How Do You Judge Obama’s Performance?

By Sal Bommarito

The liberal press is attempting to come to the rescue of President Obama. I was shocked to read one op-ed piece in a progressive newspaper that lauded the president’s new attitude and determination to get things done. The big question is, where was he during the past six years?


Obama has been strangely detached from a number of major events domestically and around the world. He has little time or inclination to get his hands dirty on mundane issues like unemployment, human rights violations and terrorism.


Obama has always been fixated on his legacy and personal ideology. His initial focus was 30 million Americans who did not have medical insurance. Obama ignored the cries of millions of workers who were losing their jobs and unable to make mortgage payments. He wanted Americans to look at him as the next coming of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


The problem with the plan to help the uninsured was that the U.S. could not afford a new multi-trillion dollar entitlement. The national deficit was soaring and the financial markets were cranky. Astute Republicans kept saying over and over that limited resources should be used to elevate the economy. But, Obama was more interested in medical insurance.


The president did not even attempt to work with the minority party to enact bipartisan solutions to contemporary problems. In fact, he treated those on the other side of the aisle as his inferiors and made many enemies. Obama was in office only a few months and infuriated about 240 members of the Senate and House of Representatives. He didn’t even give the opposition a chance to offer any alternatives. With a filibuster-proof Senate and a majority in the House, the Affordable Care Act was rammed down the throats of the American people.


A short time later, the president lost his advantage in the Senate when Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts for Teddy Kennedy’s seat. Ever since then, it’s been downhill for the president politically. The Senate minority was able to filibuster every significant proposal by the president and Democratic senators. Then, Republicans won back the House, and now Republicans have a majority in the Senate beginning in the New Year. Think of it, Obama started with every branch of government under his control, and in six years he lost two thirds of it.


Something must have been wrong with Obama’s performance to piss off the electorate to such an extent. How can so much political carnage occur in such a short period of time? To begin with, Obama has not kept promises he made to American voters before and after he became president. Obamacare has been much less than advertised. In fact, some of the 30 million uninsured didn’t even want to sign up for Obamacare. But, they were forced to participate by law. And, the entitlement cost far more than originally estimated.


There are some peculiar issues relating to Obamacare that never seem to get resolved. True, many more people have medical insurance than did not before the law. But, how many are now covered because of an expansion of Medicaid versus new participants in Obamacare? Was it necessary to create a monstrous entitlement when Obama could have helped poor people obtain insurance just by expanding Medicaid? Other unanswered questions relate to the real costs of Obamacare that include cancellations of existing policies that were deemed inadequate, unavailability of preferred doctors under the new program and the institution of harsh terms in Obamacare insurance policies.


In the meantime, Obama has been ambivalent about world events. He brought our soldiers home from Iraq and Afghanistan, but now he’s redeploying troops back to the region. He realized that George W. Bush’s paranoia about terrorism wasn’t so crazy. Gitmo is still in operation and Obama has become the drone master of the Middle East. His policies have encouraged the proliferation of terror and hatred directed at the U.S.


Finally, Obama’s new strategy is to avoid Congress by using presidential resolutions to do important things, really important things. Kings and monarchs, and now Obama, enact laws by edict rather than engaging Congress, which has the constitutional duty to create laws. Who thinks this is a good idea? Do Americans want to diminish the power of Congress and increase the power of the executive branch? Putin is a case in point.


Obama’s decision to create immigration laws that will affect five or even ten million undocumented people without concurrence of Congress is outrageous. Conducting military operations throughout the Middle East without congressional endorsement is what dictators do.


Obama has hurt America in many ways. Most expected a new age of racial harmony and social change. What we have gotten is greater division between blacks and whites and even greater distance between the affluent and the needy.

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