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CNN reported last night that President Obama has given his blessing to a 2016 presidential run for Vice President Joe Biden. This news isn't completely unexpected but as Legal Insurrection readers know, it will change the landscape of the Democratic Party's 2016 primary, especially if Elizabeth Warren is involved. From CNN's report by Jeff Zeleny and Peter Morris:
Obama gives Joe Biden 'blessing' for 2016 bid Vice President Joe Biden received President Barack Obama's "blessing" to make a 2016 bid for the White House, according to a senior Democrat. But that's if Biden chooses to run -- the decision is his. While he doesn't need the President's permission, of course, a potential presidential candidacy was among the topics of their lunch Monday at the White House. The President made clear he would not stand in his way or counsel him against a run, the senior Democrat said. The Vice President was expected to huddle at his residence Monday night with Anita Dunn and Bob Bauer, the husband-and-wife team who have been at Obama's side for much of the last decade, two people familiar with the meeting told CNN. Steve Ricchetti, the Vice President's chief of staff, was also expected to attend.

Over the years, Obama has lamented the fact that he's not a king, an emperor, or a dictator and has stated that it would be "so much easier to be president of China."  He also stated no fewer than 22 times that he does not have the authority for executive amnesty . . . before doing it. Apparently recognizing the limitations of being the president of the United States, Obama can't help musing about a third term.  He thinks he'd win. Watch:

Obama's first trip to Kenya since becoming president has highlighted the disappointment that many Africans feel in his presidency.  While President Bush earns high praise and achieved a great deal in Africa, particularly with regard to his efforts fighting AIDS, Obama . . . not so much. In his article entitled, "Africa's Disappointment with Obama," Edward-Isaac Dovere writes:

Beneath the ecstatic welcome President Barack Obama will receive when he arrives in his father’s homeland of Kenya on Friday is a lingering sense of disappointment.

More than the first black president, he’s the first African-American U.S. president, and that’s accentuated a frustration among many Africans — and some Americans — who see his record on the continent over the last six-and-a-half years as modest at best and falling short of the successes of his predecessor,George W. Bush.

“There’s been a feeling that up to now, maybe he hasn’t really achieved all the expectations,” said Witney Schneidman, who’s done extensive governmental, non-profit and corporate work in Africa and co-chaired the Africa Experts Group for Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Part of the disappointment is exemplified in the following quote in Dovere's piece:

Adam Kredo of the Free Beacon obtained an e-mail threatening Democratic legislators who have doubts about the nuclear deal with Iran that the administration is negotiating.
“Democrats in Congress are the only remaining obstacle to finalizing today’s historic deal,” Zack Malitz, campaign manager for CREDO, said in a statement emailed to reporters on July 2, along with a note that details of the email were not to be published until a deal was actually announced. “Every Democrat should go on the record right now in support of the deal, and pledge to defend it from attacks in Congress.” “Republicans will try to sabotage the deal and take us to war, but they can’t do it without Democratic votes,” Malitz wrote. “Progressives will hold accountable those Democrats who vote to help Republicans sabotage the deal and start a war.”
The Free Beacon cited a source who observed that this kind of political threat was consistent with the administration's mindset.
“This is exactly what you’d expect from the deal-at-any-cost lobby,” the source said. “The White House lied to Congress about what it would deliver and doesn’t have anything left than its raw political power.”
The Free Beacon report comes just after Bloomberg reported that an effort to promote a nuclear deal with Iran has been funded with millions since 2003.

One one hand, it is comforting to know President Obama can target the enemy and use American resources to counter it. On the other hand, it is very disturbing when that enemy is . . . climate change. Obama is acting upon his delusion that the biggest global security threats involve weather patterns and he's now calling on American troops to respond.
A recent Government Accountability Office report examined the Defense Department’s role in the Arctic, which increasingly will include “monitoring the changing Arctic conditions,” such as ice levels. The administration contends that changing ice levels in the Arctic could require additional U.S. military presence in the region, justifying the need for the Pentagon to commit significant time and resources to monitoring the effects of climate change.

As a direct result of Obama's amateurish, quasi-idealistic, and completely ideological failings in Iraq, we will almost certainly end up sending ground troops back in order to undo the damage wrought by the failed Obama doctrine. Obama knows this, of course, and his plan is to run out the clock rather than make the decision that needs to be—and will be—made by the next president.  The National Journal reports:
On using U.S. combat troops? In a detailed interview with The Atlantic, Obama made his view clear. "If they are not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them," he said, but added that he's committed to training Iraqis over a "multi-year" period. How many, exactly, is "multi?" State Department official and ISIS expert Brett McGurk laid that out on NPR: "It's a three-year campaign to degrade the organization." Three years marked from mid-2014, of course, falls after Jan. 20, 2017, the date Obama leaves office. Translation: The strategy is to avoid sending ground troops for the remainder of his term. So stop asking.

Ron Fournier at National Journal has written an extraordinary article, "Republicans Are Wrong About Obama's American Exceptionalism," defending Obama's vision of America as "modern and honest," as "Reagan-plus." We, of course, are neither modern nor honest; indeed, we're frightened because the country is "becoming browner and more accepting of gays and lesbians":
That is a scary thought for some people. I get it: Life is changing so quickly and the future is so uncertain that the past is a pacifier—and so politicians cling to the founding myths of the nation. And yet, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and other GOP presidential candidates critical of Obama's formulation are making a mistake with their retro pitch to a populace that has always looked to the future.
Setting aside his disdain for and condescension at our (bitter?) clinging, Mr. Fournier misses the fact that we don't ignore our nation's past nor do we cringe in fear at the thought of a diverse demographic make up or of some scary future (unless it's the one Obama has planned for us).  Indeed, as Americans who believe in American exceptionalism (not Obama's vision of it), we embrace these things as part of the very fabric of our great nation. I wrote the following (with revisions) back in 2010, but the basic premise remains just as true today as it was then. What do you think of when you think of America?

When he withdrew troops from Iraq, Obama himself proclaimed, "we are leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq."  That was in 2011.  Flash forward to now, and Iraq is none of those things; indeed, Iraq is now an ISIS strong-hold, part of their declared caliphate. Throughout Obama's presidency, we've heard him blame President Bush for everything from the still-flailing economy to the rise of ISIS.  His supporters within the media have ensured that this message is the one that Americans hear most often, and for (too many) years, (far too many) Americans have believed what they were told. No longer. A CNN poll found that, for the first time, more Americans blame Obama than President Bush for the instability in Iraq:

[N]early the same percent of people blame President Barack Obama's policies for the current situation in Iraq as those who hold President George W. Bush responsible, the survey showed.

Overall, 44% say they blame Obama's policies for the problems in Iraq and 43% blame Bush; 11% say both are equally responsible.

Obama has famously (infamously?) long been enamored of the idea of fundamentally transforming America, and one of the foundational aspects of American culture that he has in his sights is the Second Amendment and Americans' firmly held belief in their right to keep and bear arms. His former attorney general, Eric Holder, went so far as to proclaim—back in the 1990's—that "we really need to brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way." At least he understood that it's the American people who resist infringement of this right.  The administration has tried to pass gun control legislation, most notably in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, but such attempts fail. Completing missing the fact that Americans are strongly supportive of their right to bear arms, Obama and his assortment of anti-Second Amendment zealots blame the NRA:
“But the power of NRA and the gun lobby in Congress is formidable,” Obama said. “And you know, we’re going to keep chipping away at this, but until you get intense public demands for this, it’s probably not going to happen because some special interests and lobbyists in Washington are really, really strong and their membership feels very intensely about the issue. Whereas the general public is concerned about it, but doesn’t make it their top priority.”
He also recognizes that Congress—even when Democrats held supermajorities in both houses—is unable to pass the sort of sweeping gun control legislation he seeks.  In his 2014 State of the Union address, he promised gun control "with or without Congress," and it seems he's working on multiple fronts to make that happen. From taxing bullets, to gun locks, to gun recalls / buyback programs, to targeting children's pop-tarts and otherwise controlling the narrative about guns, Obama and other anti-Second Amendment advocates are working overtime in their frantic bid to disarm the American people.

When Al Sharpton called for the nationalization of America's police forces earlier this month, many were quick to dismiss him as reactionary or even radical.  However, it may be worth revisiting this point in light of the news that the DOJ is going to be spending $20 million in body cams for police.  As Ed Morrissey notes:
This is another step in the de facto nationalization of police forces under the aegis of the DoJ. Milwaukee’s Sheriff David Clarke warned about that earlier in the week, and this is another soft step in that direction. The $20 million pilot program will almost certainly have to expand significantly in order to have an impact, and the DoJ will end up imposing it as a standard through the enforcement of their Civil Rights Division. That erodes the kind of local control that keeps police forces responsive to their own communities, much the same way that the avalanche of mandates from the Department of Education has done to school boards around the country. This is a decision that should be left to states and local communities.
When any entity takes money or resources from the federal government, it automatically becomes subject to regulations, restrictions, mandates, and oversight by the feds.  We see this in education both at the K-12 and the university level, in health care, even in senior centers where residents have been told they cannot pray before meals because their senior center receives federal funding. It is worrying, then, when the federal government decides to step in and provide body cams for local and state police.  The issue is not whether the cameras are a good idea; people on both sides of the aisle tend to agree that the cams will help resolve questions about police activities quickly, before incidents become inflamed.  The problem is the role of the federal government in local and state policing.  Do we really want a nationalized police force?

It would be so very transformative, you know. Hope and change:
"If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country," Obama said, calling it "potentially transformative." Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would "counteract money more than anything."... Obama said he thought it would be "fun" for the U.S. to consider amending the Constitution to change the role that money plays in the electoral system. But don't hold your breath. "Realistically, given the requirements of that process, that would be a long-term proposition," he said.
I'm surprised he's even mentioning something as old-fashioned as an amendment. Surely he can think of something more creative, so we can join the following countries with mandatory voting laws that they actually enforce: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cyprus, Ecuador, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Nauru, Peru, Singapore, Uruguay, and Schaffhausen canton in Switzerland. I've noticed four things about mandatory voting laws. The first is that only half the places that have them bother to enforce them. The second is that with the exception of Australia, the ones that do aren't places you'd especially wish to emulate (although that canton in Switzerland might be nice). The third is that it seems to be a real vogue in Latin America, especially if you count the countries that have such laws but don't enforce them. And the fourth is that they often contain exceptions for illiterate voters and the elderly, and I doubt Obama would want to allow that.

In a previous post at Legal Insurrection, I suggested that the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen and the Salman Rushdie fatwa issued in 1989 by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran are analogous. In the case of the fatwa, a Muslim leader and cleric called on Muslims to kill a Western author deemed to be guilty of blasphemy towards Islam, more or less the same action the modern-day terrorists have taken on themselves against Western cartoonists who lampoon Mohammed. In light of Obama's repeated insistence that terrorists do not act as agents of Islam, doesn't he need to answer some questions about the Rushdie fatwa? The questions appear in an essay of mine in the Weekly Standard, and whether or not Obama ever addresses them (please do not sit on a hot stove until he does), they point out the absurdity of his denial of the connection between such killings and Islam. Here's an excerpt:
The fatwa Khomeini issued makes chilling reading even today. Here’s a translation: "I would like to inform all the intrepid Muslims in the world that the author of the book entitled ‘Satanic Verses’. . . as well as those publishers who were aware of its contents, are hereby sentenced to death. I call on all zealous Moslems to execute them quickly, wherever they find them, so that no one will dare to insult Islamic sanctity. Whoever is killed doing this will be regarded as a martyr and will go directly to heaven."

Obama is getting ready to shoot down the Keystone pipeline bill in the first of what promises to be a blizzard of vetoes of legislation the current Congress is planning to pass. Never mind that the Keystone bill passed with bipartisan support in the Senate 62-36 (nine Democrats joined) and in the House 266-153 (28 Democrats joined; although there will have to be another vote in the House within the next few days to align the two bills, it is expected to go similarly). From The Hill:
Still, if Obama vetoes too many bills, especially ones with Democratic support, Republicans could have success portraying him as partisan and unwilling to negotiate. “One veto doesn’t make him obstructionist,” said James Thurber, a professor of government at American University. “Now maybe after 3, 4, 5 vetoes, then they could start painting him that way.”
Portraying him. Painting him. Not, of course, that he is that way. Here's a statistic: since January, Obama has issued eight veto threats. That's "the most ever for the start of a new Congress." Obama thinks this projects strength, and to his supporters it most definitely does. When the Republicans---even when in the majority in the House, and even with Democratic support---tried to block something Obama was attempting, their actions were painted as unreasonable and stubborn obstructionism. Now, when Obama plans to block what a Republican-majority Congress has done, even when those Republicans have a significant amount of support from moderate Democrats, it's a show of strength and resolve.

For months Obama has been saying, "I'm gonna do it, I'm really gonna do it---unless of course you give me what I want." He even told us the timing; it would be after the election. In doing so, he will be keeping a promise to his radical base (Hispanic and otherwise), issuing a threat to the Republicans in Congress, and thumbing his nose at the American voters who expressed disapproval of him on November 4. You don't get a trifecta like that every day from a president. I just wrote that what Obama is about to do constitutes a threat to Republicans in Congress. But actually, it's a threat to Congress itself. Democrats should be just as disturbed as Republicans by it, because it's not the ends that are as important here as the very dangerous means. But if you've listened to a great many Democrats talk about it, you'd think ends are all they care about---and you might just be correct for most of them. Obama has the strong support of leading Democrats, who seem only too happy to cede the power of Congress to the president to get something they think will benefit the Party. Of course, they don't state that it's a dangerous executive power overreach; they say this is just like what other presidents have done when they used their executive discretion to tweak immigration laws. Surely they must be aware of the differences. But being aware has nothing to do with it; ideologues of the left have no trouble telling themselves that 2 + 2 = 5, and that what Reagan and Bush did was just the same as what Obama is poised to do now, even though only political junkies have even heard of the former actions before because they were relatively non-controversial. Frum summarizes the differences here, and they are substantial:

Yesterday Prof Jacobson rightly assessed Jeffrey Goldberg's The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here as describing a crisis "in Obama-Israel relations." Although the White House has offered a disavowal of the profane insult made by one of Goldberg's sources, the full substance of his remarks needs to be rebutted. The offending official explained his boorish insult of Netanyahu :
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not [Yitzhak] Rabin, he’s not [Ariel] Sharon, he’s certainly no [Menachem] Begin. He’s got no guts.”
This is utterly false. Bret Stephens pointed out (Google link, emphasis mine):
The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack Obama’s good side. Since coming to office in 2009, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the objections of his political base, to (1) recognize a Palestinian state; (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze; (3) release scores of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges; (4) embark on an ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians; (5) refrain from taking overt military steps against Iran; and (6) agree to every possible cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas. In exchange, Mr. Kerry publicly blamed Israel for the failure of the peace effort, the White House held up the delivery of munitions at the height of the Gaza war, and Mr. Obama is hellbent on striking whatever deal the Iranians can plausibly offer him.

Our friend Jeremy Segal, aka Rebel Pundit, has documented the struggles of blacks who speak out against the Democratic political machine. Jeremy did the viral videos Chicago Resident: Obama Will Go Down as Worst President Ever and 2014 State of the Union Address- A Black Grassroots Response. Jeremy also did the editing for Legal Insurrection's Unaccountable - Elizabeth Warren and the Cherokee. Jeremy was interviewed by Dana Loesch of Blaze TV about his work, and his newest video. Here is the full video, Chicago Activists Unchained, Destroy Black Leadership, from which the title of this post is taken:

Ouch, this must hurt:
President Obama delivered a blow to Democratic Senate candidates looking to distance themselves from his flagging approval ratings Monday... “The bottom line is though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress; they are on the right side of minimum wage; they are on the right side of fair pay; they are on the right side of rebuilding our infrastructure; they’re on the right side of early childhood education.” Obama went on to say that his feelings weren’t hurt by Democrats who were reluctant to campaign with him. “These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me, and I tell them, I said, ‘You know what, you do what you need to do to win. I will be responsible for making sure our voters turn out.’” The president’s remarks appear tailor-made for Republican attack ads in states like Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kentucky and Alaska, where GOP candidates have painted their Democratic opponents as rubber stamps for the administration’s policies.
What's going on here? Does Obama want those Democrats to lose? There are three possibilities. The first is that he doesn't realize how toxic he's become. He's isolated in the White House with his devotees, and that plus the depth of his narcissism protect him. Long story short, he actually thinks these sorts of statements are helpful. The second is that he's just trying to rally his base and get them to vote, saying (wink, wink) that these candidates distancing themselves from him is just a ruse, and that they'll be good and loyal liberals once they're safely elected.
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