The Fourth Greatest President in American History (Part 1)

Future Mount Rushmore?

President Obama consistently differentiates Himself from mere mortal politicians. No great surprise that in his impregnable narcissism during an interview on “Sixty Minutes” he portrayed the ‘accomplishments’ of his first term as superior to any prior president with the possible exceptions of Johnson (presumably Lyndon), FDR and Lincoln.  (Click here to watch video – back arrow to return to blog.)  I am hard pressed to catch my breath with that claim.  Even CBS had to do a double take (or in this case an outtake).

Compare the Roosevelt response to the Great Depression and the Obama response to the financial crisis of 2008.  A debate about Keynesian economics is way beyond the scope of this humble blog, but FDR faced a far worse unemployment and financial crisis than we experienced in 2008.  Unemployment topped 25% with a 37% rate of non-farm unemployment in 1933.  He built permanent public works projects such as the Hoover Dam and developed a public employment program, the Civilian Conservation Corps, which hired young, single men between 18 and 25.  These men were exercised into good physical shape, trained to be more employable and accomplished multiple conservation goals in erosion and flood control, forest culture and protection, disaster relief, structural improvements and wildlife conservation – not quite the same as the nonexistent ‘shovel ready’ jobs of the Obama era. Over its 9 year history until the beginning of WWII, over 2.5 million young men had jobs, money for their families and restored dignity.  Stan Musial, Aldo Leopold, Chuck Yeager, Robert Mitchum, Archie Moore, my father and father-in-law were all enrollees.

In contrast, President Obama crafted the most egregious example of pork barrel earmarks-for- friends Federal spending in American history, over $800 billion.  His history of crony capitalism extends from the earliest years of his career.  As an Illinois state senator in his book, “Audacity of Hope”, Obama told of having his credit card declined when his law business was out of money.  His political ally and wealthy campaign donor, Robert Blackwell, paid him an $112,000 legal retainer to save him from bankruptcy.  What his book failed to note was that State Senator Obama shepherded through a $320,000 Illinois tourism grant to subsidize a state Ping-Pong tournament that benefitted Blackwell’s table tennis company.

President Obama’s long political and financial connections with the now imprisoned ex governor, Rod Blagojevich and real estate developer Antoin (Tony) Rezko as well as with millionaire slumlord and Democrat king maker Valerie Jarrett (still with him as his Senior Advisor on Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs) and Mayor Richard J. Daley are well documented in NY Times bestselling author, Michelle Malkin’s 2009 book on the Obama administration history, “Culture of Corruption”.  President Obama’s roots are deeply embedded in Chicago Democrat machine politics.  The corrupt profligacy of the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 is no surprise, but a predictable continuation of his record.

In the interest of brevity, let’s look at just one facet of the Recovery Act, the Department of Energy’s 1705 Loan Guarantee Program and 1603 Grant Program for alternative fuel and green power projects.  As documented in Peter Schweizer’s recent book, “Throw Them All Out”, oversight of the loans distribution was not entrusted to a scientist or even an experienced Department of Energy bureaucrat, but to Steve Spinner, an Obama appointee.  Mr. Spinner was previously on the campaign’s National Finance Committee, was a significant campaign contributor and bundler himself; he sat on the White House Business Council.  The grant allocations were stage managed by Sanjay Wagle, who was the co chairperson of Cleantech and Green Business Leaders for Obama, which supplied millions for his campaign.

Of the $20.5 billion in ‘green’ loan guarantees, $16.4 billion went to companies “either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers – individuals who were bundlers, members of his campaign’s National Finance Committee or large donors to the Democratic Party.”  Most were early backers of his presidential run for office.  The Solyndra scandal was the most public failure ($573 million in loan guarantees), but there were others.  As you may remember 35% of Solyndra was owned by George Kaiser, major Obama donor and bundler.  The President personally went to the California factory twice to brag of all the green jobs created there.  Solyndra never was able to manufacture a solar panel for less than they sold it for.  After the bankruptcy, all jobs were lost almost overnight.

Loans often went to previously small or almost nonexistent companies.  The owners often took advantage of the credibility lent to them by the guarantees, took their companies public and cashed out.  Steve Farber, a major donor to the DNC and the 2008 convention host, along with Steve Westy, who bundled more than $500,000 for the campaign, openly advertised in the Wall Street Journal that their connections would ‘hook up’ a company for loans and grants.

Some, such as Granite Reliable Wind ($135 million), were companies directly connected to White House staff.  The company was owned by CCMP Capital, of which Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Deputy Chief of Staff, had been the managing director.  A wind farm subsidized by the Federal government cost less than 55% of what non subsidized companies had to pay.  Grants were given to companies with less than 10% private equity skin in the game.  Normal grant approvals required at least 30% private equity investment.  The Congressional General Accounting Office found numerous incidents of a lack of transparency in the applications and favoritism to ‘friends and families’ among the winners. The GAO was ignored.

A final typical example was Leucadia Energy, which was awarded grants and loan guarantees totaling $3.5 billion for three separate projects.  The company is a subsidiary of Leucadia National.  At the time of the administration’s decision, Leucadia Energy had annual revenues of $120,000 and one employee, when it was given billions.  Perhaps not surprisingly, Chairman and CEO Ian Cumming was a member of the 2008 Obama National Finance Committee and DNC Convention Committee.  Cumming wrote large personal checks contributing to Obama campaign funds in the weeks just before the approvals.  Eighteen months later in December of 2010, exactly three jobs had been created.

Next week another aspect of this fourth greatest presidency.

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”  George Washington

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1 Comment

Filed under Politics and government

One response to “The Fourth Greatest President in American History (Part 1)

  1. Greg

    Jack,

    Say it ain’t so……..and in broad daylight. Blago recieved 14 years…….there is “HOPE”. Let’s “Hope” for a “Change”. I wonder who will be the Obama girls this time around? I think it should be a federal requrement to bring a tax return to the polls for authentication as a person who deserves to be there and participate.

    The ghost of Richard Joseph Daley is alive and well.

    Like

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