Today is the first anniversary of the inauguration of Barak Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America. Although it is too early to completely judge the success or failure of Obama's presidency, it is possible to analyse his performance based upon what is already known.
On the War on Terrorism, Obama has mostly followed the policies initiated by his predecessor, George W. Bush, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even increased the use of missiles strikes against terrorists from unmanned drones. However, he has weakened a number of policies, such as for interrogations. The Obama Administration has even published the U.S. methods of interrogation, which allows the terrorist enemy to train how to evade them. His civilian trials for the September 11 conspirators reflect the pre-September 11 view of terrorism still held by most liberals that terrorism is a criminal matter, not a war being waged against the U.S. by its enemies. The trials risk acquittal and the revelation of sources and methods of intelligence, while providing the terrorists with a platform to justify their evil deeds and imposing a greater security challenge to New York City. Obama is sticking with his pledge to close the terrorist prison at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; he has proposed sending the terrorists to the United States. These moves, combined with his apologetic, accomodationist rhetoric, have encouraged the terrorists who interpret such an attitude a weakness worthy of contempt, while undermining the morale of U.S. allies and American troops.
Similarly, Obama has dealt weekly and ineffectively with Iran, in regard to its nuclear weapons program, while softening the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Meanwhile, he has disrespected American allies, such as by abandoning Bush's agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic to place missile defense components on their soil as protection against Russia and Iran, while imposing sanctions on Honduras for thwarting its leader's attempt to become a dictator in the style of Venezuela's anti-American Hugo Chavez. In short, Obama has exhibited the typical liberal pattern of treating American enemies better than its allies.
On a more positive side, Obama expanded the response to Mexican border drug violence, withheld aid to Nicaragua's government led by Marxist Daniel Ortega, rescued an American captain from Somali pirates and responded appropriately to the Haitian earthquake.
Obama has failed to submit free trade agreements Bush had negotiated with Columbia, Panama and South Korea to the U.S. Senate for ratification, while he sparked unnecessary trade conflicts with with Mexico, Canada, the European Union and China.
Obama's pessimistic speech damaged the economy by undermining consumer confidence. He further undermined confidence in the economy with his massive borrowing and spending, which has dramatically increased the debt. Obama quietly repealed welfare reform, by replacing the incentive for states to reduce welfare rolls with an incentive to increase them, thereby further adding to the debt and government dependency. Although he extended Bush's middle class tax cuts, Obama raised the cigarette tax, while his proposals to raise income taxes for small businesses and upper income-earners, as well as his proposals to raise various taxes on the middle class through his environmental policy of cap and trade and proposed federalization of health insurance have seriously eroded investor confidence.
The centralization of power by the Obama Administration has been staggering, as the federal government took over two of the big three automakers and the student loan business, in addition to most mortgages. These moves provided Obama the opportunity to help political allies like the labor unions, for example, who were given large shares of the auto companies that they had helped send into bankruptcy, at the expense of creditors and stockholders. Additionally, Obama required prevailing wage contracts, meaning that contractors for federally-funded projects must pay workers at higher union rates than if the projects were more competitively bid by including contractors who paid their workers at non-union rates, which means that taxpayer-funded projects will be more expensive than necessary.
Obama has continued Bush's education reforms and faith-based initiatives, but has required federal tax dollars to be spent for abortion, specifically through non-governmental organizations that promote it abroad and throughout he District of Columbia, as well as the for the destruction of human embryos. He also extended federal health insurance benefits to homosexual partners.
Obama has appointed liberals to the U.S. Supreme Court and lower courts.
In conclusion, Barak Obama's first year as president has been characterized by massive deficit spending and the expansion of the federal government at the expense of liberty, the promotion of liberalism socially, politically and legally, and the weakening of U.S. policies in the War on Terrorism.
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