Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), at right, recently described the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare” as it’s popularly called, as “a huge train wreck coming down.” The Senator’s statement packs a wallop, because he in fact authored large portions of the bill and actively supported it. Senator Baucus’s current skepticism is widely echoed by others in positions of authority, who believe the ACA’s provisions constitute little more than a convoluted legal morass. If this is the President’s “signature” achievement, then the question becomes: What are we to make of his tenure thus far in office? 

The ACA is of course but one of his “accomplishments.” There are others. He has increased the national debt by approximately seven trillion dollars since first taking the presidential oath. His response to this gapping financial abyss has been – what else? -- simply to print more money, a strategy that devalues the dollar and citizens’ hard-earned savings. 

From the moment he took office in 2009 to July, 2013, the national unemployment rate was 7.5% or higher.  That means that the economy languished for 54 straight months, constituting the longest period in which unemployment was that high since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping records of it in 1948. Citizens are, by the millions, availing themselves like never before of entitlement programs. Many live in cool comfort, talk on cellphones, watch big screen televisions, and eat well, except they aren’t gainfully employed.  It’s like a spirit of torpor falling over the body politic, inch by incremental inch. 

In this numbingly harsh environment, President Obama’s pronouncements have often evoked a caustic, class-based animus exemplified in the hackneyed, but rabble-rousing, rhetoric that the wealthy “must pay their fair share.” It’s as if taxation in an amount already exceeding 50% is not a “fair share.”  Of special note here is the fact that Louis Hartz, who famously wrote The Liberal Tradition in America, once emphasized that the reason why socialism never caught on in America is because there is no history of feudalism, i.e., no deep class divisions. Could it be that President Obama is attempting to re-create the nation in a manner that the socialism about which Marx wrote will find fertile soil in which to germinate?  One wonders. 

The President has also commented on racial tensions in this country in a manner that has almost surgically re-opened old wounds and served further to alienate the two races.  His statements regarding Trayvon Martin have fueled the fires of racial hatred, just as his assertions prejudicing the Boston Police Department in its confrontation with the volatile Henry Louis Gates, Jr.   

Then there’s the President’s obvious lack of international stature.  His “leading from behind” has resulted in the destabilization of Egypt and Libya (where the murder of four Americans in Benghazi has yet to be explained).  His perceived weakness as a world statesman has occasioned the overt disrespect of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, who slovenly slumped in his chair as the President spoke at their joint news conference.  The Russian has also punctuated his contempt for Mr. Obama by recently granting asylum to American fugitive Edward Snowden.  

This is still not all!  The American President has been sized up as a “lightweight” by leaders in countries like Iran, Syria, and North Korea, to name a few.  At least twenty-one United States embassies across the Middle East and Northern Africa have been closed this weekend, cowering in fear of a terrorist attack from al-Queda.  (This is the organization that was supposed to be defeated and defunct, right?)  It’s hard to believe that Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt once held the same office as this man does now.  

It is an example, perhaps the only one, where Vice President Joe Biden can whisper “I told you so.”  He criticized then “candidate” Obama by quipping that that the Oval Office is not “the place for on-the-job training [in foreign policy].” No joke! 

It’s difficult for a casual observer like me to describe this President with any degree of confidence. Is he  “grossly and staggeringly incompetent”?  This case can certainly be made. Listen to him speaking without the aid of a teleprompter: Such banality!   

On the other hand, it is surely a stretch to imagine policies accidentally causing such immense injury to our country.  Might Mr. Obama’s regime not be impelled by a carefully orchestrated plan to mold the United States of America into that of a Third World nation, where the currency implodes, poverty abounds, class hatred is exploited, and authoritarian socialism is implemented?  There is much about his background and associates, as well as his incessant lying concerning all the “phony scandals” besetting his presidency, that seems to support this interpretation. 

Yet maybe we’re misguided to depict the problem in an “either-or” fashion.  Perhaps it’s a “both-and” scenario.  Is it not possible to have an arrogant leader with an authoritarian mindset, who’s also trite when deprived of his written script? I can think of a few in the annals of history who fill this bill.  It might be that we can expand somewhat upon Senator Baucus’s words.  Instead of referring to Obamacare as a “huge train wreck coming down,” we might think of the President’s entire time in office as a political, social, and economic disaster that has weakened the nation in every imaginable way.  Can you think of a single thing he’s done to strengthen the nation?  I can’t. 

The United States is distressed, and the person at the helm is, however else one may choose to describe him, a mistake continuing to happen.  The clock is running.  Americans and their capon-representatives had better discover a full measure of courage fast, or all that we hold dear as a people will eventually be relegated to the ashes of history. 

Do you hear it?  Tick tock . . . .

August 4, 2013