In December Barack Obama vainly declared himself the fourth best president in American history, up there with the likes of Abraham Lincoln and FDR, just three years into his first term. In an interview with 60 Minutes on CBS he observed:
The issue here is not gonna be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president – with the possible exceptions of Johnson, FDR, and Lincoln – just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do. And we’re gonna keep on at it.
Perhaps this display of self-importance is not surprising, coming from a president who enthusiastically accepted the Nobel Peace Prize after just a few months in the job, and even campaigned thousands of miles across the Atlantic in Berlin while running for office. This is a leader who thinks nothing of taking a $4 million, taxpayer-subsidised vacation in Hawaii – nearly 100 times the average annual salary of an American worker, which currently stands at $41,673.
And upon his return from the sun-swept beaches of the Pacific, the president decided to bypass the elected representatives of the US Congress on Wednesday by unilaterally installing “three members of the National Labor Relations Board as well as a director for the controversial new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau”(Richard Cordray), in a huge sop to the powerful Left-wing labour unions. The move has been condemned on Capitol Hill and described by a prominent legal scholar as“a tyrannical abuse of power”.
There is something rotten at the heart of the White House when the President ignores the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution and rules with impunity. Not only is it an unhealthy power play by executive authority in the freest nation on earth, but it is also a display of extraordinary contempt for the American people 14 months after the US mid-terms where voters emphatically rejected the president’s agenda. Despite his self-proclaimed “shellacking” at the hands of the US electorate, President Obama continues to behave with impunity, in the belief that most Americans are wrong and that he is right. His approach is remarkably lacking in humility and empathy at a time of tremendous public dissatisfaction with the state of the nation.
A major Gallup poll published just before Christmas underscored in sharp detail the depth of the malaise that has set in Obama’s America . According to the survey, US satisfaction in 2011 ranked as the second lowest since 1979, with “on average, 17 per cent satisfied with national conditions”. In the words of Gallup:
Throughout 2011, an average of 17% of Americans said they were satisfied with the way things are going in the United States. That is the second-lowest annual average in the more than 30-year history of the question, after the 15% from 2008. Satisfaction has averaged as high as 60% in 1986, 1998, and 2000.
The 11% readings from August and September are just four percentage points above the all-time low single-poll reading of 7% from Oct. 10-12, 2008, recorded after the financial crisis, passage of the TARP legislation, and a sharp downturn in stock values.
Gallup’s polling chimes with several other surveys from Rasmussen, CBS News,Associated Press and Reuters showing that more than two thirds of Americans still believe the country is moving down the wrong direction. The latest RealClear Politics Average has 70 per cent of Americans believing the United States is on the “wrong track”. At the same time, the unemployment level remains at 8.6 per cent, a dangerously high level for any incumbent president. After all, as even The New York Times acknowledged back in June, “no American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office when the unemployment rate on Election Day topped 7.2 per cent.”
And the national debt has reached truly terrifying proportions under Obama’s big government leadership. As former Reagan adviser Bruce Bartlett noted in a must-read piece this week describing the findings of the just-released 2011 TreasuryFinancial Report of the United States Government:
According to the report, the federal debt — simply the cumulative value of all past budget deficits less surpluses — was $10.2 trillion on Sept. 30. But the government also owed $5.8 trillion to federal employees and veterans. Social Security’s unfunded liability — promised benefits over expected Social Security revenues — was $9.2 trillion over the next 75 years, or about 1 percent of the gross domestic product. Medicare’s unfunded liability was $24.6 trillion, or 3 percent of G.D.P.
Altogether, the Treasury reckons the government’s total indebtedness at $51.3 trillion – five times the size of the national debt. This would be an unbearable burden if it had to be paid by the current generation out of current resources, for it approximately equals the entire net worth of American households.
America is a superpower on a precipice, sinking under debt, historic rates of unemployment, expensive healthcare reforms, and a continuing housing market crisis. But instead of a presidency that grasps reality and is serious about getting this great nation back on its feet, the American people are saddled with leadership that is intent on bankrupting and condemning them to decades of decline. Barack Obama sits at the helm of a sinking ship holed below the waterline by arrogance and hubris, driven by liberal elites who are fundamentally out of touch with a disillusioned electorate. President Obama’s contempt for public opinion as well as the US Constitution, coupled with his failing big government agenda, will ultimately prove his downfall in an increasingly conservative nation that won’t readily accept the liberal mantra that it’s best days are behind it.