Poor Obama! It doesn’t look like he will have much fun in his last year and a half as our President. He didn’t get to accomplish many of the things on his agenda in his first six and a half years either, but at least the Democrats were occasionally on his side. Now he is offering up policies that even many Democrats have no taste for.
Quite a few Democrats do not support the Trans Pacific Partnership. I am talking about Congressional Democrats, but also about citizen Democrats (or civilian Democrats). Unions are often considered bastions of Democratic Party support for Democratic Presidents. However, the unions do not support the TPP.
All too many of us can picture the specter of more and more American factories and American jobs fleeing America as each trade agreement passed and took effect. Although we are told that this agreement will improve the balance of trade for the US we are all having great difficulty accepting this. This puts Obama, who helped negotiate this agreement, in the tough position of being at odds with his party. Republicans want to favor the trade agreement but Obama’s hands are all over it. For Republicans this is the kiss of death.
Next we have to decide whether to change the Patriot Act or to keep it as it is. The inclination in Congress (and for many Americans) is to stop mass collection of domestic phone data. It smacks of the kind of totalitarian state that George Orwell wrote about in 1984, and could eventually put an end to our freedom as it has already put an end to our privacy. We foresee that all that potential for abuse of power could one day result in actual state control over our speech and our actions. Obama has made it clear that he wants to leave the phone collection mechanism as it is. Once again he is at odds with his own party and, of course, predictably and ironically, with many Republicans.
Obama’s advisers have recommended a number of changes for our armed forces which would affect their pay or their pay raises and their benefits in adverse ways. No one likes to cut back on income or benefits when it involves our soldiers. But Obama favors the suggestions which involve privatizing pensions (in its favor, more soldiers would get pensions this way) He has not spoken about the fourteen other recommendations made by his administration. Still these suggestions are highly unpopular and once again do not suggest that Obama will get to go out in a blaze of glory.
So, poor Obama, for real! Can’t he at least, by the grace of God or whoever has power over the universe, find some really “sexy” issue or program, something we can all see as desirable, so that he can have a little fun to end a difficult Presidency. Can’t we send him back into private life with an air of celebration, rather than the same dreary air of someone being pulled backwards by his long coattails, trudging forward burdened by opposition until he is released, finally feeling only relief at being back to operating solely under his own power.
It seems like we could come up with some small, but significant victory that would cheer up all of America. Sadly, I cannot think of one thing that would do that trick. Perhaps something will save Obama from these issues that are too esoteric for most of us to truly understand by injecting a policy win we can all get behind, like an infrastructure fund.
By Nancy Brisson