It’s not too soon to judge Obama

It’s been just over two months since Barack Obama became President, and his popularity is beginning to slip. Those who so strongly backed the Illinois senator say it’s too soon to be critical while those who did not, believe that enough evidence is in to vindicate their negative appraisal. Above everything else, Obama wanted to be regarded as a "transformative" leader, symbolically and substantively. He spoke often last year of the need to rise above petty politics, the old conflicts, stale arguments, etc., beyond cynicism even, in the direction of a bipartisan and perhaps post-partisan politics that solves problems and makes sound investments in our nation’s future.

It is a mistake to credit the supposedly new attitude when the fact is that there are serious differences of opinion about how to deal with our domestic and international problems. The fact that Obama and other Democrats now control the executive and legislative branches may give them the votes to pass any bills and institute any policies they like, but does not prove that they should prevail. After all, Obama led many to believe that congressional Republicans would be consulted as changes were made.

Obama’s claim that he was rising above partisanship was merely a ploy to deflect attention from the seriousness of the partisan differences and to neutralize opposition, if not stigmatize it. Sure, "politics ain’t beanbag," but that bit of political wisdom is as much an indictment of Obama and his pretentious claims of nonpartisanship as it is of those who are surprised that Obama is a partisan after all.

As to the substance of Obama’s policies, there is no doubt that he is as opposed to constitutionalism, free markets and American exceptionalism as his election-year commitment to "transforming" America implied that he was. Naive people who either dismissed or fell for political rhetoric did not think about what transformation was really about. But the clues to that ambitious objective were in plain sight for those who paid attention.

Seeking to outdo even Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Obama means to replace the markets that have been the source of our nation’s prosperity with government controls in every area in which he can make some sort of plausible case. Yet the credit crisis was brought on not by markets out of control but by the biggest lenders of them all, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, indulging into an orgy of bad loans and underwriting the efforts of private lenders in the process.

Yet Obama insists that our problems are due to corporate greed while facilitating continued borrowing by millions of unqualified home buyers, thereby ensuring more greed. That bogus claim underlay the audacious "stimulus package" of $780 billion that is way out of proportion to the problem and irrelevant to its solution. As White House aide Rahm Emmanuel said, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, so this administration has taken full advantage of the opportunity to waste money on a multiple trillion dollar scale for years.

And because both the price of oil and our dependence on foreign sources have risen so much in recent years, Obama proposes that we shift to subsidized alternatives such as solar, wind and geothermal that have yet to prove themselves as efficient and cheap as oil and natural gas, while ignoring nuclear power and preventing off-shore and continental drilling that would have supplied our needs long ago.

Similarly, Obama’s otherwise well-founded concern about the declining state of public education unfortunately leads him to call for vast expenditures of money and bigger salaries without regard to results. Education is too bureaucratic and union-dominated to deliver the goods, particularly when Obama proposes that everyone be educated until the first year of college.

And the biggest jewel in the Obama crown is government health care which, like energy and education, has already been made too expensive by government funding. When consumers are not responsible for the costs of the services sought, they have no incentive to control costs. Medicare and other government health programs have driven up costs because consumers have delegated their expenses to a third party.

We don’t have to wait for the full implementation of costly "reforms" to know that we made a mistake in electing Barack Obama. Like our founding fathers, we don’t have to wait until we are taxed of all our earnings or deprived of all our liberties to revolt. Like them, we can see this coming and take the necessary steps to avoid or reverse it. Fortunately, we still have free elections in which to make that choice.