Category Archives: Obama
When President Obama met with party leaders in 2009 Eric Cantor pitched some ideas for the stimulus bill. The president responded, “Elections have consequences and, at the end of the day, I won.” The 800 billion dollar stimulus went on to pass with three Republican votes. And ObamaCare rammed its way through Congress without any Republican support. At the time Democrats controlled the White House, Senate, and House.
The program has never been popular with voters. A new Rasmussen survey finds that only 12% of voters want to keep it as it is. However 56% want the law improved piece by piece. Only 30% want to see the program immediately brought to room temperature.
The transition hasn’t been all that peaceful according to Piers Morgan. Instead Obama pitched a presidential “temper tantrum”. Morgan says, Barack “hates Donald and everything he stands for.”:
Since the election, as the New York Times reported, he’s banned oil drilling off the Atlantic coast, named over 100 people to a range of senior government jobs, created new environmental monuments, commuted the sentences of 232 inmates and pardoned 78 others, protected funding for Planned Parenthood clinics, ordered the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay and blocked new Israeli settlements.
In 2012 President Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
Here’s an Arms Control Association timeline of chemical weapons “moving around or being utilized” in Syria.
The agreement seems to remove the prospect of any strike against Syria following the chemical attacks in Damascus on 21 August which killed up to 1,300 people.
Putin later entered the war with airstrikes in support of Bashar al Assad. That turned the tide in his favor and unleashed a greater flood of refugees and dead.
With the destruction of Aleppo in December Charles Krauthammer wrote that the Obama administration could offer only bitter speechmaking at the UN:
In the end, the world’s greatest power was reduced to bitter speeches at the U.N. “Are you truly incapable of shame?” thundered U.S. ambassador Samantha Power at the butchers of Aleppo. As if we don’t know the answer.
Red Line Threat
Last week the administration drew a new red line through the West Bank and West Jerusalem for building settlements.
The UN likes to pick on Israel. But the U.S. usually stands up for its ally by vetoing hostile Security Council resolutions. Last week was different. UN ambassador Samantha Powers ole’d through a resolution condemning Israel for building settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
Abstention on the UN vote reflected our values – according to John Kerry.
However, the resolution didn’t reflect the values of Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. He does not believe Barack has your back:
“It goes right to the heart of Jewish Jerusalem. It says Jews can’t pray at the holiest site in Judaism, they can’t attend Hebrew University,” Dershowitz said, adding that Obama had Israel’s back, but “as a target.”
It won’t be easy for Trump to roll back a Security Council resolution because Russia and China hold veto power. But one thing The Donald could do is cut the United States $3 billion contribution to the UN. That amounts to 20% of all UN funding.
Speaking of having Israel’s back, Bret Stephens says Obama has a habit of helping enemies and back stabbing friends.
Barack Has Your Back
Stanford Professor Victor Davis Hanson thinks Obama has sought to rewrite the traditional approaches to foreign policy.
To paraphrase the Sophoclean code, it is wise to help your friends and hurt your enemies…
Turning the other cheek is the proper New Testament aspiration for individuals to live by, but the Sermon on the Mount is deadly for nations, at least until the nature of man changes…
Diplomacy is like the tax code: Subsidize hostility and you get more hostile actors; tax friendship and you get fewer friends.
Bibi, on the other hand, won’t be turning the other cheek. Or his back.
President Obama banned oil drilling in parts of the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. His proclamation is permanent and irreversible. The president says he derives this power from the Continental Outer Shelf Land Act.
He commanded the planet to heal and the oceans to slow their rise eight years ago. So this would seem a minor extension of his mandate.
But not everyone agrees he has the power to enforce his will on future presidents and Congresses. Here’s Kevin Williamson in National Review:
Legally speaking this is, as Professor Patrick Parenteau of Vermont Law School wryly put it, “uncharted waters.”
Awesome Beautiful Presidential Power
David Harsanyi in The Federalist agrees the president can’t have have his way with those who come after him. But he fears that future presidents may not want to overturn Obama’s will. So much the better to expand their own awesome beautiful presidential power:
So Republicans could likely overturn this diktat as they can the rest of Obama’s rickety legacy, predominately built on circumventing the law-making branch of the United States government. The problem is that Trump (and anyone else who comes along) has little reason not to adopt Obama’s unprecedented use of the executive power.