This is the second part in a series of articles on why President Obama is not the right choice for president. See here for Part I.
With the 2012 presidential election almost here, President Obama will finally find out whether or not he is keeping his job. For most voters, their choice will ultimately come down to how they expect either Romney or Obama to run things over the next four years. Throughout the campaign, Obama has repeatedly pointed out that Romney is a “flip-flopper” on a variety of key issues, and noted that Romney does not have a presidential record to give voters a clear sense of what they expect from a Romney presidency.
Unfortunately for Obama, he does have a presidential record, and reviewing it leaves little doubt that Americans should fire him. Obama’s record reveals a pattern of contempt for the Constitution and existing law, the pursuit of deeply flawed economic policies, contempt for human rights and civil liberties, and a generally tired political song and dance.
Here are five reasons Americans should give Obama the pink slip tomorrow.
As former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said, “we have to pass the bill [Obamacare] so that you can find out what is in it.”
Well, we’ve had time to read it now, and polling shows that Americans still do not want Obamacare, just as they felt when Obama signed the bill back in 2010. Obamacare will cost trillions of dollars. It the dangerous precedent that the federal government can require people to do certain things as long as they are willing to tax people for not doing the same thing. To add insult to injury, according to a recent nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, Obamacare will still leave 30 million people without insurance.
Another CBO report reveals that 11 to 12 million people, many of whom are 20-somethings, will have to choose between paying the penalty tax for not having health insurance, or buying an insurance product that they might not want or be able to afford. CBO has also confirmed that millions of people who are expected to pay the tax for not having health insurance will come from poor and middle class individuals and families, despite Obama’s oft-repeated promise that he would not raise taxes on families that earn less than $250,000.
By 2016, most uninsured 20-somethings will have to pay the IRS at least $695 to not have health insurance.
2) Blaming Bush
Obama’s 2008 campaign famously promised “hope and change.” As president, the biggest “change” has been Obama’s tune, as he and his administration dropped their hopeful tone in favor of blaming President Bush and the Republicans for their failure to turn things around.
True, inheriting two wars and an economic crisis are hardly ideal for a new administration. But after Obama's January 2009 inauguration, the Obama administration had months to prepare for what they faced. Troops had been in Afghanistan for almost seven and a half years, and in Iraq for six; the economy had collapsed months before. Blaming the Bush administration was fair at first, but increasingly insults the American people’s intelligence as time goes on.
Obama promised to turn things around, and he hasn’t. That’s got to be at least sort of his fault, right?
3) Strategic announcement of gay marriage support
Obama did the right thing by publicly announcing his support for gay marriage. Same-sex marriage does not harm anyone any more than traditional marriage does. Like it or not, there is no doubt that same-sex couples should have the same legal rights and privileges available to them as male-female couples. Same-sex marriage is, at its core, a civil rights issue.
Yet the timing of Obama’s decision to emphasize same-sex couples’ civil rights, just a few months before the election, leaves little doubt that his decision was about politics, not civil rights.
Obama managed to alienate much of his liberal base during his first term in office. His decision to announce his support was perfectly timed to energize his liberal base and consolidate their support. His announcement was also largely meaningless, since he failed to follow up with any serious legislative proposal. Since Obama’s own presidency in many ways represents the final triumph of the Civil Rights movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s, it is difficult to imagine why it took Obama over three and a half years in office to announce his support for the civil rights of another oppressed group.
His decision to “play politics” with civil rights is distasteful and inexcusable.
4) Operation Fast and Furious
In 2009, Obama’s Department of Justice began Operation Fast and Furious as a way to try and track, disarm, and take down Mexican drug cartels. Though the idea was simple enough — follow the guns to the bad guys — it also involved letting guns “walk” across the border to Mexico, where they were out of the DOJ’s control until they would be recovered along with members of the drug cartels.
Over time, the DOJ lost track of about 2,000 of the guns, which were later discovered at crime scenes all over Mexico, including a notable incident that involved the shooting deaths of 15 people, most of them Mexican teenagers. One of the guns was even used in the shooting death of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry in December 2010.
When Operation Fast and Furious’s excesses began making national news in the spring and summer of 2011, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee opened an investigation into the program. Though Attorney General Holder said in a May 2011 Congressional hearing that he had only known about the operation for a few weeks, documents later revealed that Holder lied: He had known about the operation since at least July 2010. As the House Oversight Committee continued their investigation, Obama ordered the DOJ to refuse to comply with the committee’s subpoenas for relevant documents, instead asserting “executive privilege.”
It would be unreasonable to expect President Obama himself to know the details of everything his Department of Justice is doing. Even so, DOJ is run by people he appointed, so assessing those people and the decisions they made are fair ways of assessing Obama as a president.
There is little doubt that a law enforcement plan that involves placing guns in the hands of known, violent criminals is extraordinarily ill-conceived. Moreover Obama’s decision to stand behind Attorney General Holder after Holder lied to Congress is far from the sharp rebuke that a Cabinet member committing perjury should bring. Obama’s choice to support Holder further by giving in to his request to invoke executive privilege over potentially incriminating documents shows a complete disregard for Congress’s legitimate goal of unearthing who was really at fault for Operation Fast and Furious’s glaring failures. It stands in sharp contrast to the kind of transparent government Obama has repeatedly promised to deliver.
5) Interrupting prime time, again and again
Prime-time presidential addresses used to be occasions for urgent, major news — the Challenger disaster, Operation Desert Storm, or 9/11. President Obama has used the prime-time address for far more routine, partisan political purposes.
One of his prime time speeches announced a routine economic proposal. Another announced that less than 10% of the troops in Afghanistan would be coming home over the next several months. A third announced a very limited military intervention in Libya. A fourth discussed what the federal government was going to do about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, two months after it happened.
Though each of these decisions were important, they were hardly national emergencies that warranted everyone in the country stopping to listen to what the president had to say. Obama’s unsavory efforts to constantly be in the kind of mainstream, national spotlight a prime time address brings reeks of using the benefits of his office as a not-so-subtle campaign tool. It neglects to do people the simple courtesy of leaving them alone to have a relaxing evening.