Imagine this: January 20, 2017, Hillary Clinton stands before Chief Justice John Roberts on the west front of the U.S. Capitol Building and takes the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States.
President Clinton then approaches the podium to address the American people, captivating her audience with assurances that all will be fine and that their collective pain will soon be eased.
She will declare that her unique understanding of the issues facing Americans will enable her to fashion ideas and programs destined to succeed in moving America out of the doldrums of the past several years and into a new age of prosperity.
But that isn’t exactly what is going to happen.
Hillary Clinton may or may not be elected president in 2016, but one thing that seems certain is that if she is elected she will likely preside over a continuation of the same ineffectual policies that have come to define President Obama’s tenure in office.
Hillary Clinton has consistently marched in lock-step with President Obama on nearly all of his major policy initiatives since joining his administration in 2009: An emasculated foreign policy that has seen American stature and influence diminish throughout the world and a vapid economic strategy that has sown over-regulation and uncertainty into the economic lexicon and seemingly enshrined high unemployment and impalpable growth as the new norm.
On the foreign policy front, the president's failures have even begun to rile his supporters on the Left. A recent speech delivered by President Obama at West Point drew the scorn of the New York Times editorial page, a paper not often inclined to heap criticisms on the president.
Although his speech was labeled as a “big moment,” the Times instead found it to be “largely uninspiring,” and lacking “strategic sweep.” Instead of offering a clearer path for the United States moving forward, President Obama relied on “hackneyed phrases.”
Hillary Clinton’s interconnectedness with the president’s foreign policy failures, especially those endured while Clinton served as Secretary of State (read: Benghazi) not only continue to dog the putative 2016 presidential nominee but they offer the best approximation of what the American people can expect from a Clinton presidency.
Although the significance of foreign policy regression under the Obama administration cannot be understated, it is the economy that will likely be at the forefront of voter’s minds as they go to the polls in November, 2016.
On that front, things don’t portend well for a candidate that has indefatigably supported many of the president’s often misguided policies, i.e. Clinton’s steadfast commitment to Obamacare and a shared indecisiveness on the Keystone XL pipeline, to name but a few.
While key indicators continue to highlight the moribund state of the economy, a recent downward revision on Q1 GDP shows just how tenuous the economy remains under the weight of the Obama administration.
Q1 GDP was recently revised to show that the economy shrank by nearly three percent during the first quarter of 2014, almost three times as bad as the previous estimate. Q1 also marked the worst quarter for the economy since the end of the last recession five years ago.
This also prompted the New York Times to admit that overall growth for 2014 will likely remain depressed.
“Still, though 2014 is only around halfway over, the brutal math of G.D.P. means that the nation now looks consigned to another year of sluggish growth at best — and that’s true even if there is a pickup over the remainder of the year,” lamented Neil Irwin of the New York Times.
Underscoring part of the poor Q1 GDP report was weak consumer spending. While the Obama administration has promoted consumer spending, particularly due to Obamacare, as a driver of economic growth, Q1 painted a less rosy picture.
In discussing what economists had missed in their previous forecasts for Q1 GDP, Neil Irwin pointed out the unexpected decline in consumer spending. “The key thing they missed: consumer spending, the mainstay of economic activity, was far weaker than either government numbers or private analysts had previously thought, particularly spending on health care.”
But while Obamacare continues to strain the economy, these facts have not dissuaded Clinton from continuing to support the president's signature health care legislation. In fact, Clinton recently told reporters that if she were running a campaign for reelection in 2014 she would embrace Obamacare on the campaign trail.
To put it mildly, economic conditions and foreign policy directives under the Obama administration have been less than stellar. In her pursuit of the Oval Office, Hillary Clinton may soon try and distance herself from the failed policies of the past five and a half years but that will merely be a smokescreen.
In reality, a vote for Hillary Clinton will be a confirmation of the Obama presidency. While the Twenty-Second Amendment prohibits the president from seeking a third term in office, a vote for Hillary Clinton will substantively accomplish the same.