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IPFS News Link • Obama Administration

Obama Presidency: Sputtering Light on a Hill?


Obama's Legacy ... Has the President met the expectations set in 2004? As President Barack Obama begins his final year in office, he is left with two objectives: solidify and promote his past successes as cornerstones of his legacy and at the same time make progress on a few remaining initiatives, even though the Republican-controlled Congress has little interest in working with him on anything truly far-reaching. It's not the best of circumstances, but it reflects a larger reality: Obama's presidency has turned out to be less transformational than he and his supporters had hoped. – US News

Dominant Social Theme: Not an Angel of God, but perhaps capable of walking on water.

Free-Market Analysis: This is an extraordinary article, comprehensive and ambitious. It seems to leave no part of Obama's public life unexamined.

But one doesn't have to read the whole article to find out US News's verdict: Obama was NOT a transformational president. However, the article does introduce the idea that Obama was a "consequential" one.

The article's thoroughness casts Obama as a larger-than-life figure, using words like "legacy" as well as "transformational."

It tells us that it is perhaps a tragedy that Obama "doesn't have an overarching theme for his administration any more, such as Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society or Ronald Reagan's nostalgist restoration, which viewed the country as a shining city on a hill."

Even though Obama has accomplished much, the article sorrowfully proclaims that his presidency seems "smaller and more myopic than expected."

Here's an excerpt from the end of the article:

He has said repeatedly he still wants to take action in various ways, such as imposing more control over gun ownership to reduce violence and limiting climate change. But Congress seems unlikely to go along, at least not in the comprehensive way Obama favors, so he will try to find partial solutions through executive orders and other unilateral actions that bypass Capitol Hill.

The flip side of this technique is one that Democrats and liberals don't relish – a Republican president can follow Obama's lead and bypass Congress to accomplish his own conservative objectives, upending Obama's policies in the process. At this point, with a year to go, Obama has been a consequential president but not a transformational one. This is likely the way history will remember him.

But conservative-libertarian columnist Paul Craig Roberts won't remember Obama even as a "consequential" president. He has a different idea entirely.

Roberts's perspective, as expressed in his latest column, is, "The Proof Is In: US Government Is The Most Complete Criminal Organization In Human History."

Roberts, who served in the Reagan administration, has become steadily more outspoken over the years. One might even characterize him as a kind of curmudgeon, but Roberts has a broad sociopolitical frame of reference and his subject matter is almost always substantial and sometimes horrifying. To call him a curmudgeon is to trivialize both his intention and ambition.

Here's how his article begins:

Unique among the countries on earth, the US government insists that its laws and dictates take precedence over the sovereignty of nations. Washington asserts the power of US courts over foreign nationals and claims extra-territorial jurisdiction of US courts over foreign activities of which Washington or American interest groups disapprove.

Perhaps the worst results of Washington's disregard for the sovereignty of countries is the power Washington has exercised over foreign nationals solely on THE BASIS OF terrorism charges devoid of any evidence.

Roberts then gives us examples of Washington's intrusiveness. He mentions the combative stance the US Justice Department took with the Swiss and its now virtually-destroyed private banking industry.

Washington, he points out, made Switzerland jettison its bank secrecy laws. Washington forced a change on the Swiss government not determined by its own electorate.