The Obama Legacy
The heightening competition to be the site of the Barack Obama Presidential Library highlights the fact that the administration is winding down, sycophants like the Huffington Post and Chuck Todd believe that the administration is over, and that major supporters are thinking about the legacy. The library itself will be interesting – not much about the “early years” or the mentors except for the autobiographies sold in the gift shop. Those tasked with shaping the legacy will have a few positive things to work with – the first African American president, perhaps a rapprochement with Iran – but a complete telling of the story will have a big job spinning the outcome of “Hope and Change”:
The Obama years have seen the adverse transformation of the healthcare and energy industries.
- The wreckage of Obamacare will depend in part on whether the Republicans can capture the presidency in 2016 and institute something like Governor Bobby Jindal’s proposal for portable private accounts for workers, reform of malpractice laws, insurance sale across state lines, and block grants to the states for Medicaid. With Hillary, we would probably keep the individual mandate, required coverage that offends the Catholic church and others, the massive fraudulent claims of those seeking subsidies, and the dismantling of one-sixth of the economy.
- The publicist will claim credit for energy independence – the result of the fracking revolution which they have opposed on federal lands – and stopping the oceans rise by destroiying the coal industry. Much will be made of the 3% of the electricity generation from crony-capitalist wind farms and solar arrays – the Library will undoubtedly have solar panels on the roof.
Not much will be made of the decimation of the middle class with a decades-high 37 % of the working age population having opted out - many on questionable disability - and a lost generation with a sixth of recent college graduates out of work or unemployed and carrying a huge college debt. There will undoubtedly be a display or two highlighting the President’s efforts to improve income equality – higher taxes on the rich; a higher minimum wage; – but nothing that shows the actual result being greater inequality after two terms of redistributionist policies.
Don’t expect much about the mood of the public with its 26 % ”Right Track” rating and a highly skeptical attitude about the integrity and reliability of government after the debacle of the Obamacare rollout, the Fast and Furious gun-running project, the IRS persecution of conservative organizations, the Veterans Administration fiasco, the NSA spying on citizens, and the child immigrant invasion. A guy can only manage so much.
On the other hand, there is likely to be a display or two about gay marriage, support for gays and women in the military, reparations for American Indian farmers, and the crusade for comprehensive immigration reform and gun control.
Moving to the International Wing of the Library one will be struck by the absence of pictures showing the President smiling and celebrating important milestones with foreign friends and world leaders. It will be important to highlight in the most glowing terms the reset of our relationship with Russia before that pesky Ukraine episode, the pivot to Asia before that pesky Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, and the optimism of the Arab Spring before the nagging difficulties in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. The Brits, the Canadians, the Aussies, the Saudis, the Japanese, the Germans? They’ll get over it. It is too bad that the President didn’t hire better help at the State Department.
There will definitely be much made about the killing of Osama bin Laden – the highlight international counterpoint to the domestic launch of Obamacare. The displays about the defeat of terrorism by Obama’s intellect and courage will require a bit of touching up, but a nation at peace following the end of the Iraq and Afghan Wars will be a grand legacy. The disintegration of Syria and Iraq? the spread of terrorist groups across Africa? – obviously Bush’s fault.
Hopefully somewhere in the international wing there will be a display about the President’s belief that America is exceptional in the sense that the Brits and the Greeks think that they are exceptional. The substantial reduction of the defense budget ; the philosophy of “leading from behind” without being the world’s cop; the growing Russian and Chinese efforts to displace the dollar as the global reserve currency; the reduction of the American nuclear arsenal - all steps by a wise president to make the world a better place where people of good will can work together for a better future.
The closed-off back corner of the International Wing will be reserved for the Iranian room where two dioramas are being prepared. One has President Obama and Iranian President Rouhani congratulating each other as they sign a nuclear disarmament treaty and shore up their mutual ally in Iraq. The other portrays small mushroom clouds over remote testing areas in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt. Let’s hope that the President finally gets lucky.
This week’s video explains the Vergara decision which proclaimed California’s teacher tenure laws to be unconstitutional, in part because they result in inferior teachers in minority schools. Those who agree should support Dave Welch and Students Matter.