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March 10, 2011

France Steps Into Leadership Vacuum; Recognizes Libyan Rebels As Legitimate Government of Country, Suggests Air Strikes

If there is one benefit to Obama, it is that his refusal to act the role of grown-up is forcing people who have previously acted the part of adolescent to step up and act grown-up.

And that's about it.

Libyan opposition, France has become the first country to formally recognise Libya’s rebel leadership, pledging to exchange ambassadors between Paris and the Libyan opposition stronghold of Benghazi.

France became the first country to formally recognize the Libyan opposition – the Interim Transitional National Council - as legitimate representatives of the Libyan people on Thursday, pledging to exchange ambassadors with the country’s newly created transitional council in a major diplomatic victory for the Libyan opposition.

Obama's "smart power" can't even embrace purely diplomatic moves like this?

AFP reports that Sarkozy will propose "targeted airstrikes" when NATO meets.

I've been thinking of major themes in 2012. I think this hits at one of the two major themes I'd like to see our candidates (for all offices) push.

First: What do we need Obama for? On the stimulus, he let Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid write a trillion dollar waste of money; he offered them no guidance, he did not threaten to veto any pork spending. He just deferred. He did not lead; he delegated.

On ObamaCare, he expressly campaigned against Hillary Clinton's proposal of an individual mandate -- an idea so unpopular in the caucus (and the nation at large) that he made political hay over it every time the subject came up.

But when it was time to write the law that he had only vaguely alluded to, he showed no leadership again, offering silly "goals" that he wanted met (and in fact were largely not met by the ultimate legislation). Having campaigned against the individual mandate, he left it in the hands of Harry Reid and his lawyers to write the bill; they included the mandate he had made a major stand in campaigning against. Once again, he deferred to others.

In the cases of uprisings in Iran and Libya, rather than show American leadership, he once again voted present and said little and did even less. He left a leadership void in world leadership now being filled, thankfully, by the British and the French.

All of these cases illustrate that Obama really isn't bringing anything to the table. He is not contributing to the most important questions facing the country -- he does not offer ideas, or support for particular plans. He lets other people do the deciding, and then he embraces whatever consensus others have created.

A Republican candidate for President should ask: For $400,000 per year in salary, what are we actually getting? Is he actually doing his job? Couldn't anyone do what Obama has done? Put anyone in the office, someone unqualified and well over their heads, and they'd do the same thing, sit back, let other people handle it.

A Republican candidate should ask if someone being paid $400,000 per year to do a job should maybe spend less time golfing and more time doing the job.

The other major theme -- this one isn't related to Libya -- is that we are a country divided not by race but by relationship with the IRS. Most of the country is the Nation of Tax-Payers. A significant but very loud and very demanding minority is the Nation of Tax-Consumers.

And one party is the Party of Tax-Payers, representing their interests, and the other party is the Party of Tax-Consumers, representing their interests.

There are two economies in this country, sitting parallel to each other, bound chiefly by the fact that one of the economies may take money from the other economy whenever it gets into a pinch.

One economy is dynamic and competitive and forced by global market forces to make many adjustments and painful decisions -- such as layoffs and cutbacks -- as it struggles to turn a profit.

The other economy is stagnant, complacent, and insulated from market forces, because they get raises whether their employer, the Government, is turning a profit or deep in debt. Doesn't matter which. If the government is in debt, they just jack up taxes on the other America.

Whenever the Nation of Tax-Consumers thinks it's owed a raise -- and they always think that, despite the fact that almost universally they show no improvement and usually actually do their jobs more poorly every year -- they just raise property taxes and other taxes on the Nation of Tax-Payers.

The difference between the two nations is simple: In one nation, employees can choose and bribe the employers who will be negotiating their contracts.

I'm sure the Nation of Tax-Payers would love to be in that situation, of firing their boss if he doesn't accede to their every benefits-and-salary-and-time-off demand. But they're not, of course. Only the Nation of Tax-Consumers enjoys this position, and because there is no genuine negotiation going on here on behalf of the tax-payer, only between members of the nation of tax-consumers, the tax-payer is always screwed.

This is not a battle of the rich versus the poor. Since the idea of social/economic classes were invented, government civil servants and teachers have always been considered members of the middle class.

Rather, it's largely a fight between one middle class -- the middle class generating wealth -- and another middle class -- the middle class consuming the wealth the other generates.

Neither of these themes is ready to go. Neither is ready for prime time. But I think someone smarter than me can do something with them.

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posted by Ace at 01:31 PM

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