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.

Arguing with Idiots By Glenn Beck

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.

Mr. Obama and his Party never ceased bashing the Bush Administration for turning a purported surplus into a deficit, but the Obama Administration projects yearly deficits in the trillions of dollars for the next decade. The American public also saw the Obamaites cavalier approach to public finance and taxation during the past year. High-level Obama nominees like former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, the HHS-Secretary designate, withdrew his nomination over his failure to report and pay his taxes. Annette Nazareth, nominated as Deputy Secretary of Treasury, withdrew after an FBI probe into her tax filings. Commerce Secretary-designate Bill Richardson withdrew his nomination after an investigation into his business dealings and taxes in New Mexico. Similar revelations of tax dodging marred the confirmation hearings of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Nancy Kellifer, who withdrew from consideration as the government’s chief performance officer when it was discovered that she had neglected to pay taxes related to child care. The president ran on a platform advocating higher taxes on the wealthy, then nominated tax scofflaws to high positions within his Administration. Hypocrisy…anyone?

In the economic realm the president is most proud of his $787 million stimulus plan, which he claims saved millions of jobs, even as unemployment mounted throughout 2009. When considering the magnitude of this stimulus package, the country would do well to reflect on this nearly incomprehensible amount of money. To wit: If one began spending money at the rate of one million dollars per day, every day, on the day that Jesus Christ was born, that person would have spent slightly over 734 billion dollars as of December 31, 2009. The Obama Administration appropriated 53 billion dollars more than this amount for an economic stimulus plan, in addition to trillions of dollars in regular spending. Again, the president claimed that his program saved millions of jobs. The unemployment rate, however, rose from 7.5% to 10.2% during calendar year 2009, although, thankfully, it slipped slightly last month.

Mr. Obama stuck to his radical roots on social issues last year, as well. He ran as the most fervent champion of legalized abortion ever nominated by a major party, running to the left of Hillary Clinton on the issue, and winning the endorsement of the National Abortion Rights Alliance. As president, he has not disappointed his pro-choice base, repealing the “Mexico City Rule” which prohibited American foreign aid being used to fund abortions, and has stated that he will sign the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, which will codify the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision into law. Obama’s embrace of embryonic stem cell research has also unsettled the Right-to-Life movement and his recent tentative efforts to co-opt the gay rights movement concern many conservatives.

Meanwhile the Obama Administration routinely subverts the Constitution by using unelected “czars” to perform end runs around Congress and refuses to allow these people to testify when congressional leaders inquire as to whether the Administration is faithfully executing the laws of the land. Obama is also attempting to reshape the federal bureaucracy to do his bidding, he employs executive orders to impose his will, and he routinely abuses his powers, whether he is transferring administration of the 2010 census to his White House flunkies, picking fights with Fox News, or slandering the integrity of the Cambridge, Massachusetts Police Department.

So, President Obama, apparently discounting his 2008 declaration that he hoped to be a transformational president, in the style of Reagan or the Roosevelts, now suggests he simply wants to be a “great one-term president…” His first year in office, however, seems to portend three more years of very hard times for our great republic.


Brian Birdnow

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