Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ten predictions about the first two years of an Obama Administration

So let's say the Democrats are correct and Senator Barack Obama sweeps to victory in November.

What happens then? The Age of Aquarius?

Hardly. The real secret of the Obama campaign is that the Senator is not some new kind of politician, but a very traditional, liberal, uber-Statist politician beholden to the usual assortment of special interests, and that his first two years are likely to be ... far more mundane than his supporters would like you to believe.

Here are ten predictions regarding the years 2009-2010 with Barack Obama in the White House:

1. We will not see the repeal or roll-back of any of the Constitutional invasions of the past eight years. The Obama Administration is not going to dismantle surveillance laws or even major portions of the Patriot Act, because they will decide that these are useful tools for the war on terror and law enforcement, and perfectly justifiable in the correct hands. After all, we now have a Department of Justice we can trust, don't we? So what have you got to hide?

2. We will see BOTH massive deficit spending AND tax increases. Obama and his advisors are clearly far more oriented to investing in infrastructure than deficit reduction, and they also subscribe to the New Deal philosophy that deficit spending stimulus is what curtails recession and depression. On the other hand, the news story six months into the first term will be declining revenues, and President Obama will end up doing his version of Bill Clinton's "I really tried to give you a tax cut" speech, while simultaneously imposing new surcharges, user fees, etc.

3. We will see early irresolution in foreign policy, followed by a period of minor military interventionism. Obama does lack foreign policy experience, and Vlad Putin is quite willing to be his tutor. Expect to see Russia take more and more aggressive actions and try to back Obama down ala JFK in Berlin. Obama will lose two or three small rounds to Russia before he decides (based on the advice of his Defense Industry advisors) that the US has to get back into the game of military interventionism in smaller crisises.

4. We will not win the war in Afghanistan through an Obama surge, and it is unlikely he will be able to deliver a complete withdrawal from Iraq, Yes, I know the Iraqis want one, but there will be, in the eyes of Obama's advisors, compelling reasons to retain bases in Iraq and this will become a sticking point.

5. We will not make massive progress toward alternative energy sources. Congress will pass several Energy bills full of pork and government subsidies ... and nothing much will come of it. We definitely won't see any nuclear power or much domestic drilling.

6. We will get a supposed health insurance program similar to the one that hasn't worked well in Massachusetts. But the administration will declare victory, anyway.

7. We are likely to see Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the same position during the first two years of an Obama administration. After all, Obama has been touting his military expansion plan on the official campaign website all along. As a side-note: look for a prominent position--possibly advisory--for retired four-star General Merryl McPeak.

8. The Fairness Doctrine will be re-instated, but it won't matter. Not only will it be immediately challenged in court, but you really can't unring a bell. The market will pretty much ignore this law.

9, The Democratic Party in Congress will fragment rather than unify. The Class of 2006 is far more conservative than the folks who will come into office in 2008. Absent a strong GOP, the Democrats will provide their own internal opposition. Look for that to be overcome only at the cost of massive, budget-busting pork like we've never seen.

10. No Child Left Behind will not be significantly altered. There will be some cosmetic changes in assessment, but NCLB was the greatest entree for the Federal government into public education ever passed. Democrats will not let it go.

Not a bang, frankly, but a whimper.

I'd prefer to be wrong, but I don't think I will be.

My only consolation is that, if by some miracle Senator John McCain pulls out an upset, things would probably be ... worse.

We're in for a long period of only limited fun, people.

Senator Obama and Senator McCain should more correctly be seen as effects rather than causes.


a most peculiar nature said...

This is so depressing. Probably true, and just so very depressing.


Duffy said...

"We will see early irresolution in foreign policy, followed by a period of minor military interventionism."

Probably in places w/o American interests at stake. Darfur and the like. Humanitarian military interventions.

I ask again, is this going to be a pyrrhic victory for whomever wins?

Anonymous said...

Any bets on an Obama administration agreeing to a re-write of the War Powers act, ceding to Congress more of the Executive's authority to declare and wage wars?

"No longer will bloodthirsty warmongers be able to commit pre-emptive acts of agression against peace-loving nations that never did anything to us!"

Steven H. Newton said...

The Constitution doesn't give the President the power to declare war.

Anonymous said...

Oops, you got me there - I should have said "commit armed forces to military action" as the President may do under the War Powers Act of '73, but only for 60 days, absent a Congressional declaration.

I'm picturing something along the lines of requiring a UN mandate for any commitment of forces, or immediate cessation of hostilities if the President's poll numbers drop below 50%.

Anonymous said...

I think you just about nailed it.