Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Buck Stops Later

Our President made the news this week--rebuking Russia for invading a neighboring country, submitting a "budget" spending money we don't have, and delaying another round of healthcare changes that might hurt people just before elections next November. In each of these cases, the President put today's bills on tomorrow's tab.

Hillary was in the White House last time we had a balanced budget, and hopes to be there again next time it happens--but Obama's latest "budget" makes that job several trillion dollars harder. He has loaded it up with election year goodies that may help a few endangered Democrats in 2014 but leaves the Democratic ticket in 2016 behind the economic eight-ball.

Dollars aren't the only kind of capital our President is spending, though. He's spending down our international influence even faster. Our nation has invested trillions in defense since we entered World War II in 1941, making us the world's only superpower when the Soviet Union collapsed fifty years later, in 1991. Obama has traded that strength for global approval since the day he took office. He got a Nobel Peace Prize for this approach--but did he make the world a safer place? Events in the Ukraine say "no"--and Hillary, who was ordered to "reset" our relationship with Russia, now has to figure out how to re-reset if she becomes President. How do you put the Russian bear back in the cage that Obama dismantled?

That job would be easier if we didn't need the "bear" to like us--but Obama asked for Russia's help to solve our other problems. Obama's "red line" painted him into a corner in Syria until Russia bailed him out. Obama insists that he will never let Iran get nuclear weapons--but Russia seems to be all that stands between the world and that particular nightmare.

The problem with Russia is big, but it's just part of the problem. China has been rattling swords as well, leaving Taiwan nervous and Tibet hopeless. Saudi Arabia and Israel have well-nigh given up on America's power to keep the peace, making the Middle East a much more dangerous place. After all Obama's efforts to "be nice," Iraq and Afghanistan prefer Al Qaeda and the Taliban to America. Back in 1998, all that President Bill Clinton could do about terrorist training camps in Afghanistan was fire drones at them. In 2018, twenty years later, President Hillary Clinton may be right back where her husband was.

But this assumes that Hillary gets elected. The third objectionable way Obama pays his bills is purely political. How many times has the President taken credit for the popular parts of his signature achievement while pushing the pain down until after the next election? This week's "surprise" was that insurance companies can keep offering "junk policies" a little longer--just long enough to keep the bad news out of voters' mailboxes until after this November's elections. That's just long enough to give the President a chance at saving Democratic control of the US Senate for another cycle, but it comes at a cost to the next Democrat who wants to be President. When all those Obamacare bills finally come due, it won't be this President who pays the political price.

When Obama ran for office in 2008, young Americans responded to his vision with unprecedented enthusiasm. When he ran in 2012, Hispanics surged to the polls for him.  Some political observers concluded that Republicans were doomed to be the declining party of old, white, English speaking men. Since October 1, 2013, however, "" has shredded his support among young and Hispanic voters. Where are the "young invincibles" who were supposed to sign up for new (and more expensive) government-mandated health insurance? Hispanics have been alienated by the laughable, late "Spanglish" website that was supposed to help them to get government benefits that are only available for citizens without asking nosey questions about their immigration status. With tax penalties just around the corner, these young and Hispanic Americans have no good reason to vote for Democrats.

When Obama took over from President George W. Bush in January, 2009, he promised a "transparent administration" that would protect our privacy. Five years later, the government knows much more about Americans--and Americans know much less about their government. The public's trust is any President's most precious asset--ask George H. W. Bush, whose "read my lips" line cost him a second term in office. What will Obama's "lie of the year" cost the next Democratic candidate for his office?

Obama is burning through capital--financial, diplomatic, and political--at everyone else's expense. Republicans may be able to reign in his spending if they take the Senate in November, but he still has three more years to make life miserable for his successor, whoever he or she may be.

If I were Hillary Clinton, I'd start complaining now!

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