Our current Commander-In-Chief won the presidency last year with very broad, generalized campaign themes of “hope,” “change,” and to a lesser degree, “transformation. ” He promised a foreign policy that would correct all the “mistakes” of George W. Bush, and an economic policy that would take wealth away from “rich” people and give it to people who were “deserving” of it.
Today, after roughly eight months in office, nobody doubts that President Obama has brought about a dramatic level of ”change.” But what is the purpose of Obama’s “change,” where is it leading, and what is all this “change” supposed to produce for the United States?
Despite philosophical and policy differences, most U.S. Presidents (certainly those of of recent history) have been, in their own ways, beholden to an agenda of keeping America safe and prosperous. But today I wonder if anyone believes that our President’s current agenda actually enhances safety and prosperity, or if, perhaps, some other agenda is being advanced.
In terms of foreign policy and national security, President Obama campaigned on, among other things, a promise to repair relationships between the U.S. and the rest of the world, relationships that he claimed President Bush had horribly damaged. Seven days after his inauguration – and before making any sort of televised address to the American people – President Obama made a regionally televised address to the “Muslim World” in the Middle East, to “reassure” Muslims that “Americans are not your enemy.”
Since then, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has scoffed at our President, publicly calling him “naïve,” and challenging Obama to a “debate.” A poll released last week indicates that, now, a mere 4% of Jews in the nation of Israel (our nation’s greatest ally and the most stable nation in the Middle East) believe that our President is “pro-Israel,” while a majority of Israelis oppose Obama’s demand for a a temporary freeze of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. And despite President Obama’s “demand” that Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the terorrist convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, be held under house arrest in his home of Libya after being released from a Scottland prison last week, the very Muslim Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi nonetheless provided a celebratory hero’s welcome to al Megrahi, and allowed him his freedom.
President Obama has unnerved the Jewish world, and appears to have emboldened the terrorist world. This does not provide a pathway to safety and prosperity for the United States.
In terms of his economic policy, President Obama is perhaps even more perplexing. As a candidate he expressed all-out disdain for American corporations and repeatedly promised to increase corporate taxes and regulations, expressed anger and “outrage” when corporations reported profits that were too big, and promised to “give back” corporate profits to “the American people.” At the same time, Obama was fond of reminding America that one of his chief economic advisors was investment and wealth creation guru Warren Buffett .
Today, Buffett stops short of admitting that his friend Barack has made any mistakes, but nonetheless admits that the so-called “economic stimulus bill” entailed tremendous waste, that the level of our national debt is staggeringly dangerous, and that the economy is in far worse condition than most people realize. And while I have been anticipating that, eventually, we would see an emergence in the press of the idea that President Obama is “in over his head with the economy,” I didn’t figure this would happen until after the 2010 elections . Only 3 months ago it seemed that President Obama could, politically speaking, continue for the foreseeable future to blame economic troubles on George W. Bush.
But reality has emerged in the media much sooner than I had predicted. Economic news outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg, and Financial Times have raised concerns over the dangerous levels of deficit spending, while thoughtful writers like Fred Barnes and John Stossel have carefully analyzed the President’s own remarks about economics, and his behavior in office, and have concluded that Obama doesn’t know how the economy works.
But does President Obama simply not “get it” on economics, or is there another issue in play? Certainly the President has an agenda of re-distributing wealth, taking away from “rich people” and giving to those who he believes are deserving. But his policies reach beyond mere wealh re-distribution, and if current policy trends continue, there will simply be less wealth in the United States that can be re-distributed.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue that President Obama is seeking to advance American peace and prosperity – this is so, at least in terms of how “peace” and “prosperity” have customarily been defined. Does President Obama have his own definitions for these terms? And how might his agenda of “transformation” entail something entirely different from anything America has known before?