The year 2014 is a turning point.
Whether the United States can turn back is a question I can’t answer. But I can tell you that we have turned a corner.
Funny how “turn a corner” can either mean a good thing or a bad thing has happened. In our case, of course, it’s the latter.
In both foreign and domestic affairs, President Obama is taking the easy path, the Leftist path, the path that provides short-term shots-in-the-arm of good feelings but will lead to major trouble down the road.
The president pursues “peace” and “diplomacy” abroad, failing to recognize the immutable evil of our enemies and recoiling meekly from the fights a great power sometimes must wage to keep itself secure. And he rules increasingly by decree at home, realizing the dreams of the Left while failing to do the hard work of creating legislation. In the process, he is erasing vast portions of the Constitution.
2014 saw the rise of ISIS, a brand new threat that thrived as America withdrew from the world and became tentative. Had the White House been paying attention, or if it had cared to act boldly, it could have killed ISIS in its crib, when it was still staging to sweep through Iraq. It’s ability to do so is the direct result of Obama’s failure to leave any troops at all in the country. Now, of course, he is forced to bring troops back, albeit in such a limited fashion as to ensure years of low-grade warfare and the survival of a sanctuary from which ISIS can direct attacks on the United States and our allies.
ISIS is emblematic of a broader problem, the recognition by the world’s evildoers that America is no longer in the business of taking serious measures to combat its enemies. Iran understands fully that Obama lacks the stomach or even the interest in militarily opposing its drive to obtain nuclear weapons. Obama is trying diplomacy without the credible threat of armed action, a fatal attenuation of the usual recipe for diplomatic success. The extremist ayatollahs who run Iran will have their nuclear bomb soon enough.
The president’s growing and increasingly virulent use of executive action marks a perilous new phase of American history in which an ideologically motivated leader enacts by decree that which the people’s representatives in Congress reject.
Obama prepped us for this new way of governing in 2012 and 2013 by offering a limited amnesty for “Dreamers” – those brought here illegally as children – and decreeing various changes to the Affordable Care Act that altered due dates required by statute. But these and other executive actions were just a warmup for 2014.
In June, having failed to extract carbon emissions limits from Congress, Obama unveiled sweeping regulations requiring carbon plants to cut their carbon output. In November, he acted to shield up to five million illegal immigrants from deportation and, what’s more, grant them legal status. And in December, he gutted the congressionally-enacted Cuba embargo by normalizing relations with the Castros.
All three actions sidestepped years and even decades of debate within Congress and between Congress and the executive branch, strong-arming the system of checks and balances constructed by our Founders. Where is the outrage among mainstream commentators that would have greeted an attempt by George W. Bush to seize the Constitution for himself?
Obama no doubt hopes we’re getting used to this.
The gradual inurement of people to cultural and societal change marked by the loosening of moral standards and the seizure of liberty is something the Left has always counted on. You can see it described in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, as the pigs gradually assume the character of humans running a totalitarian enterprise.
No, I’m not saying Obama is seeking totalitarian power. But he is seeking drastic new power, and this was the year he really went for it. And so far, got away with it.
If judges invalidate his actions, will his attorneys next find some way to ignore the judiciary as he has the Congress?
And who’s going to stop him?
I can’t. But that’s not what I’m here to do anyway.
It will be the mission of this website for the next two years to document and explain Obama’s actions and statements, whether they be for good or ill. In doing so, I hope to continue to serve the role that too few Washington journalists adopt: the role that is meant for the Fourth estate, that of watchdog of freedom.
The term “Fourth Estate” derives from the notion that the press serves as a kind of fourth branch of government, one that, though bearing no legal authority, keeps a careful eye on the other three.
Most journalists today seem to view their mission as akin to football commentators, pronouncing on who is up, who is down, who has a knee injured, who threw three touchdowns yesterday, and which coach is going to be fired.
I do some of that. And I also provide you with the news. But accountability is the watchword of this website. And after this watershed year, with a president who no longer is politically beholden to anyone, White House accountability is more is more urgent than ever.
Thanks for reading this year. There will be lots to do in 2015.
Have a very Happy New Year.