There are many adages about change. “Change for change’s sake,” is one; “Not all change is for the better,” is another. Then there is “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading” from Lao Tzu, the father of Taoism.
Barack Obama was elected president on the promise of “Change,” his campaign slogan. He promised the most transparent administration in history. He promised that he would revive the economy. He promised that he would have Israel’s back.
He has not kept these promises. Meanwhile, the “change” promised on the campaign trail of 2008 was not for the better.
The “most transparent administration in history” has taken on an authoritarian tone and is building a surveillance apparatus which East Germany’s Stasi could only dream of, all in derogation of the Constitution.
We have a president threatening to bypass through the use of pen and phone the constitutional safeguards of balance of powers by usurping legislative power reserved to Congress. First and Fourth Amendment rights are being abrogated or threatened by executive and regulatory agencies. Stories about NSA monitoring of the telephonic and Internet communications of Americans are now commonplace. There are stories about the federal government wanting to place kill switches in Internet devices like computers and smartphones, allowing the government to cut the devices’ Internet connection at will, and tracking devices on cars.
IRS placed scrutiny on groups opposed to the president, slowing down their 501(c)(4) applications to minimize these groups’ participation in the 2012 election. The FBI has gone against Dinesh D’Souza, producer of the anti-Obama film 2016, on campaign finance fraud charges he calls “vindictive.” Last month, it came to light that the FCC was proposing to study broadcast media’s handling of “significant issues,” raising the ghost of the defunct fairness doctrine and the specter of the government in the press and editorial rooms.
Then there is the GAO report revealing that the Department of Homeland Security has contracts to purchase, if it so chooses, approximately 704 million rounds of ammo over the next four years. Is it expecting an armed insurrection (which, if one occurs, is within the province of the state National Guards)?
Obamacare is a good example of government by fiat. Despite legislated dates for implementation of various aspects of the Affordable Care Act, the president has assumed legislative power by modifying the implementation dates for the individual and business mandates. The proper action would have been to go to Congress. These presidential modifications change the economic assumptions underlying the act. Delaying the mandates adversely affects the revenue projected to be received, worsening the negative impact of Obamacare on the overall budget.
Another example of presidential negation of legislation is the announcement that, despite the ban on potential immigrants to America who had any contact with terrorists, people with such contacts would be admitted on a case-by-case basis.
How many ways has the president shown he has Israel’s back, except when convenient for him to do so (say, during the 2012 election)?
Last month saw the return of Robert Malley to the official rolls of Obama advisers. During the 2008 campaign, then an informal campaign adviser with known anti-Israel sentiments, Malley became a liability, especially in the eyes of Jewish Obama supporters, when he meet with Hamas, leading to his dismissal from the campaign. Now that Obama no longer needs Jewish votes and money, Malley has been appointed a senior director at the National Security Council where he will be tasked with managing relations between the United States and its Persian Gulf allies. This should prove an interesting assignment considering how the administration’s opening to Iran has led to Gulf allies questioning the value of their relationships with the United States.
Speaking of which, no single issue affects Israel more than the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran. The negotiations continue and, because of weakened sanctions, the sales of Iranian oil are up, providing much needed economic relief to Iran.
The administration believes its strategy is a success and placed an iron boot on congressional efforts to strengthen the sanctions. This White House effort handed AIPAC a black eye and was applauded by J Street.
Rebounding in a Feb. 21 op-ed in The New York Times, AIPAC stated, “Our message to Tehran should be clear: It will not achieve its objectives unless it satisfies ours. Unfortunately, Iran’s leaders are acting as if they have not received that message,” citing Iranian President Rouhani’s declaration that Iran will not dismantle a single centrifuge; Iran’s testing of long-range ballistic missiles that could reach American military bases in the Middle East, as well as Israel; and its dispatching warships to sail close to American coastal waters, which some believe is a dry run of an electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States.
Is this the change that America wanted or, more importantly, needs?