Politics & Policy

Obama’s Enablers in the Senate

Democratic-party loyalists have enabled the worst president since the Civil War.

Barack Obama isn’t running merely the worst American presidency since James Buchanan’s, but the worst imaginable presidency in this day and age. And every single Senate Democrat is thoroughly complicit in Obama’s horrendous record.

Is there a single Obama initiative that has actually worked as advertised, or even one that has improved the lives of most Americans or improved the U.S.’s standing in the world? Surely there must be a small success or two, somewhere, but everywhere we look, we see failure and calamity. And in almost every case, the disaster has been aided and abetted by Senate Democrats such as Tom Udall, Kay Hagan, Jeanne Shaheen, Mary Landrieu, Mark Udall, Mark Warner, Mark Begich, and Mark Pryor. (One might say Senate Democrats have been “off their Marks.”)

For the so-called stimulus act of 2009, Obama promised hundreds of thousands of “shovel-ready jobs.” There were instead, approximately . . . none. The president later tried to turn his own prior promise into a punch line, quipping, at a meeting of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Hilarious. What’s not so funny is that every Democratic senator voted for the bill. It blew deficits and the debt through the roof, gave oodles of taxpayer dollars to favored insiders who produced nothing for it, and did nothing to stop (and possibly worsened) the rise in unemployment from 8.3 percent to 10 percent. It took three full years before unemployment dipped below what it was when Obama took office.

Obamacare, famously enacted with the vote of every Democratic senator, has limited patient choices (including taking away the chosen insurance plans of as many as 5 million Americans, who saw their policies canceled as a direct result of Obamacare); jacked up premium prices by an average of 202 percent; imposed more than a trillion dollars in new taxes, including on medical-device companies, that have resulted in many thousands of job losses and a slowdown in medical innovation; trampled on religious liberty and the rights of conscience; driven people crazy with a bollixed website; added potentially $6.2 trillion to federal deficits; and destroyed as many as 2 million jobs.

Obama’s jihad against fossil fuels resulted in the rapid doubling of gasoline prices (and they stayed that high until a minor recent abatement). Its Consumer Products Safety Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board, and other astonishingly interventionist regulators have put a wet blanket on jobs, inconvenienced consumers, and even interfered with yard sales and tried to outlaw outdoor Christmas lights. (Ever the Grinch, Obama also is taxing Christmas trees.)

Obama and Senate Democrats made a major cause of battling so-called income inequality (whether inequality is a good measure of economic health is up for debate), only to produce conditions in which both income inequality and wealth inequality have risen to record levels. They said they support the “little guy” over Wall Street, but only Wall Street has gotten rich under their reign. They wanted to bring more people into the work force but drove work-force participation to record lows. They wanted to make college more affordable but succeeded only in driving popular colleges into bankruptcy and leaving their students in the lurch.

Obama said he wanted to be a racial healer, but racial divisions have grown. He promised the most transparent administration in history but instead merited an unprecedented rebuke for lack of transparency from dozens of American press outlets. He promised an end to executive overreach but has instead invented ever-more-brazen executive abuses.

Obama has bungled disaster responses ranging from the BP oil spill to Hurricane Isaac to the current, mind-bogglingly inept handling of the Ebola outbreak. He’s been mired in scandals: gun-running in Mexico; IRS abuses of conservative groups; racialism at the Justice Department; mistreatment of inspectors general; spying on the press; trading terrorists for a deserter; deliberately created chaos at the Mexican border; massive fraud at the Department of Agriculture; and the ongoing lies and cover-ups about Benghazi.

With repeated support from Senate Democrats, Obama has gutted American defenses and radically undermined our diplomatic standing. The “reset” with Russia lies in ruins in Crimea and Ukraine. Libya is a disaster area. A “jayvee team” beheads Western journalists and aid workers, lays waste to entire villages in Syria and Iraq, destroys Christian holy sites, and even threatens Baghdad. Al-Qaeda affiliates gain ground in numerous African and Gulf states. Afghanistan totters on the brink. Obama’s Middle East “peace process” resulted in a Hamas uprising. Huge majorities of Israelis feel abandoned by the current administration. Iran is closer than ever to deliverable nuclear weapons. China increasingly rattles its saber internationally while destroying decades of republican government in Hong Kong. Allied leaders are furious that we spied on them. South American nations are increasingly distant from the United States.

Nowhere — repeat, nowhere — do U.S. interests appear to be in stronger position now than when Obama took office.

Domestically, Obama’s managerial state has managed only to make life more unmanageable. Abroad, his bowing to foreign leaders has only bowed the “arc of history” in the wrong direction. And every single Senate Democrat has kowtowed, at every turn, to every one of his major actions.

The virtue of a two-party system, under a Constitution providing for a division and blending of powers, is that it lets voters provide a check on power that has been exercised wrongly. And Obama and the Senate Democrats surely offer an object lesson – and an abject lesson, too — in the wrongful exercise of power. The American people deserve better than we’ve received from the Obama Democrats. The American people are better than the Obama Democrats. In two weeks we can exercise our power to insist on better. In two weeks, we can send them packing.

— Quin Hillyer is a contributing editor for National Review. Follow him on Twitter: @QuinHillyer.


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