Conservative Political Commentary

[Under the Radar?] Anti-socialist, anti-communist, anti-globalist, pro-Constitution, and usually with an attempt at historical and economic context (This blog was given its name before I decided it was going to be a political blog.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Obama’s Agenda vs. Problems and Promises

President Barack Obama is experiencing some of the trials of the presidency that cannot be smoothed over by teleprompter eloquence or diplomatic initiative. An AP article by Tom Raum describes several major situations the President is dealing with, after his battle on health care: high unemployment, financial crisis, Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Times Square bombing attempt, Middle East “peace process,” and a Supreme Court vacancy [1]. Also, we suppose, flooding in Tennessee.

After years of lambasting George W. Bush for the response to Hurricane Katrina, liberals are seeing the model of correctness in Obama’s public response to (1) the oil spill and (2) the flooding: (1) Remark on how long it may take to correct the problem, and put pressure on the rig owner to clean it up, and (2) (fill in Obama’s flood response here).

Everything is politicized these days. Probably, the government and BP will do the things expected of them toward cleaning up the spill, and there will be declarations of disaster areas and federal help for flood victims. In both disasters, there will be substantial private relief efforts also. I don’t want to criticize Obama for things beyond his control. He will probably take the appropriate actions. But he may not have a lot better success than G. W. Bush did with Katrina.

Meanwhile, our hearts go out to the families of those lost, and all who have been injured or are otherwise suffering as a result of these disasters.

On things that are proper subjects for political comment:

The economy is beginning to recover, mainly because there is still something of the structure of a free market, despite the government’s persistent meddling and manipulation, and outrageous spending. We should be concerned about the economic (not to mention freedom) effects of the new health care law when the changes take effect. Two other big dangers: Cap and trade, which would deal a serious blow to the recovery, and VAT, which Obama will likely try to have enacted. It has been suggested that Obama’s deficit commission is there to give him cover for massive tax increases, specifically VAT. This would annihilate Obama’s promise of no tax increase for families making under $250,000, a promise already pretty well done for.

Cap and trade would leave America and Americans poorer from new taxes and regulations, and would do nothing for the environment. This should be a no-brainer, but for some reason it isn’t. Mainly, it’s just a device for expanding government power and control over citizens’ everyday lives, like the health care law. It will make people more dependent on government since they’ll have less freedom and less disposable income.

Mr. Obama’s job in dealing with the current tough situations is made more difficult by the fact that his priorities are, I believe, misplaced. He is determined to get his socialist-fascist program in place, at the expense of other needs, such as reduced unemployment, increased private sector economic activity, and building any kind of national unity. His agenda is polarizing and goes against the wishes of most of the American voters, but he knows better than they, he thinks, and is determined to get as much of this stuff done as he can before the elections put a stop to some of it.

Several of his major campaign promises have been casualties of his agenda, notably the aforementioned no-tax-on-below-$250K and some others mentioned below.

Describing Obama’s recent “Nuclear Security Summit,” Susan Dale, of Human Events Guns & Patriots notes the following:

This meeting, oddly enough, did not include the nuclear and soon to be nuclear nations of North Korea and Iran, both of which are led by lunatics and which are the two countries that are primarily responsible for current international fears of rogue nuclear activity. No worries, here, however, as our fearless leader, in an impressive display of courage, determination and diplomatic mastery of international affairs, faced down Canada, Chile and the Ukraine from implementing their nightmarish nuclear scenaria. We can now rest easy knowing that warheads will no longer be heading our way from Ottawa, Santiago or Kiev. [2]

Also, she notes that the meeting, from which the press was excluded, violated Obama’s promise of transparency [3], which had already been destroyed by the antics of the Administration and Congress in the health care and cap and trade bill processes.

Another broken promise:
“Barack Obama will eliminate all income taxation of seniors making less than $50,000 per year. This will eliminate taxes for 7 million seniors…” [4]

Politifact lists 110 promises Obama has kept, most of which have been beneficial to special interests but not the economy, plus 19 which have been broken, 34 compromised, 83 stalled and 255 “in the works.” [5] Some of the promises kept have been fortunate, such as “Expand access to places to hunt and fish,” but many unfortunate, such as “Raise fuel economy standards.” Many of the “kept” promises relate to the healthcare law and “green” energy topics.

The main reason the economy has not rebounded more quickly is the misguided government response: Massive spending and new entitlements, ballooning deficits and rumblings about getting the spending and deficit under control via new taxes. Private sector businesses find this a difficult environment for investing and hiring, with several possible new laws to make things worse.

Right now, the economic outlook is slightly improved, but the horizon remains clouded.

[1] Tom Raum, Associated Press, “Analysis: Obama beset at once by multiple crises,” 05/04/2010, at Yahoo! News.

[2] Susan Dale, “Out Neronian Leader,” 05/04/2010, Human Events Guns & Patriots.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Barack Obama’s Comprehensive Tax Plan,” PDF linked from, at

[5] Politifact.

Photo : Obama in Prague