Albus Dumbledore advised Harry Potter that “Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” As the final installment of the Harry Potter series comes to a close, it becomes clear that Harry was equal to that challenge, and that, despite great personal cost and effort, Harry consistently chose “right” over “easy”. Not so President Obama.
Since first being sworn into office almost three years ago, Americans have had the misfortune to witness Obama’s propensity for taking the easy way out of a crisis, regardless of the cost to the American people.
Less than one day on the job, President Obama took a short cut when he asked then-Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, to draft an economic Stimulus proposal. True, Obama, with less than a full term as a U.S. senator had almost no experience with budgets and federal agencies, nor did he have any experience creating jobs. But, the proposal should have been drafted by OMB with the assistance of federal agency heads, then submitted to the White House for approval, then submitted to Congress. Instead, by taking the easy route, Obama paved the way for Pelosi and her Democrat cronies in congress to stuff the bill with pork projects off the Democrat wish list that added almost a trillion dollars to U.S. indebtedness but did little to stimulate the economy.
Obama took a second short-cut, choosing easy over right regarding “shovel ready”, critical, infrastructure projects. He pitched the $787 Billion dollar stimulus as a program that would quickly rebuild American roads, bridges, and other critical projects. But, when it became apparent that Obama would need to cut through excessive government regulations and bureaucratic red tape to get these critical infrastructure projects moving, the President gave up.
Instead, the stimulus money was mostly diverted to dodgy projects of little economic benefit such as tennis courts, water parks, and stadium parking lots. The right thing for Obama to have done would have been to encourage regulatory reform--reduce the cumbersome requirements for infrastructure development and change the federal construction scoring rules to be more flexible and reflective of current realities. Regulatory reform would have a greater impact than the amount of money that Team Obama might dump into mythical, "shovel ready" projects—but of course tackling regulatory reform would be hard.
President Obama promised much-needed, federal procurement reform, as a way to reduce waste in the bloated federal spending system. Announcing the policy was easy; implementing the reform and cutting non-performing programs would have required Obama to attack ear-marks and congress’ many sacred cows. So, instead, Obama did little and the recent results of yet another year of bloated federal spending have contributed to the current debt ceiling crisis.
Tackling unions’ overreaching efforts in the federal government and the private sector would have been a hard battle for Obama to fight, but a battle worth waging. Instead, whether talking TSA, or teachers, or pension funding, or Boeing, Obama seemed to think it was more important to throw bones to his union constituents rather than create a climate for entrepreneurial growth.
Perhaps most indicative of Obama’s decision to do what is easy rather than what is right is what seems to be the Obama Administration’s consistent record of lying about its intentions. Whether talking to Joe the Plumber about wealth redistribution, or using a teleprompter rather than speaking directly, or passing off Bush Administration accomplishments as Obama Administration accomplishments.
Americans have watched for over two years as the battle for true transparency is waged against Obama Administration rhetoric. Sadly, Americans have seen Obama say the right things (courtesy of speechwriters and teleprompters), but have seen Obama act contrary to his statements. One of the most recent examples is Obama’s claim to support higher taxes for “millionaires and billionaires” but, instead, propose a plan to tax families earning $250,000 annually.
In foreign affairs, Obama’s performance has also fallen short. He embarked upon a global “blame America first” tour which he claimed would raise America’s standing in the world. But Obama’s efforts only eroded American prestige in the world while simultaneously undermining our closest allies. Nothing illustrates Team Obama’s disingenuous buffoonery than his position on free trade. He blocks a trade agreement with Korea and Columbia, then suddenly agrees to push it forward if it contains yet another big give-away to unions, disguised as something he calls a trade assistance act (TAA).
Obama’s list of failures is long, and growing legendary, from his failure to create jobs, to his failure to grow the economy, to his failure to understand the rudiments of the American Dream. His failures have one common element. Obama does not understand the essential character of the American people living the American dream. Our nation’s history is one of individuals willing to fight for what is right, regardless of the difficulty, regardless of the personal cost. This kind of sacrifice is alien to Obama, and as the past 28 months are making painfully clear, Obama’s essential character will not change. He will continue to choose to do what is popular and easy rather than what is right for the country.
Albus Dumbledore was right: dark and difficult times lie ahead.