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Tags: Cory | Booker | Dead | Man | Obamas Global Poll Numbers Fall | Federal Red Tape Costs 780 | 000 Jobs

Obama Sees Cory Booker as 'Dead Man'; Even Obama's Global Poll Numbers Fall

By    |   Sunday, 17 June 2012 04:17 PM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Klein: Historians Rank Obama Legacy With Jimmy Carter's
2. Obama Camp: Cory Booker Is a Dead Man
3. Federal Red Tape Costs 780,000 Jobs
4. 'Ghost' Killers Butchering Civilians in Syria
5. W.Va.'s Sen. Manchin: EPA Waging 'War on Coal'
6. Pew: Global Confidence in Obama Plunges

1. Klein: Historians Rank Obama Legacy With Jimmy Carter's

Edward Klein, author of a blockbuster new exposé about President Obama, offers a behind-the-scenes look at a White House dinner when Obama hosted nine presidential historians — and offered a "sneak preview" of his failed presidency.

Klein's explosive book "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House" skyrocketed to the No. 1 spot on The New York Times list of hardcover nonfiction works in its first week in publication, and has remained there for four weeks in a row.

In an article appearing on FoxNews.com, Klein relates: "On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2009 — just five months into his administration — Barack Obama invited a small group of presidential historians to dine with him in the family quarters of the White House.

"The meeting was to remain private and off the record. As a result, the media missed the chance to report on an important event, for the evening with the historians provided a remarkable sneak preview of why the Obama presidency would shortly go off the rails."

The historians on hand — Doris Kearns Goodwin, Michael Beschloss, Robert Caro, Robert Dallek, Douglas Brinkley, H.W. "Billam" Brands, David Kennedy, Kenneth Mack, and Garry Wills — had for the most part supported the Obama campaign.

When one of the historians brought up the problems that President Lyndon Johnson faced trying to wage a foreign military venture while implementing an ambitious domestic agenda, "Mr. Obama grew testy," Klein writes.

"He implied that he was different, because he could prevail by the force of his personality. He could solve the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, put millions of people back to work, redistribute wealth, withdraw from Iraq, and reconcile the United States to a less dominant role in the world.

"It was, by any measure, a breathtaking display of grandiosity by a man whose entire political curriculum vitae consisted of seven undistinguished years in the Illinois senate and two mostly absent years in the United States Senate.

"That evening Mr. Obama revealed the characteristics — arrogance, conceit, egotism, vanity, hubris and, above all, rank amateurism — that would mark his presidency and doom it to frustration and failure."

Obama hosted a second dinner with the historians after the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans gained control of the House, and a third in July 2011, after the federal government lost its triple-A credit rating, Klein discloses.

Several months later, Klein spoke with one of the historians who had attended all three dinners.

"There's no doubt that Obama has turned out to be a major enigma and disappointment," Klein quotes the historian as saying.

"For a long time, I found it hard to understand why he couldn't translate his political savvy into effective governance. But I think I know the answer now. Since the beginning of his administration, Obama hasn't been able to capture the public's imagination and inspire people to follow him.

"People don't feel that he's on their side. Obama doesn't connect. He doesn't have the answers. He's turned out to be a failure as a communicator . . .

"I wouldn't bet the ranch on his getting re-elected."

Klein concludes: "Obama might not have the place in history he so eagerly covets. Instead of ranking with FDR and Reagan and other giants, it seems more likely that he will be a case study in presidential failure like Jimmy Carter."

Editor's Note:

2. Obama Camp: Cory Booker Is a Dead Man

Newark Mayor Cory Booker torpedoed his hopes for a Cabinet post by publicly assailing President Obama's attacks against Mitt Romney's former private equity firm Bain Capital.

"He's dead to us," an administration officials said of the prevailing feelings at the White House, the New York Post reported.

Booker was reportedly under consideration for "the housing secretary gig" in a second Obama administration, according to the Post.

Then came his May 20 appearance on "Meet the Press," when he complained that Obama's attacks on Romney's record at Bain were "nauseating" and made him "very uncomfortable."

"I'm not about to indict private equity," he told the national TV audience. "If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses."

Obama's aides asked him to "backpedal" on his comments, according to the Post. Instead, he went on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show the following night to talk about his comments without first consulting the Obama team.

"Booker threw even more fuel on the fire when he made it look as if he had been ordered to retract his comments," the Post reported.

"That was the final nail," a Democratic source told the Post. "It's like, 'You're dead and done. The firing squad is out.'"

Another source observed: "What he did was undermine a leading argument for the campaign. It was a serious distraction. He is trying to figure out how to work his way back into the fold."

Editor's Note:

3. Federal Red Tape Costs 780,000 Jobs

Federal regulatory officials imposed 3,807 new rules in 2011, an average of 15 each business day, filling 81,247 pages in last year's Federal Register.

Unemployment in the private sector remains unacceptably high, but business is booming in Washington when it comes to jobs in the government's regulatory "industry." Functionaries are busily enforcing the 169,301-page U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, observes Deroy Murdock, a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.

Non-Pentagon executive-branch civilian employment dipped 11.5 percent under President Bill Clinton, but spiked 14.4 percent under President George W. Bush and another 5.5 percent under President Obama from 2008 to 2010, rising from 1.28 million employees to 1.36 million.

While not all of these workers are engaged in regulation, 291,676 of them are, up 17 percent under Obama. Murdock cites research by Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who states that complying with federal regulations cost the U.S. economy $1.75 trillion in 2008, surpassing all U.S. corporate pre-tax profits of $1.3 trillion in 2009 — and that 2008 figure is likely higher today.

"Every dollar spent to mollify federal authorities is a dollar that cannot be spent to hire new employees, launch new products, or open foreign markets," Murdock writes in National Review.

"My colleagues at Engage America have calculated that federal red tape has squelched at least 779,203 potential jobs. If these positions were filled, today's unemployment rate would fall from 8.2 percent to 7.7."

He points to two examples of federal regulatory overreach.

The Energy Department has imposed rules titled "Conservation Standards for Wine Chillers and Miscellaneous Refrigeration Products."

And a Utah high school has been fined $15,000 by the federal government for inadvertently leaving a soda vending machine running during its lunch period, violating a law that nevertheless permits the sale of sugar-loaded sports drinks and candy bars during lunch.

"At least 25 percent of regulators should be thanked for their service and dismissed," Murdock suggests.

"Those who remain should be instructed to combat fraud, disease, serious injuries, and untimely deaths. Beyond that, Uncle Sam should butt out of America's vending machines and wine chillers."

Editor's Note:

4. 'Ghost' Killers Butchering Civilians in Syria

Gun-toting, well-paid thugs pumped up on steroids are slaughtering civilians in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad's beleaguered regime.

Death squads known as "Ghost" killers have massacred women and children, slitting their throats or shooting them at point-blank range, carrying out the government's dirty work so al-Assad can claim the rampages are not state-sponsored, according to Britain's Daily Mirror.

"Dressed in their unofficial uniform of combat trousers and black T-shirts, the muscle-bound thugs are the butchers of Assad's regime," the newspaper reported.

"Armed with AK-47s and machetes, they travel behind the military. After the army stops shelling towns, the Ghosts swarm in to kill survivors."

The Ghosts are paid around $200 a day, a considerable sum in Syria, often from funds provided by businessmen who support the al-Assad regime.

They are known as Shabiha in Arabic, based on the Arabic root for "ghost," and originated as smugglers in the 1970s in the coastal city of Latakia, the center of power for the al-Assad family.

"They used to smuggle weapons and drugs but now they are butchers," said Michael Weiss, a Syria expert at the U.K.-based Henry Jackson Society.

Like al-Assad, the Ghosts are mostly members of the Alawite sect, which comprises 11 percent of Syria's population. They are being told that they are fighting for their lives, as they will face revenge if the regime is overthrown, according to the Mirror.

Among other atrocities, the Ghosts have been accused of slaughtering 78 villagers in Qubair, Syria, earlier this month.

A source said: "Their mission is to terrorize the civilian population and conduct ethnic cleansing."

Editor's Note:

5. W.Va.'s Sen. Manchin: EPA Waging 'War on Coal'

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan that would essentially "outlaw" coal-fired power plants in the United States — yet have no significant effect on global CO2 emissions.

The EPA calls the plan the first "Clean Air Act standard for carbon pollution" in new power plants.

"The proposal, if enacted, will effectively outlaw the construction of new coal-fired power plants by capping acceptable carbon dioxide emissions at a level below what is attainable by modern plants," according to Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.

"Prohibiting coal will increase the cost of producing electricity — a cost which will ultimately be paid by consumers — while doing almost nothing to reduce global carbon-dioxide emissions."

After the EPA announced the 257-page proposed plan, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said the move shows that the EPA is engaged "in a war on coal."

Coal currently provides about 46 percent of domestic electricity, and the United States has some 237 billion tons of coal reserves — about 28 percent of the world's deposits, and about 241 years of supply at current rates of consumption.

"Coal continues to present a compelling value for electricity production because deposits of the fuel are abundant, widely dispersed, easily mined, and they are not controlled by any OPEC-like cartels," Bryce observes.

Yet coal is "the most vilified energy source," he adds, noting that one of the nation's most powerful environmental groups, the Sierra Club, is leading an effort aimed at closing down all coal-fired power plants.

He also points out that the newest coal-fired plants are reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide to levels far below those mandated by the EPA.

"The trend toward ever-lower emissions of criteria pollution from coal-fired electricity generation will likely continue. But the definition of what qualifies as 'clean' under the EPA's rules keeps changing." The newest plants "would have easily met the EPA's requirements for pollution. Given the new rules on carbon dioxide, they wouldn't."

The "war on coal" is not likely to achieve any victories in the battle against CO2 emissions, Bryce asserts.

As domestic coal use declines, American coal producers are selling more of their product overseas because global demand for the fuel is soaring. Between 2010 and 2011, U.S. coal exports increased by more than 31 percent.

The increase in global coal consumption will make any reductions in U.S. coal consumption and carbon dioxide emissions "insignificant," Bryce states.

He concludes: "The simple truth is that banning new coal power plants in the United States won't make a whit of difference when it comes to global carbon-dioxide emissions. Instead, the prohibition on new coal plants is a de facto carbon tax on American consumers that the Obama administration is attempting to enact by bureaucratic fiat, rather than through democratic debate."

Editor's Note:

6. Pew: Global Confidence in Obama Plunges

Confidence in President Barack Obama in nations around the world has dropped significantly since he took office in 2009, the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project reveals.

In China, confidence in Obama has dropped from 62 percent of those surveyed in 2009 to 38 percent today, a change of 24 percentage points.

Confidence in Obama has dipped 13 percentage points in Mexico, 11 points in Japan, 9 points in Muslim countries, and 6 points in Europe.

A majority of respondents still say they have confidence in Obama in every European nation polled with the exception of Greece, where just 30 percent have confidence. Confidence is highest in Germany (87 percent) and France (86 percent).

But a majority in six Muslim nations, including 69 percent in Egypt, have no confidence in the American president.

Pew has also found a sharp decline in worldwide approval of Obama's international policies, according to the survey of more than 26,000 people in 21 countries. Approval has dropped in China (down 30 percentage points), Japan (19 points), Muslim countries (19 points), Russia (18), Mexico (17), and Europe (15).

Interestingly, 40 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of global economic problems, a higher percentage than in France (35 percent), Spain (34), Germany (28), Poland (27), Czech Republic (25), Britain (23), and Italy (18).

And while Europeans' confidence in Obama has dropped, the overwhelming majority in most countries believe he should be re-elected, ranging from a high of 92 percent in France to 67 percent in Czech Republic. But just 7 percent feel that way in Pakistan, 18 percent in Egypt, 22 percent in Jordan, 31 percent in China, and 38 percent in India.

The Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project conducts public opinion surveys around the world on a broad array of subjects ranging from people's assessments of their own lives to their views about the current state of the world and important issues of the day.

Among other findings:

  • The United States is the only nation in the survey that approves of drone strikes on terrorist targets — 62 percent approve and 28 percent disapprove. Disapproval is as high as 90 percent in Greece and 89 percent in Egypt, and is at 63 percent in France and 59 percent in Germany.
  • In 2009, 56 percent of those polled believed Obama would take steps on climate change. Today just 22 percent think he has done so.
  • As recently as 2009, 46 percent of respondents believed the United States is the world's leading economic power, with 27 percent choosing China. Today China is favored by 42 percent and the United States by 36 percent.
  • A majority of respondents in seven of eight European nations polled — the exception is Greece — and those in Brazil, Japan, Russia, and Lebanon say they have a favorable view of the American people. The highest unfavorable ratings are in Pakistan (73 percent), Turkey (69), and Jordan (67), while 40 percent of Mexicans have an unfavorable view of their northern neighbors.
  • The percentage who say they like American music, movies and television ranges from 79 percent in Spain and 74 percent in Italy to just 19 percent in India and 8 percent in Pakistan. But those percentages rise significantly among respondents ages 18 to 29, topping out at 94 percent in Germany and 93 percent in France, and rising to 24 percent in India.
  • While 75 percent of Americans have confidence in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the percentage is lower in all European nations — including Greece (12 percent) and Spain (43 percent) — and in China (36 percent), Mexico (27), and India (15). The percentage in Muslim nations is highest in Lebanon (30 percent) and lowest in Pakistan (3 percent).

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" in Washington, D.C., that provides information on the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world.

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Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Sunday, 17 June 2012 04:17 PM
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