Friday, May 13, 2011

Is Obama A Policy Wonk or A Political Hack?

Are President Obama’s policy decisions based on what he truly feels is best for the country or are they calculated political moves?

Over the course of his 2+ years in office Obama has tackled a few very controversial issues, with the American public at large not behind the decisions he has made.

In his first big policy decision he took on health care. I don’t really think you’ll get much arguement from any corner of the political spectrum that the health care system in America needed some fixing. Rising costs in actual health care expenses and insurance are a huge concern for almost everyone. Even folks who might be considered well-do-to are looking at their health care expenses (now and in the future) and wondering how to pay for it all. And there are also those who have no hope of affording any kind of health care coverage except for emergency care which is generally taxpayer covered if one cannot afford to pay.

Obama took on health care and in his vision thought he had the solution. Mandatory health care for all. Then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi took the point on this effort (some might say she stole it) and got the bill passed through Congress despite the fact that the majority of Americans did not want what was being offered and the question of whether the law is even legal. One only has to remember the protest in Washington the day the bill was passed and the townhall meetings prior. When Obama signed it into law the progressive press was beside themselves with glee with many stating this was one of the greatest achievements since the New Deal and the New Society. But even with this over the top praise for Obama and Pelosi, Americans still did want the law.

Even though the bill was not supported by Americans it is now the law (until the SCOTUS declares it unconstitutional). Obama wanted this bill in the worst way. It could be his legacy, good or bad. But when you think about why this bill was passed it must make you wonder if he really want health care reform or was he pandering to his progressive base who have wanted health care reform passed.

Next line is the repeal and subsequent ending of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). I don’t care what form of surveys the military leadership looked at, the majority of the men and women of the Armed Forces did not want to allow gays to serve openly. They, better than the generals, understand the difficulties there will be when it will be legal for gays to serve. They know that all concessions and “give in” will have to be done by the straight members. The gays serving will not be asked to understand that there are people who do not agree with the lifestyle, and never will. But the straight people will be asked to make accommodations. Let me rephrase that: they will not be asked, they will be TOLD or else they will be discharged with prejudice.

Again, Obama has pandered to his progressive base without consideration of the larger majority. And I just don’t speak of the people in the military; I also speak of the American people who did not support the overturning of DADT. As it has become clearer to the folks at large that no corresponding consideration will be given to those who, due to moral objections, do not agree with the gay lifestyle, Obama’s goal of allowing gays to serve openly became less popular. But once again he has ignored the majority. But the gay community has really stepped up the donations.

Now he is jumping all over immigration reform, which is nothing more than amnesty for all illegal immigrants currently residing in our nation. The majority of Americans do not support granting amnesty. While we all understand this is nation of immigrants, we also understand those immigrants followed the laws of the times. But this means nothing to Obama and his group. Even his party is deeply divided on immigration reform. Pandering yet again to a base where he knows he can gather votes, he pushes for the DREAM Act to be revisited and soon after that full amnesty.

I have no doubt, and I know those reading this don’t either, that if Latinos voted in huge Republican blocks, the gay community were mostly conservative, and the whole health care plan were a Libertarian ideal then Obama would not have touched any of these matters.

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