In a couple of words: vote Republican.
President Obama’s first year-and-a-half has disappointed almost everyone. Domestically, his economic policy has led to chronically high unemployment and a sluggish economy. In spite of his best hopes, the stimulus package has flopped, a fact that even leftwing economists are now realizing as it becomes more evident that the recession is entering a second dip (http://huff.to/aTShWi).
More recently, it was revealed that Obama’s program to modify mortgages has been a failure (http://yhoo.it/bwpYck) with more applicants dropping out of the program than successfully having their mortgages modified. Other programs, such as those to extend unemployment benefits and Cash for Clunkers, have similarly failed to revive the economy. The main effect of Obama’s many stimulus programs has been to increase the federal debt to unprecedented levels.
His signature accomplishment, the Obamacare health insurance reform bill, is reviled by a majority of the population. A recent poll indicates that most Americans support a repeal of the bill by almost a two-to-one margin (http://bit.ly/9hRyc5) including 49% who strongly favor repeal. The unpopularity of the law has not been helped by reports that, in contradiction to President Obama’s claims, the reform is actually increasing health care costs for most Americans (http://bit.ly/99Nhat).
On foreign policy, Obama has largely followed George W. Bush’s lead. He has remained somewhat committed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. His Afghanistan strategy is a yo-yo troop deployment that mimics President Bush’s Iraq surge and then a pre-announced withdrawal that has angered both liberals and conservatives. Thanks to the surge, Iraq has stabilized to the point where the Iraqi forces can stand on their own and US forces can begin returning home.
With respect to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the largest foreign policy threat that the US presently faces, President Obama has done… nothing of substance. He has called for sanctions to isolate the rogue dictatorship, but in reality Iran has become less isolated with new agreements with Russia, China, Turkey and Brazil. The failure of the carrot would be bad enough, but Obama has also removed the stick. Marvin Cetron of Forecasting International recently reported in his column in Professional Pilot magazine that bunker buster bombs sent to Diego Garcia to intimidate Iran have now been returned to the US (June 2010 issue, p. 11). The only hope to prevent an Iranian nuclear device that would at best completely change the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and at worst precipitate nuclear terrorism is Israel.
In other foreign policy debacles, one of Obama’s first acts was to announce $900 million in aid to Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza and regularly fires missiles at civilian targets in Israel (http://nyti.ms/diznMj). Conversely, he had the audacity to make the unprecedented demand that Israel halt all expansion of settlements – neighborhoods in reality – in areas that the Arabs consider occupied (http://bit.ly/dmXGDw). Obama’s State Department has also pushed Honduras to allow the return of Manuel Zelaya, a former president who was removed in accordance with the constitution as he tried to become a dictator in the mold Hugo Chavez. Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the Wall St. Journal writes that Obama seems intent on imposing his will regardless of the facts of the situation (http://bit.ly/b7jmdH).
A vote for Republicans in the Georgia primary on July 21 and the general election this November would not solve all of these problems, but getting more Republicans into congress would make it more difficult for Obama to stay on his current course. It would force him to seek bipartisan solutions and compromise.
The Republicans have already had limited success in stopping some new spending programs. With greater numbers, they might be able to cut spending and prevent onerous new regulations that will further impede the economic recovery. If the Democrats retain control of congress, their financial reform bill, which does nothing to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac even though they are widely believed to be a prime cause of the mortgage crisis, is likely to pass. Similarly, Democratic control will mean passage of the cap-and-trade bill which is essential a huge new tax on carbon-based energy, the lifeblood of our economy.
It is unlikely that the GOP would gain enough seats to fully repeal Obamacare. While Obama is still in office, a repeal would probably be vetoed. An override of the veto would almost certainly require some Democratic votes. Nevertheless, they could reform some of the worst aspects of the law. They could also starve the beast by not appropriating money to fund the new health care bureaucracy.
On foreign policy, there is little chance that the GOP would be able to force Obama to take military action to stop Iran, but they could pass laws limiting his support for dictatorial regimes and encouraging him to stand by our allies. The Senate must ratify any treaties signed by Obama, which would limit his ability to put the US under international rather than constitutional law (such as through the UN small arms treaty: http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE59E0Q920091015).
Equally important, the Senate also confirms Obama’s picks for many executive branch officials and judges. With more GOP senators, Obama would be more pressured to find mainstream candidates to fill these offices. Currently, with a large Democratic majority, virtually any nominee who is not filibustered (as Democrats were wont to do to President Bush’s appointments) is assured of confirmation.
This might be an example of history repeating itself. When the GOP took control of congress during Bill Clinton’s administration, Clinton was forced to abandon much of his radical agenda and become more centrist. Together with the Republicans, Clinton had notable accomplishments including passage of welfare reform and NAFTA. He also came tantalizing close to achieving a peace agreement between Israel and the PLO. On the other hand, Clinton’s foreign policy led to North Korean nuclear weapons and put us on the road to 9/11.
This year anger over Obamacare and the deficit have led to many competitive races around the country. Incumbents, particularly those of the Democratic variety, will be dropping like flies. Many prominent Democrats have already announced their intention not to seek re-election. Others are facing strong challengers.
In Georgia, there are at least two very competitive house races. In Georgia’s 12th district between Augusta and Savannah, Rep. John Barrow is likely to face strong opposition from Iraq veteran Lt. Col. Wayne Mosley. Barrow voted for the stimulus package, but against Obamacare.
Closer to Atlanta, in the 13th district, which forms a half-moon around the southwest side of Atlanta from Smyrna to Forest Park, several Republican candidates are vying for the chance to unseat Rep. David Scott, who not only voted for the stimulus package and Obamacare, but voted along Democratic party lines more than 98% of the time (http://bit.ly/9wp26b). Scott was named one of the 25 most corrupt members of congress (http://bit.ly/cMEfXf) and gained notoriety for yelling at his constituents during an angry town meeting over health care in August 2009 (http://bit.ly/ak8UMe).
Republican control of congress may be the only thing that can save Barack Obama from himself. If the GOP wins enough seats in November to bring President Obama back to the centrist platform of Candidate Obama, it may prevent a depression or long recession as well stave off upcoming foreign policy disasters.
Villa Rica GA
July 5, 2010