Even though there is a liberal President of the United States and his Democratic Party holds a large majority in Congress under liberal leadership, conservatives have nevertheless been able to achieve a number of successes during Barak Obama’s first year in office. Although Obama was successful in obtaining Congressional approval of the massive spending bills he signed into law, conservatives were successful in opposing some major items on his and the Congressional liberal Democratic majority’s legislative agenda. Conservatives also won a number of landmark victories at the U.S. Supreme Court.
As a presidential candidate, Obama had promised as his first act to sign the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate all state restrictions on abortion and end the prohibition of federal funding of abortion. Public disapproval of abortion on demand and taxpayer funding has made Congressional liberal Democrats reluctant to pursue this item on their legislative agenda. In the face of conservative opposition, Obama has not expressed support for Congressional liberal Democrats' effort to pass the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which would require equal broadcast time for opposing points of view, regardless of what the market wants, which, for example, would effectively silence conservative talk radio. Congressional Republicans have united successfully in opposition to liberal legislative agenda item that is supported by Obama: card check, which effectively would eliminate the secret ballot in union elections. Conservatives were also successful in substantially defunding the scandal-plagued leftwing ACORN group at the federal level, as well as in some states.
Obama’s proposal to address the supposed issue of climate change, known as “cap and trade,” has also been blocked by conservative opposition in Congress. Similarly, his proposal to federalize health insurance has also been thwarted. Although these proposals, both of which would raise taxes, has been blocked thus far, as well as any other substantial increase in taxes, Obama’s support for them and other tax increases has continued to harm the economy by creating uncertainty among investors and businesses, which causes them to loose confidence and not invest or expand their businesses.
So far, Obama has been unable to close the U.S. terrorist detention center at its base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and transfer its inmates to the United States, an unpopular proposal opposed by conservatives.
Meanwhile, conservative principles were upheld in three landmark cases by the Supreme Court. The Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms was upheld as a universal right. The Civil Rights Act was modified in support of states’ rights so as to allow minor decision-making to be made at the local level in certain states, without federal approval, as is the case in the other states not covered by the Act. Corporations, including non-profit issue-advocacy organizations that have incorporated, and labor unions are now free to expend funds for political advertisement because the Court struck down as unconstitutional certain restrictions on political expression supported by some liberals, including the Obama Administration.
These successes should give encouragement for conservatives both to express their beliefs and to seek election to political office. In my next post, I shall examine how the policies and political mistakes of Obama and the liberal Congressional Democratic leadership have contributed to their unpopularity and provided opportunities for conservatives.