Four years ago Barack Obama was elected President with 53% of the vote -- a monumental achievement. He was swept into office with 364 electoral votes, compared to John McCain’s lackluster 162 electoral votes. With 60 votes in the Senate and a lock-step Democrat majority behind then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the new President had complete party control of Congress. His approval rating by early spring peaked above 70%.
The President's rhetoric was high-minded and soaring. His feel good messages of hope and change convinced Americans that the previous eight years were a disaster and that America needed a dramatic course correction. Political analysts and mainstream media pundits, with bated breath, envisioned a historic presidency and a seismic long term political shift in America.
Today, a dramatically reduced President Obama is desperately holding on to his presidency just days before an election -- swinging wildly and attacking his Republican challenger in the most negative, small-minded manner possible. His shift from issues to personal attacks is the hallmark of his desperation. Polls show that independent voters in droves across the nation have turned against President Obama and that he faces the very real danger of being a member of a club no one wants to join: One term presidents.
How did this happen? How did Barack Obama fall so far?
The answer may surprise you; it was two early issue decisions by the President that will go down in history as the reason for his undoing. These two decisions united the conservative movement in a determined, long-term grassroots battle against his big government policies. Republicans and Conservatives united to a degree not thought possible by either group, around the common goal of stopping disastrous anti-growth policies.
In January of 2009, just after his inauguration, President Obama urged Congress to pass his stimulus bill. The President pleaded for billions of tax payer dollars to jumpstart the economy. The final $800 billion bill exploded government spending and instead of being spent quickly and efficiently few dollars went to projects that were actually ‘shovel ready.’ The Obama administration wasted billions on now-bankrupt green energy companies like Solyndra.
He could have gone for a less ideological proposal, one that would have cost less. A compromise bill would almost certainly have garnered at least some Republican support. After all, many moderate and even soft conservatives were saying some sort of stimulus was needed. However, because the President dug in his heels and refused to negotiate, his stimulus was only supported by big spending Democrats.
That was the moment that the conservative movement became re-energized. Americans for Prosperity launched NoStimulus.com in February 2009, and with no paid advertising, over 500,000 Americans joined the site within days. Americans were awakening to a president who was dedicated to bloated government spending and was considerably more liberal than many had previously believed.
Then, in the spring, the President compounded the mistake with another disastrous policy decision -- to push for government-run health care. Again, the conservative movement was energized to unite and fight these policies. Various Republican factions in Congress were also united to oppose the President’s misguided, ideological views. They held strong for months, until in the end Democrats ramrodded Obama’s health care law through Congress.
Everyday Americans were caught in the middle as the young new president, who had promised a new way of governing, simply continued down a long and well-trod liberal trail. These Americans sided with conservatives against health care dictated by D.C. bureaucrats and showed their displeasure at the voting booth by electing an overwhelming conservative group of new legislators into Congress. Americans throughout the country realized that government adding trillions of dollars in new debt could never lead to prosperity.
Analysts and armchair politicos will have many theories about why Barack Obama has fallen so far in his first term. But it is his liberal, big spending policies that are leading to his undoing. The majority of his term has been basically ineffective because of these two major decisions as he chose his own ideology over the best interests of the county. His unwillingness to work with moderates, his unrelenting attack on business owners and his belief that taxes, not spending, is the problem does not sit well with Americans who are still struggling with high unemployment.
Conservatives and Republicans are still united today against these big government spending policies, and the fight is not over. With the lame duck session on the horizon and plans for massive taxes increases, it is just beginning.