AIG bonuses, Special Olympics, and the perpetual campaign

Posted on March 22, 2009

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My apologies, first off – a temporary change in working hours left me unable last week to offer comment on major events. That’s not to say that I wasn’t paying attention, so let me throw in my two cents before the slog of next week begins.

The AIG bonus situation is a bit of egg on the face for Congress and the Obama administration. The outrage on the Hill last week was mostly feigned, as it appears that Sen. Chris Dodd himself wrote the bonus language into the stimulus bill (a bill which Pres. Obama had no compunction stumping for and signing, by the way). But Tim Geithner looks like a bungler as well, as it seems he was heavily involved with the AIG bailout last fall. While I respect the argument that these were simple retention bonuses, and that the government shouldn’t be in the business of interfering with private contracts, the sheer principle of rewarding management of a failing company on the public dole was what fueled the majority of the public outrage over the revelation.

Michelle Malkin is right, however, when she warns to remain undistracted from the bonus smokescreen. Ultimately the millions in bonuses are a small percentage of the billions of unwarranted taxpayer money that essentially rewarded bad behavior on the corporate level. No, what concerns me more is Congress’ irate rush to pass a 90% tax on the bonuses, setting a dangerous precedent that lawmakers can exact punitive punishment on specific entities when it suits them.

Obama’s Special Olympics gaffe doesn’t outrage me as much as it starkly illustrates the malleable nature of the gods of political correctness. Obama, after all, as it was explained away to us, only made a regrettable and clumsy attempt at humor; he’s not a bad guy, doncha know? On the other hand, that “clumsy attempt at humor” excuse didn’t work for Trent Lott, Rush Limbaugh, or any other Republican/conservative making a similar verbal screw-up, does it? In any event, this episode, along with Obama yukking the economy up to an incredulous Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes (heads up to RedState), provides more evidence to further dispel the myth that Obama is the smoothest and greatest communicator this side of Lincoln. Without his TelePrompter, he’s average at best.

Lastly, I’m fully in agreement with Mark Impomeni at RedState in getting a little creeped out by the millions of volunteers, at the behest of the President, going door to door in support of the President’s proposed budget, collecting information all the while. Now a vibrant and healthy grass-roots effort is one thing, but this whole operation seems just a tad too organized from the top down, and along with Obama’s stint on the Tonight Show and campaign-style town halls, show that Obama at this point is proving either unable or unwilling to move out of campaign mode and into governing mode, to switch to a politician for the people instead of an activist for the winners. Above all, it shows an “us versus them” mentality that is unhealthy to see so early in an administration.

Who knows what next week will bring, but I promise I’ll be there with you to react to it.

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Posted in: News, Politics