Sunday, May 05, 2013

Obama’s Problem, And Ours


It happens to the best of presidents. Sometime during the second term of popular presidents, the American people begin to bid goodbye to their chief executive, at which point the president begins to think of his legacy and hires a ghost writer to memorialize his time in office for future generations. Ground is broken, if only in the president’s mind, for a future library.

President Barack Obama is a popular, twice elected president. Some of his programs, however, never have been universally admired even within his own camp, which now begins to show stress fractures. Mr. Obama’s political methodology is, unsurprisingly, that of a left wing Chicago street organizer. During his presidency, Mr. Obama has spent an inordinate amount of time on the bully pulpit attempting to sell round pegs to square-hole purchasers in Congress. And he’s spent a great deal of money he does not have.

This parting of the ways, the fond farewell, often begins in Congress when the usual shakers and movers are gathered together in a room with the president and an idea or strategy is broached that, in the president’s first term, might have been greeted with loud hosannas and exuberant assents. Now it hangs in the air, a danger to the future prospect of all in the room. The actors in the room then shoot furtive glances at each other, and all but one suddenly realizes that there is but one lame duck among them. Time will smile upon the lame duck; his admirers within the fourth estate will continue reverently to mention his name in whispers. But ice will be in the air. The purposes of the president and the purposes of his loyal partisans will no longer be the same.

Josh Kraushar of the National Journal, an offshoot of The Atlantic magazine, generally regarded as left-liberal, examined the failure of Democrats to pass a mild version of gun control legislation. Some Democrats look forward to using the defeated legislation in future campaigns against benighted Republicans; and indeed, President Obama started the ball rolling moments after Democratic Majority leader Harry Reid pulled the bill because he could not summon the requisite number of votes in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate to pass it.

“But the failure of Democrats to pass gun legislation (in a Democratic-controlled Senate) for a future presidential nominee to use against Republicans,” Mr. Krausher wrote, “makes the issue a lot less potent. One can imagine Hillary Rodham Clinton trying to shame, say, Marco Rubio for opposing a gun law that could be later claimed to have reduced crime. But without any law passed, it’s hard to imagine the gun issue being nearly as resonant as it is today in the wake of the horrific killings in Connecticut. And with Democrats being a significant obstacle to its passage, it muddles the message even more… Simply using the bully pulpit and making emotional appeals isn’t enough–it takes legislative know-how and a good working relationship with Congress, two areas this White House has struggled with since its difficulties passing a health care law and persuading the public of its merits.”

Even Maureen Dowd, a reliably left of center columnist for the New York Times, found it “unbelievable that with 90 percent of Americans on his side, he [President Obama] could get only 54 votes in the Senate. It was a glaring example of his weakness in using leverage to get what he wants. No one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.”

A few of the more obvious dents in the president’s armor would include: the continuing recession, the failure of the Obama administration to stimulate the economy with crony capitalist artificial stimulants, the inability of the administration to honestly confront the murder of an American ambassador and others in Benghazi and Obamacare – a very expensive baby step in the long progressive road to universal health care, at the end of which healthcare in the United States may come to resemble the health care dispensed at the Veteran's Administration hospital in Newington.

The head of the US Veteran's Affairs, retired Army General Eric Shinseki, came to Newtown recently to tout a new computerized processing system that some expect will shorten seemingly interminable wait times on claims. Standing at his elbow, in sight of the cameras, was U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal: “Among the most common complaints I get is the seemingly endless delays," Mr. Blumenthal said.

Among Mr. Blumenthal’s complainants is veteran Paul Barron: “I've been waiting three years for disability, I'm trying for 100%. I got Hepatitis C from the shots they give you in the Army.”

Backlogs and government administered programs go together like “a horse and carriage,” as the song has it.

The gun control legislation recently passed in Connecticut has resulted in a spate of gun purchases and a paperwork backlog for state police, who must approve the purchases. The backlog on transfer applications for gun ownership has soared from 1,000 in December to 62,000 following passage of the most severe gun regulations in the nation.

State Police Col. Danny Stebbins, who has been in communication with Governor Dannel Malloy’s Office of Policy and Management  “every other week regarding how to address the backlogs” told a wide-eyed legislative committee, according to a report in CTNewsJunkie, that the backlog had not been anticipated. “All of these things are behind because we don’t have people to keep up… all this will come with a cost,” Mr. Stebbins said. Some of the tasks, he added, could be done by civilian personnel.

So it may be with Obamacare: Who knew?
Post a Comment