By John Dempsey
Eight years of President Obama brought the fringe left to public light, an abysmal economy, and agreements with other countries that should have gone before Congress. Instead, Obama decided he was going to create his legacy with executive orders, accords, and deals. Now President Trump is undoing Obama’s legacy and changing how the government operates. Barack Obama complained about the unraveling of his achievements, but if he had bothered to convince Congress to pass laws based on his sponsored bills, he wouldn’t be facing this problem.
This week Obama gave a speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after receiving the Paul H. Douglas Award for Ethics in Government. After Obama accepted the award, he gave a speech that was in reality a diatribe to rev up the Democratic voter base for the midterm elections in November. While speaking, it was evident that Obama was angry about the undoing of his time in office.
While in office Obama rarely took significant proposed legislation before Congress. The most notable example is the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as Obamacare. During his address to the crowd, the former president mentioned that Obamacare will be in danger if Republicans keep control of Congress, and he may be right after the death of Senator John McCain who thumbed the eye of Trump by stopping the full repeal of Obamacare with his vote alone.
Each president that takes office hopes to leave with a legacy that defines their time in the White House. Their era is determined by what major legislation they champion and Congress places into law. Trump has the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; President Reagan signed the Tax Reform Act, President Clinton signed the Welfare Reform Bill of 1996 and the list goes on.
Laws are much harder to change than executive fiats, deals, and accords like Obama’s. In 2010, the year after Obamacare became law, a referendum went out against the president and his socialist healthcare plans. A wave of Tea Party Republicans swept into Congress and disrupted his plans. In 2014, Republicans won the Senate, taking power of both chambers. Obama sunk, legislatively speaking.
Obama was not in office to work with Republicans. In many cases, he used executive orders to get what he wanted. Even in the case of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Obama declared from his throne that illegal alien children and their parents could stay in the U.S. despite earlier admitting that he didn’t have the authority to implement the program.
Undoing the Deals
The country of Iran is an enemy of the United States. It is a world leader in state-sponsored terrorism. The Iranian government provided funding to many different radical Islamic groups that maimed, caused post-traumatic stress disorder and killed thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, Obama sent John Kerry to make a “deal” with the government.
According to the Constitution, treaty ratification must go through Congress. Obama knew public support would be non-existent for an Iran treaty and he would not get the votes needed for passage. Therefore, he used the former Secretary of State John Kerry to work a “deal” that would undermine our founding legal document. Trump easily broke that agreement by simply saying “the deal is off.”
The Paris Climate Change Accord was no different. Trump easily removed the U.S. from this as well.
Obama’s agenda could not garner enough public support to influence elected officials in Congress to vote in his favor. His maneuvering around the Constitution, Congress and the American people has caused his accomplishments to crumble. Ironically, he is the one who built his legacy, and he is the one who constructed it for destruction.