Barack the ‘cave’ man
Prior to his election, Barack Obama wrote and spoke about the audacity of hope.
Itwas an inspirational phrase that also carried with it a diplomatic jabat naysayers who think nothing can ever get done or changed inside thebeltway. But after little more than a hundred days in office,Mr. Hope has established a pattern of buckling under to the Washingtonestablishment, and has caved in to almost everybody except for a fewSomalian pirates. Here then, in no particular order, are someof the instances where President Obama is guilty of either acquiescingor back-tracking with regards to promises and initiatives.
Duringthe primary campaign, candidate Obama spoke of immediate troopwithdrawals from Iraq. But once he snagged the nomination, Obama cavedin and pandered to some of the pro-war Southern voters by scaling backon his timetable for a pull-out. Once elected, Obama made good on hiscave-in, and put the breaks on leaving Iraq. Then, to makematters worse, he announced that he would be moving more troops intoAfghanistan. Where’s Ron Paul when you need him?
PresidentObama has always been against torture, and was an outspoken critic ofthe Bush/Cheney hotel for wayward terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. But goback and look at the video of Obama’s “Close Gitmo” signing ceremony,and you’ll hear him say to an aide, “Do we need to do something else?”Obviously the president was referring to the Kodak moment at hand, buthis aside was quite telling, because Obama forgot to have a plan inplace for moving the Gitmo detainees. Before the ink was dry on thepresidential order, Obama was abandoned by his liberal allies inCongress who pushed for the base closing in the first place. Suddenly,none of them wanted the prisoners transferred to their particular stateor district, so the bad guys are in gridlock limbo. Obama should havejust reformed Gitmo and kept the terrorists where they are, but instead he caved in to pressure from the left, and ended up throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
For someone who claims
tobe a civil libertarian, Barack Obama has done nothing to undo the Bushadministration’s trampling of citizen rights. Harvard Professor JackGoldsmith who served as one of George Bush’s legal counsels, but whoopposed W on many issues, recently said of President Obama: “The newadministration has copied most of the Bush anti-terrorism program, hasexpanded some of it and has narrowed it only a bit. Almost all of theObama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation,symbol and rhetoric.” One example is the Terrorist Watch List,which has yet to be reformed or dismantled. The names of thousands ofinnocent individuals remain on this McCarthy-like list, which wascreated under Bush/Cheney and has served to do nothing but disrupttravel of, and cause undue stress and embarrassment to, those who havedone nothing wrong. Some people were put on the list because they havea foreign-sounding name, or because they have the same name as someoneelse under investigation. But others, like CNN’s Drew Griffin, wereplaced on the TWL simply because they were outspoken about abuses bythe Bush administration.
The economic crisis
Weall realize that Barack Obama had nothing to do with the collapse ofthe housing market or abuses by Wall Street. But, by the same token,he’s done nothing of substance to correct those problems. First of all,he hired two crooks to lead his administration. Rahm Emanuel, on theboard of Freddie Mac while it was creating the current crisis, is nowWhite House chief of staff. And Timothy Geitner, who failed to pay hisown taxes and who engineered the first round of bailouts, is heading upthe Treasury Department.
It gets worse. Withproof in hand that the first round of bailout money was squandered withno accountability, Obama enthusiastically released the second round ofhandouts. On top of that he now wants to return any unused bailoutmonies back to the bailout fund instead of to the Treasury. Translation:Though Obama tells us we are now part-owners in some of these greedycompanies, we taxpayers will likely never see a return on ourinvestment. Speaking of greedy companies, Obama patted himselfon the back for capping the salaries of bailout recipient CEOs at halfa million dollars. But the cap is moot because it does nothingto prevent those companies from compensating the CEOs in other ways.And then there’s the stimulus package. While campaigning for thepresidency, Obama pledged to cut pork-barrel spending by at least 50percent, then, after being elected, proceeded to craft a stimulus billthat was full of it. When it comes to dealing with our struggling economy, Obama has caved at every turn.
Everyone is raving about Obama’s crackdown on greedy credit-card companies. Hehas been hailed as a hero for signing a new law that will prohibit thecard sharks from raising interest rates without proper notice. But whatmay appear to be true reform is just another cave-in. Thecredit card companies can still continue to charge whatever they wantbecause Mr. Audacity of Hope failed to place a cap on interest rates. Thisshouldn’t surprise anyone who knows that Obama is as much a politicalinsider as anyone, and is not going to buck the banks where rates areconcerned. And just look at who he picked as his VP. Joe Biden hasaccepted over $200,000 in campaign contributions from MBNA alone, andhe helped lure most of the country’s major credit card operations toDelaware, which is a tax haven for financial institutions.
Thougha champion of alternative energy sources and a crusader in the waragainst global warming, Obama is displaying a pattern of caving in tobig oil companies and other business interests at the drop of a hat.Writes Time magazine columnist Bryan Walsh, “Obama’s preference forcooperation over confrontation may mean he will back away from thetruly radical action needed to combat climate change.” The most recentexample of this came last month when the Obama administration upheldGeorge Bush’s finding that the Endangered Species Act is not aneffective means of restricting carbon dioxide and other greenhousegases that threaten the polar bear and its environs. This misstep mayopen up exploration of oil and gas in the Alaska seas.
PresidentObama boldly proposed that he will put the screws to American companieswho do business abroad by hiking their tax rate. But even if his billpasses, it will not stop the abuses that are at the heart of ourcurrent economic crisis. During the primary campaign, Obamaagreed with Hillary that NAFTA and CAFTA needed to be re-evaluated. Butonce elected, that promise has disappeared along with millions ofadditional jobs. Only a repeal of those agreements will stop thedecimation of American jobs. Moreover, Obama should place a moratoriumon all overseas hiring and expansions by US companies. He won’t, of course, because caving in is much easier than bucking the system.
Obama claims he wants to make healthcare more affordable for all Americans, but lastmonth’s White House summit was heavily laden with private-sectorlobbyists, and absent of anyone in favor of a public-sector,single-payer option. To no one’s surprise, Barack caved in tothe insurance industry and, at least for the moment, has let them offthe hook for providing affordable coverage without regard topre-condition.
Iam well aware that Barack Obama has only occupied the White House for ashort time, but first impressions are usually accurate, and myimpression is that he caves in far too often on too many issues to fartoo many interests. In fact he’s had so many cave-ins that if he were agold mine, we’d have to abandon him. The only campaign promise hehasn’t caved on is to make government transparent, and that’s worked,because we can see right through what he’s doing.
JimLongworth is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Fridays at 6:30 a.m.on ABC 45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 10 p.m. on WMYV (cablechannel 15).