Back to the Obama’s Failed Policies and Blinkered Personnel

Donald J. Trump has been the most consequential President in my lifetime since Ronald Reagan. Issues & Insights counts some of the ways, listing the 10 most significant.

"He slashed individual and business taxes, he forged peace in the Middle East, He created Operation Warp Speed, which “may well end up saving hundreds of thousands of lives in coming years,” he deregulated our economy, saving “the average American household an average of $3,100 a year,” he got rid of Obama’s individual mandate,  he restored balance on the Supreme Court, he forced NATO to reform  and in so doing “likely saved the West’s main military alliance,” he encouraged U.S. energy independence so that we are “one of the only major countries whose CO2 emissions are plunging, with output now at the lowest levels since 1984,” he reformed immigration and built more than 450 miles of wall “to control entrance to our nation," he withdrew from the Paris Climate Deal which commits only major industrial nations to shrink their economies.

An email to Glenn Reynolds measures President Trump’s achievements in yet another important way:

Trump showed that the annihilation of the American middle class was not the result of inevitable forces. Technological change and globalization are not weather or the movement of tectonic plates. The economy, and who gets what from whom, is embedded in political choices. Who pays the costs and who reaps the benefits are political choices. Who is crushed by the legal system and who benefits from it, and who is insulated from it, are also political choices. Trump will never be forgiven for showing normal people that their destruction, and the enrichment of other people, who despise everything that they love, believe in, and care about, is a policy decision. Trump showed other choices are possible.

Having seen once how it actually works, we can never unsee it.

That is Trump’s greatest achievement.

His successor was sworn in this week behind 12-foot fences topped with razor wire and in the presence of over twenty thousand troops, a show of force and as well as a display of the insecurity of his administration. It is unlikely he would have had a cheering crowd of thousands on hand in any event.

Biden shares with Obama his demonstrated disregard for the troops, some 200 of which have now tested positive for COVID, by requiring loyalty checks on them and forcing 5000 of them from the Capitol to camp out in an unheated parking garage with no internet reception, a single toilet, and only one electric outlet. (Trump has invited them to house at his hotel near the White House.) Three governors were so disgusted with Biden’s treatment of their troops they withdrew them: Ron De Santis (Florida), Greg Abbott (Texas), and Chris Sununu (New Hampshire).

Recognizing this had become a public-relations disaster, Jill Biden went to the garage to hand out chocolate-chip cookies for media photographers to capture. And as humiliating to the new commander-in-chief was his team’s lack of foresight. Biden fired the chief  White House usher on inauguration day and failed to name a successor, so after the swearing in, when the Bidens went to enter the White House, they arrived to a locked door and stood outside forlornly for 10 seconds with the cameras rolling. It’s the chief usher who opens the door, and there was none. Finally, a member of the staff who remained took it upon himself to admit them.

From the beginning, Biden sends the message that by executive fiat and personnel choices he plans to double down on policies that will undo Trump’s achievements and weaken our nation while further restricting American liberties. Democrats found COVID a convenient means to open the gates to election fraud and population control, and now they plan to use this example as a governing principle, demonizing their opponents while mouthing  calls for “unity.”

If it’s true that personnel is policy, let’s have a look at some of his picks. Susan Rice, John Kerry, and Samantha Power are Obama retreads, but there are others just as statist and loony. His choice to head the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is Kristen Clarke author of this: “Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities -- something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.” Anita Dunn as a "senior advisor,” a woman who regards Mao Tse-Tung, the worst mass murderer in history, as one of her “favorite political philosophers.” 

It’s not just the abhorrent beliefs and records of his selection that raises eyebrows. It’s the utter incompetence that shines through. Thus though the CDC ranked Wisconsin the 48th state in distribution of the COVID vaccine, the head of that state’s DHS, Andrea Palm, is Biden’s choice for deputy secretary of  HHS. The incompetent handling of the vaccine distribution there is described here. As assistant secretary for health in the HHS department he named Dr. Rachel Levine, thus filling a transgender slot. She was the health official in charge of Pennsylvania’s COVID response. State Senator Doug Mastriano called for her to resign after she adopted and failed to rescind orders to house COVID patients in nursing homes. “Let me state this clearly, this order by Secretary Levine is responsible for the deaths of approximately 2,500 of our citizens, and displays the gross incompetence of someone unfit for office. The bottom line is Secretary Levine has failed to protect our most vulnerable population.” State representative Ross Diamond joined Mastriano in calling for her resignation:  

...the high volume of nursing home deaths in Kirkland, Washington, at the start of the pandemic should have been a warning to Levine. 

"Instead of heeding that clear warning, Dr. Levine instituted Department of Health policies which halted routine inspections and issued guidance for nursing facilities to admit and readmit patients who tested positive for COVID-19," Diamond said in May. 

"For vulnerable Pennsylvanians residing in those facilities, it's like they were being forced to live within a ticking time bomb." 

It was a bad situation that Levine removed her mother from while others perished, he said.

(Of course, as Daniel Henninger observes, the craziness of the COVID vaccine distribution, particularly in blue states, “is at a level of dangerous absurdity.”)

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Just as the centralized model of statecraft fails, the Biden administration wants to return to that model, a model that gets failing marks next to the streamlined one for inoculations in Florida, West Virginia, and Texas.

Henninger continues:

How refreshing it would be if someone on the left would blow the whistle on the dysfunctional complexity of government bigness and say the solution lies in the opposite direction, as was suggested in the early days of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

The pandemic again offers guidance: Private, parochial and charter schools returned quickly to teaching, while the too-big public systems stayed closed. Even as vaccine distribution faltered, the gig economy never stopped delivering stuff everywhere.

In fact, and optimistically, for all the problems in the vaccination “last mile,” the organizations administering the injections -- from hospitals to pharmacies inside supermarkets -- have been efficient, friendly and competent. But please note: This superb last-inch effort is not top-down -- the failed Andrew Cuomo model that is soon to be Joe Biden’s. It works because it is decentralized.

Government as currently configured can’t deliver. We await someone who will run for office on that reality before the next pandemic arrives.

Simply put, too many cooks in the government adding to and stirring the pot for their advantage produces a tardy, tasteless product.

Not only are the personnel choices distressing, but so were the firings. There was the general counsel of the NLRB, confirmed in that position for which there were 10 months remaining in his tenure. Worse yet, per Mollie Hemingway, was placing the General Counsel of the National Security Agency’s General Counsel Michael J. Ellis on administrative leave.

Beyond personnel choices are his executive actions, most of which are politically unfeasible nonstarters or which will embroil the administration in lengthy litigation. Texas has already filed suit to require him to lift a 100-day deportation freeze; pipeline unions are already furious at the halt to the Keystone Pipeline and companies which sunk so much into its construction may have a say in this about-face, as may the Canadian government. Moreover, there are, as the Foundation for Economic Ediucation notes, other serious consequences to this move. It may well increase CO2 emissions, cost 11,000 jobs and 1.6 billion in wages, and discourage future business investment.

So much of what the new administration believes is contrafactual. The continued claim that climate change is an effect of human activity and that there is “systemic racism” flies in the face of both real climate science and the fact that the fastest-growing demographic in the country is people of two or more races. The Dem-Media itself is forced to do back flips to paint Trump followers as racists since he enjoyed such a high level of support among minorities. The Washington Post treats this absurdly, claiming minorities who support him suffer from something called “multiracial whiteness.” 

And women who supported Biden may have to rethink what they supported. One of his orders permits transgendered men who identify as women with obvious strength superiority to complete in women's sports and to share shelters designated for women, restroom, shower and locker facilities. Normals certainly find such rules objectionable and often dangerous

Some of these orders may run afoul of the same issues of administrative law which precluded President Trump from undoing Obama’s executive order on DACA. Others will engender suits claiming breaches of contractual obligations. Certainly we’ll see now that  the White House has changed hands whether tolerating district courts’ penchant to issue nationwide injunctions will remain unchanged by the Supreme Court. 

In sum, I think the administration is already overreaching, and in appeasing the far left will face an increasingly energized and angry citizenry. You can help by supporting organizations like Judicial Watch, Pacific Legal Foundation, and FIRE, organizations dedicated to preserving your constitutional rights.

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