...Or, “we've got a bigger problem now". As much as I believe George W. Bush was a presidential failure who will leave scars on the Republic for years to come (check some of my older posts for specifics), it’s President Obama who’s shaping up to leave the most atrocious legacy of problems to America since Johnson (yet potentially far worse). I’m truly afraid he’s just getting started, folks. We’re only 9 months into his administration, and already I’ve got enough material for an eight-worst list. Just wait until we get to ten whoppers – then I’ll update this post. In each of these decisions, Obama could have done the right thing and taken this country forward and shown true leadership. In every case, by my estimation, he made the wrong decision, sometime spectacularly.
Before I begin, let me get the disclaimers out of the way, as we’re currently living in a very strange blip in history where disagreement with Saint Obama’s policies is equated with crazed right-wing dissent, even by otherwise smart people. I see it in the smug Facebook posts of my friends, the strange demonization of anti-tax protestors, and the likening of those who are against ObamaCare in its current form with those who hate the poor, worship big business, etc. (I’m looking at you, Whole Foods boycotters). I actually think Obama is redeemable (sliding poll numbers have a way of redeeming a lot of things in politics). I don’t think he’s the antichrist, and I think he’s a smart, funny guy who’s doing a lot of good in many areas, unfortunately just not in the areas that I care about the most, mainly economic (see this post I wrote the week before the election for the handful of things I really like about the man). If he actually drank real beer, I’d even want to have a beer with him and take him on in hoops. I think he’d be a fun guy to hang out with. As a president? Just awful.
1. He pushed an unnecessary, ridiculously expensive, terribly-crafted “stimulus package”. This was the worst example of not letting a good crisis go to waste in my lifetime. The stated goal was to combat unemployment and not let it get above 8%. It’s now pushing 10%, so it utterly failed in that regard, and the economy is still in the toilet (I wouldn’t believe in the supposed recovery until evidence shows up in both unemployment and inflation figures). Unlike in the Reagan-era recession of 1980-82, there is nothing put in place by the government that’s explicitly making it better, only worse. Only the normal business cycle will get us back to normalcy, but I’m afraid it will take a far longer time and we’ll be paying this pig off for decades. Just a horrible bill, with back-loaded sops to every constituent group imaginable. Appalling.
2. He broke the 80-year Democrat/Republican consensus on free trade. Obama says with one side of his mouth that he’s not hostile to free trade, and with the other, he gives a big shiny present to the protectionist wing of his party and to the unions, and slaps a 35% tariff on Chinese-made tires. Read here and here why this has grave consequences for the nation and for the poor. Even Bill Clinton thinks this is ridiculous.
3. He doubled down on a failed war in Afghanistan, squandering American lives & treasure. Enough said. “Change we can believe in” does not mean doing the same thing ad nauseum. This albatross is now his to deal with, and I am at long last utterly convinced that staying here is a terrible mistake on so many levels, while leaving posthaste is an imperfect outcome that nonetheless is by far the best option for our country.
4. He introduced a monolithic health care reform plan that won’t work, and that we’ll be paying for for decades. Unless we torpedo it (please!) and allow more sensible plans to win the day (I’ll remove this from the list if that happens).
5. He bailed out failed American automakers on the taxpayers’ backs. Read more about this here. Bush started it to his eternal discredit, and Obama amplified it and helped craft what some all rightly calling the worst government program of all time, “Cash For Clunkers”.
6. He helped to scuttle the DC school voucher program. Read my post about this here. I really thought Obama would show some cajones on education, thinking that a smart, creative African-American man could be the real conduit for bottoms-up education reform, and yet he’s worse on this issue than I ever expected.
7. He encouraged Massachusetts Democrats to overturn their recent Senate appointment law. If you haven’t been following the story of how (and why) Ted Kennedy’s senate seat just got filled by a Democrat despite a Massachusetts law prohibiting the governor from appointing a successor, check this out. Obama was a prime mover in this charade, which tells me how he truly feels about constitutional democracy and the rule of law.
8. He didn’t cancel the $350 billion remaining in TARP. Bush started it, Obama could have ended it, and he let the pork trough fill up even more. Historians will be talking about the 2008-2009 government bailout decisions for years, because their impact will be felt for generations.
One of the reasons I’ve revived this blog this week is because I’ve been asking myself how I can help reverse the damage caused by our last & current Presidents and by our Congress. Granted, shouting into the wind with only a couple of dozen readers will get me nor my political passions nowhere, but I’m on a mission to change that. Anyway, I’m not a marcher, nor a write-letters-to-my-representatives kind of guy; I’d rather help foment some real ideological position-taking among the people of our representative democracy, because I believe that only with a consistent, logical, well-reasoned set of first principles can one effectively refute – and then convert - those that don’t share them. I also been chagrined to learn that most of the traffic to this blog has come from Google searches on the phrase “Unions Pros Cons”, which leads people directly to this post. I’m hoping “Worst Decisions Obama” might have the same effect, and both refute and then convert another 100 soldiers into my quote-unquote enlightened way of thinking.