One-hundred days of Barack Obama: A Review
Wake me when it's over
Barack Obama has now been in office for one-hundred days, a length of time the media first began to use to measure early presidential success back in the first administration of FDR. This is appropriate, given our current President's ambition to increase the size, scope and cost of government beyond the wildest dreams of the man who laid the foundations of the modern welfare state - and American statism in general.
For his part, Obama is "pleased, but not satisfied" with what they've accomplished. From a conservative standpoint, the view is, shall we say, quite a bit different.
Herewith, some of the "highlights" (or lowlights) of the first one-hundred days of the Obama administration.
Cuts in Missile Defense: So far, Obama's moved to cut back on US ballistic missile defense by 20%, and hinted to our adversaries that we might be willing to leave parts of Europe out to dry if they'll "talk" with us, all while North Korea moves forward with missile R&D, Iran tries for "the bomb", nuclear Pakistan's government is looking shaky...and Israel decides to start buying more missile defense systems.
Cuts in National Defense and New Military Hardware: So far, Obama's administration has moved to slash new purchases of the F-22 fighter (replacement for aging F-15), the Navy's newest destroyers...and defense spending in general. Of course this happens in the middle of the War on Terror...an increasingly dangerous world...and at a time when "The One" says we need to increase government spending to "stimulate" the economy. I guess defense spending doesn't "stimulate" enough to suit him.
Lax Enforcement of Immigration Laws: Obama's administration has shown little concern about enforcing our country's immigration laws thus far...and has even backed off of last year's crackdown on workplace enforcement. And, of course, Obama plans to make another push for amnesty for illegal aliens - which will only encourage more illegals to come here in the future.
Pushing the Pending Health-Care Nightmare: Make no mistake about it, Obama and crew are and will continue to push towards nationalization of America's health care system, (meaning socialized medicine). Period. The most important lynchpin of such a system is the notion of a "single payer"...meaning the government, (like Canada!). They'll try and convince everyone to buy-in to the idea because it will be "free", or at least that's what they'll be comfortable having the average American think. In the meantime, the new "single payer" will run what's left of the private health-care market into the ground...leaving only the government. Currently, Obama's buddies on Capitol Hill are arranging to have their health-care "reform" proposed and voted on in such a way as to prevent Republicans and moderate Democrats from having any voice in the debate. DMV style health care, here we come.
Bailoutapalooza: Obama has continued with bad ideas begun under the Bush administration - that being having the government bailout private companies that are failing. In other words, government subsidization of failure. Even worse, much of this spending has been undisclosed. So far, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC have spent the equivalent of the entire 2007 federal budget without having to disclose where the money has gone. This is In addition to the hundreds of billions of dollars to companies like AIG, General Motors, Chrysler, etc., not to mention our banks. And now "A" has/is inevitably led to "B" - as in the government making decisions about personnel, board structuring, compensation, and product development for otherwise private companies. And now, just as the banks who took some bailout money are having second thoughts and want to get out from under these new restrictions by giving it back, Obama's administration is saying "no". These bailouts were structured from the very beginning to bring about greater government control of private enterprise. Suckers.
Stimulapalooza: Obama gave us the "stimulus" bill, which spent more than 1 trillion dollars (when you include interest) in "new" spending...which means it grew the government. The bill which was rushed to the floor in Congress with little to no time for anyone to actually read, (and if anyone tried they were said to be trying to stonewall the bill). And, as anyone who knows government history knows, when government gets bigger and more expensive, it tends stays that way. Even the bi-partisan Congressional Budget Office recognizes that the true cost of the bill would be over 3 trillion dollars if (as is likely) the "stimulus" programs become permanent.
Debtapalooza: Obama's proposed budgets would add over 9 trillion dollars to our national debt - which is already over 10 trillion. Meaning that, in ten years time, Obama's budgets add about as much to our national debt as has been accumulated from George Washington to George W. Bush. This means about an extra 70,000 dollar tab for each new child to go along with their birth certificates.
More Earmarks: After trying to fool voters into thinking he would be more responsible with their money and campaigning against wastful earmarks in the federal budget process we get...drum roll please...a budget full of wasteful earmarks. In fact, this budget had over 9,000 earmarks...the second most in US history.
Ending Welfare Reform: Another travesty of the recently passed "stimulus" bill - it abolished the 1996 welfare reform policies, which ended perverse old federal welfare funding models to states which rewarded increases in welfare rolls...which beget, of course, more people on welfare. Now that's gone...old model coming back...with an additional $800 billion tacked on to boot. Liberal retreads we can believe in.
Land Use Policies: Not content with just being President of the United States, Obama wants to set the course for local housing and zoning policies all across America. This is sure to use the old tried-and-true DC practice of forcing state and local governments to comply by tying compliance to some other government funding that they're already dependant on. Bottom line, more of your local zoning board decisions will be controlled by decisions made in Washington.
Making Union Corruption Easier: For years conservatives have worked to make labor union finances more transparent, and they had some success with regulations put in place by the Bush administration. Well, so much for that. Obama's folks just moved to drop Bush era disclosure requirements on union finances as being "unfair and burdensome". Put that down as payback for Union support for Obama. But just explain that to union members who've had their dues pilfered by corrupt union leaders. Meanwhile, he wants to get rid of the secret ballot in votes on union organization.
The Apology Tour: Obama spent a good bit of time traveling the globe apologizing to foreign heads of state for America's past sins...at least as he (and I suppose as he thinks they) see them. He told the Europeans that Americans don't "appreciate Europe" enough. Said that we were "arrogant". And suggested to the Mexicans that their gun violence problem is somehow our fault because most of their guns are bought in the US, as if that's the cause of their problems.
Calling Conservatives "Extremists": Obama's Department of Homeland Security released its infamous report that suggested that conservatives (ex. pro-lifers or those concerned about big government) were "extremists" and that our military veterans were subject to being "recruited" by them. Political disagreements are one thing, but using the power of the government to brand your ideological opponents as "extreme" and suggesting that they're a potential national security threat is reprehensible.
Dropping the "War on Terror": Yep, in case you missed it, we're no longer at war. The Obama administration has banned the phrase "War on Terror" from government communications. Now it's the "Overseas Contingency Operation". Nothing like keeping people focused on what we're up against, huh?
Closing Guantanamo: Not that we didn't see this one coming...but that doesn't make it any less a big mistake and a threat to our country. The last thing we need to do is bring the hundreds of terrorist there onto US soil...put them in US prisons...and make them more of a potential danger to the American population. Not to mention making it easier for them to claim rights that our Constitution was never intended to give.
Publicizing Our Interrogation Procedures: Whatever was going through their minds when they decided to release secret CIA memos that detailed the techniques used to interrogate terrorist prisoners from the War on Terror, it certainly wasn't our country's natonal security interests. By making this information public, they have given our enemies a better understanding of what they'll face if they're captured...and how to deal with it. Making it less likely that we'll find out what we need to know from them when the time comes.
Flirting with the Idea of Prosecuting Bush Officials: This goes to the same point. It doesn't make the country safer to open the door to public investigations of members of the Bush administration just because Obama and liberal Dems don't like how they kept the country safe. All it does is give sop to the rabid liberal base who put them in power and who want a few "Bush scalps" to hand on their walls. It also opens the door to a cycle of one administration after another going after their predecessors over what amounts to disagreements over public policy. Worse yet, it leaves the members of our intelligence services wondering just how safe they'll be from future prosecutions if some new guys get elected, change policies, and decide to go after people who did things the old way. That's not how you keep a nation safe.
Air Force One Photo-Op: In what had to be one of the biggest lapses in judgment in recent history, the new wizards of smarts in the White House decided that they didn't have nice enough photos of Air Force One, so they sent the 747 to New York City to circle mid-town Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty to get some good shots. In the process of having a 747 buzz the city at about 1,000 feet, they scared the bejeezez out of the folks in downtown New York. (You can see video of people running for their lives here)
Obama's Gift to Conservatives...
The public does seem to be paying some attention to what's going on. In one of Rasmussen's latest polls, they found that support for a "free market economy" in the country is now at 77%...up seven points since December. It would seem that you would have to take this as a response by the public to what they see as over-reaching. The number of people who prefer a "government run economy" is down to 11%, from 15% a few months ago.
- * 35% Strongly Approve while 31% Strongly Disapprove of his performance as president.
- * 73% expect government spending to go up during the Obama years. This marks one of the biggest changes in perception about the president since he was elected. Last November, just 54% expected Obama would preside over a growth in government spending. (Surprise!)
- * 20% expect their taxes to go down during the Obama years while 36% expect a tax increase.
- * 69% say Obama is politically liberal.
- * 35% believe the president is governing on a bipartisan basis while 46% say he is acting as a partisan Democrat.
- * 55% of voters say politics in Washington, D.C. will be more partisan over the next year, while 29% say it will be more cooperative.
And then there's news that the latest congressional generic ballot poll (asking people which party they'll support for Congress in 2010) has Republicans ahead for only the second time in five years, (leading Dems 41% to 38%).
One thing that I think we can reasonably conclude from how things have gone so far is that Obama has awakened something among conservatives. He has given them a new sense of purpose. Witness the recent slew of Tea Parties all across America.
By McCain defeated and Bush gone, many conservative Republicans now feel liberated in that they can pursue their own ideas and policies. We've got a growing free-market of ideas among conservatives who feel empowered to go their own way. And the great thing about free-markets is the best ideas tend to rise to the top.
That can only mean good things for the future of the conservative movement.
(Many thanks to the folks over at Heritage for the work they do in compiling facts and figures)