Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Obama: Tone Deaf and Heading on $2 Billion Trip to India and Southeast Asia

The dust has not even settled nor all of the carnage of the Democratic Party carried away after yesterday's near historic record-setting sea-change in congress with the American people vehemently and unmistakably repudiating President Obama and the Congressional Democrats' agenda of severe fiscal malfeasance, and yet President Obama is still seemingly oblivious to the message.

The Democrats' unwanted and largely ineffective spending which has added over $5 Trillion more to the national debt since having taken control of congress in 2007, including the passage of the un-constitutional health care act, were the primary impetus for voters' anger yesterday according to most exit polling.

So what does President Obama intend to do to correct his course?  Why, he plans to leave the country for ten days starting with a visit to Mumbai, India.  The costs estimated for this ten day trip are $200 million dollars a day, or for those not wanting to do the math, 2 BILLION dollars for the entire trip.

"The huge amount of around $200 million (a day) would be spent on security, stay and other aspects of the Presidential visit," a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit said.  An entourage of around 3000 people will be accompanying the presidential delegation including government officials, journalists, and Secret Service personnel.  Of course President Obama will be accompanied on the trip with his wife Michelle and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

The entire Taj Mahal Tower Hotel, 570 rooms in all, have been rented for the Presidential visit accordingly.

Now I certainly don't begrudge our president having adequate security on foreign travels, but it certainly strikes me as ludicrous to have 3000 people traveling with him in over 40 planes, while ferrying six armored vehicles, and several Marine One helicopters for his use while abroad.

To add insult to injury, India is not expecting any "big bang" results from the forthcoming visit of  President Barack Obama, India's Foreign Secretary has said.  In other words this trip does not significantly advance the interests of America nor India.  It, seemingly, is a "much needed" vacation with a little diplomacy thrown in to justify the trip.

So with all of this being said, it strikes me that our president, despite the horrific losses his party just suffered at the hands of irate American voters yesterday, still has not heard nor understood the message we sent.  Surely a man of such intelligence cannot be that politically tone deaf and that foolish! 

With millions of people still searching for employment and the economy still not showing any significant signs of improvement, is spending $2 Billion dollars on a trip to India, South Korea, and Indonesia really the best use of President Obama's time and our taxpayers' dollars right now?  I guess he will be surprised when he gets our next message in November of 2012.  I guarantee you that message will be heard by him as he packs his belongings to return to Chicago!

UPDATE 11/4/2010: There have been multiple sources now reporting that are skeptical as to the original claims regarding the amount of money to be spent on President Obama's trip.  No credible source is able to cite what actual costs for the trip will be, however.  The Whitehouse has stated that the cost numbers are wildly inflated but have cited security reasons for not disclosing an exact figure.  Suffice it to say, that the actual amount of money being spent is indeed likely lower than what the Indian Government official originally claimed.

Nontheless, the 3000 member entourage, 40 planes, etc. still are ludicrous and will be exorbitantly expensive in addition to the entire rented Taj Mahal Towers Hotel.  The main premise of this posting, that the expenses incurred on this excursion to India that serve no significant U.S. interests immediately following the message sent by the American people after Tuesday's elections still strikes one as being politically tone deaf.  The spending of what will still amount to many hundreds of millions of dollars regardless does not strike one as being very fiscally warranted or prudent, accordingly.


Kyle Clouse said...

It's amazing to me that after the humiliating defeat he still chooses to ignore the majority voice of the American people.

mikep said...

So you cite no sources at all, and then criticize others for not citing sources to refute your made up figures?

You should research your articles instead of copying and pasting from other right wing political opinion sites.

Anonymous said...

mikep, he is an engineer so he's smart. Lets be honest, he would not just post something if it wasn't true or if it was made up. I'm sure he probably meant to post facts and evidence at the end of the article but had to cut the posting short because the commercial break on Fox News was over.

Robert said...

It's amazing to me how disingenuous this whole thing is. If there was a Republican sitting in the White House this wouldn't have been spoken of at all.

This is yet another case of the demagogues stoking the fires of feeble-minded populism for political gain. I am not singling out the 'right' alone in this, the 'left' can be and is a party to these same tactics.

T. Paine said...

MikeP, I cited the reported source for those numbers as an un-named Indian government official. In the "update" I reported that the Whitehouse disputed those numbers but did not clarify what the actual costs were.

Robert, while I agree to a certain extent with your underlying premise of demagoguery being common on both sides, such is not my intent here.

Rather, I find it asinine that such outrageous amounts of taxpayer dollars are spent on such excursions that really do nothing to advance American causes.

Now I cannot prove that the trip will cost $200 Million a day, but with no evidence one way or the other, no one can dispute that the Indian government source was wrong either.

Regardless, 3000 people, 40 planes, two helicopters and now it appears that 34 naval ships from the Navy's 7th fleet are certainly going to end up costing hundreds of millions, if not indeed billions before all is said and done with the President's jaunt.

With no significant reason for venturing to India other than to see the Festival of Lights, don't you think that is a little foolish in these tough economic times, regardless of whether the president has a "D" or an "R" beside his name?

Anonymous said...

Political machines make up stories on both sides of the aisle. And darn it if the right is just so much better at it than the left.

Anonymous said...

And just how does that unnamed Indian source know how much a country he isn't a part of spends on defense of their first citizen?

T. Paine said...

Anonymous, that is a good question. The source of those figures is reported as a supposed high-ranking Indian government official that is familiar with the arangments of the trip.

With the fact that elements of the Indian press are now making dubious claims of 34 U.S. Naval vessels providing security for this trip, I would think that the State Department and the Secret Service would probably want to discuss the importance of presidential security be kept secret, if the sources of these leaks were indeed privy to such information.

I now suspect, with this latest dubious claim, that some Indian official was simply looking for some time in the spot light and such comments should be treated with a great degree of skepticism accordingly.

That being said, the costs of this trip for Obama and his 3000 member entourage have got to be enormous and quite unnecessary. That fact leads me to stand by the premise of my original posting that President Obama is indeed politically tone deaf and insensitive to the plight of millions of Americans suffering in this economy as he leaves to India seemingly just to see the Festival of Lights.

Anonymous said...

Keep posting made-up stories that feed your preconceived bias. I'm sure if you keep doing that, SOMETHING will turn out to be true and prove you right...


Serious. Is this what passes for journalism on the Right? No wonder you are all so detached from reality. You all live in your little Fox News echo chamber and repeat lies to each other to boost your self-righteousness. Just admit all hate Obama because he's "other". Just like you were all foaming at the mouth at Clinton. You are all like Pavlov's dog in your reaction. You'll believe any whistle or bell as long as it gets you emotionally worked up and feeds your bias.

Think about believe ANYTHING bad about Obama without question. Seriously. You do. Don't you think that makes you a little vulnerable to propaganda and lies (like this one)? See your emotional response in the form of hate? That is exactly what your corporate masters want...

Stupid sheep.

Anonymous said...

Here. Read this...

Then come back at me with your faux-"outrage" on this.

I don't know why none of you are upset with Michelle Bachmann for lying to you. She repeated something as "fact", somthing that seemed totally outrageous, never bothered to check it or the source, and got you all whipped up into a frenzy over something that turned out to be a politically motivated lie...

...Unless, of course, that is what she meant to do. But that would mean you all blindly walked forward into her lie. And you on the Right are too smart and too sophisticated to believe propaganda, right?

Brian said...


If you want to debate the need for G20 Summits fine, Obama didn't invent them!

By the way the first G20 summit was in Washington DC hosted by GWB just months after the collapse of Lehman Bros, and just weeks after the '08 election where the president and his party lost big. (it usually cost more to host a summit because the secret service is responsible for the security of all foreign dignitaries).

Where was the outrage then?

T. Paine said...

Hey, all of you "anonymous" commentors, I'd really appreciate it if you give yourself some sort of moniker at least so I can know if I am responding to just one person or multiple people that would rather make comments without any sort of identification attached to their person.

I will assume, because I really don't care otherwise, that these comments all come from the same individual.

Regardless, if you will read the update addendum that I put on my original post yesterday, I cited much of the "exculpatory" statements that the CNN article you sent to me stated.

For the record, the G20 summit is NOT being held in India; and President Obama's visit there seems to be largely inconsequential, particularly considering the costs involved for him and his entourage.

The fact that I am not politically aligned with Olbermann or Daily Kos evidently upsets many of you fine folks. Sorry, but I am far too much a student of history, economics, and civics to be a progressive fellow traveler. Besides, I have never cared for the taste of Kool Aid.

Michael Arrowood said...

You might want to check the Pentagon briefing at which the spokesperson called the idea of diverting Navy ships for this trip "comical" and flatly stated the Navy has no intention of diverting "one-tenth of the U.S. Navy's ships" for this purpose.

I have a theory as to what happened -- take the $200 million and divide it by the current rupee exchange rate -- it comes to around $4.5 million/day. That is an entirely plausible figure for a foreign presidential trip, probably in line with what previous presidents spent (even traveling domestically is horrendously expensive for any president, though the exact figure is in fact classified). Just a theory -- the provincial official was talking Indian currency.

But the damage has been done by the radio commentators, Michelle Bachmann, and shoot-from-the-hip bloggers like yourself have already created the legend. I'm sure it will be repeated over and over into 2012 and beyond. Thanks, buddy! You've helped add one more urban legend to the world.

Travis said...

It's completely rediculous to spend the amount of money to take 3,000 people to India and stay in the nicest hotel in the country, weather it costs 2 billion or 2 million. If the economy was booming and there weren't people being foreclosed on all across the country, it might be a little bit different.

Brian said...

T. Paine you're correct the G20 summit is not in India, it's in South Korea. He will not be staying in India for 9 days, but will be going to 4 countries in that time.

If you want to have a debate about the logistics of presidential travel, the need for state visits and geopolitical summits thats fine, but the issue is not partisan. Every president regardless of party spends tens of millions of dollars on trips, the only thing an article like this does is upset people on the right because the number is so high, and people on the left because the number is so wrong.

But if your only motivation is upsetting people by propagating misinformation then your right on track.

T. Paine said...

Michael Arrowood, your theory on the costs is indeed a plausible one.

I have seen the story from the Pentagon spokesman and I have already stated that it appears these figures are in error. In other words I have done far more than what Media Matters, any of the bufoons on MS-NBC, or any of the major networks typically do when a correction to the record is in order.

And Travis, THANK YOU! At least someone gets the whole point of the story!

T. Paine said...

Brian, I would submit to you that in light of the recent elections and the peoples' message sent, and the fact that there are millions of people looking for jobs, perhaps it would have been best simply for the president to go to South Korea for the G-20 summit and leave 90% of his 3000 staff and supporters at home.

And you are darn right that his not doing so makes people mad (me absolutely included!)

Weren't you paying attention to the election results either, sir?

Glenn Atias said...

The tone-deafness is stunning. There are so many structural problems at home. And he runs off to India.

Americans have a real sense that these multi-zillion dollar trade deals are part of what got us in this mess to begin with. We always seem to be on the losing side of them.

What we need is tax policy and fiscal policy and sound money policy (audit and end the Fed) to get production back to our shores. And immediately after taking a drubbing in the election, this worldwide community organizer takes an armada off to India to announce more international trade deals.

He literally has our stomachs churning with unease. There is a real sense that anything Obama negotiates will only help the elites and screw the American worker once again.

So at the very time we'd like to see him roll up his sleeves and do some work at home, he runs off on a 2 billion dollar vacation, and an announcement of more international trade deals that we will get the losing end of.

He is turning out not just to be a bad president, but bad in historic proportions. The greatest swindle ever pulled on the American people.