Random rants about Iowa, Obama

Contributing Columnist

The Iowa Republican straw poll is over and headlines blare out that the Republican field has been winnowed, or clarified, or sanitized, or whatever some reporter thinks might be the meaning of an essentially useless, expensive, time-consuming exercise in media self-delusion.

Michele Bachmann has been declared the winner with 4,823 votes, edging out Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 4,761 votes. I don’t know just what this may mean to you, but to me it means that had just 153 more Iowans voted for Ron Paul he would be the hero of the hour and the Republican establishment would be nauseous. Mostly, however, I think we have attached an inordinate amount of importance to the opinions of 16,892 Republicans who happen to reside in the fried-food capital of the United States.

I don’t mean to be snarky but I think we should be asking ourselves “Who the hell cares what a few thousand fried-butter-eating yahoos in Iowa think about anything?” Less than two percent of Iowa Republicans bothered to express an opinion and, if we are to pay attention to anything Iowa Republicans think, let’s follow the example of the 98 percent who obviously thought the whole exercise wasn’t worth the bother.

Despite my disdain for Iowa’s straw poll, there is something positive to be said on behalf of Iowans. While New York’s Nanny Bloomberg is in the process of prohibiting trans-fats, salt, smoking, hot dogs and other sidewalk food stands, or anything else that someone might enjoy, the free citizens of Iowa have figured out how to deep fry just about everything. Deep-fried butter on a stick seems a bit over the top, even for me, but I won’t hesitate to recommend the deep-fried Snickers Bar. They really are very good. So, to my friends in Iowa: keep frying but keep your political opinions to yourself.

On the heels of several hundred speeches and a two-hour debate last Saturday in Iowa, our Talker-in-Chief — Mr. Obama to you — decided we hadn’t had enough talking for the moment so he has undertaken a bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois for the ostensible purpose of pontificating across the upper Midwest.

The bus trip and the incessant presidential appearances might just coincide with his lowest approval ratings ever. His motto seems to be, when in trouble give a speech even though there is increasing evidence he might be overdoing it a bit. He’s called on Congress to develop budget reduction plans while he has none, a least none he has revealed to us. He’s asked the Republicans to be less partisan while he remains the most partisan president since Richard Nixon. He calls for a balanced approach while he castigates those with whom he has policy differences. He tells people in Minnesota that “we” have to send a message to Washington as if he was an outsider and not the most powerful Democrat in Washington.

When asked about the loss of jobs caused by the drilling moratorium in the Gulf, he talks about manufacturing electric cars, solar panels and windmills. He hopes we ignore that the ever-growing regulatory impediments to our manufacturing sector dictates that most of these will be manufactured in Asia. When asked about the economically damaging flood of regulations coming out of the Environmental Protection Agency, he blandly assures us that they will be implemented in a manner so as not to hinder the economic sector and job creation. That is not possible, of course, but Mr. Obama seems to believe that if he says it, then it is so.

A week ago Monday he concluded his speech of the day with, “I intend to present my own recommendations [for deficit reduction] over the coming weeks.”

Good grief, man. You campaigned for deficit reduction, you voted against extending the debt ceiling in 2006: you told us it was a major problem the day you took office — almost 1,000 days ago? Now you need a few more weeks to think about deficit reduction? You haven’t had a moment to think about it until now?

Mr. Obama: just a suggestion. After you finish your bus tour and have solved the deficit problem, you ought to take a moment to think about the other problems that bedevil the nation.

China is solidifying its grip on the Indian Ocean trade routes. China clearly intends to approach the countries in the Mideast and make them an offer that will result in redirecting the flow of oil to East Asia. This will hurt us greatly because we don’t want to spoil our pristine beaches or even drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It would be a shame to harm the world’s largest mosquito herd that now haunts the pristine wilderness.

Mr. President, take a bit more time and consider the oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf. Your environmental base is somewhat hysterical about the use of tar-sands oil and the alleged damage it will do to the world’s environment. The good news is that if you need to placate your base you don’t have to worry about the Canadians. The same Chinese who are willing to monopolize Mideast oil are more than happy to buy the Canadian brand, just as they are willing to buy all the coal we can produce. Of course, you might want to rethink the idea that we can indulgently ignore our own sources of energy while China locks up resources all over the planet.

Actually, Mr. President, take a few briefing books with you to Martha’s Vineyard. You might want to rethink scrapping the missile-defense shield in Europe, the Libyan war, the moratorium on offshore oil drilling in the United States while promoting it in Brazil, the cost of ObamaCare and the forced closure of coal-fired electric generation in the Midwest.

Maybe more thinking and less speechifying might be a good idea.

Think about it.

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