Obama’s Domestic Policy Report Card
The Lawless White House
For President Obama, the first year of his second term in the White House was dominated by scandal and a telling lack of accomplishment. He accomplished none of his goals articulated in the State of the Union message. For the most part he engaged in his favorite activity – campaigning – in a constant barrage of rhetoric over reality.
Behind the never-ending stump speeches designed to advance his political agenda, the president established the key ingredient of his presidency – a wanton disregard for the rule of law.
Time and again, the president took the law into his own hands. He arrogantly defied the Constitution. To him, Congress is an inconvenient annoyance; the will of the people is irrelevant.
- The Economy: The best term to describe the Obama economy is stagnation. Uncertainty about the future left the national economy in the ditch. The operating deficit of the federal government reached $17 trillion. Liability for unfunded entitlements approached $100 trillion. Unemployment dipped to 7 per cent largely because millions of Americans left the workforce. Obama ended the year with complaints about economic inequality and blamed his opposition for economic failure.
- Obamacare: The president’s key accomplishment collapsed in incompetence. When confronted with failure, the president simply rewrote the law. The unrealistic attempt to nationalize nearly 20 percent of the economy threatened the president’s allegiance to big government over the free market. Throughout weeks of the unfolding of the Obamacare disaster, the president and his party stubbornly rejected any attempts to revise the health care overhaul. Now the administration is saddled with an explosive political issue that will haunt Democrats for years. Once again, he will rewrite key provisions of the law in a futile attempt to save it.
- NSA Surveillance: The most lasting legal issue was the revelation of mass collection of private data by the National Security Agency. One lone individual, the 29-year-old contract employee named Edward Snowden, downloaded a treasure trove of government secrets and leaked them to the press. Now the balance between security and privacy dominates the national debate. Early on the president lost control of the debate. He ended the year with vague promises of reform, but the public trust in big government remained shattered.
- The IRS: In blatant defiance of the law, the administration denied tax-exempt status to conservative groups seeking participation in the political process. The president took no action to correct the lawless assault on free speech. Attempts by Congress to uncover the truth were blocked at every turn. Not one administration official paid a price for breaking the law. After showing initial outrage when the IRS practice was revealed, Obama never mentioned the issue again.
- Media Surveillance: Centered on a national security story that the administration planed to reveal itself, the Justice Department conducted a massive sweep of phone records of the Associated Press that sparked media outrage. James Rosen of Fox News was a target as well. He was labeled a national security risk under espionage law. Hostility between the media and the administration escalated until all trust was destroyed by the end of the year. Then the White House curtailed media access to the president. Promises of transparency were revealed as nothing more than political rhetoric.
- Benghazi: Unanswered questions about the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2012 festered throughout the year. The administration failed to apprehend the assailants. Key witnesses were silenced. Official records were withheld from Congress. Families of the fallen were thwarted in their attempts to find answers. Those responsible for the debacle that took the lives of four Americans remained unpunished. The arrogance of the State Department bureaucracy prevented an unbiased examination of the facts.
President Obama believes in the omnipotent power of big government, yet his behavior continually reveals the corrosive destruction of big government. When confronted with this dichotomy, he resorts to lawlessness. It will be his lasting legacy.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.