John M. Kunst, Jr.: Obama flat-footed in February
Breckenridge and Cincinnati
President Obama’s involvement in domestic and foreign policy during the month of February may well doom a second term. Following stalemates with Iran, North Korea and a failed treaty with South Korea, we now have official pronouncements from ranking administration officials that the Egyptian government was stable (Clinton) and Mubarak is not a dictator (Biden). It is also abundantly clear that the administration was caught unaware, despite evidence of being forewarned, with the Face Book/Twitter revolution that has consumed the Middle East. Thus, our State Department is ill-prepared to assist these nations with building effective democracies that can neutralize Islamist influence and protect our access to affordable oil.
Domestically, last November’s shellacking brought about a change in rhetoric only: Obama’s actions belie his pledge to reduce spending and to bring the ballooning deficit under control. He has proposed a $3.7 trillion budget that purportedly has cuts in it but further expands the deficit. Republicans have proposed an additional $61 billion in spending cuts that liberal spinmeisters labeled as “draconian measures” on Sunday’s talk shows. Do the math: These additional cuts amount to a paltry 1.67 percent of the proposed budget. If I take $100 to the grocery store with the goal of returning with $1.67, all I have to do is substitute a couple of store-brand products for name brand products. Draconian?
Finally, it is now apparent that the White House is playing a significant role in orchestrating the ruckus occurring in Wisconsin. A former Democratic stronghold with the most favorable pro-labor legislative framework in the nation, the voters in Wisconsin elected a Republican governor who promised to bring runaway spending under control and to provide county and municipal governments with the tools necessary to overcome a corrupt collective bargaining system where local elected officials, in exchange for union campaign contributions and votes, cave into public employee demands for more benefits that are paid for by taxpayers. Obama characterizes Gov. Walker’s policy as an “assault on unions.” All Walker is asking for is that teachers throughout the state contribute about 5 percent of their income toward there elaborate taxpayer funded pensions. Thus, Obama’s approach does nothing more than pursue the status quo; that is, leave the public employee unions alone and allow them to continue their corrupt practices of buying elected official favors.
Has our international image or influence improved under Obama or have we lost the ability to assist emerging democracies to avoid radical influences? Will we ever reduce our imploding deficit with the attitude that an additional Band Aid cut of 1.67 percent is “draconian?” And, will an already skeptical public accept the status quo that allows public employee unions to add more benefits through the purchase of elected official votes that fund union demands with taxpayer dollars? Asked another way, does pursuit of the status quo equate to progressive policies and “change” or is it business as usual at the White House?
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