Despite President Obama’s warning to other Americans, the nation witnessed his own inability to resist ‘spiking the football” this past week in a Dickensian “best of times, worst of times” moment at Ground Zero in New York City.
Obama’s actions do not lessen the important fact that Osama bin Laden is dead and that our nation’s military executed a complex and sensitive field operation brilliantly. The triumph over bin Laden may have signaled “the best of times”. But, back in Washington, little-reported news stories about Obama’s and fellow Democrats’ efforts to implement rules and legislation pushing crippling taxes, wealth redistribution, trillions of dollars of debt and other disincentives that make the U.S. less competitive were a clear sign that we are also experiencing “the worst of times.”
It was the best of times because Obama made the right decision to act on the intelligence provided at enormous time, cost and effort from so many American patriots over so many years. And, it was the best of times when Obama said he knew that it would take more than just “getting Osama” to get re-elected. In other words, Obama has acknowledged that he needs to focus on a serious strategy for job creation and growing the economy.
Still, it was the worst of times because, this week, Labor unions asked legislators to increase federal government union employee benefits and, at the same time, place pay caps on the salaries of private businesses that do business with the government, thus showing that left-wing extremists intend to continue with their efforts to intrude in the day-to-day operations of private industry.
It was the best of time because, despite Obama’s snarky comments about “moats and alligators”, his speech in El Paso is an acknowledgement that it is now time to confront the problems of illegal immigration as both a policy issue and as a budget issue. Clearly, any discussion of fiscal discipline and cuts in spending by legislators in Washington must also include one of the biggest drains on the budgets of many local communities and state organizations—the costs of subsidizing the education, healthcare and support of illegal aliens.
By addressing the growing burden that illegal immigrants are placing on our economy Obama, perhaps unwittingly, made a major break with unions. Unions have been some of the strongest supporters of increased tolerance and increased benefits for illegal immigrants regardless of the cost to the American taxpayer.
But, President Obama’s draft Executive Order “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors”, makes this the worst of times too. Obama is engaging in a not-too-subtle shakedown of private sector businesses that wish to do business with the government. This Executive Order requires any business to make public its political donations for a period covering up to two years before any contract awarded by the government or two years before any contract on which the company intends to bid. This is not subtle.
Obama’s thuggish “transparency initiative” seems designed to serve a warning to those who have not donated to the party in power that they better do so soon if they want to do business with the government. This inherently corrupt use of executive power also may be intended to serve as a warning to those who have supported the “wrong” party that their donations may be used as a weapon, since the order exempts unions and grant recipients, organizations which have, traditionally, donated heavily to the Democrat party.
Discussing another prod in history of intense turmoil, Dickens wrote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
Americans are, undoubtedly, riding high since the death of bin Laden, even though his death can never replace the thousands of lives lost and the thousands of lives affected. Once again, the world has seen what American determination, persistence and innovation can accomplish. But Americans have also seen President Obama, quite possibly our “noisiest authority using superlatives to describe his actions: most historic, most unprecedented, most transparent.
We are in the midst of the best of times and the worst of time, but it now seems clear that Obama’s best actions and best ideas occur when he adopts the policies championed by George W. Bush.