Brian Birdnow

In a recent television interview, President Barack Obama stated that he would rather be a great one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. While many commentators puzzled over the president’s precise meaning, it seems fairly clear that this was not meant as a slap at his two immediate predecessors, but was a defense of his own administration’s ambitious agenda. Regardless of his slipping poll numbers, growing public concern over drunken sailor-like spending, and startling Democratic electoral reverses, the president dismisses the current unpleasantness and claims to be interested in short term victory, not any type of long term legacy. The president might achieve his goal of one- term greatness, but a look at the record will show that he has been a disastrously bad one-year president.

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The president rode the deep recession of 2007-08 to the White House and set about making a bad situation worse. He immediately broke his promise to not raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 yearly by imposing a new levy on cigars and cigarettes. He intends to let the Bush tax cuts expire, which will raise income tax rates, and have the effect of raising the taxes themselves by a trillion dollars. The president has also dropped his rhetoric about “cutting taxes for 95% of all Americans” and is now dropping hints about the need for “contributions” in order to control the ballooning deficit.

Brian Birdnow

Brian E. Birdnow is a historian and teaches at a university in the St. Louis area.