Wild Ride Coming Up

Our president has no platform to run on. Get ready to watch him attack his Republican challengers.

Newspaper headlines on the first day of the new year declared that President Obama will spend 2012 seeking re-election by running against Congress. That’s fitting for a president whose policies have largely failed for the past three years, and it’s all the more reason why voters this year will remove Barack Obama from office.

For the Obama administration, neither competently governing nor calming the world nor strengthening America has been paramount — only re-election matters. And that may be primarily why Mr. Obama will be a one-termer. The hundreds of millions of dollars he’s raising for re-election will be deployed not to tout his administration’s accomplishments but to litter the political landscape with the battered carcass of his Republican rival. So much for the Obama pledge to bring a new tone to Washington, D.C. Assuming this to be his political re-election strategy, how will the United States be a better nation after the political carnage he will have wrought?

Obama’s political ear seems be made of tin.

He missed a Christmas-vacation opportunity to set a frugal example for those struggling to survive a tough economy. A taxpayer-paid trip to nearby Camp David would have sent a better message than Obama’s exorbitant, taxpayer-paid trip to Hawaii.

Arrogance seems to drive Obama to criticize Republicans about the lack of jobs, even after the Republican House of Representatives has passed numerous job creation bills only to see them die in the Democrat-controlled Senate. It’s been over 900 days since that Senate passed a budget, unlike the Republican-controlled House, which passed the Ryan budget that actually reduces the federal deficit and debt and would stimulate the economy.

And how can Obama run against Congress when half the legislative branch is controlled by his own party, which does his legislative bidding? Obviously, the president thinks voters are gullible.

American voters should also be mindful of other serious consequences of an Obama re-election. There will likely be two U.S. Supreme Court vacancies between 2012 and 16. The prospect of two more liberals on the court should scare most Americans. Equally frightening is an Obama unrestrained by an upcoming presidential election — he’d then be free to impose his left-wing agenda and naive foreign policies via administrative fiat, with little Congressional input or interference. Judging by the way Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons development under an Obama administration that “leads from behind,” and one poised to release former Taliban leaders back to Afghanistan, heaven help the cause of future peace in the world.

But the President’s most glaring failure has been the American economy. Three long years ago, President Obama offered to have the voters judge his administration in 2012 by the state of progress on his economic policies. By any account, his policies have not been redemptive nor helped by incessant whining about the economic hand he was dealt when taking office in 2009. Consider the following information provided to me by an Inlander reader:

U.S. tax revenue: $2,178,000,000,000

Federal budget: $3,820,000,000,000

New debt: $1,650,000,000,000

National debt: $14,171,000,000,000

Recent budget cuts: $38,500,000,000

Now, remove eight zeros from the figures above and pretend it’s a family budget:

Annual family income: $21,780

Money the family spent: $38,200

New debt on credit card: $16,500

Owed on credit card: $141,710

Total budget cuts: $385

Yes, this is a simplistic way of putting U.S.fiscal conditions in perspective, but it illustrates the enormity of national finances and why it’s important for the next president and the 113th Congress to be serious about leading our country away from economic calamity. Barack Obama can’t do it and doesn’t deserve a second term to try.

This year will be economically unsettling. The U.S. debt-ceiling increase will resurface in the first quarter. Republicans will want to extract budget cutbacks in exchange for increasing the debt. Obama and Democrats in Congress will resist spending cuts, and the rest of us will watch, frustrated, as the drama increases and our investments and the economy decrease.

If there’s further disruption in the Middle East, oil prices will rise and both American and European economies will suffer. Don’t look for the European Union’s financial condition to recover any time soon. We may also see the new, young premier of North Korea do something militarily provocative to establish his international reputation — a situation that will affect all economies.

In two months, the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits extension will expire, triggering another showdown between the President and Congress. Like the debt-ceiling increase, high drama will accompany these issues and their resolution, and voters will seethe as today’s national leaders seem incapable of satisfactorily solving national problems.

As Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt and Iraq suffer more unrest, American voters will be anxious to cast ballots next November for change against the backdrop of a president who will run away from his record of incompetence in office and toward a campaign of criticizing those who offer a better future.

But voters shouldn’t be dismayed. American history shows that the public usually possesses wisdom when choosing its leaders. When we get one wrong — like President Obama — elections are the way to send a message that change must come. This year, Americans will be free to choose those who will lead us again in the right direction.

George Nethercutt is the former congressman representing the 5th District of Washington. His column appears here once a month.