Barack Obama now has a full week as Chief Executive behind him. Based on what Obama promised as a candidate and what he has implemented so far, here is where we seem to be headed during the next four years:
- Senior advisers and cabinet members will be long-time DC insiders and hold-overs from the Bush and Clinton Administrations
- The unchecked powers of the executive branch will be greatly strengthened (I thought this was a bad thing?) by the appointment of "czars" who are not Cabinet members and who are not vetted by Congress
- Tax cheats will be welcome, as long as they are smart and are team players
- Lobbyists will be welcome, as long as they are smart and are team players -- despite Obama's promises to the contrary
- The current recession will be used as an excuse to enact the most expensive and powerful leftist power grab since the New Deal. Most of the "stimulus" items will simply be progressive agenda items aimed at strengthening the Democratic party's power base. Very few of them will do anything to actually stimulate the economy
- Obama seems at least willing to listen to Republicans. This is tricky, since his hard left base expects a liberal juggernaut with zero compromises. On the other hand, Obama promised to bring both sides together. For now though, it seems that his domestic agenda compromises will be on generally insignificant items
- A handful of hard-left policies that opponents have been powerless to stop in the past will be re-implemented by executive order
- Many big liberal agenda items (e.g. closing Guantanamo and ending military tribunals for captured terrorists) will be granted, but mainly for dramatic effect
- Similarly, many controversial national security policies will be publicly denounced, but secretly kept in place, nearly intact
- The War On Terror will continue, more or less unabated. US military personnel will continue to die. Civilians, over 140 of them, died during the first week of the Obama presidency in incidents related to Islamic terror. Al Qaeda and other forces of evil will continue to flex their muscles.
- While the administration may make a show of winding down operations in Iraq (most of which were already in the process of being wound down), there will probably be an escalation of operations in Afghanistan, perhaps reaching into Pakistan
- The majority of the mainstream press will all but abandon its "acountability" mission and serve as lapdogs, rather than watchdogs, of the Obama administration
"Centrism" for the Obama administration (for now at least) seems to be a massive liberal social agenda combined with a "stay the course" approach to the War On Terror. This is interesting, since the biggest source of "BUSH=HITLER!!!" hysteria stemmed from his handling of the War On Terror. But Obama is making an unusual effort to reach out and touch the Islamic world starting with rogue nations, in contrast to the Bush Administration's policy of only working with nations that were willing, up front, to work with us. It remains to be seen if this policy will be successful, or if it will be abandoned after enough push-back and unreasonable demands from Iran and her ideological allies.
Instapundit recently published an email from a reader who likened the current Obama Stimulus Package to the Patriot Act, in the sense that both were hyped with such an incredible sense of urgency that lawmakers failed to read or understand most of what they were voting on. After the Patriot Act passed, Democrats caught hell from civil liberties and anti-war groups.
Despite the claims of hysterical progressives, the Patriot Act didn't include an immediate trillion-dollar spending boondoggle, nor did it have the potential to greatly affect the livelihood and freedom of virtually American. Obama's trillion-dollar pork spending and regulatory expansion plans do. While I am generally satisfied with the practical realization of his policies involving national security and the War on Terror, his spend-spend-spend/borrow/borrow/borrow attitude with regard to his domestic agenda is positively frightening, especially considering the tremendous amount of hot air exhausted by his party over "pay as you go" fiscal responsibility just two years ago.
Opposing President Obama's pork-laden domestic agenda looks to be a fight worth fighting. Democrats have always been leaders in terms of no-holds-barred party line opposition to Republican policy proposals. Remember their victory, as a minority party, over President Bush's attempt to reform Social Security with private investment accounts? I hope that Republicans can find the same kind of strength as a minority party and successfully keep our economy from sinking into debt-induced inflation and higher taxes.
PS - HughS seems to be thinking along the same lines I am.