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Posts tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’

Gingrich: Obama Ineffective No Matter Where He Is.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered a “defense” of President Barack Obama during the closing day of the Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday.

“A lot of people are criticizing him for going to Key Largo” for vacation while the crisis in the Ukraine still rages, Gingrich told a full house at the Maryland conference. “The president spent all of last week proving that he was capable of being as ineffective in Key Largo as he is in the White House.”

Gingrich, to laughs from the audience, challenged them to also stand up for the president.

“[You should] stand up for Obama’s right to be utterly ineffective wherever he happens to be,” said Gingrich. “Don’t expect more than that, because you ain’t gonna get it.”

Story continues below video.

But while Gingrich poked fun at Obama’s ineffectiveness, he offered a serious warning to his audience: Don’t focus solely on what the Democrats are doing wrong.

“If our movement is primarily anti-Obama, we will reduce our number of victories,” said Gingrich. “If we focus on Hillary, we will lose.”

Instead, he said, conservatives must emphasise that “it is what we do that is right, not what the left is doing that is wrong.”

Gingrich believes conservatives can “break out” if there is a combination made of American exceptionalism along with science and technology.

By using science and technology, said Gingrich, America can move into the future free from  the efforts of the “prison guards of the past” who do all they can to block the nation’s future.

For example, he said, newly elected New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is blocking charter schools because of his support from the teacher’s union, “the biggest blockers of the future.”

He continued that if the United States had the government in the 1800s it has now, stagecoach lobbyists would have fought to keep trains from running faster than horses.

But there are many keys to the future that conservatives can embrace for now. For example, take the smartphone, he said, joking that with iPhone’s Siri “you no longer need a map because you have some woman telling you where to go.”

On a more serious note, he decried the Food and Drug Administration’s takeover of the approval of health-related apps on smartphones.

Such acts go against conservatives’ hopes for an “effective, accountable government under the Constitution,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich said the future also holds hope for the energy industry, especially with the development of hydraulic fracking.

“We are now once again the largest producer of natural gas in the world, ” said Gingrich. “If this president had any sense of seriousness about Russia, he would have signed an order to ship natural gas to Europe.”

Further, Gingrich said that the president should tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States is going to drive down the price of oil Russia is bankrupt.

“A poverty-stricken Putin is not a dangerous Putin,” said Gingrich, noting that the United States can develop strategies to weaken Russia in ways that are peaceful, just as late President Ronald Reagan did years ago.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Mike Lee: Obama Operating as ‘Super-Executive’.

Image: Mike Lee: Obama Operating as 'Super-Executive'

By Greg Richter.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, doesn’t buy the White House’s explanation that the tax code allows President Barack Obama to change laws on his own.

On Monday, Obama for the 24th time changed or delayed his own signature healthcare law by delaying the employer mandate for yet another year for businesses with 50-99 employees. His administration says it has broad authority under the tax code to implement laws in ways that will encourage compliance.

But Lee, appearing on “Fox News Sunday” said that if such a mandate exists, “then there’s almost no limit to his authority.

“We have a government of one. We have a super-executive and super-legislator vested in the president of the United States,” Lee told host Chris Wallace.

“The president knows this is wrong and it’s not defensible. He’s violated the Constitution. He’s exercising power that doesn’t belong to him,” Lee said.

But Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told Wallace that if Obama’s executive actions were unconstitutional “someone would have sued by now and the president would have had to stop.”

Besides, he noted, Obama has issued far fewer executive actions at this point in his presidency that past presidents going back through Ronald Reagan.

Lee responded that the fact that other presidents have done it in the past doesn’t justify it now. Other Republicans have said that previous presidents haven’t misused the executive order rule as they believe Obama has.

Republicans also accuse Obama of delaying parts of the Affordable Care Act – or Obamacare – to avoid political pain in this year’s midterm congressional elections. Democrats are distancing themselves from the law that has had a shaky start.

“This is a shameless act, a shameless power grab that is designed to help the president and his political party achieve a particular outcome in a partisan election,” Lee said.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


What to Expect From Friday’s Jobs Report.

Friday, economists expect the Labor Department to report the economy added 181,000 jobs in January, up from the disappointing 74,000 scored in December. That’s about half the pace needed to bring unemployment down to acceptable levels and motivate the Federal Reserve to raise targets for short-term interest rates.

The economy did grow at a solid 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending accelerated and growth was more broadly supported by business investment and improvements in exports.

The Fed has well-founded confidence in the long-term stability of the recovery and is well-advised to continue tapering purchases of longer-term Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities. Recent turmoil in currency and stock markets notwithstanding, the fundamentals underneath U.S. equities remain sound.

Editor’s Note: 38 Trades That Could Turn $1,000 Into $49,000 

However, expansion in the housing, autos and manufacturing sectors — the bright stars of the 18-quarter expansion — showed signs of tiring, and these trends carried over into January data. For example, contracts for sales of new and existing homes and the Institute for Supply Management data for manufacturing have not been encouraging.

The unseasonably cold winter slowed housing sales, which should rebound by March. Autos and other manufacturing activities are troubled by Japan’s efforts to suppress the value of the yen against the dollar and accomplish price competitiveness and exports unjustified by underlying comparative advantages.

The jobs report may reflect continued restructuring among large retailers — many big names sold large volumes of goods at very thin margins during the holiday season and remain overexpanded — and uncertainty in healthcare owing to the rocky rollout of Obamacare.

Economists generally believe consumer spending got out ahead of income gains in the fourth quarter, and households will consolidate their finances and slow purchases through the spring. Overall, first quarter growth in the range of 2 to 2.5 percent — in line with the trend for the recovery since 2009 — is expected, and jobs growth in the range of 180,000 for January would support that expectation.

The unemployment rate should stay at about 6.7 percent, largely because so many adults remain discouraged or stuck in part-time jobs, with the latter condition worsening as Obamacare mandates for full-time employees in 2015 come into more immediate focus.

Going forward, the December termination of federal support for unemployment benefits administered by the states in excess of the customary 26 weeks will likely help depress the unemployment rate. The experience of North Carolina, which ended long-term benefits in July, indicates many adults will cease actively looking for work and not be counted in federal jobless statistics.

That experience does raise serious questions about the need for long-term assistance among many who have been collecting benefits, especially given that extended unemployment benefits raise wages demanded, generally, and discourages hiring on a broad scale.

Factoring in part-time employees who would prefer full-time work and discouraged adults, the jobless rate is 13.1 percent.

Getting headline unemployment down to 6 percent, while employing those folks at the margins of the labor market, would require about 365,000 jobs each month for three years — about double the pace accomplished since the economic recovery began and during the George W. Bush expansion.

It bears noting Presidents Reagan and Clinton accomplished more robust growth and jobs creation with lighter regulations, lower taxes, less emphasis on entitlement programs and fewer efforts to suppress criticism of their administrations’ policies.

Both capitalized on the dynamic opportunities offered by new technologies and private initiative by encouraging robust public debate about appropriate directions for public policy, as opposed to tolerating efforts to quiet their voices through law enforcement and muffle dissent through the administration of the tax laws.

Throughout the world, over and over again, new technology and private initiative have instigated more growth and created more good-paying jobs when debate is untethered by fears of retribution and unsettling to those in power.

Editor’s Note: 38 Trades That Could Turn $1,000 Into $49,000 

© 2014 Moneynews. All rights reserved.

By Peter Morici Twitter @pmorici1

Dinesh D’Souza: Today’s US Government Would Terrify Founders.

Dinesh D’Souza — who made a documentary critical of President Barack Obama and has since been indicted for arranging excessive campaign contributions — says he is just one of many being penalized for criticizing Obama, and says the Founding Fathers would be terrified of what’s happening.

“There seems to have been a pattern of various groups critical of the president all getting inquiries and being subjected to a standard of scrutiny and review that had not been typical,” D’Souza told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“The federal government has a great deal of power, and now, with the NSA surveillance, with the government, in a sense, having access to your apps and your emails . . . the Founders would’ve been a little terrified about what this kind of power does to people,” D’Souza said Tuesday.

“Once you give the government this kind of power, what’s going to happen? How is that power going to be used?”

Urgent: Is Obamacare Hurting Your Wallet? Vote in Poll 

Story continues below video.

D’Souza, a conservative commentator and best-selling author who made the 2012 documentary “2016: Obama’s America,” was indicted by a federal grand jury last month on a charge of arranging excessive campaign contributions to an unnamed candidate for the U.S. Senate.

The indictment says that in the summer of 2012, D’Souza reimbursed people whom he had directed to contribute $20,000 to the candidate’s campaign. An attorney for D’Souza contended his actions were “at worst” an act of misguided friendship toward the candidate.

D’Souza, 52, a former policy adviser to President Ronald Reagan and an affiliate of conservative organizations such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, says the indictment will not stop him from speaking out.

“I can’t really discuss the case but I will say I really appreciate the outpouring of support, and I also want people to know that it’s in no way going to inhibit or deter my work,” he said.

“I’ve got a big film coming out this year, coming out for the Fourth of July. It’s just called “America,” and in a way it’s going to pick up the argument from ‘2016.’ It’s not about Obama.

“It’s about something much bigger than Obama, which is our country, but it’s about some of the divisions in our country and the forces that are building America up but also the forces that are pulling us down.”

D’Souza’s film is the second-most successful U.S. documentary, after Michael Moore’s 2004 film “Fahrenheit 9/11.” D’Souza also has written such books as “Obama’s America: Unmaking the American Dream.” 

He told Malzberg he had been warned about criticizing Obama.

“I was warned at the time, be careful, because there’s a little bit of a target on your back when you go out there and make yourself vulnerable in that way,” he said.

“People said, ‘listen, you’ve been a writer and a speaker for 20 years, but the people, the audience who buys books, is a limited market.’

“When you go out there and make a film that actually now has been seen by about 8 million people, you are in a very public way putting yourself on the front line, and I knew that. We’re at a stage in this country where we need to stand up for the values that built this country.”

D’Souza said he will defend himself “vigorously” at his trial as well as promote his new film in a bid to make it the No. 1 documentary of all time.

“We are going to try to give Michael Moore a run for his money with the new film and really try to knock him off his pedestal, so to speak,” he said.

“We’re certainly going to make a better film. We’re going to do our best to promote it, and if the Obama administration wants to help us, then that’s their prerogative.”

D’Souza says Hillary Clinton could be elected Obama’s successor.

“Certainly it looks to me that the baton may pass from Obama to Hillary. I’m not an expert on that; 2016 will be a critical year,” he said.

“Obama has, in a sense, talked at his inauguration about remaking America. That was his phrase, ‘remaking America.’ Well, America’s a big country. It’s not so easy to remake it in just eight years.

“Certainly, if you have 16 years, then you’ve got a much longer time to be able to produce the kind of fundamental change that I believe Obama is after. So, the 2016 election’s very critical.”

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Paul Ryan: Obama Presidency ‘Increasingly Lawless’.

Image: Paul Ryan: Obama Presidency 'Increasingly Lawless'

By Greg Richter

President Barack Obama’s presidency is becoming ‘increasingly lawless’ as he signs executive orders contradicting existing law or proposing new ones, says Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc.

“Presidents don’t write laws, Congress does,” Ryan said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” 

Obama, in his State of the Union address last week, promised to go it alone by issuingeven more executive orders if Congress fails to pass laws he deems necessary.

“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos noted that the number of executive orders issued by Obama at this point in his presidency is fewer than those of the most recent two-term presidents, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan.

Ryan argued that the issue isn’t numbers, but scope.

“Executive orders are one thing, but executive orders that actually change the statute, that’s totally different,” Ryan said. He gave as an example Obama’s unilateral delay of some parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Still, Ryan doesn’t see impeachment proceedings over the issue, which he labeled a “dangerous trend.” Instead, he predicted court battles over individual incidents.

On others issues, Ryan:

  • Predicted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will continue to lead the Republican Governors Association despite his deepening troubles over the Bridge-gate scandal.
  • Said that despite internal GOP disagreement on immigration, the party does agree that it doesn’t trust Obama to enforce the law. He said Congress is unlikely to pass a bill this year to send to the president. Republicans want a secure border, interior security (a worker verification system and a visa tracking program), before the rest of law can take effect.
  • Said attaching policy to a debt limit bill is not a new approach, and that Congress should stop rubber stamping debt limit increases.
  • Defended comments he made that Pope Francis isn’t familiar with American capitalism because he is from Argentina, where “crony capitalism” is practiced. Francis is starting the debate on helping the poor, not ending, it, Ryan said. He admitted Francis wouldn’t back his budget proposal because “Popes don’t endorse budgets.”

Obamacare Alert: Massive Rule Changes to Affect Your Medicare 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Larry Speakes, Former President Ronald Reagan’s Spokesman, Dies at Age 74.

Image: Larry Speakes, Former President Ronald Reagan's Spokesman, Dies at Age 74

A former spokesman for U.S. President Ronald Reagan who took over from James Brady in 1981 after the then-press-secretary was wounded in an assassination attempt against the president, died on Friday in Mississippi, a funeral home owner said.Larry Speakes, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died in his sleep at his home in Cleveland, Miss., said Kenny Williams, owner of the Cleveland Funeral Home. He was 74.

Speakes joined the Reagan administration in 1981 as deputy press secretary after previously serving as vice president of public relations firm Hill and Knowlton. Later that year, he took over from Brady as acting press secretary after Brady was wounded in the shooting attack on Reagan, and Speakes held the position until 1987.

He conducted some 2,000 daily press briefings, dealing with issues from the Iran-Contra scandal to the investigation into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 and Cold War relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

An announcement from the White House in 1987, when Speakes received the Presidential Citizens Medal, described him as “cool under pressure” and “conscientiously working to get the facts out.”

More recently, Speakes was criticized for his response to the AIDS crisis when the disease that early on was associated with gay men first came up at a White House press briefing.

At the October 1982 news conference, a reporter asked Speakes about the disease gaining epidemic proportions and called it the “gay plague,” according to a transcript posted online last year by the Washington Post.

“I don’t have it. Do you?” Speakes asked, to laughter from the press corps, and said he was unfamiliar with the disease, according to the transcript.

Speakes also worked in the White House in the 1970s.

During President Richard Nixon’s final days in the White House, Speakes served as press secretary to the special counsel to the president in the Watergate hearings.

After Nixon resigned, Speakes was assistant press secretary to President Gerald Ford.

After leaving the White House, Speakes worked in public relations for Northern Telecom and the U.S. Postal Service, retiring from that last position in 2008.

Born in Cleveland, Miss., Speakes attended the University of Mississippi and went on to a career in newspapers, serving from 1966 to 1968 as general manager and editor for Progress Publishers of Leland, Mississippi, which published weekly newspapers.

Speakes was buried on Friday at North Cleveland Cemetery, Williams said. He is survived by a daughter, Sandy Speakes Huerta, and sons Scott and Jeremy Speakes, six grandchildren and one great grandchild.Larry Speakes, who served as spokesman for U.S. President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1987, died on Friday at age 74 in his native Mississippi, a funeral home owner said.

Speakes, who had Alzheimer’s disease, died in his sleep at his home in Cleveland, Miss., said Kenny Williams, owner of the Cleveland Funeral Home.

In 1981, Speakes joined the Reagan administration as deputy press secretary after previously serving as vice president of public relations firm Hill and Knowlton.

He took over from James Brady as the president’s acting press secretary after Brady was wounded later that year in an assassination attempt against Reagan. He held the position until 1987.

Speakes was buried on Friday at North Cleveland Cemetery, Williams said.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


Obamacare Forces End of Year Rush on Medical Procedures.

As 2013 draws to a close many patients are scrambling to complete medical procedures at facilities they will be ineligible to use in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.

According to The Wall Street Journal, concern over anticipated higher deductibles in 2014 is also contributing to the spike in last-minute demand.

Some prestigious medical centers and specialists are not available under insurance plans offered under Obamacare, and many doctors have chosen not to take part in the system, the Journal reported Sunday.

Some 40 percent of participating physicians at Blue Shield of California, for example, have dropped out because they do not want to accept the lower rates prescribed by the new plans. UCLA‘s Ronald Reagan teaching hospital and its affiliated facilities will also be dropped under some Blue Shield of California plans, the Journal reported.

Overall, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., 70 percent of plans under Obamacare will offer a comparatively narrower range of provider options than had been available.

The end of year “boomlet,” as the Journal called it, in doctor visits and procedures was noticeable around the country as scores of patients pushed up elective surgeries, preventive colonoscopies and various scans. Thomas Priselac, the chief executive of Cedars-Sinai Health System, reported “a big spike in December.”

Americans will be able to purchase plans that replicate existing coverage but often at significantly greater cost, the Journal also noted.

Some healthy people will face unwelcome surprises as they become aware of the limitations imposed by their new coverage.

“We have a lot of people who aren’t sick yet, don’t need any procedures and will have a rude awakening when they realize they don’t have access to the providers they want,” Joanne Conroy, chief health care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, told the Journal.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Elliot Jager

Former Ambassadors: Vatican Embassy Closure ‘Shameful’.

Two former ambassadors to the Holy See believe it will be a “colossal mistake” for the Obama administration to follow through with its plan to close the United States Vatican embassy in 2015.

The United States and the Holy See have built a strong relationship through the embassy, which was opened under President Ronald Reagan in 1984, write Ray Flynn, who served under President Bill Clinton, and Jim Nicholson, ambassador, under President George W. Bush in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

Reagan opened the embassy with bipartisan support, joining more than 150 other countries in maintaining the diplomatic mission inside the Vatican, a decision that proved crucial, say Flynn and Nicholson.

“President Reagan and Pope John Paul II worked along parallel tracks to accelerate the revolutions of 1989 and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union,” the former ambassadors write. “The U.S. and the Holy See have since built a strong relationship that has had a demonstrable impact on the defense and advance of human rights throughout the world.”

President Barack Obama has called to close the embassy and move its functions into a separate building within the grounds of U.S. Embassy to Italy in Rome, three miles from the Vatican, in late 2014 or early 2015. The move is being made as part of new measures to increase security for U.S. diplomatic facilities worldwide following the terrorist attack on the diplomatic compound in Libya last year.

“This would be a colossal mistake,” say Nicholson and Flynn, noting that the move has been seen as a “deliberate slap at the Catholic Church and the pope; some may even detect veiled anti-Catholicism.”

The ambassadors said that no matter what the administration’s motivation may be, moving the embassy away from the Vatican is not in the best interest of the United States.

Further, said Flynn and Nicholson, the State Department has been planning for the past 10 years to close the Vatican posting for budgetary reasons, ever since the State Department bought an office building next to the embassy in Rome.

But now, the Obama administration has added the post-Benghazi security concerns to the “penny-wise/pound-foolish approach” for closing the Mission to the Holy See, the ambassadors write.

“As former U.S. ambassadors to the Holy See, we respectfully suggest that any such security concerns be met by stronger executive leadership in the White House and State Department,” say Flynn and Nicholson. “The attempt to use such concerns as an excuse for downgrading the Embassy to the Holy See is shameful.”

They note that the Holy See is the embodiment in international law of the Pope’s mission, and was founded before modern Italy was born.

“The Holy See plays a unique and often crucial role in world affairs, from John Paul II’s pivotal role in the collapse of European communism, to the important achievements of the Holy See in standing up for human dignity and human rights,” the ambassadors write. It also plays a part in the “Vatican’s ‘honest broker’ role in international conflicts and in disasters requiring significant and rapid humanitarian aid.”

The ambassadors point out that the Holy See plays a role as a diplomatic hub where 175 countries are represented, and moving the embassy will “signal a lack of U.S. governmental respect for such papal influence, and it will not go unnoticed by other countries.”

Francis: Pope’s Hidden Life Revealed.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Jonathan Vs Obasanjo: Strategies At Play By Asuelimen Aisabokhale.

By Asuelimen Aisabokhale

Nigerians are rightfully horrified by former President Olusegun Obasanjo‘s and President Goodluck Jonathan‘s naked dance in the market.  Everyone already knows that Obasanjo likes to unleash pent-up rage at political enemies. Ask former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. But we are just now learning that Jonathan, though gentle and genial, is not a timid guy. Jonathan’s letter to his pen pal, Obasanjo, shows that when faced with a threat to his political life, he can as well spew out venom. But the strategic intents of both individuals and their letters’ probable ramifications are beyond mere political survival, which is why Nigerians should be alarmed.
Obasanjo’s motivation can be found in the second paragraph of his letter, which is that he has been progressively marginalized by the Jonathan government. He stated that “… none of the four or more letters that I have written to you in the past two years or so has elicited an acknowledgement or any response.” For Baba, that’s an insult, coming from a so-called political son. He repeatedly hammered Jonathan’s inner circle of “selfish and self-centered aides” who have inserted the President into a bubble and insulated him from Big Brother’s prying eyes. Subtly but clearly, Obasanjo expressed frustrations with his waning influence in the South West, within PDP and, if Jonathan decides to run in the next election, in who becomes probably the next President of Nigeria.

To jolt Jonathan out of slumber, the former army general who helped end the Nigerian civil war needed to rally his troops on the crest of unsavoury popular sentiments about the country’s state of affairs. Clearly, the overarching goal is to take the oxygen out of Jonathan’s second term (or third term?) ambition. Obasanjo’s tactical contours and the timing of his letter are a masterstroke. Consider the implosion within the PDP, the APC‘s new lease of life, heightening insecurity in the country, incessant allegations of corruption – all reinforcing the perception of a rudderless ship of state.

Consequently, Obasanjo sprinkled salt in Jonathan’s open wound in order to further stoke public anger against the administration. Yet Obasanjo audaciously said it was his patriotic duty to do so. Jonathan calls him Baba and, as Chinue Achebe reminds, when a child calls you father, have no hand in his death.

There is no argument that Obasanjo played to Northerners’ sentiments that the presidency returns to that region. By positioning himself as a nationalist, a great apostle of Northern interest, one who handed over power to both Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua at different times, Obasanjo’s level of ingratiation becomes odious. Just so we refresh memories, his third term agenda didn’t actually advance Northern interest.

Nevertheless, from a strategic political perspective, his letter must be a net positive. It instantly provides him with a constituency among the rebel governors, emirs, even Northern grassroots population, who have suddenly found one with a big mouth and a loud megaphone to champion their interest. Already, delegations are queuing to pay homage in Otta.

In the manner of the late Obafemi Awolowo who wrote an 18-page letter to Shehu Shagari in 1981, Obasanjo also wants to play the prophet. Awolowo had warned of dire economic consequences unless policies were changed. While Shagari and his team ridiculed Awolowo’s letter as the ranting of a frustrated man, history proved that the late sage was right and Shagari was wrong, as the Nigeria economy subsequently nosedived. Along the same line, sensing the seeming meltdown of the PDP, Obasanjo calculates that should an Armageddon happen, he could easily be touted as one who spoke truth to power – to a President he imposed on the country in the first place.  That’s a trophy he would like to keep in his legacy cupboard.

On good authority, Obasanjo’s letter rankled Jonathan and his team who decided it was time to take off the gloves. Jonathan’s response is motivated by several factors, chiefly that enough is enough, that Obasanjo’s closets must be opened so that everyone can see the skeletons in there. Jonathan and his team want to accomplish three things: rebut Obasanjo’s vitriolic criticisms, undercut his argument by damaging his credibility and showcase achievements of the current administration. The jury is still out on this strategy.

There is no doubt that Jonathan hit Obasanjo below the belt, even acknowledging in his letter that “the grapes have gone sour.” But Jonathan also took serious risks by describing the former leader’s letter as “distinctly ominous” and a “threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.”  Simply put, you can’t accuse anyone of threatening national security and let them go free. If the law must apply, then the stage should be set for Obasanjo to answer a few questions from investigators. Given that no pot is big enough to cook Obasanjo (to paraphrase Tony Anenih), the President may have inadvertently weakened his hand.

Of course Jonathan also hopes that the timing of his letter takes Obasanjo off his imperial pedestal.  The former President’s daughter, Iyabo, had allegedly asked her dad in another open letter whether Nigeria belonged to him. By discrediting Obasanjo’s moral high ground, Jonathan’s henchmen believe they can seize the narrative and nip in the bud, once and for all, the antics of an overbearing former leader.

But the problem with Jonathan’s approach is that he is the President. People care less about what happened in Obasanjo’s government many years ago; people look up to the current leader to fix things. That’s why they hired him. Second, by taking on Obasanjo in a tit-for-tat manner, Jonathan elevates a citizen (it doesn’t matter if he’s an ex-President) to a level of an alternate President. Third, Obasanjo’s vituperations are good ammo for the opposition and each day that Nigerians debate this issue, he wins and Jonathan loses. Fourth, Jonathan’s letter was more defensive than substantive, appearing more like a desperate attempt to maneuver out of a rope-a-dope situation he had been boxed into. Leadership 101: when a President takes on an individual who espouses popular sentiments, there can only be one loser: the President.

The tone of Jonathan’s letter also suggests a siege mentality, if not insensitivity, to current economic, security and political situations in the country. Simple logic: Nigerians believe the country is not doing well. Obasanjo says things are bad. Jonathan says things are good. Therefore, Obasanjo is on the side of the people. Ask the millions of unemployed youths if they are happy with their leaders. Ask the families of those whose loved ones have been murdered in cold blood if there is security in Nigeria. Ask those who have to pay bribes everyday to get the simplest things done if there is corruption in the country.

Jonathan has a point that previous leaders left him a mess and they are now accusing him of not cleaning the mess fast enough. But Nigerians know of only one President and his name is Goodluck Jonathan. A President soaks in insults, even those from predecessors. It’s part of the job. The popular leadership refrain is, if you can’t stand the heat, don’t get in the kitchen.

Jonathan’s letter was ill-advised because it accentuates the key issue in the debate, which is, are Nigerians better off today than they were in the past?

Unfortunately for Jonathan, there cannot be an objective response to that question because memories are often like the morning dew: they disappear in no time. Winston Churchill won World War II and lost the next election. George H. Bush won the first Iraqi war, continued Ronald Reagan’s economic prosperity policies, but he never got reelected. No one talks about how Obama liquidated Osama Bin Laden. Charles Taylor is still wildly popular in Liberia despite his despicable past. Buhari is perhaps the most popular politician in the North yet only few remember the terror he unleashed in 1985 when he became Head of State.

Jonathan can rightly claim some accomplishments but these have been tamely promoted. Therefore, the more this debate continues, the more it chips away at his credibility. Presidents are politicians and needn’t fight a fight they will not win because the cost of fighting is far greater than the cost of peacemaking.  Joe Machin, a top US senator from President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party, harshly criticized the President the other day and even accused him of policies likely to result in an economic meltdown. Obama’s response is hush! hush! Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, United States, a Republican, was photographed wagging fingers in Obama’s eyes in a frightening spectacle of blatant disrespect. Days later, Obama cooled tempers saying that she was merely passionate.

The frozen relationship between Obasanjo and Jonathan is unlikely to thaw. So is that of the President and Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal. So is that of the President and the rebel governors. So is that of the President and certain regions. Perhaps so is that of the President and some former leaders (If you believe Obasanjo). The opposition is beating the drums while PDP is engaged in a macabre dance. There’s only one way out: ignore the hawks; embrace the doves. Try one more time, Mr. President, to make peace with all and salvage your government – and your legacy.

Asueliment Aisabokhala is a leadership expert based in the United States


The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Illinois Rep. Schock: Obamacare ‘Bad Product for Young People’.

Obamacare is “a bad product for young people,” says Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock.

In Saturday’s weekly Republican address, Schock said his state was spending $1 million this week on Obamacare television ads to reach young adults — on top of the $684 million already spent so far on national advertising.

“But no matter how many actors, and rappers, and rock stars the president rolls out, the best sales pitch in the world can’t sell a bad product,” he said.

Schock spoke from Eureka College, former President Ronald Reagan‘s alma mater in Eureka, Ill.

He cited reports showing that younger, healthier people will be paying overpriced premiums under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law to subsidize older, sicker ones.

“In other words, they are forced by law to shift the cost of older and sicker patients onto young people,” Schock said. “And the president needs a lot of young people, about 2.7 million, to enroll so he can shift the costs onto them and keep premiums from skyrocketing.

“In Washington, they call this ‘community rating,’ but where I come from, we call it a ripoff,” he added.

Schock chided that the winning song in a contest for pitching the Affordable Care Act to millennials included the line, “Don’t worry about the price tag.”

“It’s tough not to worry about the price tag when you’re racking up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, doing work-study to make it by, and trying to save for your first apartment — all at a time when youth unemployment in this country is nearly 16 percent,” he said.

“Young people helped put the president in office, and with this healthcare law, he’s pushing them into years of less choice, fewer opportunities, and larger bills. This isn’t how it was supposed to be.”

Washington lawmakers can best connect with young Americans by giving them “the chance to build confidence, giving them an incentive to work, and save, and to invest, take risks, and rekindle that entrepreneurial spirit that sets this country apart,” Schock said.

“The president’s healthcare law does none of this — and it only sets us back and makes things more expensive,” he added. “I know, and you know, that we can do better.”

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By Todd Beamon

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