If you listened to very much of bandwagon’s reasoning during the 2008 elections, electing Barack Obama transcended politics. It was “historic.” It was “once-in-a-lifetime.” So much so, that many voted for the man on this basis alone.
To be certain, there is no doubt that his presidency is indeed historic. Is, however, his election really a tribute to the tireless efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. and others who begged for each man to be judged by the content of his character, and not the color of his skin—simply because his skin is darker than his precedents? Did the millions who voted for him precisely because of his skin color in effect toss MLK’s words to the wind?
As scandals continue to mushroom out of this administration—from wiretapping journalists, to 4 dead Americans in Benghazi—it is high time that this president be judged by the content of his character, and not the color of his skin. What will history (assuming it’s truthful) say about this historical president’s legacy?
Let us judge Barack Obama as MLK would have wished:
He promised a deficit sliced in half, an economy healed, and an unprecedented level of transparency, all while calling the debt held by his predecessor “unpatriotic.”
In return for their votes, America got a deficit that went from $455 billion to over 1 trillion; an economy as stagnant as pond water, an administration wholly operational behind closed doors and shrouded meetings; and last but not least—an increase in the federal debt that equals the accumulation under presidents George Washington to William Clinton, combined. On the economy, the Washington Post puts it well:
“We’re muddling along at basically the same pace we’ve been at for nearly four straight years of this dismal recovery, with growth too slow to make up the lost economic ground from the 2008-2009 recession.”
I can’t say the same about the Washington Post’s view towards the federal government; (“Government is contracting, as it has in 10 of the last 11 quarters.”) which, as we will discuss, has become more intrusive than ever . . . public sector employee levels aside.
This presidency has also normalized $4+/gallon gasoline, the word “trillion,” and “quantitative easing,” among other things.
The Obama administration has made it clear that the economy George W. Bush left was in such terrible shape that far more is needed to fix it, and that those in the opposing party have done wonders to get in the way of the president’s recovery plan.
Tuck that thought away for just a moment, and consider the following:
In an interview with Joy Behar, writer Gore Vidal said that Barack Obama is “too intelligent for the job.” Behar agreed. “After Bush, I don’t know if the country could take the shock of such a smart guy.”
Historian Michael Beschloss in a radio interview with Don Imus, called Barack Obama “probably the smartest guy to ever become President.”
Frank Schaeffer of the Huffington Post noted just prior to the 2008 elections that “Obama is one of the most intelligent presidential aspirants to ever step forward in American history. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper.”
David Andelman of Forbes.com wrote in June of 2007 of a Forbes.com poll indicating “Barack Obama is the most intelligent candidate in the presidential sweepstakes.”
To be fair, everyone is human, and everyone is entitled to make mistakes. But—operating on the premise that the economy got worse because Obama didn’t know how bad it was—doesn’t it seem a little strange that someone so off-the-charts smart wouldn’t be able predict, at least to some degree of certainty, that the economic recession would thusly continue, and therefore make the judgment call NOT to make such lofty promises at the outset of his presidency? That said, however, this is a president who not only made such lofty promises of recovery, but also promised that his administration would be entirely different from his predecessors. In fact, that his administration would leave the policies of Bush far behind, and move forward into a wholly new kind of leadership in Washington D.C.
Instead, Obama has in fact doubled-down on many of the more flawed Bush policies, going above and beyond what his predecessor ever did. From the national debt to drone policies, Obama has not fled from what Bush started, he has embraced it and taken it to new heights.
What’s more, for the first two years of his presidency, he held both the House and the Senate—giving him carte blanche to push through whatever his heart desired. The Heritage Foundation notes that in his 2009 budget—when his party still held all the cards in Congress—Barack Obama “framed his budget as a break from the ‘failed policies’ of the Bush Administration. Actually, his budget doubles down on President George W. Bush’s borrow, spend, and bailout policies.” The only place he really broke from his predecessor economically was in taxes—he has increased them where his predecessor reduced them.
The president also promised transparency in government. That means honesty, openness, and accessibility. Just like you expect, for example, your retirement fund manager to be honest with you about how he or she manages your most precious savings, we the American people expect our president to be honest with us about how he or she safeguards our most precious possessions—our freedoms and our nation’s heritage. One of the first memos penned by Barack Obama stated:
“My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.”
Has he kept this promise as well?
Barack Obama’s legacy now includes direct persecution of political enemies (see: IRS Scandal), spying on and lying about the criminal nature of certain journalists (see: AP Scandal, and James Rosen), and four dead Americans at the center of a horrible scandal that still remains hidden in the shadows. Those who survived have been gagged by an administration attempting to cover up what was quite possibly a gun running operation to Syria. Syria, as you may now is embroiled in a bloody civil war between a tyrannical, macabre dictator—one Bashar al Assad—and the rebels . . . who just pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda’s replacement to Osama bin Laden. If it’s true, we’re funding Al Qaeda. Then again, the President propped up the fanatical Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt during the horribly violent Arab Spring, so should helping Syrian rebels seem out of the norm for this administration?
To be certain, many facets of these scandals can be traced back to Obama appointees like Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder, and some will make the case that these and other individuals should take the fall—not the president. But assuming that’s the case; that is, that the president didn’t give the stand-down order in Benghazi; that the president didn’t order the targeting of conservative/religious groups by the IRS; that the president didn’t order the unlawful investigation of James Rosen and various AP reporters . . . where does that leave us? It leaves us with a president who is entirely unplugged, unaware, and entirely derelict of his duty. He did, after all, appoint the people in charge of the State, the IRS, and the Department of Justice. If he can’t be trusted to choose wise men and women of impeccable character to run some of the most important facets of the federal government, what precisely does that say about his? What’s more, as running the county is in fact Barack Obama’s day job, shouldn’t he be a bit more curious about the activities surrounding him? Again, we’re assuming here the president wasn’t involved. However . . .
I hate to break it to you, but here’s the deal for those of you still clinging to the idea that the president’s hands are clean:
- Benghazi: There were troops ready to board planes in Tripoli; far closer than the base in Italy (which incidentally wouldn’t have been able to cross into Libya without the approval of the President) who were told to stand down. The troops ready to swoop in and save the ambassador were told to stand down. In an incident as critical as the one occurring in Benghazi, any sane person would assume the president’s direct involvement in the military comings and goings in such a volatile region.
-The IRS Scandal: IRS commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House a whopping 157 times over the last four years (that’s more than the visits by the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Director of Health and Human Services combined). As HotAir.com puts it, “The Daily Caller’s chart shows so many visits by Shulman that it’s a wonder they weren’t charging him rent. Spreading out 157 visits over less than four years — roughly 40 months — puts Shulman in the White House almost once a week from Barack Obama’s inauguration to Shulman’s exit in May 2012.” While Shulman couldn’t seem to remember why he had visited the White House (other than, famously, for the Easter Egg Roll), it doesn’t take rocket science to arrive at some conclusions, given the current circumstances.
-Targeting Journalists: Eric Holder, by his own convoluted admission noted the nature of his spying on journalists for “matters of national security” merited his telling the head honcho. Watch Rep. Ron DeSantis corner him on that matter here. (minutes 1:08-1:58)
As if this weren’t enough, we’ve recently learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) via its Prism program has been monitoring the emails and phone calls of each and every American citizen. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type.”
Let’s recap. If history recounts his presidency based upon the aforementioned, Barack Obama’s legacy will be remembered as one of broken promises, economic disasters, secrecy, targeting, warrantless spying on the American people, lying.
This man—a political nobody prior to his party’s nomination in 2008—was elected by a populous excited to make history. When the excitement of history subsided by 2012, this president was reelected by a populous now more dependent on the government dole than ever before; thanks in great part to the president’s failed policies.
So, is pigment enough for history to absolve a politician of his blemishes? It shouldn’t be. But will it? Amidst the myriad scandals, the I-word (“impeachment”) has scantily made its way through D.C., primarily because it’s simply not viable to imagine Congress impeaching its first black president. Rush Limbaugh noted to that end, “The country will not sit for the removal of the first black president. It isn’t gonna happen. It just isn’t gonna happen. If you’ve got hopes and dreams of impeachment and a conviction and sayonara, that’s not gonna happen. The Republicans aren’t even gonna go near that. They wouldn’t get close to going there.” He’s right—the Republicans know that this is a president in large part thanks to his ethnicity (remember, it was historic to be part of the election of the first black president) and not a substantial lengthy list credentials (after all, he’d only spent a few years in the Illinois state senate, and under a year as a U.S. Senator), and thus suggesting he is no longer deserving of the office would almost certainly spawn accusations of racism. Shouldn’t this sadden us, though? Are we not generations removed from the days when MLK fought for equal rights amongst the races—that color shouldn’t play a role in judging a person’s ability, or inability to do any job? Such an attitude is a sad retreat into darker days. Refusing to consider impeachment of a president because of race is no better than refusing to support someone’s candidacy solely because of race. Either way, it is unfair to the American people who expect their leaders to abide by the words of Thomas Jefferson, that “all men are created equal,” therefore all men must be judged equally.
What makes Barack Obama and his administration’s shenanigans any different than Nixon’s Watergate, or Clinton’s lies? Does he not hold the same office they once did? To be certain, “impeachment” is not a term to be thrown around lightly. Per the Constitution, Article II Section 4, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” In other words, the individuals involved must be convicted. The process of investigation must run its course—but as Rep. Jason Chaffetz demonstrated, the idea that the American people can remove their leader if this leader has broken the law, must never be taken off the table. This is, and should be, the case in any such investigation.
We must keep our elected officials’ feet to the fire. We must encourage them to keep these investigations running until every stone has been turned, and until every shred of secrecy has been uncovered. Their task is a difficult one—they must face not only the political machine which detests rocking the boat, but they must also face charges of racism as they investigate the presidency of this first black president.
There are primary elections this coming year, and a 2014 presidential campaign that will start soon after that. What do we do?
Look for an American who promises reality, not miracles. If your candidate conjures up images of Moses parting the Red Sea, move on. Should they inspire? Yes. Should they be captivating and motivating? Yes. But first and foremost, they must be principled, honest, and forthright, and importantly, someone who has reluctantly (yes, reluctantly) taken up the call to serve his fellow citizens; an American whose words drip with Constitutionalism, realism, not lofty promises. Judge this person by the content of the character, not the skin.