waiting for a couple of years to see how the Federal Government was going to the American people to buy up the debt. This is the start. At some point, it will become mandatory.

    2. I’d rather buy a War Bond than MyRA. But either is hard to stomach if made mandatory.

      1. Did anyone else notice how hard it was for him to say MyRA ? He tried it several ties before he could get the word to escape his mouth fluidly ?

        I wonder what that means ?

  17. Obama will be over when the 110 agencies created by Obamacare are disbanded and their truckloads of regulations are invalidated; when the IRS is purged of it’s politicized meddlers; when the Department of Justice is something other than the Democrat’s political kneecappers; when the NSA’s Bluffdale, Utah spy repository is repurposed as the world’s largest WalMart; when the EPA looks after the environment instead of enforcing the Garden of Eden fantasies of Green lunatics. This for a start.

    And it won’t be soon.

  18. In large part, as the libertarians start to become more prominent in the Republican party, it’s likely to be where the really interesting conversations are taking place for the next few years. That said, I think it’s going to be a long hard battle to get there. The Republican Establishment is mostly of the neo-con (slightly slower expansion of the federal government than the Democrats with a heavy bent toward a national security state) mold and aren’t going to pass gently into that good night.

    1. Republicans are only talking the libertarian talk because they’re out of power. Once they’re back in power they’ll be back to walking the compassionate conservative (anti-abortion big-government) walk.

      1. Maybe, but they weren’t exactly talking libertarian talk when Clinton was in office.

        The end result may not be any different this time but the libertarian movement is different than anything in the postwar era and most importantly it is being forced up by the base and not forced down from the top.

      2. I’m not so completely sure about that. I think there is a very real libertarian insurgency within the Republican party. As Rasilio suggests, a lot of the pressure for this is coming from the conservative base, who seem to realize that the whole neoconservative project was a disaster. Now, the leadership, I think you’re about right on. They really are only tolerating the libertarians (and only marginally) because they’re out of power and think the libertarians can get them back in power.

        1. The pendulum will swing all the way back to the right to counterbalance how far it swung to the left.

          It’s a shame it had to go far left just to swing back to what should be the center.

        2. The reason why there is a real, honest-to-God, libertarian insurgency in the GOP is because the Bush wing of the Party has driven the Reagan Coalition straight into the ground.

          This alliance of Cruz, Palin, Paul, and Lee, in cahoots with numerous House Republicans, has been witness to Rovian defeats of a catastrophic nature. There was no reason on God’s good Earth that Mitt Romney should have lost to Obama, but he did. People in the GOP are tired of a corporatist Establishment that is in it for their cut of the swag.

          Nobody wants to hang around for a Jeb Bush Restoration Play. We didn’t sign up for that shit. Not after the past 13 years.

  19. Nap. Good idea.

  20. Obama can still do a lot of things with his pen. He’s already made a lot unconstitutional recess appointments and delayed ACA deadlines on his whim.

    Obama knows the popular characterization of the remainder of his term will be “lame duck”. It’s inevitable for even the best president, but the concept isn’t appealing to him. The “year of action” is his response.

  21. “Obama is over!” reminds me of George Bush landing on the aircraft carrier with the sign: “Mission Accomplished.” Obama won’t be over until he’s over.

  22. If they can just shut the fuck up about abortion and rape, they’ll sweep the House and Senate in November.

    So, buckle down and prepare for total Dem control.

    1. abortion, rape, and the reefer madness.

    2. Are you kidding. The male right wing is obsessed with socialist nationalization of women’s bodies.

      1. Are you a paid Troll?

  23. Let’s see…the last time conservatives were in they busted the budget, borrowed trillions, got us into 2 wars, and the deepest recession in 80 years

    Obama cleaned up the right wing mess, got us out of 2 wars got us healthcare.

    Yeah. That’d exhaust anyone. Cleaning up after right wingers is an especially fatiguing activity.

    1. You’ll have to try harder than that. Trolling here isn’t as easy as HuffPo or some other progtard creche.

    2. Reading from a script, Troll?

  24. Obama’s presidency is being carefully stage-managed by slick handlers, the leader of which being, I suspect, Valerie Jarrett.
    The subtext of the SOU address is as follows:

    1. Congressional GOP: Either give me what I want, or I will take what I want by executive order.

    2. Americans in the bottom 3 quintiles of the income and wealth distribution: American economic life is unfairly stacked against you. Ergo, vote Democratic in the midterm elections. There are only two things the Federal govt. can do about rising Gini coefficients:

    2A. Raise the marginal tax rate on taxable income above X to 70% or more. Very high incomes and wealth will indeed fade away. Do not think for one second that the US Treasury would be made any richer by this.

    2B. Increase the refundable tax credits. The SOU address was silent about this. I advocate replacing the EIC, the Child Tax Credit, the personal exemption and the Standard Deduction, with a refundable tax credit of $4400/year/legal resident of the USA.

  25. You had me at, “Obama is Over.”

  26. I see “Obama is doomed” statements from the right all year long, and all I can say is you underestimate the power of moral force the left still thinks it has, combined with the fumbling incompetence of the right at protecting our liberties.

  27. The Right is represented by the Republicans, unfortunately. They are not full of ideas either. The right is secondarily represented by clueless idiots who make everyone on the right look foolish, mainly because the press sticks a mike in front of everyone who claims to be right until they get an idiotic comment.

    There are not a lot of ideas out there in the public sphere. Not from either side.

  28. Any animal that feels cornered is far more likely to do something desperate and stupid.

  29. Why not just let Obama care collapse on it self. Leave the Government policies to the people. In other words abandon the lost cause like we did prohibition. How many years has it taken to get back to local micro breweries? Obama has indeed screwed us over. Adding to the screwing of the past 70 years of incremental progressivism.

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  31. “Obama is stuck talking about what he’s already done.”

    Actually, he’s not talking at all about much of what he’s done and prefers to ignore it (Fast & Furious, failing to prosecute Black Pathers intimidating voters, failing to prosecute illegal immigrants, NSA spying, spying on reporters to find out who the whistle blowers are), firing military brass who know about Benghazi, etc.

    Then he talks a lot about what he’s done, but it doesn’t reflect reality. Like the success of Obamacare, the changes to the NSA spying (that didn’t happen), the holding accountable of those involved in the IRS (meaning, he rewarded those government employees who broke the law for his political advantage), the stopping of bailouts (even though he supported TARP, Frank-Dodd, GM bailout, and Solyndra).

    So IMHO, Suderman would have been more accurate if instead of

    “Obama is stuck talking about what he’s already done.”

    he said

    “Obama is stuck in his lying ways, alleging that his programs have been successful even though they haven’t.”

  32. Molly. I see what you mean… Russell`s st0rry is neat, I just got a top of the range Acura from having earned $5107 thiss month and just over $10k lass month. it’s by-far my favourite work Ive ever had. I actually started 5 months ago and practically straight away was bringing home over $85, per-hr. look here W? o? r? k? s? 7? 7? .? ?? ?? ??

  33. Piper. I see what you mean… Steven`s rep0rt is impressive… last thursday I got Ford Mustang after having made $9565 this – 5 weeks past and just over 10 grand lass-month. with-out any question its my favourite-work Ive had. I started this three months/ago and pretty much immediately was bringing home at least $80.. per hour. use this link W? o? r? k? s? 7? 7? .? ?? ?? ??

  34. my classmate’s aunt makes $73 hourly on the internet. She has been fired for 6 months but last month her payment was $14134 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read Full Report ?????? http://www.works77.???m

  35. my best friend’s sister-in-law makes $70 /hour on the computer . She has been without work for 7 months but last month her check was $12532 just working on the computer for a few hours. you can look here


  36. What an idiot. Obama is in his sixth year as President. You one-percenters have a major structural problem with your platform. Your photoshopped attacks on Obama’s wife and his children are despicable.


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