We’ve been very critical of George W Bush in the past (mostly because we thought he was too liberal) but we have to give him kudos for predicting the mess we’re in now. In a speech from July 12, 2007, the President was defending his proposal for a surge in Iraq and discussing what could happen if we pulled out completely like many were requesting at the time.
The vast majority of the time, we are critical of President Barack Obama. That isn’t because we don’t like him or want to see him fail. We simply disagree with his agenda and politics as well as his motivations. However, when he’s right, we have no problem admitting it.
Today, the President declared that he is authorizing limited air strikes and has already begun delivering humanitarian aid to those om refuge in the mountainf o Erbil, Iraq’s fourth-largest city. As many as 30,000 Iraqis are at risk if the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, attacks as they have claimed they intend to do. The Iraqi government has asked for assistance. The lives of people are at stake, including Americans. Troops will not be sent in. This appears to be a righteous action from the President.
Here is his statement:
There has been a disturbing trend in politics over the last five years. No, it’s not just healthcare reform, Bengazi, or any of the other things the White House and President Obama have done to damage the country. The latest trend that simply isn’t getting enough attention is the removal of military leaders at the highest levels.
It’s unprecedented. Dozens of generals, admirals, and other high-ranking military personnel have been getting fired by the administration for strange reasons. Looking at the situation, one might speculate that individuals with certain ideologies were being targeted through discreet investigations to find enough dirt to remove them without drawing suspicion about the motives. From possession of fake poker chips to cheating on a spouse, the government has become extremely adept at discovering some reason, any reason, in order to remove these officers.
For the last few years, we’ve been amongst the masses of bloggers who have been blaming President Barack Obama for the reduction of freedoms, the increase in government control over citizens, and the poor policies that are leading the country and the world to the brink of economic collapse. We’re rescinding all of that now. We believe the president is actually just a pawn being moved into place along with so many others around the world.
Simply stated, he’s just not powerful enough to have made things this bad this quickly without help.
It’s time to hedge his bets on his legacy.
Depending on which side you’re listening to at any given time, you will either hear that the Affordable Care Act is off to a slow start due in part to mishandled technology or that the program is doomed to fail because it was brought about through lies and poor predictions. Both sides are right to some extent, but that’s not the point.
Regardless of whether you believe that Obamacare was a good idea or not, President Obama must find answers in order to solidify his legacy. He has been a popular president through his personality and he has some wins under his belt, but his legacy has not been solidified. At this point, history will see him as the president who tore down the race barrier, who was in office when Osama bin Laden was killed, and who allowed the NSA to continue its privacy-breaching ways. It has not been a successful watch, but he has time to change that.
While immigration reform, gun reform, and Middle East peace are all still possibilities, the Affordable Care Act is likely going to define him the most. If successful, it will be heralded for decades. If it fails, it will be a huge blunder that puts him at the mediocre level of Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.
The best way to make sure that it works well enough to either help his legacy or not hurt it is to move on to other issues. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s not very different from the concept of “a watched pot never boils.” There is very little that he can do at this point to sway the outcome. The technology will either work or it won’t. The people will either buy into it or they won’t. He has done his part to make it successful and now it’s time to get something else up and running that will draw attention away from the flaws of Obamacare and point them towards positive things that he can make happen in other arenas.
The current failures of the Affordable Care Act are already old news to most. Yes, there are fewer enrollments than expected. Yes, people are losing their coverage and he’s sorry about that. While the Republicans will continue to bring it up, the President needs something entirely different and more important to come up while he still has time to make it happen on his watch. With just over three years left and a Republican Congress that is unlikely to shift his way before his term ends, he needs to make some big moves.
Amnesty would be something that could play in his favor and be big enough to pin as his legacy. It won’t be popular at the polls, though. As a result, it’s unlikely that he will make a strong move on it until after the 2014 elections.
Gun control is important to Americans but it’s hardly something unique enough to be considered a big win in the eyes of history. He won’t push that any time soon and may not address it at all during his term.
This leaves the Middle East. Sentiment is shifting in Washington DC, across the country, and around the world. Everyone seems to be painting Israel as the bad guys. It’s hard to believe that they get attacked online so heavily through social media and news sites, but antisemitism is on the rise in the form of a combination of pro-Muslim sentiment combined with sympathy for Lebanon. It’s equatable to propaganda in its most powerful form: word of mouth amplified by social media.
People would rather see sanctions lifted on Iran and a perceived reduction in their nuclear weapons ambitions. This is unfortunate because there is absolutely no way that Iran will stop on their path towards becoming a nuclear-armed country. Nothing will stop them. If they can work out a deal that makes it look like they’re ceasing nuclear activities, they will take it. That’s Israel’s greatest fear. Unfortunately, it’s also President Obama’s only hope for a legacy if Obamacare continues to fail.
He missed the boat on the Arab Spring and therefore could not participate in molding it appropriately. It’s not his to claim and it hasn’t really worked out as many intended. He must make a deal with Iran work during his watch. He must then hope that the Israelis do not strike as a result. If they do not, then he must pick a side in Syria and make that side win. Standing on the sidelines on this one will result in the same effect on his legacy that Egypt and Libya had – nil.
As the president hopes that the Affordable Care Act works, he’ll need to do something else and fixing the Middle East may be his only option. This is not a president that wants to face in the history books with the only real mentions being about race and his fun personality. He wants to be remembered as one of the greatest presidents of all time. Unfortunately for him, his grand healthcare plan is not looking good.
What’s the point of writing all this? It’s to get to one statement:
The failure of Obamacare will mean desperate actions will need to happen in the Middle East. Those actions will be risky, putting a lot of faith in both Iran and Israel to not send the the region and the world into turmoil. With his legacy backed into a corner, President Obama will force the issue in the Middle East. The end result may be catastrophic.
They say that the first Presidential term is all about getting a second term and that the second term is where the real action comes into play. That seems to be the case as the first term for President Obama was marked with just enough successes to earn him a second term to an uneducated population, while his second term is quickly becoming a disaster.
How does this play for those in the Democratic party seeking election or re-election in 2014? According to the Washington Post, “they are rightly nervous about the prospect.”
It has been a folly on top of a disaster followed by a debacle with a scandal or two mixed in. Member of his own party are turning against him in much the same way that conservatives turned on George W Bush in his second term. The difference is that the democrats truly like Obama while the conservatives never really cared for Bush.
Things are growing bad enough now that more publications and news outlets are writing about the President in ways that the mainstream media would never have considered just a year ago as he was getting re-elected. In a year, he has turned many of his allies against him. This could spell doom for many of those in his party that are a year away from their own election bids.
According to the Washington Post:
Obama faces two urgent problems. The first is to make the Affordable Care Act work. That begins, but does not end, with fixing the balky Web site HealthCare.gov. He and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have promised the site will be running smoothly by the end of this month.
Read More: Washington Post
Up is down and down is up if you’re watching closely enough to what has been happening at the NSA and with the Obama administration the last few years. The President that was supposed to make things more transparent, less paranoid, and better for the common American has been caught repeatedly doing things that would normally have been expected from his predecessor.
The most recent example is a big one. In 2008, the Bush administration imposed a ban on the NSA’s ability to intercept phone calls and emails from US citizens. In 2011, the Obama administration had the ban lifted.
According to the Washington Post:
What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used.
This gave the NSA the loophole they needed to be able to read and store emails of US citizens without a warrant and technically without probable cause. Considering that over 250 million internet communications are intercepted yearly by the NSA under Section 702, it’s safe to assume that a good chunk come from law abiding citizens.
All of this was a secret, of course, and only recently came to light after material was declassified. The deliberate search of Americans’ communications and storage of these communications in databases should be concerning across the board.
It stays true to the administration’s unspoken perspective that national security at all costs trumps any concerns of privacy.
The worst part of all this is the way that it came into being. There was no public debate. There was no authorization given by Congress, no oversight other than by the NSA itself watching over its own doings through the lens of a self-watchdog.
“The government says, ‘We’re not targeting U.S. persons,’ ” said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “But then they never say, ‘We turn around and deliberately search for Americans’ records in what we took from the wire.’ That, to me, is not so different from targeting Americans at the outset.”
Speed is important when terrorist plots are unfolding. Nobody would question the need to maintain a heightened level of security in today’s world. However, there are ways that the government can expedite investigative practices without blanket permission given to an organization that has demonstrated a willingness to overstep their bounds.
This administration is not the transparency administration. The ban imposed by the Bush administration is by no means a sign that they did anything beneficial for the privacy of its citizens. Still, it’s a stark contrast between what we expected and what we actually received when we put Obama into office. He’s not just a continuation of the Bush administration. He’s much worse in many ways.
Guantanamo Bay isn’t going to be closed down any time soon. The 2008 campaign promise that played a major role in helping the President win his first election is officially going to remain unfulfilled as the office created to close the military detention center has itself been shut down. The administration reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison. He will not be replaced.
All of the points are legitimate. All of the statements are factual. With the American economy on the brink of collapse and the President doing everything he can to point fingers without performing the appropriate actions to fulfill the promise of good faith negotiations, this is one letter that absolutely deserves a prompt and public response.
When President Barack Obama came on stage to discuss the state of the bi-partisan deal to avoid the Jan 1, 2013 fiscal cliff, I was extremely hopeful. There were reports early Dec 31 that a deal was at and I was prepared to hear the President discuss some of the details and commend Congress for their hard work on putting a deal together. It wouldn’t have necessarily been completely truthful – Congress and the White House should have skipped Christmas break to make this happen as our elected officials in the midst of a crisis – but it would have been the right thing to say as the leader of the free world.
What came out of his mouth was 10 minutes of the standard “I” and “me” that has become a trademark of his speeches over the years. He threw jabs at the Republicans. He gloated over their willingness to see it his way regarding raising taxes on wealthy Americans despite vowing to never do so just a month ago. In short, he took an opportunity to handle the situation with class and instead stuck his foot in his own mouth now that the deadline has come and gone.
This was an opportunity for the President to push the deal through. By commending rather than insulting Congress, the chances that a deal would have been signed before the deadline would have gone up tremendously. Instead, it was a distraction, a point of contention that sliced off any remnant hope that the two parties could come together and make it happen.
Here’s the video. Watch as the President of the most powerful country in the world botches a chance to close the deal.