Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Obama's Second Term Will Look More Like a Romney First, Than Obama's First

 The Election of 2012 is over. The dust has settled. The euphoria of  the Victorious and the disappointment of the Vanquished fades hour by hour in equal measure into a post-election political hangover. This hangover shared by both the Left and the Right is soon to be eradicated by the sobering reality of the fiscal State of the Union, the agony of our jobless, and the financial consequences of a grim and disastrous near and long-term future for ourselves, our children, and even our grandchildren; if we do not act together as a nation right now.

So, It's now November 8th, 2012 just two days after the Election with the smoke cleared. Where are we?  Right where we were on November 6th, 2012. The House is still in GOP control. The Senate is still in Democratic control.  Obama still occupies The White House. America voted inexplicably for the status quo. Democrats and Liberalism did not receive a mandate in the close 2012 election.

Electoral Map 2012 Election- County by County- Red are Romney won Counties- Blue are Obama won Counties, Color Alaska as Red.
The nation is clearly divided. In fact, the reality for the Liberals and Obama is that we are three days in and have essentially begun Obama's Lame-Duck second term. That's right Obama is a Lame Duck President for a minimum of two years and likely four unless Obama finds leadership ability and skills he has yet to exhibit and leads his party to compromise. I know that may be a shocking take on the events of election day 2012 and flies in the face of the conventional wisdom by the mainstream media's political talking heads, Democratic leaders like Reid, and the pundits on the Left advancing the notion and mistaken analysis that this was a mandate worthy of Conservative and GOP change. They would like us to roll over and simply accept their failed agenda by the fiat "to the victor goes the spoils."  Nothing I believe could be further from the truth. Not only are we where we were on November 5th, 2012, we are also right where we were in November of 2010 after the mid-term elections swept the GOP to victory. Why would America vote for no change in 2012 when they voted for Hope and Change in 2008 and then again for massive change in 2010? A friend of mine admitted to me the morning after the election that he voted Obama for a second time.  I was dumbfounded. I asked him why he voted for Obama? Now this is a very smart man, he owns a successful business, is a Vietnam Veteran who served as a Huey gunship pilot with five "emergency" landings in service of our nation.  I have the utmost respect for this man as an intelligent, thoughtful human being and dear friend. His answer? "Well Obama has his nest formed, I think now he can really get comfortable and do things." I had no answer or reply for that one at that moment, politely offering that I had never heard that as a reason to support Obama before. But if I have to chalk that one up to category of response, I would call it ambivalence; he didn't cite one single first term Obama accomplishment, achievement, or one single new initiative or program as a reason to vote him in for a second term. I thought about what he said hours later and it got me to thinking. Americans lost an opportunity to vote for real change with Romney and they didn't do it. Why not? I think they didn't in part because they are still waiting for the change that they were promised and never got four years ago. This is what I think my friend was saying in his own way.  Voters in 2012 hoped for and desired the undelivered change that Obama promised four years ago. Promises like the end of divisiveness and partisanship. Promises like putting Americans needs and interests ahead of special interests (Well Obama was obviously inferring Corporate and Wall Street interests and lobbyists;  not Unions, NOW, NEA, Labor, or Environmental Lobbyists). I think they wanted to give him more time to make good on those promises. In some ways it was similar to returning George W. Bush to a second term over Kerry because though he was unpopular, voters wanted to give him more time to finish the war in Iraq, and Afghanistan. This may explain the sentiments revealed by my friend as giving Obama more time to finish and follow through on some of his promises. Conversely, I think they kept the status quo with Congress in a sense as a challenge to President Obama, Speaker Boehner, and Harry Reid that here is the hand that 'we the people' have dealt you, now you have to work together and figure out how to solve America's problems together for the next two to four years. Now go get it done.

So here we are three days into the post-election future with everyone wondering what the future will look like and how the results of the election will unfold. I believe the Liberal left wing of the Democratic party is in for a rude awakening; the future will look like 1995, and how 2011 should have looked following the midterm 2010 election, but will now. It will look that way because Obama's campaign rhetoric and policies he ran on won't solve the country's problems and Obama knows it. He knew it even as he was spewing it as raw undigested red meat to his rabid left wing base to secure them for a second term. The next Obama term will be shaped more by the 2010 election, than the 2012. I predict Obama's second term and Presidency will be more like Romney's first would have been, than Obama's first was. Or if you prefer I also believe that Obama's second term will look more like Clinton's presidency after he lost the House in 1994.

Obama will lower the Corporate tax rate. Obama will extend all the Bush tax cuts, even for the "wealthiest" Americans earning $200k or more. Obama will adopt many of the budget ideas and reforms put forward by Paul Ryan and the House Budget. Obama will expand domestic energy production and relax or repeal executive orders and regulation put in place previously that hampered our domestic energy independence. Obama will change face and approve the Keystone Oil Pipeline. Obama will support the Coal Exporting terminals in Washington State. Obama will end his war on Coal in America before the war in Afghanistan is over. Obama will cut spending and entitlement growth. Obama I believe will even rethink some aspects of Obamacare and allow modification of it. Surprised? Think its impossible?  I think it is far more probable than impossible, read on. These are policies adjustments overdue by Obama following the 2010 midterm elections; they were only put off to secure his second term lest he lose his left-wing base. I think Obama has Clinton's road map from 1995 to follow and he would be wise to do so. Up to now Obama has perfected the rhetoric of promising bipartisanship and has gulled and duped the American people for over four years into thinking the Republicans have been blocking his initiatives and they were unwilling to work with him. He has ridden that old pony ragged for four years (I know the GOP has only controlled the House since 2011 but the truth has never been important to Obama) it's time to put that haggard old pony down.  The truth is Obama's last two years budgets received not one single vote from any Democrat or Republican, in either the House and the Senate. If he does not now embrace the same pragmatism he should have embraced after losing the House in 2010 to GOP control as Bill Clinton did when he lost the House to the GOP in 1994, Obama will be a Lame Duck President; starting now. He will ensure an agenda and history of failure. Obama's legacy will be remembered as a Presidency of mediocrity. He likely would also preside over and be blamed as the agent of destruction for the United States of America as it collapses under the weight of fiscal crisis and economic failure. Therefore, I predict that Obama will finally embrace compromise, and he will not impose his campaign agenda as ineffectual solutions for what ails us because he knows they haven't, and won't work. I believe President Obama loves America and it's citizens, and if for nothing other than his own ego,  his own personal legacy;  he can't let that happen. He must duplicate the example of Bill Clinton who took the hand of cooperation offered by Gingrich, and with political humility born of necessity, Bill Clinton executed Gingrich's "Contract with America" playbook like it was his own. Clinton did so to the adoration of the Left, and most Americans who ignorantly and mistakenly credited him with what in reality,  was Gingrich's genius. Gingrich and the GOP were fine with that all that really counted was a thriving nation. Should Obama do the same, Conservatives will be fine with that again, take the credit and adoration, all we care about are the good results.  To date, Obama has so far rejected the extended GOP hand of cooperation since taking office in 2008. Even after the 2010 mid-term elections once again the victorious GOP offered their hand of bipartisanship after taking the House in a political Tsunami. Obama's response? He did absolutely nothing except double-down on divisiveness, class warfare, laying the groundwork for his reelection on that basis in launching a reelection campaign of unprecedented vitriol and personal destruction that made this the ugliest campaign in my memory. Obama is freed now from election constraints. I believe he will shock his own base and Conservatives as he adopts more ideas and solutions championed by Mitt Romney and Conservatives, rather than regurgitating his failed policies form his first term. In eerie similarity he could say almost the same words to Boehner, about being relieved of elective constraints and pressure, that he did to Russian President Medvedev famously caught under an open mic."This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility."  Will Obama use this flexibility to harm America and it's  National Security and prosperity, or will he use it to help  America? He must chose wisely.

Obama holds the blueprint at GOP Leadership Conference just prior to the 2010 midterms. Obama was dismissive then, but now?... Now he needs to take Boehner and the GOP leadership up on their standing offer to work together.

 Obama is now free of all reelection constraints upon him to now to make good on his 2012 slogan "Forward."  By contrast, the GOP House has to continue do the job they were elected to do in 2010 and now again in 2012. GOP Representatives were elected in 2010 and 2012 to stop the reckless out of control spending, tax increases, and policies that don't advance America's recovery and success. The election of 2012 didn't change that;  it reinforced it. GOP Representatives have a commitment to uphold to their constituents and voters. That commitment is secured by the fact that their future is renewable every two years and they are without term limits. This in reality gives the cards for a better hand and leverage to Boehner and the GOP going forward. Does that mean that we won't compromise or work with Obama and Democrats? No, but it means that we will be in a better position to dictate the compromise in a more principled way consistent with our sincere convictions.  Obama is limited by term limits, he's gone as far as he can go in politics this is it for him. Consequentially abandoning the Left and the principles Obama has espoused and run on is not a problem. Clinton did it when he embraced compromise with Speaker Gingrich and the GOP's Contract with America, and to this day the former fondler-in-chief is more popular and beloved than ever. Obama's is a history of politics of convenience.. If it's good for him, that's all that matters. If someone, a position, or an issue is no longer of value or doesn't serve a purpose that Obama requires, you are discarded. Obama's political trail to the top is littered with discarded former supporters. Just ask all the Democratic former House members that reluctantly staked their political careers to make Obamacare law. Ask the poor forgotten souls that Obama used and leveraged in the housing projects of Chicago like Grov Parc. Abandoned in rat and roach infested slums, replaced by the campaign cash of their slumlord Valerie Jarrett who now serves as Obama senior adviser, Ms. Valerie Jarrett. Take the money, forget them and  move forward. Just ask Steven Rodgers, an early supporter of Obama's political career that helped fund and raise campaign money for him when Obama begged him for support and friendship. After he was elected, Rodgers a professor at Northwestern University School of  Management, called Obama asking him to come fulfill his donation promise following his election to the US Senate to come speak to his students. Obama refused to honor that promise Obama replied. 'Come on, man, you should know better when politicians make promises.' Abandoning his principles, supporters, and patrons will come easy for Obama, it always has.

The way forward? In a sense now on day three of his new term, Obama has reached a fork in the road. As I write this I see a story on the wire that Obama while meeting with Congressional leaders about a path forward,  has stated "a tax increase on the wealthiest of Americans is a must" (over $200k per year income and up) let us hope that this is only residual campaign hubris and negotiating posturing for the sake of his supporters. Should he go left as his hard core supporters expect, towards the demagoguery and rhetoric of his last election that he knows deep down only served to elect him and will not serve to secure America's future nor move it forward, he will be he lamest Duck in history and secure his place in history as a failure. Or go down the right path at the fork, toward compromise by adopting more of the GOP sponsored common-sense economic policies and solutions that Mitt and GOP leaders proposed to prevent a looming debt crisis, create jobs, and secure American prosperity as we approach the tipping point for our national survival.  Obama must choose and follow Clinton's example, go to the right even at the risk of looking Romneyesque. Just as Clinton risked being hitched to Gingrich. All the rancor against the Rich, attacking  Businesses large and small, Wall Street, Corporations, Big Oil,  plus his pandering to, and support of Big Labor, Environmentalist and other special interests of political necessity, is now null and void. America's survival and Obama's legacy are at stake. Be magnanimous Mr. President, I offer my sincere prayers for you that you take the right path  securing our future and that you will seize your destiny.

Michael R. Bednarz

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