Tag Archives: Barack Obama

WH reporters’ dinner is back

This much came through as I watched President Biden do a brief comic riff from the podium at the newly reinstated White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

It is that he ain’t no Barack Obama, one of his predecessors whose comic timing is good enough for the former POTUS to take on the road.

Still, it was good to see Joe Biden laughing at himself along with the insults hurled at others in the room and around the country.

The coronavirus pandemic nixed the previous two WH reporters’ dinners. Biden’s immediate predecessor in the White House labeled the media the “enemy of the people,” so there would be no way on God’s good Earth he would — or could — appear before those he despised. That means Biden was the first president to appear at this event in six years.

The event that began during the Calvin Coolidge administration has been set aside for Washington to take a light-hearted look at itself and to salute and honor the journalists who report the news to the world. Particularly poignant Saturday night was the tribute to journalists who have died covering the news, reminding us that even the messengers of world events can become victims of those events.

Some, moreover, have been held captive for years. Why? Because they reported the truth.

OK, I started this blog by saying that Joe Biden isn’t as clever with the quip as Barack Obama. I am going to assign him an “A” grade nonetheless for being a thick-skinned good sport during a troubled time. There is nothing wrong with that.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Obama reminds us of positive era

Barack Obama today darkened the door of the White House, stood in front of a microphone and declared that the government can be a force for good and is not the bogeyman that Americans should fear or hate.

The former president came back to where he lived for eight years to hail the Affordable Care Act along with one of his successors, Joseph Biden, who served as vice president alongside President Obama.

The two men reminded us today of how the government can be put to good use for those who pay for it.

It’s good to remember that the man who served between these two individuals tried multiple times to repeal the ACA. He and his Republican colleagues in Congress failed. They filed lawsuits. They also failed.

Donald Trump kept telling us that he had a plan to replace the ACA. We never saw it. Americans never saw a hint of a replacement to a government program that — despite some hiccups at its inception — has become popular with a solid majority of Americans. Who knew?

I must remind you, too, of the moment that then-Vice President Biden turned to President Obama after the ACA cleared Congress and whispered to him: “This is a big f***ing deal.” The utterance was caught on a hot mic. I, for one, laughed it off … but it was a big deal.

It was gratifying today to hear from a former president that government can be — and has been — a force for good. The Affordable Care Act provides a demonstrable example of what President Obama meant.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Special ops forces sworn to secrecy?

Hmm. Let me tell you briefly about a video I just watched: President Obama awarding the Medal of Honor to Navy SEAL Edward Byers for his heroics during the Afghan War.

In the intro to his presentation, Obama recited a creed followed by special operations forces — be they Navy, Army, Marine or Air Force. It declares that the special ops forces seek no recognition for the deeds they perform while defending their country.

I long have admired those individuals who adhere to the ethos that they learn while training to become special combat operators.

Navy Seal Who Rescued Hostages Awarded Medal Of Honor – YouTube

I also was drawn immediately to the nimrod who claims to have been the SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden to death on May 1, 2011, in that daring raid conducted in Abbottabad, Pakistan. I won’t mention the SEAL’s name here, but I do want to reiterate a point I made at the time when he popped off about being the guy who blew bin Laden away.

He violated a sacred code of honor among special operations warriors. He has gone on to a public speaking career, boasting about his exploits as a Navy SEAL and — in his ghastly way — dishonoring the code they all swore to follow for as long as they live. He wrote a book, too, that goes into detail about the raid and what he allegedly did to send bin Laden into the great beyond.

President Obama was absolutely correct to point out the special forces’ ethos and the creed these men all follow. The SEAL braggart, meanwhile, was grotesquely wrong to hold himself up as some sort of singular hero when he was nothing of the sort.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Prepare for shellacking

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Dear Mr. President … it’s been a while since I’ve addressed you in a blog post, but here comes a warning for you.

Prepare for an electoral “shellacking,” to borrow a phrase, in the midterm election later this year. President Obama called a similar event in the 2010 midterm that cost y’all control of Congress; Republicans seized control of the legislative chamber. But I don’t need to remind you of that.

Nor do I need to remind you what happened in 2012, when you and the president got re-elected.

The shellacking you can expect to take this year doesn’t portend political doom for the administration you lead. Yes, I am aware your polling doesn’t reflect lots of good cheer for you.

Bear in mind, though, that the liars on the other side of the great divide continue to keep outshouting the truth-tellers.

The economy is recovering at a brisk pace; I feel it and sense it. We have been hit once again by another variant spawned by the coronavirus pandemic, but my gut tells me we’re going to end 2022 in much better health than we are entering it. We have some challenges around the world with which you must deal, but I will continue to have faith in your own legislative leadership experience that I believe will guide you as you confront them.

Much depends, surely, on whom Republicans nominate for the presidential run in 2024. I am sure you heard what Sen. Lindsey Graham — the guy who once described you as one of the “most decent men God ever created” — said about Donald Trump. He said the next election is “Trump’s to lose.” I am maintaining my faith in Americans’ good sense that we won’t go down that path again.

Then again, I also am going to cling to my skepticism that Trump actually runs again.

So, I wish you well in this new year, Mr. President. I stand with you.

I just want you to prepare early for the remarks you will have to give when they count the votes for the midterm election. A “shellacking” appears to be coming your way. Don’t feel you’re the only POTUS to suffer such an indignity. Others have been dealt serious defeats during their first term in office.

Don’t surrender. There well could be a revival at hand, too.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

GOP takeover doesn’t necessarily doom Democrats

As I watch the political landscape take shape heading into the 2022 midterm election, I cannot help but think of what happened in 2010.

What’s that, you ask? Here’s what happened.

President Barack Obama took office in 2009 and got to work repairing the economic free-fall that was occurring while getting Congress to approve the Affordable Care Act.

Congress spent a ton of money to fix the economy and it approved the ACA by a narrow margin. The 2010 midterm election loomed. Republicans were loaded for bear. They delivered what Obama said was a “shellacking” by taking control of the House of Representatives.

President Obama wasn’t disheartened. He ran for re-election in 2012 and with the wind blowing in his face, he defeated Mitt Romney by a comfortable margin.

Obama’s approval rating wasn’t ever all that great. Yet he served two successful terms as POTUS.

Now comes President Biden facing the wrath of voters. The GOP might be poised to deliver another pounding to the president and his party next year. Does that mean the end of the Biden presidency? Does it deliver a mortal wound to his agenda? Does it set the stage for a Republican victory in 2024? No, no and no!

I will hold out hope that the GOP in its current configuration — the party has turned into a cabal of cultists — will turn off enough voters to forestall any more coup attempts such as the one launched by the most recent Republican POTUS.

Let us hope for the best … shall we?

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

POTUS reverses predecessor’s denial

Joe Biden sees climate change as an existential threat to the nation and the world.

Donald Trump called it, among other things, a “hoax,” a figment of the “fake media” and its obsession with leftist policies.

Biden is correct. His predecessor is wrong. Biden was correct to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord; Trump was wrong to pull us out the accords in 2017.

Which is why many of us are applauding President Biden’s decision to return to the climate change negotiating table and to hammer out potential solutions to what the scientific community has concluded: that humankind’s contribution to the changing world climate compels it to seek solutions.

Biden selected former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as the administration’s spokesman on climate change issues. He brought Kerry with him to Glasgow to talk with other world leaders about the United States’ potential role in seeking answers to the crisis.

Indeed, Kerry is no novice at this level of international diplomacy. He served for four years as chief diplomat during the Obama administration. Prior to that he served in the U.S. Senate, ran for president in 2004 and distinguished himself as an articulate purveyor of national policy.

So, the United States is back in the climate change game.

That, I daresay, is a very good thing for the future of the planet. Or at least it could be a good thing if the industrialized world pulls its collective head out and gets busy seeking solutions.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Fake news, now it’s rigged elections

Just as he did by accusing the media and others of peddling “fake news,” Donald Trump is engaging in another form  of irony by insisting the 2020 election was “rigged.”

The 45th POTUS was the master of peddling fake news. He kept up the lie about President Obama’s birth and whether he was qualified to run for the presidency. He talked about losing all those “friends” during the 9/11 attack but there is no record of him attending a single funeral for a victim of the terrorist attack.

And yet he keeps accusing others of telling fake news? Amazing.

Now he is trying to “rig” an election that was in no way on Earth “rigged” to elect Joe Biden as president. He asked the Georgia secretary of state to “find” enough votes to swing the state that Biden won to his own column.

Rigged election?

To think that there are Americans walking among us who actually believe this crap. Amazing!

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Tributes pour in for Gen. Powell

Former President Barack Obama was one of many public figures — elected, appointed and otherwise — to speak highly today of the impact that retired Gen. Colin Powell had on their lives.

I read a statement from President Obama today after Powell’s death. One item in the statement stood out. It dealt with Gen. Powell’s endorsement of Obama’s presidential candidacy in 2008. Powell, a lifelong Republican, decided to endorse Obama because, I suppose in Powell’s view, that Obama was the best man for the job at the time.

Obama said this about Gen. Powell’s endorsement, which included a discussion about rumors at the time dealing with the presidential candidate’s faith: “The correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian,” General Powell said. “But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

What the former president didn’t include in that remembrance is that the U.S. Constitution specifically declares that there shall be “no religious test” for anyone who seeks public office in this country. That includes presidents.

Powell’s point, though, in endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for the presidency, is that there should be no constraint on any child, regardless of his or her faith, to seek the highest office in the land.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Waiting for bipartisan thaw

My patience has its limits, but I am going to give it some more time to bear fruit.

I had hoped that the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States would produce a spirit of bipartisanship we hadn’t seen since, oh, about the time of 9/11. It hasn’t happened.

President Bush handed the office over to President Obama in 2009 and the divisions persisted after the Iraq War dragged on and on. President Obama didn’t make much headway, either, particularly after Sen. Mitch McConnell — the Republican leader — said his No. 1 priority was to make Obama a “one-term president.” President Obama finished his second term in 2017 and handed it off to, umm, the 45th POTUS. It got even worse during the Liar/Numskull/Nitwit/Insurrectionist in Chief’s single term in office.

He vacated the White House earlier this year without so much as a goodbye wave at President Biden’s inaugural. He skulked off without attending his successor’s inauguration.

Biden brought 36 years of U.S. Senate experience and eight years as vice president to the White House. He knows how to play the bipartisan game. He did it with considerable flair during his Senate years.

Alas, all that experience hasn’t played well in the GOP, which has latched onto the Big Lie about phony election theft and vote fraud.

For crying out loud, we cannot even cross the partisan divide on the best way to rid us of a killer virus that has cost us more than 600,000 lives! Biden and his fellow Democrats sing the virtues of masks and vaccines while Republicans and assorted conspiracy lunatics denigrate mask-wearing and question the value of getting vaccinated. Sheesh!

I am going to wish that President Biden can find a way to cross the partisan divide. My hope and my expectation, though, are growing farther apart.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

9/11 reminds me why I am glad we left

The commemorations we have witnessed today as the nation marks the 20th year since the 9/11 attacks have taken us — in my mind at least — on a dual-track remembrance.

I am reminded of how unified we were immediately after the attacks. President Bush called us to arms to fight the terrorist network that launched the attack. We stood behind the wartime president … for a time.

Then he took us into Iraq. The Iraq War was launched on false pretenses. We invaded a sovereign nation, removed a hated dictator and then got bogged down in another conflict with no clear motive for engaging the Iraqis in the first place.

We took our eyes off the key enemy: the Afghan terrorists.

President Bush infamously said at one point during his time in office he didn’t think much about Osama bin Laden. His successor, President Obama, made it the nation’s mission to bring justice to the mass murderer. Our special forces did so in May 2011.

Yet the war in Afghanistan dragged on.

And on and on …

Which brings me to the second track. President Biden ended that war. I am more glad today than ever that he acted when he did. It is true the withdrawal could have been executed more cleanly. But our troops are off the battlefield.

We have removed the world of thousands of terrorists. No, they aren’t exterminated. Others have stepped up to replace them. Indeed, the Afghan War had turned into a never-ending struggle against an enemy that cannot possibly be wiped off the face of the planet.

However, we retain — throughout unsurpassed military and intelligence capability — the ability to search out and destroy anyone who intends to do us harm the way Osama bin Laden did on 9/11.

May always remember the attacks of that horrific day. May we also always remain alert to the danger that lurks.

However, let us also avoid the kind of quagmire — and that’s what it became in Afghanistan — that always exacts too heavy a price.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com