With THAT, we give you the WTF?! ("Washington Total Fails"…and you thought it meant something else!) for the month of March, posted in linear order rather than lowest to highest ranking...well...because I don't do anything normal:
1. President Barack Hussein Obama firing the CEO of a private company. GM CEO Rick Wagoner was a grade A buffoon, an incompetent who sucked more money from your pockets than you’ll ever see in a million lifetimes, but it’s never been the federal government’s business to handle personnel decisions at non-government companies…until Wyatt Earp Obama rode into D.C. on his high horse. To top it off, Obama’s stated preference (as of 3/30/2009) for the future of GM (and Chrysler) is structured bankruptcy (the correct path for dying business models in the first place), this coming after they’ve chewed through a combined $17 billion in newly printed cash from the government mint...then asked for more. It took Obama way too long to figure out how to address the situation, to demand “deadlines” for the companies to write concrete plans for remaining viable -- and when he finally picked a direction, he didn’t even consult Congress about canning someone who doesn’t work for the government. Now, who’s selectively playing “I’m the decider” with little or no Constitutional authority? FAIL!
2. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi using federal property as her personal travel agency. Booking use of Department of Defense airplanes, personnel, time, and expenses… then making last-minute changes and cancellations. Demanding planes already booked for other uses, then expressing outrage when they weren’t available. Requesting an Army escort and three military planes to transport her and other members of Congress to Cleveland, Ohio, for the funeral of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, which she called "Operation Tribute" and an "exception to standard policy." All of which exhibit the actions of someone who really does think she’s a princess, with a carbon footprint that should be, in no way, as diminutive as those of her constituents. FAIL!
3. Obama vacillates between optimism and doom and gloom. After nearly two months of continuously talking down the economy, as Wall Street reacted by dumping stocks day after day, Obama suddenly discovers optimism. First he tells Americans to buy! buy! buy! when the market is at its lowest, exhibiting one of the new duties of the Oval Office, Economist in Chief. A week later, after the market rallied for a few days, he said: "I don't think things are ever as good as they say, or ever as bad as they say. Things two years ago were not as good as we thought because there were a lot of underlying weaknesses in the economy. They're not as bad as we think they are now." Then he fires GM’s Wagoner, and brings up the very real possibility of bankruptcy for the automakers, and the market plummets 250 points. The change we need? Please. When he’s done figuring out how to do his job, we won’t have any change left to pay for his $4 trillion budget next year. FAIL!
4. Timothy Geithner: for existing. Forget the tax-cheat business; that’s last month’s news. The dubious Secretary of the Treasury Department has a big problem with his mouth. Asked about the People's Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan's call for a new international reserve currency, Geithner said, while he had not read Zhou's proposal, he understood it as a plan "designed to increase the use of the IMF's special drawing rights. And we're actually quite open to that." BAM! The dollar dropped worldwide. The next day he said the dollar would remain the world’s “dominant” currency. And this was AFTER Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., patiently drove nails into his eyes over his fundamental lack of understanding of “the Constitution,” during a House Financial Services Committee hearing:
REP. BACHMANN: Reclaiming my time, Mr. Secretary. What provision in the Constitution could you point to to give authority for the actions that have been taken by the treasury since march of ‘08?
SECRETARY GEITHNER: Oh, well, the congress, legislative, in the emergency economic stabilization act, a range of very important new authorities.
REP. BACHMANN: Where in the constitution? What in the constitution could you point to to give authority to the Treasury for the extraordinary actions that have been taken?
SECRETARY GEITHNER: Every action that the Treasury, Fed and FDIC has been using authority granted by this body by the congress.
REP. BACHMANN: And in the constitution, what could you point to?
SECRETARY GEITHNER: The laws of the land, of course.
5. Sen. Christopher Dodd, the Obama Administration, and the AIG bonuses. First Dodd, D-Mass, said -- on camera -- that he didn’t know about the loophole in Porkulus that allowed AIG execs to keep their contracted bonuses, even though AIG had taken a $170 billion bailout from the federal government. Then he said he did know about it, again on camera, but only after he reviewed the facts to discover that the Treasury Department had asked him to rewrite an amendment that let AIG keep the bonuses, if the Obama Administration could take them back. Dodd fails for “misremembering” and then “remembering” to blame the Obama Administration. But, then again, with all of the billions of pork packed into that bill, no member of Congress reading it, and Obama breaking his campaign promise for not allowing ample public viewing of the legislation on the Internet, all of Washington FAILS! on this one.
6. Obama undoes then redoes the ban on funding for stem cell research. In a story that could only come out of Washington, Obama made a great public display of his ethical and scientific obligations for rescinding former President George W. Bush’s 2001 ban on federal funding for stem cell research. Then two days later, while signing the $410 billion omnibus bill (with 9,000 earmarks Obama promised during the campaign to never allow), the president knowingly (supposedly) approved the Dickey-Wicker amendment, an inclusion in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services every fiscal year since 1996 that bans federal funding for stem cell research. Obama later said he’d leave it to Congress to come up with the law of the land on the matter. Political high drama with zero results at its best…and this is “change” how? FAIL!
7. The Obama administration starts using nondescript language for “terrorism” (in quotes, because it’s no longer “used”…meaning ALLOWED…in Washington). We no longer say “global war on terror,” because our…ahem…friends overseas don’t like it. We now say “overseas contingency plan.” [The chirping of crickets will now begin.] We also no longer say “terrorism.” The unofficial (as in, there’s no official directive on paper, sayeth Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) terminology is now “man-caused disaster.” [Were he here, Homer Simpson would think of saying “DOH!” but even he would be speechless over that one.] FAIL!
8. The beginning of the end for The Pony Express. Your stamp price goes up every two seconds (it seems like it, at least), but Postmaster General John Potter said the Post Office, which does not receive appropriations from Congress, lost $2.8 billion last year. It will lose another $6 billion next year. By contrast, Potter says cutting mail service on Saturdays would save $3.5 billion a year; changes in how the post office pre-pays for retiree health care would cut annual costs by another $2 billion. It can’t be all bad. If the Post Office did receive government funding, like AIG, GM, and Chrysler, the Obama administration would probably be taking back bonuses, firing Potter, and threatening a takeover in 30 - 60 days. FAIL!
9. Obama’s Special Olympics comment on Leno. He told Leno during The Tonight Show that he had bowled a 129, probably qualifying for the Special Olympics (this is paraphrasing, because Obama’s actual statement was more or less “I swear it was like Special Olympics or something” but that doesn’t sound too presidential…presumably because his teleprompter was back in the White House basement). The next day Michigan's Kolan McConiughey, the top bowler for the Special Olympics, fired back: "He bowled a 129. I bowl a 300. I could beat that score easily." Superlatives for McConiughey (and we’d like to see that match, btw). FAIL! for the President.
10. Obama obsesses over a question about whether he’s a socialist: During a flight from Ohio to Washington, New York Times reporter Peter Baker asked the president whether his domestic policies suggested that he was a socialist. “The answer would be no,” Obama said, laughing. But then, back in Washington, Obama called the reporter: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question,” Mr. Obama said from the Oval Office. [With many "ahhs" and "umms" removed from this printed version, of course.] With an economy in shambles, a major shift in policy and government control in nearly every aspect of public and private society underway, and two ongoing wars, since when does the president of the United States of America even have enough time to call a reporter back to debate the seriousness of a question? FAIL!