So far, in his presidency, what exactly has Obama accomplished? After five abysmal years of anemic “recovery,” the nation is still struggling with unemployment above the level he inherited. Big business is bigger under his redistributive administration. Government surveillance of citizens has increased by all accounts, with some political dissidents being targeted for bureaucratic scrutiny. On the foreign front, his administration has perpetually supported rebels, revolutionaries, and factions that are tied directly to the same Islamists who gave safe harbor (and in some cases direct support) to the group responsible for 3,000 deaths on September 11, 2001. Even his signature piece of domestic legislation – Obamacare – is falling apart at the seams. All this begs the question: What legacy is he interested in preserving?
Under normal political circumstances, an outgoing politician carefully evaluates where their concentration might best be served for historical remembrance. “Legacies” are often a dirty word in the American Political Theater, but they have brought us some of the best and worst aspects of modern American government. Certainly FDR left a lasting legacy of entitlement, Keynesian central planning, and Big Government. Ronald Reagan left a legacy of constitutional republicanism, smaller government, and a legitimate concern for the growth of the welfare state. Barack Obama will leave a legacy far more influential than either of the aforementioned men.
When Obama was elected he was not focused on “fixing” the subprime mortgage crises, economic collapse or political culture of distaste and hate. He told us what he wanted. He wanted to “transform” America. What he wanted to transform the nation into is only peripherally important. Centric to his core agenda was this idea of transformation. His agenda was never about bringing healthcare to the masses, reigning in Wall Street (his biggest donors), or restoring the ladder of socio-economic mobility. . . . It was about using populist issues to advance an otherwise unpalatable “progressive” agenda.
The Administration’s support of Islamists in the overthrow of Libya’s (admittedly despicable) leader had far less to do with the proliferation of despotism, and more to do with de-elevating America on the world stage. Under Obama, gone are the days of presuming America can (and should) defend relative freedom. Just recently the Obama Administration declared they are insisting the Muslim Brotherhood be included in the new(est) government of Egypt. . . Um. . . Aren’t they the group people were interested in overthrowing?
Obama is not worried about his legacy as an economically focused president, or his ability to stave off foreign conflicts. . . He want to be the man who made America the largest home of European Socialism. (Is that going too far?) Redistributive policies, European style central planning, and technocratic implementation of our laws are more than odd fascinations with the Obama wing of the Democrat Party. Obama-style Democrats really do believe the creation of prosperity begins with government action. And why shouldn’t they? People like Barack Obama have grown quite wealthy off of government. Why wouldn’t they think government is the source of prosperity?
In this light, Obama’s recent decision to ignore the IRS scandal, delay the Obamacare employer mandate, and switch his stance on gay marriage, all makes sense. His daily actions are designed to allow for a window of opportunity to dismantle obstacles or implement new agendas - regardless of their popularity.
This is what makes Barack Obama impossible to understand in traditional political contexts. He’s not interested in being a politician. Our current Commander in Chief is far more interested in bringing us that “transformation” he promised. If he succeeds, in the long run, that might very well place him in the history books as the most important American President in the last half century. But at what cost to the republic?