4. The Era of Big Government is Over. In 1996, Bill Clinton signed historic welfare reform legislation that cut the welfare caseloads in half, lifted millions of children out of poverty, and lifted millions of inner city residents out of despondence and dependence and into dignified employment. President Obama must have missed this historic, bipartisan achievement while out community organizing. And he apparently prefers the poor to stay that way, as he recently gutted the heart of the welfare reform regime.
5. George W. Bush Was Correct. On taxes, detainees, the TARP program, Gitmo, drones and Special Forces operations, former Bush criticizer-in-chief Barack Obama has implicitly endorsed the logic and policy positions advocated by the 43rd president. President Bush has admirably refused to comment on President Obama’s performance, but don’t expect 44 to give any props to 43 for the successful initiatives he inherited and has benefited from. Magnanimity is apparently in short supply for this supposedly “post-partisan” president.
6. We Have A Plan. President Obama has given no indication of what he intends to accomplish during a second administration. Only three options exist: (1) Clintonesque small ball, e.g., school uniforms; (2) Clintonesque triangulation, e.g., welfare reform; or (3) more of the same failure: federal “investments” and economic malaise. If past is prologue, only option three appears plausible. Yet option three is not a viable reelection strategy, so what to do?
In the legal profession, lawyers have recourse to only three approaches to make their case. They can argue the facts if the facts are on their side. If the facts aren’t helpful, they argue the law. If the facts and the law are against them, they can argue for a change in the law.
The same is true in politics this year. The facts of Obama’s stewardship are not helpful: forty-something months of employment above eight percent, record food stamp usage and federal dependency, moribund job creation, an anemic recovery, an unpopular health care law, foreign policy failures, and failed attempts at state intervention through overhyped investments (stimulus) that failed miserably.
Nor is the law helpful to his agenda. Thus, the president flouts laws with which he disagrees (immigration laws, welfare reform, DOMA, border enforcement), and imposes laws of dubious legitimacy (Obamacare). Without resort to facts or law, the president is left with arguing that America, rather than him, is the problem and must be changed.
Recently asked to grade himself on his handling of the economy, Barack Obama gave himself an “incomplete,” saying he needed more time. For the millions of unemployed Americans drowning in the Obama recession, more time for Obama is the last thing they need or the president deserves. The Greek columns of 2008 may be gone, thankfully, but the fundamental inadequacy and misguided vision of the man again accepting the Democratic nomination persist, to the detriment of his party and the nation.