Candidate Barak Obama promised change during the 2008 presidential campaign, which reflected public disapproval of President George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans. Obama’s rhetoric at times hinted that he intended more than a change in personality, style and a few policies, however; he intended radical transformation. Despite concerns about Obama’s association with radical leftists, a slight majority of voters demanded the replacement in office of the Party they rejected and Obama was elected president.
Public opinion polls, Tea Party protests, the expressions of opposition at congressional town hall meetings, and electoral results suggest that the American public disapproves of some of Obama’s major policies, particularly his massive spending and corresponding increase in federal power, taxpayer funding of abortion and softness on terrorism.
Obama and other Democrats criticized Bush for deficits, but he and the liberal Democratic Congressional leadership have dramatically increased in federal spending, which has increased the deficit and added to the debt. Little of the spending has been economically stimulative in nature, while much of it is in the form of pork or political payoffs. Obama and his allies have attempted to credit their deficit spending for the economic recovery, even though the natural business cycle and previous federal action are more responsible. But their contention that the stimulus caused the recovery undermines their argument that all of the hundred of billions of dollars in additional spending that has been approved is still necessary. Their insistence that deficit spending is good for the economy also undermines their argument that Bush was wrong for deficit spending. The true motive of Obama and his Congressional Democratic allies to use the deficits as an excuse to raise taxes is being exposed. They have proposed little in spending cuts.
The American people are rightly concerned about the increased borrowing, taxing and spending by the Obama Administration and Congressional liberal Democrats. The pork and political favoritism for special interests, political allies or politicians makes Obama appear to be the same or even worse than a stereotypical politician. The public is frightened by the significant increase in federal control over sectors of the economy that Obama feels comfortable in accepting, despite his lack of significant business experience. The American people had applauded when Democrat Bill Clinton declared “the era of big government is over,” but those on the radical left, like Obama and the liberal Democratic leadership, apparently did not agree with them. Obama’s focus on his proposal to take over federal health insurance made him appear less focused on the economy than the public prefers.
Obama’s early pessimism about the economy harmed it, while his threats to raise taxes create more uncertainty, which discourages investment – actions which make him appear to the public either as a fool or a radical. Instead of trying to federalize health insurance, he should have focused on bank reform.
The lack of transparency for congressional legislation, despite Obama’s promises as a candidate, makes the public even more distrustful of the massive bills Congress approves that Congressmen have not even read and the backroom deals for special interests at the expense of the public. By allowing the liberal Democratic Congressional leadership to draft bills instead of submitting proposals himself, Obama he appears to be part of the political culture of Washington, D.C. the American people oppose. His lack of leadership on legislation also has the effect of confusing and frightening the public as to what exactly the Democrats in the executive and legislative branches are proposing. In short, Obama has given the impression that he is part of the politics of spending money in order to win votes or to help friends while raising taxes to punish enemies – a culture Americans hoped would end with his presidency.
One area of spending a majority of Americans oppose in particular is public funding of abortion, which Obama made possible the first week of his presidency when he signed an executive order allowing public money to be given to nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion abroad. His proposed federalization of health insurance would fund domestic abortions with taxpayer dollars.
Obama’s strategy of blaming Bush for all that is bad economically and fiscally is a strategy that is becoming less effective with the public, which expects the 44th president increasingly to take responsibility for that which he controls, especially given that he has more power over the economy than any previous president.
Obama’s model of bipartisanship is to propose that Congress consider approving actions the Republican Congressional minority finds totally unacceptable because they have either been proven ineffective or are radical, then to blame the Republicans for being partisan for not agreeing with him. Meanwhile, Obama fails to focus on those areas where they could find common ground, preferring an all-or-nothing approach. He expresses little appreciation for the times they do support him more than his own party does, such as on his troop surge for Afghanistan.
A major concern for the American public is Obama’s perceived softness on terrorism. The change they wanted Obama to make from Bush’s security policies was to reform them reasonably, not to weaken them unnecessarily. He is making even some critics of Bush long for the safety and security the Bush Administration’s successful resolve against terrorism made them feel.
The drop in United States President Barak Obama’s popularity and the unpopularity of the liberal Democratic Congressional leadership has not only aided the conservative opposition to liberal legislation, as I discuss in my last post, but caused the people to be more open to conservative ideas. Several Republican candidates campaigning on conservative platforms for major offices have been rewarded already with election victories for offices formerly held by liberal Democrats. As conservatives continue to express common-sense ideas, with which a majority of Americans agree, and stand for better upholding their principles of smaller government than they did when they were last in power, American voters will increasingly look to them for leadership.