How can any cogent American citizen possibly even consider voting for Barack Obama now? That's what lots of conservatives and moderates are asking each other, again and again. It's completely baffling, to those who grew up with any sort of sense of what America means and what the American character traditionally has been, that anybody can look at the man's record and want more of the same.
Almost the entirety of the Muslim world is now rioting against an American president who promised that his olive branches to Muslims would secure peace. Like Jimmy Carter, Obama has only shown a weakness that has emboldened the Islamist haters. Meanwhile, our closest ally in the region, Israel, a stable representative democracy led by an American-educated, America-loving prime minister, has repeatedly been insulted, abandoned, and undermined. In short, the United States is in worse position with all sides in the Middle East/northern Africa. We are embarrassed, feckless, wounded... and in four tragic cases, dead.
Allies in Poland and the Czech Republic have been repeatedly let down and sometimes insulted. The "re-set" with Russia earned us only Russian contempt. China and Russia ignore our entreaties around the world, with absolute disdain for our wishes, our olive branches, or Obama's supposedly Nobel-worthy and messianic genius for diplomacy.
Domestically, our debt has increased by 50 percent in just four years, by some $5 trillion, with not a single observable benefit from the spending. Our bond rating already has been downgraded by one agency, and another major agency threatens to downgrade us. Our unemployment rate has never been beneath 8 percent since Obama's first month in office, even though his economic team said his outrageously expensive "stimulus" package would ensure that it would never rise above 8 percent, and indeed that it would drop below 6 percent within four years.
Our politics is more fractured, less civil, than ever -- and as Bob Woodward, of all people, indicates in his new book, this is largely the fault of Obama. He has been the first president in history to push through a major new program without a single vote from the opposing party -- and while refusing to incorporate a single major idea from the other party, while ignoring overwhelming public sentiment to pass it, and while bending the rules in multiple ways to force it through Congress. Meanwhile, on the real business of Congress, his Senate allies have ignored longstanding law by refusing to pass a budget for three years now, while twice rejecting the president's own pitiful budget proposal by unanimous votes.
Obama campaigned with a promise to rein in abuses of executive power, but instead he increasingly rules by executive decrees of dubious constitutionality. Congress won't pass cap-and-trade, so he orders it anyway. Congress won't pass amnesty for illegal immigrants, so he orders it anyway. Congress won't undermine the work requirement in the welfare system, so he guts the work requirements by executive order. And on and on go the abuses.
Gasoline prices are twice what they were when Obama took office -- and rising again. The housing market remains in the doldrums. Food stamp use is by far at the highest level in history, and poverty is markedly up. Food prices are markedly higher. Small businesses are jettisoning the health-insurance benefits they offered employees until Obamacare made it prohibitively expensive. Doctors are retiring in record numbers rather than face Obamacare's scourges -- and most of the law hasn't yet taken effect. Coming soon are new taxes on medical device manufacturers: Patients will pay more for wheelchairs, prosthetics, insulin pumps, asthma inhalers, pacemakers, and other essential fruits of modern medical technology.
Taxpayers are on the hook for huge losses from the auto bailouts, even as most of GM's new jobs have been created overseas rather than here, and even as auto dealerships across the nation were shut down by administration fiat on political bases rather than on the basis of which ones were profitable. Taxpayers are on the hook for politically inspired "investments" to Obama cronies in failing businesses such as Solyndra. Taxpayers are on the hook for higher electricity prices due to a backdoor cap-and-trade scheme imposed by (illegal) administrative fiat.
Religious liberties, meanwhile, are under repeated and sustained attacked from an administration openly hostile to traditional faith. And the president even refuses to defend in federal court laws duly passed by Congress and signed by former President Clinton.
The parade of abuses, incompetence, extravagances, and illegalities goes on and on. The record of improvements in any sector of American life is… well, nil. Nothing is better, not a single thing, at home or abroad. And Obama has offered no recognizable plans, no new proposals, no substance at all, for making things better in a second term.
This presidency is a disaster. Reasonable people are gobsmacked at the possibility that it could somehow be allowed to continue its degradations of American society.