Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 12, 2017
According to one classical definition, “legacy” is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor”. American presidents often consider their potential legacies as they are leaving the White House. During the waning weeks of the Obama administration this has been a focus of the President.
Since the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of the President’s Party, Obama has taken steps that are legacy focused. Perhaps the most surprising was his anti-Israeli vote (abstention) in the United Nations where he broke decades of American precedent only after there would not be political consequences. In addition, the President and some advisers have been making speeches in attempt to write history in advance. While legacies are ultimately viewed as positive or negative, they are created by history and historical facts, not political narratives.
Prior to the New Year, Obama was asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about his biggest policy disappointment. Obama’s response:
“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws.”
While gun control is an issue with thoughtful people on both sides of the debate, the President placing it as his biggest disappointment shows a disconnect with the American People. According to a 2016 Pew Research poll, those in favor of gun rights is at its strongest since the study began. During the same period, support for gun control is at its lowest.
Most Americans agree, irrespective of Obama’s recent pronouncements, that race relations in the United States has deteriorated during the past eight years. On the economic front, wealth disparity in the United States has grown. Internationally, the US’s relations with China and Russia deteriorated and the Middle East has become an even greater firestorm. Given these realities it is rather incredible for President Obama to claim his greatest disappointment with his administration relates to the failure to increase gun control. If this illogical conclusion is not the result of the President being out of touch with the electorate, it then must be chalked up to an attempt to deflect from the more serious problems that have grown under his watch.
Eight years ago Barack Obama became President with great opportunity. Five days before taking the oath he said: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Obama’s legacy will ultimately be created by the results of the policies implemented under his watch, not by preemptive speeches.
Posted in President Obama | Tagged: legacy, Obama | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on August 14, 2016
When asked about Barack Obama’s legacies, supporters will universally list Obamacare as number one. As for the problems the country faces, Obama has had a Teflon coat with supporters either ignoring the issues or blaming them on his predecessors. Problems include the growth of international terrorism, the Middle East in flames, and significantly increased racial tensions in the Country. Under the radar is perhaps one of the most dangerous Obama legacy; significantly increased power within the presidency and executive branch of government.
The New York Times published an article by Applebaum and Schear titled Once Skeptical of Executive Power, Obama Has Come to Embrace It that chronicles Obama’s power grab. The article concludes that Obama, who prior to becoming president was publicly critical of executive power, has since embraced it stating: “Mr. Obama will leave the White House as one of the most prolific authors of major regulations in presidential history.”
The Times also states:
- “Blocked for most of his presidency by Congress, Mr. Obama has sought to act however he could. In the process he created the kind of government neither he nor the Republicans wanted — one that depended on bureaucratic bulldozing rather than legislative transparency.”
- “The Obama administration in its first seven years finalized 560 major regulations — those classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having particularly significant economic or social impacts. That was nearly 50 percent more than the George W. Bush administration during the comparable period, according to data kept by the regulatory studies center at George Washington University.”
- “The Obama Era …. And it has imposed billions of dollars in new costs on businesses and consumers.”
The Times offers concern with the growth of the executive branch and regulations quoting Robert Hahn, a regulatory expert at Smith School at the University of Oxford: “The big issue that I grapple with is that the regulatory state keeps growing. And as it keeps growing, when does it become too much?” We have already crossed that chasm. On the economic front the country has been in the midst of the slowest recovery since the Great Depression. Socially, the dissatisfaction in the inner cities is at a level not seen in decades.
Since embracing increased executive authority, Barack Obama has spoken arrogantly of this power stating: “an increasingly dysfunctional Congress: … Where they won’t act, I will.” In addition: “Whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” These are remarkable statements from someone supposedly expert in the Constitution. The Constitution divides our government into three branches, equally dividing power. Its purpose is clear, to stop any branch or individual from having their way with law, irrespective of the validity or quality of their proposed action.
While the Obama power grab and myriad of regulations are negatively impacting the country now, there is a more sinister impact to come. Future presidents will be intoxicated by power and likely bring more authority to the Executive Branch, at the expense of individual freedom for Americans.
Posted in Governmental Intervention, President Obama | Tagged: Constitution, executive, legacy, Obama, power, regulators | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 22, 2010
Jimmy Carter was arguably the worst President of modern times, although Barack Obama is certainly pressing him. In keeping with the revisionist philosophy of Progressives, Carter is now attempting to rewrite history to create a more favorable legacy. Part of the effort includes his book White House Diary and interviews with the mainstream media.
One of Carter’s recent interviews was with Left-leaning Brian Williams serving up softballs to the ex-President. The exchange included the follow incredible statement by Jimmy Carter:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The last photo of you with your– fellow former presidents, you were well off to the side on the right. And I thought to myself, well, there’s- there’s a possible metaphor. What is it- about you, you think, the way you’ve – decided to conduct your life and post-presidency? Do you feel listened to? Do you feel – that you receive your due? Or do you feel, in fact, apart from the crowd?
JIMMY CARTER: No. I – I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents. Primarily because of the activism and the – and the injection of working at the Carter Center and in international affairs, and to some degree, domestic affairs, on energy conservation, on – on environment, and things of that kind. We’re right in the midst of the – of the constant daily debate.
Wow! However, this remarkable exchange was only the first salvo. Next, Carter went on to meet with another Left-leaning reporter, Leslie Stahl. Besides more softball questions, Stahl pontificated on the Carter presidency with the following statements:
- “Carter argues that despite the image of failure, he actually had a long list of successes, starting with bringing all the hostages home alive and solar panels on the roof of the White House.”
- Carter “was cursed by a dismal economy, poor relations with Congress, and a nightmarish standoff over 52 Americans held hostage by Iran.” “When all is said and done, and many will be surprised to hear this, Jimmy Carter got more of his programs passed than Reagan and Nixon, Ford, Bush 1, Clinton or Bush 2. And yet, as I say, there’s the sense that you were a failed President.”
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Posted in Jimmy Carter | Tagged: Brian Williams, Jimmy Carter, legacy, Leslie Stahl, Obama, Progressives, White House Diary | 1 Comment »