On Wednesday, Barack Obama will have completed his first year as our President. In almost every regard, his actions and the actions of his administration have been disastrous for the long-term future of this country. The things he’s done correctly can be counted on one hand:
• He set up a commission to cut $100 million from the federal budget. It was a small amount, but the effort was worthy and should be repeated, albeit with much larger numbers.
• He went to Dover Air Force Base to witness the return of some of our soldiers killed in action. Whether you believe it was a photo-op or not, he did it and deserves credit.
• Obama has effectively used drone technology to attack Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists – even though he refuses to call them terrorists.
• On two occasions, he sent additional troops to Afghanistan. In the second instance, he dithered in a seemingly clueless manner and unnecessarily questioned his own commanders, but he made the correct decision and hopefully will now allow them to run the war as they need to do.
In almost every other decision, Obama was misguided and – in utter contrast to his campaign promises – materially misled the American people regarding his intentions as President. The most significant events of this voluminous list are detailed below:
• Disregard for Primary Concerns of Voters – A President has to strike a balance between leading the country and listening to his constituents. It is always difficult, but rarely has a President been so out of touch with the people of this nation. While Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about high unemployment numbers and enormous government deficits, Obama has ignored the basic economic issues, instead choosing to focus upon his own political agenda.
• Transparency – The President promised that his Administration would be the most transparent in history. This promise appears to be just as accurate as the Clinton Administration’s commitment to be the most ethical in history. Obama repeatedly stated during the campaign that bills would be posted on the Internet for all of us to review. Well, neither the Americans citizens nor their elected representatives and senators got the opportunity to review the bills – at least before the votes were taken. Congressional meetings were supposed to be held with C-SPAN cameras turned on, but that never occurred. The Health Care Bill was originally discussed in committees, but then completely rewritten in back rooms and now will be finalized in secret conferences between Obama and senior Democrats. On this point, Mr. Obama has seriously misled the American people.
• Cap and Trade – A bill that would give the federal government near-complete control of the American economy passed the House by the slimmest of majorities. It has been stalled in the Senate, but that hasn’t deterred the Obama Administration’s attempt to use the environment as an excuse to control all aspects of our activities. The EPA has stepped in saying we are going to do what Congress appears unwilling to do – establish federal control over all decisions made by manufacturers and most other businesses. Of course, the Administration will then be shocked – shocked! – at the loss of thousands of jobs to foreign countries.
• Security – We’re being told that the Obama Administration bears no responsibility for the rash of recent incidents that challenge our national security. For seven years after 9/11, the Bush Administration kept us safe, but now all hell is breaking loose. Don’t underestimate how much of this has been caused by the tone of appeasement set at the top and disseminated throughout the Administration. Obama has learned to talk softly, but forgot to carry the big stick.
• Bi-partisanship – Mr. Obama promised us a new bi-partisan era. At least George W. Bush made a legitimate effort at the beginning of his term by negotiating with Ted Kennedy and other Democrats on important bills (such as No Child Left Behind). Obama abandoned any pretense of bi-partisanship the day he hired hyper-partisan Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Since then, he has made little effort to work with Republicans, and in fact went more than six months without meeting with Republican leaders on his most important legislation – health care. In this regard, Obama again seriously misled the American people, and it has severely harmed his performance as President.
• Deficits – There’s no doubt that Mr. Obama inherited a significant budget deficit that was growing because of necessary expenditures and reduced tax collections. Nevertheless, the President intentionally misled the American people by including his $800 billion Stimulus Bill with President Bush’s prior year numbers and then blaming it on Bush. Looking ahead, the deficit will be staggering. Fortunately, there are fewer earmarks in the current budget bills, but there are still 5,000 of them! Another failed Obama promise.
• Foreign Relations – Obama promised a better international image. Well, the Swedes and Norwegians sure like us better, but he has clearly antagonized our closest allies (Britain and Israel) and pandered to dictators in North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela. He almost let a small friend (Honduras) be taken over by a Chavez front man and has left Colombia hanging out to dry to appease his union friends. China and Russia love him because they know that we have a weak President and they can act with impunity.
• Race Relations – Our first “post-racial” President was supposed to lead us to a new era. Instead he backed a race-baiting college friend against an honored police officer with a spotless record on racial issues without knowing the facts. To recover, Obama had to endure perhaps the most demeaning moment of any President in recent memory – The Beer Summit.
• Health Care – President Obama has led the charge to have the federal government assume control of one-sixth of our economy through a nonsensical 2,000+ page bill whose ramifications NOBODY knows. What we do know, however, is that there will be higher taxes and over a hundred new boards and commissions to control our lives. Once this gets out of Congress, it will take years to determine the damage done to the U.S. economy in the name of saving it.
There is not much good here and little hope ahead. The first step toward turning things around would be to fire all his Chicago cronies and political hacks and bring in some grown-ups to run the White House. Bush hired Andy Card, an outsider, as his chief of staff. Obama should find a kindred spirit to save his Presidency. God willing, year two will be an improvement. It cannot get much worse.