Obama’s Accomplishments

July 8th, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

To my mind there are two different kinds of Leftists in the world.  One type wants the same things that conservatives and libertarians do (peace, freedom, the equality of all peoples under the law, etc.); they just don’t realize that liberal policies are seldom if ever the correct way to go about it.  The other is the sort who actually looks at Progressive and Socialist ideals as a good thing, and thus is honest about the goals of the Left because they truly don’t understand why they would need to keep them concealed from the majority of Americans.  With his article “Obama’s Unbelieveable Winning Streak,” Peter Beinart has solidly placed himself in the second category of liberals.  His list of Obama’s accomplishments is exactly the same as the list that has been tallied up by the conservative and libertarian camps; the only difference between him and his adversaries is in his moral and practical evaluation of them.

In the world of the Left, here are Obama’s great legislative and policy accomplishments to date:

Financial regulatory reform – I suppose if all you know about this bill is that it put more regulations on big banks and big business, then sure, it’s great.  As for the rest of us… let’s just say that any bill which Congress suggests should be called the “Dodd-Frank Act” is probably not going to be very conducive to financial stability or economic prosperity.

Stimulus package – By Obama’s own measure of unemployment, the stimulus package was a dismal failure and a waste of money we didn’t even have in the first place.  But hey, at least we’re not at 15% — yet.

Health care reform – Rammed through against the will of the people with an utter lack of bipartisan support, this plan could only be considered a success by people whose ultimate goal is to so destroy the current system that eventually Americans will come to believe state-run health care is the only remaining option.  If your goal was to actually lower the cost of care or improve care, then calling this legislation a success is frankly lunatic.

Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – Since getting confirmed, Sotomayor has taken the Leftist line on the two most significant decisions to come her way since her appointment; whether or not her appointment was a positive accomplishment for the Administration is therefore entirely dependent on your politics.  However, whatever the “wise Latina’s” faults, at least Sotomayor was well-qualified for the position Obama wished to appoint her to.  Not only does Kagan not even have that going for her, but we’re talking about a woman whose position on laws which could ban books is that they’re OK because the government will never take advantage of them anyway (the position of Volcker when Congress made it legal for the Fed to buy up worthless assets and set interest rates at zero percent), and who has to pause to think about the answer when asked whether the government has the right to make us all eat our vegetables.  You’d think even the Left would be up in arms over Kagan’s views that free speech must be balanced against its “societal costs,” but apparently support for Kagan’s more modern liberal stances trumps any remaining attachment the modern Left might feel towards more classically liberal ideals.

Beijing’s currency revaluation – Granted that this is a moderately good thing for trade, since increasing the price of Chinese goods means we will be importing less stuff from them and thereby making at least a slight dent in our trade deficit, but what did Obama have to do with it?

Sanctions against Iran – Too little too late, frankly.  I would have been a lot more impressed if I’d seen any moral support from Obama for the Green Movement in Iran.  He wouldn’t even have needed to promise money; one lousy little speech expressing moral support for freedom and answering the Green Movement’s question to him of “Are you with us or are you with them?” would have been enough.  Besides, this is one of the few moves of the Administration that actually has bipartisan support; convincing people that a crazy Islamic dictator shouldn’t have access to nukes is not exactly a difficult task in this day and age.

Improving relations between Washington and Moscow – I don’t know enough about this to conclusively evaluate it, but, even taking it as 100% true, is America honestly supposed to cheer the fact that although we’ve alienated Britain and Israel, Moscow is by our side?

Beinart then goes on to list some negatives about the Obama regime (besides the obvious of the oil spill and the economy): the appointment of Petraeus might hamper the possibility of a significant troop withdrawal from Afghanistan next year (I thought that July 2011 deadline wasn’t firm?), and the Democrats might lose their Congressional majority come November.  However, he quickly cheers up to end the article with this heartening conclusion:

Obama has expanded the federal government’s relationship with the private sector in fundamental ways. …

Even as Republicans claim political momentum, the country is in the midst of a major shift leftward when it comes to the role of government. That shift is playing itself out from infrastructure to health care to finance and perhaps eventually to the environment [emphasis mine].

Leaving aside the question of why Leftists are somehow free to point this out without censure even though any right-leaning individual who does so is immediately branded a fool or a McCarthyite, the conclusion is clear.  On the true political spectrum of big government vs. small government, America has taken a giant step towards the former.  Beinart claims in his article that there’s no way to know whether this will “lay the foundation for stable, broad-based [economic] growth” or not.  However, back in the real world the rest of us are perfectly aware from our studies of 20th century history that a massive shift towards big government has never ended in anything but disaster.

So congratulations on your “accomplishments” Mr. President.  And who knows, if you keep up the good work, maybe Mr. Beinart won’t have a job in another 18 months and so will not be able to regale us with any more pieces of useful idiocy.  Now that would be a true accomplishment.


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8 Responses to “Obama’s Accomplishments”



  1. larry ennis |

    What strikes me is the uncanny accuracy of the predictions made by Glenn Beck.(O’boy, here we go)


  2. Anonymous |

    “Obama has expanded the federal government’s relationship with the private sector in fundamental ways. …

    “Even as Republicans claim political momentum, the country is in the midst of a major shift leftward when it comes to the role of government. That shift is playing itself out from infrastructure to health care to finance and perhaps eventually to the environment [emphasis mine].”

    It’s called a “take over against the will of the people because he has the majority of both houses” and the major shift leftward is not a shift…it’s a shove..again against the will of the people.


  3. Tom Carter |

    Brianna, I don’t things are quite that negative, even though I’ll admit that the Administration often surprises me with how rockheaded and politically tone-deaf they can be.

    One point re Kagan: You used the link “they’re OK” to indicate that Kagan wouldn’t oppose laws that ban books. That link actually goes to the voice recording of a Supreme Court session in which she is acting in her capacity as Solicitor General. That can’t be used as an indication of her personal opinions or how she would act as a judge. As Solicitor General, she’s the government’s lawyer, and as such she has to present a government position no matter what she personally might think — like any other lawyer advocating a client’s position in court. In particular, the Executive branch, represented by the Solicitor General and her staff, are under a degree of obligation to defend U.S. law when it’s challenged in court (although they don’t do it in every single instance).

    After all the huffing and puffing and chicken-littling from both sides during the past couple of years, it’s going to be interesting to see what the voters say in November. After all, that’s the only thing that really matters. If the Democrats take a real drubbing, as seems likely at this point, then things will change — unless they have a political death wish for 2012.


  4. Brianna |

    “That link actually goes to the voice recording of a Supreme Court session in which she is acting in her capacity as Solicitor General”

    I know that. I simply disagree that her personal opinions were any different than her arguments in court.


  5. Tom Carter |

    How do you know that her personal opinions aren’t any different from her arguments in court? You’re saying that you know she personally doesn’t disagree with laws that ban books. First, that doesn’t properly characterize the discussion, no matter what her personal opinion might be. Second, that’s an extremely bizarre position for any American lawyer to take. I’d assume that you have some source for your “simple disagreement.”

    I don’t think Kagan is necessarily the best lawyer in the country to put on the Court, but, then, few appointees are. However, it isn’t necessary to demonize her as a book burning, free speech opposing, vegetable-dictating ogre.

    Let’s take the business about vegetables. The absurd question she was asked was whether the federal government can constitutionally pass a law requiring all of us to eat our vegetables. That was a highly transparent analogy to the law requiring some people to buy health insurance at a point in the future. That’s an issue that may well be before the Court in the future. Kagan saw through that immediately, as virtually anyone would, and declined to give an answer. She would have been wrong if she had answered, thereby stating how she would most likely rule in that future case.

    How about a little simple fairness?


  6. Brianna Aubin |

    I think she has no fundamental issue with book banning because she wrote that “redistribution of speech opportunities is itself an illegitimate end, but from the view that governmental actions justified as redistributive devices often (though not always) stem partly from hostility or sympathy toward ideas or, even more commonly, from self-interest.” This basically means that according to her, government is perfectly free to restrict speech, it just can’t do it because it likes or dislikes a particular viewpoint. Banning a book in the name of campaign finance reform would fall right in with that idea.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/65720

    Also, on a personal level I believe there are some arguments that one cannot legitimately make, much as there are some orders a soldier cannot legitimately follow. Arguing that the government should have the power to ban books, as Kagan did in that court case, would fall under that category.

    “Let’s take the business about vegetables. The absurd question she was asked was whether the federal government can constitutionally pass a law requiring all of us to eat our vegetables. That was a highly transparent analogy to the law requiring some people to buy health insurance at a point in the future. That’s an issue that may well be before the Court in the future. Kagan saw through that immediately, as virtually anyone would, and declined to give an answer. She would have been wrong if she had answered, thereby stating how she would most likely rule in that future case.”

    I don’t believe that we have no right to know how a future supreme court justice feels about the interstate commerce clause or any other part of the constitution which she might have to interpret in the future, especially as the senator asking the question was quite right to point out that the commerce clause was never meant to be used for all the things which it has been used to justify in the last century. That is especially true when we have little past evidence of how a justice might operate in the court, as we do in Kagan’s case.

    Besides, what’s the point of a hearing when the subject of said hearing declines to answer the questions put to her? Why not just admit that the Senate has no right to know how she will perform in her job and just confirm her?


  7. Brian Bagent |

    Kagan’s position on the books comes down to one of two things: she thinks it’s ok, as Brianna pointed out, or she valued her job in the solicitor general’s office more than she values her own personal stand on whether or not it’s ok to ban books. If her own position is contrary to what she argued, she should have resigned her position. I walked off of a job where it came down to what the boss wanted vs what I valued.

    In short, she either lacks ethics or courage, or both.


  8. Dan Miller |

    As an attorney representing clients in trial or appellate court, it was not my prerogative to proclaim my personal views as to what the law should or shouldn’t be. It was my obligation to represent my clients’ interests as best I could, consistently with the canons of ethics.

    As solicitor general, it was Ms. Kagan’s duty to represent her client, the U.S. government, as directed by her boss, Attorney General Holder, or to resign. As a law clerk to Mr. Justice Marshall, it was her obligation to “channel” his views rather than to draft opinions for him based on her own views of the law.

    During the hearing [on her nomination as solicitor general], Kagan distanced herself from some views expressed early in her career that will likely give rise to questions again if she is nominated to a seat on the Supreme Court. Kagan called a memorandum that she wrote as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall “the dumbest thing I ever read.” “Let me step back a little if I may and talk about my role in Justice Marshall’s chambers…We wrote memos on literally every single case in which there was a petition…I don’t want to say there is nothing of me in these memos, but I think in large measure these memos were written in the context of–you’re an assistant for a justice, you’re trying to facilitate his work, and to enable him to advance his goals and purposes as a justice…I was a 27-year-old pipsqueak and I was working for an 80-year-old giant in the law and a person who–let us be frank–had very strong jurisprudential and legal views…and he was asking us in the context of those cert. petitions to channel him, and to think about what cases he would want the Court to decide…”

    As stated here, Ms. Kagan would not have been my choice as a nominee for the Supreme Court. I think her complete lack of judicial experience is very unfortunate, and based on the lack of any judicial opinions written by her know little about how she would behave as a justice. The Supreme Court does not have training wheels, and it would be far better, in my view, were she to gain some experience first as a trial judge and then as an appellate judge. Like so many other things in life, that is not up to me to decide.


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