Politics

Obama’s Perverse Priorities

When Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) announced his retirement, the media revived their drumbeat that our government is broken.  As the indispensable Brent Bozell pointed out last week, Democrats and the media only complain of broken government when the liberals can’t get their agenda enacted.

The problem isn’t that our government isn’t working: it’s that President Obama’s agenda is entirely perverse. It reverses the essential order of priorities, devoting the energy of government exclusively to his plans to revolutionize our country.  

Since last June, congress and the White House have been consumed by President Obama’s plan to impose government control on our healthcare system.  With time outs for the occasional earthquake or celebrity scandal, their attention has been drawn from more important issues, and of our most precious asset — time — nine months have been wasted and cannot be recovered.

Consider the new CNN poll on the manufactured healthcare “crisis.” Released February 27th the poll shows that 48% of Americans believe that the massive 2,000-plus page legislation should be scrapped and that Congress should start over.  Add to that the poll’s finding that 25% believe that Congress should stop working on healthcare altogether and you have 73% of Americans proving once again that Americans are usually smarter than the people they elect to lead them.

If there were a healthcare crisis which required a solution, those numbers would be reversed.  But voters know that our economy – now suffering an oxymoronic “jobless recovery” – is a much bigger problem. As are Iran, Afghanistan, China and a lot of the world’s other puzzle pieces.

Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid have created their own healthcare crisis by having invested so much time on the legislation.  They can’t put it on the back burner now without admitting that the Tea Partiers and Republicans have won.  So at least until the Easter recess on March 29, they’re going to waste even more time on it.  Obama insists that they do.

Why, with all the other problems we face, does the president insist that this is the most urgent matter he and Congress must deal with?  

The answer is in two parts. First is the president’s revolutionary agenda which aims to change America, not fix its problems.  Obama is not your grandfather’s president: he came to office with a radical agenda and nothing is capable of diverting him from it, regardless of the urgency.  Second is the pent-up liberal anger that voices itself in Nancy Pelosi’s war against our intelligence agencies and her (and the president’s) willingness to sacrifice the so-called “Blue Dog” Democrats in order to achieve Obama’s agenda.

A great admirer of Winston Churchill, my father always told me that the world has a lot of moving parts and just because our attention is consumed by one, we cannot afford to ignore the rest.  Yet we are.

Obama’s agenda has two defining characteristics:  increased government control of the economy resulting, intentionally, in reduction of personal freedoms; and bringing about the end of America’s position as a superpower by reducing our defenses and alienating our allies.

From the moment of his inauguration, Obama has pursued a consistent agenda.  His “stimulus” package failed to bring down unemployment while spending almost $1 trillion.  Nationalization of GM and Chrysler isn’t saving either company, though the only privately-owned American automaker — Ford — is reporting profits.  The financial sector remains largely under government control and Obama wants to increase the intervention in the financial markets by imposing more government controls on banks.

And from that same moment, the president has insisted on the closure of the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, scheduled the trials of the al-Qaeda varsity in New York City, and pushed the “cap and tax” global warming scheme which will — as he admitted — cause energy costs to skyrocket. He has asked for prompt legislative action to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which struck down a big portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law on constitutional grounds (making legislative “fixes” all but impossible.)  

Obama’s Defense Secretary — the all-too-willing Bob Gates — has made massive cuts to defense weapon system buys without regard to the fact that we cannot rely on the theory that we’ll never have to fight another conventional war.

The president has asked for the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law against gays serving openly in the military and imposed an incredibly short deadline on his counter-insurgency strategy for Afghanistan.  And now — as Robin Harris reports here — Obama is declaring American neutrality in the new Brit-Argentine dispute over the Falklands Islands.  By so doing, Obama risks British withdrawal from Afghanistan.  To the fact that we depend significantly on British support there — and that our support for faithful allies ensures they will remain so — Obama is oblivious, even contemptuous.

Obama chose a counter-insurgency strategy for Afghanistan and then imposed an impossibly unrealistic time limit of 18 months on it.  Gen. Stanley McChrystal was reportedly “apoplectic” about a recent air strike that killed 27 Afghan civilians.  He knows that he can’t possibly succeed in a counter-insurgency that’s so limited. Every time something like this happens – and it will, inevitably, in war – it marks a major setback in time because his strategy is totally dependent on providing security to (and thus winning allegiance of) the Afghan population.

And the real world’s other many parts — including America’s — are not waiting for Obama. They are moving inexorably.

Our economy is going to be massively injured by the tax increases which will occur in January when the Bush tax cuts end and income, capital gains and estate taxes rise.  The Obama agenda includes these huge tax hikes, regardless of the increased unemployment and reduced value of the dollar which will result.  Stopping these tax hikes should be the most urgent domestic priority, not healthcare.

But Obama willfully ignores this danger, and is leading us from one recession to a deeper and longer one.  As the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom said earlier this year, America has suffered an unprecedented decline in economic freedom in the last year.  Decline will continue under Obama’s agenda.

We are on track to a national deficit that will equal 87% of the Gross Domestic Product only ten years from now. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said yesterday that the urgency of healthcare “reform” is because we are on an “unsustainable course.” But Social Security and Medicare will be bankrupt in seven to ten years, and Obama’s healthcare bill will not prevent that. And it will bankrupt the states which will be stuck with the bill for expanded Medicaid benefits.   

It is Obama’s spending spree — which he refuses to end, far less reverse — that has us on an unsustainable course.  

Political debate has been reduced to Nancy Pelosi’s risible assertions at last week’s healthcare “summit.” She claimed 400,000 jobs would be created by Obamacare and that the president’s new version of the bill will reduce the deficit.  But the White House said it would cost about $950 billion.  

Obama’s foreign policy is straightforward: abandon allies, succor enemies and turn a blind eye to brewing (and boiling) crises.  

Back in December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — not known for straight talk — said, “I don’t think anyone can doubt that our outreach has produced very little in terms of any kind of a positive response from the Iranians.”   Iran continues its hell-for-leather pursuit of nuclear weapons and we are doing nothing to prevent them from achieving their nuclear ambitions which threaten civilization.

It is the perversity of the Obama agenda that makes nationalizing healthcare more urgent than removing government obstacles to economic recovery, declaring neutrality in the UK-Argentina dispute over the Falklands more urgent than maintaining the British presence in Afghanistan.

Our system of government isn’t broken.  But our leadership is.

The White House is scheduled to unveil yet another new version of Obamacare on Wednesday.  I can hardly wait.

Sign Up