Photo by Pete Souza
Barack Obama's One Month Anniversary as President
If one more person responds to one of my criticisms of Obama by saying "Oh yeah? Like Bush was any different," I'm going to stab myself in the eye with a ball-point pen. That's the point! If as a nation, we generally agree that Bush's presidency was bad for America, it is no defense of Obama to say that his policies are no different from Bush's. At this point in history, that should be one of the worst indictments against Obama.
After just one month of Barack Obama, it is abundantly clear that despite the hype, this administration is just more of the same. Here is a list of ten ways that the Obama Administration is shaping up to look a lot like the Bush Administration.
1. Lies and Broken Promises
The Bush Administration was characterized by lies and broken campaign promises. His administration looked nothing like the promises he made during the 2000 Presidential Campaign.
The Obama Administration is shaping up to be no different. He promised the following during his campaign and on WhiteHouse.gov after his inauguration: "we will publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days, and allow the public to review and comment before the President signs it."
He has already broken this promise no less than three times, in signing SCHIP, the Lily Ledbetter Act, and The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the "stimulus package"). Meanwhile, he has "reneged on his promise to keep lobbyists out of his administration, appointed a number of scandal-tainted Washington old-timers to key posts and talked the bipartisan talk while walking the partisan walk."
As I wrote in my criticisms of the "stimulus" package:
"There are many striking parallels between The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and such misguided policies as the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, and the Global War on Terror. They all: Expand the role, power, and influence of government; Drastically increase government spending; Diminish individual liberties; Have questionable aims and unresolved practical complications; Lack exit-strategies and clearly defined standards of success or accountability; Have been sold to Americans by manufacturing a crisis and claiming that we simply must act, that there is no other way, and that without these laws, the development of some kind of worst-case scenario is inevitable; Have official names that are confusing, misleading, and often contradictory to the real aims and results of the legislation itself."
We should be alarmed at the lack of transparency, the frantic rhetoric, and the shrill fear-mongering. If we have been paying attention these last few years, this should be an all-too-familiar tactic and we should not let ourselves fall for it again. We should call the President to account for himself, especially in light of his promises to change the tone of political rhetoric coming from the White House.
3. Disregard For The Constitution
As President, George W. Bush cared little for living up to the supreme law of the land- the United State Constitution. His record of illegal wire-tapping, undeclared wars, and runaway executive power are evidence of that. Obama's administration is no different. In only a month, he has managed to violate the Constitution more than once. His appointment of Hillary Clinton to the office of Secretary of State was unconstitutional, moving the Census to the White House was unconstitutional and politically motivated, his decision to continue funding faith-based groups that discriminate on the basis of religion was unconstitutional and just plain unseemly for a "progressive Democrat" like himself (more on that later), and as usual, he has received a free pass from the media. Few people seem to be aware that Barack Obama has violated the Constitution three times in just one month as President, and those that are aware don't seem to care. One commenter on this blog even told me that by mentioning it and criticizing it, I'm just "pissing in the wind." The Constitution is what's getting pissed on if you ask me, and I'm not "pissing in the wind," I'm just pissed.
4. Unlimited Executive Power
What was frightening about the Bush Administration was its vast expansion of executive power and usurpation of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution to safeguard our nation from tyranny. President Barack Obama has continued this tradition by promising to ignore Congress and illegally extend TARP funds to non-financial institutions, despite the legislation specifying that the funds are for financial institutions only (this would actually be a fourth example of Barack Obama violating the Constitution, or at least promising to). Additionally, the Census grab mentioned above represents an unconstitutional assumption of power that will give the White House influence over the redistricting process, creating a glaring conflict of interests as the White House decides how to draw districts which will impact the electoral college and the 2012 election. In just one month, Obama has shown that he does not plan to reign in an out-of-control executive branch. He is more than happy to wield and expand the power handed to him by George W. Bush. One of the most chilling examples is in his policy to continue:
5. CIA Renditions
Says the New York Times:
In little-noticed confirmation testimony recently, Obama nominees endorsed continuing the C.I.A.’s program of transferring prisoners to other countries without legal rights, and indefinitely detaining terrorism suspects without trials even if they were arrested far from a war zone.
And the Chicago Tribune:
Under executive orders issued by Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.
The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.
Not so different from Bush after all? This is the change America voted for.
6. Utter Hypocrisy
Just like his predecessor in the Oval Office, Barack Obama is guilty of enough hypocrisy to make any honest person's stomach turn. Despite his claims that our environment is in crisis, Obama's inauguration alone emitted over 500 million pounds of CO2!
He made this statement in May 2008, Roseburg, OR:
We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that every country is going to say okay.
Then Obama was photographed last month without his suit jacket in the Oval Office, in contrast to his predecessor's strict dress code. When asked about it, a senior Obama advisor explained that Obama had the thermostat cranked up! That changed this from an insignificant fashion controversy to an environmental scandal. How dare he lecture us then crank his thermostat?
Obama additionally opposes school choice (he is against a private voucher system that would help families choose the best school for their child, including a private one they can't afford), but enrolled his daughters in a private school both as Senator in Chicago and as President in Washington D.C. Top it off with a ritzy weekend vacation while he claims that millions are suffering and urgent action is needed, and Barack Obama does a pretty good Bush impression when it comes to hypocrisy.
7. Faith-Based Initiatives
Reports Scott Michaels at Perfect Sanity:
Proving he’s no amateur when it comes to tacking as far right or left as necessary to capture some vital constituency, President Barack Obama recently upheld a key Bush administration policy allowing groups receiving federal dollars to discriminate in hiring on the basis of religion.
During the campaign, Obama had assured audiences of his intent to keep the Bush White House focus on faith-based groups but with an end to the exception allowing those groups to decide who they might hire based on religious values or principles.
Do you seriously still think Barack Obama isn't Bush 2.0? Puh-lease! I am a person of faith myself, but I absolutely do not support using tax money to subsidize religion because it's immoral and unconstitutional. I thought "liberal" Democrats felt the same way, but I need to hear a little more outrage over this before I'm convinced.
8. Out-of-Control Spending
George W. Bush had the not-so-honorable distinction of being the President to run the biggest deficits in American history, but he didn't get to keep the title for long because with only a month under his belt, Barack Obama has replaced him as the new presidential record-holder for biggest deficits in U.S history. Barack Obama isn't just similar to George W. Bush in this respect- President Obama is much worse. There's simply no comparison:
(Source- PowerlineBlog | Hat Tip: David Boaz, The Cato Institute)
Make no mistake- Barack Obama is no dove. He's a warmonger and a hawk. His opposition to the war in Iraq (despite voting for every White House request to continue funding it) seems to obscure from most people the fact that he is otherwise very hawkish and spouts all kinds of war rhetoric. Suiting action to words this week, he "authorised the Pentagon to send an extra 17,000 troops to Afghanistan to tackle worsening insurgent violence." Isn't that what partisan Democrats opposed and ridiculed when Bush offered it as his solution to the deteriorating situation in Iraq? For goodness sake, can't you see that the two Presidents are identical(!)?
Maybe John Stewart can help you out:
Think Bush was guilty of cronyism and corruption? After only a month, Barack Obama is giving him a run for his money. Obama's Administration has been stained by corruption from the moment he began vetting candidates for Cabinet-level positions. His pick for Secretary of the Treasury, Tim Geithner, didn't pay his taxes from 2001 to 2004 and hired an illegal immigrant. Obama stuck by his pick, and the man is Treasury Secretary today.
Tom Daschle, a former House Majority Leader for the Democrats, was Obama's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Surprise! He didn't pay his taxes either. He owed the IRS over $100,000 in back taxes. Obama was poised to continue defending this pick, like he did with Geithner, but Daschle chose to step down.
On the same day that Dasche withdrew his nomination, Nancy Killefer- Obama's pick for Chief Performance Officer- stepped down for failing to pay her taxes too! And it has come to light just last week, that Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel has been involved in shady dealings himself, failing to report five years of free rent at a US Congressman's property as mandated by congressional ethics rules.
This is the first month people! All of this in one month? My goodness, what are the people who voted for this thinking?
Spread the Word!