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October 17th, 2017

Insight

An Obama legacy of less freedom and more danger?

Jay Ambrose

By Jay Ambrose (TNS)

Published March 5, 2015

An Obama legacy of less freedom and more danger?
As the last two years of his tenure move toward their conclusion, President Barack Obama’s increasingly probable legacy — on top of the much-discussed debt he will leave to punish future generations — could be a nuclear-armed Iran and a striking diminution of rule of law and American freedoms.

Recently, the great shudder among liberals has been the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to beg America not to sacrifice his country in its rush to an agreement that would eventually allow Iran to build a bomb.

As reported, it would be a 10-year deal permitting Iran to keep in place nuclear facilities that would enable moves toward weapons manufacture down the road and doing nothing to stop it at the agreement’s termination. There will in the meantime be inspectors, according to a White House that gave Iran $11 billion in unfrozen funds to embrace this idea. Iranians will surely become nice guys by the end of the agreement and the only alternative was to go to war, we are also told.

Excuse me, but another alternative could the kinds of sanctions that got Iran to the negotiating table in the first place, keen observers say. They also noted the business about inspectors is a joke: Iran has never disclosed sufficient details of its nuclear infrastructure to give the inspectors any idea where to go. Keep in mind, too, that this is the same fanatical regime sponsoring terrorists and that just lately showered rockets on a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in its war games.

The great shudder should be about an out-negotiated U.S.-led team seeming to think patty-cake will subvert evil in a regime exhibiting it daily. Likelier consequences are the kind of Middle East instability that could ultimately lead to war about as contained as Iran’s ambitions and to Netanyahu’s legitimate dread.

To move to the next topic, let’s go back to 2008 when a campaigning Obama said one of the worst things the country faced was George W. Bush’s bypassing of Congress to give the executive more power. In 2011, after a midterm election in which the public delivered a Congress more likely to slow Obama down, he embraced a slogan that said, “We can’t wait,” meaning there would be less waiting for the legislative branch to have its constitutional say.

An early display of that was the virtual nullification of the No Child Left Behind education law through state waivers, followed by much else that swished past Congress as if it were a scary looking hiker on a highway. The Supreme Court was not always pleased, as when it disallowed White House appointments made without required congressional approval.

One particularly bad move came after the 2014 midterm election when the voters again said let’s cut out the overreaching and Obama got in their faces and that of Congress with his legalizing of more than 4 million illegal immigrants that he himself had said on 22 prior occasions would be unconstitutional.

Oh, well, there was precedent as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, said liberals missing a point that a federal judge has now underlined: In this act, Obama also flatly ignored statutes prohibiting him from granting work permits and welfare rights on his own. Let a president do that, and there’s nothing much he can’t do.

On top of that, of course, there has been this new Federal Communications Commission plan to make the Internet less liberated along with hordes of intervening regulations that stomp out entrepreneurial initiative, cost billions and treat adults like children. It’s no wonder then that an international think tank survey shows Americans’ sense of personal freedom has been declining under this president or that an examination of our economic freedom shows us 12th on a list of nations, down from sixth freest when Obama first took office.

Is all of this what Obama meant when he once promised hope and change?

Jay Ambrose
(TNS)

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Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado.

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