Obama puts politics ahead of good policy

November 19, 2011


In 2008, the slogan was “Yes We Can.” For 2011-12, it’s “We Can’t Wait.” What happened in between? Candidate Obama, the vessel into which myriad dreams were poured, met the reality of governance.

His near-$1 trillion stimulus begat a stagnant economy with 9 percent unemployment. His attempt at Wall Street reform left in place a still too-big-to-fail financial system as vulnerable today as when he came into office. His green energy fantasies yielded Solyndra cronyism and a cap-and-trade regime not even a Democratic Congress would pass.

And now his signature achievement, Obamacare, is headed to the Supreme Court, where it could very well be struck down, just a week after its central element was overwhelmingly repudiated (2-1) by the good burghers of Ohio.

So what do you do when you say you can, but, it turns out, you can’t? Blame the other guy. Charge the Republicans with making governing impossible. Never mind that you had control of the Congress for two-thirds of your current tenure. It’s all the fault of Republican rejectionism.

Hence: “We Can’t Wait.” We can’t wait while they obstruct. We can’t wait while they dither with my jobs bill. Write Congress today! Vote Democratic tomorrow!

We can’t wait. Except for certain exceptions, such as the 1,700-mile trans-USA Keystone XL pipeline, carrying Alberta oil to Texas refineries, that would have created thousands of American jobs and increased our energy independence.

For that, we can wait, it seems. President Obama decreed that any decision must wait 12 to 18 months — postponed, by amazing coincidence, until after next year’s election.

Why? Because the pipeline angered Obama’s environmental constituency. But their complaints are risible. Global warming from the extraction of the Alberta tar sands? Canada will extract the oil anyway. If it doesn’t go to us, it will go to China. Net effect on the climate if we don’t take that oil? Zero.

Danger to a major aquifer, which the pipeline traverses? It is already crisscrossed by 25,000 miles of pipeline, enough to circle the Earth. Moreover, the State Department had subjected Keystone to three years of review — the most exhaustive study of any oil pipeline in U.S. history — and twice concluded in voluminous studies that there would be no significant environmental harm.

So what happened? “The administration,” reported The New York Times, “had in recent days been exploring ways to put off the decision until after the presidential election.” Exploring ways to improve the project? Hardly. Exploring ways to get past the election.

Obama’s decision was meant to appease his environmentalists. It’s already working. The president of the National Wildlife Federation told The Washington Post (online edition, Nov. 10) that thousands of environmentalists who were galvanized to protest the pipeline would now support Obama in 2012. Moreover, a source told the Post, Obama campaign officials had concluded that “they do not pick up one vote from approving this project.”

Sure, the pipeline would have produced thousands of truly shovel-ready jobs. Sure, delay could forfeit to China a supremely important strategic asset — a nearby, highly reliable source of energy. But approval was calculated to be a political loss for the president. Easy choice.

It’s hard to think of a more clear-cut case of putting politics over nation. This from a president whose central campaign theme is that Republicans put party over nation, sacrificing country to crass political ends.

Nor is this the first time Obama’s election calendar trumped the national interest:

l Obama’s decision to wind down the Afghan surge in September 2012 is militarily inexplicable. It comes during the fighting season. It was recommended by none of his own military commanders. It is explicable only as a talking point for the final days of his re-election campaign.

l At the height of the debt-ceiling debate last July, Obama pledged to veto any agreement that was not long term. Definition of long term? By another amazing coincidence, any deal large enough to get him past Election Day (and thus avoid another such crisis next year).

l Tuesday it was revealed that last year the administration pressured Solyndra, as it was failing, to delay its planned Oct. 28 announcement of layoffs until Nov. 3 — the day after the midterm election.

A contemporaneous email from a Solyndra investor noted: “Oddly they didn’t give a reason for that date.” The writer was clearly born yesterday. The American voter was not — and (s)he soon gets to decide who really puts party over nation and re-election above all.

We can’t wait.

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group. His email is letters@charleskrauthammer.com.


Gandalf 6 years, 6 months ago

Come to think of it. I can't recall one single instance in the last 11 years where teapubs have put country over party.

jesse499 6 years, 6 months ago

I can't think of anytime in the last I don't know when the Dems or Reps. have looked at anything but there own pocket book. I wish I had pay, Ins.and retirement that they have given themselves.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

As has been said often, Obama became Jimmy Carter faster than Jimmy Carter became Jimmy Carter. America has been leaderless for going on three years now.

Despite all of his Hollywood and union money and the overwhelming support of the liberal media, Obama would lose to a Romney-Rubio ticket. Will the Republicans see the light, or will they nominate an unelectable candidate? Let's hope for the sake of America that they see the light.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

Jeez, Republicans essentially went on strike over the last 3 years based on the belief that it would be better for them electorally if they sit on their hands and hope for things to get ever worse. And it has gotten worse.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

Obama had a Democrat House and Senate for two years, Bozo. Get with it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

True enough-- but Republicans were able to get enough votes from Blue-Dog Democrats (Dinos. if you will) to create gridlock, which has been their one and only agenda over the last 3 years.

But, sadly, nearly all Republicans and a majority of Democrats are playing the same corrupt game. Democrats just put a slightly kinder, gentler face to that corruption and fealty to the .01%.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

The .01% are the nitwits involved with OWS. People in major cities have had enough of them, and the more they continue to pursue their juvenile delinquency, the more it will hurt their major endorsers - Obama, Biden, Pelosi et al.

esteshawk 6 years, 6 months ago

And passed the most comprhensive medical law in history. No other leader has been able to do tat. Id say tahts leadership.

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

No, it was political corruption at its worst. You have apparently forgotten the massive vote-buying, lies, and outright fraud associated with the passage of Obamacare. It was, and remains, disgraceful.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 6 months ago

Krauthammer should have written a piece about the recent scandal involving Gingrich. Newt is the perfect example of what is really wrong with Washington and it is throughly disgusting. Republicans, particulary those who listen to Limbaugh and Hannity all day long are simply blind to the truth.

Krauthammer is part of that group of corrupt opportunists, designing a career that pays him a huge amount of money to promote political propaganda that will better Krauthammer's finances at the expense of the American people.

The Republican Party has become a tool for profiteers and it is need of a reformation that will turn it into a viable organization for solving 21st Century problems that our country has to overcome in order to survive and prosper.

Most American know that politics is a "pay to play" system. But the attacks on Obama since his election have revealed to most Americans how truly corrupt and impotent the Republican Party is. Put in a position where they must articulate real solutions to solving the country's problems, they have shown themselves to be barren of solutions and creative ideas. They have bet everything on their propaganda machine that has worked so well in the past.

That is disturbing and should disturb all Americans.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 6 months ago

This writer offers up nonsense fiction...

Warren Buffett: The Super-Rich Have Been Coddled Long Enough By A Billionaire-Friendly Congress

Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-15/politics/29963964_1_higher-tax-tax-rates-job-creation#ixzz1e9vuh7B4

In an op-ed in the New York Times Monday, the Oracle of Omaha calls on Congress to ask him and other "super-rich" Americans to contribute more to the federal government.

Buffett called for the immediate increase in the tax rate for those making more than $1 million, and for a new, higher tax bracket for those making more than $10 million — including dividends and capital gains.

And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000," he writes. "You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation."

Buffett also called on the so-called "Super Committee" of 12 members of congress tasked with $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts to exceed that, in order to restore the nation's confidence in Washington.

He said Congress seems bent on protecting him and other wealth Americans from taxes as if "we were spotted owls or some other endangered species," but added they can do their part.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress," he writes. "It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

I agree. It's often possible at first glance to discern the smell of the malfeasance, corruption, and ineptitude of the Obama administration that Krauthammer brilliantly dissects and then proceeds to rend asunder.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

" His green energy fantasies yielded Solyndra cronyism and a cap-and-trade regime not even a Democratic Congress would pass."

You mean like lapping up the distortions over the Solyndra "affair?" An investment that was largely a creation of the Bush Administration?

cato_the_elder 6 years, 6 months ago

Thank you. A very poetic use of that phrase is found, among other places, in Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas," one of my favorite short operas.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

You mean the Krauthammer who complained here that Obama was demanding that TransX move their pipeline because of stupid old environmental concerns and that his demand jeopardized "shovel ready jobs" and would result in TransX shipping directly to China instead? The same TransX that agreed this week to move the pipeline?? I wonder how Krauthammer missed that?

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 6 months ago

The biggest problem we have in our government is that everyone is always telling lies.

Here is an analysis on the Obama 2012 budget from fact check.


What we really need in this country is good management and we need to get rid of self serving politicians. O'Reilly used to advertise himself and his program as the no spin zone. Then we found out that he can twirl with the best of them.

We are in a position where you cannot trust anyone in politics, especially someone who has a talk show or writes a politically biased column.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Those are the kinds of things that drive me nuts.

Both sides routinely spin/lie, and misrepresent things - why on earth can't they just tell the truth?

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 6 months ago

As an aside, remember when conservatives railed against environmental regulations because, they argued, these regulations...not lack of need...kept oil companies from building new refineries? I find it interesting that not a single refinery needs to be built to handle all this new oil that will be coming into the country. Hmmm.

JohnBrown 6 years, 6 months ago

What a list of political crimes. Is this all you've got?

a. "the 1,700-mile trans-USA Keystone XL pipeline, carrying Alberta oil to Texas refineries, that would have created thousands of American jobs and increased our energy independence" would NOT have increased our energy independence, it would have increased the oil supply to the WORLD MARKET.

b. "Obama’s decision to wind down the Afghan surge in September 2012 is militarily inexplicable. "
-And of course, you have all the secret CIA briefings to back this up.

c. At the height of the debt-ceiling debate last July, Obama pledged to veto any agreement that was not long term. Definition of long term? By another amazing coincidence, any deal large enough to get him past Election Day (and thus avoid another such crisis next year).
- Ah you forget who started that man-made "crisis", the Republicans, who wanted to reneg on paying bills for monies they had already spent.

d. Tuesday it was revealed that last year the administration pressured Solyndra, as it was failing, to delay its planned Oct. 28 announcement of layoffs until Nov. 3 — the day after the midterm election. - obviously the political crime of the century.

I've got a whole bale of straw I'll send you if you really want to try and grasp some straws.

How does any of that compare to the Tea-Party republicans holding the country's pledge to pay it's debts hostage during last August's fake debt-ceiling crisis? Or for failing to acknowledge that 'job creators' won't create any jobs until there is demand for their products? Or for falsely claiming the "stimulus failed" when it is obvious that the stimulus just wasn't big enough because the mess the Republicans created was bigger than anyone knew?

And not one Republican pol has congratulated O'Bama for getting Bin Laden, or for helping the Lybians free themselves.

So, who's REALLY putting party and politics before country?

bszemere 6 years, 6 months ago

John Brown and Jayhawk,

Obvious "Hope" and "Change" is the only thing you and Obama have.

Something like Solyndra is the tip of the iceberg....hundreds of millions to Tesla and a Finish firm to make electric cars, not of which is either obtainable or affordable by Americans, with little or no jobs to show for it...1.2 billion to a firm that has Joseph Kennedy Jr as a major player....and nothing to show the American people. 5 bil plus down a rat hole.

The admin asked a consulting firm to play down numbers on the amount of unemployment new mining regulations would cause. Nice surprise for the miners and those states they are in, don't you think?

Hollowing out our military while they are deployed on more wars than we were involved with in 2008. The new ones include Lybia, Uganda, Somolia, Iran (soon, stay tuned). We have more troops in Afghanistan. While our Russian, Iranian, Syria, North Korean, and Chinese friends arm themselves to the teeth, we downsize.

He has throw friends like Israel under the bus.

Takes a Nobel Prize for doing nothing. 1 mil dollars for nothing. No results.

With mailace, allows us to be financially downgraded.

He is on worthless trips and "autopen" business (not done much if any by past presidents) during criticle budget talks. He hasn't gotten one complete budget thru his entire term, despite controlling congress for most of it.

More golf games in his first term than any other president.

NBA thugs raising money for him with charity games.

Using government funds to fund ACORN and Occupy, while costing cities valuable time, money , and effort combating these vandals.

Increase the national debt by a third in just 2 years.

Higher unemployment and inflation, while reducing GDP.

Gas prices have increased 50%.

Yes, such a great president

JohnBrown 6 years, 6 months ago

Wow. Where have you been?

O'Bama is digging us out of hole your friends created over the last 25 years. Reagan doubled the debt and Bush W doubled it again.

As a wounded vet I resent the IDEA that O'Bama has degraded our military, Bush did that - all by himself (with a lot of friends in congress who wrap themselves in the flag every chance they get while downgrading vet medical care, pushing troops, and units, past the limit (without asking for a draft or otherwise asking the American people to help shoulder the burden of two wars)), including our eteemed governor Brownbeck.. Bush stood at Ground Zero and claimed the emergency responders were 'heroes' , then failed to give them the medical care they now need.

GDP has been reduced because 1) republicans tanked the economy, and 2) they have refused to kick start it again because any recovery would happen while O'Bama was still president and they couldn't have that, so they let the country wallow, and are STILL letting it wallow. Talk about "Putting Country First".

I think Ike played more golf, but neither Ike nor O'Bama cleared nearly as much brush as W did. And Bush let New Orleans just wash away 'cuz he was too busy clearing brush to give a damn.

Bush lied about nuclear weapons in Iraq, then he wasted our treasure and our blood on that useless war. And what did we get for it? A stronger Iran, that's what. Wow, what a great foreign policy plan that was! (And all you so-called Republicans posting on this board still think it is. Sheesh. You leave it to O'Bama to deal with Iran's growing power since you took away the Iraq counterweight. Good going!! and Thanks! But no thanks.

You guys not only drove this country into the ditch, you turn around and try and say "not my fault".

The entire mess O'Bama is trying to deal with was created by you and your politics. And all you can do is yell 'horray!' while the Tea Party does all it can to stymie any recovery.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.