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Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Michael Medved: The Oprah Infatuation: Dems Place Personality Over Policy

Opioid

The unbounded enthusiasm for Oprah Winfrey’s prospective presidential run illustrates the Democrats’ tendency to prioritize personality above policy. Nobody knows where Oprah stands on issues of the day, or what style of governance she’d favor, but Democrats know she is a popular personality and that’s enough for them. Barack Obama enjoyed similar popularity among Democrats: his brief pre-White House career displayed few practical achievements or even a coherent philosophy, but inspiring speeches about hope and change gave him an almost magical appeal.

In approaching President Trump, of course, Democrats also prefer to ignore substance and to concentrate on style: they emphasize the president’s volatile personality and dismiss his undeniable record of first year accomplishment. Liberals would rather scold the latest presidential tweet than consider the booming economy or the lowest black unemployment rate ever measured. The GOP shouldn’t help them in this effort, but must focus relentlessly on the nation’s pressing issues rather than the president’s personality.

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Hugh Hewitt: The Media’s Hyperbole Over Trump’s “Fire and Fury” Comments

U.S. Senate

President Trump’s “fire and fury” comments about North Korea set off the predictable hyperbole among his blindly furious foes on the cable shows, few of whom seem to grasp that the North Korea crisis has been growing since almost the Armistice was signed and accelerating since Bill Clinton’s much-celebrated then and understood as disastrous today deal of 1994.

Neither George W. Bush’s nor Barack Obama’s various diplomatic overtures yielded much besides more tests, more time, and now more nukes and missiles. Blunt—indeed provocative—talk may or may not work but it can’t be said that Trump was upsetting a successful strategy put in motion by his predecessors.

The villain on the Korean peninsula is Kim Jung Un. American media in love with hating Donald Trump can continue in their patterns, but suggesting Trump is somehow the source of the problem in Pyongyang is a poker tell of incredible ignorance about the region, and perhaps a fundamental inability to report the news.

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Michael Medved: Double Standards In The War Between White House And Media

Opioid

For all his vast power, the President of the United States is always at a structural disadvantage in a “war” with the media. The First Amendment protects press rights to criticize the government, and everyone expects such criticism. But if government—or the president, as head of government—strikes back by assailing media, there’s an uneasy hint of bullying or oppression.

President Trump isn’t exceptional in generating media hostility, but Barack Obama was exceptional in avoiding such scrutiny for eight years. What’s more, there’s a double standard on defining victory in battles between the administration and the press. CNN would celebrate if it ever won 20 percent of the available viewing audience, but presidential approval ratings of just 20 percent would undermine chances for legislative and re-election success.

A president can’t win by exclusively catering to his most enthusiastic base, but a cable news operation can’t lose if it solely rallies its hard-core fans.

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Michael Medved: Infatuation With Obama; Rage Against Trump

Opioid

President Trump and his supporters are absolutely right that there’s a glaring contrast between the way media treat this president and way the press handled his predecessor, Barack Obama.

With Obama, potentially devastating scandals—Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, the VA—never gained momentum; the press never blamed Obama personally when things went wrong in his administration. For Trump, he’s blamed personally for every embarrassment or disappointment under his watch. But conservatives are wrong to suggest that the treatment of Trump is exceptional. George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also got rough handling by the press; it was the always-forgiving, generally glowing treatment of Obama that was exceptional, extraordinary, in fact.

Maybe it was his image as a “hip cool dude,” or his historical status as the first non-white president, but media infatuation with Obama set a dangerous precedent that distorts press-relations with the current administration.

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Michael Medved: Divisions Didn’t Begin With Trump

Opioid

Looking back on President Trump’s opening months in office, not even the most determined detractors of the president can rightly blame him for dividing the country, since the nation was already deeply divided before he came to office.

Barack Obama lost control of Congress to the opposition party, barely winning 51 percent in his re-election bid. George W. Bush also won narrow re-election and lost both houses, while leftist activists demonstrated to demand impeachment. Bill Clinton actually was impeached.

This bitter, persistent divide stems in part from changes in media: with the rise of cable news, talk radio and the internet, news sources today don’t even pretend to be up-the-middle.

Meanwhile, churches that used to draw congregants of all orientations now identify as unashamedly liberal or outspokenly conservative. Politics is polarized because the public is more polarized, with more Americans living in ideological enclaves where big majorities share the same outlook.

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David Davenport: There Is A Trump Doctrine: America First

Compromise

For journalists and academics searching to find a Trump Doctrine in foreign policy, it’s right in front of you. It’s called: America First.

And what it means is putting America’s national interest in the center of our foreign policy decision-making. It’s not the George W. Bush exporting democracy philosophy, it’s not the Barack Obama “lead from behind” approach. Instead, it’s a realist’s foreign policy: simply pursue America’s interests in each situation.

Stopping the use of chemical weapons in Syria; renouncing trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership; restricting immigration from certain countries—these are all thought by Trump to be in America’s national interest.

You may agree with him or not on how he defines our national interest. But, in the face of terrorism and threats from small unstable states and non-state actors, it strikes me as suitable to respond rather than philosophize.

America First. That’s the Trump Doctrine.

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Michael Medved: Trump’s Habit: Turning Obstacles Into Advantages

Marijuana

Even his harshest critics recognize President Trump’s habit of turning obstacles into advantages. In the primary campaign, the fact that 17 well-qualified Republicans ran against him was supposed to make his victory impossible. But it served to divide more cautious, mainstream voters while giving Trump an unbeatable edge among all those who hoped a non-politician might deliver dramatic change.

Similarly, the fact that pre-inaugural polls showed only a minority with high expectations for Trump’s White House could easily work to the new president’s advantage as he confounds dire predictions by opponents and the press.

Barack Obama had an approval rating of 81 percent when he took over the presidency so there was nowhere to go but down—and he lost Congress in a landslide two years later. For Trump, media skepticism about his abilities leaves him nowhere to go but up—and even modest success in achieving some of his initial goals should allow him to exceed expectations and build critical momentum.

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