Saturday, December 27, 2014
Predicting the Course of the 2015-16 Obama Administration
The late, great columnist William Safire, would start the new year with a series of political predictions phrased as multiple choice questions. He was remarkably good in his predictions. I am not William Safire, but the next two blogs will be predicting the course of President Obama and then the Republican Congress over the next two years. Three statements define President Obama. These statements predict the next two years of the President’s Administration. He is not a lame duck, much less a dead duck. The first statement is from a radio panel discussion on September 6, 2001 on WBEZ-FM in Chicago with the young Constitutional Law Professor and Illinois State Senator BarackObama. He believes from the days of the Founding Fathers that the Constitution has a deep flaw and blindspot – the treatment of African Americans. He added: “But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and sort of basic issues such as political and economic justice in this society. To that extent, as radical as I think people tried to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted , and the Warren Court interpreted it the same way that generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the state can’t do to you. But doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.” He also stated: One of the, I think, the tragedies of the Civil Rights Movement was that there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalitions of power through which you can bring about redistributive change.” We believe that we are a nation of law, governed by the Rule of Law. We believe that the United States Constitution defines the role of the government versus the people. President Obama believes that the purpose of government is to deliver justice by redistributing the wealth of the nation. He believes that you did not “make it” when you made it, but succeeded because of the government and the less fortunate. His Government can promote justice by redistributing income to the less fortunate. ObamaCare is but a vast redistribution scheme. President Obama is a President of Justice, free in his mind to do what he thinks is right, unfettered by the Constitution. The second quote comes is from October 30, 2008 five days before his first inauguration: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” He has stayed true to that underlying political philosophy for the past six years. He wants to be a transformative President. He has achieved great success in the past six years through Congress, the Supreme Court, his executive agencies, the independent agencies, and the vast federal bureaucracy. The last quote is from March 16, 2012 with Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Federation President:” This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” The Democratic Party took a major beating in November. They were losers, but he remains a winner. They lost; the President did not. He is now liberated. He no longer has to subordinate some of his initiatives to save Senate Democrats. He is unchained from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Congressional Democrats. The 1967 Bob Dylan song “I Shall be Released” is his new mantra as he reverts to Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man.” He never had a good working relationship with Congress, even the Democratic Congress. He had trouble breaking bread with both Democrat and Republican members of Congress, even when Democrats controlled both Houses during his first two years. He will work against the Republican Congress for the next two years. Not that he is overly worried about the Republican Congress. He believes in his mind that he is smarter than them, and proved it again in the recent Cromnibus Budget Bill. His three major policy imperatives were unscathed in the final bill: ObamaCare, immigration relaxation, and EPA’s power to regulate carbon emissions. He knows his veto will block Congressional Republicans. He will use it to preserve ObamaCare, the War on Coal, and immigration reform. He does not fear his vetoes being overridden by Congress. He knows the Republicans will support the trade initiatives blocked by the Senate Democrats. He knows the media will back him on “government shutdowns.” He knows he beat them on the Sequester, substantially shrinking the United States military. Indeed, he knows the media will continue to have his back on his transformative initiatives. President Obama retains the Bully Pulpit. The media will generally act as an echo chamber. He knows that he can periodically call out, actually trash, Congress with the media supporting him. He has little respect for Republicans. He will use them as verbal punching bags. He believes in his being Messianic. He believes that just as President Lincoln had to suck it up during bleak years of the Civil War prior to receiving reelection and acclaim, so too his actions will be accepted by the American people. He is a narcissist in this respect. Even the American economy is finally turning around after the Great Recession. He fails to understand that much of the improvement is the result of fracking, which his Administration opposes. The large drop in energy costs is jumpstarting the economy, putting thousands of dollars in consumer pockets. He knows the EAP and other executive agencies will carry out his will. He knows that the supposedly independent federal agencies, such as the FCC and NLRB will vote, often by 3:2, to carry out his wishes. He believes that his Administration will still be able to run out the clock on Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, VA, and scandals yet to unfold. Let’s look at what this “lame duck” President has done: Released more prisoners from GITMO; Restored relations with Cuba. Don’t be surprised in the next two years if the President attempts to totally resolve GITMO by unilaterally abrogating the treaty with Cuba, thereby returning GITMO to Cuba Entered into a climate agreement with China Continuing to trash Israel and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Continuing the War on Coal He will reach an agreement with Iran He will continue a foreign and military policy of retreat. He will dare Congress to stop his unilateral immigration reform. He may have to swallow a border fence. He will take more vacations and foreign trips, explore more golf courses, issue more press releases, campaign on key priorities, and hold even fewer press conferences. He will win some and lose some, but his agenda will advance.