After six years of worshiping Barack Obama as the crown prince of liberalism, an icon of the left who could do no wrong, is it possible that Democrats are finally questioning the veracity of their blind hero worship of the president? Is it possible that Democrats are beginning to feel the hot breath of political reality on the backs of their necks? There is nothing like a contested election to force some clarity on politicians who must seek re-election, and in 2014 that is a lot of politicians. In the upcoming mid-term elections, every member of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate must run for re-election.
As the president’s failures and embarrassments continue to mount up, Democrats may face in 2014 what Republicans faced in 2006: electoral comeuppance. The fortunes of political parties tend to run in cycles. One party gains the ascendency, typically because of the missteps and failures of the other. Once that party takes power it can sail along for a while blaming the other party for the country’s problems. This is what happened in 2006. Taking advantage of the mounting displeasure of Americans with the war in Iraq and the beginnings of what would turn out to be a major downturn in the economy, Democrats began the ascendency that led to their current majority in the Senate and man in the White House. However, blaming the other party works only for so long.
In every presidency, there comes a time when the current occupant of the White House must produce results of his own. In short he must establish the relevance, contributions, and legacy of his own presidency. Just saying “I’m not the other guy” is a political strategy with a short shelf life. Further, this message is hardly sufficient when a president comes to be viewed as a complete and utter failure by even his most ardent supporters. In 2014, the electorate will have an opportunity to hold Barack Obama and the Democratic Party responsible for a virtual avalanche of political disasters, both foreign and domestic. For this reason, incumbent Democrats in the House and Senate are scrambling to find ways to distance themselves from the president without appearing to turn their back on the leader of their party, a leader they have supported for six years. In truth, most incumbent Democrats would prefer that Barack Obama just play golf for the rest of his presidency and stay out of their states.
So what is the legacy of Barack Obama that has so many Democratic incumbents running away from him like rats jumping from a sinking ship? The list of failures of this administration is legion. Here are just a few of the big ticket items Democratic incumbents would rather not have to answer for in the Congressional and Senate races:
- Failed economic policies. In June the Federal Reserve reduced its forecast for economic growth following a bone-jarring three-percent constriction in the American economy, the first constriction since 2011. As the economy shrinks, the Obama administration is left with little alternative but to play fast and loose with the unemployment numbers while persistently avoiding any discussion of the work participation rate. Unemployment numbers can be made to look better by simply failing to acknowledge that decreases are caused by frustrated job seekers who simply give up and stop trying to find jobs, but the work participation rate is harder to obscure, and it is at the lowest it has been in decades.
- Ineptitude and fraud in Veteran’s Affairs Hospitals. Veterans who had served their country with honor and distinction had to begin dying in droves before the Obama administration could find the time to get engaged in turning around what is nothing short of a national disgrace. The Veteran’s Administration is part of the Obama administration. He cannot blame this failure on President Bush or anyone else. To find the individual ultimately responsible for the deaths, poor treatment, and inconvenience of our veterans, all the president has to do is look in a mirror. This issue will not help Democrats running for re-election.
- False Promises and Distortions of Obamacare. By now most Americans realize that when it comes to the misnamed Affordable Care Act, they have been taken. Insurance premiums that were supposed to be reduced by as much as $2,500 have actually doubled. Americans who were supposed to be able to keep their policies have lost them. Patients who were supposed to be able to keep their doctors have lost them.The millions of uninsured Americans who were supposed to sign up for Obamacare have, by and large, ignored this opportunity. Every Democratic incumbent running for re-election in 2014 will have to own up to the fact that: 1) he or she voted for Obamacare, and 2) he or she is complicit in the false promises and distortions used to sell it to a gullible American public over the objections of every Republican in the House and Senate.
- Swapping a Possible Deserter for Five Known Terrorists. When Barack Obama directed the military to swap five Taliban commanders for the captive Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, he thought America would be pleased with his leadership. The president and his advisors saw the swap as having the badly needed PR value of the take down of Osama bin Laden, a fact that shows how out of touch the president and his senior advisors are. I suspect the president is putting pressure on the Army to minimize any action that might be appropriately taken against Bergdahl until after the mid-term elections or possibly permanently. I do not have all of the details surrounding this case, but I do know this: If I had walked away from my post in the face of the enemy while serving in the Marine Corps, I would have been either shot or imprisoned—and I would have deserved either punishment.
- Escalating Violence in Iraq. Unless Barack Obama is struck by a bolt of pure luck, the situation in Iraq will continue to deteriorate. The president is in a damned-if-I-do-damned-if-I-don’t situation in Iraq. I might actually feel sorry for him, except that he created this untenable situation by broadcasting the timetable and terms for our withdrawal from Iraq to the world—including the terrorists who are now taking over the country. By giving the enemy precise information on the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, the president gave them what they needed to plan and carry out a terrorist takeover of that beleaguered country. In the process, he squandered the heroic sacrifices made by American service men and women to liberate Iraq from the iron grip of Saddam Hussein. As a result, thousands of grieving mothers and fathers across the country are now forced to ask themselves: “Why did my son die?” or “Why was my son injured?” In addition to those mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and cousins and neighbors are asking similar questions, and all of them will turn out to vote in the mid-term elections. Obama’s last minute ordering of air strikes in the north of Iraq just emphasizes how badly he mismanaged the withdrawal.
- The Benghazi Tragedy. Americans still don’t have satisfactory answers concerning what really happened in Benghazi and why. But we do know that Americans were killed—including our ambassador—and that our embassy was looted. We also know that this happened on Barack Obama’s watch and that he and his administration did nothing to stop it. The Obama administration (including Hillary Clinton) can continue to stonewall, prevaricate, and fabricate concerning what happened that fateful night in Benghazi, but voters are not fooled. They know when they are being lied to and they typically respond by voting against those doing the lying. This fact does not bode well for Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections.
- Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and Iran. The president has looked exactly like what he was called in Edward Klein’s best-selling book, The Amateur. President Obama’s mishandling of all of these situations has made America look weak, and an America that looks weak is an America that invites trouble. When it comes to global hegemony, perception is almost as important as fact. Nation’s that are perceived as weak are the ones that are attacked by other nations and terrorist groups intent on changing the balance of power in their favor. Americans do not like to see their country portrayed as a global weakling, nor do they like our country to become more vulnerable to terrorist groups bent on destroying us. Yet under President Obama this is precisely where things stand as we approach the mid-term elections in November. Democratic incumbents know this and are already looking for ways to distance themselves from a president who has been made to look like a wimp by his Russian counterpart.
Because of the manifest failures of the Obama administration, 2014 is not a good time to be a Democrat—particularly if you are in incumbent Democrat who must run for re-election this year. I could not wish this mess on a more deserving group.