Saturday, October 10, 2015

Obama Doctrine Explained

How to explain Obama doctrine is the problem. Niall Ferguson explains it this way (“The Real Obama Doctrine,” WSJ, October 9).
Ferguson explains the Obama doctrine is based on:

1) The cautious mindset of a skillful and imminently successful politician who knows how to make promises and who seeks to avoid confrontation with domestic and foreign adversaries at any personal price, including American prestige and power.

2) A covey of inner-circle cautious Obama-protective lawyers advising the president how to implement minimal risk policies , how to outflank Congressional opposition with executive actions, memoranda, waivers, and delays; and how to use top-down government regulations to subdue and control businesses , who may generate wealth but produce social inequality.

3) The desire to differ as much as possible from his predecessor, i.e., to withdraw from the Middle East rather than engage with troops on the ground or arm one’s allies, make peace and concessions and punish economically through sanctions and charm rather than challenging militarily.

I have spent the last 7 years trying to figure out what the Obama doctrine is.
I have puzzled why majorities in the House and Senate and dominance of state governorships and legislatures, paradoxically, do not produce new “hope and change” to replace the old failed “hope and change.” The people elect their Congressional representatives, and government is supposed to represent the people.
I have wondered why doctors are not part of the reform equation, and why, despite the health law’s continued public and Congress disapproval , often by double-digit margins, there has been no repeal or retraction of individual and employer mandates, medical device and Cadillac taxes, the Independent Payment Board, and no rejection of autoenrollment requirement that all small businesses enroll full-time workers into ObamaCare plans.

On other national policy issues, I have pondered why there has been no pro-growth agenda, a path to prosperity; no corporate tax reform designed to cut rates from 35% to 15%, a move that would bring back corporations and jobs back to America; and full cash deductions for businesses who invest in the future.

The answer is procedural – political gridlock because of threatened Presidential vetoes requiring 67 votes to override. 60 votes required in the Senate to pass any major piece of legislation, and filibusters that block any bill from coming up for a vote.

Republicans say they can get around these problems through a political process known as reconciliation, which is immune to vetoes and which requires only 51 votes for passage. But for reasons I do not understand, reconciliation never seems to happen. Perhaps it is because of disarray and ideological splits among GOP House members. I suppose another reason may be that a cautious, careful, leader, to preserve his reputation and ideological standing, never seizes the initiative or seeks compromise to bring about reform.

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