Osama Martyred, GM Dying, Al-Qaeda Alive
Among its top successes the Obama administration counts the death of Osama Bin Laden, saving GM and Chrysler, pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and passing ObamaCare and the stimulus. There were a handful of other minor accomplishments, but these four constitute the history-defining ones, and are the accomplishments touted by the Obama campaign. The problem with these accomplishments is; they were all moderate to abject failures, and three of them were initiated by Bush and ruined by Obama.
Starting with Osama Bin Laden and the larger War on Terror: to everyone's relief, Obama has continued to prosecute it. It seems strange to say that people are relieved that the President did his job, but before taking office, there were many hints and whispers that Barack Obama sympathized with the terrorists. Unfortunately, those hints and whispers continue. From al-Qaeda's attack on Fort Hood to the assassination of our Libyan ambassador, Obama has refused or resisted labeling these incidents as terrorist attacks. Even now, after several named intelligence sources have indicated al-Qaeda links, and a Fox News investigation (videos available online) of the attack indicates intricate planning, the White House is spinning a story, based on unnamed sources and a lack of information, that the attack was unplanned and not al-Qaeda related (the story uses the term "unclear"). Even worse than the spin, worse than misleading the people, is the fact that the Obama administration apologized for the exercise of free speech.
What about the killing of Osama Bin Laden himself? The initial reports portrayed a bold president who pushed for and oversaw a dangerous operation to capture the terrosist mastermind. As time has passed, we learned that the story was not so simple, or glittery. It seems that Obama canceled the raid three times, at the behest of Valerie Jarrett, until Hillary Clinton and others convinced him to do it. During its rush to spin the assassination, the White House released classified information on a Pakistani national who helped us get Bin Laden; he has now been severely punished. Furthermore, it seems that information from the enhanced interrogations that Obama railed against was critical in finding Bin Laden. So what did Bin Laden's death accomplish? Strained relations with Pakistan, an important piece of secret US military equipment studied by China, and an emboldened al-Qaeda.
The story is not much better in the two police actions. Violence and political discord have been escalating in Iraq after Obama prematurely withdrew our peacekeeping forces. The stated reason was the failure to obtain a Status of Forces agreement, but the US side of the negotiation was lighthearted and quickly abandoned. Iraq needed those forces, but Obama was looking for whatever excuse he could use to withdraw them. In Afghanistan, the setting of a fixed withdrawal date has aided the Taliban in planning its operations. We are now seeing massive infiltration of the Afghan civilian government by Taliban loyalists. The Taliban is being financially backed by governments (e.g. Iran), splinter factions (e.g. Pakistan's intelligence agency), and wealthy sympathizers. Afghanistan is still too poor to combat this well-funded Taliban, but the US is leaving them hanging high and dry. The blood and tears of our soldiers are turning into a sectarian horror, with the New Persian Empire gaining ever stronger influence.
Speaking of Iran, Dick Morris has discovered that Obama may have worked out an agreement with Iran, whereby Iran will stop or reduce enrichment of uranium in exchange for the easing of some sanctions. The sanctions were placed on Iran in 2006, and only moderately toughened in 2010. Why shouldn't Iran stop for now? The Iranians already have enough enriched fissile material for four to six bombs. Contrary to Vice President Biden's statement that building a bomb is complicated, a simple uranium bomb is little more than a cored out uranium cylinder as target and a uranium slug shot down a gun barrel. It takes only weeks to machine and assemble. Iran should have already detonated one, but there is a very good reason that they might not have. Obama has been highly ineffective in obtaining additional sanctions, mainly because Russia and China have interests with Iran, and are giving the country the benefit of the doubt. Detonating a test device could bolster US aims for truly crippling sanctions. It is a better plan to stockpile material, make multiple, advanced bombs, join the nuclear club, and then force the sanctions to be abolished (as moot). In the end, the agreement Obama might obtain may be nothing more than a stalling tactic. Considering Obama's past failures on the issue, what could he do?
Obama's domestic successes have not fared much better than the foreign ones. Obama's first and most touted domestic triumph was saving Chrysler and GM, overlooking the fact that it was Bush who actually saved them. Bush gave Chrysler and GM $25 billion in December of 2008, but by March of 2009, Obama had pushed Chrysler to merge with Fiat, and had replaced the CEO of GM. Obama's man at GM then filed for bankruptcy. Far from saving the company, Obama forced GM into bankruptcy. In terms of business, what Obama did to GM would be described as a hostile takeover. Ford had also been seeking bailout money, but saw the writing on Obama's wall, and withdrew its request. Obama then misrepresented facts at the bankruptcy hearing, cheating 20,000 non-union Delphi workers out of their pensions, and coerced the bankruptcy court to ignore the claims of Chrysler and GM investors, in favor of unions. Within a year, the White House was making hoopla over GM repaying it debts to the government, neglecting to mention that GM had paid those debts with more government money. Unfortunately, GM was failing for more systemic reasons, and the nationalization of the company has done little to change things; GM is now headed for a second bankruptcy. On the other hand, after being gifted to the Italians and turned into a European company, the Chrysler division is supporting Fiat.
What about that ObamaCare? It is very lightly touted, and little wonder. ObamaCare was marginally popular when it was introduced, marginally unpopular when it was passed, and the fears continue to grow as we find out what is in it. The mechanics of passing ObamaCare are not something to tout either. It squeaked through the House with a vote of 219 to 212; 34 Democrats sided with all 178 Republicans who voted against it. In the Senate, after the election of Scott Brown (R-Ma), the Democrats acted quickly to cloture the filibuster and pass the bill while they still had the temporary senator from Massachusetts. The bill passed the Senate with no Republican support, and until the election of Scott Brown, a few Senate Democrats had been holding out as well. To acquire sufficient support, there were several controversial trades, including the "Cornhusker Kickback" and the "Louisiana Purchase".
If Obama's touted successes paint a horror story, would you even want to look at his shovel-ready and other failures? Except that once again, according to Obama, even the horrible failures were successes. At the end of his first year, Obama gave himself a solid 'B' (an 'A minus' if ObamaCare should pass). An 'incomplete' is often given as a form of do-over to students who royally messed up, but whom the professor feels unwilling to give an 'F'; however, Obama gave himself an 'incomplete' as a way to say he was not finished yet. Politics being politics, we are left with a serious quandary, is Obama exhibiting the Dunning-Kruger effect (in which incompetents are unable to recognize their own incompetence), or is he just putting forth propaganda in the hopes that he receives a second term?
The question has three basic answers: Obama is incompetent. Obama would rather cover up problems than confront and fix them. Obama really is accomplishing his goals, which are contrary to the desires of sane Americans. None of these is desirable in a president. Regardless of the reasons why, we cannot afford four more years of a president who fails miserably and then tells us that he has succeeded.