Politics, et Cetera
A publication from The Political Forum, LLC
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
They Said It:
In my holiday I thought it was a chance to study the reign of King Ethelred the Unready. The House will remember that that was a period of great misfortune, in which, from the strong position which we had gained under the descendants of King Alfred, we fell very swiftly into chaos. It was the period of Danegeld and of foreign pressure. I must say that the rugged words of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, written a thousand years ago, seem to me apposite, at least as apposite as those quotations from Shakespeare with which we have been regaled by the last speaker from the Opposition Bench. Here is what the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle said, and I think the words apply very much to our treatment of Germany and our relations with her.
“All these calamities fell upon us because of evil counsel, because tribute was not offered to them at the right time nor yet were they resisted; but when they had done the most evil, then was peace made with them.”
Winston Churchill, Address to the House of Commons on the Munich Agreement, October 5, 1938.
BARACK OBAMA AND THE MIDDLE EAST ARMS RACE.
We had intended this week to write yet another treatise on the disaster that is Obamacare. And who knows? Maybe we’ll have a little room after this article to discuss the latest developments in the collapse of Barack Obama’s domestic policy. In the meantime, though, we think it’s important to acknowledge THAT SQUIRREL OVER THERE! Look! Look at the squirrel! Do not focus on the disaster here in front of you. LOOK AT THE DAMN SQUIRREL!
On the off chance you hadn’t figured it out yet, the “squirrel” you should be gaping at in Pavlovian fashion, is Barack Obama’s greatest feat yet, namely his delivery of “peace for our time.” Yes, he did. “The One” and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, finalized an interim deal with the Iranian government, whereby the Iranians agreed not detonate any nuclear bombs before Thanksgiving, and, in return, the Americans agreed to give the them anything and everything they wanted. And in so doing, Obama and Kerry have, according to their press releases, saved the world from the scourge of . . . well . . . something.
As it turns out, the deal with the Iranians is not exactly ideal. The Iranians agreed only to “halt” their nuclear arms program. They did not agree to dismantle any centrifuges. They did not agree to send their enriched uranium out of the country for proper handling. They did not agree to stop work on a plutonium bomb. They did not agree to stop being the world’s most active state sponsor of terrorism. They did not agree to quit targeting Israel with violent and apocalyptic rhetoric. They did not agree to stop fomenting Shiite insurgencies throughout the Middle East. They did not agree to apologize for or pay reparations for past terrorist acts. They did not agree to stop supporting and funding the Assad regime in Syria. They did not agree to stop supporting and funding the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon. And the list goes on (and on and on . . . ).
They did, however, agree to let a presumably smiling Kerry (it’s kinda hard to tell with all the botox) have some pictures taken of him shaking hands with the Iranian foreign minister so that he and his boss could wave them around, declaring “health care, shmealth care! We have peace for our time!”
“Peace for our time” was, of course, the infamous phrase uttered by then-British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain when he returned from meeting with Adolf Hitler in September, 1938 and declared that the reasonable “Herr” Hitler had agree to a solution of the “Czechoslovakian problem” and that all would henceforth be well with the world. Big surprise. Less than a year later, Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began in earnest. The “peace” that Chamberlain had achieved was not merely short-lived, but was illusionary, since Hitler never had any intention of ending his sweep through and occupation of central Europe. And lo, Chamberlain’s declaration became a sort of short-hand for naiveté and capitulation in the face of adversity and an existential global threat.
Given this, it’s entirely understandable why so many would immediately think of Chamberlain and his imaginary peace when discussing the Obama-Iran deal. Needless to say, any number of conservatives used this very analogy over the weekend to describe the accord and to bemoan Obama’s fecklessness in the face of danger. Victor Davis Hanson, the military historian and classicist, for example, titled his post on the Iran agreement with Chamberlain’s infamous phrase and wrote that, when taken in conjunction with his other foreign policy “achievements,” this deal puts the United States in a rather awkward position, reminiscent of the Carter Era. To wit:
Collate reset, lead from behind, “redlines,” “game-changers,” ”deadlines,” the Arab Spring confusion, the skedaddle from Iraq, Benghazi, the Eastern European missile pullback, and the atmosphere is comparable to the 1979–80 Carter landscape, in which after three years of observation, the opportunists at last decided to act while the acting was good, from Afghanistan to Central America to Tehran.
There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements.
Likewise, our old friend Daniel Pipes, the historian and president of the Middle East Forum, declared that “this wretched deal offers one of those rare occasions when comparison with Neville Chamberlain in Munich in 1938 is valid.” This agreement, he continued, ensures that Obama will be remembered for his accommodation of the Iranian nuclear program rather than the destruction of it. “Geneva and Nov. 24,” Pipes wrote, “will be remembered along with Munich and Sept. 29.”
Now, far be it from us to question those with greater knowledge of this foreign affairs business than we. But it strikes us that perhaps, just perhaps, these and other conservative commentators and essayists who have drawn this comparison are wrong.
After all, history has shown that the “appeasement” of Hitler at Munich was a mixed bag. Yes, it did encourage him to believe that the allied powers would not go to war and allowed him to take the so-called “Sudetenland” and then the entirety of Czechoslovakia without serious opposition. But it also provided the Brits an extra year to prepare for the war. Moreover, and as Winston Churchill himself argued in defense of Chamberlain, the British agreement at Munich was made in a genuine hope for peace, which was shattered only because of Hitler’s malevolence. All of which is to say that Hitler wanted the war and nothing that Chamberlain did or did not do was going to change that. The Munich agreement merely delayed the inevitable.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the agreement reached this weekend in Geneva. Unlike the appeased Germans, the Iranians are, unquestionably, the weaker power here. In fact, the positions here are rather reversed from the Munich example. Today, the Iranians are buying time. The Iranians are seeking the opportunity to better prepare for war, precisely by achieving the production of a nuclear weapon. And by contrast to Chamberlain and the Brits, Obama’s America will not use the interim time to prepare itself. Rather, Obama intends to use the time he has given the Iranians to claim a policy victory he badly needs and thereby to rehabilitate his reputation, all in the hope of somehow resuscitating his stalled and terribly damaged domestic agenda.
Most notably, however, whereas Munich postponed war, the Geneva accords actually make war more inevitable. And even if war is not the near-term result, the almost immediate repercussion of this deal will be an arms race in the Middle East. And not just any arms race, but a NUCLEAR arms race, which suggests that if war does not come directly to the region, it will, when it does come, be far more calamitous than anything that could ever have happened without Obama’s half-hearted intervention.
Not everyone understands this, of course. Some people – namely those who are inclined to think that Israel is the cause of all the problems in the Middle East – believe that the American agreement with Iran sent the message to Israel that it is now on its own, that the United States will no longer be manipulated into doing Israel’s bidding. Robert Fisk, the noted “liberal” columnist for the Independent of London, who is perhaps equally famous as today’s best respected and most oft forgiven blatant anti-Semite, writes that the key benefit to the accord reached this weekend is that it tells the war-mongering Israelis that will have to carry out their belligerent and criminal foreign policy without American help. Fisk puts it this way:
There’s no doubt that Geneva has called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bluff. He may huff and puff, but if he wants to bash Iran now – on the basis that Israel must remain the only nuclear nation in the Middle East – he’s going to be on his own when his planes take off to bomb Iran’s nuclear plants. The Aipac attack dogs can be sent up to Congress again by that most infamous of Israeli-American lobby groups to harry Republicans in support of the Likudist cause, but to what purpose? Did Mr Netanyahu really think the Iranians were going to dismantle their whole nuclear boondoggle?
When he said yesterday that “the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step towards obtaining the world’s most dangerous weapon”, many Arabs – and an awful lot of other people in the world, including the West – will have wondered whether Israel, which long ago obtained the world’s most dangerous weapon, is now – in rejecting the Geneva deal – the world’s most dangerous government. If Mr Netanyahu and his clique in the government decide to twit the world’s major powers amid their euphoria, he may bring about – as several Israeli writers have warned – the most profound change in Israel’s relations with the US since the foundation of the Israeli state. It would not be a change for Israel’s benefit.
In addition to being rank and offensive, Fisk’s conclusions are just flat wrong. Certainly, the Israelis are now looking at defending themselves against Iranian aggression without American help. But that is not to say that they are “on their own.” In fact, given the unwillingness of the Obama administration to side with Israel at any point over the last five years, we’d argue that Israel is now, after this agreement, less likely to be on its own than it was before. American help was never going to come under Obama. But now the Israelis are free to pursue others who have similar interests.
Along these lines, we think it’s important to remember that people like Fisk, who presume that the Israelis are the problem, forget that the unrest in this part of the world long predates the modern Jewish state and that those who are likeliest to be disturbed by this agreement reside not in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, but in Riyadh, Karachi, and perhaps even Cairo. As it turns out, the Israelis are not the only ones who think that the Shiite Iranians are both untrustworthy and interested principally in extending Shiite domination throughout the Middle East. The Sunnis too worry about the Iranians, which is to say that the Sunnis too are unhappy with the American agreement. And that, in turn, means that Fisk has absolutely no idea what he is talking about when it comes Israel’s supposed “isolation.” As the Times of London reported over the weekend, the reports of Netanyahu’s demise and Israel’s attendant isolation have been greatly exaggerated.
ONCE they were sworn enemies. Now Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is working with Saudi officials on contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran if its nuclear programme is not significantly curbed in a deal that could be signed in Geneva this week.
Both the Israeli and Saudi governments are convinced that the international talks to place limits on Tehran’s military nuclear development amount to appeasement and will do little to slow its development of a nuclear warhead.
As part of the growing co-operation, Riyadh is understood already to have given the go-ahead for Israeli planes to use its airspace in the event of an attack on Iran.
Both sides are now prepared to go much further. The Sunni kingdom is as alarmed as Israel by the nuclear ambitions of the Shi’ite-dominated Iran.
Whether or not vile little Jew-baiters like Fisk know it, the Middle East is already immersed in war, and the only country not overtly involved is Israel. The Syrian civil war, of course, in addition to a fight amongst the Syrian people, is a proxy war between Shiite forces led by Iran and buttressed by Hezbollah, and Sunni forces led by al Qaeda and financed by Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf kingdoms. Additionally, the Iranians have been supporting – sometimes covertly, sometimes less so – Shiite uprisings throughout the region, including funding and encouraging the Shiite troubles in Bahrain two years ago and ongoing Shiite unrest in Saudi Arabia’s eastern provinces.
Last week, Reuters was one of the few world news organizations to note that this low-level conflict seems to be picking up speed. Thursday, the British newswire reported the following:
Six mortar bombs landed near a remote Saudi border post close to neighboring fellow oil producers Iraq and Kuwait, but caused no damage, Saudi Arabia said on Thursday, a day after the incident.
The mortar rounds hit desert on the far northwestern fringes of the kingdom’s oil-producing region and several hundred kilometers (miles) from the major fields operated by the world’s largest oil exporter and biggest Arab economy.
There was no word on who was behind the barrage, which occurred two days after twin suicide bombings killed 25 people near Iran’s embassy in Beirut. Some Shi’ite commentators blamed the assault on Saudi Arabia . . . .
Mortar bombs. Embassy bombings. And it’s all about to get much worse. Last week, the retired Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters, a national security commentator and columnist for the New York Post, argued that al Qaeda’s principal enemy these days is Iran, not the United States or Israel. This, he suggested is a positive development. And while we agree with Peters that it’s nice that al Qaeda is distracted with other operations, we also understand that this portends a rather significant escalation of the Shiite-Sunni conflict, one which may well end rather badly for everyone involved, and perhaps for everyone everywhere, depending on which way and how strongly the wind is blowing over Tehran on any given day.
Three weeks ago, Mark Urban of the BBC penned a report that was unquestionably important but which was nevertheless largely ignored. Urban’s piece described the palpable sense of panic in Saudi Arabia, as the Kingdom’s chief defender (i.e. the United States) negotiates fictitious peace deals with its chief adversary (i.e. the Shiite “Republic” of Iran). Additionally, Urban explained precisely why all of this should concern any sentient being, as he illustrated just how high the stakes in the region are. To wit:
Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.
While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.
Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.
Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”
Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, “we will get nuclear weapons”, the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.
Four weeks ago, we detailed just how unhappy and impatient many of the Middle East’s players have grown with Barack Obama and his various and sundry obsessions, most especially the Saudis. And this new deal with Iran will do nothing whatsoever to ameliorate their displeasure. Indeed, as Mark Urban and the BBC documented, the Saudis now fully intend to take their national defense into their own hands – which can hardly be an indicator of anything good to follow. If the Saudis – and the Israelis and the Egyptians and the Kuwaitis, etc. etc. – now believe that the United States has decided to sit this fight out or, worse yet, has switched sides, then they will arm themselves to the teeth And they will begin thinking very long and very hard about the benefits of being the first to strike in a war in which there may be no second strike. And they will begin to look for allies elsewhere.
As we also noted four weeks ago, the site where the Saudis, the Israelis, the Egyptians, and everyone else hope to find new allies is Moscow. No one is expecting Czar Putin to rush to the aid of the Royal House of Saud, thereby abandoning his current allies, Iran and Syria. But, at the very least, it appears that the key players in the region understand that Putin, of all people, is the only world “leader” currently capable AND willing to stop a nuclear arms race and/or a nuclear war in the Middle East.
In his otherwise useless and contemptible tirade against Israel, the aforementioned Robert Fisk noted that Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov greeted the Iranian agreement with “theatrical enthusiasm.” Of course he did. Russia is now the only external player who matters in the Middle East. Obama has taken himself out of the game. And there is no one left who can possibly calm the region’s tensions, save Putin. What does it say about the state of global leadership and about the state of American leadership in particular, that a KGB thug who has, through theft, amassed a fortune that likely makes him the third richest man in the world, is also the only reliable “grown up” in global affairs?
All of this is not to say that Obama is to blame for the Iranian hatred of Israel or the millennia-old rivalry between the Sunnis and the Shiites. It is, however, to say that this is what the world will look like going forward, in the absence of real American leadership.
Last spring, after a thoroughly embarrassing performance by Obama’s Secretary of Defense designate in his confirmation hearing, we suggested that the nominations of that man, Chuck Hagel, and his counterpart at State, John Kerry, should be taken as a warning to the rest of the world that the United States was getting out of the global-policeman business. Specifically, we put it this way:
It may also help to think about it from the perspective of, say, the French President. You have very sensitive operations in North Africa. You’ve helped to topple Gaddafi, but you know that Libya is still a mess. You are trying to keep Muslim insurgents from taking control of Mali, but you know that you can’t do it alone. You want desperately to topple the murderous Bashar Assad, but worry that doing so will push Syria into the arms of the Muslim Brotherhood or, worse yet, make it the central battlefield in a raging hot war between the region’s Sunni and Shi’ite powers.
Fortunately, you can count on the world’s only hyperpower and, as luck would have it, the Secretary of State of that hyperpower is on his way into your office. Unfortunately, when he gets there, all he wants to do is show you how well he speaks French, tell you about his time in French finishing school, and discuss how valiantly he came to the aid of your country 50 years ago in Indochina. He even shows you his war wounds and his medals, which he carries with him at all times, on the off chance that he may have to throw them over a fence somewhere as part of a cheap publicity stunt. What do you think? Do you think that the President of the United States – whose liaison this guy is – has any intention of helping you out or of helping anyone else in the world out? Or do you think maybe – just maybe – that this idiot’s presence in your office is the American President’s way of metaphorically flipping you – and the rest of the world – the bird?
In our estimation, it is pretty clear what the Obama is saying here and what he is doing. . . .
We’re not sure if the rest of the world is ready for this; if those who have long insisted that they just want America to go away are entirely aware of what it will mean when America does, indeed, go away. But they should be. And if they aren’t, they might want to begin making themselves aware, begin planning for a much uglier and much more violent world. Because that’s what they’re gonna get.
Don’t let the cheering and jubilation at the White House fool you. This is Step 2 in the world getting uglier and more violent. Step 1, of course, came when Obama decided that Bashar Assad would be put in charge of disposing of his own chemical weapons, as punishment for his use of those chemical weapons against his own people.
This agreement, in our estimation, is about as valuable as that agreement – which is to say not at all. The rest of the world can worry about Saudi nukes, a regional war, a possible nuclear exchange, and all that other silly business. Barack Obama has bigger, more important things to do. That health care web site isn’t gonna fix itself, after all. And if you doubt that the man is capable of fixing it singlehandedly, then that merely demonstrates your lack of faith. You probably thought he couldn’t bring peace to the Middle East either. And he just did. Peace for our time, that is.
2013: MAIN EVENT OR UNDERCARD?
Nearly two years ago, in our 2012 domestic politics forecast piece, we suggested that 2013 would be the year that all hell would break loose of the home front. Specifically, we wrote:
As far as we can tell, 2012 will be much like any number of years before it . . . .
Now, we should note that this is not to say that we do not believe that 2012 will be unimportant. Actually, precisely the opposite is true. The status quo, which our old friend Bob Feinberg once deﬁned as “the mess we’re in,” cannot hold forever. And those who are expecting it to change or are hoping for some relief will, we suspect, come to see 2012 as the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Or, to mix our metaphors quite gruesomely here, 2012 and its relative ordinariness will be the calm before the storm of 2013 . . . .
When the curtain closes on 2012, we expect that the nation will be primed for a rather abrupt and rather fierce outbreak of partisan, intra-partisan, and supra-partisan discontent . . . .
Last January, in our follow-up domestic forecast piece, we reiterated the theme, writing that Obama, fresh off his victory and confused about what that meant about the mood of the country, would push ahead with his domestic plans, wrongly presuming that the American people had just bought into his agenda, rather than merely choosing what they saw as the lesser of two evils. To wit:
Newly re-elected President Barack Obama, a man remarkably incapable of self-reflection of self-restraint, will overreach on a matter of policy and, in so doing, will damage his standing among the broader electorate and damage his party’s long-term prospects.
Anyone who doubts that Barack Obama is capable of squandering his political capital almost as quickly as he accumulated it is either delusional or just waking up from a four-year-long nap. During his first term, you see, our illustrious President did exactly that. Of course, the mainstream media protected him. And they will continue to do so. But this time around he is freed from the bonds of ever having to run for reelection again. That is, he can do anything he damn well pleases. And it really doesn’t matter if anyone else opposes what he does or what he plans. Anything he damn well pleases means ANYTHING he damn well pleases. And, in our opinion, this virtually assures that at some point he will stretch the bounds of the main stream media’s affection for him to the breaking point. Indeed, our guess is that he will break it. At which time he will be in trouble.
Prior to the election, Obama had suggested that the Republicans were behaving as if they were ill or otherwise abnormal. “In this election,” the President declared on the campaign trail, “the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction. The center of gravity for their party has shifted.” He continued, arguing that his victory would redirect the GOP and make them well again. “I believe that if we’re successful in this election, when we’re successful in this election, that the fever may break,” he said.
He was wrong, of course. The fever did not break. And the “fever” did not break because the irritant, the infection that prompted the body politic to spike said fever, was not purged. Indeed, it was given four more years. In speeches just before the election, we argued that these four years would be among the most troubled in recent American political history and that Obama ran the very serious risk of actually exacerbating the fever, driving the political system to the point of breakdown. He would use, we noted, every tool at his disposal to enforce his will on a defiant country and would thus incur the anger of a disgruntled Congress and a disgruntled electorate.
What we didn’t know – what he couldn’t have known – was that the launch of his health care law would be that proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. And we couldn’t have known this because we couldn’t have known just how far the President would go to ensure that his hated and failing health law would nevertheless be implemented. “By any means necessary,” it turns out was not merely the throw-away line by which Sartre advocated the advance of socialism, but also the motto for the Obama administration’s implementation of its law.
Over the past couple of weeks, as the disaster that is Obamacare has become more and more obvious, the Obama administration has become more and more reckless in its attempts to “fix” the badly broken law. Twice over the last couple of weeks, the administration has unilaterally issued “fixes” for Obamacare problems, both of which directly and overtly violate the clear language of the law. As Bloomberg’s inimitable Megan McCardle noted, Obama is, quite blatantly, breaking the health care law in his attempt to save it. McCardle noted the following on November 15:
I wrote yesterday that this was a pretty bold – or desperate – move, considering that the administration still needs a fair amount of cooperation from insurers. The insurers are putting in a lot of work helping to get the exchanges working, and they will be very necessary allies indeed if Democrats don’t want to go into next year’s midterms just as insurers are announcing their 2015 rates, and indeed, whether they’ll be staying in the insurance market.
But it seems that the administration is looking for ways to sweeten the deal for insurers. Politico reports, “Administration officials say they can take care of that problem. They’re going to look at ways to adjust special payment mechanisms built into Obamacare, called ‘risk corridors’ that pay health plans if they have higher costs than they expected.”
I’ve been skeptical of the argument that the risk corridors will fix things; they’ll mitigate insurer losses if the patient mix is too sick, but they don’t turn losses into profit. It’s a mechanism meant to deal with individual insurers who miscalculate their actuarial risk, not a whole marketplace filled with sicker and older patients than expected.
But this is a bit different; the administration is clearly looking for a way to increase the payments so that they defray more of the unexpected costs. Only looking at the statute, I don’t see how they can. The language is extremely clear . . . .
She then proceeded to cite a long and nearly impenetrable section of the law that nevertheless fairly clearly ties the hands of regulators in this case, making this “fix” an administrative violation of the administration’s own law.
Four days later and after another administrative “fix,” McCardle took another bite of that same apple, noting again the administration’s push toward lawlessness:
The Barack Obama administration is sounding a bit more upbeat today on the state of the health insurance exchanges. At the same time, it’s also clearly preparing a backup plan: allowing customers to buy policies directly from insurers.
Now, the law never forbade direct purchases; it says you can buy a policy off the exchange, as long as it’s either grandfathered from 2010, or in compliance with the new requirements for minimum coverage. But you don’t want to do this if your income qualifies you for a subsidy, because subsidies are only available for policies purchased on the exchanges.
Or they were only available. Now, the administration seems to be saying that it will allow people to qualify for subsidies for policies purchased direct from insurers.
It’s hard to see, however, how this can be legal. The language of the statute is quite clear:
Again, McCardle proceeded to cite the section of the law that quite clearly makes this ILLEGAL.
Conservative critics of the Obama administration have long accused him of having little regard for the law and of ruling like an elected oligarch who decides what the law should be and then implements it to be so. On the one hand, we tend to agree with this assessment. But on the other, we recognize our biases and know, moreover, that this same charge is bandied about during every presidency. The Republicans said the same about Clinton. The Democrats hyperventilated about the same with respect to George W. Bush. Every president is a lawless dictator bypassing the Constitution and the law to impose his will.
That said, this is different. In these cases, the law is fresh; it is not yet fully in effect; as written, it is failing badly; and so the administration is clearly and unapologetically changing the law on the fly. That is, in many ways, a remarkable development in American politics.
For more than three years now, every commentator on the Right, the Left, and in between has referred to the Affordable Care Act as Obama’s “legacy” or his “signature achievement.” Heck, up until recently, even he referred to it in vernacular, calling it “Obamacare.” It’s what he did. It’s who he is. It’s what allowed or will allow him to “transform” the country as he promised.
But it may also be his undoing. We’re not suggesting that Obama will be impeached or otherwise hounded from office. But we are suggesting – stating directly, actually – that the man is at very serious risk of turning his erstwhile signature achievement into his undoing as well. Blatantly violating the law not only makes him vulnerable to further erosion of his reputation, which has already taken quite a hit, but also ensures that the proverbial Republican “fever” will not break and that he will be forced for the remainder of his presidency to fight an ever-increasingly hostile opposition party and perhaps an increasingly hostile electorate as well.
It is important, we think, to remember that when the GOP hounded and eventually impeached Bill Clinton, his approval rating was through the roof, just as the economy was humming along nicely. Obama has neither of those advantages.
For two years now, we have been warning that the domestic political scene would grow very interesting in 2013 and that the political tussle between Barack Obama and his Congressional opponents would be ugly, vicious, and perhaps unprecedented. We were right, it turns out. But what we didn’t know was that even as 2013 was rancorous and brutal, it might be a mere preview of the real action to being next year.
That’s fine by us, we suppose, since it will provide us endless material. But we’re just not so sure it’s particularly good for anyone else.