Barack Obama was caught on a hot mic saying to President Dmitri Medvedev of Russia that after his re-election he’d have more “flexibility” to deal with “controversial issues” like missile defense.
In essence, he’s not saying what every other President has thought when running for his second term. In the case of Barack Obama, though, it could be worse than we think.
Obama is the consummate political animal. That doesn’t mean he’s a particularly good one, but it does mean he weighs every move he makes in terms of the politics of the issue. You can see it throughout his presidency. The most current example is the Keystone XL pipeline. He turned down the cross border part and pleased his environmental constituency, but displeased much of the American public who want more energy resources made available. He then tried to claim credit for the construction of the southern portion of that pipeline that doesn’t need either his permission or his help. If it was his second term, the attempt to claim credit would never have been made. In fact, my guess is he’d have tried to slow that portion of the pipeline too.
His Afghanistan “strategy” was to underman the surge (but still surge to satisfy one set of constituents) while at the same time setting a withdrawal date, there by satisfying a different set of constituents. Had that been his second term, no surge would have been made and only the withdrawal date would have been announced.
There have also been times when he has said to hell with public opinion and decided he’d push an unpopular agenda item, like ObamaCare, even while the majority of the people made very clear they didn’t want it. The calculation then was quite evident. Do it early in your tenure and by the time reelection rolls around it will be old news. Unfortunately for him, it is now before the Supreme Court as election time draws ever nearer.
And then there are the executive departments and agencies, like the EPA and Department of Energy, which have been let loose to implement his radical energy and environmental policies. Just today the EPA got called down by a District Judge for doing something they had no power or authority to do.
What you’ve seen during his first term is nothing compared to what you’ll see if he gets a second term. There will be no constraints on him by the need for re-election. Although it may be hard to believe, that has held him back somewhat this term. He has also shown more than a slight propensity to go off on his own if he doesn’t get what he wants from Congress. Given how the Congressional races are shaping up, that seems to be something he’ll probably suffer again during his second term.
While that may slow him down a bit, he feels he’ll have enough “flexibility” that he’ll be able to act on his own and through the agencies and departments he owns to push his agenda. If, by some horrendous turn of events he is re-elected and the Democrats somehow wrest full control of Congress from the Republicans again, then the scenario becomes even darker. We can’t afford to take that chance.
The hot mic reveals a man biding his time and planning an unrestrained second term in which he’ll pursue his agenda by whatever means are available to him.
Hopefully, by this time next year, the only flexibility he’ll be exercising is deciding whether or not he should go golfing, work on planning his library or do both on a beautiful Chicago day.
I continue to watch this incredibly dumb public fight the White House has picked with a news organization and cannot fathom why they continue it. At least not a rational reason. I can come up with all sorts of irrational reasons. For an election campaign organization that was touted as being so media savvy, while watching this debacle continue to develop you have to wonder where all the savvy types went.
And some of the media seems to have had a “there but for the grace of God go I” moment. Jake Tapper exemplifies that:
Jake Tapper, ABC News: It hasn’t escaped our notice that in the last few weeks the White House has decided to declare war on one of our sister organizations saying it’s not a news organization and tell the rest of the news media to not treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to say one of them is not a news organization and the rest of the media should not treat them like one.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: We render opinion based on some their coverage and the fairness of that coverage.
Tapper: That’s a pretty sweeping declaration that they’re not a news organization. How are they different from, say another, say ABC, MSNBC, Univision?
Gibbs: You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight or five this afternoon.
Tapper: I’m not talking about their opinion programs. Or issues you have with certain reports. I’m talking about saying that thousands of individuals who work for a media organization do not work for a news organization. Why is that appropriate for the White House to say?
Gibbs: That is our opinion.
When you’re reduced to “that’s our opinion” as a defense of your actions, you’ve got nothing. When you have representatives of competing news organizations referring to FOX as a “sister organization”, you’ve lost the battle.
However the White House doesn’t seem to understand that, and continues to arrogantly push this fight they picked. Other that with the extreme left, which has always hated FOX, the White House is the completely unsympathetic actor in this little charade. Here you have the Press Secretary for the President of the United States trying to dictate what constitutes “fairness” of coverage. It is pure arrogance trying to trade on waning popularity and it isn’t working. More overreach by this administration – picking fights that aren’t necessary whichmake them look petty and small and which they will, in the end, lose.
Not too bright.