Americans agree culture war needs better manners
The political divide has America the most divided we've been in our lifetime, but a new survey of Americans shows there's one thing we all agree on.
Criticism is coming from all angles as conservatives continue to react to President Obama's final State of the Union message on Tuesday night.
For example, a former Justice Department attorney says Obama is clearly obsessed with shutting down the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba without regard to the consequences.
Closing down Gitmo has been something the president has wanted to do since taking office. But while Obama has whittled away at the terrorist population over the years by releasing prisoners who have often returned to the terrorist fields, he has failed to completely shut down the Cuba facility. So on Tuesday night, Obama vowed to finally get it done before he leaves office, saying he intends to present Congress with a detailed plan to close the prison – but not ruling out using his executive authority if Congress doesn't go along with his plan.
J. Christian Adams is a former DOJ attorney who now serves as legal editor for PJ Media. He says Obama, like Hillary Clinton, doesn't take the safety and security of the American people very seriously.
"Those concerned seem to give way to some ideological crusade where America is always wrong, where we always do bad things to other countries, and we have to pay for it – and we have to shut down all symbols of American power," he offers. "And so Gitmo is just one of the targets for President Obama."
Adams says even though Obama has the authority to shutter Gitmo, the next president could reopen it.
"A future president can do that," says Adams. "But if the horse is already out of the barn and living large in Somalia or Iran or anywhere else in the world, there's nothing you can do about that dangerous, dangerous person that Obama let out."
Many conservative analysts say Obama's final SOTU address was all about propping up his legacy and championing his big-government agenda. Stacy Washington, a member of the National Advisory Council of the Project 21 (The National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives), says the president pandered to a tiny partisan crowd by promising more free programs, the cost for which rests on the back of taxpayers.
Washington also points out the president lambasted anyone who didn't agree with him. "He literally sat in judgment of people who don't ascribe to manmade, anthropological global warming," she offers as an example.
And Washington says the president ignored the persecution of Christians in the Arab world while castigating his political opponents for perceived injustices to Muslims.
"President Obama really slapped Christians in the face by treating the entire country as if we have a problem with Muslims or people of Arab descent," she says, adding that at the same time he ignored the facts that more than 28 million black people are enslaved in Arab nations around the world – and that in Farsi and in Arabic the word for a black person is "slave."
"There is no ethnic description of a black person other than the word 'slave,'" she emphasizes.
President Obama made another push Tuesday night for "paid leave" – a policy that would require employers to give workers time off for life-events such as a death in the family or the birth of a child. Charlotte Hays at the Independent Women's Forum responds to that proposal.
"We do not want mandatory, government-mandated paid leave," Hays states unequivocally. "Look, we hope that employers will give people paid leave; we certainly want people to have good work conditions – but mandating it by the federal government puts employers in a place where they can't remain solvent."
"If we make so many rules and regulations about the workplace that companies go under, you don't have to worry about paid leave anymore because there is no job to leave. So, no, we very much don't like that."
President Obama also talked up the need for "equal pay for equal work," but Hays and the Independent Women's Forum say there are reasons why men and women sometimes get paid differently in the workplace.
Obama has, at times, touted an "all of the above" strategy when it comes to energy. Still, advocates for fossil fuel argue the president is more open to alternatives than he is oil and gas. Dan Kish at the Institute for Energy Research came away from the president's talk feeling worse about traditional fuels.
"The president did mention that he thought folks like gas prices below $2 ... but there were a number of things that he said ... that frankly were pretty misleading and took a lawyer's art to be able to determine exactly what he was trying to get to," states Kish.
"Therefore I think ... if people are concerned about the relative cost of energy they're going to be facing in the future, I'd be very concerned about what the president seemed to indicate."
While President Obama says cleaner fuel is needed to protect the environment, critics say current platforms to accomplish that are expensive and inefficient – two things the economy doesn't need right now.
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