8/8/15

President Obama likes to compare himself to other great presidents of this nation. He will frequently invoke, openly or between the lines, the names of Lincoln, FDR, Kennedy, and Reagan: All, highly consequential presidents who generally had a material positive contribution to this great country.

Obama is, of course, trying to make the point that he is as consequential as these presidents—if not more, being the arrogant man that he is.

I disagree with President Obama on nearly everything that he does but, surprisingly, I do agree that he is one of the most consequential presidents that this country has ever had throughout its 240-year history; except that I believe that his contribution to this country is negative—very negative—as will be his legacy.

The president’s sins (from a political perspective) are so many that it is impossible to even keep count, but they can be grouped into four categories:

  1. Disunity and Disharmony
  2. Lawless Presidency
  3. National Security and Foreign Affairs
  4. Domestic Policies and the Road to Serfdom

This was the president that was supposed to be the uniting force for America. His racial status invoked in people the hope that he would be able to transcend divisions and bring America with him; and he famously campaigned as one (“not a red state, not a blue state but the United States”). He lied. His entire reign in the White House was, and is, marked by sowing disunity and disharmony. Racial relationships are at their worst in 50 years, the distrust in government is at its highest ever due to his continuing efforts at widening the involvement of government in every sphere of life while at the same time being the worst ever executive to occupy the White House (healthcare.gov, anyone?), and thus bungling this interference even more. His fierce and aggressive attacks on anyone who dares disagree with him are always addressed at trying to impeach their motives and character as opposed to disagreeing with their views and opinions. In the latest such episode—and probably one of the most egregious—he compared anyone who dares disagree with his highly controversial Iran agreement to those shouting death to America. He called the Republicans the enemy and hostage-takers many times. His lack of decorum for the office of the presidency is famous and widespread. On balance, he has created, and will leave behind him, a bitter, unhappy, and totally split nation at the mercy of the forces of extremism on both sides, the environment for whose growth he fostered.

His disdain for the rule of law, and particularly constitutional law, is shocking. It even rocked the core of some of his initially most ardent supporters in the legal scholarly field. Examples are many. In the latest one, how in the world can anyone try to suggest that the Iran agreement is not a treaty within the constitutional definition? He has the distinction of being the president whose policies were turned down by the Supreme Court more than any other president. As recently as few weeks ago, the EPA was sanctioned by the SCOTUS for their method and their overreach regulation, both ruled illegal. Yet that does not stop the President/EPA from announcing a far-reaching new regulatory effort regarding power plant emissions that, on the face of it, are just as illegal. His reluctance to uphold existing laws, his numerous attacks on the business community by sheer brute force as opposed to the rule of law (Chrysler bankruptcy, BP, banks, etc.), his continuing issuance of material and unconstitutional executive orders, running roughshod over Congress, and many times even ignoring it altogether, contribute to the major erosion of the rule of law. Such erosion affects the country in all spheres of life, creates disincentive for business investment and is one of the causes of the miserable economic performance during his term in office.

On the world stage he has managed to demolish the standing of the US, eliminating any respect the US had, from both enemies and allies. He completely and fundamentally eviscerated the US’s power of deterrence, the most important power in the effort to avoid armed conflict. His legacy will include, almost for sure, a terrible war in the Middle East, which will probably leave behind millions of causalities. But even this horrible event is probably not as consequential as his totally cowing to China and Russia, which will leave both immensely stronger than when he took power and where they would have been if he practiced containment like most presidents before him. Mainly through the huge riches that both covet and now possess in minerals; China by laying claim and now effectively in control of in the South and East China Sea, and Russia, similarly, in the North Pole. Both power grabs should have been opposed forcefully, and Obama giving in to both will leave them strong, powerful, and equal enemies for decades; if not for centuries. This very well may be the beginning of the decline of the Western free-society-culture hegemony in the world.

In the domestic arena he has expanded government into many areas and has significantly increased the role of government on the one hand, and the dependency on it by tens of millions of Americans on the other hand. The damage that this creates will be felt for generations. The malaise of social democracies was avoided by the USA for a long time due to its “animal-spirits”, its entrepreneurship culture that used to be so pervasive here. During Obama’s term—for the first time ever in the history of this country—fewer businesses were created than closed down. Obama has done more than anyone to kill that spirit, to kill the ambition to succeed, the self-dependency, and reliance on one’s self. He has moved the USA a long way down the road to Serfdom!

If, at all, this legacy can be undone, it will take a great leader and a revolutionary action. It will take a most unique and capable leader to rollback all this damage. Thatcher did that for the UK, but the UK is smaller and not consequential on World stage. If the US has a chance to regain its supremacy, the next president will need to be a powerful leader with clear vision.

In the Bible’s book of Amos, the prophet many times repeats the phrase: “This is what the LORD says: ‘For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent.’” The accepted interpretation for this sentence is that God was willing to overlook three sins but cannot overlook the cumulative effect now that the Israelites have moved into the fourth sin and will, thus, punish them.

For his four sins, I hope God does not forgive Obama.