Re-elect­ing what may be the worst pres­i­dent ever

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Michael Taube

On Nov. 6, Amer­i­cans chose Pres­i­dent Obama over GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney. If Mr. Obama’s sec­ond term turns out to be any­thing like his first, the vot­ers will quickly come to re­gret that de­ci­sion.

Mr. Obama is a lame-duck pres­i­dent. He is in his fi­nal term and won’t be able to run for this par­tic­u­lar po­lit­i­cal of­fice ever again. That be­ing said, each step he takes will have sig­nif­i­cant im­pli­ca­tions for his fel­low Democrats in 2014 (the midterm elec­tions) and 2016 (the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion).

Mr. Obama is in the early stages of build­ing his so-called po­lit­i­cal legacy. Long be­fore his pres­i­den­tial mem­oirs are writ­ten, his speak­ing tour is ar­ranged and the ground­break­ing cer­e­mony for his pres­i­den­tial li­brary is set, the pres­i­dent’s lead­er­ship needs to be eval­u­ated his­tor­i­cally in some way, shape or form.

Un­less things change dra­mat­i­cally in the next four years, Mr. Obama’s legacy is on pace to rank him among the worst U.S. pres­i­dents of all time.

The pres­i­dent’s first term was an un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter from an eco­nomic stand­point. The eye-pop­ping $833 bil­lion stim­u­lus bill of small tax cuts and wild spend­ing mea­sures passed in Fe­bru­ary 2009 with­out a sin­gle Repub­li­can vote of sup­port. The grotesque auto bailout plan — ini­ti­ated by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush in 2008, with a more ex­ten­sive con­tri­bu­tion from Mr. Obama — has ex­ceeded $80 bil­lion. The multi­bil­lion-dol­lar bailout of once-pow­er­ful fi­nan­cial com­pa­nies such as AIG, Bank of Amer­ica and Gold­man Sachs added to the coun­try’s eco­nomic woes. More­over, monthly un­em­ploy­ment num­bers hit record highs, never fall­ing be­low 7.8 per­cent and climb­ing to a stag­ger­ing 10 per­cent in Oc­to­ber 2009.

Early on in his pres­i­dency, Mr. Obama sup­ported the phi­los­o­phy that “strong coun­tries and strong pres­i­dents talk to their ad­ver­saries.” This po­lit­i­cal green­horn was there­fore open to build­ing re­la­tion­ships with the same tyrants and despots who hated — and in cer­tain cases, wanted to oblit­er­ate — the United States.

Do not be sur­prised if the U.S. econ­omy gets even worse dur­ing Mr. Obama’s sec­ond term. For one thing, the pres­i­dent, who claims to be “open to com­pro­mise” in ne­go­ti­a­tions to avoid the fis­cal cliff, can­not re­sist the left-wing im­pulse to soak the rich with higher in­come taxes. So­cial spend­ing mea­sures on ev­ery­thing from ed­u­ca­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment are likely to sky­rocket. Oba­macare will be­come a re­al­ity, and the to­tal cost of run­ning a pub­lic health care pro­gram — which re­port­edly could reach $1 tril­lion — likely will be a fi­nan­cial mess for gen­er­a­tions to come. Trade lib­er­al­iza­tion also will be a mixed bag be­cause this par­tic­u­lar lib­eral pres­i­dent has min­i­mal re­spect for free trade and pri­vate en­ter­prise.

For­eign pol­icy also will continue to de­cline. The United States even­tu­ally will be out of Afghanistan, mean­ing that war-torn coun­try’s ul­ti­mate fate will be a huge ques­tion mark. There’s a pos­si­bil­ity the de­ten­tion cen­ter at Guan­tanamo Bay will be closed down, caus­ing some dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ists to be re­turned to their coun­tries of ori­gin. Is­rael al­ready has started fight­ing with Syria and could have to go on its own against Iran be­cause of Mr. Obama’s dither­ing. The war on ter­ror­ism will barely be dis­cussed in pub­lic..

In 1947, Sir Win­ston Churchill said, “Democ­racy is the worst form of gov­ern­ment, ex­cept for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” In the face of Mr. Obama’s ter­ri­ble first­term eco­nomic and for­eign-pol­icy records, it’s as­ton­ish­ing that more than 50 per­cent of Amer­i­cans re-elected him. Yet the democ­racy Amer­i­cans would de­fend with their dy­ing breath gave this pres­i­dent a sec­ond term. Michael Taube is a for­mer speech­writer for Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Stephen Harper.

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