Wednesday, January 6, 2016

'He Can Cry Out Of One Eye!'

Crying Out of One Eye
Former Republican National Chairman and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour used to marvel at the ability of former President, and now First Spouse-in-Waiting, Bill Clinton to create tears as if on cue during any particular news conference or meeting that called for them.
Haley Barbour
'Bill Clinton is a fabulous political performer. I mean, he is the first politician in American history who perfected the ability to cry out of just one eye' --Haley Barbour, October 23, 2000 'Crossfire' with Bill Press. 
We were reminded of that quote yesterday as we watched President Barack Obama tear up as he resorted yet once again to his tried-and-true way of governing in our American Democratic Republic: the Presidential Executive Order.

We have no way of knowing if President Obama was truly overwhelmed by emotion as he spoke about the tragic massacre of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School 2 years ago. He sincerely may have felt that way as he spoke to the nation yesterday.

However, with the plethora of mass shootings and tragedies that have happened across the nation since he became President in 2008, he could have been bawling his eyes out over the senseless and tragic shootings or murders at any one or all of the following incidents that will always be remembered by the site of the tragedies just as the bloodiest battles of the Civil War are known by the name of the nearby town or river or creek:
  • San Bernardino
  • Colorado Springs
  • Roseburg
  • Chattanooga
  • Charleston
  • Isla Vista
  • Fort Hood
  • Naval Yard
  • Santa Monica
  • Newtown
  • Brookfield
  • Minneapolis
  • Oak Creek
  • Aurora
  • Oakland
  • Seal Beach
  • Tucson
  • Manchester
  • Huntsville
  • Fort Hood
  • Binghamton
You don't even need to know what state many of these towns are in to remember the helplessness and pain of all of the families and friends of the victims of these mass murders.

And it doesn't even include the out-and-out cold-blooded murders caused by the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon. No guns involved; just cold-blooded pipe bomb-in-a-knapsack murders.

The sincerity of any politician including The President can usually be ascertained by a couple of things:

#1 is the recognition of the root causes of the problem at hand. 
#2 is the resignation and determination to do whatever it takes to get a reasonable and plausible solution completed through the legislative process. 

Which usually means going against some of your campaign promises and basic inherent political principles, no matter how much you hold them near and dear to your heart and how important they are to you close advisors and supporters.

Let's look at what President Obama said yesterday and see if it passes the test of 'sincerity' or whether it was just another photo-op geared more to make gun control a salient political issue now that we are less than a month away from the Iowa Caucuses and 6 weeks away from the New Hampshire Primary:
  1. There was no mention of the fact that since President Obama was elected in 2008, there are now 100 million MORE firearms legally purchased by American citizens than before he was elected.
  2. We now have close to 330 million firearms in America, over a 50% increase since 2008.
  3. We now have far more firearms that have been legally purchased and background checked than we have people living in this country.
  4. Had President Obama not made his intentions for more gun control so clear once elected, maybe we would have stayed at close to 200 million firearms that were legally bought and background checked as was the case in 2008 before his election.
  5. President Obama acknowledged yesterday that nothing he proposed would have done anything to stop the senseless murders at San Bernardino or any of the other tragedies mentioned above.
  6. The reason? Because the problem with people who commit mass murders with dangerous weapons is because they are either mentally disturbed or provoked by religious extremism, mostly influenced by Islamist terrorism lately and we have to find a way to curb both before we can make progress on limiting the number of deaths caused by mass shootings in America.
There is a mention of funding more mental health efforts in his executive order but this will have to be authorized and appropriated by Congress and can't happen just by waving his executive order pen in the White House.

The bottom line is that President Obama would have been far, far ahead of the game had he not made it one of his prime missions to intimidate legitimate gun owners in America with the threat of loss of their guns from the beginning of his Presidency. 

Instead, he could have focused on working together with Republicans in both the House and the Senate on ways to strengthen and clear up federal laws relating to the admission of folks deemed to be mentally unstable to mental health facilities and provide the therapy they need before they could resort to mass murdering other innocent folks while hallucinating for example.

While this would have gone against his grain and almost pathological aversion to meeting with and then compromising with Republicans no matter who they are, it would have been a more fruitful effort now that we are entering his last year as President.

He could have focused the federal government's attention on ferreting out potential killers who were influenced by Islamist terrorism such as the San Bernardino murderers who got their passports without any federal authority being able to access their Facebook page where the female killer clearly announced her support for ISIS for all the rest of the world to see...but the federal government authorities were forbidden by the Obama Administration to use social media posts to do their background checks for some odd reason.

That makes absolutely no sense.

And, in one other important area, President Obama could have led the national effort to help reduce the number of crimes caused by guns by inner-city African-Americans on other inner-city African Americans as Reverend William Barber said recently at the funeral of a 1-year old baby girl who was shot and killed on Christmas Day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

"We gotta stop these funerals. Our people made it through slavery without killing one another,” said Rev. William Barber.

Amen.

In the spirit of a new year, we are going to give President Obama the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the sincerity of his tears yesterday at the press conference announcing yet another end run around the prerogatives of the US Congress.

However, tears and executive orders don't really cut it in a democratic republic such as ours. Executive orders can be wiped away as quickly as any tear can dry on your cheek. As soon as a president of the other party gets elected, any and all executive orders ever written before can be wiped out with the stroke of his/her pen. In 10 seconds. (see footnotes below)

Give us Presidential leadership when it comes to compromise and hammering out lasting legislative solutions aimed at curing the root causes of any problem any day of the week, any year, any time.

President Obama might want to give it a try in this his last year in the Oval Office.


* Summary of executive orders issued by each President: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

** Limits on Presidents Acting Alone- New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/01/20/us/politics/presidental-executive-action.html

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