Wednesday, September 16, 2015

What is the Right Way to Undo Obama?

The great challenge facing the next President of the United States is perhaps not what to do but how to do it.

It is easy to say that we should reverse all the executive actions of President Obama and teach the liberals a lesson.

But then we would be just making the same mistake as the Obamis made, pushing the limit on everything without bothering to forge a consensus. Arguably, the reason that the Democratic Party has been put in the worst electoral position since 1928 is that President Obama has not governed by consensus. His Obamacare was passed by legislative legerdemain and lies, and was always opposed by a plurality of voters. His Iran deal is a folly. If you can't get a treaty passed in the US Senate, mainly because there is no support in the country, then what you may have agreed with a foreign power isn't a treaty.

So what do we do about Obama?

Victor Davis Hanson asks this question as it applies to The Middle East, The Law, Race, and Debt.

On The Middle East, Hanson says it doesn't matter what Obama's motive was, he's broken the Middle East and now we have to deal with it. But I think that the bigger issue is this. Obama has inadvertently made clear that peace in the Middle East was predicated on US hegemony. The end of US hegemony -- a long-term liberal objective -- means a humanitarian disaster as the various regional powers fight it out. OK, but now we have to decide what to do next. What really is the US interest in the Middle East? Obama has provoked this question like no president before him.

On The Law, Hanson writes:
There will be a temptation for a reform president to use the lawless means that Obama has bequeathed — executive orders to unconstitutionally bypass Congress; arbitrary suspension or simple non-enforcement of laws, depending on where we are in the national election cycle; exemption of party loyalists from legal accountability — to achieve the noble aim of restoring legality. But such short-cuts to reform would be a terrible mistake.  
"Instead," he writes, "the next president must, as never before, obey both the spirit and the very letter of the law to restore to us what Obama has almost destroyed."

Yes, but it seems to me that the only way to make this stick is to make liberals regret they ever tried to cut corners with executive orders and ignoring the plain meaning of the written law, and do it by applying the law to liberals. Hey kids! What a concept! The next president has to get himself a mandate to do this by saying that there will be no corner cutting in his administration, and no liberal opt-outs like "sanctuary cities."

But suppose the president says that -- after liberals overturned decades of consensus on labor law at the National Labor Relations Board, and suddenly decided, by regulatory fiat, to regulate the internet as a utility -- that their lack of good faith means that the NRLB and the FCC must be abolished, because we cannot have institutions of government as cat's paws for a single political party. Could he get a consensus to do that?

On Race Hanson notes that Obama has taken racial tensions and made them worse. He suggests that
The next president should take a hiatus from our racial obsessions, and simply try treating Americans as if their race or ethnic background were irrelevant.
I have a better idea. I think that the next President should list all the failed race politics of the last 150 years, from the disaster of Reconstruction to the cultural wasteland left by Great Society programs to the resentments of Affirmative Action to the poison of diversity, the failure of the nation's First Black President and the community-organizer divisions of #BlackLivesMatter. Then he should say that the only way to solve this problem is to take it out of politics and government. All politics does is divide us. All government goes is try to force us together. There is only one thing to do. It is to beg African Americans for forgiveness. You know, just like they did in Charleston, South Carolina.

Seriously. What would happen after such a presidential speech? How would liberals deal with the president calling groups of people into the Oval Office every couple of months for their achievements in racial healing?

On Debt, Hanson writes:
When interest rates climb to 4 or 5 percent, the next president will face a budgetary crisis, augmented by Obama’s failure to address entitlement spending. We are in for rough times; whether Obama will get out ahead of the reckoning is unknown.
The way forward, of course, is to privatize as much as possible of pensions and health care and education and welfare. But that cannot be done by shenanigans and budgetary tricks. It has to start with the president and the ruling class selling the American people on the idea that they are much better off running their own pensions, health care etc. than letting government come in and screw it up. But I don't think the American people will be ready for that until after the money runs out.

The governing approach of the Obamis has been a disaster, because the Obamis either knew or feared that they couldn't get their agenda done any other way.

But it won't do for Republicans to do an Obama in 2017. We believe in law, in consensus, in the consent of the governed, and all that rubbish. We have to persuade. Every other way leads to the Maelstrom.

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