by Jere Krischel
Sometimes it’s hard to remember what it felt like four years ago – the stock market in free fall, Obama swept to power by a wave of indistinct “hope and change”, and a palpable sense of uncertainty for the future. McCain’s defeat was easily anticipated, telegraphed by his “sad grandpa” skit on Saturday Night Live, but nobody really knew what Obama and his Democrats were going to do once in power.
As it turns out, in many ways, Obama was simply Bush 2.0 – the realities of the Office of the President led to the continuation of military policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, the maintenance of Gitmo for incarcerating terrorists, and of course the continuation of the “stimulus” program initiated by Bush. This could be seen as a vindication for Bush and a learning lesson for Obama, but for the most part the mainstream media has buried the lede on this story, letting Obama blame Bush for everything that ever went wrong, and turning previously virulent anti-war protesters into a distant memory.
Now, there was one significant break, and one that I’m grateful for – on social issues, not only did Obama end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, but he also finally stood up for marriage equality for monogamous homosexuals. But for all the joy I could muster about the president’s recognition of the importance of equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation, on balance, Obama 1.0 has been an unmitigated disaster both domestically and internationally.
The Keynesian in Obama was probably sincere in believing that additional government borrowing could mitigate the impact of the Great Recession – hell, most Keynesians are *sincere* folk. But four years later, with all the evidence showing that the additional debt has in fact *slowed* the recovery, the only defense of Big Government spending is, “we didn’t spend enough!” It’s like hearing someone with an underwater mortgage for half a million dollars insist that if they had only borrowed a cool million, they’d be just fine.
And if a failed stimulus wasn’t enough, Obama and Pelosi doubled down on a government take over of health care, implementing a huge mandate tax, and distancing health care consumers even further from health care providers. As we look forward to the looming 2014 implementation date of “ObamaCare”, we continue to see that the root cause of our problem, rising health care costs, remains out of control. With unaccountable government dollars propping up an inefficient health care industry, there is no doubt that this kind of cost increase will continue.
As it stands, unwinding the big government and loose money policies of Obama and his Democrats is going to be painful, and it’s quite possible that a Romney Administration won’t be able to weather the political fallout of austerity, but there really is no alternative. Either we can accept the necessary cuts to make our government one that we can afford, or we can watch inflation destroy the value of our salaries, property, and entitlement programs. A reckoning is coming, and we can only decide if we face it head on or tail first.
On the international front, Obama’s grand “Apology Tour” around the Islamic world only served to embolden our enemies. Over the past four years, our country has kowtowed to Islamic extremism like never before, to the point where even *South Park*, the grand-daddy of all equal opportunity insulters, was censored when talking about Mohammad. As the “Arab Spring” unfolded, Obama did absolutely nothing to promote much less identify American interests in the region, leaving our foreign policy adrift in ambiguity.
Yes, Osama was killed through the heroic actions of our SEAL team. But thanks to Obama’s neglect of security in Libya, Osama’s waterlogged corpse was able to reach out from beyond the watery depths of his grave and kill our ambassador. Instead of reconciling with Islam, we’ve simply given carte blanche to Islamic extremists, who have risen to power in the vacuum left by a neglectful United States.
My bet is that Obama’s defeat on November 6, 2012 is going to come as a harsh surprise to many Democrats, who have bought into the mainstream media narrative that every problem over the last four years came from Bush, and every failed Obama solution was thwarted by evil Republicans. But for the vast majority of voters, the choice is quite clear – Obama came into office with the thinnest of resumes, and over the past 4 years has failed to effectively address the woes of this nation.
Grassroot Institute member Jere Krischel is a volunteer historian and civil rights activist who has been discussing and studying the Akaka Bill and its historical basis online and in print since 2004. Born and raised in Hawaii, he attended Punahou and later graduated from the University of Southern California. His commitment to the ideals of equality, and the rejection of the use of racial categories to separate out people for disparate treatment is inspired by his diverse heritage and conviction that first and foremost we are all humans, indigenous to this earth.
Views expressed in this column are intended to promote creative thought, educate, and, we hope, prompt comment. Accordingly, thoughts expressed do not necessarily reflect the official position of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
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