This is a blog post I’ve meant to get to for a while. There was no doubt in my mind about how Tuesday’s elections would go as soon as the economy hit the skids. I’ve been saying for weeks, and it’s pretty much a given, that Americans go to the Democrats whenever they are scared about the economy. Democrats have fostered the impression that they represent the little man, and what we have right now is an economic analog of a hurricane. Once again, a lot of people were turning to the federal government for assistance, and the Democrats were the ones promising what so many want to hear.
What I have to offer is a set of predictions about the Obama presidency. None of them are especially insightful. In fact, I consider each to be as obvious as an on-coming freight train, but I want to get them out there before everybody else also figures them out. It occurs to me that Obama could be the last president I’ll experience, depending on how certain things develop, and that makes me sad. I’m not referring to his race, but his politics. If most of his proposals come to past, the country I love will be much closer to Socialism. Not that I think Obama really sees it that way, but that’s the problem. I think he lacks the national experience necessary to represent the country as a whole, the very thing the President is supposed to do. His naivety is worrisome because it leaves him vulnerable to exploitation even from those who would be his advisors. Six years at the national level is simply not enough to be the leader of the free world. On the other hand, it’s certainly not breaking news to say that Bush was exploited. He wanted to believe that Iraq had WMDs, and the CIA’s best guesses supported that scenario. What few realize is that the CIA is chronically incapable of gathering reliable intelligence for some very deeply-rooted reasons. (I recommend the book, Legacy of Ashes, as a real horrifying eye-opener.) In Obama’s case, there are a lot more landmines awaiting him than merely foreign policy.
Speaking of which, my first prediction is to simply agree with old Joe Biden. He said that something will soon happen on the terrorism front to seriously test the Obama presidency. Ah. Yeah. The hard questions are what and where. I have no idea, of course, but Obama’s obsession with leaving Iraq is going to create a power vacuum of the type that terrorist groups look for. Yes, I know, the Iraqis want us to leave, but some of those folks have agendas not compatible with the West. On September 20, 2001, Bush made a speech about the War on Terrorism that the Obama campaign used several times. Bush did say that the war could last decades, but he also said that the enemy was all terrorist groups. That message was never repeated, and Bush was somehow redirected to focus on Al Qaeda. Whoever is responsible for that did the country a huge disservice, particularly with our chronically short attention span. In retrospect, the correct justification for the Iraq War was simply Saddam himself. He certainly had the means, motive, and opportunity to strike at us anytime he chose. Furthermore, he would’ve done so through a third-party organization. Saddam is gone, but his money generator isn’t. Iraq had been the fifth largest oil producer. Even if no one there wanted to make us suffer, some of their neighbors definitely do. Who’s monitoring that money?
My next prediction is a pair of related things. I predict that Obama will turn out to be a PPP (popularity poll president), much as Clinton was. That is, he promises a lot, but will he stick with those promises when his popularity rating slumps? Will his fellow Democrats allow that? Yeah, that’s the real question. The Democrats have a pattern of splintering when they come into power. Of course the Republicans aren’t immune to that either, but the Democrats almost raise it to an art form. Naturally, I tend to regard that as nearly good news since it will hopefully check those wild legislative urges. 🙂 Yet, a president who is worried about his poll numbers is likely to make it to a second term while not being much of a leader. Obama may decide to be more dynamic and ignore the polls, but I can’t see his fellow Democrats following suit for very long.
As I say, I expect Obama to see two terms (there is a proviso that I’ll get to shortly) because the Democrats have no shortage of money or mesmerizing speakers. Not only is he a stirring orator, but the Democrats have several others and people seem to love to be hyped. Too bad that the Republicans can’t boast the same advantages. Indeed, they seem oratorically befuddled. Yes, having a few firebrand speakers on your bench and a hundred million in your coffers can give you all sorts of freedom to spin things as you wish. Leave it to the party that first advocated federal matched campaign funds to walk away from them. The Republicans couldn’t have without accusations about underhanded financial support, but not the Democrats. We’ll likely never know where much of that hundred million came from, nor where it will go.
It is indeed historic that we have elected our first Black president. However, time will tell just what the historical significance is. Blacks may finally feel less put upon and beset. Maybe. Another possibility is that people of all colors are in store for a refresher civics class on how our government works. The President is not a dictator or even a king. In fact, his influence in domestic affairs is actually less than Congress. People who are looking for Obama to be a vehicle for great change may be about to re-learn that the federal government is much more of a cooperative. If the Democrats could act in concert for extended periods, Obama could probably cheerlead a bunch of changes, but that would also give him nearly card blanche. The federal government does not run our economy. At most, it can nudge the economy in certain directions, and I think most of those directions are negative. The reality is that most of our gross domestic product is related to “big business,” and business goes to where its environment is most favorable. If we really get into “sharing the wealth,” that wealth will accelerate its exodus off-shore.
There is one other prediction to be made simply because of Obama’s race. We wish it wasn’t so, but there are people who hate him just because he’s Black. Becoming President makes him more of a target for hatred than ever. The Secret Service has always acknowledged that it’s impossible to stop an assassin who has enough skill and determination so it’s a certainty that some will try to kill Obama. Let’s all hope that they all fail ingloriously, because a single success would be more than a personal tragedy. It would unleash a multi-level backlash that could knock this country back 150 years.