June 3, 2009 12:00

Barack the 'cave' man

art6389

Prior to his election, Barack Obama wrote and spoke about the audacity of hope.

It was an inspirational phrase that also carried with it a diplomatic jab at naysayers who think nothing can ever get done or changed inside the beltway.

But after little more than a hundred days in office, Mr. Hope has established a pattern of buckling under to the Washington establishment, and has caved in to almost everybody except for a few Somalian pirates.

Here then, in no particular order, are some of the instances where President Obama is guilty of either acquiescing or back-tracking with regards to promises and initiatives.

Foreign wars

During the primary campaign, candidate Obama spoke of immediate troop withdrawals from Iraq. But once he snagged the nomination, Obama caved in and pandered to some of the pro-war Southern voters by scaling back on his timetable for a pull-out. Once elected, Obama made good on his cave-in, and put the breaks on leaving Iraq. Then, to make matters worse, he announced that he would be moving more troops into Afghanistan. Where’s Ron Paul when you need him?

Gitmo

President Obama has always been against torture, and was an outspoken critic of the Bush/Cheney hotel for wayward terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. But go back 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, but his aside was quite telling, because Obama forgot to have a plan in place for moving the Gitmo detainees. Before the ink was dry on the presidential order, Obama was abandoned by his liberal allies in Congress who pushed for the base closing in the first place. Suddenly, none of them wanted the prisoners transferred to their particular state or district, so the bad guys are in gridlock limbo. Obama should have just 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.

Homeland security

For someone who claims

to be a civil libertarian, Barack Obama has done nothing to undo the Bush administration’s trampling of citizen rights. Harvard Professor Jack Goldsmith who served as one of George Bush’s legal counsels, but who opposed W on many issues, recently said of President Obama: “The new administration has copied most of the Bush anti-terrorism program, has expanded some of it and has narrowed it only a bit. Almost all of the Obama 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 of innocent individuals remain on this McCarthy-like list, which was created under Bush/Cheney and has served to do nothing but disrupt travel of, and cause undue stress and embarrassment to, those who have done nothing wrong. Some people were put on the list because they have a foreign-sounding name, or because they have the same name as someone else under investigation. But others, like CNN’s Drew Griffin, were placed on the TWL simply because they were outspoken about abuses by the Bush administration.

The economic crisis

We all realize that Barack Obama had nothing to do with the collapse of the 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 the board of Freddie Mac while it was creating the current crisis, is now White House chief of staff. And Timothy Geitner, who failed to pay his own taxes and who engineered the first round of bailouts, is heading up the Treasury Department.

It gets worse.

With proof in hand that the first round of bailout money was squandered with no accountability, Obama enthusiastically released the second round of handouts. On top of that he now wants to return any unused bailout monies back to the bailout fund instead of to the Treasury.

Translation: Though Obama tells us we are now part-owners in some of these greedy companies, we taxpayers will likely never see a return on our investment.

Speaking of greedy companies, Obama patted himself on the back for capping the salaries of bailout recipient CEOs at half a million dollars.

But the cap is moot because it does nothing to prevent those companies from compensating the CEOs in other ways. And then there’s the stimulus package. While campaigning for the presidency, Obama pledged to cut pork-barrel spending by at least 50 percent, then, after being elected, proceeded to craft a stimulus bill that was full of it. When it comes to
dealing with our struggling economy, Obama has caved at every turn.

Credit cards

Everyone is raving about Obama’s crackdown on greedy credit-card companies.

He has been hailed as a hero for signing a new law that will prohibit the card sharks from raising interest rates without proper notice. But what may appear to be true reform is just another cave-in.

The credit card companies can still continue to charge whatever they want because Mr. Audacity of Hope failed to place a cap on interest rates.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows that Obama is as much a political insider as anyone, and is not going to buck the banks where rates are concerned. And just look at who he picked as his VP. Joe Biden has accepted over $200,000 in campaign contributions from MBNA alone, and he helped lure most of the country’s major credit card operations to Delaware, which is a tax haven for financial institutions.

Environment

Though a champion of alternative energy sources and a crusader in the war against global warming, Obama is displaying a pattern of caving in to big oil companies and other business interests at the drop of a hat. Writes Time magazine columnist Bryan Walsh, “Obama’s preference for cooperation over confrontation may mean he will back away from the truly radical action needed to combat climate change.” The most recent example of this came last month when the Obama administration upheld George Bush’s finding that the Endangered Species Act is not an effective means of restricting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that threaten the polar bear and its environs. This misstep may open up exploration of oil and gas in the Alaska seas.

Overseas profits

President Obama boldly proposed that he will put the screws to American companies who do business abroad by hiking their tax rate. But even if his bill passes, it will not stop the abuses that are at the heart of our current economic crisis.

During the primary campaign, Obama agreed with Hillary that NAFTA and CAFTA needed to be re-evaluated. But once elected, that promise has disappeared along with millions of additional jobs. Only a repeal of those agreements will stop the decimation of American jobs. Moreover, Obama should place a moratorium on all overseas hiring and expansions by US companies.

He won’t, of course, because caving in is much easier than bucking the system.

Healthcare

Obama claims he wants to make healthcare more affordable for all Americans, but last month’s White House summit was heavily laden with private-sector lobbyists, and absent of anyone in favor of a public-sector, single-payer option.

To no one’s surprise, Barack caved in to the insurance industry and, at least for the moment, has let them off the hook for providing affordable coverage without regard to pre-condition.

Conclusion

I am well aware that Barack Obama has only occupied the White House for a short time, but first impressions are usually accurate, and my impression is that he caves in far too often on too many issues to far too many interests. In fact he’s had so many cave-ins that if he were a gold mine, we’d have to abandon him. The only campaign promise he hasn’t caved on is to make government transparent, and that’s worked, because we can see right through what he’s doing.

Jim Longworth 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 (cable channel 15).

Also in Jim Longworth

YOUR OPINION

Did you sign up for health insurance by the recent March 31 deadline?

Getting poll results. Please wait...

THE TRIAD & BEYOND

STORY COMMENTS

FACEBOOK