|“Selfie Stick President” just about sums it up.
A legacy of rarely-paralleled narcissism
A summary of Obama’s accomplishments by Richard Weaving
George Will comments on the presidential narcissism
In a 5 January 2017 commentary, Mr. Will provided the following views about the nearly-past president:
“Any summation of Barack Obama’s impact on domestic policy and politics should begin with this: In 2008, he assured supporters, ‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.’ Soon he will be replaced by someone who says, ‘I alone can fix it.’
So, Americans have paid Obama the compliment of choosing continuity, if only in presidential narcissism.
The nation has now had, for only the second time, three consecutive two-term presidencies. (The other was ‘the Virginia dynasty’ of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe.) The first trio culminated in an ‘era of good feelings’ (Monroe was re-elected unopposed). The second not so much.
Obama, who called health insurance reform the ‘defining struggle of this generation,’ was semi-right, in two senses. Because Obamacare demonstrates the perils of trying to micromanage 18 percent of the economy (America’s health care sector is larger than all but four national economies), it might be the last gasp of New Deal/Great Society-style government hubris.
On Jan. 16, 2008, Obama told the Reno Gazette-Journal, ‘I want to make government cool again.’ His paragraph in our national epic did not do that.
On the other hand, Obama might have catalyzed a conviction already forming in the American mind, but in any case he leaves a nation that now believes public policy should enable everyone to have access to insurance.
Obama has been among the most loquacious of our presidents, but can you call to mind from his Niagara of rhetoric a memorable sentence or even phrase? If power is the ability to achieve intended effects, his rhetoric has been powerless to produce anything but an empty, inconsequential reputation for speaking well.
He assured congressional Democrats that they could safely vote for Obamacare because ‘you’ve got me.’ He would demonstrate his magic when campaigning for it and for them. Seven years after he said this, it remains unpopular and Democrats are fewer than they were. There are 11 fewer senators and 62 fewer representatives than on Jan. 20, 2009.
A former colleague of Obama’s on the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School described him as someone who never learned anything from anyone with whom he disagreed. He also never learned anything from anyone about constitutional etiquette.
He combined progressivism’s oldest tradition and central tenet – hostility to the separation of powers – with a breezy indifference to the Take Care Clause (the president ‘shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed’) and to the first sentence of the Constitution’s first article (‘All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress’).
He began pioneering new dimensions in presidential lawlessness when, taking over George W. Bush’s bailout of the automobile industry, he shredded the rights of secured Chrysler bondholders.
He seemed to believe there is an article in the Constitution that says presidents may make or amend laws that Congress will not make or amend. Perhaps this is the mysterious Article XII that his successor has referred to.
Obama’s adventures in green energy produced the $535 million bankruptcy of Solyndra and 60 percent fewer electric cars on the road in 2015 than he had predicted.”
(Read more at the Albuquerque Journal)
If we only consider Obama’s continual crowing on the ACA — the program that was purported by him to lower our expenses by $25 hundred and was going to let us keep our plan and doctor — and then think of what actually happened, only a complete narcissist could ignore the failures on failures and keep selling it to us. From the multiple failures of the website to the multiple failures of the exchanges to the multiple failures of insurance companies to the program’s failure to reduce the number of uninsured to the numerous other failures, only the hubris of a narcissist could keep selling this to the Democrats who rode the ACA down.
Obama receives the Medal of Honor from his Pentagon
The Washington Post reported in a 5 January 2017 article how Obama accepted the medal from his direct reports at the Pentagon:
“President Obama on Wednesday received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service from Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter, prompting a backlash from critics that include former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R). But the award is more common than they apparently know, as numerous senior officials have received it, including the last two presidents.
The award was adopted in 1947 and recognizes ‘exceptionally distinguished service of significance to the Department of Defense as a whole or distinguished service of such exceptional significance’ to a part of the Defense Department for their awards to be considered insufficient, according to a Pentagon fact sheet on the award.
‘The service or assistance may have been rendered at considerable personal sacrifice and inconvenience that was motivated by patriotism, good citizenship, and a sense of public responsibility,’ the fact sheet said.
Palin criticized the decision Wednesday night, saying ‘this is what happens when you grow up thinking every kid gets a trophy.’ She shared a Breitbart News Network story with the sarcastic, if incorrect, headline: ‘President Obama awards himself Distinguished Public Service Medal.’
In January 2009, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates gave outgoing President George W. Bush the award at a similar ceremony. Then-Defense Secretary William S. Cohen did the same with President Clinton in January 2001. “
(Read about the criticisms from others at The Washington Post)
When Bill Clinton and then George W. Bush were given this medal, it seemed a bit narcissistic. It definitely does now.
Obama’s legacy of lying documented in account of farewell address
On 10 January 2017, Ben Shapiro responded to President Obama’s farewell speech in Chicago by identifying the 15 biggest lies (note that the words are his, but the links are mine):
“For 45 minutes, he babbled, fibbed, rehashed the good times and the other good times, the victories and the other victories, told a hackneyed fairy tale about the young prince who arrived in the swamps of Washington D.C. and left it a utopian vision at the mercy of an evil Troll.
And the media wept.
Unfortunately, the speech was chock full of fibs.
Here were 15 of the worst falsehoods.
- He Believes Change Comes From Ordinary People. Obama said, ‘I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it. After eight years as your president, I still believe that.’ Really? That’s odd. His signature legislation forced benighted Americans to purchase health insurance and required religious Americans to forego their religious objections to contraceptives and abortion coverage. This is the same fellow who once referred to half the electorate as bitter clingers obsessed with God and xenophobia thanks to their poverty, and labeled the Tea Party as a terrorist entity.
- American Exceptionalism Lies In Our Capacity To Change. No, actually, all people are capable of change, if some more so than others. Change may be worthwhile, but that’s not what makes America unique. What makes America exceptional is the foundational principles of individual freedom and limited government enshrined in our founding documents. But Obama said, ‘So that’s what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation has been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow.’
- He Created A Thriving Economy. Obama bragged about ‘revers[ing] a great recession, reboot[ing] our auto industry, and unleash[ing] the longest stretch of job creation in our history.’ Actually, he was responsible for the weakest recovery in American history, he blew out the national debt, and he ensured that trillions of dollars in investment money remained on the sidelines, as well as keeping underemployment at significant highs.
- He Fixed Cuba. Obama bragged about ‘open[ing] a new chapter with the Cuban people.’ But the Cuban people are still stuck living under a communist tyranny that has now been significantly enriched and empowered by Obama’s support.
- He Disarmed Iran. Obama said he had “shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.” That’s patently untrue. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the Obama administration greenlit a shipment of tons of uranium to Iran. Iran has been secretly pursuing nuclear development, and Obama’s been ignoring it, as well as their material support for terrorism.
- He Won ‘Marriage Equality.’ Actually, Obama opposed same-sex marriage until his 2012 re-election campaign. It was Anthony Kennedy and his extraconstitutional mandate that ‘won’ so-called ‘marriage equality.’
- He ‘Secure[d] The Right To Health Insurance.’ Actually, Obama just mandated that Americans buy health insurance at gunpoint. That’s not securing a right. That’s controlling others with coercion.
- He Supports ‘Solidarity.’ There has been no more divisive president in modern history than Obama. Obama has demonized his oppositions, termed them enemies, urged his followers to bring a gun to a knife fight. He has overrun limits on executive power, grandstanded on race, and labeled those who oppose him idiots who just don’t understand the moral arc of history.
- Healthcare Costs Are Under Control. Obama said that health care costs are rising at the lowest rate in 50 years. This is a far cry from Obama’s claim that Obamacare would lower the cost of a typical family’s premium by $2,500 per year. Instead, premiums have skyrocketed inside Obamacare, and insurance companies have also raised premiums for employer-based insurance to compensate for the new regulations.
- Race Relations Have Improved Under Obama. Obama stated, “I’ve lived long enough to know that race relations are better than they were 10, or 20, or 30 years ago – you can see it not just in statistics, but in the attitudes of young Americans across the political spectrum.” It’s true that race relations are better now than they were in 1994. But they have gotten markedly worse by every poll over the last eight years. That’s because of Obama’s insistence that a post-racial America is impossible. And Obama insisted that white people acknowledge that “when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; that when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment our Founders promised.” That’s not always true, though. Does it apply when protesters burn Baltimore or Ferguson over baseless claims of police brutality?
- Obama Is Anti-Bubble. He said, “we become so secure in our bubbles that we accept only information, whether true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that’s out there.” Yes, Mr. President, you’ve made this a habit. And this speech was proof of it.
- ‘No Foreign Terrorist Organization Has Planned And Executed’ A Terror Attack. He also said ISIS was under control. Nonsense. His oddly specific formulation about terrorism is ridiculous. We’ve seen multiple major terrorist attacks in the United States under Obama, from Fort Hood to Boston to Orlando to San Bernardino. And we know from audio from John Kerry that the Obama administration allowed ISIS to grow long after Obama realized they were no longer the jayvee squad.
- He’s ‘Worked To Close Gitmo, And Reform Our Laws Governing Surveillance.’ Actually, he’s failed to close Gitmo, and his surveillance reform was prompted not by his own desire to protect civil liberties, but by widespread outcry at the extent of surveillance under the NSA as revealed by Edward Snowden.
- The American Creed Is ‘Yes We Can.’ No, actually. There are several American creeds, but ‘Yes We Can’ isn’t among them. That was just a cheap slogan. E Pluribus Unum – that’s a creed Obama opposed with his intersectionality. In God We Trust – that’s a creed Obama opposed throughout his presidency. Liberty – nope, he wasn’t a fan. A Nation of Laws, Not of Men – nope. We Are Endowed By Our Creator With Certain Inalienable Rights – well, unless you cross the collective. “
Additionally, I would point to the lie which claimed that Obama had no scandals. In reply, I would point to:
A legacy of working against others
Obama shows his disrespect by trying to thwart Trump with regulations
In a 30 December 2016 Washington Examiner article, the release of thousands of new regulations during the waning hours of the Obama presidency was discussed:
“President Obama‘s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.
While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.
The 2016 total was the highest annual number of regulations under Obama. Former President Bush issued more in the wake of 9/11.
The proof that it was an overwhelming year for rules and regulations is in the Federal Register, which ended the year Friday by printing a record-setting 97,110 pages, according to the analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
The annual ‘Unconstitutional Index’ from Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, said that it was much higher under Obama than under former President George W. Bush.
‘The multiple did tend to be higher during Obama administration. Bush’s eight years averaged 20, while Obama’s almost-eight have averaged 29,’ said his report, first provided to Secrets.”
(Read more at the Washington Examiner)
Ben Shapiro exposes Obama’s legacy of enabling scandals on the international stage
Several weeks before Obama’s farewell address, the President commented on his accomplishments. In a 29 December 2016 response to Obama’s words, Ben Shapiro provided the following rebuttal:
” President Barack Obama likes to see himself as a moral leader. ‘The arc of the moral universe is long,’ Obama likes to say, quoting Martin Luther King Jr., ‘but it bends toward justice.’ According to Obama, Obama is a genteel representative of decency and good grace, a man pointing America toward a broader vision, a fellow questing for social justice and contextual consideration.
In reality, he’s a narcissistic fool. And like Burgess Meredith’s character in ‘The Twilight Zone,’ he will be left standing in the ruins, bewailing the fates that abandoned him, leaving no worshipful admirers upon whom to lean.
Obama’s legacy is one of failure all around the world. He leaves office with a genocide in Syria on his record – a genocide he pledged to prevent, then tolerated and finally lamented, mourning the fates while blithely ignoring his own cowardice. Libya, meanwhile, remains a full-scale disaster area, with tens of thousands of refugees from that failed campaign swamping Europe, along with those fleeing Syria, and his leftist European allies paying the political price.
Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, stands on the brink of a nuclear dawn, its pockets filled with billions of dollars, its minions ascendant from Tehran to Aleppo to Beirut. Obama made that happen with nearly a decade of appeasement and a willingness to abandon freedom-minded Iranians to the tender mercies of the mullahs.”
(Read more at OneNewsNow)
In addition to Mr. Shapiro’s fine points, I might have additionally pointed toward Obama’s abandonment of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood was forced out. Additionally noteworthy, Obama has done little to stand beside West Europeans as Islamists attack with increasing regularity.
In the paragraphs following this excerpt, Shapiro points out the disasters of Obama’s habit of ignoring the Russians and Chinese.
A legacy of unintended consequences
The neglect of Obama’s VA produces the Fort Lauderdale shooter
In a 9 January 2017 Los Angeles Times article, the following was noted of Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter Esteban Santiago (emphasis mine):
“Santiago left Puerto Rico several years ago because of the lack of adequate medical services for veterans, particularly mental health care, Nelson Cruz, a senator from Puerto Rico, told the Sun Sentinel newspaper in Florida.
Puerto Rico has a Veterans Affairs hospital and other facilities, but some, including Cruz, say the services are underfunded and understaffed to serve the needs of the island’s veterans.
‘I believe this could have been avoided if Esteban had access in Puerto Rico to the same services that other veterans have in [other parts of] the U.S.,’ [Puerto Rico Senator Nelson] Cruz said. ‘One of the reasons that he left Puerto Rico was to seek better services [for his mental health issues]. I’ve heard this from other veterans here.’
Santiago was suffering from mental issues when he returned from his National Guard tour in Iraq in 2011. The family said he was hearing voices and sometimes hallucinating, according to Cruz.
(Read more at the Los Angeles Times)
Therefore, had Obama put more emphasis on the VA (possibly by devoting as much to mental health as he used in vacations) maybe this might have been prevented.
Obama’s legacy of nuclear proliferation
A 10 January 2017 post at the Clarion Project had the following to say about the recent sale of nuclear material to Iran and its subsequent aggression toward a US ship:
“Russia is sending a large shipment of natural uranium to Iran in exchange for an Iranian shipment to Russia of nuclear reactor coolant. The shipment of 116 metric tons (130 tons) was approved by the United States and the five other countries involved in orchestrating the nuclear deal with Iran.
United Nations Security Council approval of the shipment is expected soon as a formality.
The shipment is enough to make more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, according to David Albright, an expert with the Institute of Science and International Security, ‘depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.’
Two senior diplomats leaked the information to the Associated Press under the condition of anonymity and said they were not authorized to discuss details of the program.
The Iranian shipment is legal under the terms of the nuclear deal and will be ‘subject to the careful monitoring and inspections that are included in the deal to ensure that Iran is living up to the commitments that they made,’ White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama sold the nuclear deal to the American people on the understanding that the deal would make it more difficult, rather than easier, for Iran to build nuclear weapons.
At the same time as receiving huge Iranian shipments while complaining about alleged U.S. violations of the nuclear deal, the Iranian navy has come close to combat with U.S. ships in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz.
Iranian fast attack vessels closed in rapidly to a U.S. destroyer on Sunday and ignored repeated warnings to slow down. This forced the destroyer to fire three warning shots at the Iranian ships.
(Read more at the Clarion Project)
When you consider the power held within that nuclear fuel along with the aggression shown by the Iranian leadership who sent the fast boats to confront the USS Mahan, you can see that some American president will have to deal with the extreme consequences of Mr. Obama’s problem here.
Obama legacy of non-transparency
According to an 8 January 2017 article in Politico, the transparent president plans to hold an undisclosed number of his papers away from public eyes for 12 years.
“The letter, released to POLITICO on Friday under the Freedom of Information Act, also indicates that Obama is exercising his rights to put many of those records off-limits for 12 years after he leaves the presidency later this month. While the move could be seen as at odds with Obama’s frequently stated commitment to transparency, it’s a step other recent presidents have also taken before leaving the White House.
Recent presidents have eventually eased some of those access restrictions after leaving office.
White House spokeswoman Brandi Hoffine did not comment directly on Obama’s rationale for imposing the 12-year restrictions on his records, which will be sent in the coming years to his yet-to-be-built presidential library in Chicago.
However, she said Breckenridge is the point person on the White House staff managing transition-related issues, like the transfer of presidential records to federal archivists.”
(Read more at Politico)
What will we later find these papers to reveal? Will they be records of Obama’s deeper involvement in Hillary’s illegal server or the Clinton Foundation fundraising?
Obama’s legacy of over-the-top vacations
As recently as December 2016, this blog posted a commentary on the $85 million spent by the Obama family on lavish vacations prior to the last vacation. Now it seems that the Obamas have broken their own record with the final taxpayer-funded Hawaii vacation by bringing the total to over $100 million (as reported in a 2 January 2017 OneNewsNow article).
“President Barack Obama’s legacy of running up the tab for taxpayers during his family’s exorbitant and frequent vacations is projected to reach an excess of $100 million before the close of his two terms as president – putting a strain on the economy, military and Secret Service.
As the Obamas finish up nearly two weeks of vacation in Hawaii over the holidays – with their White House stay coming to an end – the president’s hypocrisy is becoming increasingly evident.
‘As a candidate in 2008, then Sen. Barack Obama (R-Ill.), vowed he would give up vacations if elected president, in order to completely focus on his job,’ WND reported. ‘Fast-forward to the present, and it is now projected Obama will have spent more than $100 million in taxpayer funds on vacations during his eight years as president.’
A legacy of waste
A government watchdog organization has monitored the Obama’s expenditures since the 44th president’s inauguration eight years ago.
‘[We] received new documents from both the Secret Service and the Air Force relating to Obama travel expenses, bringing the known total over the past eight years to $96,938,882.51,’ Judicial Watch informed.
After filing two separate lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to reveal how much Obama’s travel cost the Secret Service, Judicial Watch was able to tally the numbers.
‘The Obamas notorious abuse of presidential travel perks wasted military resources and stressed the Secret Service,’ Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton asserted. ‘Judicial Watch estimates that the final costs of Obama’s unnecessary vacation and political travel will well exceed $100 million.’ “
(Read more at OneNewsNow)
We can only speculate what this $100 million might have done had it been re-directed to the mental health services that Fort Lauderdale airport shooter Esteban Santiago had sought.
The legacy of a community organizer